Facing Criticism

I have been very lucky throughout this last year with the support I have received from friends and strangers alike about my blog and what I write. So much so that I never even considered how I would feel if and when I received any criticism. Of all places to be I was walking my dogs last week when my phone rang with an email from someone who had evidently been reading more than one of my posts. The woman said something along the lines of how she had been referred to my site by a friend and how she was terribly disappointed by the things I write about, how she was ‘sick of’ my attention seeking and negativity, and also how my writing is ‘nonsense.’ I was quite taken aback by her words, to say the least, and I instantly took it very personally and very harshly.

The entire purpose of my blog is total and brutal honesty about my life and my illnesses. What I write comes straight out of my head and I never really thought this would come across badly to outsiders. The point is that many people- like myself- can suffer a lot with mental illnesses like bipolar and anorexia, to the point where, at times, they steal your life and your happiness away from you. But I also like to think there is an inherent message of strength and hope in almost everything that I write. Naturally, if I write when I am on a low then the nature of bipolar comes through (the truth of it): At those times it does feel like your whole world has collapsed around you and there is little or no hope left of being happy again. However those who have read a wider variety of my musings will know that I totally pride myself on staying strong through just about anything, hanging in there and knowing that life has its twists and turns, and you must believe that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I myself strongly believe that there is no doubt that there is always and constantly a point to every life, no matter how far downhill things can sometimes get. Although of course during my darker moments it may not seem that way.

Many of my posts are directly based on that inner strength I maintain, and I am proud of that.

As well as being upset by this woman’s opinion of me, I felt angry too. I felt angry that some stranger went out of their way to send me a nasty email, surely knowing that they would have a negative impact on my day, I’m only human. And so I spent the remainder of my dog walk thinking of a clever reply and of how I would stand up for myself. But by the time I reached home I realised this person is not worth my time and energy. Perhaps she was just looking for a reaction and I should take the upper hand and not give it to her. I also realised that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and you can’t be loved and praised by everyone. If I ever intend on pursuing my career in writing then I ought to grow a thicker skin, and get used to the fact that I’m going to come across this sort of thing on a much more regular basis.

All I can say is that I hope the rest of my readers can see that I am not just a miserable wreck all the time! Yes I have mental illnesses, but I try not to let them rule my life. That’s the whole point: I really want to show others that you can pull through the toughest of times and that- eventually, and much of the time- life can still be just as good for you as a sufferer as it can be for someone without these afflictions.

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