“Be worth knowing, not just well-known.”

Melissa Bolton

*This is Part Two of a Four Part Series being published daily

You can read Part One: *

Originally on thinking of this blog post, I was so sure that I would have written something like this before that I went right through my content archive! I found a ton of posts that will be really useful in referring back to in this post; but nothing even remotely similar to everything I’m hoping that this one will be. Upon making this discovery, I started to wonder why I hadn’t written something like this before. I didn’t have to think on it for too long though, before the self-doubt and fear of judgment surrounded my head and, before I knew it, I was questioning what right I had to write a post like this. I mean, who do I think I am telling others how to do something like this?! But I’ll be honest; I just keep coming back to the fact that I’m NOT Disordered has over 1.3 million readers now and shouldn’t that count for something? So, I’m swallowing the low self-esteem, pushing away the nerves, and desperately hoping people will deem this piece to be genuinely helpful and a useful resource… Here goes nothing…

After numerous years being inspired by Zoe Sugg, she seemed to take a bit of a break from blogging and being in the public eye, but I wasn’t growing anywhere near bored or done with my blogging career, so I looked for another inspiration. And I discovered the fashion and beauty Blogger; Victoria Magrath aka inthefrow! Now, that might seem strange that I – as a mental health Blogger – find inspiration in a Blogger of a completely different topic/theme, but it’s not so much about the actual content she creates; it’s mostly about her corresponding work ethic and attitude (I actually blogged about her general influence on my entire blogging career here). It’s that she seems to always be of the mindset that she can produce bigger and better content; and I fully, 100% believe that’s the way I think and feel with I’m NOT Disordered’s posts.

For me, blogging has become so important to me and my mental health in particular, that it almost seems predictable and natural that I’ve felt the craving to continue to improve the content I create.

Obviously, when I first started blogging, I was an inpatient of a psychiatric hospital which meant that in the beginning of I’m NOT Disordered, I was publishing content on a pretty much daily basis because there was always something to talk about! Like, there was literally never a boring or straight-forward day on the ward! I think that this largely attributed to the fact the ward specialised in helping and supporting those with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – and that’s not meant as a stigmatised sort of view – it’s just that in having obviously been diagnosed w ith BPD too, I’m very aware of the possible symptoms and that they can include irrational anger, difficulties in having any sort of relationship, and unstable emotions. When you think about, if you’ve got like 20 girls going through even just one of those challenges it’s going to lead to a volatile and unsettled environment. It was a bit of a catch 22 though for me because I liked having people around me who could somewhat understand how I was feeling and what I was thinking, but it wasn’t the best place to promote recovery or even just to promote the opportunity to reflect on things.

The one instance of bad feedback or a negative view of my content which I found the most useful in those early months of I’m NOT Disordered, actually came from the Ward Manager… It was at a time when they seemed to be changed the person in that role constantly and eventually the one, we had at one point agreed to answer our questions about it by coming into one of our daily ‘Morning Meetings’ where the whole ward – including all staff – gathered in the communal sitting room. So, one of the other patients asked a particular question (I actually can’t remember what it was now!) but, in response, the Manager said; “I can’t answer that, or it’ll end up on Aimee’s blog.”

Now, the reason I say this was useful was firstly because it was the first sort of… motivation? Or nudge, maybe? Yes, it was the first nudge toward me recognising that the way people think and feel about my content – what they perceive or assume or believe it to mean, is almost completely out of my control. I mean, the Ward Manager’s comment left me feeling insulted and assuming that it meant he thought of I’m NOT Disordered as a cheap, stereotypical, trashy, tabloid newspaper or something! And, of course, that’s completely not the impression I want people to have in reading my blog.

My lack of control over people’s responses to my content was also illustrated when someone ‘tipped me off’ to the fact that a Facebook group who promoted self-harm, had taken one of my posts and put it completely out of context so that it appeared as though I was also encouraging that coping mechanism. I literally squirmed in my seat when I saw the actual post on Facebook, and I honestly felt sick reading my words put into such diabolic and dangerous paraphrasing. The post gave the message that I’m seriously trying to give the exact opposite of through my content on I’m NOT Disordered. So, it gave me a real motivation to ensure that I write and publish all of my content that is phrased in the best, most obvious and understandable way possible.  

Another reason I deemed the Ward Manager’s comment as useful was because it led to me really re-evaluating and considering the content I was putting out there on I’m NOT Disordered. I mean, ultimately, I always want for my blog’s content to be helpful for me so that I continue to find it therapeutic and insightful; but at that point, my blog was starting to gain quite a lot of traction… So I thought that I could perhaps appreciate that it means I should spend more time thinking about all those reading my content (I actually ended up writing a blog post quite recently about all the reasons why I do care what my readers think, you can read it here). I think that the Ward Manager’s comment was largely because not many of my blog posts weren’t exactly speaking highly of the hospital and the staff. But I hadn’t blogged about anything fictious, nor had I ever even exaggerated things. So, in my opinion, If he didn’t like the thought of all the people reading my blog knowing the mistakes and flaws being made, then perhaps he should spend more time using that as motivation to correct and improve things than the amount of time he was putting into dissing my blog and its content?! Just a thought!

After around 18 months of blogging (January 6th 2013 until September 2014), the ward staff finally began planning my discharge – with the total of my admission being two and a half years – and I got so caught up in the planning and the arranging of things and all the meetings we had to have about rescinding my section (I had been detained under the 1983 Mental Health Act the entire time I was there) that I understandably didn’t put much consideration into how this would affect I’m NOT Disordered’s content. But, when I received a few horrible comments on some blog posts, I found myself ignoring the thought of even debating whether or not to stop blogging and I actually closed the blog down (you read the post about it here)!

Ironically, I’d say it was actually one of the greatest things I have ever done for I’m NOT Disordered because my time away from blogging really cemented in me the notion of just how important and helpful it is for my life. However, in regaining the motivation and discovering my passion for it, I then had to debate what I would blog about… I mean, by that point, I was in a sort-of rehabilitation bungalow on the grounds of my local psychiatric hospital, and so I immediately knew that any content I now produced would be so different; and I worried that the ‘difference’ would be a bad thing. I wondered whether people like to read about my journey through being an inpatient because it was providing insight into somewhere they might really have access to or a real understanding of. But being discharged from my section and just doing distance-learning courses with my time, didn’t feel like it was anything special, and I genuinely worried whether I’d be able to even think of anything to blog about!

When I finally decided to open, I’m NOT Disordered back up, I did so with the mindset that I would only blog about something, when doing so; would be beneficial for my own mental health. I felt that by doing that, I couldn’t go wrong really. If I was doing this for myself and to make myself feel good, then no amount of criticism or spite (I actually wrote a blog post at a time when I was coping with some spitefulness I’d experienced at that time: "WHEN THE SHARPEST WORDS WANNA CUT ME DOWN" | HOW I COPED WITH RECENT SPITEFULNESS | I'm NOT Disordered ( could or should get in my way. However, having obviously utilised – on numerous occasions – self-harm and other unsafe or unhealthy coping strategies throughout my mental health journey, I feel like I’m somewhat accustomed to being judged for the things that I have done to make myself feel better. It meant that I recognised that whilst blogging is very clearly a safer way in which to manage difficult thoughts, feelings, and experiences/memories; I also kept in mind that if someone wants to disagree with a behaviour or a decision you make, they will find a way.

In all fairness, there’s only been one line of argument made against me using blogging as a coping mechanism with my mental health; and that has been in questioning whether writing so much about particular things – namely the abuse I went through though – was just exacerbating my thoughts, feelings, and memories in a way that could be preventing me from moving forwards in life and in my mental health recovery. Whilst I obviously don’t agree with this; I did feel it was an incredibly valid concern or point to voice… I mean, something you see a lot in mental health is people doing things so innocently and even whole-heartedly that it’s meant they just don’t realise it’s actually harmful – or, at least, becoming harmful – for them.

I do feel that perhaps in the beginning, this genuine concern might have been relevant and more valid than it is now. I say this because when I created, I’m NOT Disordered as a psychiatric hospital inpatient, I would agree that there was a point where I actually ended up ‘telling’ my blog’s readers more than what I was telling the staff and Therapists. And I obviously accepted that it shouldn’t be that way because as helpful and lovely as my readers are, they couldn’t exactly help me in the formal ways that the staff could. So, to correct this, the staff recognised that writing was so helpful for me to communicate a lot of issues around my mental health so I started writing them notes and letters about things I felt I couldn’t really put into actual words in a verbal sense!

Having now been blogging for over eleven years though, I’ve learnt so much in that time and I’ve particularly experienced a huge number of lessons around coping when you’re writing – or typing! – about difficult topics such as hallucinations, abuse, self-harm, and suicide (I actually wrote a blog post  about coping with content around suicide here and coping with content around hallucinations here). I think that the fact I have managed to develop these tips and pieces of advice have massively contributed to my blog’s popularity because it means I have the confidence to be 100% honest and open about these difficult subjects which some bloggers or online influencers might run and hide from or avoid being thorough and exact in their content. But then – with the blog’s rise in readers – I came across a new challenge in my content; the concern that it was becoming mostly about collaborations and others writing guest pieces for I’m NOT Disordered. I actually voiced these worries in a blog post: A Change in Content | I'm NOT Disordered ( and in the piece I came to the conclusion that these joint piece of content were part of my journey and I felt that ultimately, that is why the general public read my blog – to find out more about mental health and why my friends and family read it – to find out more about my own experiences, thoughts, and feelings.

I think it’d be fair to say that I’ve always been aware that I’ve faced many challenges in my blogging career, but in writing this post, I feel like I’m realising that actually, there have been a whole lot more than I had thought! I say this because after the decision around featuring collaborations and guest posts, another challenge around content continued to crop up sporadically as more and more months and years have gone by; and that was: how on earth am I going to be able to keep producing original (and hopefully creative) content?

Like many things – good and bad – that have cropped up in my blogging career, worrying about struggling to keep creating content and desperately searching high and low for inspiration, I wondered whether there were other bloggers out there who were experiencing the same challenge. And so, when I worked things out, I have actually ended up creating three particular blog posts with one being around tips to help you find ways and inspiration to create original content (which you can read here).  Then there was one with advice on how to solve the notion of ‘Writer’s Block’ where you can’t think of any ideas for content (which you can read here). And the third post was actually just a list of themes and headings you could use either literally or as inspiration for your own content (which you can read here).

Now, there’s something which I think is actually really important and essential that I mention and discuss here… And that’s recognising the balance of striving for bigger and better, whilst also making sure that you acknowledge the standard of the content you’re creating and publishing at the moment and develop a sense of pride and achievement that is totally warranted and validated by how incredible your blog already is. Feeling there’s room for improvement is a good observational skill, but don’t let it dismiss the work you’re doing now. I think it’s important to recognise the difference between searching and working towards change, growth, and improvement; and actually being unhappy with what you’re doing and feeling inadequate and disappointed in yourself, because that builds a sense of pressure which can very easily make things stressful and unenjoyable – something (enjoyment) which I believe is an important quality in creating content because if you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing – if you’re just going through the motions or purely writing for the sake of your readers – that will 100% show in your content and prove off-putting to both your current audience and any potential readers.

Probably expectedly, I give that warning and have that kind of insight because it’s something which I’ve actually personally taken on in my own blogging career. I’m typically not someone who likes to blow their own trumpet (and I’ll talk more about that later in this blog post), but I’ve found I’m NOT Disordered to be a massively confidence-building element in my life. To be at a point where I have over 1.3 million readers makes it feel almost stupid – or even as though I’m looking for a compliment – to doubt my writing/content creation abilities. I mean, of course I recognise that not all of those people will have liked what they saw/read, but perhaps I’m doing something right for them to have even just been interested or curious enough to have visited I’m NOT Disordered…? In perfect keeping with this, I actually wrote a blog post that’s really relevant here because it acknowledges the importance of recognising a person’s attributes and talks about my own difficulties in having a good self-confidence and self-esteem: THE IMPORTANCE OF RECOGNISING SKILLS, ASSETS, & QUALITIES | THE STAFF EXCELLENCE AWARDS 2022 | IN COLLABORATION WITH CUMBRIA, NORTHUMBERLAND, TYNE & WEAR NHS FOUNDATION TRUST | I'm NOT Disordered (

With I’m NOT Disordered leading me to find purpose, passion, and dedication for the communications and marketing industry in a more professional and career-led way, there have been numerous interviews and then job roles where I’ve had people in the industry warn me about how stressful it can get because these areas are ever-changing and evolving which gives the sensation that there’s always something new to learn. And I think that blogging alone can very much be like that too. I mean even in terms of I’m NOT Disordered’s layout, design, and aesthetics… Things have come so far since I started blogging over eleven years ago!

I feel like this a really useful sort of caution to give a new blogger who intends to gain a huge audience and numerous opportunities. Those who will succeed in this industry are the people who enjoy learning because they’ll be more able and prepared to make edits and changes to their blog, and those who are good with time-management skills and prioritising because they will enjoy taking on a few projects and tasks at once. Fortunately, I feel I have definitely developed these qualities over the years… I learn quite early on that sometimes, there can be a real lull in the blogging world and then everything can seem to happen at once; and initially that was really off-putting and difficult to manage and cope with. But now? I absolutely thrive on having lots to do!

Advice on coping with time-management and prioritising projects and blog posts? Always have – or create – a deadline! Recently, I had a difficult time of juggling a few blog posts… I had one piece that needed to be published first, but another one technically needed to be finished first because it was a collaboration piece and so it required the approval of the Trust I was working with! In the end, I prioritised the collaboration piece because I recognised that it could mean more to my reputation; I mean, if I were to let down a huge NHS Trust with a blog post for them, it could really go against others (and, obviously, the same Trust) wanting to work with myself/I’m NOT Disordered. Whereas the other post’s deadline was about not wanting a huge gap between content, so missing it by a few days wasn’t really letting anyone down. Even after making my decision though, I actually still talked to a best friend (Martin Baker of who also blogs, to double check whether he would have come to the same conclusion as I did. And I added ‘create deadlines’ because there have been numerous occasions where I’ve been asked to publish a piece of content or do some other project and I’ve actually asked for a deadline because I recognise that having one helps me so much to manage my time more efficiently and effectively.

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