I’m absolutely delighted to announce that I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Anja Burcak; The Calculating Mind Blogger.
The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award given to bloggers, by bloggers. It’s peer recognition for bloggers that inspire positivity, joy, and creativity within the blogging community. Basically, it’s an award given to those who spread sunshine.
First, I want to properly thank Anja for this awesome nomination. Anja is a blogger that I really respect, so a nomination from her means a lot. Anja is super courageous when blogging about mental health, and she is an absolutely darling person. Everyone should check out her blog; The Calculating Mind. Anja was also the first interview in my Not Alone Series about mental health, so I’m really thankful for that as well. So, thank you Anja, very much.
Rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award:
Create a new blog post. Do the following within that post; Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog. List the rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award. Answer the 11 questions that were provided by the blogger who nominated you. Nominate 11 bloggers. Provide your nominees with 11 new questions to answer. Display the Sunshine Blogger Award Logo.
My Answers to Anja’s Questions:
1. Have you ever thought to make your blog anonymous, especially if it is on a ‘stigmatized’ topic such as your own mental illness?
I launched the Uncustomary Housewife in 2013. Originally I blogged about “fun stuff”; food, travel, comic books, and housewife life. So the topic of anonymity never seemed necessary. However, this year (2018) I decided to start posting about my mental health, and I was terrified. The fact that I had absolutely no anonymity made the decision to blog about mental illness really difficult. Plus, I already had a pretty sizeable following, and everyone knew who I was, so “taking my name off” wasn’t an option. A small part of me wanted to launch an anonymous account for mental health posts, but ultimately, I decided that my words would have the biggest impact if people knew they were coming from me.
2. How have you learned to deal with those who may [perhaps harshly] criticize your blog?
I post a lot of vulnerable information concerning my mental health, and it rubs some people the wrong way. Some people tell me that I “shouldn’t post such personal stuff”, that “people will think I’m crazy”, or that “mental issues are best kept private”. A lot of people think it’s inappropriate for me to post such intimate details about my life, and mental health. I can understand their concerns, but I’m not going to stop posting. I write about my journey with mental illness for many reasons; (1) to educate people who don’t understand; which can help bring awareness and cure stigma, (2) to show people that they are not alone, and (3) because it’s therapeutic for me, personally. Therefore, I’m gonna ignore those comments, and keep posting. If my blog helps one person, it’s all worth it.
3. What do you love the most about the blogging community?
I’m a housewife, I live on a farm, and my social anxiety keeps me home a lot. Therefore, I don’t have very many “real life” friendships, or “real life” face-to-face interactions. However, I have some really awesome blog friends. For example, I live in Kentucky, but I have an awesome blog friend that lives in California. We blog about a lot of the same topics (food and mental health) and overtime we’ve gotten to be really good friends. We check in on each other during “down days”, we tell jokes, and ask each other blogging advice… It’s pretty awesome, actually. Plus, the blogging community is full of support and constructive feedback. The blogging community is a little pocket dimension of awesomeness, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it.
4. What piece of advice would you give to those who are looking into starting their own blog?
Ask yourself; “why do I want to blog?”. Give yourself an answer. And always remember your reason. The “why” is the most important thing. Once you start blogging, it’s very easy to get caught up in followers and likes, and this can make you forget why you started. So, always remember why you started… and make that a priority. So, why do you want to blog?
5. If you could have coffee with any writer, blogger, or advocate, who would it be?
Can I say Jesus Christ? Jesus was an advocate for God, right? So, my initial answer would have to be Jesus.
However, for the sake of the Q&A, I’ll give a more practical answer: Ryan Reynolds – he was a writer on Deadpool 2, so he totally counts.
6. What is currently your favorite song?
My favorite song is “You Will Be Found”, from Dear Evan Hansen the Broadway Musical. “Waving Through a Window”, also from Dear Evan Hansen, is a very close second.
Those songs changed my life. Maybe even saved my life.
7. What upcoming event or thing are you looking forward to the most?
My husband and I have two holiday weekends planned in August, and I’m super excited to spend quality time with him. The first holiday is a camping trip, with our dogs, to a NASCAR race. The second holiday is a weekend-long Horror Film Convention (Horror Hound Weekend).
8. Which movie, TV show, or documentary does an incredible job accurately portraying mental illness?
Dear Evan Hansen, the Broadway Musical. Evan Hansen is a young man with severe social anxiety, and a desperate desire to belong and be accepted by others. Throughout the musical Evan cycles through a variety of emotions that I experience, far too often; self-doubt, anxiety, depression, panic, etc… Evan also has to cope with a lot of things that I’ve had to cope with; therapy, medication, lack of medication, isolation, suicidal thoughts, etc… Evan Hansen is a fictional character, but no one understands me better than him.
Silver Linings Playbook, the film and book. Pat has Bipolar Disorder, and I see so many of my manic symptoms portrayed by is character. Pat is so much like me, it actually scares me. I can picture myself doing some of the things he does; waking everyone up because an unpleasant book ending triggered a manic episode, compulsively working out as a form of denial, etc… Additionally, I love his therapist; Dr. Patel, I wish he was real, and that I could have him as my therapist.
9. In your opinion, what is the biggest issue regarding the impact of stigma?
Every individual struggling with mental illness is different, even if their diagnosis is exactly the same. Therefore, my “problems” might not be relevant to others living with my mental illness; OCD and Bipolar Disorder. Perhaps that misconception (along with stereotyping) is the biggest issue: people don’t realize that we are all different, and that we all have different needs. There is a stereotype stigma surrounding each illness; people with OCD “like everything to be clean”, people with Bipolar Disorder “are unstable”, depressed people “are suicidal”, people with Borderline Personality Disorder “can’t be trusted”, people with Eating Disorders “are concerned with being skinny”. These stereotypes are unfair. When everyone is lumped together, and given a stereotypical identifier, the validity of their individual illness is taken away. This isn’t fair. We are individuals, and we have a mental illness; yet, we are all different. Therefore, you have to get to know us, individually.
10. Dream vacation: where would it be?
I absolutely love Broadway. So, my “Dream Vacation” would be focused on Broadway: 1 month in New York City, with unlimited access to all shows, for free. And I get to meet the cast and creative teams after each show. Dream big, right?
11. What [or who] makes you smile no matter how “down” you feel?
My dogs; Daisy America and Charlie Wonder. No matter what, they can make me smile.
My Nominees for the Sunshine Blogger Award:
Tiffany: Love Always, Tiffany Blog.
Morgan: My OCD Voice Blog and Not Alone Notes.
Positive Ri: Happy Mentality Blog and her Mental Health Challenge.
Han Zolo: No Light Without Darkness Blog.
Bearded Igor: Bearded Igor Blogs and Never Let Light Fade.
Lynne: Awesomism Mom Blog.
Imogen: Imogen Chloe Blog.
Gabby: Gabby Frost Blog and the Buddy Project.
Ida: Around the Ward in 80 Days Blog.
Chloe: Chloe Elizabeth Blog.
Krystianna: The Capable Communicator Blog.
The Questions I’m Asking My Nominees:
1. How did you pick the name for your blog?
2. Of all the posts you’ve written, which one is your favorite?
3. What is your favorite social media platform, why?
4. What’s a small thing that can always make your day better?
5. Are you a morning person, or night person?
6. What’s something that you think everyone should do, at least once in their lives?
7. If your life were a book, what would the current chapter be titled?
8. What’s the most random thing that’s ever happened to you?
9. If you could only watch one television show for the rest of your life, what show would you pick?
10. If a movie was made about your life, what actor would you pick to play you?
11. If you could pick one fictional character to be your best friend, who would you pick?