I started this blog only in September, though I’d been writing regularly on LinkedIn and posting occasional YouTube videos. I wanted a place where I could consolidate my work and have a platform to further explore and share my thoughts and experiences. Not only that, but I also wanted somewhere that, while it might be a slow build, was not at the whims of the algorithm.
It's been a big step for me, but a process that I've been enjoying. It's been wonderful to hear about the impact some of my writing has had on people.
To finish the year, I wanted to share the five most popular articles in my blog's short life alongside a couple of bonus articles I've published elsewhere.
3 Life Lessons I Learned from my Dad
This was comfortably my most read article, and also the one that I found the most rewarding to write.
I often find myself reflecting on the things that my dad did or said and the influence that they've had on me as a person. As I've grown up I've appreciated much more about him and the choices that he made.
I wish that he had been able to meet his grandsons (and they would have loved that he was into video games), but sharing the many (often funny) stories means my sons have still got to know him.
How Do I Feel about Returning to Normal after the Pandemic?
I wrote this article shortly after speaking at my first in-person event since that first lockdown. I’ve been enjoying working from home but was also feeling more anxious about travelling again and meeting people in person.
Many people were experiencing different things, from being desperate to meet in person again, to those not wanting to at all.
I, therefore, wanted to share my experiences about how I was feeling beforehand and what effect meeting with people in-person again had on me.
What Does "The Matrix" Tell Us about Mental Health?
I’m a big film nerd and was blown away by The Matrix when I saw it for the first time in the cinema. Not only was it groundbreaking, but it also explored ideas of people living within a simulation, which had been a fascination of mine growing up.
The Matrix can be interpreted on many levels. When I recently re-watched it through the lens of my experience with depression and anxiety, I wanted to explore the idea of how we shape our reality through our beliefs and projections about ourselves.
I’m very interested in exploring mental health and other concepts in different ways, and so I enjoyed discussing this through film.
How Did My Depression Feel? A Poem about Wanting to Escape
This was something a little different for me. I have spoken a lot about my experience with depression, and one aspect that always stood out to me was the feeling of increasing dread commuting into work. It would build up the closer I got, and I would imagine walking straight past the office and running away from it all.
Poetry felt like the ideal way of expressing how I was feeling at the time, every morning.
What is Catastrophising? 3 Ways to Manage Catastrophic Thinking
During my therapy sessions, I discovered that I was using every unhelpful thinking style in the book. It was very helpful to see these written on paper so that I could begin to understand them and make sense of my experiences to date.
One of the stand-outs for me was catastrophic thinking. I would frequently wake at night panicking that something terrible was going to happen or beat myself up on a walk home from work, ruminating on something that happened during the day and projecting that into something ever-more terrible.
I discovered three strategies for dealing with these unhelpful thoughts and shared them in this article.
As I’ve been building my writing habit, I’ve experimented more and have published some articles on the Medium platform. I’m still developing my writing style, my confidence, and my voice and Medium provides a useful place to write that doesn't detract too much from the central premise of this blog.
Two of the articles you can find there are:
Is There a Story You’ve Never Lived Down? Where I remember an ill-fated trip to Italy, where I discover a dubious flair for the language.
Running for Souvenirs, a short piece where I look at my various running medals from the perspective of being souvenirs from my holidays.
Thank You for Being on This Journey with Me
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brené Brown
As an introvert, I would never have dreamed of writing a blog or sharing YouTube videos, never mind talking about my feelings and mental health. I was always too concerned about what other people would think or how they would judge me, afraid of getting things wrong and believing that, in any case, I had nothing to say.
Yet here I am. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway—and loving it.
It’s a continuous journey, fuelled by a desire to promote more conversations about mental health and learning about how we can each care for our wellbeing. I now know that this also helps me to explore a new side of me that had remained hidden and locked away. I’m excited to see what 2022 holds.
I’ve been truly touched by the support, the kind words, and people sharing their personal stories with me. Thank you for reading my articles. It helps me to know that I’m not writing into the void, and I am finding my way to help to support others.
I'd also like to thank the amazingly supportive community at the London Writer's Salon, who have offered so much support and encouragement and the daily Writers' Hour has been an important part of building my writing habit.
2021 has been another challenging year, and we head into the Christmas period with further uncertainty around coronavirus. I hope that you and your families are safe and well and that we can have reasons for optimism heading into 2022.
Thank you for all your support, it means the world to me.