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

Melissa Bolton

*This is the final part of a four part series

You can read Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three: *

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…

I genuinely think that you can’t get too far – in so far as having a really large audience – in the blogging industry without being both able and willing to engage in some form of self-promotion (something which I blogged about a bit, here). Before I first created I’m NOT Disordered, I definitely wasn’t someone who was comfortable blowing their own trumpet (I actually wrote a blog post to do with that ditty: BLOWING YOUR TRUMPET IN THE BLOGGING WORLD | I'm NOT Disordered (!), but I think that a lot of that had something to do with my general confidence levels.

Probably the largest contributor to me not having that mindset or confidence in blowing my own trumpet, was the way I was treat by my Art Teacher at High School. I don’t think she had even heard of the expression ‘constructive criticism,’ because literally all her feedback on my work and assignments was completely negative, derogatory, and sometimes just plain rude! She was unfairly critical because she would say all these things, make all of these horrible comments, but wouldn’t make any recommendations on how to improve things nor did she even tell me specifically what I should change about something.

Going through those two years of feeling inadequate and unskilled led me to be so reluctant in doing anything creative because I honestly felt like I couldn’t risk putting myself out there again and being knocked back by someone else. I worried how much I’d struggle if that were to happen. Also, really, the only other activity I had previously enjoyed a confidence in, was writing. When the abuse started in 2006 though, all I wanted to do was write all about it; but I couldn’t because I was so afraid someone might find and read it and there were so many reasons why I felt no one could know what was happening.  

And so, it wasn’t until a few years later (not long after my mental health first deteriorated) that a hint of creativity came out and I finally started writing about my thoughts and feelings. It wasn’t long before I came to realise that if I were to show psychiatric professionals what I’d written, it might help them to understand more; and, in turn, that might mean they were better placed in helping and supporting me in a much more effective and useful way. Looking back, I guess it wasn’t really a huge leap to go from writing those letters and notes for the staff to starting to blog about those exact same things…

I think that the reason why confidence (which I blogged about here) and the issue of self-promotion didn’t come into things immediately after I started my blogging career, was because it was genuinely only intended for my loved ones and so I actually only shared the links to my posts on my private Facebook account. Having written a Facebook post in 2012 finally talking about my mental health and the fact I was being admitted to a specialist psychiatric hospital, I received some amazing comments from my friends and family. Everyone kind of applauded me for being honest and open about it and a few people commented that it was brave of me to decide to start talking about now. So, because of that experience, in creating I’m NOT Disordered; I felt totally comfortable sharing it with all those supportive, kind, empathetic, and generally amazing people who – to me – had now more than proven themselves to be non-judgmental.

When I immediately received incredible feedback and a huge amount of interest in my blog and the content I was creating, I felt reassured and encouraged to consider taking it further and sharing it on my other social media accounts (Twitter and Instagram) where my posts were totally public, and I knew my account was followed by some complete strangers! And this is the bit where I always describe things as having ‘snowballed’ because whilst I recognise that I was making my content a lot more visible for so many more people; I felt that I couldn’t really pinpoint a particular moment where I could appreciate why my audience grew so dramatically.

The part where I can 100% recognise a growth though, was in 2015, when I had written an email to my local newspaper – The Evening Chronicle – about my mental health recovery journey, and I’m NOT Disordered (which, at that point of 2015, had reached over 60,000 readers). It was at a time when I was really being made aware of just how helpful my blog was proving to be for others reading it. I was receiving numerous comments and emails and messages on social media describing how my content had positively affected someone. And I absolutely loved hearing this because I had been blogging for over two years and until receiving this feedback, I felt I was only continuing to create content for my sake, because I found it therapeutic and really helpful for my own mental health. So, to hear that something which was good for me, was also good for others; really inspired me into wanting to raise awareness of I’m NOT Disordered’s existence in the genuine hope and with the honest intention of it meaning a greater chance and opportunity to help more people.

When a Journalist from The Evening Chronicle got in touch and said they actually really wanted to go ahead and cover my story and then include it in both their newspaper and their website (you can read my story on their website here and my blog post about it is here) I remember feeling both excited and nervous – in completely equal measures though! I think the most fun part of doing it was when the Photographer came to take pictures that would be exclusive to their newspaper because they only really had the photo of me on life support. It was hilarious and embarrassing (again, in equal measures!) when he said he wanted to take some photos outside because the front door to my home is actually on a footpath with a patch of grass and then another footpath in front of the houses directly opposite. So, basically, all my neighbours were going to see me being told to pull my coat up a bit around my face and to “look at the camera but be sad; don’t smile!” Then he took a few photos in my home too where he had me stand in the kitchen holding a completely empty cup(!) and asked me to “look thoughtfully but into the distance!”

Another exciting bit to come from the Chronicle story, was that I was then approached by an Agency who offered to put my story out to other media companies and arrange more appearances. I remember feeling a bit worried at that point because I didn’t want to look like a bit of a… I don’t know – I hate the phrase ‘attention-seeking’ but the phrase I want to use is a bit swear-y! Maybe just by saying that you’ll know what I mean! So, anyway, focusing on my intentions and hopes of helping more people, I joined the Agency and before I knew it, my face was all over the place! I featured in Take A Break Magazine (which I blogged about here), Northumberland Gazette (you can read that article here), Daily Mail Online (you can read that one here), and The Free Library (which you can read here).

Over the following three or four years (2015 – 2019) I also made a number of other press appearances with radio stations (including one on a local radio station named Koast and I actually blogged about my interview and experience with them here). I was also on a few TV programmes with those being my featuring on the News on both ITV (which I blogged about here) and BBC (which I blogged about here), and the Channel 4 Dispatches series – where they had sent undercover Reporters to work in Facebook and they explained their policies around live recordings of self-harm, and having had Facebook take a photo down of my scars once, the Show asked me for my thoughts and opinions on it (I blogged about the experience of having an entire film crew and equipment in my one-bedroom Bungalow! You can read it here).

My appearances in the media also always involved mention of I’m NOT Disordered and so that was a huge contributor to my audience growing and developing into the hundreds of thousands. The press opportunities also really improved my confidence in terms of talking about my blog and sometimes, even just my writing abilities in particular and I actually wrote a blog post in collaboration with CNTW where I talked about the importance of recognising your skills, talents, qualities, and assets: 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 ( In connection with recognising my strengths and the things I’m good at, after enjoying helping to facilitate mental health training for my local Police force, I decided to pitch giving a Suicide Awareness Training (I put together a Behind-The-Scenes of it into a blog post, which you can read here) to my local British Transport Police (BTP) completely by myself! I found it so empowering to be the one leading the session and when a Sergeant who’d sat in the session asked if I could stay longer to deliver it to another group of Officers just coming on shift, I felt so honoured and extremely proud.

Coupling developing and creating the Training Session by myself and my media appearances, I found myself creating and publishing a number of blog posts steeped in tips and advice for dealing with the media (you can read that one here), and two on public speaking (with one being: THE INS AND OUTS OF GIVING A SPEECH | MY EXPERIENCES, TIPS, & RESOURCES | IN COLLABORATION WITH CUMBRIA, NORTHUMBERLAND, TYNE, AND WEAR NHS FOUNDATION TRUST | I'm NOT Disordered ( and the other: TWO TOP TIPS ON PUBLIC SPEAKING | NORTH TYNESIDE WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2019 | I'm NOT Disordered ( In experiencing these incredible opportunities of working with some huge and varied media productions and TV channels, I discovered a passion, interest, and determination to work in the Communications and Marketing industry.

I began getting involved in that career through online courses on FutureLearn and Centre of Excellence and then I took my first voluntary role in the field as an Advertising Assistant with a local support group for unemployed people. Whilst there, I learnt so much – particularly in terms of writing press releases (I actually wrote a blog post here which features my advice and more information on writing these because I recognise that they can prove so crucial to building an awareness, a reputation, and can contribute to funding for an organisation) and funding applications because every one of the press releases I put out – for the organisation and then for I’m NOT Disordered – were published and all but one of my financial bids for the support group were awarded!

The notion of how much I’d learnt through my blogging career and my forever growing and developing confidence in my work on I’m NOT Disordered have also instilled a sense of achievement in me. I now feel so much more comfortable in acknowledging monumental milestones for my blog and so I’ve actually hosted three events (the one celebrating 100,000 readers in 2015, one to celebrate 1,000,000 readers, and the publication party for my latest book: You’re NOT Disordered – which you can buy here!)! Again, in each of these exciting and amazing instances, I learnt something new and that impacted the success of the following event. My ‘education’ was to the point and effect where I actually created a piece of content as an entire ‘Guide’ to events (you can read it here).

With my mental health bettering along the way, I have become more open and honest in recognising my achievements and not being deterred from celebrating them purely out of the fear that others would actually deem them to be small and insignificant. Fortunately, I have found that no matter what my worries about what people will think of me for celebrating something, I’ve always had support and validation from people. And this was particularly true when I’m NOT Disordered was just added to the Top Five UK Borderline Personality Blogs on Feedspot in 2021 – like, it wasn’t even number one when it first made the list! But people still understood by pride and sense of achievement; especially after I put this blog post together detailing exactly why it meant so much to me: ADVICE FOR BPD BLOGGERS & EVERYTHING IT MEANS TO BE IN THE TOP FIVE OF UK BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER BLOGS!! | PRETTY PERFECT PRODUCTS DISCOUNT CODE INCLUDED!!! | I'm NOT Disordered ( And, if you’ve been checking the image/link for the Top Five List to the left of my blog, you’ll see it’s actually number one right now – and has been for around one year – and I mentioned it and talked a bit about how it feels to have that accomplishment in my blog post celebrating I’m NOT Disordered’s 10th Birthday in 2023 (which you can read here).

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