This post is part of my series for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018! The series includes articles, poems, and photo essays by many guest authors about mental health and related issues. For more information, click here!
How has your outlook changed on your mental health since you started blogging?
Since blogging I think I have realised how important what I do is. Not only for my own mental health but for the mental health of other people. In the last year or so my mental health has taken dips lower than I’ve ever had before, however, blogging has made me realise that recovery is about a journey rather than a final destination. Perhaps blogging has made me more determined to recover so that I can prove that life without anxiety, depression, and emetophobia is possible.
There are obviously downsides to mental illness, but are there any upsides that you’ve experienced?
I don’t think there are any positives. At the end of the day mental illness is debilitating at times and if I could get rid of it then I would in a heartbeat. Yes, without this mental health journey I wouldn’t be a blogger or the person I am today but I would be someone else, someone not covered in self-harm scars, I wouldn’t be someone who has lost years of her life to fighting against her own brain.
What tool has been most helpful for you in your mental health journey?
I think music has probably been my biggest tool. No matter what mood I am in I use it in different ways to help me. A tool that I am also currently using is the Thrive Programme in order to overcome my emetophobia.
On your worst days, what (if anything) starts to get you out of it?
On my worst days, going for a walk usually helps as it gets me out of my head for a little while. Seeing other people go on about their lives reminds me how the world is still turning despite my struggle. It helps to ground me a little instead of being caught up in anxious thoughts.
Why is mental health awareness and advocacy important to you?
It is sooo important to talk about mental health. People remain quiet for far too long about their mental health and then the problem continues to grow and becomes bigger and bigger and harder to manage. Through sharing my mental health story so many people (especially in my personal life) have felt able to share their own stories. I guess that is my aim in my mental health advocacy, to start a conversation and to create a safe space in which people feel able to share their own experiences.
A lot of us, the mentally ill, face shame and stigma from others, but also from ourselves. Was there any belief that you struggled with on your way through mental illness recovery?
I think the biggest belief that hinders my recovery (present tense because I am still working on it) is that I can 100% beat this. There was a life before this struggle and there can be life after it. After a 6 year long battle with mental illness it gets a little hard to imagine a life without struggle, however, it is possible. People do it all the time. So can I.
Are there any words, beliefs, or values that you hope to challenge about mental health?
I hope that through my blogging I challenge the pre-existing thoughts around self-harm. People seem to have an idea that people who self-harm are white, teenage, emo girls who are just attention seeking, an image which couldn’t be further than the truth. I also hope that by speaking out about mental health issues that I am helping to get rid of the general stigma that surrounds mental illness.
How has blogging affected your mental health? Good and/or bad?
Blogging overall has helped my mental health, however, like everything, there are some negative sides. When being a mental health blogger you do have to be careful that your whole world doesn’t become about mental health. For this reason, I have recently begun to branch out into lifestyle posts as well.