Milly’s Guide in 2017
Now it is after Christmas many of us look ahead to the New Year, making plans and resolutions. I wanted to look back over 2017 as it’s been a big year for me, for Milly’s Guide and for my mental health.
About a year ago I decided that my New Year’s Resolution for 2017 would be to be more open about my mental health. In the blog post where I set this out I also say I will sell my own handmade jewellery and that definitely hasn’t happened!
The title of my blog from Milly’s Guide to Happiness to self hosted millysguide.com. I decided that what I liked to write about was mental health and happiness and that I could call myself a mental health blogger.
I was blogging anonymously. I kept my blog as well as my mental health a secret from friends and family. In 2017 that changed. I started a Milly’s Guide facebook page and the reaction from my friends and family were nothing but supportive. The page now has over 300 likes and I’m really enjoying finding new online friends, sharing mental health tips and stories and building a supportive online environment.
During 2017 I started my #FridayFive series. Every week since the 13th January (apart from a few weeks when I moved house) I’ve been sharing the five things that I am grateful for. I’m really proud that I have kept doing this regularly. It’s really good for me to think about everything that I am grateful for. When you’re in the depths of depression or addled by anxiety it’s really good to stop and look at the positives in your life. I absolutely love it when other people comment with what they’re grateful for – brings a smile to my face to know that there is so much positivity, happiness and gratefulness in the world.
In September I went to my first blogging event organised by Time to Change. This was a really inspiring event which encouraged me to try vlogging (videos are on the Millys Guide facebook page) This event has also encouraged me to think about writing in different places which is why in October I published an opinion piece in a regional newspaper for World Mental Health Day.
I think it is a fine line between accepting your mental health and being consumed by it. The main way that I have been more open about my mental health is online. But I have made steps to do it in person as well. For six months I organised Mental Health Mates walks in Norwich. This is a voluntary group for people to walk and talk openly about their mental health. Overall I enjoyed the experience, met some nice people and liked helping others. But it did affect my mental health. I felt drained after each one as being open about my mental health was new to me and stressful. Although it did get easier each time.
I’m learning that being open and honest about the way that I feel is really helpful. I was anxious about going out for a friends birthday. I opened up to her, admitted that I was feeling anxious and nervous and that by telling her I felt better. She was able to calm me down and really appreciated me telling her and coming. I was also recently anxious about a medical appointment (anything medical that involves doctors and ill health can send me in to a panic). By telling people I was worried and by telling the nurse that I was very anxious and panicky they were able to help me.
So what does 2018 have in store for me, Milly’s Guide and my mental health?
I haven’t set myself a specific New Year’s Resolution for 2018 yet as I will be carrying on with my 2017 resolution to be more open about my mental health. I want to raise awareness, fight stigma and help others through my mental health blog and more. I have signed up to be a Time to Change champion, a Mind campaigner and will be volunteering for my local Mind charity – West Norfolk Mind. 2018 will also see me exploring ways that I can turn this blog into a business.
I have 8 months before my 30th Birthday to complete my 30 before 30 list – still a lot to do!
I’m planning to attend my second bloggers event – the Annual Bloggers Bash – and I’m excited (and nervous!) to meet some of my online blogger friends in person.