Celebrating bloggers. The gift of sharing lived experience through writing for others

December 19, 2018

I thought it was a good time of year to celebrate bloggers and not just because I’m writing a blog!

I, like many, enjoy reading blogs. As a Psychologist I particularly value blogs written by people sharing the ups and downs of having a mental illness or caring for someone with a disability.

Why bloggers are gift givers

Bloggers who have lived experience truly do gift to others every time they write.

They gift the opportunity to break down stigma, to foster appreciation of the challenges others face in their lives.

Good bloggers also gift hope. They celebrate the good as well as the bad.

They share their knowledge of what works (or sometimes what doesn’t work) for them, to enable others to benefit from their experience.

These writers, with their emphasis on lived experience, complement the work of professional psychologists like my colleagues here at Attuned Psychology. In our blogging, we share insights drawn from academic literature, evidence-based treatments, and our experiences with clients.

Creating a community of understanding and supportive others

Social support plays an important role in contributing to psychological wellbeing.

In my work and research with carers of young children with disability, I know that social networks change. Many parents themselves moving away from those who don’t “get it” towards those that do. Often this is the community of people who have shared or lived experience.

The best bloggers enable the reader to feel connected. Often there’s a feeling of relief, of knowing that you’re not alone.

Connecting with an online blogger can be a powerful emotional support, especially for those who are isolated from family or friends.

The difference between journaling and blogging

Therapists often encourage their clients to journal their experiences as a way of focusing and expressing their thoughts and feelings.

Whilst the words journaling and blogging are often used interchangeably, journaling for therapy is a private experience, often only shared with a therapist. A blog is used to purposively share experience with a public audience.

Often the reasons for blogging are both personal as well as altruistic. Sometimes the anonymity of writing can be liberating.

Bloggers also benefit from the community of support.

Responsible bloggers

People who blog about their experience of mental health issues (especially relating to suicide and self-harm) should take care to ensure the content of their blog is safe and non-triggering for readers.

Responsible bloggers focus on feelings not behaviours and don’t give detailed descriptions of methods or post pictures of what happened. Yes, some do!

If you are considering starting a blog about mental health, the following link gives more guidance about how to do this:

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/about-us/frequently-asked-questions/how-blog-time-change/blogging-about-self-harm-suicide-and-eating

Responsible readers

Readers of blogs also have responsibilities – to themselves and to the blogger.

They should always be skeptical of miraculous success stories that may not be true or give the whole picture (bloggers can sometimes be scammers).

Check that bloggers are respectable. Good bloggers often make the “best of” lists which happen every year.

Remember bloggers are sometimes but often are not experts. Be mindful that what works for some may not work for you and don’t rely on blogs as your sole source of support or advice.

Wherever possible, seek out formal supports if you are struggling with mental health issues. The Psychology team at Attuned Psychology are experienced and very happy to help.

Most importantly, a responsible reader does not leave critical or negative comments to other people’s blogs.

Recommended bloggers

There’s a whole world of blogs out there for you to explore, and in the process I guarantee you’ll find some written by people whose experiences resonate with you.

To get you started on your journey here are some of the blogs I (and others) enjoy. I have selected bloggers with lived experience, rather than bloggers who are only professionals. Of course, the latter, like the blogs written by psychologists and my colleagues here at Attuned Psychology, provide a very valuable resource, especially to those who do not or cannot access professional support.

Unfortunately, most of these sites are international. Feel free to share any other Australian (or international) sites you recommend.

  1. Autism Spectrum Disorders
  2. Carers of children with ADHD write guest blogs for ADDitude: Inside the ADHD Mind
    https://www.additudemag.com/category/blog/
  3. Bloggers with a mental health focus:

Dr Angela Crettenden

Clinical Psychologist and Educational/Developmental Psychologist


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