What does blogging cost you?

Another great post by Drtanya at Salted Caramel, who asked ‘what is the cost (not financial) of blogging to your personal life?’

# Cost of Blogging — Questions

  1. Does it infringe upon your leisure time? Unfortunately, yes. I was an avid reader and now I can’t remember the last time I picked up my kindle. Sometimes my partner has to drag me away, kicking and screaming from my laptop. I’ve only started blogging recently and now I’ve got the bug. There’s so many great blog posts to read (such as this one from Drtanya) and I have so much I want to say, so much that I want people to know about mental health, my time as a mental health ward manager…….. I could go on
  2. Worse still, does it distract you from your work/studies ? Unfortunately I am now disabled and unable to work but fortunately, it’s given me time to spend studying online and more time to spend reading good blogs and blogging.
  3. Is it taking a toll on your personal relationships ? Hhmm, well kind of, but not really. My partner and I both have laptops and we both spend a lot of time on them. Him watching or listening to the news and the latest politics and me – well blogging, of course. I suppose that means we spend a lot of time in silence (apart from him who has the tv on constantly too). He often says “Here, listen to this.” Me, eyes rolling “ah ha.” and I listen to his boring facts or figures until he see my eyes glaze over and grunts “Shall I just say nothing then?” We both smile and return to what we were doing.
  4. Has your health suffered? Not really but, I suppose because I have Transverse Myelitis which has its own aches and pains, my back often hurts, my arms and shoulder too, probably from sitting in the same position blogging for long periods. My sleep pattern is disturbed by my illness anyway and I can have days where I don’t sleep at all then I start to hallucinate or days when I sleep forever and just get up to go to the loo. This means that when I’m awake for days I can continue blogging – until I start hearing voices, which distract me. So it’s a bit of a conundrum really – does blogging impact on my health or is it the other way round? That all said, perhaps I now have an addiction 😜
  5. Have you gained weight ? Ha, that’s a good one. Of course when I’m blogging I drink endless cups of coffee and I love biscuits. I love crisps, chocolate, sweets and……….. it would probably be quicker to give a list of what I don’t like or snack on. So I suppose I probably do put weight on, particularly as it’s known that we lose weight during sleep. Because of my sleep pattern, on and off for days, it probably balances itself out. I’ve only been blogging for two months and I can’t say I’ve put on weight because of it.
  6. Do you ever get writer’s block? Not yet, because I’ve just started. However, I do lose my train of thought easily. For example, when him interrupts me with his inane utterances or if I stop to take a telephone call.
  7. Have you ever suffered from blog related stress or blogger burn out? Maybe? Not sure if it’s stress but I found it really difficult at first when I was receiving so many emails with blogging post, 180 one day. Then I learned how to deal with this, courtesy of another fantastic blogger. Perhaps, because I don’t really have many other commitments i.e the boys have flown the nest and I don’t work, it’s a bit easier for me. I only have to stop for Dr’s, dental, hospital appointments or when him suggests we eat then I go help him cook 😂

Thank you once again to Drtanya at Salted Caramel # Cost of Blogging. We’d both be interested in your answers to the above questions. You can answer on Drtanya’s blog post or if you do a separate post, please link back to Drtanya and don’t forget # Cost of Blogging.

Why do you blog?

It’s yet another dull day in London but I have a lot to be happy about. I have an amazing partner who’s really looked after me since I was disabled by Transverse Myelitis in 2011. I’m grateful I have an amazing close-knit family and I will be going up to Scotland in November for a niece’s wedding where I’ll get to see everyone. I am delighted with my two amazing sons; one (Ricci) is currently a Research Fellow in the States and the other (Ravi) is a Physiotherapist in London.

Today I’m going to meet Ravi and his new wife for afternoon tea and I’m so excited. I haven’t seen them together since their wedding and they’re going to bring some wedding photos for me to look through.

I’ve been up for an hour now and have been going through my posts’ comments and tried to answer everyone. Somewhere along the way I’ve picked up great blog: Crushed Caramel where she’d answered an interesting set of questions posted by another blogger: Salted Caramel so I thought I’d have a go too.

Do you blog to promote your business?

No. I became disabled and regretfully medically retired from my job as a Mental Health Nurse/Ward Manager, a job I truly loved. I also had to cease running my small business where I worked as and supplied Mental Health First Aid instructors to a variety of organisations. We taught MHFA to a wide range of companies, schools and Armed Forces. I was there at the inception of MHFA England and would love to be able to carry out more training in order to raise aware of mental health issues.

Or is your blog a launching pad for your social life?

What social life? Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little ‘cos I’ve already told you I’m off out this afternoon. We went to see our grandchildren on Thursday and got to stay the night. It was sooo much fun playing games like hide and seek, where when you’re looking for a two year old an you utter to yourself “Now, where’s that Ava?” and she shouts “I’m here.” and her four year old big brother shouts crossly “Aaaava! You’re not supposed to tell her! You’ve spoiled the game now!” and off he stomps, sulking and trying not to laugh when I pretend trip and fall onto the sofa “Ouch, Ouch!”

We’re going back there this Sunday and I’m cooking stew and dumplings (a nod to my Scottish heritage) for everyone together with my brother-in-law and his girlfriends. So far my social life’s been all family but hopefully next week I’ll be able to catch up with a few friends.

Does it exist only to complement your Instagram account?

No. I’ve never had an Instagram account. I’m a complete technophobe and not very computer literate, despite having typed and used computers since the seventies. Oops, just given away my approximate age 😉 When my energy levels reach rock bottom, I sometimes find it hard enough responding to my blog comments, Twitter and my emails, let alone having another account such as Instagram. However, I love picking up my laptop and catching up with everyone’s news – it’s my little window on the world.

Is your blog making you real money (if so please let me into your secret)?

No. Unfortunately not and it never will really. I don’t intend to monetize my blog and only set it up because I wanted to make use of my fifteen years of diaries, kept from when I was nursing. Reading through them reminds me of all the good times I had, the amazing inspiring people I met; both patients and colleagues. However, I was also reminded of the poor standards of practice and that’s really what I wanted to highlight in my blog.

I want people (nursing students, nurses, doctors, social workers, occupational therapists, community psychiatric nurses, the public, MP’s, the government, patients, carers or friends) to be informed and make the necessary changes. Tell your care team you are not happy with the standards of care. Tell your boss,manager, team that standards must be raised. I want Doctors and nurses to continue with their professional development and stay up-to-date with current practices. Ooops! Rant over.

Are you blogging because you are so adept at this craft that you want to teach it to others?

No. I wish I was smart enough tho’. I loved teaching and mental health is my niche, so I’ll stick to it. I can offer lots of information, not unsolicited advice, and point people in the right direction if they are seeking support but I can’t profess to being a teacher or instructor any more.

Or are you like me : blogging just due to the urge to write?

Yes. I’m like you. Yay, we have this one in common. I love reading and also enjoy writing; releasing the pent up frustration that’s been raging inside me for so many years. As a mental health nurse I was used to writing ‘in and on reflection’, hence the lengthy notes in my old work diaries.

As I’m disabled I often have time on my hands and can’t believe how many hours I used to spend on social media i.e. Twitter and Facebook, just to see if anyone had messaged me or liked my comments. Now I’m blogging, the likes, the helpful comments and advice I get is both helpful and constructive. I only started blogging a few months ago and I’ve not even finished with my first work diary yet – so looks like I’ll be here for a few more years.

What are your reasons why you put the proverbial blood sweat tears into your blog posts?

I want people to be aware of the poor standards of practice in mental health units. I want everyone to shout it from the rooftops or from the highest mountain whenever they come across poor practice in mental health nursing and care environments. I want to increase awareness of diagnosis (right or wrong sometimes) the signs, symptoms, causes and effects of mental health disorders. And I want to reduce the stigma. I know I can’t change the world on my own but if my little blog is of use to one person and they have the confidence to speak out, it’s a start.