Why You Need to Create Your Mental Health Blog Already
There is a type of question I get asked a lot by people who find me on Twitter or come across my mental health blog / website, Nerve 10.
It goes like this:
I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while, but I'm not sure if I should do it?
I have a lot to say, and I write about my experiences, but I don't know if I'm ready to create a mental health blog?
What do you think?
To start, it still amazes me that anyone bothers to reach out to me to talk about the mental health writing I do online.
I currently don't make any money from my website. It's a passion project for me.
I created it because I wasn't seeing the kind of accessible mental health information online that I wanted to read.
But back to the question--and my pithy response:
Just do it!
There's a lot to be said for the motto that Nike made famous.
There will never be a perfect time to start your mental health blog.
You will never know enough to set it up perfectly--and that's not the point.
The point is the process.
The point is that you will learn so much just by creating something online.
Just the fact that you are wondering if you should start a mental health blog means you should do it. It's in your bones.
Plus, there is still so much shame and stigma surrounding mental health that we need as many people talking and writing about this as possible.
I've read about how some mental health bloggers view other mental health blogs as competition.
The topic is just too important.
I know what it's like to lose control of your mental faculties. I've succumbed to depression and OCD in my life. It's terrible, and I don't want others to feel the way I've felt.
I'm extremely well versed in what kinds of mental health supports are available, having volunteered with NAMI for years while also working in the mental health field, and I still struggled to get the help I needed when things were bad.
This was years ago, but not much has changed since then.
The system is broken. It's not even a system.
It's a haphazard collection of silos.
It's too hard to access care.
There is stigma even within the mental health profession.
How some mental health professionals treat individuals who have borderline personality disorder is a perfect example.
If even mental health professionals still struggle to walk the talk, how can we expect others to do the same?
I went into social work because I believed in the social work code of ethics.
After reading it, I knew that the values it extolled were representative of the person I was trying to be.
Going back to graduate school for social work was the natural thing to do because the calling of social work feels like a natural extension of who I am.
But before that, I wrote.
And then I wrote all through grad school, creating Nerve 10 around the same time I started my graduate social work program.
Then. I continued to write through grad school. And I'm still writing now.
Why? Because I love it.
Because we need realistic depictions of mental illness.
What we largely see in the media and from large organizations and institutions is generic mental health information.
It's often a doom-and-gloom perspective with everyone scared to talk about suicide--but still trying to talk knowledgeably about it.
But mental health isn't suicide.
Sure, that's one part of it, but the people telling their stories on Nerve 10 aren't walking suicide machines, as the media might lead you to believe.
They are real people with complex histories and nuanced understandings of the world.
And they should be treated as such.
And the stories and information we find online should be reflective of their actual experiences.
That is what I believe, and that is why I write.
And it's why I think you should write, too.
There is no harm in getting started with creating something. The real harm is in not fulfilling your potential.
The greatest harm is in not putting your beautiful and unique perspective out into the world.
That's the real travesty.
I need to tell you something. What I'm doing here with my mental health blog, Nerve 10, doesn't matter.
I've felt most alive when I've inspired someone to create something bigger than themselves.
My whole body reverberates when I get a direct message or an email from someone who took my advice--and started their own mental health blog.
That's the power of connection on the Internet.
And that's what I try to model on Nerve 10, on Twitter, on Instagram, and anywhere else I share my content.
The way Nerve 10 looks now is not how it looked when I first started.
When I first started, it looked awful. I'm embarrassed to think about it now.
But that's how everything starts out.
Barack Obama didn't decide one day, "You know what? It's time for me to be a perfect orator. If my first speech isn't perfect, I'm done." No. He, like everyone else in the world, had to start somewhere.
Before you hone your craft, you have to have a craft!
Writing is my craft.
I work at it every single week. I've been doing that for years. Over time, the words flow faster, the thoughts become clearer, and the whole process starts to gel, like a well-oiled machine.
It can be the same for you.
You really can do this.
And you know what? Even though the design of my early blog looked like absolute garbage, people still reached out to me.
Because I had something to say. They could sense that this was personal for me--and it was. It still is.
And I know the people who contact me feel the same way. Which is why they need to write.
It's also why I so eagerly publish others' stories.
Because what are we if not our stories? It's how we make sense of the world.
So I hope I've convinced you now that it's time to tell yours.
Whether you tell your mental health story on Nerve 10 or on your own mental health blog, the process of creation is one of the best ways to learn about yourself and the world.
The more you create, the more you uncover about yourself--and the more you uncover about yourself, the more wondrous your life becomes.
Think of it this way.
You, a human being, are on this planet to learn. The more you learn, the easier your life will become no matter what happens to you.
You're optimizing your own life. You're creating a mental and emotional framework through which you interact with the world.
Commit to being a lifelong learner, and you'll build a fortress for yourself.
Life is easier when you're a fortress.
I don't just think you can do this, I know you can do this.
Just create your mental health blog.
If you have questions, I'd be happy to offer what wisdom I've gained from the journey. There are others who would do the same.
But no one else can plumb your brain to excavate your thoughts and feelings.
Only you can create your mental health blog.