Tuesday, February 19, 2019

10 Ways That Shows Blogger LOVE

I posted this article on February 14, 2017, however, it is helpful to bloggers. Therefore, take notes! Thank you.

What is more important? The message, messenger, or number of readers, and comments?

I may not be the best blogger, but me and my blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia, was recognized and requested by some of the best… Huffington Post, a powerhouse and community-oriented pharmaceutical company, and organizations outside of my state, and country; including countless radio, and public relations’ requests to be on their shows, etc.

When I started my personal blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia (2008), I was scared, anonymous, however very much honest, which was at times uncomfortable for me as the blogger author, and it was overwhelming for some readers.

However, my blog has been mentioned in numerous articles, received a lot of attention from fellow bloggers, and was awarded by many of my blogging friends. I say all this to encourage you to consider my experience, reasons for my M.I.A. (Missing In Action), and maturity, love, and growth with my livelihood and online reflections in my blog.

This is for You Blogger Newbies, a few gifts to indulge, glance at, practice, or just click-n-go to another interesting blog, and article on your screen… and to my fellow bloggers those I know, and/or will get to know, please add more gifts to our “Love Day” dedication to our new blogging peers. This list should offer many don'ts, and why they are don'ts, but also increase readership, respect, and comments!!!
  1. Keep it real
  2. Never apologize
  3. Invite feedback
  4.  Be mindful of focus
  5. Go with the flow
  6. Always engage in self-care
  7. No rambling allowed
  8. Be sensitive to causes
  9.  Stay in your lane
  10. Respect privacy

Keep It Real
From Day One, I was honest and still am. Readers expect that from me… However, keep it safe and within your own style, approach, and delivery, and comfort.

Never Apologize
In the past, I’ve apologized to readers for not blogging. I stopped doing that for me. I blog because I love to write and reflect and to connect with others not because I am obligated. Finally, my reasons for not apologizing anymore is because I have legitimate personal reasons and excuses I choose not to disclose in detail with the world.

Invite Feedback
I engage readers with a question… it’s like text messaging, if you don’t ask a question you may only get a read or maybe “ok.” Therefore, ask for feedback relative to topic.  

Be Mindful of Focus
I’ve had the wonderfully talented Sade music artist singing on my blog to a few of her greatest hits; reality check, not everybody wants to hear my music while reading my blog about my diagnosis at that time. Maybe they prefer a different tune such as rock music. Maybe readers want to read and not be distracted by sounds not of their choice… I’m just saying.

Flashing colors and banners can be another distraction. Finally, too many advertisements distracts me personally, so why would I want to dump too many advertisements on readers?

Go With The Flow
Scheduling. I write whenever led. Fellow bloggers may keep a routine, which works for them. However, I don’t want to set myself up for failure, therefore I don’t tell readers I will post every week on a certain day or time of month. Yet, that may be appropriate for paid bloggers…

Always Engage In Self-care
My wellness is more important than anything, any appearance, blog and message, numbers, etc.

No Rambling Allowed
This is a blog, not a lecture, speech, or face-to-face conversation. Keep it direct, juicy, full of substance, and quality…

Be Sensitive To Causes
One time I posted a picture of fighting chickens, because I liked the shades of color and imagery. However, I quickly deleted that post because I was unknowingly offending a lot of people who love and respect animals, including online sites that I wanted to collaborate with, and to exchange links. Thus, be sensitive to groups because you never know when you want to work with others, and to never offend that collaborating partnership.

Stay In Your Lane
I live in the south, “The Bible Belt.” A lot of things I should not say, and do not say while speaking to people in public in our southern communities. However, I may disclose in upcoming books, for your information. However, for blogging you may want to channel, refrain, and touchup a few things. For example, cursing, religious direction, politics, and other controversy. I am not saying don’t be yourself, however, present in a way that is mindful unless you just don’t give a ____ (you know the rest)!

Respect Privacy
In the beginning I occasionally gave a shout out to frequent commentators; in agreement, acknowledging, etc. Despite the love, I later realized I put undue pressure on them. Therefore, appreciate frequent commentators, but don’t put them on the spot!

Depending on the blog topic, you may want to hide the “following” section that links back to readers profile pages. I removed the following section because I wanted to further respect my readers by not putting their readership picks on blast and understanding that my blog can be taboo for a lot of families and individuals, and I don’t have any regrets about leaving it off.

By the way, never forget that you are the boss; any advertisements, colors, pictures, etc. is a part of your signature and style, don't let my list override you!-just consider it. Lastly, do add to the list. Do state your reasoning for disagreement. And do share your blog!!!

Prevent Your Diagnosis from Becoming A Deal-breaker: Therapy Starts The Conversation on Disclosure

How did you disclose your diagnosis? Did your condition build a closer bond, or become a deal-breaker? There are many reasons for disclosure in relationships. Disclosing can be uncomfortable, however, it gets better. Disclosing my diagnosis is a choice, which is also an opportunity to share one of my greatest vulnerabilities, and powerful testimonies.

Generally, disclosure enhances my relationship with my friend and partner. My experience disclosing has become easier, and easier, over the course of recovery since age 20. Now age 32, I have enough experience to provide helpful insight to peers as an advocate, friend, and partner in a relationship.

My schizoaffective disorder, which combines bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, is manageable. However, my mental health concerns demand a lot of attention. A common symptom is  mood swings. Having moody persons in my life is frustrating, because based on their mood they may either engage, disconnect, or create confusion based on poor communication, and unknown emotions that include triggers. Unfortunately, my diagnosis makes me more susceptible to having mood swings, which is annoying, but also a way of life, which demands coping skills to better manage.

Triggers are acts, or events, which stir reactions and consequences. Generally, my symptoms may  become triggered by stressful situations such as financial concerns, disagreements, and unexpected setbacks, or major problems, losses, and crisis. However, stress, triggers, and moodiness is a part of life! Yet, I do not have to settle.

When I feel triggered it disrupts my mood, and creates concerns. I manage my diagnosis with support from my treatment team, therapist, and support system, or friends and family.

In the beginning I needed guidance on ways to disclose. I addressed these concerns in therapy. Disclosing my diagnosis requires awareness, opportunity, and desire to take relationship further. I learn more about my diagnosis by articulating concerns in therapy. However, educating others on how my diagnosis effects me is an important factor in disclosure. Whenever I disclose I understand this process incorporates question and answer, stigma-busting, and education about how triggers effect my symptoms and outcomes.

Therefore, I aim to build self-awareness, practice self-care, and request additional support. First, I need support as an individual in recovery. My symptoms can be hard to detect, because they effect my mood and thoughts. My therapist helps me stay aware and accountable as does my support system.

A great reason for my disclosure is to capture warning signs that symptoms are becoming concerning. In the past, my moodiness alerted friends and partner. I am still learning how to better manage symptoms. If my friend or partner were unaware of my diagnosis these symptoms would become a significant problem for relationships.

Another reason for disclosure is to support a lasting relationship, and prevent my diagnosis from becoming a deal-breaker. Therefore, educating my partner about my diagnosis is a must for me, which I learned how to articulate.

In other words, my needs in relationships include: disclosure to support my recovery, and for understanding of my challenges, in order, to have room for imperfection, and to grow in the relationship. Relationship requires effort to function in unison smoothly. My relationships work better when I disclose.

I learned the benefits of disclosure from experience. However, as mentioned disclosure can be uncomfortable, and demands awareness and opportunity. To learn how to disclose a peer may engage in therapy for tips as I did, or get first-hand knowledge from peers. Some peers, caregivers (or care-partners) do not have access to these resources. Fortunately, the internet is creating access for people where traditional therapy (in-person) sessions did not work, but online therapy may be an option.

Therapy engages peers and care-partners for the wellness of the relationship. After an individual gains tools to interact, educate, and to disclose the next part of the process is timing, which varies. As we know, a lot of people do not want to disclose for various reasons that include: stigma, negative stereotypes, and fear of rejection, or another deal-breaker. I choose to disclose sooner than later to minimize rejection, and to focus on persons who are willing to explore my challenges, and get to know me for me.

For peers and partners therapy may be a great way to learn more about the diagnosis, oneself, and how to engage the relationship in a healthier manner. Enjoy the people in our lives, because life is stressful, and having a supportive friend, and partner can make recovery, and life, a little better and happier!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Blog Book-Writing Workshop - 1 MAR 2019

A Portion Of Proceeds Go To NAMI Georgia - National Alliance On Mental Illness

Contact Ashley for Details on $10 Discount for Workshop, TODAY. 

Living with Schizophrenia Documentary- Ashley (Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Non-Branded Education, 2011)

Here is a glimpse of my recovery story, which Janssen Pharmaceuticals, (Johnson & Johnson) filmed in 2011. This is a documentary titled: Living with Schizophrenia: A Call for Hope and Recovery, is about three peers in recovery, as well as professionals, and caregivers. To learn more about my recovery story, purchase my book, What's On My Mind? on Amazon. My book is a collection of blog entries from my personal blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia (2008). 

I am an advocate for mental health through my blog, and Self-Discovery Pain, Positioning, & Purpose, Inc. (SD-PPP). I serve on the Executive Board. SD-PPP provides awareness on mental illness, bullying, and suicide prevention. Self-Discovery Pain, Positioning, & Purpose, Inc. will have our 2019 International Mental Health Tour coming to a city near you!

I am also advocate with NAMI Georgia. NAMI is National Alliance on Mental Illness, which was founded in 1979,and is a national grassroots non-profit organization. NAMI Georgia offers a range of support groups that are open to the community. NAMI Georgia is a great organization, because we are advocates for mental health, and awareness with focus on recovery and the many faces of mental illness. I am a former board member for NAMI Georgia (2012-2014), and state trainer for In Our Own Voice (IOOV). IOOV is a lived experience presentation by peers in recovery. To learn more about NAMI Georgia visit their website: 

Finally, I will facilitate a blog book-writing workshop at NAMI Georgia's office in Atlanta. My blog book-writing workshop is Friday, March 1, from 9 to 11 am, cost: $60. This workshop will guide individuals on blogging, and creating a blog book! Your blog book is a gift to our readers.

Read more about my recovery story in my book, What's On My Mind? (Amazon). Support Self-Discovery, Pain, Positioning, & Purpose, Inc. 2019 International Mental Health Tour, and NAMI Georgia's annual conference. Lastly, attend my blog book-writing workshop through my new book coaching business, EMM Enterprise, LLC. Embracing My Mind Is Creating! Thank you, Overcoming Schizophrenia readers! Much love, Ashley 

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