Patients, psychologists and psychiatrists are using their blogs to help each other, and I’m just one of a million bloggers using my blog to give my mental health a boost.
A blog can be the most rewarding thing you ever create.
Mine was a happy accident – I started it as a way to showcase my portfolio. I couldn’t get rid of the blog on the holding page so I started to update it with articles, thoughts, news and my travels.
By doing so (as well blogging here at Metro), I found my voice as someone with a history of paranoid schizophrenia, struggling to make sense of the world, and also as someone who is often out of full-time work.
I can journal problems and ask the wider world for help, connect with old friends and make new ones, and I even made £600 hosting sponsored posts last year.
In Scotland, the Scottish Recovery Network run a ‘Write to Recovery’ website that encourages people with mental illness to share their stories and become the hero of their own narrative.
‘Through on-the-ground group work, and a specially designed online story-sharing tool, Write to Recovery provides the opportunity for people to share experiences, skills and ideas around how to manage and improve wellbeing,’ says John McCormack, Network Manager of The Scottish Recovery Network.
‘Central to the process is the chance for participants to explore writing and shaping their own story.’
As someone who benefited greatly from Compassion Focused Therapy – a type of psychological treatment that teaches us to be kinder to ourselves – I focus on the positives of my life and track successes.
But mental health isn’t one size fits all – you can write about whatever takes your fancy and, if you change your mind, you can just start to focus on another topic instead.
Inspire or inform, rant or rave – the choice is yours.
Simply putting your thoughts down can be cathartic.
You can help solve a problem or let your readers know what life with a certain condition is really like for you.
Blogger turned freelance writer, author, keynote speaker and ‘high functioning nut job’ Claire Eastham has been writing a blog about her experiences with social anxiety and panic attacks since 2013.
Blogging gave me an outlet to vent without fear of judgement. I could be 100% myself and feel exactly how I wanted to feel. – Claire Eastham
Likewise, you can go from ‘one to zen’ in seconds by emptying any negative thoughts onto your blog or find an audience for more niche ideas.
Mind, the mental health charity, also agrees that blogging is good for your mental health and offers opportunities to people affected by mental health to take their thoughts to a wider audience.
‘We all have mental health and one in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any year,” says Lucy Lyas, Information Manager at Mind.
‘If you are feeling down, anxious or not in control, sharing your feelings can help relieve stress by letting go of emotions, which may have been bottled up for some time.
‘Writing these feelings down by blogging or talking, can help raise awareness and break down misconceptions surrounding mental health. Likewise reading a blog or watching a vlog by someone going through a familiar experience can have a big impact.
‘At Mind we often receive comments such as ‘you’ve put into words how I feel’ after posting a new blog. Blogs allow other people to see they are not alone in what they are going through, which can increase the chance of people seeking help and speaking out about their own mental health.’
So, power up your PC and blog yourself, other people and maybe even your wallets better.
If you’re struggling with mental health issues, visit your GP or call Mind on 0300 123 3393, or Samaritans on 116 123.
Would you consider blogging your way to better mental health?
No – that’s private, I don’t want people to know about it
Yes, but only anonymously
Yes – I think that would be really good for me
I already am!