Wednesday, 23 November 2022

The Truest Response Is Letting Go

Life is not a lesson, though you can choose to see it as such. Life is not a trial, though you are free to live yours as though it were.

 
My friend’s words from the other day are still present in my mind: “The truest response is letting go...”

Yes... let go of pain, of joy, of aching, of delight... Do not hold on to any of it, let it rise, have its moment, and go, to be replaced by what arises in its stead... externally and within you.

Offer minimal resistance to what arises... Let it pass through you, joyously, gratefully...

We cling, we hold on, from fear. Fear of losing what was never ours to begin with. Fear of daring to reach for what is within our grasp.

This moment is all that you will ever own. It is what you have brought into being, it is what you were brought into being to experience, herenow. You are the universe’s gift to itself in this moment. No other has been granted this gift. Accept it, take it in your hands, examine its shape, colours, textures. Allow it fully into your awareness... And let it go again...

Let all arise... Shun nothing.

Life is not a lesson, though you can choose to see it as such. Life is not a trial, though you are free to live yours as though it were.

Any gift worth the name comes with no strings, you are free to decline it, trample on it, pass it on to another, keep it under lock and key... And so it is with life, with this moment.

 

Originally posted on social media, October 18, 2012.

 

Photo by J. Balla Photography at Unsplash.

 

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Being a Man: Exploring My Gender Identity for International Men's Day

My pronouns are he/him/his.

Observed each year on November 19, International Men’s Day (IMD) celebrates the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities, highlighting positive role models and raising awareness of men’s well-being, including mental health. I shared some general thoughts on connection and conversation for IMD last year. This time, I thought I’d go a little deeper, and explore what being a man means to me.

That should be pretty easy, right? I’ve had sixty-one years to figure out what being a guy is all about. Oddly enough, it’s proven a lot harder than I imagined. It’s not that I’ve ever felt misgendered, or unhappy at being thought of as male. I’ve worn my gender identity all my life, albeit without thinking much about it. I was a boy. I am a man. But what does that mean?

Let’s start with International Men’s Day itself. Do I feel it’s for and about me? Does it resonate? It does, yes. Last year was the first time I’d engaged with IMD, building on work I’d done earlier in the year exploring aspects of my mental health in articles such as Return to Down and This Boy Gets Sad Too, and men’s mental health in general. I attended a series of sessions at work organised for IMD last November, one of which focused on men’s physical health. It prompted me to face concerns I’d had for some time, and arrange my first GP appointment in thirty years. I’m glad to say the tests, for prostate cancer, came back negative, but it brought home to me the realities of living with this biologically male body.

For me, though, being a man isn’t just a matter of biology. Trans women and non-binary people who were assigned male at birth are also at risk of prostate cancer and other “men’s health” concerns. Conversely, a trans man might have physical health issues that I never will. Maleness has nothing to do with sexual or romantic preference, either. I’ve only ever been attracted to women, but I’d be no less — and no more — a man if I was gay, bisexual, or asexual.

My gender says nothing about me as a person. I’m no better or worse, more or less worthy, as a male than if I was female, nonbinary, or agender. That said, I’d be naive to imagine my gender hasn’t influenced my route through life or how I’ve been treated. I’ve never experienced discrimination because of my gender, been held back, or otherwise treated poorly. The fact I spent most of my adult life ignorant about male privilege speaks volumes. It was easier to be ignorant because it had never affected me personally.

I mentioned romantic and sexual relationships, but what about friends? A recent newspaper article asserts that men have few meaningful friendships, quoting counsellor and psychotherapist Adrian Wilson-Smith:

There are a lot of men having functional relationships with other men – I know this guy because he can help me out with my business idea. Or partying – these are the guys that I go out with for a drink or a line of coke. But enduring friendships, of the kind seen in many female-to-female friendships, are not something that most men over forty see any need to have.

I have good functional relationships with men in the workplace, but I’ve never had party buddies of the kind Wilson-Smith describes. I definitely still have a need for caring and mutually supportive friendships, but those I have are almost all with women. Indeed, I’ve had very few male friends since I was at university. I can no longer claim to be a young man but I’m reminded of a quotation by Leo Tolstoy: “Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the company of intelligent women.” I’ve no idea how common it is nowadays for men to have meaningful friendships with women, but the newpaper article only mentions same gender friendships: men with men or women with women.

International Men’s Day is founded on six key pillars “which are applied equally to men and boys irrespective of their age, ability, social background, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, religious belief and relationship status.” If manhood can encompass all those differences, there must be something that men have in common. But what? This question is important to me because despite being a man, I feel little sense of commonality with most other men, or with men in general. This isn’t new. As I wrote in Belonging (Longing to Be) I’ve never truly felt part of things.

More often than not I’ve been an outsider looking in through the window. [...] Our gender group is arguably the most fundamental belonging, but it’s eluded me. I’ve had very few adult male friends, and little of “what men are supposed to like” resonates for me.

I watch TV adverts for “men stuff” — razors, body spray, shampoo — with amusement because I relate to very little of it. (I prefer Head and Shoulders Supreme Moisture or Smooth and Silky shampoos to the Men Ultra or Classic Clean varieties. This may or may not have anything to do with me fancying Claudia Winkleman, who fronts the H&S adverts.) I’ve never felt at home in what are traditionally seen as men’s spaces or activities such as football (playing or watching), men’s clubs, or communities centred on formerly male-dominated industries such as mining or shipbuilding. Even ordering at the bar was a man skill that eluded me until quite recently. This is important because initiatives to help and support men tend, understandably, to focus on the places men go and the things men do. Except, I don’t go to those places, and I don’t do those things.

I’ve written before of peer-led groups such as Andy’s Man Club, which runs “talking groups throughout the UK for men who have either been through a storm, are currently going through a storm or have a storm brewing in life.” In similar vein, Men’s Sheds organises “community spaces for men to connect, converse and create.[...] They help reduce loneliness and isolation, but most importantly, they’re fun.” I recognise the value of such groups. I’ve even thought of seeking out a group near me. I’m nevertheless put off by the very thing that’s meant to attract me: their male-centredness. I might surprise myself if I gave it a go, but I imagine I’d struggle to relate to other members on a man-to-man basis.

All that said, I do feel I’m making progress. I identify strongly and instinctively with the message and marketing of Boys Get Sad Too, a fashion brand working for positive change. I wear my BGST hoodie with pride. It’s one aspect of “being a man” which, for some reason, I feel able to embrace wholeheartedly. That brings up the question of dress and appearance. How much does how I dress and present myself align with and express my sense of being a man? My beard is a bit of a giveaway, but then again, that’s biology not gender. In the past I’ve grown it in full Gandalf style. These days I keep it trimmed close. That may be vanity. I feel better and imagine myself looking better this way. I wear my (Smooth and Silky™) hair as long as it will grow. Long hair is important to how I see myself and I can’t imagine cutting it voluntarily. Does it make me look less, or more, “manly”? I don’t know and don’t really care. I tell myself that CSNY would approve.

I don’t believe clothes, colours, and styles are inherrently gendered, but I dress in a manner unlikely to leave anyone guessing. Most of the time I wear t-shirts and cargo pants, which are pretty much unisex, but my coats and jackets are more conventionally male. My favourite item of clothing is the Scottish tweed jacket I picked up second hand a few years ago. I’d be hard pressed to explain why but, as with my BGST hoodie, I feel good about myself the moment I put it on.

I’ve never had heroes or role models, but I’ve been thinking about some of the key men there have been in my life. I knew neither of my grandfathers, but my father and two uncles exemplified different aspects of maleness as I was growing up. I’ve written about my father before; briefly in a passage excerpted from our book High Tide Low Tide, and at greater length in an open letter. The latter, written decades after his death, captures the essence of our relationship. He was the head of the household. He was never overly strict or authoritarian, but he wasn’t open with his feelings. I loved and respected him, but I never knew him. As I wrote, “I have no idea how you felt about your life. Or your death.”

My father was distribution manager at Distillers Company Ltd. In Liverpool. I remember him taking me into his office one Saturday. I was perhaps nine or ten years old. I was fascinated by the high desks with their rows of typewriters but I never wanted to follow his choice of career. His love of Western movies was a different matter. I desperately wanted to be a cowboy; or failing that, to drive a steam locomotive like Alan Hale’s character Casey Jones in the television series of that name. Needless to say, my dreams of being a cowboy or a locomotive engineer went unfulfilled.

My father’s brother John — Uncle Jack — was an architect and pipe smoker. Those are the first things that come to mind when I think about him. Pipe smoking might be considered a quintessentially male activity, but the only other pipe smoker I’ve known was a woman I worked with in London after graduating from university. I’ve never smoked a pipe, cigarettes, or anything else, but Uncle Jack’s pipe and the paraphernalia that went with it fascinated me. He gave me a smoker’s companion: a three piece tool that slid inside a narrow metal case. I loved technical drawing at school and harboured ideas of becoming an architect like Uncle Jack until I switched allegiance to follow the biological sciences. He gifted me one of his draftsman’s mechanical pencils, a Rotring technical drawing pen, and a fully-rigged model of the Mayflower. I wasn’t his only nephew but he and my Auntie Elsie had no children of their own; a rarity in my extended family. It’s possible he saw me as a child after his own heart.

My mother had four sisters and two brothers, all but one of whom lived locally. Uncle Charlie was married to my mother’s sister Clarice (Cal). I enjoyed visiting their narrow terraced house with its sliding door leading to the staircase, its paved back yard, and the rail line running no more than twenty feet from their back gate. Most of all, I loved Uncle Charlie’s shed. He was a joiner by trade, and his shed was an Alladin’s Cave of tools, wood shavings, sawdust, half-finished projects, and glass jars holding an assortment of nails, screws, paint brushes, and other treasures. He was the archetypal artisan and craftsman who earned his living with his hands but also put his skills to use for the pleasure of himself and his family. He had a wonderful sense of humour, a permanent twinkle in his eye, and I think of him now with great fondness.

Another man who influenced me was the second husband of one of my cousins. I didn’t know him well but I remember how devoted and caring he was to my cousin and her daughters from her first marriage. That devotion served as a template or model of a caring husband and father when, many years later, I became first a step-father and then a father. I make the distinction deliberately. I’ve never understood how anyone can view their step, foster, or adopted children as any less than or different from their biological offspring. I can express it no better than this answer posted on Quora in response to the question Do you think you could ever love your step-child as much as you love your actual child?

My stepdaughter IS my actual child.

So is my adopted son.

So is my biological son.

I’m their Dad and earned that title by reading to them, feeding them, helping them with schoolwork, playing with them, listening to their troubles, caring for them when they were sick, transporting them hither and yon, and taking daily delight in having them in my life.

The notion that any of my flavors of parentage aren’t “actual” is absurd.

— Andrew Weill

I’ve written elsewhere about four men I respect, including my son Mike. Two of the people I most admire in the mental health community are men. In the realm of fiction, Samwise (Sam) Gamgee from J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings exemplifies aspects of the steadfast and caring friend for me. Played by Douglas Henshall, Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez in the British television crime drama Shetland is one of very few male roles I’ve ever identified with or wanted to emulate. I wrote about him in an article titled Being Jimmy Perez: Shetland and the Art of Listening.

What struck me is how good Perez is with people going through crisis and change. (He is less good with his own crises and changes, but isn’t that the way of things? The series closes with a hint he may finally be finding a way forward.) Whether interviewing a suspect, talking with witnesses, confronting a violent crime boss, or engaging with colleagues, his stepdaughter, or a new lover, Jimmy Perez is usually calm and measured, although he can be assertive when necessary. He doesn’t always get it right but he owns his mistakes. He comes across as honest, genuine, and caring. He is someone you’d feel safe with.

Those final sentences express how I hope I’m perceived, as a person and as a man. Honest, genuine, and caring. Someone you feel safe with, emotionally as well as physically. These qualities are not the prerogative of men, of course. Maybe I’ve been asking the wrong question all along. What’s most important about Jimmy Perez, Sam Gamgee, my father, my uncles, or my cousin is surely not their maleness, but their character. I couldn’t care less whether they are sufficiently “manly.” What matters is their — and my — integrity, compassion, and goodness. No matter our gender, isn’t that what’s most precious and important about each of us?

Over to You

While writing this piece, I asked a number of people what their gender means to them. None found it easy to answer. I posed the question on social media, and received the following responses.

[To me it means] living life through understanding. (Paul)

I’ve said to many men over the years ... “Want to be a better man? Start thinking like a woman.” I do that! Mental alertness and intuition are the defining experiences of this time we live in and women are stronger in those than men! (Paul)

I’ve never given it much thought except when gender prevents a lack of opportunity for equality. I think the glass ceiling has lowered a bit but has to descend further. I’m thrilled to be part of the gender able to experience the miracle of giving birth ... then get those men back beside me to continue the journey. (Maureen)

It’s strange. Tonight, as I was out to dinner, I felt inadequate. I don’t wear make up or cutesy boots with tops and scarves. I don’t attract boys because I’m a tomboy, I think. I’m not very girly at all. I don’t wear heels or dresses unless I’m going to a funeral or a wedding. So, I’m a feminine? I don’t know exactly. From a male’s perspective, probably not. Then again — like you, Marty — I have never been group-oriented. I walk my own way. I have tremendous intuition, which feels like a great gift and at other times, a curse. I identify as a girl but I’m not typical at all. I’m fussy about my hair! I don’t paint my nails. You get the idea. In recent years, I’ve learnt a little bit about the divine feminine ... the female aspect of God. It seems fitting that there is a female counterpart to a very male God. I feel we need a balance, because we all matter and I think at our best, males, females or whomever, are sacred regardless of gender. (Brynn)

What does your gender mean to you? Do you have role models? Who are they and what do they represent to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas, either in the comments below or via our contact page.

 

Photo by Andrew Neel at Unsplash.

 

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

I Am Not Afraid: Three Messages of Hope for Caring Friends

I can’t promise I won’t get scared sometimes, but I am not afraid.

The first key message I want to share is that there’s nothing to be afraid of in being friends with someone who lives with mental illness. That might seem an obvious thing to say, but it’s important given the degree of stigma and social isolation many people experience if they live with debilitating illness of any kind. We all like to believe we’re above such prejudices, but if we’re honest most of us can admit to having felt uneasy at times in the company of people who, on the surface at least, appear different from us or whose needs leave us feeling uncomfortable or helpless. Even if we don’t feel that way ourselves, we might have had difficulty dealing with other people’s negative reactions to our friend or loved one.

If anyone had told me years ago that I’d meet somebody online who would become a close friend, I’d have been happy to believe them. If they’d gone on to say that this person would live on the other side of the world and that we might never meet in person I’d have found the prospect interesting, even exciting. If they’d then told me that my friend would have bipolar disorder, and at the time of our meeting would be in high mania, frequently distressed, subject to the darkest depression and at times suicidal, I’m not sure I’d have hung around to find out more. I’m glad I did.

Before I met Fran I had little experience of mental illness, primarily because throughout my adult life I’d chosen to distance myself, literally and emotionally, from its visitations. My sister was diagnosed with mental health issues in her early twenties and my mother knew harrowing times with depression and anxiety. In each case I fled the scene — literally and figuratively — horrified by their situation and the depth of their need. There’s little honour is absenting oneself from the pain of others but I can be honest enough to admit that I did so. Years later, a friend developed crippling multiple sclerosis and whilst I was not utterly absent this time, I acquitted myself poorly and helped her very little. Her sobbing on the telephone terrified me. I rarely called her and never made the effort to visit. I wrote letters to her every day throughout what turned out to be the final year of her life. It allowed me to feel I was doing something, but it was not at all what she needed.

History had shown me no great candidate to be a friend to anyone with serious illness or in desperate need. It’s fortunate that I’d grown somewhat by the time Fran and I met, but our success as friends is as much down to Fran as it is to me. It takes two to make a friendship work.

The second message, then, is that you don’t have to be superhuman or special in any way to be of help and support to someone else, no matter their mental or physical health or the relationship between you. Your past history, your failures as a person, real or imagined, don’t mean you can’t be there for your friend or partner, your son, daughter, or parent if you’re prepared to be as honest with yourself as with them. Recognise and accept that it’s okay to be less than perfect. It’s okay to get things wrong sometimes. It’s okay for either of you to get upset or frustrated or angry, as long as you can find ways through it to the other side. Be who you are and do what you can.

The third message I want to share is the best of all: this kind of relationship can offer so much to both people involved. It isn’t about you as the well one supporting your friend all the time, with no regard for your needs. It isn’t about always putting them first. It’s about sharing the high points and the low points and all points between. It is about growing a healthy, changing, dynamic relationship that’s beneficial and fulfilling to you both.

I’ve learned and grown and laughed and cried so much since I met Fran. I’ve developed a far greater sense of who I am (both “good” and “bad” aspects) and discovered that I can make a real difference to the lives of other people; not by being or Imagining myself better than them but by becoming better than I was before. Most of all, it’s about sharing. You and your friend or loved one are on a journey together. Take things one day at a time, one step at a time. Support, encourage, comfort and care for each other. Embrace the journey.

 

This article is adapted from material originally written in 2013 for our book High Tide Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder. One short passage has been blogged previously. It has been edited lightly here to bring it up to the present date.

Photo by Benjamin Davies at Unsplash.

 

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

How I Became a Mental Health Blogger

By Janet Coburn

Of course, blogging didn’t exist when I started writing. It was quite a journey ending up where I am today. Even mental health services were a big blank to me when I was young, something that no one I knew experienced or even talked about, except to make jokes about going to “Wayne Avenue,” the location of the nearest insane asylum (as we called it then).

But it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t write. Childish poems fueled by voracious reading. Hideously depressive poems fueled by burgeoning bipolar disorder. (I still commit poetry from time to time, writing sonnets and villanelles about bipolar disorder.)

But before I returned to poetry with more structure, I indulged in free verse – unrhymed, unmetered verse that relied on the juxtaposition of images rather than formal style. I studied creative writing in high school and college. But the bipolar disorder was undeniably with me, influencing the topics I wrote about: “Two Ways of Looking at the Same Pain” and “Whiskey on the Knife,” a poem about self-harm, are two examples.

As my poetry developed, it started reading more and more like prose, strung out in sentences that relied on line breaks with twists and jarring pauses to create poetic effects. Eventually, I gave up on poetry and simply gave in to prose. I made my living doing prose, and nonfiction at that, writing for magazines about education, technology, child care, and even martial arts.

Bipolar disorder took that away from me. After being diagnosed with clinical depression for years, I finally was identified as having bipolar 2. It was treatment-resistant for many years and during that time I was often unable to write.

My mental health blog Bipolar Me grew out of a journaling exercise. I began by listing what I did each day – not much, as I was stuck in a major depressive episode and not able to do much. But once again, what started as something else turned into prose. And by that time blogging was a thing.

I started blogging largely as an exercise for myself, to explore bipolar disorder, its symptoms and treatments, and my particular version of it. I set myself the task of posting once a week, a schedule that I still keep. I wrote short essays and longer pieces, whatever I was thinking about at the time. Hardly anyone read the blog. I sometimes wonder if the title “Bipolar Me” was a turn-off, but really that summed up my knowledge about bipolar – my own experiences.

Slowly, I started finding my voice. and finding things to say with it. Things other than what was inside my own head. Oh, I still wrote about my symptoms and my meds and my coping mechanisms, major depression and hypomania, mood swings and roller coasters. But I also started approaching the wider world of bipolar. Bipolar in the news. Bad science reporting about bipolar. TV commercials about bipolar meds. Bipolar disorder and gun violence. All of this was still through the lens of my own experience, as I have no degree in psychology, counseling, or biochemistry, for that matter.

And I started reaching a wider audience. My writing appeared in The Mighty, Invisible Illness, IBPF, Thought Catalog, Medium, and as guest posts on other bloggers’ sites. Eventually, I had enough material to make Bipolar Me into a book of the same name. And then a sequel, Bipolar Us. Both are still available on Amazon and through other outlets.

I know I’m not in the same league with mental health bloggers like Pete Earley and Gabe Howard. They are true activists and influencers, as well as terrific writers. Their work reaches thousands of people with information, analysis, inspiration, and more impact than I will likely ever have.

But I won’t give up blogging just because I’m not the best. I’ll be here every Sunday, posting my bipolar thoughts and opinions, sharing my bipolar experience, and chronicling my bipolar life.

Originally published in May 2020 at Bipolar Me.

 

About the Author

Janet Coburn is a freelance writer/editor with bipolar disorder, type 2. She is the author of two books: Bipolar Me and Bipolar Us.

Janet writes about mental health issues including talk therapy, medication, books, bullying, social aspects, and public policy, but mostly her own experiences with bipolar 2. As she says, “I am not an expert and YMMV – Your Mileage May Vary.”

 

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

#AmBlogging: A Curated List of Blog Posts about Blogging

In the latest in our series of themed posts, I’ve selected articles from our backlist which cover various aspects of blogging. Scroll through them all or click a link to jump to the relevant section.

I’ve provided a short excerpt from each post, with a link to the original article. I will update the list as relevant posts are published in the future.


Blog Topics and Prompts

Struggling to come up with a compelling idea is one of the inevitable frustrations of blogging, especially if you publish frequently or to a set schedule. The articles in this section offer a variety of topics and prompts to help get your creativity flowing.

40 Mental Health Blog Topics From the Caring Friend's Perspective

Whether you’re an experienced blogger or starting out on your blogging journey, one thing I can guarantee is that you’ll sometimes struggle to find a new or engaging topic to write about. In this post I’m sharing a number of topics from my personal ideas cache, with a focus on supporting friends or loved ones who live with mental health conditions.

For convenience I’ve grouped them into themes: Blogging, Support, Healthy Friendships and Relationships, About You, Ideas and Inspiration, and Mental Health. I’ve also included links to a few other lists of mental health topics.

Read the full post here.

21 Image Prompts for the Mental Health Blogger

As bloggers, we tend to write first and then look for images to enhance or accompany what we’ve written. While searching for that perfect image I’ve frequently come across pictures which weren’t what I was looking for, but nevertheless spoke to me. I realised that images can serve as blog prompts or inspirations in their own right. With that in mind, I’ve selected 21 images from Unsplash which I feel could be useful as prompts for mental health blog posts.

Read the full post here.


Blogging Workflow

Whether you follow a tried-and-tested process or approach each project on its merits, there’s a lot to putting a blog post together. The following articles cover coming up with an an idea, writing, editing, proofreading, choosing the perfect image, and scheduling your post for publication. There are also a few ideas on what to do when things get hard, as they’re bound to from time to time!

Secrets of a Successful Blogging Workflow

Fran and I have been blogging since August 2013. Just about everything we do is a joint enterprise, although I look after the website itself and take the lead with the writing. Let’s take a look at how I go about putting one of our blog pieces together.

Read the full post here.

How to Choose the Perfect Image for Your Blog Post

If it’s true that a picture paints a thousand words, the thousand or so words you’ve written for your latest blog post deserve the very best picture you can find. But it’s not always easy! Do you struggle to find that perfect image to accompany your lovingly crafted words? Do you ever wonder if it’s okay to use that photo you found on the Internet? Read on.

Read the full post here.

When Blogging Is Hard and What to Do About It

No matter how committed you are to your blog there will be occasions when things aren’t flowing as easily as you’d wish. It helps to have a streamlined process (I’ve described my blogging workflow elsewhere) but there are still times when I struggle with ideas, when the words won’t flow, or when I change my mind at the last minute. Here’s how I handle these issues when they arise. Maybe some of it will resonate with you.

Read the full post here.


Blogging Q&As

Question and answer posts can be an interesting blog format, whether it's a guest interview with someone active in your chosen field, or an opportunity to answer questions posed by your readers. Hopefully, the following articles will give you some ideas for Q&A posts of your own.

Write without Fear, Edit without Mercy: Eight Questions for the Honest Blogger

When I compiled my list of 21 Image Prompts for the Mental Health Blogger, one image in particular caught my attention. Taken by hannah grace, its call to write without fear and edit without mercy inspired me to draw up a short Q&A for anyone wanting to explore their honesty as a writer.

Whether you publish your answers on your blog or not it can be a very useful exercise to keep your writing genuine and on track. Are you up for the challenge?

Read the full post here.

Blogging Besties: A Joint Q&A With Aimee Wilson

I’m grateful to my friend and fellow mental health blogger Aimee Wilson for suggesting this collaboration. Over one hundred questions were submitted by readers and social media followers, from which Aimee compiled the twenty we’ve each answered.

Read the full post here.


Practical Tips

Blogging is a practical craft, so here are a few pointers from my own experience, plus my friend Aimee Wilson's book.

Every Day Essentials for the Successful Blogger

In a follow up to sharing my blogging workflow I thought I’d give you a behind-the-scenes peek at my EDC (every day carry). These are the items I take with me when I’m out and about for my blogging and journaling.

Read the full post here.

Book Review: Everything Disordered: A Practical Guide to Blogging, by Aimee Wilson

Aimee Wilson blogs at I’m NOT Disordered and has guested here at Gum on My Shoe on several occasions. I’m delighted to have this opportunity to review her book Everything Disordered: A Practical Guide to Blogging.

Read the full post here.


The Personal Touch

There are many bloggers writing about mental health topics, and each of us has a unique and personal voice.

How I Became a Mental Health Blogger

Of course, blogging didn’t exist when I started writing. It was quite a journey ending up where I am today. Even mental health services were a big blank to me when I was young, something that no one I knew experienced or even talked about, except to make jokes about going to “Wayne Avenue,” the location of the nearest insane asylum (as we called it then).

Read the full post by Janet Coburn here.


Over to You

If you have any thoughts about the articles we’ve included, or suggestions for topics about blogging we might explore in the future, please let us know, either in the comments below or via our contact page.

 

Photo by Toa Heftiba at Unsplash.