Writing publicly about mental health as a non-professional…

Alright, here we go, it’s time.

No.1 lesson here:

Your message, depending on context, is not as important as the health of your reader. Put in a disclaimer on every post that states that you are not a health professional. Seriously, don’t let me down on this.

No.2 lesson here:

If No.1 got your hackles up, you’re not ready to post about your story, post your resources, or anything else. It’s a sign that you need to look deeper into your reasons for posting about mental health, or wellbeing related topics. It doesn’t mean you can never do it. It absolutely does not mean that you’re a terrible person! (Sometimes my thoughts go there after a bout of defensiveness) It is only ever a signal that you need more time, and you know what? More time means more TLC – break out your workout playlist, facemask, or a blankie and give yourself a goddamn mental high-5 for trying in the first place.

No.3 lesson here:

ALWAYS reference the experts if you’re sharing a resource. So, for example, I had terrible experiences with doctors growing up – like, pretty shocking. I had to learn to differentiate them as people, and their occupation. I had to find and seek out experts I related to. I had to do the work to find professionals studying the fields of mindfulness and selfcompassion – and yes, I still put in the disclaimer in every post on social that I make about mental health.

No.4 lesson here:

If you are, or have, completed the previous three steps, then your next go-to is really lovely, actually (scared you there, huh?)
Only post what you have fully listened to, or read, or experienced, and what fully resonates with you. This means not being afraid to pull a relatively obscure piece of art out, to help get your message across. Recently, on LinkedIn, I shared a post about self-compassion – I linked a gorgeous podcast about the subject with a premier compassion researcher, Dr. Kristin Neff. Below this post and podcast share, I also shared an excerpt from Mary Oliver’s ‘Wild Geese.’ These methods may not resonate for everyone, but they resonate for me.
Authenticity carries your message through, inauthenticity muddies it.

No.5 lesson here:

If you’re ready, do it. Representation about wellbeing topics, about diversity topics, about human rights topics, matter. In a capitalist society, the consumer drives the market. One voice speaking out, opens a path for another voice to join. The path becomes a wide open space which allows for many voices to gather, to gain power, to grow in a kinder, stronger, better way.

End of steps.

Do you think I forgot anything? If so, let me know in the comments below!

In steps 1-3, I might sound harsh. The reason is because, well, one it’s funny, and two, it’s a reality. Understanding where we need to draw boundaries for ourselves, and create a sort of ‘ethics of posting,’ is incredibly important. Humans are a social species. We are empathetic. We pick up emotions from others like that’s the only thing we were born to do. When our own emotions run scattered, we want to shout for validation, for relief – for a sense of not being ‘in this’ alone.

That’s okay. That’s human.

What’s not okay is letting that scattered-ness ramp up to a point where you lose your sense of social responsibility.

Be kind, not authoritarian, when you write about wellness.

Now, my blog is normally centred around poetry, writing (poetry or fiction) and books. You might be wondering why I decided to post something a little ‘off-brand’ tonight.

I think, the simplest answer, is that it was time too. And that I really hope that this content can be valuable not only for you, but for your own community.

Wishing you and yours are safe, well, and content,

Ash ❤

Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, I share resources that I have found valuable in the hopes someone else might, too. Please contact your doctor if you have concerns about your health. Reaching out for help is such a sign of strength 🙌

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