How Blogging Affects My Mental Health

HI! It's me again! Yes, I haven't given up on this blog altogether. I posted over on Instagram last night about my brief absence. Essentially, I finally went to the doctors again about all sorts mental health related and decided I was ready to give medication a go again. In the past I've written briefly about my experiences with anti-depressants and anti-anxiety tablets and, spoiler, it hasn't been great. I could never get past the awful side effects, but I felt like I was in a good place to try them again after going through a bad spell and fearing having to go through it yet again. Lo and behold, these new ones are also making me feel rubbish and my anxiety has been sky-high, so I thought it best to step away from this site for a short while whilst I let my mind and body adjust. But being away from the blogging scene has got me reflected on just how it affects my mental health....

Back in 2012, I started this blog as something to keep me occupied in the long summer between finishing Sixth Form and starting university. I've always been the kind of person who needs to be constantly on the go, doing something productive (I really struggle to have a chill-out day where I slob around and do nothing). If I don't, I feel like I've wasted the day and that I'm a failure for letting that time slip away without making the most of it; blogging allowed me to channel the need to show that I've been using that time wisely. That in itself, which I am now fully aware of, is a problematic mindset. We need to allow ourselves that down-time- we need that down-time of doing nothing and being kind to ourselves, listening to our minds and bodies and easing off the gas now and then.

My struggle with BFRBs also manifest when being idle. I start pulling at my lashes, sometimes without realising, when just sat watching TV or listening to a podcast. Letting my mind wander often leads to bloody cuticles or baldness, and so staying focused on a project and keeping my hands busy by typing became my go-to deterrent! Instead of confronting the anxiety which led to the picking, I kept busy and buried and ignored the problem; which, to be fair, is totally justified after finding no way to ease it after 21 years of suffering.

The struggle to stay relevant in the blogging community is something which bothers me a lot. Algorithms and 'competition' breed the stress to post on Instagram daily with perfectly edited images which fit into a nice uniform theme in hope that, if you stick to it for long enough, you might eventually gain some extra followers. The need to post on Twitter often, publicising your latest posts for fear that people will forget your blog exists otherwise and your hard work will go unread. Desperately searching for inspiration when nothing will come to you. Scouring shops for new products that you could do a feature on, props that would look cute in photos, constantly thinking of recipes to try and ensuring you photograph the goods before you get to try them. You find that your whole life ends up revolving around what would make good content, worrying that you need to post something online, rather than just enjoying life. Doing or buying something for the gram, instead of for you.

All that said, blogging has given me that focus and drive that just about kept me sane through some of the worst times of my life. Turning to my laptop and rambling online became cathartic and a welcome distraction from everything else going on and gave me a creative and productive outlet for my buzzing, overwhelmed brain. I found refuge in a supportive trich community where I discovered there were other people like me, who are there to support me even though we had never met or they lived on the other side of the world, where we could openly discuss our struggles without judgement and offer advice and empowerment. I've come across some incredibly inspiration people who have allowed me to come to this point of reflection and start the journey to treating myself better (Sian, I'm looking at you).

Taking a step back has allowed me to realise just how much time I spend worrying and stressing about these things. And for what? I love this little corner of the internet that I've developed, but it's not the be all and end all. There is more to life than this. Instead of living life for blogging, I'm going to live life for me, and if I feel like posting about it then I will. I'll carry on with the same theme on Instagram for now, but only post when I fancy it or have something to say rather than just for the sake of it. I'm going to worry about myself first, and content less, and start trying to give myself the same love and attention that I give this site.

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