I got a notification this morning which told me that I have now been blogging for one year exactly.
It got me thinking about how my blog has changed from when I started and how I have changed since I started blogging.
I decided to do a little celebratory blog post to mark my blog’s first birthday. Happy birthday Happy Mentality!
I started my blog in order to raise awareness for the normalization of mental illnesses and to reach out to others going through the same things as me. I wanted to show that despite appearances, you never really know what is going on in somebody’s head and it always helps to just check in with people now and then to see how they really are.
I wanted my blog to be a space where I could speak openly about my mental health and to give honest advice about what worked for me in coping with bad mental health. (I also want to highlight again here that I am in no way a healthcare professional and my number one piece advice is to seek professional help if you find yourself suffering with a mental illness.)
I remember sitting down to write my first blog post – Minding your mental health on a night out and being so nervous about what people would think. I was scared that I would be judged and ridiculed for writing such an honest post. In general my anxiety stems around what other people think of me, so I decided this was a way of tackling it, and I pressed ‘publish’.
The response I got was phenomenal. I got so many messages from people I know and from people I have never met telling me that they felt that way too, and that they saw themselves somewhere in that post – that it meant something to them. That’s when I decided I would keep going. Because it meant something to me too.
Blogging is a complicated thing. There are so many bloggers out there now, and I have met many of them in the last year. There are many that blog for their career, for others and for just the love of it. There are many more that blog because it is a way to get their thoughts out there, and to connect with others.
Over the last year my confidence has grown a lot, and I actually credit some of this confidence to my blogging. Why? Because I have always loved writing, it was always a dream for me to someday write for others, to get my writing published and for it to have an impact on others. I never thought blogging would give me a way to do that, but it has. Every time I sit down to write a blog post, I think ‘what if they don’t like it?’, but I always press publish anyway because my confidence has led me to a place where I feel safe to do so and not care if people judge me for it.
Last year I was invited to attend a conference on mental health in the media in Dublin, as part of that media. I was so anxious before I went because I felt like I didn’t belong there… I was just a normal person with a small blog, I didn’t know anything about media and social media. But I went anyway. I sat in the conference room with big newspaper editors, bloggers, TV presenters and personalities and listened to them present their thoughts about how mental health is portrayed in the media and I learned a lot. The most important lesson I learned was that no matter how small your blog is and no matter how little you think you influence people, you can still affect somebody’s life just by writing a thought down and publishing it. So that is why I always make to sure to highlight where to get help for your problems and to mention that my blog is not a professional mental health website. I take responsibility for my blog and I know the importance of not writing details about my mentality that are too personal because it can be so triggering for anyone going through a mental illness.
My blog has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with so many bloggers, mental health professionals and others in the mental health community online. It is a bonus that I never thought about before starting a blog. I use Twitter as my main platform in promoting my blog, and for interacting with other bloggers. I have become involved in ‘twitter chats’ that discuss mental health and social media. I have learned a lot from these discussions and I have great respect for the people that participate and run these discussions. I have written a blog post highlighting some bloggers that discuss mental health openly and honestly here: Five Mental Health Bloggers You Really Need to Follow. But there are many others that I take inspiration from, and whose voices have helped me in my own recovery.
So there are just a few ways in which my blog has grown and how it has helped me grow in the last year. I have to say I am quite proud of my little corner of the internet and how it has developed in the last year. If you have enjoyed any of my posts, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me in some way. I love getting feedback and hearing how you might relate to anything I write.
Thank you for reading, and I look forward to interacting with even more of you in the next year.