Each week we are highlighting a different Chronic Illness Bloggers’ member as our ‘Blogger of the Week‘. As well as getting to know each other better, we hope that you enjoy this series and that you find the interviews with each member to be insightful and helpful.
This week our blogger of the week is Ness of The Girl With The Five Lads.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am annoyingly smiley and positive so I irritate morning people so much. This also confuses people when they find out I suffer from anxiety and depression. Developing coping mechanisms long ago was one of the best life choices I made. My blog reflects this, I try my best each day to love life and create a positive happy existence. Being an ex-nurse and complementary therapist I fully understand the benefit of writing as a therapy so when I became ill I blogged about it. My aim is to share positivity and help others find happiness. Most of my days I am bed/couch bound through illness, resting with chronic illness is an essential, not a luxury. I am so lucky as I live with my five best friends (my sons). Being a mum to five sons is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. They are my world and we really do have a laugh together.
2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
‘The Girl With The Five Lads‘ is the name of my blog and it is a British Family Lifestyle Blog. Nine years ago when my sons were age 1, 4, 9, 10 and 12 we became a single parent family. We went everywhere together, I became known as THE GIRL WITH THE FIVE LADS (hence the blog name!). The blog covers the ordinary life as a family, chronic illness, all things beauty, makeup, style, fashion, crafting, recipes and positive living. My aim is to make people with a chronic illness know that there is so much more to life than being defined by pain and chronic illness.
3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started blogging as a therapy to find acceptance, I am a frustrated writer. Very early on I realised that by sharing my story, warts and all, I could make other people feel less isolated and alone. “Me too” is such an effective tool to help others, raise awareness and learn from fellow chronic illness sufferers in the process. My blog is just over one-year-old.
4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
At the moment, my blog schedule is twice a week. I share a pictorial blog on Friday of all the images from my iPhone: my family’s happiness and our ordinary moments of the week. Every Sunday I share a lifestyle blog about any of the topics I write about, from chronic illness to make-up, parenting to reviews. I can manage better this way as it is very difficult to function some days with fibro fog and poor mental clarity. Blogging for me is now relaxation and I never want it to become stressful.
5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
I feel enriched by blogging on so many levels. It has helped me to make contact with my own “me too” people. I feel at home; a spiritual bond of mutual understanding with so many within the chronic illness community. It is a place that has enabled me to be who I am and accept my illness. It is really confusing when you become ill. The transition from old you to new you is difficult, so writing about it helped me to condense my emotions.
6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
I read textbooks about chronic illness when I was a therapist and I thought I knew all about many conditions. I was so wrong! You do not “get” chronic illness until you get it. Blogging is a platform to raise awareness and show people what it is really like. Education and real language can break down the barriers, stereotypes, and misconceptions.
7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
1. Love your blog and make it ooze with your own personality. There are so many blogs that are flat and boring with the same level of passion as the sex life of a ping pong ball. Be yourself and be proud of your own words. Never compare yourself to anyone else.
2. Make a list of everything you detest about blogs. Hard to find menu/too busy/constantly asking to subscribe/overuse of long words to look good/music/flashing lights/slow links/boring images/hard to read fonts/no social media links. If you know what you do not like it becomes so much easier to make an enjoyable utopia to write.
3. Even if you blog only once a month, keep up with social media daily. If someone finds your page and the last update was weeks ago, chances are they will not return.