My One Year Blog Anniversary
HAPPY ONE YEAR BLOG ANNIVERSARY TO ME!
For those of you who have been following Recovery By Meghan for awhile now, you will know that the original reason for starting this blog was to keep my family and friends up-to-date with my progress while I was away in New York City for treatment for anorexia. I documented my weekly struggles (and successes) through writing and just so happened to open my life to the online world by hitting "publish" every now and again.
I never could have envisioned everything that Recovery By Meghan has brought me this year. I have said it before: it was never about numbers. But looking back on this year, I can't help but smile at the fact that my blog has reached 8895 people in 48 countries and 489 cities across the world. I am in awe of how far my story has travelled, and I honestly couldn't thank you, my readers, enough for taking the time to read my blog posts every week. Knowing that there are people out there "listening" to my words has helped me through some pretty dark times, and I am extremely grateful.
I've learned a lot through this first year of blogging.
Here, I have compiled a list of the Top 5 lessons I've learned during the past 12 months.
1) Not everybody will have nice things to say.
I try to use my blog as a platform on which I can spread positivity. I share my struggles, which are not to be taken lightly, and I admit that I talk about serious things - mental health is a serious issue. But, I always try to frame my thoughts in a way that is hopeful and optimistic. Because just as important as the dialogue surrounding mental health is learning how to push past the negative, self-critical voices that we are all at least mildly familiar with.
However, not everyone has been receptive to my blog. I have had people tell me to get off social media altogether, and people who have called me an "attention-seeker". It's hard to figure out on what grounds such comments were based. (I mean, I do recognize that my entire blog is about me and my story). But I'm not writing for attention - at least not in the way some people might think. I am writing to BRING ATTENTION to mental health issues, like eating disorders, in order to empower those who are too shy to speak up, and to bring awareness to illnesses that are still a little stigmatized in pop culture.
Lucky enough for me, I didn't take those negative comments to heart. My purpose is clear to me, and I was able to shrug off the insults. However, what I learned from all of this is that not everyone will appreciate what I write about, and I guess that is okay. I don't personally care for ALL THE BLOGS out there. I can't relate to some, and I'm not interested in others. So, if you can relate to my writing, or are at least somewhat interested in what I have to say, I hope you continue to read on!
2) The blog/life balance is not always easy.
I love blogging. I really, really do. But you know what else I like? Watching mindless television after a long day at work. (Any Real Housewives fans? I see you).
Sometimes, I put pressure on myself to put content out there. I try to stick to a minimum of one blog post per week, but there are times when even that is difficult. After working all day at the learning centre, and managing social media accounts in between, the last thing I want to do is type out a post. I'd rather curl up on my couch with my iPad and watch something from my all-too-long PVR list.
But then, Sunday morning rolls around, and I still haven't drafted anything remotely good for my usual Sunday evening post. And I get stressed! Sunday is also the point in my week where I realize I have a million and one things on my to-do list and I am only at number... 3. Maybe 4.
I will never post a blog just to post something. I want to write good quality pieces that my readers will enjoy and hopefully relate to. Maybe even take comfort in. But as I'm sure any blogger will tell you, working full-time, managing responsibilities, and keeping up with a regular posting schedule is not easy.
Procrastination does play a role in falling behind, as does misjudging priorities. That being said, I am proud of every single blog I have put up in the past year. it hasn't always been easy to sit down and write, and dedicate enough time to writing something worth reading, but the feelings of pride and accomplishment I get as soon as I click "publish" make the whole juggling act worthwhile. (And hearing great feedback from you all? What a bonus!).
3) Writing continues to be therapeutic for me.
It's hard to believe I started journaling 10 years ago! It was during my first inpatient admission for my eating disorder that I really found solace in writing down my thoughts and feelings. I journaled every day during that treatment stay, and during each subsequent treatment stay. Journaling was a way for me to release the intense build up of emotions that would accumulate during therapy or during daily exposure to two of my biggest fears: food and weight. I whole-heartedly credit journaling to helping me get through treatment; a time when everything feels overwhelming and emotional and just plain difficult.
Last year, I thought to myself: "why not share my thoughts with the world?". Initially, "world" meant friends and family, and whoever else happened to click on the link to my blog. But now, saying that I'm sharing my blog with the world is quite literally true.
But what I have come to realize is that blogging is still incredibly therapeutic. Sometimes, I'll jot down a post after an emotional therapy session, when thoughts are flooding my mind and I need to "get them out on paper". Or, there are times when I'm feeling down or just "off" and the only thing that allows me to make sense of anything is by turning to recoverybymeghan.com.
I am so thankful that I have found a "coping skill" that works for me. And a coping skill that is healthy! Whether its journaling, making lists, or blogging, I highly encourage you to try writing down your thoughts when life starts to feel like it is a little too much to handle. Writing your thoughts (on paper, on your phone, on your laptop) quite literally clears them from your mind so that you are able to focus on more "in the moment" (and less worrisome) things. At the very least, try it for a week, and see what happens!
4) More people can relate than I thought.
I guess one of the "sadder" lessons I learned throughout the past year was that many people have written to me, or spoken to me, about how they can relate to my story. Whether affected by an eating disorder, anxiety, body image issues, sadness, self-criticism, or generally just feeling unworthy, it became increasingly clear that everyone in this world suffers to some degree. Your messages have also proven to me that I am not alone. I have so many people fighting for me, and many of these people are fighting at the same time.
I have received messages from friends from childhood, high school buddies, university classmates, friends of friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers (some of whom I now consider close friends). One of the biggest benefits of sharing my story is that I have connected with so many people based on a common thread, mental illness, that can often be so isolating. I hope I have made it so that those of you out there fighting your own battles do not feel lonely. I can personally say that you, my readers, have made me feel surrounded and worthy enough to continue on with recovery.
5) I will DEFINITELY continue blogging.
The biggest lesson I have learned during the past 12 months is that BLOGGING MAKES ME FEEL GOOD. I know the content I write about is not everybody's cup of tea, and I've learned to be okay with that. But every time I blog, I feel GOOD. I struggle with anxiety and depression and anorexia but I will continue to write about it and will definitely not be eliminating this outlet from my daily life. I have connected with so many amazing individuals through this online platform and I can't wait to form relationships with even more of you. If you're reading this, don't hesitate to say hi! You can find me on Instagram at @meghanturnbull or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This world can feel really isolating at times, so please know that there is always someone out there fighting for you. I'M FIGHTING for you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me on this blogging journey. I will HAPPILY toast to my one year anniversary and I can't wait to see what life has lined up next for Recovery By Meghan.