If you are on social media, chances are you’ll know what a blog and a blogger is. From hunting for a new family favorite recipe, finding that perfect one of a kind shirt to making that final decision on where you want to go on holiday next year, bloggers have your back.
However, you may forget that there is a whole other niche that exists. One that isn’t often spoken about on social media or is pushed to the back of the ‘IT’ list by the big guns. I’m talking about mental health bloggers. (I even spoke about how to run your own mental health blog here)
I have to admit, when I first started blogging, I didn’t think too much about the community that I became to belong to. I was just writing to get rid of those horrid thoughts of mine and when it turned out that my words helped people; I decided I would never look back.
I have now been a mental health blogger for about a year and in love it. I’ve not only helped my own mental health by writing and learning to use my voice, but I have also helped people in the process, which is something I am forever proud of.
However, I think it’s time to shine a light on the other hard-working bloggers out there, who are determined to eliminate the stigma plaguing our society.
I asked a few of my favorite advocates why they do what they do. Their answers are exactly why mental health blogging matters, and why we should give the mental health niche just as much love as the next one.
Katie Conibear (@KatieConibear)
Katie is a freelancer as well as an advocate, meaning she basically lives to write, which I can relate to strongly. You don’t need to look much past Katie’s Twitter feed or her blog to notice just how strong she is and how wonderfully enthusiastic she is about life, despite her diagnosis.
“I started blogging anonymously about five years ago, to help me deal with my diagnosis of bipolar and psychosis. It was a therapeutic outlet for me. Nearly two years ago, I decided to write openly about my journey at stumblingmind.com.
Now it’s become so much more than just a blog to me. It’s a safe space for me and my readers where I can share my experiences and also offer advice and opinion about mental health.
What makes it worthwhile are the messages I receive. People have told me about their own journeys and how reading my blog has made them feel less alone, especially when I’ve spoken about psychosis, which is still a very stigmatised condition. I’ve had emails from people that have family with mental illness, and they were looking for advice on how to help them.
To know that I’m helping complete strangers feel better about themselves and learn about mental illness is so rewarding. “
Martin Baker (@GumOnMyShoeBook)
Martin is an author, who I have come to know and respect over my time as a mental health blogger. He is the first person to jump and help literally anyone, be it with support mentally, or be your personal cheerleader. Martin and Fran do so much for the mental health community and for that, I for one, am grateful. You can follow him here.
“Fran Houston and I began our blog, Gum On My Shoe, in August 2013. At the time, Fran was traveling in Europe and I was supporting her remotely from the UK. We’d started writing our book (High Tide, Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder) the year before.
The blog was part of our platform strategy, building on our social media presence. It also gave me a focus whilst I supported Fran through what was an intensely difficult period for her.
Why do I do it? The simplest way to say it is that it gives us a creative outlet for our writing and a platform for what we are doing in the mental health arena.
The best thing about it for me is the opportunity to make new connections. We encourage guests and have been privileged to share the work of new and established writers – you included, Charlotte!
The blog also enables me to draw different stands of my life into one place; my workplace experiences where I am part of a small but active mental health team, our involvement in the online mental health community, and also local initiatives here in the northeast of England. A selection of our blog articles is to be published by Eliezer Tristan Publishing (www.eliezerpublishing.org) which is very exciting and marks the start of a new adventure for us.”
Kern Cater (@kerncarter)
Kern is an extremely talented individual with a lot of passion. Everything he writes is well thought through and met with such professionalism, that I certainly envy. He tackles a lot of important subjects such as men’s mental health, fatherhood and the reality of being a creative and the stresses of it. You can follow him here.
“I want to state clearly that I don’t consider myself a mental health blogger.
What I try to show through my blogs is how our mental health is impacted by our daily lives.
With my CRY blog specifically, I express how the creative process and the chase to produce work that the world could appreciate can have adverse effects on your mental stability.
Creatives often feel unappreciated, alone in their pursuits, not validated because of constant rejection, and must learn to endure near daily criticism and be OK with it.
My goal with C R Y is to let other creatives know that we all share similar journeys. The emotions we go through in our desire to be heard is part of what makes us great who we are. That’s what makes all of this worth it.
Just knowing that someone reading words I wrote can be moved in some kind of way. We live by the statement “All emotions are wrapped in tears.” Good or bad, we all CRY. “
Eleanor Segall (@EleanorSegall)
Eleanor might just be the first blogger that I became obsessed with, the level of love and respect she puts into all of her work, through both freelance and personal is utterly beautiful. She’s been one of my biggest supporters, always there for me if I feel low or need help with blogging woes. I see her every day filling my feed full of love with comments and praises that she is singing for everyone in our community, you could say she’s like the glue holding us together! You can follow her here.
“I started blogging about my bipolar disorder in 2016, 2 years after I was sectioned in hospital. I needed to write as an outlet and to explain to my friends and family what was happening and how I felt. It was like therapy.
I also wanted to share my story and spread the word so I began to write for charities like Rethink Mental Illness and Time to Change. This was so healing for me and I hope helped anyone else struggling.
I blog to help those who are feeling alone, to know you can recover. You are never alone.
What makes blogging worth it is the messages I receive from people struggling who tell me that my writing helps them.”
They can often see their story in mine and it helps them when they can’t speak about their own experiences.
I love writing and blogging and do it mainly to break the stigma about bipolar disorder and to help others”
Zoe Thomson (@ZoeDonna95)
Zoe was one of the first people to find and support me when I first started my own blogging journey. Not only is she one of the kindest people in the community but she works hard to break down the stigma on her blog, with truly unique and powerful content. As she likes to remind us, stars can’t shine without darkness. You can follow her here.
“I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and years later made the decision to start counselling. It was my counsellor who suggested writing down my thoughts and feelings as I felt I had nobody to talk to besides her.
It was through this that I discovered my love of writing and I realised I could use it as a healthy outlet to cope with my mental illness. I finished a year of counselling and, with a day in the week to spare now that it was finished, I put that time into a blog so I could reach more people with my writing and hopefully help people who were struggling with their mental health as well.
I’ve had my blog for just over a year now, and I’ve had comments and emails from people telling me how much a particular post has helped them, and asking me for advice.
It makes it all worth it because it means these people have someone to talk to about their issues and they’re not bottling it up or trying to run from it.
That’s something I wish I had years ago when I was trying to come to terms with my diagnoses.”
Mike Douglas (@Mike_Douglas_)
Mike works tirelessly to tackle mental health, but he isn’t just a blogger, he also hosts his own podcast, meetups and mental health blogging awards. For all the work he does to help people suffering from mental illness find a voice, he also finds time to give support to those who do use their voice and maybe need to reminded that they are doing a good job. You can follow him here.
“I started writing about my mental health as a coping strategy. Writing helped me to process my negative and potentially harmful thoughts and feelings.
Writing has stopped me self-harming and supported my growing understanding of my mental health illness and its symptoms. In the years since writing and now blogging has become much more than a coping strategy.
It’s a way to support others, tackle stigma, help change stereotypes, challenge views and show it’s ok to not be ok.
Sharing my story was scary at first, it still is, but it’s easier now than it was and so worth it to support others and yourself.”
We live in a world now, where we can find people who are going through similar things to us, at the click of the button. We no longer have to sit in the dark and feel like we don’t understand what mental health is.
We have access to support that just didn’t exist years ago and that pretty darn amazing.
With a plus side that we don’t have to pay or wait months to find someone who can help us figure out aspects of our lives. (Though, remember that it’s always important to seek professional help rather than self-treat without any medical advice.)
Mental health bloggers, they tell us that we can still achieve our goals, live our lives and ultimately, that there may be bad days, but there are good days too. Most of all, this community is a firm reminder that we are not alone, which is something we all need to hear now and again.
Sometimes we need to remember as to what it is to be human, and this is exactly why mental health bloggers are so important.
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