I sometimes get interesting comments from people about my writing.
They’re not the typical comments like people leave on a page after an article though. I get messages sent direct in my e-mail or on Facebook. Sometimes I get messages thanking me for what I write, but more often than not, I get messages from people who criticize what I’m writing about.
Rather than criticize, I should say “question”, specifically my articles related to mental illness. Maybe they send these messages direct because they don’t want others to see them. Maybe they think contacting me direct will make me feel their point is more serious.
I’m always open to feedback. I like hearing from people because that means my articles are actually being read. But there is a difference between constructive criticism and attacking what I write about by saying I don’t know what I’m talking about.
I’ve had negative comments questioning my educational pedigree while demanding the research based documentation or scientific basis behind my articles. These comments are usually confrontational and hostile toned, as if I’m pointing fingers and making horrible accusations directly at them.
Call me insensitive, but this makes me laugh…
My blog articles are not meant to be ground breaking scientific papers which will be relied on for generations to come. I’m not writing material as a thesis for a graduate level degree. I know I’m probably not going to win a Nobel Prize for my literary genius, but that’s okay. I’m not claiming to be a “know it all”.
They are MY stories…
My articles come from my head. That’s the scientific basis for them. I’ve lived a life which makes some people cringe when they learn about things I’ve been through. I don’t need a PhD or Master’s degree in psychology or psychiatry to know what I’ve seen and experienced in MY life.
I want to make people think differently about some things, but I’m NOT telling you how to think, nor am I saying my writing is the only source of information you’ll ever need.
I merely offer MY perspective of things from MY world.
I’m not trying to upset anyone, nor am I trying to shove my opinions down your throat. If I was offering what I claim to be misinformed “facts” or undocumented statistical data toward my audience, by all means let me know. I will immediately correct my error. But I don’t do that. I write about ME and MY thoughts.
You can’t tell me I’m wrong, because I’ve lived what I write about.
I know there are people out there who will relate to what I’m saying, because what I’m writing here is exactly what people with mental illness face every day. As a professional writer, I can handle criticism and belittling, but as a person, it hurts, especially when someone questions the validity of your own personal thoughts and feelings.
Others may respectfully disagree with your thoughts, but no one has the right to say your opinion or feelings are wrong, especially when it comes to things you’ve lived through. It’s like being sick and miserable with the flu, having someone say “the flu doesn’t make you feel that way”. Only YOU or others who have experienced the same thing know what it’s like.
Right or wrong, what I write are MY thoughts and stories.
I will continue to write my articles knowing I’m going to upset someone from time to time, but I don’t care. For every person who is bothered, I’d like to think there is someone who might benefit. I hope someone will read my writing and say “I thought I was the only one who felt that way”, realizing they aren’t alone.
The road though the land of mental illness is a very lonely one when you’re alone without a guide.
THAT is why I write…
I’m not a doctor, a counselor or a therapist. I’m just an average guy who shares his stories about a less than average life. Sometimes that’s the kind of information others need to hear.
Written by Marty Augustine
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