Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Blog About Blogging..... About Sensitive Topics

I have recently signed up a(nother) blog challenge. What can I say, I'm a sucker for anything that pushes me a little further. The challenge is through an amazing group called I AM WOMAN, and I will have a link at the bottom of this blog, because their page can describe the group much better than I. With this said, I realized that I haven't yet written about one of the most obvious topics one could address in a blog - the topic of blogging. I figured what better time to do so than the start of a blog challenge! In this case, I am going to focus on blogging specifically as it relates to mental health, since there are a million and one blogs out there on how to blog in general and I can't say that I have much more expertise in the field at large. But blogging as it relates to mental health, that I have experience with, on all sides of the equation. And while mental health is the general theme of my blog, I hope people may find this helpful for blogging about other (often) sensitive topics as well.

As you may know, I started this blog just over a year ago when I decided it was time to stop hiding and lamenting over my condition and start using it to help others.  The decision was a huge one, and a scary one. I honestly expected to lose people over the blog... people who didn't want to deal with someone with a mental health condition, people who didn't understand. It turns out I've been relatively lucky, but there are times I still get a bit nervous at times. So, I thought I'd offer up a few thoughts to those who may want to start blogging about your experiences, your feelings, your condition, or any other sensitive/personal topic. As always, these are my thoughts and everyone's different, so take things at your own pace and comfort level, and adjust to fit you and your situation as needed.

  • You must feel ready to start your blog, even if a bit nervous about it. Never let someone talk you into going public about something you are not ready to. If it helps, keep a journal until you feel you are ready to go "live" with it. 
  • Once you are ready to start, write your about me, and be as honest and open as you feel you can be.  It doesn't have to be your life's story, but it can give some general background. This way, the reader knows before they even start, ok this person is living with depression or anxiety, or this person has a child who has bipolar disorder .  This serves two purposes - first, it helps you start opening up and "gets the ball rolling", so to speak. Second, it lets your reader know the subject matter right up front. If they're not ready to read about it (some people could find an issue with any subject), they don't have to read. 
  • You have the right to talk about some issues and not about others. If you've read my blog, you know that I don't talk much at all about past relationships. It's completely a personal choice, and there are a few blogs in which I've explained why. So know that if there's a topic you aren't comfortable speaking about, you don't have to.  If someone asks you about it in a comment or in person, you have the right to say "I've chosen not to address that topic in this blog", and you can give a reason if you'd like, but you are not obligated. 
  • Make sure your reader knows that it is your point of view only and, assuming that you are not, that you are not a medical professional. This is what I call the "cover your butt" statement. The exception of course being statistical data or anything quoted from another source (offer sources, unless it's obviously common knowledge). 
  • You may want to set up your blog so that you must approve comments. This way if someone writes something just completely out of line or offensive to you and/or the reader, you can choose not to publish it. 
  • Take it at your own pace. The first couple of blogs could just be history - a little bit bout you, your diagnosis, and basic facts. You don't have to delve into all of your feelings and experiences right away. Ease into it if you'd prefer. 
  • Never publish any blog written in anger (or any other horrendously intense emotion) right away. Emotion is a great driver of creativity and blog material, but words - whether said or written - cannot be taken back once experienced by others. So if you are mad at the person who just broke your heart or cost you your job, consider writing it in a journal, or at best, a draft form. Sit on it for a day or two, and if you're comfortable, have someone read it and see what they think. Only then, if you still feel you want to publish it, go ahead. 
  • Not everyone will agree with you, and that's ok. Everyone is entitled to their own point of view and has different experiences. So if you get a negative or disagreeable comment, that's perfectly ok as long as it's respectable. In fact, consider it your an initiation as an official blogger - because everyone gets them! 

This blog has been written as part of the I AM WOMAN 30 Day Blog and Linkedin Challenge. 


  1. I love your blog Maya and all the hints and tips you have written...I can see me coming back to refer to this from time to time, as it is such sound solid advice!

  2. Great advice here for beginners and reminers for seasoned bloggers too!

  3. Hi Maya
    Great blog
    Your last point reminded me of one of my mentor's quotes. Its called the Wimbledon effect SW3. Some will, Some won't, So what? I found it useful when dealing with other peoples points of view. All you can do is be authentic and thank people for their opinions.

    1. Thank you! I love "some will, some won't, so what?"! That's a great way to put it. And yes, really all you can do is give your opinion, and allow others to give theirs, and as long as they're being respectful, agree to not always see eye to eye.