Friday, 26 May 2017

Being An "Over Sharer": Why I Won't Stop Blogging About Mental Health

"We need to talk about Mental Health"

How many times have you seen that phrase, or ones like it, used in the media lately?

How many times have you seen people say "It's good to talk about these things" - particularly in recent weeks when shows such as 13 Reasons Why have brought the topic of Mental Health back to the fore.

We're supposed to all understand that talking is good...that talking is necessary...that talking literally SAVES LIVES.

But as a blogger who devotes a good chunk of my online space to mental health topics, I have to say....not everybody is there yet.

In fact there is still a very large percentage of the population who believe these are problems not to be aired, that some things are distasteful to discuss, that writing one post about it is fine, brave even - to be applauded, but write any more than that one and you're "banging on about it", - you need to just get over it and move on now. Because it's better to keep it all swept as far under that rug as your proverbial broom will reach.

I've been blogging for 4 and a half years now, and during that time I have written about all sorts of lighthearted subjects - I've done the usual updates on how my babies are getting on, I've done posts about birthday parties and days out, I've done Christmas gift guides...all the usual suspects that you'd expect to find in a parenting blog.

I've also written about some topics that are perhaps not as common - at least not in the Family Blogger field.

I've written about my experiences with domestic abuse and bullying, my battle with anxiety and panic disorder, documented my therapy journey, my struggle with pre natal depression, and my experience of suicidal thoughts.

And when people I know in the real world discover my blog, they always ask me the same thing.

"Why do you share so much?"

I've had family members express their concern to my mother over things I've written on this blog, I know that people have used some of the things I've spoken about as gossip over their coffees and I've had people suggest that I should keep some things back. That I shouldn't be so willing to share my experiences when it comes to mental health and all that's associated with my journey.

When you publish a post about something so serious and "dark" in nature, you do have that moment of worry - You wonder if anybody out there will be able to relate. You worry about whether people are getting tired of you writing about things which are perceived as negative or sad. You're concerned about whether people think you're doing it "for attention."

And almost 100% of the time, you second guess yourself - question whether you really want to put yourself out there so much.

But I push past that feeling..."Feel the fear and press publish anyway" has become my motto where my blog is concerned.

But I know that there are a lot of people who would rather I didn't do that - who would rather I kept it all quiet, and talked only about " nice things."

I've  noticed lately that whenever I publish a post about mental health or any other "taboo" subject, my brand/PR emails go extremely quiet - usually for a week or so, usually until that post has fallen off my front page.

Coincidence? Hmmm...Somehow I doubt it.

Because the thing is - a mental health patient probably isn't someone who's the right fit to help you flog nappies, are they? A blogger who talks about suicidal thoughts and being battered by her ex probably isn't someone that's going to encourage people to try your new cereal.

Because people like us...people with anxiety, depression or any mental health problem...we're outcasts, right? There's a stigma attached to us. We're not the same as every other mum who's doing the shopping and deciding which brand of nappies and cereal to buy. So it's best to steer clear of us.

So why do I do it? Why do I continue to share so many of my darkest moments? Why do I continue to talk about it all, even when it makes others uncomfortable and even when it means that my offers of brand work dry up?

This blog is my job after all, my bread and butter, wouldn't it be better for me if I just stopped talking about these things...kept it all lighter? Stayed in the box marked "Marketable" like a good little girl?

Yeah...maybe it would.

But I absolutely f*cking won't.

Because here's where they're all wrong - people "like us" are EVERYWHERE. 

7 in every 10 women will experience a mental health problem in their lives.

And do you know what that means?

It means we ARE the mum you're marketing your nappies and your cereals at.

We ARE the woman who lives next door.

We ARE the lady you wave to on the school run everyday.

We are not a sub-section of society who needs to stay in the shadows, who its best not to mingle with, who need to keep it quiet and stop upsetting everybody with our tales of woe.

We DO need to talk about mental health. And we also need to stop putting those who do so in boxes labelled "trouble", "Attention seeker" and so on.

I talk about these topics because it's important to me, I talk about it because I believe that's the best way to encourage other people to do the same. I talk about it because I care.

And I won't stop because it makes you uncomfortable.

Not even if it loses me a brand deal.

*I'm writing this post in support of Mental Health Awareness Week - If you're struggling with mental health issues or would like more information, please visit

 (This is NOT a sponsored or collaborative post)

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