Take hold of my own dream,
Be as strong as the seas are stormy,
And proud as an eagle's scream,
I will ride, I will fly,
Chase the wind and touch the sky,
- Julie Fowlis - Touch The Sky
Over the past 12 months, I feel like my life has just... Gone to a whole new level! Of awesomeness!
In September 2014 I left Hospital with 40,000 readers. And now look at you guys! Today, I was sat having a meal and prosecco with my Mum to celebrate her birthday, and there it was: 122,013!
As with most blogs, things were slow when I'm NOT Disordered first began. I always tell people of my memory from when the blog reached 100 and my friend and I were jumping up and down, screaming! Admittedly my reaction is a lot different now, in the sense that I don't react that way at each 100. I'm aware that saying that might seem as though I've become complacent or even ungrateful but that's not it all. For every single view, I'm happy. Because they all make up to the numbers that I now get excited about: the thousands.
Pressure: It's a double edged sword though; I love watching my views grow but as they do I feel more pressure to provide unique and interesting content. It's difficult because I obviously can't write the content I did at the beginning, now that I'm out of hospital. So I have to come up with other things; luckily, it must be works though because my readers are growing. But with my new content, comes yet more pressure; I feel that I have to work harder for the new content because it is never just me writing about my day in hospital, the meds, the therapies, the staff, the ward dramas, the restrains, the self-harm, the ward rounds, visits home... It is even rare that I write about my day. I pressure myself to find new and exciting events and collaborations that will keep you all coming back! And I pressure myself to find new and unique guest posters who can provide different content to what I'm capable of writing. I feel pressure especially when it comes down to attending events and meetings; making sure they're worth my time, that I'm passionate about them, that I'm not just going because I think my readers will enjoy or benefit from them. In the beginning, it was hard work networking and getting my name and my blog out there, so that I could find out about particular events and try to wangle an invite! Occasionally I have to pressure myself to get up early and to work for entire days, if I'm feeling tired, but I love it! I love how good I feel during and after working. You have to have some sort of drive or you'll never go anywhere!
Popularity: I now know some very important people through my hard work in networking and through events. As in any category of blogging, whether it be beauty or fashion etc, there's people in that industry that you dream to work with. And I feel that's what is happening for me. The more events I worked at and meetings I attended, I discovered that there's so many people in the North East who are passionate about mental health that you tend to all move in the same circles. There's a lot of crossover with volunteers helping out a lot of different organisations and at lots of events. This means that some who experience working with me, go on to tell others about my work. The Police Liason Lead with NTW NHS and Northumbria Police, said she was really looking forward to meeting me as I'm 'Twitter famous.' And at a recent event, I met an organiser for another event that I've been asked to work at, she told me how everyone was talking about how good I am (at the social media stuff!) and she said she was boasting that they have me as their social media manager! Meeting new and important people means I am offered a larger variety of opportunities which bring with them, different responsibilities.
Opportunities: I recently noticed the changes in my role and responsibilities when I was preparing for a large scale event. I realised that not so long ago, I'd had to go to the trouble of finding out if there was any events in my area that I could ask to volunteer for. And now, I'm approached by people to attend their events in a more professional role. I remember, two or three years ago, when I was sat in a room of volunteers and the co-ordinators were introducing themselves. Now, at my most recent event, I was the one being introduced to the 40 volunteers. And not as a volunteer co-ordinatior; but as a Social Media Manager. My varying roles and responsibilities are just part of the new opportunities available to me. Another, is the actual events etc that I'm asked to work at. A lot of times I find that not many people have heard of the events I'm invited to, or that the event is regarded highly by volunteers etc. Sometimes my usual morning wake-up call of no earlier than 10am, is completely destroyed by a 6am alarm to get ready before events/meetings and to travel there! But I love it; because I love what I do. Along the journey, I've learnt a lot about opportunities: when I'm taking on too much work, when the event or meeting location is difficult to get to... In the beginning, I would book one thing after another and end up having to cancel some to give myself a break. Now, I ensure that the times of the event are suitable for me, that if I'm taking on a few jobs in close proximity, they are all very important to me, and ensure I do have some 'me time.' Sometimes, this industry is like waiting for a bus; in that I feel there's a lull in activities and opportunities and events etc, and then all of a sudden they all come at once. So I try to take on as many as I can. Make the most of if.
Benefits: If my views were to stop rising at any moment, I wouldn't stop blogging. I obviously want to maintain my following but I'd be foolish to put so much time and effort into all of this if I weren't at all benefiting from it. But I do. I massively do. I've always benefited from I'm NOT Disordered. Initially, blogging gave me an outlet; a way to vent all of my thoughts and feelings that were in
overwhelming me in hospital. And in some ways, it still is an outlet, expect that now I'm in the
community and so, naturally, the situations I need to vent about, have changed. Mostly, I enjoy the opportunities I'm offered as a result of the blog's success and the positive feedback I get from readers. Hearing I've given someone the courage to talk about their mental health; to tell others about it and to get help and support for it, is one of the greatest feelings in doing what I do.