Welcome to the latest installment of my interview series!
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 Unwanted Life!)
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 fourteenth installment of my interview series, Meet the Blogger, all about Unwanted Life, a fellow blogger.
Interview series questions
First of all, tell me a little about yourself.
Well, I’m of mixed ethnicity, Caribbean and White. I’m British born and bread as well as an EU citizen. During my childhood I had to endure a lot of racism from my fellow students and “friends” who talk behind my back. Not only that, but I had to put up with physical abuse from a few teachers and adult Cub Scout leaders when I was in the Cub Scouts.
I’m from a single parent family. I was raised on state benefits by a mother who was physically there but not supportively there for me. Because of all this, I became suicidal by the time I was 8 years old and would have daily breakdowns in my final years of primary school.
(More health issues)
This led to reckless drug and alcohol use as I binged and cocktailed substances in the hopes it’d kill me, or at the very least, utterly destroy my mind. During this time, I was self-harming and engaging in hair destroying behaviours that would eventually lead to permanent traction alopecia.
About five years ago I developed palpitations which lead to me being sent to an autonomic disorder specialist. Which I’m still being investigated for to find out the full scope of how bad far reaching this disorder is as they seek to explain a lot of my other symptoms that haven’t improved.
Besides all that, I’ve managed to get my bachelor’s degree, even though I was still having anxiety induced psychotic episodes. I’m also now trying to finish my masters degree, but I’ve had a few setbacks, one of which is trying to secure funding to complete my last two modules.
Thus, to keep myself busy I decided to start writing a blog that would be a kind of slice of life of my mental and physical health problem, which would also talk about relevant and related content in order to help spread awareness.
In short, this is me, a guy from mixed ethnicity, who suffers from borderline personality disorder, chronic depression, social anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, IBS, and an autonomic disorder that is still being investigated for how far reaching it is. Plus, other physical health problems that I’m also being tested for, such as Addison’s disease and hypoglycemia. Fun times.
But I’m still here and I’m still trying to do what I can to try and help others.
What is your connection to the blogging and/or mental health community?
I had no connection really with the mental health community when I decided to start my blog, even though it primarily focuses on mental health. I had previously worked for Mind for six months, but my main focus has been working in the field of addiction, which I only had to stop doing after four years because of my declining physical health.
However, I have had decades of life experience with mental health, both my personal experience and experience of trying to help friends. I also have a lot of personal experience with dealing with therapy and their providers.
At Sixth form college I studied psychology because I wanted to figure out how to help myself, and to better understand my problems. I also studied sociology, because I wanted to understand why societies and groups behave as they do. This was also one of the reasons for doing my degree in psychology and counselling.
As for blogging, I had zero connection to the community until I started blogging myself. Is that uncommon for bloggers?
What is the hardest part about having a successful blog?
I wouldn’t know, I don’t have a successful blog. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to engage with people who want to read my blog, and not just connecting with other bloggers. Don’t get me wrong, connecting with other bloggers is great, but it’s content readers who will make my blog a success.
I’m now on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to try and improve my chances of reaching people who want to read my blog. But it’s all still early days, I only started blogging at the end of January 2019.
I guess the hardest part is reaching a big enough reading audience for your blog. If I can at least make enough revenue to cover the hosting costs of my blog, then I’ll consider myself successful. Until them I’m still a blogging noob.
What is the biggest challenge the mental health community faces currently?
I think the biggest problem for the mental health community is gaining the understanding of not only your friends and family, but from your places of work and your government. Mental health is a very underfunded area, and the waiting lists in my country for therapy is a joke. Thus, the biggest challenge is to get the funding they need from the government to provide all those who need treatment, with treatment, and in a timely manner. The government also needs to make mental health studies mandatory at schools, so no one has to suffer the mental health ignorance the generations before them have had to endure.
What are 5 things many people do not know about you?
Well, I guess the first one in this case is that many of the people who know me due to my blog, have little idea of what I actually look like. I’ve kept it that way, for now at least, because then I can be completely open about my problems due to the anonymity it provides.
I meet my first three real partners in a club when I was wearing a full-length skirt. I don’t know how or why it worked out like that, but I guess some people find a guy in a skirt attractive, ha ha ha.
The only time I’ve experience true love and euphoria, without taking drugs, is during sex with someone new for the first time. For about a minute I become overwhelmed with the feeling of love and euphoria, and then it goes, never to return again with that person. Which really, really sucks.
When I was taking drugs, I use to sell weed and ecstasy in order to fund my own abuse of drugs. But I turned my life around after I was arrested. This was what led to me going to university to study psychology and counselling, to try and create a normal life for myself whilst trying to help others avoid the life I had.
I actually have a very poor inner eye, so I really struggle to visualise stuff in my mind’s eye. This has really made engaging in creating art difficult, and I used to really love drawing as a kid. At best, I can have a fleeting blurry image appear for a second and that’s it.
What is your favorite book and why?
I haven’t read a work of fiction since primary school when I use to read the ‘The Little Vampire’ books. They’re pretty much the only work of fiction I’ve ever read on my own and because I wanted to, because I’m not a fan of reading. I’ve always found it difficult to read and have to reread the same sections and pages several times because I fail to take any of the information on the page in.
It’s really annoying to read through a page, go to change to the next, and realise you have no idea what you’ve just read. Or, you start the next page and your confused because you can’t remember anything from the page before, so it’s like you’ve just randomly picked a new page to read.
It turns out that the problems I was having with reading, which is why I don’t like to read, is all down to being dyslexic. Which I occasionally blog about to help spread awareness, along with mental health. I have a problem with phonetics and my short-term memory. These greatly impact my ability to take in information from reading or being taught in education like in a lecture.
I instead have to find ways to engage my working memory instead, which is easier to do when reading non-fiction. Which is why my favourite book is Chaos by James Gleick. One of the few books I’ve ever read cover-to-cover, which also kept me interested in whilst reading it, thus motivating me to finish it. I think it’s a fantastic book.
Weirdly, I’m not actually a slow reader and can read pretty fast, as long as I don’t get caught up on a word I don’t recognise or can’t pronounce, because I don’t know the phonetics of the words.
What do you do when you are having a really hard day to lift your spirits?
My main go to is heavy metal, action films, or stand-up. Although due to the fact that I have more free time than I’d like due to my health, my self-care stuff has become less effective because I’m constantly using my selfcare just to keep myself from breaking down. I always have to keep my mind busy, and often multitask in order to achieve this. If I don’t, my mind goes to really dark places.
What makes a person brave?
Tough question. I guess stepping up even when every fibre of your body and mind are telling you can’t do it and you should run away. Whether that be putting yourself in physical harms way or mentally in harm’s way. Stepping up is stepping up.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself and why?
I’m Just Me. I can’t really think of any other way to describe me.
What is your biggest flaw?
My dyslexia has made life more difficult than it could have been. I used to always put my friends first, but I know longer do that because of the harm is caused to my wellbeing.
What is your greatest strength?
I have a knack for being able to play devil’s advocate. That makes me good at arguing when thinking on the fly.
What is your best childhood memory?
Completing Sonic The Hedgehog 2 in one attempt in the video game store before it closed, on the day it was released.
Where do you envision your blog in 5 years?
I honestly don’t know. I’m just focused on trying to get through my first year of blogging I hope it’ll at least cover the costs of paying for my blog hosting services.
I guess it would be nice to get some more of my work published by some mental health charities. I’d also like to start selling products that might help people with their mental health and then give some of the profits to charities, so I can do more to give back.
Where do you see the mental health community in 5 years?
Unfortunately, I see the mental health community still being stuck in the same place it is now in 5 years. But then I am a pessimist by nature, so hopefully society will prove me wrong.
Who do you follow to stay updated on all things blogging and/or mental health? Share their links below!
I actually mainly follow news companies to keep up to date for a lot of it, because it’s the most likely way to here about what the government is doing to help or hinder mental health support and services. But I also follow @TimetoChange, @SickNotWeak, and @MindCharity on both Facebook and Twitter as well in order to keep updated.
I don’t really have time to read the work of many bloggers consistently, because my dyslexia means I’m quite slow at creating my own blog posts. Then theirs the problems with my own self-care, which no longer seems to work anymore. Which is a shame, because theirs so many bloggers out there providing great content.
I’d also recommend, in no particular order:
@dads_dinners (although not a mental health blogger)
About the Author
I’m from a mixed ethnic background, who’s dyslexic yet studying a postgraduate degree. I also blog about my mental health, dyslexia, health (invisible disabilities), and related content.
Follow me at:
Thanks, Unwanted Life, for participating in my interview series, Meet the Blogger! I loved your responses, and I truly appreciate you taking the time out to answer my questions. Best wishes on all your blogging endeavors!
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