Blogging about mental health can be so rewarding.
I have gained so much from running this blog and I am grateful for that.
When I started this blog, I did so for three reasons.
Firstly, I needed a project to keep me occupied. For the first time in my life, I’d had to stop working due to my mental illnesses, and my life pretty much revolved around attending therapy, working on my recovery, and not a lot else. I needed something I could focus on and work towards. I needed to feel like I was doing something or my mind would waste away.
Secondly, I was searching for a way to express my thoughts about my own mental health issues; to get my story out of my head and into writing, in a way that would allow me to process and let go of the past and move on.
Finally, I realised that having lived through so many years of mental illness, various crises, different treatments, and so on, I actually had a lot to contribute to the wider mental health community. My perspectives and my experiences needn’t simply be painful memories; perhaps I could offer up my thoughts to the bigger conversation about mental health and mental illness in a way that could help others in their recovery, or let them know they’re not alone.
I’ve been blogging on The Patchwork Fox for about two years now.
It’s been great, but I have come to realise that there are a few misconceptions about what it’s actually like. I know that some parts of my blogging journey have been completely different to what I had imagined; sometimes good, sometimes not so good, sometimes just different.
Today, I’m going to talk about three of the most prevalent myths about mental health blogging. These are based on my experience but having spoken with other mental health bloggers, I believe that they are common and it would be helpful if they were debunked.
Mental health blogging is different for everyone. These myths may not be relevant to you, but I think they’re widespread enough to be worth talking about.
Myth #1: Blogging about mental health will damage my job prospects
I decided to talk about this myth first because it is this myth that initially kept me from blogging. I was terrified at the thought of any future potential employers coming across my blog and thinking “Oop, she’s a bit mental – better not hire her”.
My perspective has since changed. Not only have I realised that blogging about mental health does not necessarily make us unemployable, but I also realised that if an employer did have a problem with me blogging about my mental health then it’s not an employer for whom I’d want to work. I realise this is a position of privilege and I am fortunate enough to be able to make this decision. However, I know that if my employer holds stigma about mental health, then it would be incredibly damaging to my health if I worked in that environment.
Having spent years hiding my mental health problems, I know how much unnecessary pain and stress it put me through. I can’t go back to that. I won’t. If me talking about my mental health suggests to you that I’m not a good fit for your organisation, then so be it. My health is more important; I will not sacrifice it and I’ll take my skills elsewhere.
Myth #2: This blog is going to make me rich
I don’t believe that most mental health bloggers go into it thinking they’re going to get rich from it. Most of us start from a place of wanting to share our stories and connect with others.
However, we’ve all seen the ads and social media posts of people claiming to have made BANK by blogging. Okay sure, it can happen, but it’s definitely not guaranteed or easy.
To be fair, this myth isn’t unique to mental health bloggers, but I think it’s more of an issue when blogging around this topic. What I mean by this is there are certain blog genres that might be somewhat easier to monetise in terms of sponsorship, affiliate marketing, and so on. In my experience, mental health blogging doesn’t particularly lend itself to large-scale monetisation.
Of course, there are options and some mental health bloggers do make money from their writing, but what I’m saying is, don’t assume your blog is going to provide you with the infamous “six-figure salary” we can hear about on Pinterest!
Myth #3: It’s my blog, I can say whatever I want
Now before you jump down my throat about freedom of speech, please hear me out. At the end of the day, yes, it’s your blog, your platform, you can say whatever you want – but I would argue that blogging about mental health and/or mental illness comes with a certain amount of responsibility.
Blog posts about these topics may gain attention from potentially vulnerable people; perhaps someone in mental distress or someone who is struggling with mental illness themselves.
As such, although you are, of course, free to speak your mind and write authentically, I believe it’s important to include trigger/content warnings on sensitive posts or topics that may cause distress.
I understand that not all mental health bloggers run their blog as a source of information or advice for others, rather using their platform to vent or express their own feelings, and that’s absolutely fine. But when we put something out onto the internet where it could be discovered by someone who is vulnerable, I think we owe it to them to keep them safe if we possibly can.
I would suggest that the majority of mental health bloggers have experienced some form of mental health issue or mental illness in their lifetime, and would not intentionally wish to put anyone else at risk. I 100% support writing from the heart and being open and honest about the reality of mental health issues; be raw, be real, and don’t feel like you need to censor yourself. You can say whatever you want, but it is worth considering the impact your words can have on others and offering appropriate warnings in advance.
Again, I love blogging and sharing my experiences about mental health is so rewarding. The intention of this post is not to put you off from starting a mental health blog – quite the opposite. The more people share their stories, the more we can tackle the stigma that still surrounds mental health and mental illness, and I am all about that!
Having said that, I think it’s helpful to debunk these myths so that people can go into the venture with an informed view and realistic expectations.
So join us, if you’re willing, and share your mental health story! Let’s walk this path together.
Did any of these debunked myths surprise you? If you have any more mental health blogging myths you’d like to debunk, please feel free to share them in the comments!