Friday, January 29, 2016

TGIF 1-29-16

For those who are new to Frequently Interrupted - and we do have several of those recently, so welcome! - I want to take a moment today to reiterate some of our basic working principles here. Between Facebook and Twitter, we’ve hit about 150 followers now (in fact, Twitter just informed me that we have achieved the first milestone of 25 followers on that platform as I am typing this), with surprisingly little overlap. It’s surprising to me, anyway, but I am new to Twitter and probably just haven’t learned yet that this is normal. I will keep learning, though. That’s what I do.

The point there is that our community is growing, slowly but surely. I don’t know what the normal growth rate for something like this is, and I don’t think that’s terribly important. I would rather grow slowly if that means growing with people who really want to be here. I think we are achieving that, and I thank each of you for your help in that. Keep spreading the word and we will keep growing.

The ideas behind this forum are threefold: mental health, self improvement, and a better world. Each of these are tackled from my own personal perspective, being the only perspective I have, and are addressed in ways that hopefully line up with each other. They are from my perspective, and frequently about my own life, but presented in such a way that I hope that can be useful to anyone reading them. They are also inseparably tied together and, to me, one flows naturally to the others.

This began as an extension of my personal mental health journal. I have issues that I have dealt with for most of my life, and I believe that I have had a good amount of success in dealing with those issues. There have been some challenges recently that led me to go back and review the process from the beginning, and I decided that, as part of the process this time, I would share that work with others. I hope that other people can learn from what I have done - both my successes and my mistakes - and helping others also helps me. It’s a cumulative positive effect.

As I work on dealing with my own mental health issues, this just naturally leads to areas of self improvement. I have often thought of my process as Finding My Zen, and so have recently taken to labeling this process as Zen Mental Health. As the name implies, this combines elements of psychology with Zen philosophy to achieve a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Many of the lessons I have learned along the way can be extrapolated into broader applications, and so some of what makes me a better person, if looked at from a certain perspective, might help to make to world a better place. I’m pretty fond of the idea of making the world a better place, so I enjoy examining these broader applications, and trying to see how the different pieces fit together, or don’t fit together when that is what needs to be examined.

I’ve been reviewing the numbers, and it seems pretty clear that the readers here more readily connect with the articles that fall into the first category. That is both oddly flattering and mildly terrifying, to be perfectly honest. While it may not always be obvious, talking about me in any meaningful way is the hardest part of what I do here. I can talk your ear off with Remember When stories, but have a bit more difficulty when it comes to Facing The Demons stories. That is fairly typical - we wouldn’t compare the process to facing demons if it were easy - but it’s also fairly typical that those stories would get the greater response. They’re more personal so they achieve more resonance. Of course, that also means they’re more personal so they’re harder to write. I’ll be working on the balance between the three categories as we go along, and I hope that you will work with me, letting me know your thoughts along the way.

Frequently Interrupted is a working combination of deeply personal and broadly communal, and sometimes the subject matter may seem to bounce in unusual directions. My mind often bounces in unusual directions, so consider that a natural side effect. We cover issues like mental health, foster care, meditation, helping each other out, and just about anything else that I believe goes toward making me or the world (or, hopefully, both) better. I like that “anything else” part. It gives me plenty of wiggle room.

If you’ve been with us for a while, thank you. You have helped to make Frequently Interrupted what it is working toward becoming. If you are new to our community, welcome. I hope that you enjoy what you find here, and that it is useful to you in some way. I always look forward to hearing your thoughts, so sound off in the comments or reach out to me through Facebook if that works better for you. I created this site to help me, but working with all of you is a large part of how I do that. Thank you for coming this far, and I look forward to our continued journey.

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