Prone to Hope pushes the boundaries of my comfort zone.

(The following blog post was originally written as an answer to a question posed on another blog I contribute to, the Intellectual Roundtable.  One of my friends, Lee Urton, and I maintain the blog, posting three questions each week with the hopes that followers, first, appreciate the introspection each invites, and second, perhaps feel compelled to publicly respond to in the Comments section for each post.  Today’s Intellectual Roundtable question is:  “When Did You Last Push the Boundaries of Your Own Comfort Zone?”)

Every time I post something to my blog, Prone to Hope, I am pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone.

Am I sharing too much of myself?  Will people use my vulnerabilities against me?  Will being clear about my challenges make it so some people assume they know my weaknesses?  Will the pictures I post on Facebook of me when I am in agony discomfort some in my social media networks, so they no longer want to be friends?  Will my writing style strike others as immature?

These are just a handful of questions that confront me every time I sit down to write a post for the blog.  Of course, I am also writing to work through depressive or anxious thoughts in my head.  And that process helps me a lot more than the discomfort I feel in posting to the blog.  Still, as I get ready to post, I must admit the questions from the paragraph above fill me with a bit of hesitation.

I read, re-read, and then re-re-read each post several times to make sure I am getting the point across to others just as much as for myself.  And after I post, I go through to make additional edits.  There have even been posts I’ve taken down because I feel I’ve crossed a line into too much vulnerability or embarrassment.

These things noted, I am proud of Prone to Hope.  I feel I have fairly represented my struggle so that others get a picture of what Depression and Anxiety are like, if even just for one guy who lives with the two mood disorders.  And I am grateful to the people who have come to me to express their appreciation for being so open as they silently struggle.  The blog helps them not feel so alone.

I’ll end with yet another reason I keep on blogging.  There is still a stigma attached to mental illness and sometimes blatant discrimination directed at the people who suffer.  Someone recently shared with me that this will not end until enough people who struggle with the mood disorders stand up and demand change.

Prone to Hope is part of my contribution to that standing up and expecting a better society.

(Addendum: The hesitation I feel as I get ready to post to Prone to Hope disappears soon after I make the post “go live.” Prone to Hope helps me address my Anxiety head-on.)