Remember when you were a kid and you got really angry, so you’d write a mean letter to the person you were mad at, then throw it in the trash?
This is actually an effective (and free!) form of therapy. Your mental health as an adult can benefit in the same way. Getting all your feelings out there in writing and out of your head can help you to work through difficult emotions and situations.
According to an article by Stacey Colino in the health section of USNews : “One theory is that describing your feelings with words may be somewhat cathartic, releasing pent-up feelings that may be dragging you down. Another is that the act of writing can help you organize disorganized thoughts into more cohesive ones that give meaning to an upsetting or traumatic experience. It also may be that the process of writing enables people to learn to better regulate their emotions because they gain a sense of control over upsetting experiences life throws at them.”
After a particularly rough year battling depression, I began writing about my experiences. It was extremely helpful in giving me perspective and organizing my emotions in a way that wasn’t so overwhelming. I learned things I didn’t know before about self-care and coping strategies. A lot of personal stories I had read online also helped me and I was able to see that I was not alone in the things that I was feeling. I found others who understood what I was going through and could offer encouragement.
NCBI published this information regarding the reach of mental illness: “Many people feel that mental illness is rare, something that only happens to people with life situations very different from their own, and that it will never affect them. Studies of the epidemiology of mental illness indicate that this belief is far from accurate. In fact, the surgeon general reports that mental illnesses are so common that few U.S. families are untouched by them…Even if you or a family member has not experienced mental illness directly, it is very likely that you have known someone who has. Estimates are that at least one in four people is affected by mental illness either directly or indirectly.”
Then it hit me. That tugging feeling inside that I needed to put my stories out into the world. If I could help even one person feel less alone, if I could change one person’s incorrect beliefs about mental illness; and if I could turn it into a hobby that made a little money to help pay the bills, even better.
So I launched Happy Mom Brain as a place to share my struggles and successes with mental illness, with parenting, and with a child who has ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder. I reached out and connected with others in similar situations and found a community that supported me and helped me.
Most importantly, I found purpose. I look forward to writing and learning each day and I am on a mission to reach as many people as possible and encourage them.
If you have ever considered writing about mental illness, I cannot urge you strongly enough to pursue it. You have a message that the world needs to hear.If you have ever considered writing about mental health, I cannot urge you strongly enough to pursue it. You have a message that the world needs to hear. #mentalhealth Click To Tweet
You may be wondering, “If I want to write about mental health, where do I start?”
Well, there are several things you can do:
1. Start a Journal
This is a great place to start, especially if you are not ready to share your experiences with other people or have things you’d like to keep private. A journal can be an outlet for all the things bouncing around in your head and can help you find perspective and clarity. I write here on my website, but I also keep a journal. Sometimes I share the things in it eventually, sometimes I don’t.
2. Write for Existing Blogs/Websites
There are plenty of places to share your experiences without starting your own website. Some of them will even pay you! This one takes some time to research and apply, and if your article is accepted, it usually posts the following month. I think it’s a lot of fun, though, and a great way to try out writing and see if it’s something you want to continue doing on your own.
One of my favorites is Running in Triangles. She has dedicated an entire blog series for guest posters to share about their experiences with postpartum depression. Head over here to apply.
3. Guest Post for Happy Mom Brain
I would love to read and share your experiences with mental illness, parenting, self-care, and personal development, especially if you can combine a mental health experience with parenting and a lesson you’ve learned or something you’ve gained. Writing for Happy Mom Brain is unpaid, but I will happily link back to your website/blog, if you have one, and share with my social media followers.
You can also choose to remain anonymous. Sometimes sharing your story can be scary or intimidating, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share it. You can guest post without using your name if you’d feel more comfortable that way.
Shoot me an email at email@example.com and tell me a brief summary of what you would like to write about and I will get back to you with details.
4. Start Your Own Blog
If you haven’t guessed, this is my personal favorite. As I said before, I have been extremely blessed to connect with so many amazing people and knowing there are people out there reading it keeps me accountable for writing regularly.
Starting your own blog is actually pretty easy and doesn’t cost as much as you might think!
(*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a commission if you purchase anything through my links, at no extra cost to you. However, all opinions are my own.)
The first thing you need to do is choose a web host.
Basically, this is the company who will ensure that everything runs the way you want it to. I use Siteground Web Hosting and I absolutely love them! They are responsible for the loading speed, tech support, and safety features. Siteground has amazing customer service, and one of the things I love is that there are easy to follow tutorials for everything you need to know. You can sign up with Siteground for as little as $3.95/month.
The next step is to create the website itself.
WordPress is a widely used format for creating your website. It provides templates and easy to follow instructions as well, so that you can get the look you want without a lot of headache.
The great thing, though, is that Siteground is already linked up with WordPress, so once you’ve signed up for your hosting plan, you can just continue with them through the WordPress creation process, without the extra step or cost of going somewhere else.
Siteground will also help you to purchase your own domain name, so that you own the website. Or you can transfer a previously existing blog to Siteground as well.
Finally, you’ll want to choose an email provider.
This is so that when people visit your site, they can sign up to receive updates about new posts, and anything else you want your readers to be aware of.
There are a bunch of great email providers out there, especially if you want to invest a little money into them. I wouldn’t. I use Mailerlite for my email and they’re totally free! At least until you reach 1,000 subscribers. After that, the cost is calculated based on the bracket number of subscribers you have, starting at only $10. Another company a lot of people go with is Convertkit. They have a lot of great features, but I have been able to do everything with Mailerlite that I could with Convertkit, without paying $29/month.
Plus, if you sign up through my link, you get a $20 credit to put toward upgrading once you pass 1,000 subscribers (up to 50% off the total cost, rolled over into each month until you run out of credits)! Sign up for Mailerlite with my link HERE.
Whatever route you choose, I truly hope that you will start to write about mental health. We need a lot more brave people who are willing to share their stories with the world. We need to work together to reach those who need help and to change the stigma surrounding mental health. Your story can do that!