Going meta: Observations and topics for the future

So the this blog is now a few months old and I wanted to take a second to note my experiences in writing it so far.  This is not the first blog I’ve ever run – it’s the third, I think – and there are, as you can imagine, a few things that make it stand out.

First, some comments about the audience for this blog, and this came as a surprise.  There aren’t quite as many people reading it as I had hoped.  That’s disappointing.  But, what is surprising is the level of engagement.  My posts here get more likes and comments than they ever did on any previous blog.  That’s surprising and interesting.  It tells me that the people who are interested in mental health are passionate about the topic and want to engage with it.

Second, a realization about the topics.  The most popular entries for this blog are, in order:

  1. What you should know if you love someone with depression
  2. A shameful disparity: Minorities and mental illness
  3. 4 ways to stop an anxiety attack
  4. Depression is more than feeling sad

What connects these entries?  Well…not a lot, actually.  Not that connections all four of them, anyway.  Numbers 1, 3 and 4 all provide some unique insight on mental illness.  #1 was far and away my most popular entry, and I think that’s because it’s something with which people can sympathize.  The lesson, for me, is that people seem to really be interested in entries that provide some level of up close examination for mental illness, and that is what I will continue to try to focus on.

With a few exceptions, the entries where I focus on more public policy aspects of mental illness are not as well read.

So, going forward, here are my plans for this blog:

  • Provide that unique insight: Without sounding too much like a self-aggrandizing schmuck, people – particularly those with some sort of mental illness – seem to truly appreciate this discussion – and I don’t just mean the blog.  I think others like hearing that there are people out there, like me, who are in recovery.  I will continue to blog about that topic, and try to make sure that people know there is hope, regardless of what sort of mental health disorder you suffer from.
  • Serve as a resource for families & friends: The most popular blog entry – one which discussed what family should know if they love someone with a mental illness – was an interesting lesson for me.  We constantly talk about people who suffer from a variety of diseases, but we don’t focus enough on the caregivers.  That’s something I’d like to explore more as the blog goes forward.
  • Explore the interaction between technology and mental illness:  I’m scared – really scared – about our over dependence on technology and social media.  I worry about how this may affect mental health.  I’ve written a little about the topic in the past, but I really think this is one that is going to blow up over time.
  • Discuss public policy and mental illness: I know, I know – I said above that those entries aren’t as popular.  That being said, they are still read and I think they serve a useful purpose.  Like it or not, mental illness is largely affected by public policy, a topic I am all too familiar with in my real job.  For both my readers – and for me – it’s something I am going to continue to focus on.
  • Promote my book: If you’ve made it this far, you get a secret – in the first half of 2018, I’ll have a fiction book published.  I’m not going to reveal too much of the details yet – don’t worry, I will! – but know that it is a young adult, sci-fi adventure – one that deals with mental health and living with depression and anxiety.  You can expect to hear more about this one later.

Now, all of that being said, a blog isn’t a blog without readers.  So, let me ask you, my friends – what can I answer for you?  What questions would you like to see this blog explore?  What topics are you interested in?

Let me know in the comments below – and thanks so much for reading!

 

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