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Her – Guest post by Silke

The following is a guest post written and submitted not by a known blogger or guild member but by someone who is aware of the guild and who is still going through education. She writes about her own personal experience with what is a very important issue faced by so many today.

I therefore have absolutely no reservation in sharing it with you and thank her for sending it to us.


She had never been the kind of girl that felt comfortable in her own body. She had always been fat. She had always been the girl that didn’t eat birthday cake at parties, or changed in the safety of the bathroom stall because she was ashamed of her body. She didn’t know when it began, only that it did. She supposed that perhaps it was when, in her dance class at age five; the teacher suggested that perhaps she should lose a few pounds. Or maybe it was when the nurse came to grade one and weighed all of the students, and she was the heaviest girl. She didn’t know. Not that it mattered.

school-bus1She stood shivering out in the cold desolate curb that was her bus-stop. The wind howled angrily as it raced by, whipping her hair against her skeletal face. Soon, the bright, happy yellow school bus arrived. The sound of the obnoxious, unnecessarily loud laughter wafted by her, its discernible stink making her crinkle her nose. She scowled, but determinately set her feet on the first step, then the second. Their attempts at whispering failed miserably. Or maybe they weren’t even trying. ‘That’s the one I was telling you about’ and ‘What a freak’ travelled to her unwilling ears as she made her way to her seat. Fourth from the front on the left side, with ‘Autistic Andy’. Not that he was really autistic; he was thus named for the stutter that often wracked his speech. She smiled at him as she sat down, then quickly looked away, her cheeks reddening slightly at the eager smile he gave her in return. They passed the rest of the bus ride in silence. Listening to the giggles of the girls as they flirted with the boys that were only interested in their bodies. And to the rude remarks that the boys made to prove this. And then again, the giggling of the girls, to show that they didn’t care.

She lingered on the bus, waiting with Andy. She wasn’t eager to plunge into the mess of emotional pain that was her high school life. Once everyone else had left, she had little choice in the matter though. She walked out of the bright yellow bus, and headed for a place far worse. Its muddy-brown walls were riddled with black eyes that watched her with malicious intent as she approached. She gulped nervously as she got nearer, and then allowed herself to be swallowed by its huge, gaping mouth.

The day passed as most did, for her. Her classes, anxious interludes to the dreaded walks through the hallways. Lunch, her sitting by herself on the rickety old picnic bench while she engrossed herself in the life of someone whose life was so much better. Her traitorous mouth salivated when people walked by with food, its scent so tempting to her forcefully empty stomach. ‘No’ she reminded herself. ‘You know how many carbs are in that.’ Or ‘You’d be a cow if you ate that!’ ‘No’ seemed to be the answer to everything these days.

It was not until she stepped off of the bus after her long day and onto safer ground that her shoulders released the tension that she had held there. ‘Another day done, only 182 more to go’, she thought to herself with a sigh of remorse. ‘That’s a long time.’ Even the chirping of the birds and the cheerful sun shining down couldn’t cure her dark temperament.

Walking into her small house in the country with a white picket fence all around it and a garden of pink and yellow gladiolas she heard her mom cheerily call out, ‘dinner’s almost ready! I made your favourite- lasagne!’ ‘Sounds great mom!’ She forced a happy tone to her words, as she did everyday (with varying amounts of success). She groaned inwardly though, silently lamenting that something as delicious as lasagne was still off-limits for her. Dinner was as delicious as her flawless blonde-haired, blue-eyed mother had promised. She ardently devoured three pieces of the cheesy, greasy lasagne before excusing herself on the pretence of a test the next day. She rushed to the bathroom upstairs, and, as soon as the door was securely locked, she shoved her index finger down her throat.

[Editor’s Note:  I would again like to point out that this article was sent to us by someone who is neither a known blogger, nor a member of the guild.   She (Silke) is instead a young lady who is still going through her education and who – aware of the guild – was brave enough to share her own personal story with us in the hope of reaching others.

I am so very grateful to her for sharing this with us and want to encourage her to continue in her writing and in expressing herself in this way.  After all, aren’t the principle reasons why so many of us blog in order to find a voice for what we are experiencing and in the hope of reaching others?

If what Silke has shared with us has effected you in any way, or you would also like to encourage her, please feel free to comment below.]   


Bipolar Makes A Mess: Can Counseling help? – Guest post by happygrumpymom

The following is a guest post submitted by happygrumpymom from over at www.happygrumpymom.wordpress.com and is published with both her permission and my thanks…

Bipolar Makes A Mess: Can Counseling help?

Managing my bipolar disorder is difficult – and yes, sometimes it makes “normal” life impossible. For the times when I come out of the mess – through counseling, medication, and lifestyle choices, I am hoping to find the solutions that are right for me. I am happy (most of the time) to have the rest of my life in front of me as someone who takes responsibility for and does my best to manage my illness so I can be a positive support to my family and community.

Recently after going through the denial stage (off medication) where I experienced a few months of depression ending in a manic mixed state, a helpful friend who knew I wasn’t doing so well and also knew I would need to have good habits in place in addition to my medication, asked if I was making any progress with my counselor. He asked if my counselor makes me mad… hmmm… well… seeing that I’m already kind of in a “mad” mood – but, I knew what he meant… does my counselor push me? Does he bring up aspects that I need to change that make me uncomfortable? The answer is… at first, yes – absolutely, yes.

Cunseling 101aWhen I first went to my counselor I didn’t want to go back. He started out with some sheets of skills to work on that I took rather personally. In addition, I figure… these are tough chemicals… you want me to outsmart them?? But, eventually, I had to admit that there were more than a few things there I could work on. So, I kept going back, and after a while I didn’t feel so “mad” that I had needed to work on some things – rather, I just wanted to change them.

It’s been a while since I began meeting with this particular counselor and although I’ve taken more than my share of steps backwards, I’ve also done a lot to move forward. I think often, because I can be stubborn and sometimes slow to catch on, I have to go through something big in order to really commit to change and make it a reality. And sometimes I just have to accept that each day brings something new – sometimes crappy feelings I have to sleep off and sometimes good feelings I want to live for and work for.

So, yeah, I’m asking my counselor to keep making me mad and doing my best to actively make change a reality in my thoughts and lifestyle. New habits take time, and when bipolar isn’t completely kicking my butt, I’m up for the challenge.

[Editor’s Note:  I am sure that many of the Guild’s members will have been through counseling at some stage or another in their journey.  And some are or have been sat in the other seat and are the one’s giving the counseling.  So this is something that many of us can relate to.  I am very grateful to happygrumpymom for sharing this with us and would encourage members to pop across and visit her blog and see what else happygrumpymom has to share.]


Ten Things I’ve Learned from My Depression – Guest Post by Surviving The Specter

tw-sign6The following is a guest post submitted by Chris over at Surviving the Specter and is published with his permission.

At the head of his post Chris places the following note: “Note to Reader: This post mentions my suicide attempt. If this is a trigger, please do not read it at this time. May peace find you in your valley, my friend.

So in compliance with my standard policy I am displaying the Trigger Warning sign in order to emphasise the need for caution.

Ten Things I’ve Learned from My Depression.

Survivingspecter1Hi there! My name is Chris and I’ve lived with clinical depression since middle school. On 9/14/14 attempted to take my life. I was saved by my friends who arrived after I had blacked out. In hindsight, these are the ten lessons my depression has taught me. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

  1. My Faith. I was brought down this path for a purpose. Perhaps it was to build me to the next level, or strengthen my dependence on the Lord, or to bring me to humbleness in order to care for others. Either way, I’ve been able to learn the message from the lesson. And that is, that with the Lord’s help, I am surviving through what (at times) has been a tumultuous ordeal. I know I couldn’t do it on my own. And for that my faith has increased.
  2. Imperfection. My mantra has become, “I am perfectly imperfect, and that’s perfectly ok.” I had a hard time with feeling like a failure. With feeling like I let people down. With having a low self-esteem.

It was when I was attending classes in the psychiatric center that I had an epiphany. The world does stop rotating when I mess up or feel like I fail people. Others make mistakes, I’m allowed to as well. I ain’t perfect and will never be. I accepted it. I stopped the self-berating. I got my ego under control. I left the pity party. I’ve been able to allow grace for myself.

  1. Support Network. I never realized I had this until I “woke up” in the hospital two days after I chugged a bottle of sleeping pills and passed out at the end of a noose hanging from the closet doorknob in my bedroom.

Friends and family were there. In abundance. They had dropped everything to be by my side. They put their lives on pause and came from states away to be with me through my struggle. Unconditionally.

I hope that when that time comes for me, and the call is given, I can be there for those that need it in the same manner these folks were there for me. Generally, you don’t need a ton of people in your support network. You just need the right ones.

  1. Personal Accountability. In order to be released from the hospital, I had to take responsibility and become accountable for my actions. I needed to have a plan in place in for the times Specter decided to fade out of the shadows and peel back his lips over his razor incisors. Here are some things I am personally accountable for-

♦  COMPLIANCE – Taking my medicine consistently and on a regular basis.

♦  911 – I realized that I needed to have a plan in place. I now have people that I call if I feel I am having an episode of depression. We keep our phones on at night (I used to turn my volume/vibrate off) and answer without hesitation.

♦  HONESTY – I have to be transparent with my medical providers/doctors/psychologists. I know I need to give them as clear a picture of my mental state as possible and they are here to help me. In turn, they need to know the effects of the medications as well.

It’s a good idea to keep a journal. Since I’m not one for lugging a notebook around, I use my Evernote app on my phone. I also try to bring in all my meds whenever I have an appointment. It gives my doctor an accurate picture of my supply and whether or not I need an emergency refill. The last thing you want to happen is to run out of your medications. The. Last. Thing.

  1. Stumbling.There will be times when I fall. When Specter knocks me to the ground in an assault from-the-rear. This goes back to #2. I have to realize stumbling is ok. That I’m a human. And that I am imperfect. And that that is ok.
  2. Learning. Be willing to learn about your condition…your mental health. Read articles on it. Start a blog on your condition. Be open and receptive. Make connections with other people. Join a local NAMI group where your voice will be heard. Never stop learning about your mental health.
  3. Cognizance. It helps to be aware of your feelings. The cycles. The timing of the waves. Through recording my episodes (or simply noticing when they happen on a calendar) I used to almost be able to anticipate when I would have one – usually about every two weeks. Fall-down crying, broken on the kitchen floor. It’s not a good place to be. The medicine I have now minimizes those episodes (20 MG Lexapro with 2 MG Abilify) and evens out the highs and the lows of a life with depression.
  4.  Healing.Find what helps you in your journey of healing. Journaling is a very popular coping strategy. I experimented with the tech version of journaling recently – blogging. I started surviving the specter in February of this year (2015 as of this post) and it has helped me process my experiences, as well as network with individuals going through the same thing.
  5. Sharing.I’ve tried to share my story as much as possible with those whom are comfortable. I was attached to a belt for 45 minutes. I have been fortunate. I have been given a second chance and I believe I have a duty to be open about it. To discuss it. To teach about it. To join others in their struggle. You will never know how much hope you will be able to give someone by telling your story.
  6. Outlets. You need to have an outlet. Mine is art in one form or another. I like to create beach décor and I started a side business into which I channel my energy. It is a healthy outlet. I’m an introvert by nature and so I enjoy being by myself with my tools and materials, building, and creating. I get satisfaction from creating happiness for others. Ironically, this is the project I completed hours before my downward spiral. What’s your outlet? What channels your energy?


[Editor’s Note:  Again my thanks go out to Chris from ‘surviving the specter‘ for sending this to me for publication here on the Guild’s blog.  As someone who struggles with suicidal thoughts and ideation I personally believe posts like these can be very useful and extremely helpful and so I would encourage members to pop over to Chris’s site and check out the other items he has written.

I should also perhaps mention that whilst Chris has made a reference to his personal faith within his post (and whilst I myself am a Christian), the guild is not specifically faith-based nor faith-focused.]


We’ll Miss You Steve – Guest post by Lily Pup.

As you know, I sometimes post guest posts submitted by our members. It is something which I like to do as not only does it allow our members to catch a first-hand glimpse of the writing styles of other members but it also affords members which an additional avenue through which they can share their thoughts.

Today’s guest post comes from lily pup from over at ‘lily pups life‘ and readers are asked to take notice of the Trigger Warning sign that I have included at the head of this post as this post does discuss the subject of suicide.

Wtw-sign6e’ll Miss You Steve

(originally published on the ‘lily pups life‘ blog on January 28, 2015)

POSSIBLE TRIGGER: This post discusses suicide.

Yesterday was a pretty good day for me. I actually decided to do some exercising which is a little out of my comfort zone. My youngest son is an amateur gym rat and he agreed to take me down to the gym and pop me on the treadmill. We did that and a few weights. Then we headed across the parking lot to Starbucks and got some coffee.

It’s a strange coincidence that this location of my gym is right next door to the mental health center where my NAMI bipolar support group is held. So the idea was to exercise a bit and then head next door to the meeting. Sort of get out of the house and do two things on the same trip.

I got to the meeting room and saw our leader who is a sweetheart and one terrific guy. He seemed sort of off but I didn’t pay much attention. After all, it’s a bipolar support group. People seem “off” all of the time. The rest of the group filed in and when it was time tostart, our leader announced “I have some bad news. Steve died by suicide Thursday night.”

Wow! I was pretty stunned. Who wouldn’t be? But there were lots of reasons it just seemed odd.

Steve started coming to our group about six months ago. The first time he came he announced that he had spent three hours on the bus to get there. He had gone to a NAMI group in his home state and really liked it. So he searched to find a similar group in his new state.

Steve was loud. He always had a quick comment and a joke to share. Once in a while he very slightly crossed the line and sort of hurt someone’s feelings. I know he didn’t mean to do this…..I think he was a little bit manic. He was a nice looking guy….very well groomed and in good shape. He was one of those mentally ill people that you’d never know had a problem if you met them at a party or on the street.

I know Steve had some serious personal problems. He had an ex-wife and he never had anything good to say about her. He had two kids and one was autistic. They were clear across the country. He had moved to our state away from where they were. I wondered if some giant incident had caused him to move so far from his kids. He never mentioned the details.
Steve got a car. He was pretty excited about that. We were all excited for him. I felt guilty about him having to ride the bus three hours to get to “group”. I only had a ten minute drive. (The center is close to my house.)

Now I’m not going to pretend that I was Steve’s best friend. I didn’t talk to him a lot one-on-one. But we talked a lot in group. And if you’ve been in a group, you know you can get pretty close in a small amount of time. You sure tell a lot of stuff in there you don’t dare mention anywhere else.

Last Tuesday Steve seemed great. Enthused about things, but not weirdly enthused. I saw no signs at all that there was anything wrong. Frankly, there are people in my group that could commit suicide and I wouldn’t be overly shocked. Upset and depressed, yes, but not shocked. Some people just have that terribly depressed affect.

I didn’t know that Steve was “dating” one of the girls in our group. They had been doing some hiking and other activities. She’s an enthusiastic person and I would think she had been a positive in his life. I guess he started texting her some strange stuff on Thursday night and she talked him down, but he went on and finished things off anyway. She and our group leader actually went over and found him. I feel pretty devastated for them.

In a very selfish sense, I am scared. Steve was up, dressed, chatting, smiling, and moving along on Tuesday afternoon. By Thursday night, he was gone. Could that happen to me?

When I’ve been suicidal it’s normally at the bottom of my low depressions. I’ve usually been crying for days, get huddled up in my closet, and get on the phone to a few friends and just sob. That’s when things appear darkest to me. That’s when I want to give up and go in the hospital. It’s really scary to think I could go from “normal” to gone in just two days. Can your brain chemicals swing around that fast? What if that happened and I killed myself without actually meaning to? How do you protect against that?

I’ve experienced this before. I was in the hospital many years ago and had a roommate who was in her 50’s. She had several grown kids and a nice husband. I had met them when they came to visit her. I had only spent a few nights with her, but she seemed awfully nice. She got released and went home and killed herself that night. I was devastated.

I’ve read that sometimes people make up their minds to go and then they are at peace with it. So they go about their business and seem normal to everyone else. They might make some arrangements but they are subtle about it so no one really has a clue. I wonder if this is what happened with Steve and my friend from the hospital.

Anyway, I will miss Steve. I will miss his loud sense of humor. I will miss remembering how much he wanted to be with us as he rode that bus for three hours. I am sad that the girl and my group leader are so stunned by having to find him. And if I am this sad, imagine the people that really knew him.

If you’re in your right mind, suicide is just not the answer. Steve, we will miss you.

[Editor’s Note:  I would, again, like to thank Lily Pup for sharing this post with us.  These matters are never easy for us to consider – much less to discuss – at times.  And yet it is, I feel, something for us all to consider and to be mindful of.  

Towards the end of her post Lily pup made the comment, “I’ve read that sometimes people make up their minds to go and then they are at peace with it” and then went on to end her post with a statement which contained these words – “If you’re in your right mind, suicide is just not the answer.”

And I think it is only right and fitting that I mention that if you are in a place where you have made such a consideration and are at a place where you are “at peace with it”, please do contact someone and discuss this.  Because no matter how much you may feel that you have made this decision whilst being in “your right mind” and that you have considered all the options and relevant factors, (and trust me I say this from a place of empathy and caring) please do try to hang on and please do try to speak to someone you trust about how you are feeling and concerning the decision you have come to.

I would also encourage all of our members to pop over to the lily pups life blog and check it out.]


The Illness That Defines You – Guest Post by Miss Bipolar.

As many of you know, I sometimes publish (and actively encourage) guest posts from folk.  I do so as I truly believe that it is important that we as a community get to share and in order the provide folk with an opportunity to actively contribute to the guild.   I do of course reserve the right to edit anything which is submitted and to decline to publish anything which I feel I shouldn’t publish.  And the criteria I use in deciding what to publish, what to edit, or even what not to publish, isn’t about me agreeing with the content of the guest post it is more about the quality of it, and the impact I feel it would have on our members.

The following guest post was submitted to us by Cassandra – Miss bipolar from over at The Twisted Mind Behind An Artist.  And isn’t edited in any way.

The Illness That Defines You

They say that mood disorders and mental illness, are simply part of you. That they do not define you. Bullshit. If you suffer from a “mood disorder” you and I both know that its not true. Your life becomes about recovery, about figuring out what exactly is your illness. Then after months or years of being observed and observing yourself, you’ve officially googled every medical term for what you believe you may have. Yet, when someone with a Ph.D diagnoses, what you already thought you had…your world crumbles. It becomes OFFICIAL.

From this point on comes what they call, recovery. Getting better, knowing your illness, accepting its deadly grip on your soul and telling yourself, you are NOT your illness..it is simply part of you.

Lets be real. Most of my days are spent figuring out what triggers my “up” and my “downs”. Then the other half is spent trying to avoid everything since I cant figure out which way my mood will go. They teach you strategies to cope; for example if you suffer from panic disorder, they teach you “box breathing”. For anyone who’s every suffered from a panic attack, you know that breathing is NOT something you can seem to get under control. Therefore teaching someone to breath in 5 seconds, hold 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds and then hold for 5 seconds again, will NOT work in a situation where theoretically speaking it should be needed.

Once you’ve figured out what triggers you, then the question becomes how do you handle yourself in the midst of a crisis? Just because someone intelligent wrote books on what he or she believed would help, doesn’t mean they really comprehend the feelings you experience. After all, how can someone who’s never been Bipolar know anything about how I really feel, when I myself can barely understand my own feelings. The fact remains my brain has an “ON” and “OFF” switch, and no matter how many group and one on one therapies I do. Its not something that will change.

Exactly my point, its not something that will change. So they give you 15 pills a day, watch the effects it will have on you, and play around with the dosages. Like a guinea pig you become a test, trial and error; for the millions of medications made for people.. just like you. After finally finding something that doesn’t completely bring you out of whack, they just keep increasing the dosage until they think you’ve become “normal”. Well, as “Normal” as you will ever be. From now on, every day, most likely morning and night, you swallow your poison to sanity. Knowing that the day you stop taking what will eventually kill some part of your insides. Your mind will lose itself once again. This is when , the oblivion starts all over again.

So who ever said, you are NOT your illness, I say, screw you. Because after years of fighting, days of endless struggles, lost friendships and millions of heartaches. I spend every minute of my days, trying to fix what has been chemically engineered in my brain. I would love to say, I am Bipolar, and it doesn’t make me who I am. But the truth is, who I am depends on what part my Bipolar chooses to be. And all I can do, from the back of my mind when it takes over my body, is try so hard to minimize the destruction I will cause in my moments of crisis. Its like narrating a story in your mind with absolutely no control over your body, actions or words. Stuck in a prison, as you watch everything you love or want, fall apart. And then, when you take over the driver seat, you spend your “Sane” days fixing the mess your true self left behind.
Sincerely yours,
Cassandra + Miss Bipolar

[Editor’s Comment:  I would very much like to thank Cassandra for sharing this with us and and allowing us to publish it here on the Guild’s site.  And I would like to encourage members to pop over and visit Cassandra’s site and view her other work.]


Very Inspiring Blogger Award

the-very-inspiring-blogger-awardI have this morning received The Very Inspiring Blogger Award for this blog and am very grateful to Annie from over at Gentle Kindness blog for awarding it to me.

According to the rules and courtesies of this award I have to do the following things in receiving this award…

Rules and Courtesies

1. Thank your nominator by posting a link to their blog on your Award post – Done

2. List 7 to 10 Facts About Yourself – See below

3. Nominate up to 15 other blogs for being inspirational – Also see below

4. Post the rules so people know them – These are the rules :)

5. Notify your nominees via their About Page and send them the link to your Award Post with the rules on it – I will do so after posting this post.

6. Post the award badge on your blog anywhere you like on your pages or posts. – See above


List 7 to 10 Facts About Myself

1.  I really struggle with things like this which require you to list a number of facts about yourself.  I can never think of anything which I feel anyone would be the slightest bit interested in.  So I often cheat a little and include this statement as one of the facts.  And that at least reduces the amount of facts I have to struggle to find by one.

2.  I was born in England and now live in Ireland but I don’t really consider anywhere to be ‘home’. That is not to say that I don’t love both countries, I do.  But I simply don’t established roots the same way a lot of people seem to.

3.  Possibly linked to number 2 above, when I was a much younger man I was ‘street homeless’ for a number of months.  Something which whilst having many downsides and dangers, seems to have become a part of me.  So much so that I am often tempted to simply get up and go and to leave it all behind and become street homeless once more.  Please understand that I am not advocating this for anyone.  But it really s a much simpler life in many ways and the isolation and anonymity that it offers is something which I can’t help myself from finding very appealing.

4. I have a real dislike of telephone conversations.  They make me very apprehensive and extremely uncomfortable and so I avoid them wherever I am able.  ‘Caller id’ is, to me, the friend you both love and hate.  On the one hand it takes a lot of that apprehension away as you can now at least see who is calling, but on the other hand it increases that apprehension when you don’t recognise the number or can’t (for the life of you) remember the person whose name has appeared on your phone.

5.  Slightly linked to 4 above.  Very often when I am out (which in itself, up until recently, has not been very often) I am greeted by someone and sometimes have short conversations with folk who to all intents and purposes treat me like we are close friends but whose identities or associations with me I can’t for the life of me remember.  These always cause me to feel extremely awkward and always leave me feeling very confused.  Not to mention the fact that ‘mini mental me’ – he who apparently is charged with the day to day operations of my mind – then goes into a complete downward spiral of wondering if I (as a result of not remembering who they were) said something I shouldn’t have said, didn’t say something I should have said or made that person feel unappreciated in some way.

6.  Linking deftly in with number 5 above.  I am (on the face of things) much more comfortable in the solitude and isolation of my house than I am anywhere else on the planet. I say ‘on the face of things’ as I recognise the advice and opinion that isolation whilst seemingly providing less obstacles and difficulties in the short-term probably has a more negative than positive effect in the long-term.

7.  Whilst I really am very passionate as a person, at the same time I have a very literal and logical mind and often my mind seems to remove or obstruct my ability to connect with my passions or emotions.

8.  I have recently started cooking again,  And I really love it.  Living on your own can serious impact your motivation to cook, as cooking for one (even shopping for one) can be a real drag.  But I have recently started cooking meals which I can cook as if doing so for a few people.  I then simply cool them, box them (in Tupperware containers) and then freeze them to be reheated on those days when I am not well enough to cook.

9.  Despite my propensity to isolate and my dislike of going out, I have, for the past week, forced myself to go for (what is for me at least) a long walk every day.  This is not only getting me out of the house but also helping me with my weight problem.  And as it stands I have been fairly successful in this. (Which I have to admit somewhat surprises me).

10.  I can generally read things which are upside down almost as well as I can read them when they are the right side up.  (I off course remain right side up as I have a tendency to roll when not on my feet :)  I realise that this is a fairly useless fact that I am sharing but hey it has allowed me to share all ten facts suggested in the rules of courtesies of this award. :)

Nominate up to 15 other blogs for being inspirational

Ok, here I meet with a little difficulty.  I have received this award on other blogs that I either personally run or which I administrate.  And as a result of this I have already nominated – in response to  those previous awards – most of the blogs which I do find particularly inspirational.

Likewise, I personally believe that anyone who reaches out of their own pain and struggles and writes a blog sharing said pain and struggles in the hope of encouraging others or letting others know that they are not alone, is inspirational in his or her own right.

And so, on the understanding that I see no point in renominating those blogs which I have already awarded this award to.  In order to comply with the rules and courtesies of this award, here are 15 blogs which I do find inspirational and which have touched me or impacted my heart (and even mini mental me) in some way.  Even if most of the time I simply read them silently from the edges of the blogosphere…

1.   A Little Fearless

2.   Blue Hero

3.   Comforting her inner child – Calming an anxious mind

4.   Confronting Giants

5.   Dear Hope

6.   Even At Your Darkest

7.    Feather of Happenstance

8.    Giving Out Not Up

9.    Ms. Elyse

10.  New Wings To Fly

11.   Of Faith and Mental Health

12.   Somber Scribbler

13.   Terminally Intelligent

14.   The Bipolar Bum

15.   The Rabbit Hole


So there you have it.  Again my sincere thanks go to Annie from Gentle Kindness blog for awarding me this award.  And again there were so many blogs that I could have awarded this award to but either I have already previously awarded it to you or I plan to catch yours next time.  So please don’t take offence if you are not on my list.

Please do feel free to check out the blogs I have listed.  They all are inspirational in their own right either through what they write or because of their own personal stories.

Kind regards and God bless you all.



Concerning Anonymity

anonymous_bloggerAs someone who openly writes about his mental health and mental illnesses and who is totally ‘out there’ and ‘public’ concerning these and how they impact my life.  And as someone who has – as a result of this openness and some people’s extremely poor and uneducated attitude towards mental illness – experienced (and yes suffered) first-hand  some of the prejudice and stigma attached to mental health and mental illness.  I fully understand some folks preference to remain anonymous in their writings and blogging about their own mental health.


My own openness in this regard stems from:

my faith – not wishing to live a lie.

where I am in life – 52 years of age, long-term separated and thus single, unable to work due to mental and physical health issues,

The sincere belief that by being open and public I can have more of an influence in re-educating folk about mental health and mental illness.  And thus do something to fight the unjust stigma which is often attached to these issues.

I am, I fully accept, in a very privileged position.  I don’t have to worry about the reactions of work-colleagues. My children are all adult now and fully able to understand and the grasp the impact of such conditions. I have no partner to be concerned about. And as for folk within my church, I am blessed to be part of a very loving and caring church.  And as for the few folk I encounter (in or outside of the church) who do react badly to mental health or mental illness, well these are few and far between and in my opinion need the exposure to the reality of living with poor mental health or mental illness.

But recognising the privileged position that I am in means that I also recognise the very real fears that others – who are not in a similar position – have concerning people knowing about their poor mental health or mental illnesses. So, as I said, I do fully understand and respect some folks need to remain anonymous as they speak out on these issues.

But it does concern me that some folk may not be as ‘anonymous’ as they may think that they are.Faceless_mask_by_Chris_Lamprianidis

As the administrator of this Guild and also of my own personal blogs, I often receive a number of comments and emails on what has been posted or on what I have written.

And I can’t begin to tell you how many of those comments or emails – whilst showing and often being signed by the blogging name or pseudonym of the person making the comment or sending the email – still display that person’s real name or real email address.

Of course, within the mental health writers or bloggers’ community there is some safety, some security, in the fact that the person you are commenting or writing to also experiences the same or similar issues and risks that you do.

But can we, can you be safer? Especially in a day and age of ‘social correlation’ and where email service providers, social media sites, blogging programs are all under increased pressure to be more inter-connected, more open and more public with our data?

The answer is of course yes.

And the very first step that we  need to take (if anonymity is important to you) is to create and use an email address which is specific to (and thus benefits from the anonymity of) the blogging name that you generally use.

Secondly we need to be careful as to the content of our blogs.  Be extremely careful about providing or inadvertently using specifics within your posts – locations, ages, interests, affiliations to clubs and social organisations, the name of your college or school – if you are a younger blogger.  Even the name of a team mascot can be used trace you to a specific school or college and trust me this information has been used by some.  The truth is that all of these things can help someone discover who you really are and where you are if they are so minded.

Thirdly, be extremely careful about linking social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat to your main email address or your blogs.  Set up blog specific and separate accounts/pages for these things.

Of course, in terms of the mental health and mental illness blogging community we are not talking about anything major or sinister here.

16578623-abstract-word-cloud-for-anonymous-blogging-with-related-tags-and-termsNone of us (I hope and believe) are seeking world-wide domination or to incite the downfall of our governments LOL.  And so this is not about illegal acts or deliberately trying to prevent committed researchers from ascertaining who we really are.

If we were, this post would contain such words as ‘Onion routing’ or ‘layered encryption routing’ and speak about software programs such as Tor and using public hotspots and internet cafés when on line.

And, trust me, I have no desire to feed into anyone’s anxiety or paranoia or into any conspiracy theories.  But I do desire for all bloggers to be as safe and as anonymous as they desire and think that they are.

It is simply about taking basic precautions to protect the anonymity that you rightly desire and need.

Kind regards and  God bless you.




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