Everyone has a story to tell, and not everyone will choose to share it with others. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The worst is when you feel as though your experiences are invalid because you’ve chosen not to share the details of what you’ve been through. It’s okay to be private in your journey; there is bravery and vulnerability within that too. So please, don’t ever feel otherwise.
As someone who has been very private in the past, I've spent the last few years gravitating towards bloggers that have made mental health awareness a priority. There's a lot in regards to mental health you can’t learn from a textbook. I’m constantly amazed how much I've been able to learn from mental health bloggers on a tiny corner of the internet. There has been gaps and misconceptions in my own understanding of things, so I'm particularly thankful for safe spaces that have allowed others like me the opportunity to learn. When I made the decision to share my connection to mental health, I knew I had to put together a list of mental heath bloggers I've been following for a while. Some of them I have met in person, while others I have been rooting for (and learning from) silently from the sidelines. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon their spaces, and I'm so thankful for their real, vulnerable, and uplifting vibes!
Kellie Anderson from PaleJacket
Kellie was one of the first year students who lived on my floor when I was a residence advisor for the very first time. She has taught me more than I’ve probably ever taught her, and she's a force to be reckoned with. Her space, Palejacket, is an honest lifestyle, travel, and mental health blog where she shares her lifelong battle with depression and anxiety.
If you’ve heard or watched 13 Reasons Why, you’re probably aware of all the controversy surrounding the show. Although my own stance on it is unclear, Kellie’s post, I Need To Talk About 13 Reasons Why is worth a read. Although the show might not be a trigger for some, it can very well be a trigger for others. Whether we agree or disagree about the concerns surrounding the show, we have no place to tell other how they should or shouldn't feel while watching it. The language we use while talking about the show is something to be mindful of. Yes, we can’t protect children from everything. Trust me, as a primary grade teacher I understand that more than ever. However, that doesn’t mean the concerns surrounding the show aren’t valid concerns that others may have. If this show claims to be about mental health advocacy, then it's going to be held to a higher level of scrutiny from the mental health community. I'm so happy Kellie has chosen to talk about this show, and is doing her part in shining light on a topic that has been getting a lot of chatter!
Ashna Khanna from Resilience Diaries
I met Ashna through Instagram, and began following her shortly before she started Resilience Diaries. Ashna uses her space as a way to share her experience with Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to a traumatic incident she suffered at 14 years old. Her story is not mine to tell, so please head on over to Resilience Diaries to learn more about this beautiful and resilient young woman. Her desire to help others is incredibly inspiring, and she’s been someone I’ve met online who I really want to connect with in person - I think we’d make really great friends!
For all of you Harry Potter fans out there, Ashna wrote a phenomenal piece called Five Reasons Why Being Diagnosed is like Being Sorted Into Hogwarts. As a teacher, I always worry about the children who are diagnosed at an age when they may feel their diagnosis makes them “weird” or "strange" or "different". Pieces like this, where children can relate to a book or character they enjoy, is a great way for them to make sense of things! I know a lot of kids who'd really benefit from a read like this. If you know someone who really enjoys HP or has recently been given a diagnosis, please share this post with them!
Joanne from Light Project Stories
While browsing my explore page on Instagram, I came across a picture that first looked like a typical self-care Sunday photo of colouring books and crayons. After clicking on the picture, and reading the caption, I realized it wasn’t just a self-care Sunday post I was looking at. I was looking at a safety kit for suicide prevention. Joanne, from Light Project Stories, uses her space as a way to educate others on what individuals with mental illnesses have to cope with on a daily basis. She shares her personal journey with a bipolar disorder, and is constantly shining light and breaking the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Once I saw Joanne’s picture of her suicide prevention kit, I couldn’t help but think about all the people on her feed who would have really benefited from her post. We often talk about how we need to show up for those who are struggling, but to see such a raw and meaningful post like that...it gave me chills. I could instantly tell that Joanne was someone who genuinely wants to help others while ending the stigma in the process. You can find her Instagram here.
People are so uncomfortable having conversations surrounding suicide, it's often something that is pushed under the rug. For people considering suicide, it's something they are always thinking about. Instead of suffering in silence and allowing others to suffer in silence, Joanne shared a very personal part of her life. Through her post, she encourages others who may be experiencing something similar, to make their own suicide prevention kit. After that post, I spent about an hour going through her feed. With every passing post, I realized how raw, authentic, and necessary her posts were for the mental health community. There are so many misconceptions about bipolar disorder, I knew I needed to follow her journey and learn more from her. By sharing some of her darkest days, Joanne’s constantly reminding others to never stop fighting. We all need more Joanne’s in the world, who continuously make it a priority to help others despite their own struggles. From the bottom of my heart Joanne, thank-you so much for being here and creating a space like Light Project Stories. You are teaching me more than you'll ever know.
Kayley Reed from Wear Your Label
Kayley Reed is the CEO and Creative Director of Wear Your Label, a clothing line that sparks conversations about mental health. While battling both an eating disorder and depression, Kayley and her friend Chris thought of an idea to make clothes that’d help make conversations surrounding mental health a little easier to begin. Wear Your Label has become a community that is working towards bringing people together while reminding them that it’s okay not to be okay. 1 in 5 people live with mental illness, but 5 in 5 have mental health - this is something that is constantly driving WYL every day. I have met so many brave and vulnerable people through this community, and as a clothing brand, WYL is always finding ways to improve themselves and become even more inclusive. I’m so happy to be getting involved with WYL, and I really just want anyone reading this post to know there is a whole community of people rooting for you!
Kayley also has a personal blog that can be found here. On this space she shares her experience with an eating disorder, how it’s like to live with with trichotillomania, entrepreneurship, her cute little kitten Rose, and even her experience using a capsule wardrobe (for all you stylists out there!!!) She's always looking for ways to bring content creators together, and I really appreciate all that she stands for!
Jaquie Blake from Chronically Jaquie
I first heard about Jaquie through @Helper_Dog_Harlow, Jaquie's service pup in training for Jaquie's chronic and invisible illnesses. While following Harlow on Instagram, I witnessed a number of different ways Harlow would regularly help Jaquie. There is nothing in this world that I love more than dogs, and seeing how important Harlow is for Jaquie's overall wellbeing melts my heart entirely. Jaquie went on to create her own IG handle @chronically_jaquie (in addition to Harlow's) to share her medical journey in more detail. Although Jaquie does not call herself a mental health blogger, by sharing her darkest days, she reminds others who are alone that it's okay not to be okay. She now does daily vlogs to educate others on the realities of living with chronic and/or invisible illnesses. Whether or not you suffer from a mental health illness, a chronic illness, or an invisible illness, Jaquie teaches all of us about compassion and empathy. I know that she is helping so many others who feel alone and unrepresented, feel a little more heard. Although chronic and invisible illnesses are known to take a toll on you physically, it can also take a toll on you mentally. By sharing her battles, and medical complications, Jaquie is constantly reminding others to keep pushing forward and to use the resources around them to get the help they need. I've linked Jaquie's Youtube Channel here. She is such a ball of positivity, and is constantly advocating for awareness.
I'm so happy to have shared these strong and beautiful bloggers with all of you! It has felt so good sharing more of myself with all of you in the past month. Mental health was the inspiration behind this blog, and I'm so happy to be connecting with others and having these important conversations. Please have a look at these spaces I've shared, and remember that you are never alone in your struggles. There is a whole community out there who understands you, hears you, and is rooting for you ... every single day. I hope no matter what you're going through, you're able to find people to connect with. If you're ever lost or unsure, know that you can start right here with any of these ladies I've mentioned.
A 24 year old Canadian living (& teaching) in Shenzhen, China.