Welcome to Mood Sponge!

4 Jun

Welcome to Mood Sponge: a new blog about the ins, outs, ups, and downs of mental illness in the world today.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kelly, I am 21 years old, and I, like millions of people around the world, am living with mental illness, specifically Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). This is just my welcome post, so I won’t go into great detail about my own mental health history, but trust me, you’ll be reading a lot about it in the many posts to come.

I have started Mood Sponge in an attempt to create a forum where we can talk truthfully and openly about mental illness. I think it is so important to talk about it publicly. In today’s society, there is such a stigma surrounding mental illness that people are afraid to talk about it, and often try not to even think about it. This “if we ignore it maybe it will go away” attitude is not working and will never work.

Mental illness is a disease like any other, with the exception that it doesn’t manifest itself physically. (Hence the “mental.”) If this is so, why is it more socially acceptable to talk about cancer and diabetes than it is to talk about depression and anxiety? Why is it okay to tell your boss you have to miss work because you have the flu, but you can’t tell him you’ll be out because you’re experiencing a bout of depression? It is essential to talk about mental illness frankly and in broad daylight, so we can begin to remove the stigma and start on a path towards acceptance and understanding.

Another reason I decided to start a blog about mental illness is that I don’t think there are enough young people writing about it. Since I was diagnosed, I have done a lot of reading about mental health and I haven’t come across many articles, books, or blogs written by people my age. You can find millions of scholarly articles riddled with medical jargon written by doctors. You can also find a number of blogs written by mothers of children with mental illness. But there is almost nothing written by someone like me: a young person who has dealt with mental health issues through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood who is willing to write openly about it.

I also want to use this blog to share my story. I think I’m something of a mental illness success story. After a long, intense struggle that started during childhood and persisted through high school, I am now a college student with a few steady jobs and on a path to graduate within the next few years. This is thanks to the combination of doctors, medication, family support, and extremely hard work I’ve put in over the last 10 years. I am by no means cured of my disease—it is a daily struggle—but for the most part I have been happy and stable for about two years. I’m all about using my experiences to help people, so I hope that my story will benefit and inspire others fighting similar battles.

And Mood Sponge is not going to be solely written by me. I am an expert on my own story, but I am by no means an expert on all things related to mental illness, so I’m going to be posting articles and essays written by all sorts of people: family members who can talk about living with someone with a mental illness, friends who have their own stories to share, and many others. I will also be linking to other sites and articles I want to share with my readers. I’ll be looking for all types of authors and correspondents, so feel free to email me if you want to write for Mood Sponge.

To close out this welcome post I’ll leave you with an explanation of the title of this blog. I am approaching almost a decade of having been in therapy and in 10 years my favorite term I have ever heard is “Mood Sponge.” A past therapist of mine used the term to describe someone who absorbs the surrounding mood or feeling of a particular environment or situation. I am a total mood sponge. Almost without fail I absorb nearby moods. If a person near me is stressed out about something, I get equally stressed out. If my friends are happy, I get just as happy. When a character in a movie cries, I cry. I think most people on some level are mood sponges, but I am an extreme case. Being a mood sponge is a gift and a curse, but mostly I just think it’s a quirky, unique phrase and I thought it would be a great blog title.

Please, please, please share Mood Sponge with everyone you know! I’m going to try to educate, entertain, and excite you with interesting stories, essays, and articles. Help me get the word out there about mental illness and I will do my best to never let my readers down. Thank you!!

Twitter: @MoodSponge

Email: moodsponge@gmail.com

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14 Responses to “Welcome to Mood Sponge!”

  1. Ginny June 4, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    Thanks so much for beginning this blog. It is so very, very important to talk and learn about mental illness.

  2. Rachel June 4, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    So very much looking forward to following this blog! Thank you!

  3. micheledarwin June 4, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    Kelly – I’m a friend of your Aunt Karen and I’m thrilled to see your blog! My father-in-law suffered from bi-polar disorder and I agree that the stigma attached to mental illness hasn’t improved much over the 30 years since I first met him. You are a brave girl and I can’t wait to read more of your story and insight. I love your Aunt so I’m guessing if you are her niece you must be pretty amazing, too!

  4. Kathleen Moylan June 5, 2013 at 12:04 am #

    Go Kelly! Thanks for bringing mental illness into daylight. As a fabulous young woman who is coping with mental illness, you have a lot to share with the world . So soak up this support and affirmation, please, and keep blogging!

  5. Suzanne June 5, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    I really look forward to following your blog! I’ve struggled with a similar combination of diagnoses (and a smathering of possible diagnoses, too). You’re so right about our cultural discomfort with acknowledging mental illness (especially outside of the frameworks of shame and stigma).
    And, I totally get The Mood Sponge name!!
    Kudos to you!
    -Suz (friend of Karen Kimball)

  6. Angela Colwell-Arbour June 5, 2013 at 12:28 am #

    Thank you for your openness and bravery! I will be a regular reader!

  7. Steve Boczenowski June 5, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    Kelly – Good luck in your new endeavor.

    Steve

  8. LB June 5, 2013 at 2:36 am #

    Hi Kelly, your dear auntie KK pointed me to your blog. I’d like to thank you for doing this. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for years. It’s so isolating.

    However, reading books on the subject really helped me. You mention a lack of books on the subject by young people. But are there any books you’d recommend? Personally, I love William Styron’s “Darkness Visible” and Kay Redfield Jamison’s “An Unquiet Mind”. I’ve not read Rosalynn Carter’s book on the subject, but did see she’s been trying to raise awareness: http://www.cartercenter.org/health/mental_health/index.html.

    I am also a mood sponge (but never connected it to depression). Instead, I chalked it up to my Meyers-Briggs personality type–INFJ. Have you explored that at all? For example, do you think introverts are more likely to experience depression, etc.?

    I’m sending you a “mental” hug. Like mental illness is just as real as a physical illness, a mental hug is just as good as a real one. 🙂

  9. Sarah June 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    good for you! I look forward to following your blog. I have a family member who suffers mental illness and I have been looking for support services.

  10. Jenn June 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    Kelly, congrats on starting this blog! It is important for young people to speak out and make their voices heard especially when it comes to mental health, and what works.

  11. A. Laura June 8, 2013 at 2:39 am #

    Hi. I think you know some pretty important people in my life. You and your blog came highly recommended! I am 45 and have bipolar d/o, ptsd and anxiety. I, like you, looked for books and support from my peers when i was your age. You are a courageous woman and i look forward to following your blog. Rock on!

  12. Joanne Irving June 11, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    This is a wonderful thing to do and from what I’ve read so far i think you’ll do great.
    I will be following it and wish you all the best.
    Joanne

  13. Barb June 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    You are indeed a mental health success story. Not every day will feel successful, but your insight and your dedication to treatment will help carry you through the inevitable challenges. Best wishes for continued good health, fruitful discussions and insightful posts.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Breaking Open Mental Health at ‘Mood Sponge’ | Imagine the Kingdom - June 13, 2013

    […] prayers to Kelly – and please, pop over to Mood Sponge as this project gets […]

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