The responsibility of being a mental health blogger
I LOVE writing about mental health. I love challenging people's stereotypes about MH sufferers, I love spreading awareness and I love tackling taboos. It's something I bring everywhere I go. I chat about it in the workplace, in my relationship, with my friends, on social media and of course on my blog.
I definitely feel inhibited in terms of chatting about it on my blog. For me, it's my most important platform (even more so than vocally talking about it to people), because it's there on the internet for everyone to see. It's not a conversation that happens and is forgotten, or a tweet that goes missing amidst a sea of thoughts and blog post promos. Instead, it's something that people can look for, and come back to when they need it.
I'm not saying that I think people use my blog as some kind of mental health bible, or that I don't feel comfortable sharing my story on the internet. I firmly believe that personal tales are key to reducing the stigma around mental health, which is why I spoke about my own struggle with self-harm. Instead, I'm saying that I feel an immense amount of pressure to say the right thing.
Usually I find writing blog posts fun and carefree. I love letting you guys know what kind of lipstick I'm loving at the moment, and I honestly do not feel guilty if someone bought it because of my post and hated it. It's rubbish, but it happens, and it's not my fault that we don't enjoy the same things.
With mental health posts it's different. I read and reread and consider every single word I say. I'm permanently conscious that every word is a potential trigger. My self harm story post was probably the hardest post for me to write for this blog. Not because it re-surfaced old traumas that I'd put behind me, but because I was trapped between not wanting to say too little or too much.
I didn't want to talk in-depth about how awful I found recovery at first; I didn't want to put anyone off attempting it. Equally, however, I didn't want to pretend it was easy; I didn't want anyone trying to recover to think that they were strange or isolated for struggling with recovery. It's exactly this trying to create a balance that makes things hard when writing mental health posts. I want to be honest, but I don't want to trigger people. I want to talk about things in depth, but I don't want to encourage people to do the things I have. I worry that I'm being selfish by not helping others by creating MH posts, and worry that I'm being selfish by using my blog as a space for my own catharsis, when it could trigger other people.
There's so many things I would want to talk about, but know that I would have to spend hours finding the right words, or even deciding whether it's a safe topic to talk about. I want to spread awareness about helping others who are suffering from self-harm. I want to write about how to potentially spot whether someone may be doing it, so that someone could be stopped from taking it one step too far, but I equally know that I would have HATED this when I was struggling; I would have been angry, mortified, and it would have triggered me to be worse.
I'd love to talk about other mental health concerns. I've had some incredibly close friends that have suffered with eating disorders. I'd love to work to reduce the stigma against these types of mental health issues, but I feel like I can't because I haven't suffered from them myself.
All in all, I'd like to do more, but this concept of responsibility plays on my mind all the time. I want to make things better, not worse and I feel as though it's often a very fine line to tread.
Would you like to see more open or explicit MH posts? Do you blog about MH too? What are your thoughts on the whole notion of responsibility?