Mapperley People welcomes Jo, a local blogger who has established quite a following since launching her blog about mental health
Why not take a look and get involved.
Hello, I’m Jo. Wife, mother of two and previous career girl, now doing her best domestic goddess impression.
Like so many, I’ve just been stumbling through life – happy in my personal life, dissatisfied in my career (you can’t really have both, can you?!), letting the waves of life gently move my little rowing boat along, but never really getting to grips with my oars.
Then 2018 happened. It was an awful year for our family. We saw illnesses; losses of people so close to us; untold stresses and strains and for me, a personal experience of serious, and completely unexpected, illness that was terrifying.
This is not a celebrity memoir, so I won’t say it was a “life-changing experience”. I’m just an average, sleep-deprived thirty-something, so the truth is, it left me with something a lot less dramatic – a niggling feeling, an overall itch I couldn’t figure out how to scratch, a blurry image of one of those overly earnest inspirational quotes in my minds eye….
So I decided I had to make 2019 my year.
But it turns out that starting a year with the intention of making it ‘Your Year’ is pretty daunting. Especially when you’re the kind of person that’s never really successfully made a whole day ‘Your Day’….
I’m an English graduate, and have always wanted to write. But eventually the desire was crushed by a heady mix of crippling self-doubt, fear of criticism and gentle discouragement from teachers who just didn’t want to mark another sodding horror-themed creative writing piece from me.
But in the spirit of making things happen, I thought I’d give it a go. But… what do I have to say? Well, undoubtedly my husband would say – LOTS. Although I’m sure the majority of people out there don’t want to know what I dreamt about last night, my critical analysis of every film I’ve ever watched, why I want to be a mermaid and which method I’ll use to kill said husband, if he puts another empty coffee jar back in the cupboard. Or maybe they do…?!
I started thinking abut blogs. What’s out there, what’s not and where my little weird self might fit in. My instant thought was a Mummy blog. They’re awesome. Mums and Dads talking with honesty and humour about the realities – the good, the bad and the poo-covered – of family life. No Instagram filter, no Mummy group frowns… no shame. But there are already so many out there, and some absolute crackers too, would I really have anything new to add?
My anxiety well and truly set in. Mummying currently makes up about 97% of my entire existence and if I didn’t talk about that, what’s actually left?? On classic form, I’d talked myself out of the whole thing before I’d even started. And that’s when it hit me – anxiety.
There are plenty of wellness and fitness blogs out there, but they always seem straight out of the pages of glossy women’s magazines – ab-tastic women in cute ‘Yogi’ crop tops, making positive affirmations in Mindfulness journals and photographing their vegan, keto lunches. They seem out of reach, unrelatable, nothing like the sometimes hilarious, sometimes painful truths coming from the pages of those Mummy (and Daddy) blogs.
Of course there are online groups for people with anxiety, depression and a whole range of mental health concerns, but they’re a completely different kettle of fish, there to offer real help, peer support and medical assistance. I certainly can’t do that..!
But there are very few blogs out there talking about life, family, work – all with anxiety sat right there at the table. The media currently seems awash with the tantalising beginnings of conversations about tackling mental health and breaking taboos, but nothing seems to follow through, dialogues seem stuck in the quicksand of Facebook fundraiser, charity campaign and “celebrity speaks out” territory. Lots of polite small talk, but no meaningful, real-life conversations.
So here we are. Welcome to My Anxious Life.
Follow me for sometimes raw, sometimes witty, but always true, accounts of life with mental health struggles. You’ll probably see a lot you can relate to.