(image : etsy)
Earlier this week, on the 1st March, Be Ur Own Light turned 3 years old! I still remember starting this blog as an outlet for my fears, thoughts and emotions after leaving a job in 2016 due to acute anxiety and panic ( part of my bipolar) . Writing the blog and sharing thoughts has been so therapeutic and it has taken me on a journey that I could not have imagined when I started writing. As many of you know, this blog led to me writing for big media outlets and to my book deal (book hopefully will be out in November) and I am so grateful for the confidence it has given me too- and the chance to connect with people all over the world.
However, this year (as with the past 2), the blog has attracted a horde of talented writers wanting to spread their messages about mental health and wellness. Some have shared their personal stories of hope and recovery, others have given useful tips on health and wellness and we have covered topics as wide ranging as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and addictions to drugs and alcohol. We have talked about pet therapy, writing therapy, mindfulness and yoga, amongst other therapies.
My guest bloggers have written about their recovery from mental illnesses like anorexia and bipolar disorder. National campaigns like the Diana Award also got in touch with us to discuss bullying and LGBT issues too and Jami charity asked us to cover their mental health awareness campaign (which I helped set up). Furthermore, Be Ur Own Light has also covered World Mental Health Day and Time to Talk Day this year, featuring personal mental health stories as a way to raise awareness and fight misconceptions.
Thank you to my amazing guest bloggers March 2018-2019 for your fantastic content:
Donna at Wildwoman Book Club for Self care
Lynn Crilly- Hope with eating disorders (book)
Cordelia Moor- Living with Quiet BPD for Time to Talk Day
Sarah- On Depression for Time to Talk Day
Peter McDonnell- Managing anxiety and psychosis for TTD
Cara Lisette- Recovery from anorexia and bipolar disorder for TTD
David Welham- Depression and Recovery/ Being a parent of children taking exams
Rachelle Wilber- Treatment for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
Brandon Christensen- What is mental health stigma?
Charlotte Underwood- Overcoming Adversity/ The Saviour Complex
Ralph Macey- Managing Bipolar in the workplace
Manmohan Singh- Benefits of Yoga
Alex Sabin- Enjoying the Holidays after Addiction
Spela Kranjec- How to Accept Yourself/ My Journey in surviving Anorexia
Jami charity- Mental Health Awareness Shabbat campaign
Brookman- Avoiding a relationship crisis at Christmas
Sarah Cardwell- Womens health awareness
Anti Bullying Week, the Diana Award and Everyones Talking about Jamie
Allen- Recovery from alcoholism and mental illness
Lizzie Weakley- How to combat your eating disorder
Posy and Posy- Flowers for wellness
N- Poem on depression- Copy of my Mask
Dan Brown at My Therapy- Suicide prevention on social media- World MH Day
Lydia- On complex PTSD and recovery
Ashley Smith- how Physiotherapy helps with stress and anxiety
Amy Hutson- How Writing Therapy helps
Christine H- What family therapy is really like
Meera Watts- How Yoga enhances your lifestyle
Dawn Prime- How can Animal and Pet therapy help
Bill Weiss- Mental Health Stigma and Drug addiction
Dr Nancy Irwin- Signs your loved one is abusing drugs
Eve Crabtree- The MIND diet for Dementia
James Kenneth- Overcoming mental health challenges
Ellie Willis- A guide to mood disorders
AXA PPP- is social media bad for our health?
Lori Longoria- How baths and spas help relaxation
Tomas Sanchez- can alcohol raise stress levels and affect mental health
Dr Janina Scarlet- Therapy quest book
Cloe Matheson- tips to reduce stress
Paul Matthews- fitness and how it helps depression
Katie Rose- How to help anxiety and panic attacks
Anonymous- on sexual abuse
Kayla Clough- coping with post partum depression
Kara Masterson- 4 tips to begin the fight against drug addiction
Michelle Hannan- 5 tips to boost your immune system
Kevin Morley- Satori Mind- Tips to boost mindfulness
Sara Whitehouse at Stadia Sports-How sport can help mental health
Amy Boyington- How holistic medicine helps mental health
Thank you so much to all of you and I am excited to see what 2019 brings for the blog!
2018 was a very special year for me and my writing- being published in Metro.co.uk, Glamour, The Telegraph, Happiful magazine, the Jewish News and several other media outlets. I was featured in articles in Cosmopolitan, Elle, Prima, Yahoo News, Prevention magazine and Refinery29 and guest blogged on other mental health blogs too.
This year on the blog I wrote about my life with social anxiety and work anxiety, winter blues and SAD/ depression, I shared my articles about being plus size and a bride and about my recovery from bipolar disorder. Furthermore, I wrote about the Twitter hashtags I started #mydepressionmeans and #myanxietymeans, to help people feel less alone and share their own experiences online.
On the blog I also reviewed the brilliant book ‘Love and Remission‘ by Annie Belasco by Trigger Publishing, about breast cancer and mental health. Triggers mental health books are great and I read so many that I was unable to review due to time constraints including Depression in a Digital Age by Fiona Thomas and books by Paul McGregor and Ruth Fox.
This year we were given the accolade of being a Top 10 UK Mental Health Blog by Vuelio and were a shortlisted finalist in the 2018 UK Blog Awards (Health and Social Care category). I was also invited to the Mind Media Awards which was an incredible experience and this year, we have been nominated for Blogger of the Year in the Mental Health Blog Awards.
Be Ur Own Light continues to be read globally and I love receiving your messages about the blogs and finding new writers too. Blogging makes me happy and I hope it helps so many of you too and you love what we do here.
Heres to a productive, wonderful, fun and exciting year of educating and battling mental health stigma too 🙂
Happy 3rd birthday Be Ur Own Light! ❤ May this be a special year for us
Love and gratitude,
Today I got an email from the lovely people at Vuelio to say they have listed us as Top 10 UK Mental Health Blog.
We are number 8, alongside some incredible blogs and organisations such as the Mental Elf and Mental Health Foundation as well as blogger friends of mine- check them all out .
Thanks so much Vuelio! This award is important as it is about being influential in our industry so am so happy to recieve it.
See the list here: https://www.vuelio.com/uk/social-media-index/mental-health-blogs-uk-top-10/
We are delighted to have won some more awards from Anuj and his team at Feedspot.com!
Be Ur Own Light has been named as a Top 10 UK Depression Blog and Top 10 UK Anxiety blog alongside some amazing mental health bloggers and charities. It is a true honour.
Anuj has said: CONGRATULATIONS to every blogger that has made this Top UK Anxiety Blogs list! This is the most comprehensive list of best UK Anxiety and Depression blogs on the internet and I’m honoured to have you as part of this! I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world.
You can see us in the lists here. Thank you Feedspot!
A few weeks ago, I took the leap in working as a freelance writer specialising in mental health and lifestyle. I have been writing for several years now on the blog, for charities and Huffington Post, but now I am aiming to reach wider media and hopefully get paid too. I began with a dream. My dream was and is to write for the big womens magazines in this country, about my story with bipolar but also to write about mental health, spread awareness and battle stigma. As well as this, to help other women (and men who read my work and life story) feel less alone. I began to take the steps to do this.
First, I had to learn how to pitch and write a good pitch email. I had and am continuing to research the Features Director/Editor of each magazine and then pitch some original writing ideas to a small amount of them at one time. I have pitched my story of recovery to a few and this week I am being published by Happiful Magazine (www.happiful.com), which I am so excited about. I am also writing an article for a major UK publication and will reveal all soon. Another great magazine is discussing my ideas at their Features meeting so fingers crossed- you never know! This week, too, I was featured in Metro in a blog by Cat Phillips on January blues. So lots of amazing things happening thank God.
My dream has also been to share my story in book form and become a published author. So, I am currently learning how to write my life story as a book and talking to a publisher- who may or may not publish my work. However, its great for me to formulate my story about living with bipolar and how I have reached a form of recovery. I am in process of writing sample chapters to be considered at present. Its a bit nerve wracking because you don’t know what will happen but also exciting. I love to write. Knowing I am forming a book manuscript makes me happy.
And lastly- I have been working on this here blog. Which I absolutely love doing. I am so thrilled to have that work recognised as a Finalist in the UK Blog Awards. Looking forward to meeting the other bloggers in my category. I love that here on the blog we are continuing to grow followers and thank you all for reading. Its wonderful to share other peoples stories too.
Thank you to all of you for your support and love and comments/shares. It means the world. Remember- you can do what you put your mind too. I have off days too. Just do what you can on the good days. Much love xo
Thank you so much to Ashley Leia at Mental Health at Home who writes amazing articles about her experience of mental health and beyond, for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award. I love reading your blog Ashley!
The Rules of the award:
1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
2. List the rules.
3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
4. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
5. Answer the questions you were asked
6. Nominate 10 – 20 people & notify
7. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
8. Share a link to your best post(s)
My Nominations: All of these blogs have amazing stories about mental health and I’ve learned a lot from them, many I interact with on an almost daily basis. I love being a part of our mental health blogging community.
- Beckie’s Mental Mess
- Casey Elizabeth at This Bipolar Brat
Kimberly at This Girls Got Curves
- Kathi at Its OK not to be OK
- Alexis Rose at Untangled
5.Tina at A Journey of a Lifetime
3 Things about me:
I went to drama school for my Masters degree (grad school)
I have travelled to India and volunteered in Ghana in a school and NGO.
I love writing and blogging… my first blog was on Blogger!
My answers to Ashley’s 5 questions:
- As a one line euology- ‘ she gave to others with kindness’
- My most funny toilet experience was in Ghana… with a wooden shed, no plumbing and no toilet roll or flush….
3. My favourite farm animal are baby lambs or piglets
4. I would really like to visit America, particularly New York
5. Strangest food item would be an African dish called teazet… which is savoury porridge and meat.
5 questions for my nominees:
- What motivated you to blog about mental health?
2. If you could be one book character who would you be?
3.What makes you laugh uncontrollably?
4. If you could ask someone to act as you in the film of your life- who would you choose?
5. Whats at the top of your bucket list?
My Favourite Post Link:
Its been a really interesting week for me. I firstly decided after not getting the right NHS therapeutic support that I had to take life into my hands in two ways. Firstly, I needed to see if I could get funding for private therapy to help my anxiety and panic attacks about work. I was able to and then I have booked an appointment to see a recommended psycho-dynamic counsellor. I am hoping that my counselling sessions will help the anxiety and fear around certain things.
Secondly, I decided that if I want to live my dreams and have a life that is fulfilling and true to myself, I have to pursue them. Obviously I have to make my dream achievable too so I have been applying for jobs that feel right for me. My dream has been to be a teacher and I hope to get there one day. I have been interviewing for various positions in schools and hopefully the right one for me will come up soon. I will leave it to God and the universe to decide and do all I can.
So, its been quite a whirlwind for me this week and definitely being pushed a little outside my comfort zone, putting my heart and dreams on the line. However, I am really proud of myself for doing this. I have wanted to seek therapeutic help for years and while its a shame I can’t get it for free on the NHS, I hope it helps me to change my life. My family are a great support for me with this. I am starting this week and will see what happens.
So I have been going to job interviews and its really scary being asked so many questions and waiting for feedback. I know though that I can do it and make myself and my family proud (I hope anyway!)
As well as the above, I am very excited to be going to see Aladdin the musical at the theatre with my boyfriend for our anniversary. He is a wonderful support to me and I love disney!
Lastly, a blog friend, the Happiness Hunter https://thehappinesshunt.wordpress.com has nominated me for the Liebster Award which celebrates new blogs. My blog has been going almost 2 years but I feel so thrilled to receive the award. Thank you so much! Due to time constraints I can’t nominate other blogs for the award but dedicate it to all my blog followers who are battling mental health stigma and writing so amazingly.
Go and visit the above blog too, its wonderful! Thanks again 🙂
Thank you to Sue at http://www.myloudbipolarwhispers.com for nominating Be Ur Own Light as one of their Sunshine Bloggers! Sue wrote, ‘I believe this great group of people and their blogs bring a lot of joy and sunshine and education into the lives of many people and I also pray these lovely people have a lot of joy and sunshine in their lives every day.’
Thank you so much Sue for this beautiful accolade and for paving the way in battling stigma against bipolar disorder and mental health in general! You are a star in a dark world 🙂
So these are the rules except I can’t think of 11 people to nominate, so I will do 4!
Rules for “The Sunshine Blogger Award”
- Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to them.
- Answer the eleven questions asked.
- Nominate 11 other bloggers. (I am doing 4)
- Create 11 new and different questions for them to answer.
- List the rules.
- Include the “Sunshine Blogger Award” logo in your post somewhere
Sue has asked me to provide answers to the following questions:
How old are you? 29
How old were you when you were diagnosed with mental illness, or other type of chronic and/or invisible illness or grief? Diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder at 16, lived with anxiety disorder from 17/18
Where do you live? London, UK
What makes you happy? Sunshine, sunflowers, autumn leaves, chocolate, Reading books and of course my boyfriend, friends and family.
What makes you angry: War, refugees still having to flee, terrorism and mental health stigma
When was the last time you experienced mental illness stigma or any other type of stigma or discrimination? A few years ago when someone refused to set me up on a date with someone they knew due to my illness being disclosed.
What is your favorite kind of candy? Cadburys chocolate
What is your favorite season and why? Autumn (Fall)- because its so cosy and I love fairy lights, hot chocolate, snuggling in blankets, autumn leaves etc.
How long have you been blogging? Here on WordPress for almost 2 years and before that on Blogger and elsewhere for 2 years. I am a writer so am always blogging.
Do you prefer a sunny or a cloudy/rainy day? Usually sunny but there is something very cosy about watching the rain from inside.
I nominate the following because they are rays of light in the blogging world, sharing, writing and wearing their hearts on their sleeves. They sparkle in tackling mental health stigma and I am so proud to have them as Followers of my blog.
Alexis Rose- https://atribeuntangled.com/
Paul McGinley- https://paulmcginleymentalhealth.wordpress.com/
Christina at Sea of Words- https://seaofwordsx.wordpress.com/
Happiness Hunt Blog https://thehappinesshunt.wordpress.com
These are the following questions they must answer:
1) Why did you start your blog?
2) How long have you been blogging and what is your passion?
3) Which country are you based and what is mental health care like there?
4) What is your favourite movie?
5) If you could chose one actor to play you in the film of your life who would it be?
6) What has helped you on your recovery journeys?
7) Where would you most want to travel to?
8) What is your favourite food?
9) Why do you like writing?
10) Which song makes you smile?
11) If you could pick a spirit animal who would you pick?
Congratulations on the award !
Thank you to Feedspot.com for giving us another Blog award! As well as being a Top 30 social anxiety blog, we are listed as a Top 100 blog for people with Bipolar disorder, at number 49!
We have been listed amongst some amazing, informative websites! Take a look at the full list here: http://blog.feedspot.com/bipolar_disorder_blogs/
Thanks to Anuj and all at Feedspot for recognising our work!
Today we at Be Ur Own Light woke up to the fantastic news that http://www.feedspot.com have listed us as one of the Top 30 Blogs for Social Anxiety information on the internet!
This is hugely exciting to be considered No 14 on the list, after Google and other important websites.
We are so grateful for this, our first award!
You can see us in the list here: http://blog.feedspot.com/social_anxiety_blogs/
Thank you FeedSpot!