I know that I usually post about how blogging has helped my mental health and how much I love it and it HAS and I DO but oh my good god, sometimes, it’s less like sunshine and rainbows and more like torrential rain and shitheaps.
The one piece of advice I would love to give to you if you’re thinking of becoming a mental health blogger, is you need to have developed some thick skin because some people do not seem to care that you have a mental illness, some people don’t seem to care that you are a busy person with a whole life of your own and some people certainly don’t seem to care that you’re a human being.
Despite being a human being, with a mental illness, a full-time business and twin babies – I run this blog. A mental health blog that started a few years back, as a way to reach out and find other people who related to me. It fulfilled that purpose and still does. I meet the most wonderful people through this blog and often receive lovely messages to let me know that I have helped them. That makes it all worth it.
There are some things about being a mental health blogger however, that just plain suck. Here are just a few of those things to keep in mind, if you plan on starting a blog…
Over-opinionated / Hurtful messages
Every now and again, I get random messages or emails that get my back up. For example, someone once said that I clearly don’t have social anxiety as I’m able to walk into a tattoo shop and “fuck up” my chest. Like, what do my tattoos or my appearance have to do with having social anxiety? I can walk into a tattoo shop because I had spent 5 years in therapy before I ever got a tattoo!
I also received a series of emails from someone who blamed my mental health on the fact that I wasn’t a Christian. Not that I’ve ever been that open about my religion, or lack of it. They told me that it was unbelievable that I would watch horror movies or listen to heavy metal when I already have anxiety (which is weird because both make me feel less anxious) and that my hobbies are inspired by Satan. That one kind of made me laugh but I could imagine someone feeling more vulnerable or someone who is religious, would be quite affected by that.
Then there’s just the general comments on posts that I have worked on for weeks, basically saying they don’t find it relevant etc. It can be disheartening when you put your heart and soul into a project and people shit all over it without a second thought.
You sometimes get people who just flat out want to dismiss mental health altogether and want to go out of their way to tell you that mental health is a “new trend” that doesn’t exist.
The only advice I can give here is that it’s the internet and people can be shitbags on the internet, even more easily than in real life because they can do it more anonymously. You just have to rise above it. Sure, send them a witty comeback if you wish but it’s best just not to engage and definitely try not to get defensive, as you’ll just be reeling them in. Take a breath, leave it be and let them crack on with their sad lives!
Constant emails that are completely nothing to do with your blog
Every single day, I’ll receive maybe 20+ emails that say “I love your blog, I think your readers would love my infographic about the flower industry / going to the dentist / financial advice etc. Trust me, I ignore them… because what the fuck does the flower industry have to do with mental health?! But THEN, they will email me 3 or 4 more times in the same week to tell me that I haven’t yet responded to their email.
I even have an auto response set for my emails at the moment because of the whole new mum situation, explaining that I have twin babies to look after and I may not be able to reply as quickly as I’d like. I don’t get any maternity leave like most women, so I’m trying to at least make things easier for me but people just ignore it, constantly asking me why I haven’t replied to their email yet.
The only thing you can do here is ignore them and maybe block/report the email addresses that often spam you.
People wanting to use the platform I’ve built for free
This is pretty much the same in every creative industry, I get it with my photography business all the time. Companies often want to advertise on my blog but it’s very rare that they have a budget or expect to pay. You wouldn’t believe how shocked some people are when you send them your rates for advertising.
You’ll get “but it will be great exposure for you” or “it’s a great opportunity for both of us, to work together”. It gets dull after a while and I’m sure they wouldn’t give their product away for free just because someone doesn’t have the budget for it. It’s insulting.
If they’re asking you to promote them, make sure you’re getting something out of it and something you actually want and need, whether that’s a payment or a product/service in return. Don’t work for nothing or for “exposure”, your time is worth more than that.
Having to keep up with social media all the time
This can be the most draining. Sometimes I just want to cut social media off altogether because, while I enjoy having the support groups and inspiration every day, it also affects me mentally when I’m comparing myself to others. It can be a real joy sucker. Yet, when you have a blog or run a business that relies on social media, you need to be on it almost daily.
My advice; Schedule your social media as much as you can. Spend an hour or two a week scheduling your posts and then step away from a while.
What difficulties have you faced being a mental health blogger?