The Flawesome Award

Image from Sophia Ismaa

I was nominated by Elizabeth for the Flawesome Award. Elizabeth blogs about mental health and lifestyle topics over on The Uncustomary Housewife. She is one of my absolute favourite bloggers. I hope you will all go follow her and read her work. Elizabeth, I think you are fantastic and it means a lot to me that you thought of me for this award. Thank you.

About the Award

Sophia Ismaa created the Flawesome Award. I could paraphrase, but she said it best:

“It’s time to celebrate the flaws that make you awesome. How many times do we see an award that celebrates all things bright and shiny and sunny in a person? How often do we forget that our weaknesses can be a strength? Our flaws make us human, our flaws tell us more about who we are, and in turn we turn those flaws into awesome strengths. In short, our flaws make us #flawesome.”

( From: https://sophiaismaa.wordpress.com/2018/08/31/the-flawesome-award/ )

I believe we learn a lot from what we perceive as flaws, so I think this award is pretty amazing.

Rules of the Flawesome Award

  1. Link back to the creator – Sophia Ismaa Writes
  2. Display the award
  3. List 3 flaws and turn it into a strength
  4. Tag 10 other people

My Flaws & Strengths

I have difficulty discussing my strengths, so this wasn’t easy for me. I decided that given this is a mental health blog, I would take this opportunity to focus on ways in which my mental illnesses have created strengths in me. Bear with me because I don’t want anyone to think that I believe illnesses reflect badly on those who have them. Having an illness doesn’t mean you are flawed. I think illnesses are a part of life. My grandma used to always say, “everything happens for a reason”. I wouldn’t go that far, but I do think we learn things and adapt from hard times. I am going to focus on ways that mental illness negatively impacts my life that have brought about positive lessons for me.

I can be withdrawn

The flaw: My depression and anxiety disorders often lead me to withdraw from my life. I can seclude myself, not seeing anyone for months. This can negatively impact my relationships with friends and family. It also leads me to feel lonelier and more isolated which causes my depression and anxiety symptoms to worsen.

The strength: I value my friends and family above all else. I have always been someone who cares deeply about the people in my life, but my seclusion further emphasizes the importance of my social connections. I am hyper-aware of how much my loved ones mean to me. In a world where we can sometimes veer towards selfishness, I see this focus on others as a strength.

I worry excessively

The flaw: I spend much of my time anxious and worried. My anxiety is severe and impedes my functioning in very real ways. My head is always spinning with “what ifs” and worst case scenarios. I can react negatively to events, information or stimuli I am not expecting. My worry has affected my mental and physical health, and many aspects of my life.

The strength: I am organized and prepared. My files are in order, I know where most of my belongings are, I have checklists for everything and I keep an updated calendar. I worry about all sorts of possibilities arising, and I often work hard to prepare for things. This means when I go on road trips I have a binder full of directions, restaurant menus, festivals and events, addresses and phone numbers. Being organized and prepared is a coping mechanism I need to stay afloat when I am anxious. Organization and preparedness help me avoid surprises and be ready for things that come my way.

I’m not where I thought I would be

The flaw: Some of my plans for my life haven’t worked out. As a result of my mental illnesses, I am low functioning at the moment. I am 26 years old but I’m not able to work, I’m very dependent on others and some aspects of my personal life have been put on hold. I am not able to contribute financially to my family. I’m not currently able to take care of myself independently.

The strength: It took me a long time to accept that I might have to let go of things I had always planned for. I have had to re-evaluate some of my preconceptions about life. I have come to accept that it is okay to rely on others, we all do sometimes. We don’t exist independent of the help we are granted. Independence remains important, gaining further independence is a major goal of mine. But I no longer think it’s a flaw to need help or ask for it. Likewise, I used to think that ambition was a universally important character trait. I now realize that ambition sometimes comes at the expense of happiness. We can become lost in our ambitions, I’m sure I have. I have an appreciation for prioritizing the things I find most important and I’m no longer judgemental of anyone who is taking time to find their footing. It is okay to just be. There is a lot to be said for a life of balance.

My nominees

These are the bloggers who I want to recognize for their work. I hope you will go visit them on social media and check out their blogs.

To the bloggers: I’m sure many of you have already received this award. There’s no pressure to keep it going, I just think you are wonderful.

Ain’t No Atlas

@no_atlas

https://aintnoatlas.home.blog/

Dr. Ashley

The Panicked Foodie

@PanickedFoodie

https://thepanickedfoodie.com/

Brian & Chelsea

Two of a Mind

@Brian_ToaM & @Chels_ToaM

https://www.twoofamind.com/

Carys

Carys Emma Blog

@carys_emma_

https://carysemmablog.wordpress.com/

Fiona

The Fractured Light

@fracturedlightx 

https://www.thefracturedlight.com/

Joan

My Best Friend Adeline

@joansenio1

http://kindness-compassion-and-coaching.com/

Khadra

The Good The Human

@TheGoodTheHuma1

https://thegoodthehuman.wordpress.com/

Lindsay

Seeds in the Wasteland

@seedsinthewaste

https://seedsinthewasteland.wordpress.com/

Nicole

Navigating Darkness

@ItsNicoleCarman

www.navigatingdarkness.com

Sam

Mentally Speaking

@MaddDawgDailey

https://maddawgvlogsblogspot.com/


 

Thanks again to Elizabeth for nominating me. It turned out to be a great exercise for me to identify strengths and lessons I have gained.

Take care,

Fiona

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Blogger Recognition Award

Photo by Jess Waters on Unsplash

I’m very touched to have been nominated for another blogger award. Nicole from Navigating Darkness has nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award. This award is given between bloggers in recognition of each other’s work. It means a lot to me that my writing is being read and appreciated by amazing people like Nicole.

Nicole not only blogs candidly about her mental health, she is also always coming up with ways to bring the mental health blogging community together in advocacy and awareness initiatives. I believe she is still accepting submissions for her post series “Taking Care of Your Mental Health During the Holiday Season” which I will be contributing to. She has also created The Mental Health Awareness Project (MHAP). The MHAP launches in 2019 and aims to raise awareness through monthly mental health topics which bloggers can contribute pieces to. You can also find both Nicole and the MHAP on Twitter at @ItsNicoleCarman and @OfficialMHAP.


How the Blogger Recognition Award works

  1. Write a post to showcase your award
    2. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
    3. Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
    4. Thank those that nominated you and link their blog
    5. Select other blogs to give the award to.

How Like As The Waves Started

I’ve written about the origins of this blog before and to find out all the details you can visit my post for the Sunshine Blogger Award. It’s worth noting, brevity wasn’t something I aimed for in that particular description.

I began blogging in response to the overwhelming support and encouragement I received from friends and family after beginning to share openly about my mental health on Facebook. I began sharing updates with my loved ones from the hospital in 2017 and the support I received completely floored me. I have always loved to write and wanted an outlet to do so. After my wedding last October I was looking for something meaningful to do with my time. I started Like As The Waves in November 2017 and am so glad I did. I am learning and growing from writing about mental health and mental illness. I am also glad to be connecting with some inspiring and supportive people who I feel privileged to get to know online.

Advice for New Bloggers

It is strange for me to offer advice to new bloggers, given I feel like quite the newbie myself! However, as it is part of the award, here are two things I try to adhere to as a blogger.

  1. Be yourself.

Always be yourself. The blogs I admire most are written by people who write with an authentic voice. Sure, there is a lot of information out there on how to best run a blog, but none of that advice will work for you if it isn’t true to who you are. Write about what feels important or interesting to you in a way that is true to who you are. Your blog will be much more compelling that way. William Shakespeare wrote it best, “this above all: to thine own self be true”. That quote has been my absolute favourite since I read Hamlet many fortnights ago. Honest, I even have a necklace with that quote engraved on it. (Bonus piece of info – did you know my blog title is the opening words to my favourite Shakespearean sonnet? More on that in a blog post soon). Point being, I think blogs are best when they are backed by honesty and passion. The best way to fuel those in to your blog, in my humble opinion, is to be yourself.

  1. Don’t be afraid to share your work

Your blog is probably pretty awesome, make sure others know it exists. I am still painfully bad at promoting my blog, but I do try to always share the pieces I write. I suggest acquainting yourself with Twitter if you haven’t already. While I was pretty excited to write a blog even when my readership was mostly just one person (hi mom) it has been nice to connect with a broader community on Twitter. By sharing my work and seeking out the work of others I have made some great friends and learned a lot.

If you are a mental health blogger starting out on Twitter, the @SickNotWeak and @KeepTalkingMH communities are a great place to start looking for other advocates to engage with. Start using their hashtags #SickNotWeak and #KeepTalkingMH for your own tweets and search out those hashtags for awesome community members to follow and connect with. Nicole’s new project @OfficialMHAP is another great community to connect with on Twitter, use the hashtags #MHAP and #MHBlogFam.

Probably the most gratifying response I receive from my blog is from family and friends. I often feel vulnerable or embarrassed when I share my blog posts on Facebook for them to see, but I try to do it anyways. It’s been great for the people I care about to get to know me better, and has allowed some of them to feel comfortable opening up to me about their own struggles.

My nominees

Here are some of the writers whose blogs I am most grateful for! If you choose to make a blog post about this award, please let me know so that I can read your responses. I would love to hear what advice you have to share for other bloggers.

I hope anyone reading will check out these thoughtful writers and their blogs.

Anja

The Calculating Mind

@CalculatingMind

https://calculatingmind.wordpress.com/

Anja is a mental health advocate living with Bipolar Disorder. She writes from a mixture of personal experience and insight into broader issues. The intersection of research and personal stories makes her blog a favourite of mine. One of her recent pieces, “3 Assumptions Mental Health Providers Should NOT Make”, spoke to me on a very personal level as someone who has been on the receiving end of those harmful assumptions. She is also a great presence on Twitter and perhaps the only other person who I know to have gotten excited at receiving a DSM-5 as a gift.

Elizabeth

The Uncustomary Housewife

@UncustomaryHW

https://uncustomaryhousewife.com/

Elizabeth is a longtime blogger who writes about her Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety, along with other lifestyle topics. I love her blog not only for her own brilliant pieces about mental health, but also for her Not Alone Series which features stories and interviews from other individuals with mental illness. She is also wonderfully geeky and her love of Broadway makes me infinitely happy.

Jaaron

Worn Pages and Ink

@wornpagesandink

https://wornpagesandink.wordpress.com/

Jaaron is a book blogger and close friend of mine. Long before I read any other blogs, I was reading Jaaron’s! She has a knack for relaying the essence of books. After reading her recent review of “Tin Man” by Sarah Winman I wasted no time in running to Amazon to order a copy! I’m forever jealous of her beautiful books organized by colour. Most importantly, she is a beautiful person, amazing friend and talented writer. If you love books (or want to read reviews that are sure to make you love books), hop on over to her blog.

Khadra

The Good The Human

@TheGoodTheHuma1

https://thegoodthehuman.wordpress.com/

Khadra’s blog focusses on mental wellbeing. She is a trained counsellor whose blog is uplifting and informative. She frequently shares insightful advice on maintaining mental health and supporting those who are struggling. Her recent blog “How Would You Respond? Part 2” about responding to self-harm beautifully captures how to be helpful to someone who discloses their self-harm to you. She has also recently co-created the Mental Health Crisis Angels (@MHCrisisAngels on Twitter). The Mental Health Crisis Angels are a group offering peer support through Twitter messages. You can find out more about this amazing initiative here.


Thanks for reading! I hope you will show some love to the amazing blogs I linked to. Thank you again to Nicole for nominating me, it was fun to put this together. I will be back, hopefully later this week, with a new blog entry.

Take care,

Fiona

Invaluable Blogger Award

I have been nominated by The Good The Human for the Invaluable Blogger Award. I am so grateful to this lovely blogger for her continued support of me and my blog. The Good The Human is an invaluable blog about mental health and wellbeing. It is no surprise that she was one of the first people nominated for this accurately named award. A fantastic example of her positive approach to mental health blogging is her blog post “Break Your Negative Thought Cycle”. If you haven’t followed her already I highly encourage it.

The Invaluable Blogger Award was created by another one of my favourite bloggers, Nicole from Navigating Darkness. Creating this award is a typical example of Nicole’s thoughtfulness. I love that she chose to focus on kindness, support, creativity, advocacy and dedication for this award – they are all wonderful traits.

I am certainly in good company with these two fantastic advocates. I love what this blogger award stands for and hope to see it spread far.

Award Information

The following was taken from Nicole’s original blog post about the awards which also contains further details about them.

The Invaluable Blogger Award is an award that recognizes bloggers for their kindness, support, creativity, advocacy, and dedication. These traits and values make them truly invaluable to the blogging community and it is important that they are recognized, appreciated, and encouraged.

Awarding your peers with the Invaluable Blogger Award is a great way to your show support and appreciation for them and their work. The blogging community will thrive and be a much better place if we see each other as friends and colleagues as opposed to enemies or competition. We each have our own voices and stories, and there is enough success in the world for all of us.

“Bloggers who are nominated for the Invaluable Blogger Award should create a blog post, like my own, to acknowledge their award. The post should include the following:

  1. Award image
  2. Award acknowledgement
  3. Award information
  4. Answers to the questions given to you
  5. Your 3 nominations for the Invaluable Blogger Award

Questions from The Good Human

  1. What inspired you to start your blog?

    I answered this in depth recently in my blog post response to the Sunshine Blogger Award, you can head on over there if you’d like to see all the details of how I started this journey. In summary, I was inspired to start this blog as a result of being open on social media during my hospitalizations in early 2017. In a way, those social media posts were my early blogs. They received a great deal of support and positive feedback from my family and friends who encouraged me to continue being open about my experiences.

  2. How do you motivate yourself to keep your blog up and running?

    I am motivated to keep my blog up and running due to the positive comments and feedback I have received. Writing the blog is cathartic for me, but more importantly it helps me feel that I have value. I have been so supported by the mental health community, with many people telling me that my pieces have helped them in some way. I have always wanted to write, to communicate through writing something that others would find worthy of reading. I feel lucky to have found a medium through which I can do that.

  3. How much time do you spend blogging?

    In truth, this varies greatly. I am struggling every day with my depression and anxiety disorders right now; these struggles are impacting my ability to be consistent with the blog. I would love to be able to get blog posts out on a semi-consistent schedule, but at the moment the best I can do is write when I have the energy and motivation to do so. Most of my blog posts take several hours to write, but before writing I usually work out the idea for quite some time. I have a long list of blog post ideas that I am constantly editing and adding to, and always have several drafts on the go.

  4. What are your strengths that really helped you in your blogging journey?

    I always feel like I come across as boastful when I write about my strengths. That aside, a strength of mine that helps with blogging is good writing skills. I have always loved to write, it comes easily to me. I know some people who struggle to put things in to words, which is not the case for me. I am also honest and willing to be vulnerable which I hope gives my blog a sense of authenticity.

  5. Who has impacted you the most in blogging and how?

    My family and friends are those who have most impacted my blogging. In order to narrow that down a bit I will give you my mom as a prime example. My mom has been supportive of my blog since the beginning. She reads nearly all of my posts and often shares them with her network along with incredibly supportive messages. Perhaps the way she has most impacted me has been in a conversation I had with her a couple of months ago. At the time we were talking about the success of a recent blog post and she told me that she was proud of me because I was having a big impact on people despite my circumstances. I should probably have told her at that time how much that means to me– mom, that meant the world. For now, I am unable to leave the house due to the intensity of my agoraphobia and social anxiety. Since my conditions worsened a couple of years ago my life has shrunk considerably. I am not able to work, I rarely get to see my family and friends and I struggle with the most basic of things. It is hard to feel like I have worth and value from within the four walls of my house and when my depression and anxiety are so acute. Hearing from my mom that she thought I was helping others, having an impact even, was so important to me. Her words helped motivate me to try pushing myself even harder.

My Nominees

  1. Nicole from Navigating Darkness

    Nicole is the creator of this award and as such it is possible that she won’t get this recognition herself. That would be a great oversight since Nicole wonderfully exemplifies all the qualities she set out to acknowledge in other bloggers. I appreciate most about Nicole that she is devoted to building up the blogging community, frequently creating opportunities for building friendships amongst bloggers. Her blog Navigating Darkness is largely mental health focussed and I am appreciative of her advocacy in this area.

https://www.navigatingdarkness.com/

https://twitter.com/ItsNicoleCarman

  1. April from 5 Alive

April is the first blogger who came to mind when I read the specific criteria for this award. She is a frequent supporter and encourager of others on Twitter, showing the depths of her kindness and support. Her blog 5 Alive is filled with creative writing expressing her life with Dissociative Identity Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as Cancer. If her poems aren’t creative, I don’t know what is. One of my favourite blog entries of hers is “Blurbs of Words”. She is a fierce advocate, particularly within the Sick Not Weak network. She shows dedication not only to her blog but to others. I would be remiss if I didn’t include April on this list.

http://idisassociate.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/AFR365

  1. Jody from JodyB2016

Jody is perhaps the strongest person I have encountered online. Her blog is a powerful account of her life with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression and Suicidal Ideation. She advocates suicide prevention, her blog post “I Want You To Want To Live” is one of the most touching things I have ever read. Her very personal blog posts offer a depth of detail seldom found, she uses her words in a way that helps me both understand and feel understood. She is a survivor and an advocate, through and through.

https://jodyb2016.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/onelastkick71

Questions for my nominees

  1. What motivates you to write about your experiences with mental illness?
  2. Which of your blog posts are you most proud of?
  3. Do you think you have grown as a writer and/or advocate since you began blogging? If so, in what ways?
  4. Which of the 5 traits associated with this blogger award (kindness, support, creativity, advocacy and dedication) is most important to you? Why?
  5. What is your favourite quote and why?

I hope you will all go check out the wonderful bloggers I have included in this post. Thanks again to The Good The Human for sharing this with me.

Take care,

Fiona