Reflecting On 6 Years
Yesterday this blog won its first ever award at the Mental Health Blog Awards. This was never something I expected to happen. It is also not the reason I write this blog. That said, validation of this kind is humbling, because it means that the blog is helping people, and that has always been the goal.
And so now seems like as good a time as any for some reflecting.
Thoughts Too Big is a passion project, emerging as an aspiration to help prevent suicide. The most effective way for me to do this (I think) is to talk openly about mental health to signal to others that this is a space where they can chat openly, too, and to normalise mental health struggles. In doing this, I like to believe that some people now feel more comfortable talking about their bad days, and also show themselves more compassion when these bad days come.
I started this blog in 2016 – the night before the very last exam of my undergraduate degree. Why? I have no idea, really. I always enjoyed writing and I felt lost at the end of college, so the blog gave me some sort of purpose. It became a weekly endeavour and now it is something I work at nearly every day.
This blog has saved me in so many ways.
Writing every week about mental health, about things I’ve struggled with myself – anxiety, depression, panic attacks, loneliness – has been therapeutic. It has taught me an awful lot about myself. Spending time each and every week looking inward has allowed to know myself on a far deeper level than I ever would have if I never started writing at all.
The blog may have helped other people, but it has also helped me. My mental health could have fallen into serious disrepair without this outlet to work through whatever’s been going on.
This blog eventually led me to writing a book about mental health – Lonely Boy – which releases this November. Thoughts Too Big has become such an inherent part of who I am that I do not really recognise myself without it, without the ability to talk openly about mental health.
So, it’s not so much that winning an award in important. But rather, the award confirms what I’ve hoped to be true for these last six years. It confirms that I have somehow made it onto the correct path. That I am moving in the right direction, and that I could not be here without the support of my family, friends, the writing community, and the mental health community.
Life is weird, but in the very best way.