The blogging and advocacy world is diverse in many ways, not only do you have both men and women who blog, but also each of us are different in our backgrounds, ethnicities, personalities, beliefs, and calling.
Being a mental health and survivor blogger & podcaster, I believe that each one who speaks out on behalf of awareness, is indeed an advocate. It takes a special kind of person to be vulnerable and write about the daily struggles of trauma recovery, depression, addiction recovery, and anxiety. It takes a brave person to share their story of living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, or an eating disorder, someone who is a suicide survivor, or endures self-harm.
Each and every person who is willing to reach out and share, in order to help others, has taken it upon themselves to release the shame of their own demons and challenges. Doing so means that not only are we helping others, but we are continually facing down our own challenges and working on the journey of recovery.
For those who do not share, for any reason, they are equally brave because they refuse to give up in the face of incredible daily struggles both within themselves and perhaps those around them. As a survivor and advocate, I see each and every survivor as a both strong and amazing.
That drive to not be silenced and not be ashamed, is incredibly evident in my two podcasting partners, Wes from AudioRising and Mike from Mike’s Open Journal. I’m honored to share the mic with these two dudes whenever I get the opportunity, because they are using their voices for good, just like so many out there who have been through hell and back and keep fighting every day.
The topic of Episode 6 of the Mental Health Megacast, is Diversity in Blogging, and I’ve taken it a step further and also added in, Diversity in Advocacy.
As guys, we do this round table discussion every 4-6 weeks, because we believe that everyone has the ability and right to reach for the life of their dreams, even in the face of tremendous odds both in daily life now and from their past. We believe that we do not have to live a life of shame, lurking in the shadows because of a traumatic past, living with depression, or overcoming addiction to alcohol.
During our conversation in this episode, we talk about the difficulties of that we, as guys, face in social situations. It’s often a struggle to reach out and talk to our guy friends about personal, sensitive subjects. Call it shame, not wanting to burden others with our problems, avoidance, trying to be tough, or whatever but it’s something that I know I struggle with, and based on our podcast, I’m certainly not alone in that.
So rather than just do the right thing and talk about what’s going on, we often times just resort to chatting about sports, video games, politics, or music and by the end of the evening, we wish we would have taken the time to “really talk” and not have blown an opportunity to reach out for the support that we need. That, of course, leads to shame and beating ourselves up because we knew we needed to talk, but for any of those reasons above, or others, we went back into the normal “guy talk”.
We also discuss how, as bloggers and advocates, we sometimes shy away from sharing about what we’re passionate about, when we’re among friends. For example, if someone is a realtor, or nurse, or business person, those are generally very easy things to talk about and the conversations tend to flow pretty naturally. Same goes for those who blog about eating healthy, fashion, technology, or any other main stream topic of choice. They aren’t generally ashamed of going to the office every day, talking with clients, seeing patients, or sharing the latest healthy eating recipe…so why should we as advocates and those living with mental health challenges, feel any less confident in what we feel called to do?
That’s not exactly an easy question to answer but we talk about it and share our own struggles surrounding that, and how we are taking steps on our own behalf to help erase that stigma that we not only put on ourselves, but also what society perpetuates as well.
We also talk about, as bloggers and podcasters, the struggle of not tying our self-worth to how well a blog post or show is received. We share our thoughts and stories with a certain amount of confidence and trepidation, and depending on the feedback, it can be difficult to see those reactions with a neutral mindset. After all, it’s all about helping others and helping ourselves, and not everyone is going to agree with you or support your take on this or that subject.
So how does all of this tie into diversity you ask? Well I could just say that you have to listen to find out but honestly what it comes to is, that we as human beings and advocates can struggle no matter what the topic. When you put yourself out there, in a vulnerable way no matter what you are advocating for, it’s a risk. Nobody who wants to do something to help others, should ever feel ashamed.
Another interesting outcome of this podcast, is that while we are all diverse…there are some ways in which we are not as diverse as we might have thought.
If you have listened to other Mental Health Megacast Podcasts, we know that not only do we get into in-depth discussions, and have a good time doing it, we also reserve the right to go off on some tangents as well, which only adds to the charm if you ask me!
So without further delay and without any more spoilers…grab those headphones or plug us into your speakers and let’s talk about advocacy and mental health.
Previously published on Surviving My Past
Photo: Getty Images