I’d like to thank the ever kind Nicole of Navigating Darkness for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Nicole’s newly revamped blog is always an interesting read so you guys should definitely check it out.
My understanding is that the Sunshine Blogger Award is a way for the blogging community to show each other support and appreciation for each other’s blogs. Each person who is nominated answers a series of questions from the person who nominated them and in turn nominates more bloggers. I am grateful to Nicole for recognizing my blog and enjoyed answering her questions. I hope some of my nominees will keep this chain of gratitude and recognition going, I look forward to hearing their answers and looking in to the blogs they choose to nominate.
Here are the rules of the Sunshine Blogger Awards.
- Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.
- Display the Sunshine Blogger Logo in your post or on your blog.
- List the rules in your blog post.
- Answer the 11 questions that are provided to you by the blogger who nominated you.
- Nominate 11 bloggers.
- Provide your nominees with 11 questions (different from the ones you answered).
I am so in awe of a plethora of bloggers. I am going to stick with mental health bloggers today. Here are 11 of the many that I admire. While I’m not including bloggers who were nominated along with me, I haven’t checked if the people below have been nominated already. My apologies if some of you have already been nominated, as I’m sure you have been! I hope some of you reading this will check out these fantastically written and deeply insightful blogs.
Andrew, Rise Above the Ashes – https://riseabovetheashes.wordpress.com/
Anja, The Calculating Mind – https://calculatingmind.wordpress.com/
Ashley, Mental Health at Home – https://mentalhealthathome.wordpress.com/
Ida, Around the Ward in 80 Days – https://aroundthewardin80days.com/
John, The 3 of Me – https://the3ofme.ga/
Linla, Hello Linla – https://hellolinla.com/
Mercedes, This Is My Life on Anxiety – http://thisismylifeonanxiety.com/
Seeds in the Wasteland – https://seedsinthewasteland.wordpress.com/
Susan, My Loud Bipolar Whispers – https://myloudbipolarwhispers.com/
Terminally Nice – https://terminallynice.wordpress.com/contact/
Writing Out My Storms – https://writingoutmystorms.com/
Thank you all for your contributions towards our ongoing discourse around mental illness and mental health. I am inspired and motivated by your writing.
Questions for My Nominees
- What is your favourite book?
- Which of your blog posts are you most proud of?
- What quality do you value most in others?
- What is your best joke?
- Who is someone who had a big impact on your life?
- What’s one aspect of blogging that you dislike or find challenging?
- If you had to choose one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- What is your least favourite movie?
- What is your favourite scent?
- What is one way that you cope with bad days?
- Where is your favourite place?
My Answers to Nicole’s Questions
Briefly describe the moment when you decided to start a blog. What made you want to start? Did something or someone inspire you?
Keeping this brief proved impossible, but here is how I decided to start my blog.
I started writing my blog in November of 2017. I wouldn’t say there was one specific defining moment that lead me to begin blogging about my mental illness, it was more of an accumulation of small moments over that year. In January 2017 my depression was at an all time low and I was hospitalized. I had been struggling more than usual and secluding myself. My friends and family knew I was ill, I have always been fairly open about my depression and anxiety, but I was avoiding communicating with them.
When I was admitted to the hospital I was completely terrified. I had been hospitalized just once before and that previous hospitalization had been a traumatic experience. Suddenly I knew I had to be transparent with my friends and family because I would need their support to get through my hospitalization. So, I started posting on Facebook. I let my friends know when I was admitted and gave them a bit of an update every day I was in the hospital. In response, my family and friends rallied, they made sure I wasn’t alone if I didn’t want to be, they showed me how much they care. But also, I started receiving messages from friends telling me how my writing about these experiences was helping them face their own mental health challenges. I knew I had to keep being open about it.
I was released from the hospital after a couple of weeks. But I was still not stable and was readmitted in March. I went back to giving my Facebook friends a daily update during that time in hospital and they kept telling me how much it helped them. I even started to get messages from people telling me they never understood mental illness and that I was helping them understand it better. This was heartening. I also started to notice that blogging was a release for me. I began considering to write a blog but 2017 was busy, we moved in to our house in April and I married my husband in October. Blogging was far from a priority.
After the wedding I started to look for a new project to dedicate myself to. I had been planning the wedding for two years and suddenly there was a gap in my time, I needed a new meaningful activity. I had continued to be very open with my friends on social media and I was continuing to receive positive feedback from people of all sorts. I took the plunge and I’m very glad I did.
What is one thing that you want everyone to know about you?
One thing I want for people to know about me is that I receive fantastic treatment and have an amazing support system. My husband Tom takes care of me in every way possible. I have caring, generous and accepting family members and friends who help me make it through tough times. I see a psychiatrist at least once per month. I have completed three group therapy programs in the last couple of years. I have worked with social workers, a psychologist, a case worker, occupational therapists… Point being, people can struggle even if they are getting the best care. I am being supported more than I could ever ask for, but I am still struggling. I have made some progress, but not much sustained progress, and I am still in a lot of pain and distress every day. It is too often assumed that if someone is struggling with their mental health they must not be receiving proper care. Or, even worse, we assume if they are receiving treatment and support than they must not “really want to get better” or “aren’t trying hard enough”. The truth is, even when we have the best of support and treatment at our disposal, recovery takes time. Everyone is different. I’ll admit, I do get tired of the assumption that my doctors and support system aren’t doing enough for me or that I am not trying enough solutions or trying hard enough.
Tell us one way that you are a good blogger. Stating that you are not a good blogger is not an acceptable answer because every one of us has good qualities. Maybe you raise awareness for something. Maybe you’re good at coming up with ideas for posts. Maybe you love working with other bloggers and supporting them.
I am honest. That’s one thing I think that makes me a good blogger. I try not to veil any emotions or hide any messy details. I am as honest and open as I can be about what it feels like to be me and the things I care about.
What is one of your biggest goals that you wish to achieve with your blog?
This might come across wrong, but I don’t really have goals for my blog. When I started the whole thing I just thought that maybe a couple of people would read it and find it meaningful or informative. I have already been floored by the amount of attention and love I have received for the blog. True, my readership on the whole is quite low. But a few of my pieces have been shared quite a lot and I have received such positive reinforcement. Every time I hear from someone that what I wrote helped them I am just so touched and grateful, it’s what keeps me going.
What is your favorite TV show?
Choosing just one would be impossible! My favourites are probably The Office, Game of Thrones, Gilmore Girls and Downton Abbey. I love stories and TV is no exception. I have been watching quite a lot of TV in the past couple of years while my energy has been so low, these are the shows I keep coming back to.
What is one country that you would like to visit, and why?
Italy is at the top of my list. I could tell you it was because of beautiful monuments and the culture… But honestly, it’s mostly about the gelato! That’s not to say that I haven’t always wanted to see Tuscany, the Trevi Fountain, the Amalfi Coast, the Colosseum… These are all necessary stops along the way, you know, to fill in the time that I wouldn’t be spending eating gelato, pizza, gelato, pasta and more gelato. I mean, who didn’t read Eat, Pray, Love and wonder why Elizabeth Gilbert ever left Italy? Ireland and France are also high on my list. My husband and I had to cancel our honeymoon to the Caribbean (probably Jamaica) in favour of nearby Québec City because of my anxiety, so I am also hoping to be able to go to the Caribbean with him some day.
What are three material possessions that you couldn’t live without?
I see this in two different senses. There are items I couldn’t live without because of their function and others I couldn’t live without because they are meaningful to me.
- My oven: I love to cook and bake. I would be hopeless without an oven.
- My iPod: Sadly, my beautiful iPod classic is on its last legs. I won’t be replacing it with a new version or putting my music on my phone. I need my iPod. I have already begun my desperate search for a fully functioning iPod classic. I’ve been using it for something like 12 years, I would be lost without it!
- My bath tub: I can say this from experience. When Tom and I moved in to this house last year there was a tiny bath tub that I barely fit in. I rely on baths. It was of the utmost importance that we get a bath installed, ASAP. And my amazing husband and father-in-law did! In those interim months I didn’t know what to do with myself when I was panicking or very low and needed the warm embrace of a bath. I don’t function well without it.
- My wedding & engagement rings, and my stuffed animal pig “Pandu”: Forgive me this triple item. My husband is my whole world and I will never get over that he chose me to spend his life with, flaws and all. My wedding and engagement rings are a material reminder of how lucky I am, how in love we are and that I am never alone. Why the pig stuffed animal? When Tom and I first starting dating we were making a stop at a pharmacy when I saw an adorable stuffed pig. He got it for me, we named it Pandu, it was his first gift to me. I ended up losing it during one of our moves and searched desperately for years to find it, even emailing the head office for the pharmacy chain to no avail. When Tom decided to propose he did an extensive online search, searching through thousands of photos of stuffed pigs. He eventually found it and ordered it for me. His plan was to give it to me as part of our proposal but when the delivery arrived at the house I googled the name of the company it came from and realized what he had done. I still feel awful for ruining his romantic proposal plan, but it was still such a meaningful and romantic gesture that meant the world to me. That is how a pig stuffed animal named Pandu became as important to me as my wedding and engagement rings.
- My copy of Peter Pan: This book has been a favourite of mine for as long as I can remember. I even broke a tooth as a kid jumping off of a tall piece of furniture, convinced I would fly. I adore Peter Pan, it is so beautifully written. My copy is cloth bound edition with the original illustrations. I take it out and read a few pages regularly. I read the whole book at least once per year. It was my escape as a child and continues to be now.
- My red blanket. During my first time in a psychiatric hospital ward back in 2010 my dad drove for hours to come visit me and brought me a cozy red blanket for my hospital bed. Nothing ever seems so bad when I wrap myself in that red blanket.
If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be?
This one is pretty easy for me. I would want the power to heal others. I would want to be able to help others escape from their pain.
What is your drink of choice? It can be non-alcoholic or alcoholic, or feel free to list one of each.
Grenadine. (Hands up if you get this reference from The Office!)
What are three personality traits that you like about yourself?
I like that I am caring and I am creative. I also like that I value learning from one another more than sticking to my own beliefs and assumptions. I struggle to choose qualities I like about myself, but these few I am quite fond of.
What are your hobbies or some things that you like to do in your spare time?
I love to cook and bake. My favourite things to make are pie, homemade pasta, ice cream, pizza and veggie burgers. I also love to read, I fill my bookshelves with lots of novels and when I can’t decide on a new book to read I re-read the Harry Potter series. I love spending time with my husband, my dog, and my family and friends. I love playing board games, especially when I am well enough to get together with friends to play games. Perhaps more than anything else, I love singing. There was a time when I was going to pursue musical theatre as a career, I sang, acted and danced every day. I miss that very much. I have wanted for years to get back in to community theatre productions, but it’s not possible right now. But nothing could stop me from singing.
Thanks again to Nicole for the nomination. Thank you also to my nominees for their fantastic blogs that inspire me all the time.