When I decided to start my blog, The Mixed Review, I really had no idea what I was doing. I still don’t really know, to be honest. I just knew that I needed a creative outlet. Going from being an American Studies major in college and writing a disgusting amount of papers, to a second-degree nursing program made me realize that I actually liked writing and missed it.
As I’ve gotten older and experienced more, I’ve realized that helping others is the root of my happiness. I naturally share my experiences with people (sometimes they ask for it, sometimes I take it upon myself to tell them regardless) especially products I have tried, places I have traveled and anything else I think people would like to know. I decided instead of constantly texting my friends about these things, I would take it to a public forum and possibly help more people find products, places, and clothes they love. In my mind, this was going to be an easy transition from casual texting to writing on the internet where literally anyone can read it. Not exactly true.
My main objective with The Mixed Review is to be honest, genuine, and authentic. With social media being so huge and living in a consumer based society, it’s very easy to but a filter on everything. We are constantly being inundated with pictures of people’s perfect life, ways to change our lives to make them more perfect, lose weight, make our hair longer, get tanner skin, and the list goes on forever. There are things I have seen on social media that I never even thought about being an issue with my body or my life and I immediately questioned my worth because of an ad or something telling me that it was something that “needed” to be changed. This can be incredibly tolling for anyone and especially for people who already suffer from mental health disorders.
I have suffered from OCD since about 8th grade that has manifested into a mixed of generalized anxiety and bipolar II disorder. Lucky me! I am constantly wondering why mental health is treated so differently than physical health. Most physical diseases are talked about with few issues while mental health is seen as taboo still. I complain a lot about this issue and the fact that it’s so much easier to show your highlight reel to the world than it is to show them your daily struggles. There have been so many times that I look at influencers who have tens or hundreds of thousands of followers and are just showing their highlights, and it upsets me. It hit me recently that I’m part of the problem. I can’t complain about people with a platform not talking about the hard stuff if I’m not also willing to talk about the hard stuff. I decided that adding a mental health element into The Mixed Review was the next logical step.
I was all excited to tell my story but quickly realized that I couldn’t just kind of spring these stories on my readers and followers. It just didn’t make sense to me to put a story about mental health in between a post about my favorite jeans and my favorite face mask. It deserves more than that. Thankfully, I decided to make this transition in late March and learned that Mental Health Awareness Month was coming up in May. This was the perfect way to segue into including mental health posts on The Mixed Review.
I sat down and started to write my story and journey with mental health. I quickly realized that I could only do just that, tell my story. My story is only mine and in the grand scheme of things, my experiences are such a small sampling of what goes into mental health diagnoses, treatment and occurrences. This is how I decided to reach out to other bloggers, influencers, and artists to share their stories and mental health journeys. I got a pretty overwhelming response and was so happy to know that people wanted to tell their stories. Some of them didn’t feel like their own personal blog was the place to share while others share mental health topics regularly. This greatly broadened the scope of mental health diagnoses that could be covered by this series and in different ways. Some people respond better to images than they do to writing and different writing styles conjure different feelings for each individual.
I am so happy that I was able to do use Mental Health Awareness Month to do this series. Writing about how I feel and what I have experienced has been way more therapeutic for myself than I could have ever imagined. I think there is a lot of power in understanding what others are through and adds to the human experience. We all experience things differently, but are never alone. I think that is just amazing and powerful, human connectivity is what keeps us going when life can really suck. Keep going and reach out, there is always help out there and someone wanting to help you survive. You are enough, no matter what social media and advertising tells you. We’re all on this journey together, even though our stories are unique.