This post is in collaboration with the Etsy store: Dinky Designs who created the board of You’re NOT Disordered’s front cover that is featured below. In celebration of You’re NOT Disordered’s cover release, they’ve kindly created a 20% discount code for any of their products, just type the below in at the checkout:
So, for well over a year now, I’ve been working on a new book; You’re NOT Disordered: The Ultimate Wellbeing Guide for Bloggers (I revealed the title here). I actually originally had the idea way back before I published my first book: Everything Disordered (which you can buy here) in 2021, but I decided to work on the brainwave for that one first! So, it feels like You’re NOT Disordered has been a long time coming and that has become especially true since having to push back the publication date this year from the original date of April 20th to November 18th due to my mental health relapse and hospital admission in February (you can read more about that decision here). So, this post just in itself actually feels like it’s been in the works for forever too because since the moment I felt content with the cover design (a good few months ago now), I wanted to reveal it to you all!
Eventually, it’s here though; the cover (on a board which you can buy here from Dinky Designs) and a little chat on why your thoughts, feelings, and opinions matter so much to me…
I’ve learnt a hell of a lot in my blogging career, but one of the most important – and relevant here – is around the importance of showing gratitude. I’m definitely someone who believes in the saying ‘credit where credit’s due;’ and I think that a huge reason for finding this true, is that both my blog and my life in general are very much centred around mental health and – let’s be honest – it’s one of the largest areas where some of the most hugely life-changing errors and failures – but also successes and achievements – occur.
When I helped to provide mental health training for the new recruits in my local Police force, I often said to them that they need to recognise that they have the potential to talk someone back from the edge, or to give them more reason to jump (not always literally though). And I used to experience that when I was first poorly and the Crisis Team were absolutely horrible, and I would be so reluctant and terrified to ring them because I was so worried that they would actually just end up making me feel even worse. I remember calling them once when I was about to make a suicide attempt and telling them that I needed someone to talk me out of it because I didn’t want to do it – I was only about to because the hallucinations were berating me and telling me to do it. And in the end, they gave me more reason to go ahead with it… I nearly lost my life and ended up on life support.
That hospitalisation though – waking up in Intensive Care… It was the catalyst for my Community Mental Health Team to panic and apply for urgent funding to admit me to a medium secure, specialist psychiatric hospital over 100 miles away from home for two and a half years and that admission very obviously and honestly, truly saved my life. Before it – before the life support – I was self-harming almost daily and around four times a week I was engaging in self-harming behaviours that could have led to my death (I wouldn’t label them as suicide attempts though because I wasn’t doing them with that intention, thought, or feeling). My records showed in the three years from the first time I was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2009 to the beginning of this lengthy admission in 2012, I had been hospitalised over 60 times. And if I hadn’t been transferred to that specialist hospital, why would anything have ever changed? I would’ve continued to do the things I was doing, and the chances are I would’ve ended up dead – intentionally or not.
Whilst I’m so grateful for having my admission funded and for all of the help and support, I was provided in that hospital; it was difficult to always be grateful for it because part of me resented my local NHS Trust for not facilitating adequate help and care (there were literally no specialist services for someone with a diagnosis of a Personality Disorder in my locality) that would have meant only being able to see my Mum occasionally and when permitted by the staff, my friendships wouldn’t have been as affected as they were due to the distance and how long I was at that distance for… But then, if I’d been able to communicate with my friends and family as easily as usual, I might not have created I’m NOT Disordered and started blogging (my very first initial motivation was to use my blog as a means of more effectively communicating about my mental health with my loved ones). And if I didn’t have my blog… I don’t know where I’d be.
So, you see; it’s so difficult to figure out gratitude and resentment in mental health because it often feels as though every single time you say, “thank you,” there’s a whole host of mistakes and failures; and that’s when it becomes about weighing up how powerful and important each step is. I mean, does it matter so much that I was away from home for so long when, ultimately, it saved my life, gave me my blog, and made me into the person that I’m proud to be today?! And so, it can become all about balance – about saying “thank you for that,” but also “you could’ve done this better.”
In my work with my local Police force, I became even more aware of the number of complaints they receive – particularly to do with mental health callouts… And after having to put in a few of my own, I came to the realisation and recognition that people are generally far more likely to report a fault than they are to acknowledge a success. This is something which I’m personally aware of doing and so a long time ago, I made the conscious decision to be more mindful of this and to follow the saying I mentioned earlier: ‘credit where credit’s due.’ So, I try to be equal and recognise if there’s a situation that I’m grateful for then I’ll talk about it just as honestly and openly as I would if I had experienced something negative. It’s important to know that these two different opinions can be just as important for others to receive knowledge of. In the case of complaint there’s very obviously a learning opportunity to correct something, vow not to do something again, put preventative measures in place, improve training, and genuinely just apologise for any wrongdoing (which, I recognise, doesn’t happen a lot – especially in mental health). With compliments and messages of gratitude, they can provide others with the insight into what is helpful, what they should be doing more of, and making moves to ensure that this behaviour or attitude is encouraged.
Now, the way this all feels relevant here, is that a lot of people will very quickly and almost automatically bad mouth social media and the digital world in general – online bullying is (rightly so) mentioned regularly in the news and more recently, there’s a lot of publicity on trending ‘challenges’ that are so influential but have ended up proving to be incredibly dangerous too. Yet is there an equal amount of publicity on positive elements to this industry/world? Is there ever any real talk or media coverage of when social media has proven to me supportive, helpful, useful, and positively life-changing?
And that’s what I hope that this new Guide illustrate – my recognition of how beneficial blogging has been! I hope that it encourages more and more people to join the blogging industry or to become fond of social media, because they know that they’ll have this Guide to provide them with a whole host of wellbeing advice on anything (the good and the bad) that might come from being involved in the digital world. I hope that in interacting online more, others find improvement in their mental health and general wellbeing because my own has benefited so much.
I sincerely hope that you like the Guide’s cover and please don’t forget about the discount code!!