My Blogging Story

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

As part of my resolutions for the New Year I decided I wanted to start blogging more honestly, and to be less afraid of positing on sensitive subjects. I've had various versions of this post in my drafts folder for 8 months now, whittling it away until it was something I felt comfortable sharing. This still isn't perfect, and is personal enough that I am squirming at the thought of hitting post, but it is also something that I have wanted to share for a long time, so I'm just going to suck it up and do it.

(I eat my hair when I'm nervous)

I've had problems with depression and anxiety since my late teens. I've had some really low points, I've seen councilors, psychiatrists, I've been on medication and I've been so determined that I wasn't ill that my friends and family have had to force me to get help. I've learnt lots of coping mechanisms, I take a walk every day, I don't stay up so late the sun rises before my eyes close and I don't forget to eat and drink and generally look after myself anymore. Blogging is one of my coping mechanisms. 

When I started blogging I was at a pretty low point in my life. My relationship ended, my plans for my life were slightly turned upside down, and I knew that if I felt any worse, if I allowed the bout of depression to worsen then I would need to go to my Doctor, and possibly to go back on anti-depressants. I've been on medication for my depression and anxiety before, and although it has helped at particularly low points in my life before, I wanted to try and pull myself out on my own. I gave myself a month to see if things improved, if not then I had to go see my Doctor. 

So I made some lifestyle changes, I started getting up earlier, I went for a couple of walks with the dogs each day, I made more of an effort to go out and visit my friends, I even started exercising. And it all helped, but there were still days where I didn't see the point in brushing my hair, in putting on make up, on thinking about what I was wearing. When I had no plans that first weekend I spent the entire time in my ratty jogging bottoms and a Twilight t-shirt.  

I'd already started reading some style blogs at this point, Delightfully Tacky, Little Chief Honeybee and Wayward Daughter were already inspiring me stylistically, on my good days at least, and I'd been using a private blog on blogger as a personal diary for the past few years (after updating from the OpenDiary account I had as a teenager) so it wasn't a huge leap to start a new blog to document this new part of my life. Pretty Confused was born.

I had no idea what I wanted to post about when I first started, and I had no idea why anyone would want to read what I had to say (everything I had written online before had been private) but I started anyway. I started the way a lot of people do, with photos of my feet. I didn't get any response, but I wasn't deterred. Only a week later I asked my long suffering Dad if he would take a photo of me while on a walk with the dogs at Cramond. He didn't know why I was asking, but I had spent 20 minutes doing my hair that morning so he didn't question me.

Not long after I started taking my own photos, my lonely weekends, that had previously meant jogging bottoms now meant a nice dress and taking half an hour to take some photos. Suddenly it was the end of my month probation, and I had managed it. My mood was better, I putting effort into my appearance, even when I wasn't planning on blogging about it, I was meeting new people and I was learning new skills. 

Getting up and putting on something I like, something I am proud to photograph isn't the whole world. My day isn't automatically going to be better because I bother to straighten my fringe and put a pretty dress on, but it does make me that little bit more confident, and that makes my life a little bit easier. 

Blogging has brought so much into my life, new interests, more confidence and the chance to connect with amazing people all over the world, but most importantly it is one of the first things that I have done purely for me. The life changes that I made in my first couple of blogging have shaped the person I am today, have made me happier in my everyday life and I truly believe that Pretty Confused has been the driving force behind me sticking with these changes. 

I still have problems with depression and anxiety, I still have days where I don't change out of my pjs and I still don't always make healthy choices, but now that I am blogging regularly I find it much easier to bounce back from those off days or weeks. I feel more accountable for my actions, or inactions, ones that I share and ones that I don't. I take the time to look for beautiful moments to share with you guys. And I remember more of the happy things, and that makes the bad days just that little bit easier.

*If you are having problems with depression blogging will not make you better, go to you doctor sillybilly, they are there to help. Lifestyle changes cannot get rid of depression, it is an illness and should be treated as such. 

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20 comments

  1. It takes so much courage to post anything this personal; I'm really glad you did. The times when I was THAT depressed (and I refused to seek help but I most probably should have done) are so long ago now that they don't seem like they were me - and I hope you get to that stage, too - but I do think blogging helps to keep me in a more positive frame of mind for very similar reasons; looking for cheery things to blog about focuses me on the good stuff rather than the bad. And reading your blog is always a bright spot for me.

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  2. I agree wholeheartedly with Sarah, it takes real courage to blog about something so personal.  Putting it down in writing somehow makes it real and less easy to ignore.  Personally I haven't suffered from depression, so I wont patronise you with my thoughts on the subject. But both my best friend and my ex have suffered very badly for most of their lives.  That rotten "black dog".  If you have found something, anything, that puts even a tiny bit of sunshine  into an otherwise dark day then it is a wonderful thing indeed.  And I admire anyone who can talk openly about depression, it's a subject that is all too easily buried, so jolly bloody well said lady.

    love, love, Kate 
    Just Pirouette and Carry On...

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  3. I agree wholeheartedly with Sarah, it takes real courage to blog about something so personal.  Putting it down in writing somehow makes it real and less easy to ignore.  Personally I haven't suffered from depression, so I wont patronise you with my thoughts on the subject. But both my best friend and my ex have suffered very badly for most of their lives.  That rotten "black dog".  If you have found something, anything, that puts even a tiny bit of sunshine  into an otherwise dark day then it is a wonderful thing indeed.  And I admire anyone who can talk openly about depression, it's a subject that is all too easily buried, so jolly bloody well said lady.

    love, love, Kate 
    Just Pirouette and Carry On...

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  4. I absolutely love this post, it definitely takes a lot of courage to talk about this kind of stuff both in the blogging world and in real life. It's great to see people talking about it openly and honestly though!! I honestly started blogging for similar reasons, I was having a lot of surgery and just did not see the point to getting dressed and attempting to be happy when I was so miserable. The blog gave me a creative outlet, a reason to get dressed in the morning and something to look forward to. I a glad it's helping you too :)

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  5. Thank you for sharing this, Alice!
    I think a good deal of the beauty of blogging is being able to openly admit that none of us are perfect creatures, and we simply do our best each day to make our lives, and those around us,  easier.   A lot of times I can feel discouraged by all of the pretty, successful, giant-closet-owning women I see all over the internet, and it takes reassurance from myself to remember that it isn't a popularity contest.  It isn't any kind of contest.  It's a bunch of people reaching out to other people across the globe.  It can be hard to see that, when all we are shown is the good.
    Thank you for being real, girl.

    --Erin

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  6. What an amazing story.  I am so proud of you both for sharing it and starting the blog.  You are an inspirational person and I am very glad that you are opting to be more open on your blog.  Don't ever forget you are an amazing person to people you might not even realize.  Thank you so much for sharing this.  I am glad that the blog and pretty dresses are helping you!

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  7. Thank you for your honesty, it's seriously refreshing to read a post like this and it really takes balls to write it, I want to give you a hug.
     I'm happy that you got better and that blogging was part of the getting better process. I shall say that running a blog helped me too, and a lot, to accept myself the way I look- my physical appearance. While before starting Life Is A Romantic Poem I wasn't confident at all about my looks and hated to be photographed, after taking so many photos of myself I started gaining the self-confidence I wanted and I truly accepted and began to like my body.
    Life is a romantic poem

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  8. I can't help but to be overjoyed that blogging has helped you through your condition. I can totally understand how it would, too - I feel so great when people comment on a post or I get a new follower. It's like you've really done something right and people notice you for it. I really hope that you can continue on this path of getting better and having more good days than bad, and I congratulate you not only on writing this post, but also on having the determination to manage your condition the way you have - it could not have been easy in those first few weeks which you promised yourself that you would pull yourself out, as you put it. You should really be proud of yourself, and I hope that seeing the support you have on this post will help you to continue making healthy choices in your life.

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  9.  This post is wonderful. It does feel good to be more open and honest, and I'm glad to hear blogging has had a positive effect for you. I feel quite similar, and it's only recently that I have been more honest about things I previously kept hidden.

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  10. This sounds so familiar to my own life and experiences with depression and anxiety. I have been on a vicious cycle now for over ten years (in fact I have my own post withering in draft mode that's eerily similar to this one)- on and off of anti-depressants. 

    I am in a good place right now, and I definitely think blogging is a good part of it! Bless you for sharing! Love you girl!

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  11. This story is all so familiar to me. I've been suffering from anxiety and depression on a big scale since I left high school and started university two years ago, but unlike you I've never sought medical help - asides from some online counselling thing - it was very easy to avoid it and not make any progress. I've been getting remarkably better over the last 6 months, and the reason being that like you I started writing a blog. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and I feel like I've made genuine friendships when before I've felt so alone. But I still never go out on weekends, and spend most of my time at home, hooked to my laptop. My new years resolution is to finally go see a doctor about it - but ironically I'm too anxious to take the first step to speaking to someone about it. 

    Thanks so much for sharing your story and showing that I am not alone.

    -Meghan

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  12. Thank you for your honesty and for bravely sharing your story. I know how challenging it can be to share your weak spots so publicly, so I am wishing you love and support.
    Cheers, Alli

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  13. Typical 90's child...17 January 2013 at 08:38

    So happy that you feel "safe" enough to be able to share such personal things here, it seems like many of us bloggers have similar issues with depression and anxiety, this is such an amazing platform where we can boost our confidence while actually "meeting" new people that we otherwise would never have met in real life. Huge hugs for you <3

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  14. Great post! Yay blogging :) Blog therapy! lol

    <3 Megan
    http://kiddotv.blogspot.com

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  15. Thank you for writing this, it must have been so difficult to write and I just want to give you a massive hug! Sending lots of love your way, I have suffered with this too so I know how it feels <3

    Maria xxx

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  16. Hi Alice! I eat my hair when I'm nervous, too. And I'm glad you're blogging. It's great how much will power you have to motivate yourself! When I feel bad I can't make myself get up, dress nicely or go for a walk. You are so strong! Great job and keep posting!

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  17. Hey,

    Just wanted to say kudos for putting this out there. It's surprising how many people have similar stories in the blogging world. Thank you for sharing with us.
    I hope things are - and continue to be - a lot easier for you these days.

    Take care,

    - Laura xo

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  18. Thanks so much for sharing this. I think so many people can relate to depression and anxiety, like myself, but never come out and write about it. I'm glad blogging has helped you with your depression. I think the blogging more honestly resolution will be really theraputic.

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  19. thanks for sharing!  I love this photo of your eyes!  Blogging is such a blessing to me as well, the creativity saves my soul :)

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  20. I read this post a couple of days ago but am only now getting a chance to comment! Like so many of your other followers I can empathise (I definitely thinking blogging may be the latest hippest therapy on the block!). I suffer from anxiety and there are times when I feel like it's the one sitting in the driving seat of my life...but like you blogging gives me both a creative license and a sense of creative control in my life. I think it's great that blogging has been so good for you and I've definitely loved watching your blog grow and blossom and can see such wonderful changes even just in the actual design and the pics you take. So yay for blogging and all it's wonderful side effects :) And I'm looking forward to seeing all the future wonderful things it brings your way :)

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