Welcome to the latest installment of my interview series! This series will be coming to an end soon, so make sure to search my site for “Meet the Blogger” to catch up on past installments.
Who are some of your favorite bloggers? I try to follow as many as I can because they have so much wisdom to pass on. (Including bloggers like Pam!)
That’s what gave me the idea for this interview series. I wanted to glean as much knowledge as I could from those much wiser than me.
This is our thirty-second installment of my interview series, Meet the Blogger, all about Pam, a fellow blogger. (You can read our previous installment about Chloe here)
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Meet the Blogger: Introducing Pam
First of all, tell me a little about yourself.
I’m 57 years old, married to my amazing husband Ray and we live in Langford, BC (on Vancouver Island). We are owned by one cat named Dorie, and have 2 grown kids and 3 grandsons. I have been on disability since 2009 due to Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia and do a lot of volunteer work in the health care sector. I sit on four different committees as well as a Provincial Survey Measurement group. I also volunteer as a Patient Coach through PainBC.com
I love to read, watch true crime shows on Netflix and I’m learning how to crochet.
What is your connection to the blogging and/or mental health community?
I blog about Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, and Invisible Illnesses, such as mental illness. I also live with Bipolar Disorder, so I have a pretty good understanding of what it’s like to deal with mental illness on a regular basis. My BD is controlled with medication, but it’s been a challenge to find the right one, and I’ve gone through some pretty severe manic and depressive phases.
What is the hardest part about having a successful blog?
I think the hardest part is just getting the blog out there for people to read. Typically, I do a lot of marketing of my blog pamelajessen.com by belonging to a number of blogging groups that allow for daily postings and threads. I try to follow the advice regarding SEO, I do Pinterest and Twitter and while I see good numbers, I want to increase that readership every day. It’s a lot of work combined with writing engaging posts.
What is the biggest challenge the mental health community faces?
I think the biggest challenge is acceptance. Having a mental illness makes you “different” in the eyes of many people, and that stigma follows you around. I challenge those stigmas because I believe every person deserves to live their best life, without having to worry about their health concerns. Trying to find acceptance in the world is difficult, especially if you are having trouble finding the right treatment for your mental illness. You already feel bad about yourself, and then society is pushing you away because you’re different…that’s not fair, and it needs to stop.
Related Meet the Blogger interview: Introducing Keets
What are 5 things many people do not know about you?
Hmm…despite outward appearances, I’m actually an introvert.
I can swear like the Devil
I’m hot-headed and sometimes let passion get in the way of reason
I can keep a secret, so I’m great for sharing your thoughts with
I can be really funny and I tell good stories.
What is your favorite book and why?
It’s a tie between Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy, both by Jenny Lawson. They’re the stories of her life with mental illness and are beyond funny. There’s so much truth there, but such hilarity in the telling that you can’t help but fall in love with her.
What do you do when you are having a really hard day to lift your spirits?
I am a Christ Follower, so I tend to pray a lot. I like to be alone when I have hard days, so I can simply “be”. Then, I can sit with my pain and talk to it, to find out why it’s there and what I can do to make it go away. It sounds strange, but I treat those bad days as a person, so I can find out what I need to fix things.
What makes a person brave?
The ability to be honest with others in uncomfortable situations. Stepping up and doing the right thing when it would be easier to turn and walk away. Having integrity is brave.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself and why?
Funny, because I love humour. Pensive, because I’m a deep thinker. Compassionate, because I care about others.
What is your biggest flaw?
I tend to take on too many things and then can’t always follow through. I’m working on pacing myself better so that doesn’t happen because it’s my health that suffers the most.
What is your greatest strength?
I would say the compassion I show for others. I want so badly for people to be as content as I am, so I work hard at giving of myself to others to make that happen.
What is your best childhood memory?
Summer vacations at the lake at my Grandma’s house every year. We would go to my Aunt and Uncle’s cabin – no power, outhouse…the whole deal. It was the best way to grow up and I learned so much every year about myself. I learned to swim, sail, waterski and made some great friends (that I still have 50 years later).
Where do you envision your blog in 5 years?
I’d like to be a top resource for people who live with Chronic Pain and Invisible Illness. I would love to have people Google those terms and have my blog come up on the first page.
Where do you see the mental health community in 5 years?
Hopefully, leap years ahead of where we are today! I would like to see more interaction and inclusion of people with mental illness in all facets of life – work, entertainment, online…you name it. I would like to see more funding available to make counselling affordable for those who need it, and I’d love to see more events that focus on Mental Health, to bring awareness to all.
Who do you follow to stay updated on all things blogging and/or mental health? Share their links below!
The Canadian Mental Health Association – https://cmha.ca/
Mental Health America – https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net
Mental Health.gov – https://www.mentalhealth.gov/
Blogerama – https://www.blogarama.com/en/
About the Author
Pamela Jessen lives in Langford, BC Canada. She is a blogger who writes about Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Invisible Illness at pamelajessen.com She also writes for TheMighty.com, PainResource.com, and various independent publications.
Pamela is also a Patient Advocate with the Patient Voices Network in BC. She sits on 4 committees and one Provincial working group and has also been involved in advocacy work at the Canadian National level as well. Pamela is married to her amazing husband Ray and they have one cat named Dorie.
Thanks, Pam, for participating in my interview series, Meet the Blogger! I loved your responses, and I truly appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. Best wishes on all your blogging endeavors!
Who are some bloggers you like to follow? What would be one question you would ask Pamela that I didn’t?
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