So you know… (S.Y.K.)

Revenge of Eye So You Know

Revenge of Eve

It’s another week in Revenge of Eve’s So You Know (S.Y.K.).  The focus for this week is mental health stigma.

This week’s questions are:

  1. Do you struggle with your mental health (ie. diagnosed)?
  2. What is the most aggravating misconception as it relates to your diagnosis?
  3. Is there a family history of mental illness within your immediate family?
  4. If you could change the stigma that surrounds mental illness, how would you go about doing so?
  5. Do you believe that maintaining our mental wellness will ever rank in importance with maintaining our physical health? Why or why not?

 

My answers:

  1. Do you struggle with your mental health (ie. diagnosed)?  I have a diagnosis of major depressive disorder.
  2. What is the most aggravating misconception as it relates to your diagnosis?   The idea that I’m depressed “about” something is pretty obnoxious.  But probably the most aggravation has come from employers who apply the usual stereotypes of dangerousness, unpredictability, and incompetence.
  3. Is there a family history of mental illness within your immediate family?  Nope.  The only mental illness in the family that I’m aware of is a great uncle with schizophrenia on my dad’s side of the family.
  4. If you could change the stigma that surrounds mental illness, how would you go about doing so?  I did a post not that long ago about researcher Patrick Corrigan’s book The Stigma Effect, and he said the research shows that having individual contact with “normal” people living with mental illness is the most effective way to combat stigma.  That means that we (or at least some of us), need to “come out” about living with mental illness.
  5. Do you believe that maintaining our mental wellness will ever rank in importance with maintaining our physical health? Why or why not?  No.  I’m not trying to be pessimistic, but maintenance of mental health is a pretty abstract concept, while maintenance of physical health is much easier to quantify.  Across the population I think concrete is likely to win out over abstract any day of the week.

 

About S.Y.K.:

  • There are no right or wrong answers… Your answers = Your opinion = Your life
  • Answer a few or one, whatever you are comfortable with
  • Pingback to any S.Y.K. post
  • Use the hashtag #SYK to tag your post
  • Be real.  If you feel a certain type of way, say it.  You were asked your opinion 😉 (double dog dare)

So You Know

Revenge of Eye So You Know

 

So You Know (S.Y.K.) is a new weekly challenge from Revenge of Eve.  This week’s questions are:

  • What is the soul?
  • What is religion?
  • What is spirituality?
  • What purpose do humans serve in the scheme of things?

 

What is the soul?

I conceptualize the soul as the energy that is contained within our body.  I also think of the physics law of conservation of energy, and so it makes sense to me that when we die the energy contained within us goes back into the earth.  Sort of a Lion King circle of life kind of deal.

What is religion?

When I think religion I think of organized belief systems that address broad issues like a higher power, greater purpose, and the meaning of life and death.  While this is something that can potentially give people a great deal of comfort, particularly during difficult times, rigid adherence to doctrine can cause a lot of problems.  It can also get in the way of acceptance of others, especially those with different belief systems, although that’s probably more about certain people’s interpretation than anything else.  The number of people who have been killed throughout history related to religious beliefs is truly frightening, and to me it shows that at its core religion may be about a higher power, but in practice its led by fallible humans who can become corrupted by power.

Personally the idea of an organized belief system doesn’t sit very well with me, so I am not and never will be a religious person.  My parents were atheists as well, so it’s probably not too surprising that I turned out this way.

What is spirituality?

I see spirituality as each person’s individual beliefs around the same sort of broader questions that religion addresses.  Spirituality may be based highly, somewhat, or not at all on religious beliefs.  Spiritual practices can include anything that allows us as individuals to connect with something greater than the microcosm of ourselves.

What purpose do humans serve in the scheme of things?

I’m not convinced there is a greater scheme of things, but I think if we can be compassionate towards others then we’ve done what we came here for.

 


 

If you want to join in, these are the S.Y.K. guidelines:

  • There are no right or wrong answers… Your answers = Your opinion = Your life
  • Answer a few or one, whatever you are comfortable with
  • Pingback to any S.Y.K. post
  • Use the hashtag #SYK to tag your post
  • Be real.  If you feel a certain type of way, say it.  You were asked your opinion 😉 (double dog dare)

3.2.1 Quote me! – Creativity

paints, brushes, and paper

It’s season 3 of the 3.2.1 Quote Me! game created by Rory at A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip.  Today’s topic is creativity, and thank you  to Beckie at Beckie’s Mental Mess for tagging me.

The rules (which I’m not going to follow entirely):

Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

Thank the Selector

Post 2 quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day.

Tag 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

Note: Although this is the topic for today there is no specific deadline to it, meaning you can answer as and when.

Please Note l will be reblogging your responses unless you wish for me to NOT do so.

 

This one clearly comes from a fellow introvert:

“Solitude is creativity’s best friend, and solitude is refreshment for our souls.” – Naomi Judd

The second one seems to capture the creative process particularly well:

“Creativity is a spark. It can be excruciating when we’re rubbing two rocks together and getting nothing. And it can be intensely satisfying when the flame catches and a new idea sweeps around the world.” – Jonah Lehrer

Why I like reviewing books

book sitting on a chair

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Do I actually know anything about how one is “supposed” to write a book review?  Absolutely not.  But I like doing them anyway, and here’s why.

I used to read a lot.  I always enjoyed non-fiction, but probably the majority of what I used to read was fiction.  Depression definitely makes reading harder.  Concentration is a challenge, and committing to a whole book can feel like a lot.  A lot of things don’t generate any interest in me, and fiction is pretty hard to get into. Choosing to do book reviews for the blog has been a good way to push myself to do more reading, and limiting it to mental health-related books boosts the likelihood that a book will be able to capture my attention.  When I know I’m intending to review a book, I’m much more likely to persist rather than give up a book isn’t really grabbing me.  Sometimes that just gets annoying, but mostly it’s a good thing.

Since my memory isn’t that great, I take a lot of notes as I’m reading a book that I intend to review.  The notes might consist of quotes, ideas, or opinions.  Taking notes helps me to better absorb the book’s message, and putting those notes together into a coherent review helps deepen that understanding.  Overall I think I usually get more out of a book I’m reading to review than one I’m not.

One of my favourite kind of reviews to do is books written by fellow bloggers.  I’ve gotten so much support from across the blogging community, and I like to have the chance to support other bloggers in what they’re doing.  It’s also a great way to get to know some of my fellow bloggers better by learning more about their experiences or creative inspiration.  By now I’ve read several books written by bloggers about their experiences with trauma. Each time, I feel truly privileged as I read them.  Privileged to be allowed into the dark places that all too often are kept hidden.  Privileged to bear witness to their journeys towards healing.  Privileged that they have been willing to share their vulnerability with me as a reader.

There are several different ways I get the books that I review.  Mass market books I borrow from the public library, either as a paper copy or an ebook.  Books by bloggers I generally get on Amazon as a Kindle ebook, although occasionally I’ll be given a free copy.  Recently I’ve started using NetGalley, which allows you to request reviewer copies from publishers of books listed on the site.  I have a Kobo ereader that’s not compatible with Kindle books, so those I read on my laptop using the Kindle reading app.  My Kobo is getting pretty old and I’ll probably buy a Kindle fairly soon.  In many ways I prefer reading paper books, but ebooks are just so much easier.

I realize that a lot of the people who read my reviews won’t end up reading the book themselves, but I want them to still be able to benefit from the books, so I choose to work in more about the content/message than I think might typically appear in a review.  If I’ve gotten something meaningful from the book, whether it’s an idea that works for me or doesn’t work, I want to be able to share it with people.

Outside of the blogosphere, do you do much reading?  If so, how do you approach it, and what’s the most important thing you get out of it?

 

You can find a list of my book reviews here.

If you’re interested in checking out the Kindle reading app for desktop or mobile device, you can get to it via my affiliate link to download for free.

Kindle app

 

White elephant challenge, guinea pig style

stuffed white elephant in a carriage

I (or more accurately, my furbabies) received the funky playhouse below from Rory at  A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip as part of the white elephant challenge created by Teresa of The Haunted Wordsmith.  This is what the white elephant challenge is all about:

Every day I kick the party off by listing three fellow bloggers and the gift I give them. No one is obligated to participate (though if people do, it’ll be more fun). If the gift recipient wants to participate, they will pick three bloggers and give them gifts. And so on until the following day. At that time I will share some of the funnier gifts that people have given or received.

creepy treehouse

Instead of gifting three specific bloggers, I’m going to give one gift to everyone, because we could all use a little more cuteness in our lives.  And no, this isn’t one of my own guinea pigs, because alas I don’t have a mini Santa hat. Merry Christmas!

How to build a mental health blog

It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game, but I think what’s really important in building a high quality mental health blog is engagement with the mental health community.  This has little to do with numbers and a whole lot to do with human connection.  I’m by no means an expert on any of this, but here are some strategies I’ve stumbled across in my time blogging that hopefully you might find useful when it comes to engagement.

Interact with the blogging community

This is my biggest recommendation.  Read other blogs that are in your niche, and like and comment on those blogs.  Search in the WordPress reader for blogs in that niche that you’re not following yet.  Also, check who else is commenting on the blogs you’re following; that can be a good way to connect with some new people who are interested in the same kind of topics.  Be genuine about trying to engage, because if you get spammy about it, you’re only likely to generate eye rolls.

Make sure your gravatar is connected to your blog site.  Click on your gravatar image on the top right corner of the WordPress reader website, and scroll down to profile links.  Make sure your correct blog address is there.  Sometimes I’ll see someone has followed me and I’m interested in checking out their blog, but I can’t get to it because I get a message saying the blog no longer exists.

If you get an idea from someone else’s post for a topic you want to write about, run with it.  Just make sure to include a link to their post in your own post.  It’s a good way to show you appreciate other bloggers and are part of the community dialogue.

Make your blog easy to read

I think this is particularly important in the mental health blogging niche, since a lot of us have problems with concentration related to our illnesses.  Pay attention to the length of your paragraphs.  With really long paragraphs you run the risk that the reader (such as me) won’t be able to maintain focus through a long unbroken wall of text and will give up on reading that post.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have long posts; just break them up into smaller paragraphs, and maybe throw an image in there somewhere.

Also, think about whether your choices of font and background colours are are easy to read.  Bright colours may add visual interest, but if they’re making it harder to focus on the text readers may be less likely to finish the whole post, which means they’re not going to be interacting with what you have to say.

Include some evergreen content

Evergreen content doesn’t go out of date, and people will continue to read and engage with it well after it’s first published.  A sign that you’ve got some evergreen content is when you keep getting a trickle of views/likes/comments weeks or months after you’ve published a post.  Consider doing follow-up posts on those topics or doing similar kinds of posts every so often to get a mix of evergreen and right-now kind of content.

Use social media

I’m not on Facebook or Instagram, so I can’t comment on those.  On Twitter, you definitely get back what you put in.  I tend to find Twitter overwhelming so I’m not very active on it, and that’s reflected in the amount of traffic that it directs to my blog.

With Pinterest, I used to pin straight from my published blog posts, and got very little traffic.  At some point I started creating designs on Canva and using those to make pins connected to my blog posts.  This bumped up my traffic from Pinterest considerably.  It’s hard to say how many of those people are actually engaging with my posts, but at least there’s the possibility.

Consider SEO

I’m certainly not a search engine optimization (SEO) guru.  Wordpress doesn’t offer advanced SEO tools on the free plan, so I have no experience there, but there are still some things you can do.  I got almost no traffic from search engines in the early days, and it wasn’t until my blog had grown substantially that I started to see that it was reaching people doing mental health-related searches  Still, I think it’s worth getting a foundation of some basic SEO strategies in place right from the get-go.

Google loves external links to your site; these show that not only are you active on your blog, but you’re out there in the broader online community.  These links can be hard to accumulate, but guest posting on other sites (see the next section) can definitely help.  Internal links also matter; this refers to links you include in a post to other posts on your site.  These links can also help your readers to refer back to your other content they may have missed originally.  Google Search Console is a useful tool for keeping track of all this.

Google (and of course blog readers) pays attention to your post name and headings, so make sure those accurately reflect your content.  You can also use tags for your posts, although keep in mind WordPress allows a maximum of 15 tags, after which it will just ignore all your tags.  Making sure your tags are relevant helps people to find your posts.  Google can’t see the images on your site, but what it can see is the “alt text” for each image, so you should enter a descriptive alt text for every image you use.  This is also helpful for any of your readers who are visually impaired.

Share your story

If you share your story with popular mental health sites like Stigma Fighters and Time to Change you can reach a much broader audience, and that can bring some brand new readers back to engage with your blog.  You can find listings of a variety of sites you can submit your writing to in my posts Spreading your writing wings and Ways to share your story.

Another option is to keep an eye out for fellow bloggers looking for a guest poster, or talk to a blogger you engage with regularly about doing a collaboration.  It can help you connect with other bloggers you might not have encountered yet.

Other sources of information

There are countless sites and articles with tips about increasing blog traffic.  Probably the most useful I’ve come across is a post on Startbloggingonline.com.  It has an extensive list of options, and while some of them are more business-oriented, many are also useful for the casual blogger.  A lot of sites focus on monetization, and it’s easy to start feeling like you’re drowning in the sea of information when it comes to that.  Keep in mind whether tips on a given site are geared toward a blog with the same purpose as yours, because pushy marketing strategies are probably not going to be very successful with a smaller-scale mental health blog.

Conclusion

There is no one right way to blog.  The most important thing is that it feels right for you.  Having engagement on your blog, whether that’s 10 loyal followers or 1000, can help make the blogging experience more meaningful.

What has helped you to generate engagement on your blog?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Canadian Thanksgiving actually happened a month ago, but I missed the boat on  that, so I thought I’d wish everyone a happy American Thanksgiving.  It’s also a good time to say how thankful I am for all of you.  This is an amazing community we’ve got going on, and I appreciate all of you every day.

Some other things I’m thankful for today:

  • my guinea pigs
  • my cozy home
  • my massage therapist
  • yummy fall comfort food
  • cozy slippers
  • being able to express myself through writing
  • being able to watch the birds outside my window
  • essential oils

What are you most thankful for today?

 

 

20(ish) Questions

I’m taking a break from doing blog awards since they can be time-consuming.  Instead, when I’m nominated for awards I’ll answer the questions posed to me in this 20(ish) questions format.  I’ll also answer questions from assorted other question tags and the like.  Feel free to join in the fun with your own answers to any or all of the questions 🙂

 

Questions from A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip‘s It’s Just Plain Silly!

  • How come you press harder on a remote control when you know the battery is dead?  I may be totally deluded, but I swear when the battery is on it’s last legs and you lean on it a bit, it might give one last gasp of power.
  • If an orange is orange, why isn’t a lime called a green or a lemon called a yellow?  Well why isn’t a pumpkin an orange?  The whole system is messed up.
  • Why is it that when you’re driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on the radio?  I actually don’t do that.  What I do instead is swear.  Loudly and repeatedly.
  • Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?  The lemon juice has artificial flavor because the makers are just as lazy as we are and can’t be bothered juicing a lemon and having to pick out the damn seeds.  And the closest dish soap has come to real lemons is the factory being down the street from the lemon farm.  You’d have to have super powers to throw a lemon off the tree and hit the dishwashing factory.
  • Why does the sun lighten our hair, but darken our skin?  I have to bite my tongue (fingers?) to keep from putting the correct answer, but instead I’ll say the California beach babe looks turns the sun on.
  • Why is it that people say they “slept like a baby” when babies wake up like every two hours?  And if you’ve ever been on a long-haul flight, you know how tempting it can be to pick up said baby and toss it down into the baggage compartment.  (no, I’m not actually a child abuser)
  • Why isn’t 11 pronounced “onety-one”?  I think we need to start a Change.org petition to get that shit taken care of.  One-teen is another option.  Eleven is just ridiculous.
  • What disease did cured ham actually have?  Syphilis.  It just needed a penicillin injection in the pork butt.
  • If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?  No way, because we have a shit ton of morons in this world yet are sadly lacking in morality.
  • What is something that everyone looks stupid doing?  Using a squat toilet and trying to reach for the non-existent toilet paper.

 

Questions from Nicole at Northern Irish Girl Online for the Sunshine Blogger Award:

  • What would your autobiography be called?  Crazy Guinea Pig Lady
  • Which animal would be the King/Queen/President (other gender-neutral terms are available and can be used, here) when (yes, I said when, the AI’s won’t be taking over, animals will) the animal kingdom rise up and take over?  Guinea pigs would slide on in because they’re just so cute no one would take them seriously until all of a sudden they’re dominating the world.
  • You’re on death row for a crime of your choice, what did you do, why did you do it, and what would your last meal be and why?  We don’t do death penalty in Canada, but I suppose I could be extradited to the US if I had happened to be doing some cross-border shopping, spotted a person who bullied me in the past, and ran his sorry ass over with my car (and backed up to do it again a few more times).  Last meal would be KFC.  And toss in some prosecco to drink straight outta the bottle.  Classy all the way.
  • If your pet/child or the fly that lives in your bedroom if you have neither, had to give you a reference for your dream job, what would they say and do you think you’d get the job?  My guinea pigs would say I do a pretty good job of feeding them, but I don’t give them nearly enough vegetables.  I’m not sure why they’d think that matters for a prospective job, but I’ve got to respect their priorities.
  • A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?  Probably it’s because I chugged that whole bottle of prosecco mentioned in the question above and I’m hallucinating.
  • How would you sell hot chocolate (cocoa) in the hottest country in the world?  It could be a billion degrees outside in India and people there would tell you that hot tea would be just the thing to help cool you down.  Converting them to cocoa could be more of a challenge.
  • If you were a pizza delivery person, how would you benefit from the use of scissors?  That would depend on whether or not I was Macgyver.
  • If you could have a machine that produced £100 for life, how much would you be willing to pay for it?  I’m awfully cheap, so I might try to get the guinea pigs to steal it for me.
  • If you could have dinner with three people alive or dead, who would you pick and why?  Having been in Italy recently, I’m going to go with the Renaissance artists (3 plus 1 bonus) who correspond to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello.  We could chat about anatomically correct statues of naked men, and why I had a crush on Raphael (the turtle version) when I was a kid.

 

Come on, you know you want to answer a few – that’s what the comments section is for!

20(ish) Questions

pile of question marks

I’m taking a break from doing blog awards since they can be time-consuming.  Instead, when I’m nominated for awards I’ll answer the questions posed to me in this 20(ish) questions format.  I’ll also answer questions from assorted other question tags and the like.  Feel free to join in the fun with your own answers to any or all of the questions 🙂

 

Questions from My Mind Reels Through Film:

  • what’s the most dangerous situation you have ever been in?  Slovakia, 2003, middle of the night, had accidentally gotten on the wrong carriage on the train.  Once the train was moving at full steam ahead, a staff person was leading us to the proper carriage.  Except as we were moving between carriages nothing was closed in and the only thing between us and the ground was a little bit of air.  Yikes.
  • what’s your favourite culture?  My own because it’s comfortable to me, but aside from that I think it’s hard to compare something on such a broad level.  A culture may have a very reach history but treat certain members like dirt.
  • what do you dislike about your own culture?  There have been improvements, but there’s still too much white privilege and gendering of society for my liking.
  • your favourite type of travel?  Backpacking overseas.  This isn’t quite as much the case any more, but I used to get huge satisfaction of finding the cheapest possible accommodation.  $1 USD per night in Phnom Penh, Cambodia was pretty darn exciting.
  • do you feel understood?  On WordPress, yes.  In ‘real life’ – yeah, not so much.
  • how do you feel about your body?  I’m just on the doorstep of 40, and I think of my body more in terms of function than aesthetics compared to when I was younger.
  • what is your favourite film?  Dirty Dancing – “No one puts Baby in a corner!”
  • are you adventurous with food? In general no, but one time I did have snail soup from a sidewalk vendor for breakfast in Vietnam, and I thought that was fairly adventurous.
  • have you ever hated a place and wanted to come home?  I didn’t hate India overall, but I hated how sick it made me, and I just wanted to go home to my own toilet.
  • are you bothered about others seeing you naked?  I’ve never been a fan of wandering around naked, in stark contrast to my father, which always grossed me out.
  • Are you a good loser?  Nope!
  • what was the favourite time of your life?  I liked the carefree party days back when I was doing my first university degree.  How can you not have fun dancing to S Club Party in the campus pub?
  • Do you have a close family connection  I’ve always been close to my grandma who is now 101 years old.  She’s just about to go into a care home, which is going to be a weird transition.
  • can you speak another language?  Not fluently, but I have a pretty good understanding of guinea pig.
  • will Trump be in for another term?  Dear god I hope not.  But looking southward from Canada, it’s truly bizarre that someone so far removed from simple facts has such popularity.
  • what are your thoughts on English people?  They eat Branston pickle, something I will never understand.  And Marmite.  ((shudder))
  • was life better without mobile phones?  Say you’re out having coffee with a friend.  You’re having a discussion about Branston pickle, and you’re not sure what the ingredients are.  Smartphone to the rescue!
  • what has been the biggest change in your life?  That all depends on what you want to look at as the starting point.  To follow up on the previous question, now I can look up Branston pickle in 2 seconds on my smartphone, whereas 20 years ago it might have taken me 10 minutes just to connect to dial-up internet (or far longer if someone else was using the phone).  If you’re my age you know what I’m talking about.  It’s a sound you never forget.
  • is climate change real?  I’m guessing the people who’ve had their homes destroyed by hurricanes would be jumping up and down yelling a resounding “yes!”
  • why do you like answering questions?  It lets me tap into my sense of humour, which is normally missing in action these days.

 

Come on, you know you want to answer a few – that’s what the comments section is for!

 

Image credit: qimono on Pixabay

20(ish) Questions

pile of question marks

I’m taking a break from doing blog awards since they can be time-consuming.  Instead, when I’m nominated for awards I’ll answer the questions posed to me in this 20(ish) questions format.  I’ll also answer questions from assorted other question tags and the like.  Feel free to join in the fun with your own answers to any or all of the questions 🙂

 

A few questions from A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip‘s Game On series – the philosophy of living life:

  • What is your take on ‘free will?’  We may have free will, but there’s a lot of free won’t floating around to get in the way.
  • We all ask ourselves at one time or another what is the point?  So what is the point to our existence?  There is no point.  Ah, the simplicity of being an atheist.
  • What is your belief on fate and Karma?  Lady karma got run over by a train a while back.
  • As a species, how do you think humans will become extinct or do you believe that we will not?  We’re killing off so many other species, I’m sure we’ll manage to kill ourselves off too.
  • What is your belief with regards the meaning of life?  It’s hidden inside a container of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
  • Ok, fess up, do you believe in aliens from outer space – is there really other life out there in the far reaching galaxies beyond our own?  It seems rather implausible that in this vast universe ours is the only planet with life.  But do those alien life forms know about us, and even if they do, do they give a shit about us?  Unlikely.
  • What doesn’t kill us – makes us stronger – yes or no? Explain.  Food poisoning doesn’t kill m (at least not yet).  It also doesn’t make me stronger.
  • If you could find out the exact time and cause of your death – would you want to know?  Nope.  Imagine all the time I’d end up spending on to do lists of shit to get done before dying.
  • Is it more important to help yourself, help your family, help your society, or help the world?  Well, no one else is going to help me if I don’t, so I’ll go with that.
  • What is the biggest waste of human potential?  Donald Trump.
  • Why do you think that as a species, humans need to believe in something? Be this religion, fate, karma, magical, mystique and so on.  Because it’s rather uninspiring to think that there’s no point to any of this.  Plus it can be a convenient cop-out to avoid facing up to one’s own bad behaviour.
  • If we could not retain any of our memories – who would we be?  We would be a bunch of people who didn’t pee in toilets because we wouldn’t remember what toilets are.
  • Time is such an important part of our world, but do you think you would notice if time was altered in any way?  Time is subjective anyway, and you throw in Einstein’s curvature of space time and then you’re all kinds of confused.
  • How important is play in living a healthy and fulfilling life?  I think the guinea pigs are a good model of healthy living, and they make plenty of time for play.
  • With no laws or rules to influence your behavior, how do you think you would behave?  I would wear pyjamas all the time.
  • Should euthanasia be legal? Why or why not?  Yes, I think people should have the right to die with dignity.  But this brings to mind the first time I heard the word euthanasia.  I was in high school at the time, and wondered what the big deal was about youth in Asia.

 

Questions from A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip‘s Game On series – Adventures and Travels:

  • What is the last holiday you took?  I recently went to Italy.
  • What is your most favourite place in all of the world that you have seen?  I’ve been to so many amazing places I’m not sure how I would pick.
  • Do you think travelling enriches your life, your learning, your wisdom or it’s just time off?  I think travelling is amazing for promoting an open mind.  Seeing all of the different ways other people live is a great way to see how we’re so diverse, yet fundamentally we’re all the same.
  • Recently l read, and it’s not new about windowless aircraft which will be the future of air travel, what are your views on this?  I’m indifferent to windows.  What matters to me, being on the taller side, is leg room.  I’m that person who will beat on you through the back of your seat if you try to recline it and take away a few precious inches of my legroom.  Manspreading is also an issue.  On a recent flight I sat next to a dude whose knees and elbows were both venturing into my seat territory, and I was very unimpressed.
  • In your opinion what is a great quote that symbolises adventuring and travelling?  I had to do a Google search for this, and found a good one from the late Anthony Bourdain: “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
  • What is a great song to get you in the mood for adventuring? [provide link please]  Down Under by Men at Work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfR9iY5y94s
  • When on holiday, travelling or adventuring – do you take books/kindle to read or simply rest on the knowledge that your time away is enough to provide all your stimulation anyway?  I used to take paper books and now I take my ereader.  It’s good for down-time like waiting at train stations.
  • Five best holidays you have had and list why?  They’ve all been good.  Definitely one of my faves was going on safari in Kenya and Tanzania and seeing all the wildlife.
  • Do you have a favourite blog that deals with adventuring or travelling that you read before you go?  Lonely Planet has always been my go-to for travel advice.
  • Are you a soloist traveller or prefer company?  Solo
  • What is the most significant lesson you have learned when adventuring?  That a little bit of impromptu sign language and a handful of super-basic English words pronounced in a local-style accent can go a long way in overcoming language barriers.
  • When in a new location, what are the first five things you check or do to ensure your adventure/holiday is successful?  First thing is figuring out the toilet situation.  You also have to figure out how to buy tickets for trains and various things – is this a rigid queue kind of place, or an elbows flying free for all?  You also have to watch how the locals cross the street.  Are traffic signals actually followed, or are they seen as more of a mild suggestion?
  • Are you a rigid planner for adventures, or just throw a few things into a bag and let the day take you wherever?  I plan.  That lets me be more efficient, which allows me to see/do more.
  • In your opinion what do you think is needed to make an adventure/holiday really successful?  A sense of curiosity.
  • Are you totally relaxed as in let your hair completely down, or hang on to a sense of reticence?  Being a solo traveller I’m cautious in some ways in order to stay safe, but otherwise I’m pretty relaxed.
  • How important is adventuring/holdaying away to you?  Very.
  • Are you completely and utterly true to your personality when ‘away’ or do you become someone else?  I’m more outgoing in general when I’m travelling.
  • You have been gifted a 42 day holiday of your dreams all expenses paid – where would you choose to go?  I’d really like to go to Tibet.

 

Come on, you know you want to answer a few – that’s what the comments section is for!

 

Image credit: qimono on Pixabay

20(ish) Questions

pile of question marks

I’m taking a break from doing blog awards since they can be time-consuming.  Instead, when I’m nominated for awards I’ll answer the questions posed to me in this 20(ish) questions format.  I’ll also answer questions from assorted other question tags and the like.  Feel free to join in the fun with your own answers to any or all of the questions 🙂

 

A few questions from A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip‘s Game On series – weird life stuff

  • Why are supposedly easy to open packages always so difficult to open?   To make doofuses like me feel really stupid.
  • Time to fess up … what music from your teenage years do you turn on and still dance to?  It’s not so much from my teenage years as my childhood in the 80’s – a little New Kids on the Block, Belinda Carlisle, Roxette…  Ah, good times…
  • What was either weirdest book you ever read or the weirdest film you ever saw? [Please provide link]  When I was in university a roommate of mine was doing a paper about porn, and so she wanted all of us roomies to watch porn together.  I think we were all virgins at the time.  Anyway, we borrowed Ass-openers 8 (or whatever number it was) on VHS from one of our guy friends, and had a girls night in watching Ass-openers.  It was very educational, and no, I will not be providing a link.
  • Time to fess up again, what was the weirdest or craziest fashion craze you were in to as a kid?  Well, since acid wash jeans have made a comeback that probably doesn’t count.  Perhaps the neon spandex bike shorts.
  • What words did you make up and claim as your own as a kid?  I wasn’t much of a neologist as a kid, but my brother made up a ton of words and the rest of the family adopted many of them.
  • In what game is the word snap used?  Going back to the 80’s theme, one in which you’re wearing a snap bracelet?
  • Have you ever gotten completely and utterly lost? Explain please.  Living in neat, orderly Canada I assumed that streets everywhere had names and signs displaying those names.  And then I started travelling and discovered yeah, not so much.  I have a good sense of direction and am good at reading maps, but there were a few times I got completely lost in India because of the total lack of street signs.
  • Did you have a favourite piece of clothing as a kid or even as an adult? [For me it’s my sneakers, serioulsy old and battered but l love them!]  I am totally in love with Gap maternity leggings.  No, I’m not pregnant, but these leggings fit right over my psych-med-weight-baby and they’re the comfiest thing ever.
  • Do you have any strange family traditions?  I could say we celebrate Festivus, except I’d be lying (unfortunately).
  • Have you ever taken part in some kind of weird adventure?  When I was in university and living in residence my roommates and I had somehow managed to break our toilet tank lid in half.  One night we pulled off a switcheroo and swapped our broken toilet tank lid with one we stole from a washroom elsewhere in the building.  And we were drunk at the time, so we thought it was the funniest thing ever.
  • What is the ‘worst haircut’ you have ever had?  In grade 4 I cut my hair short and used hair gel to make it spiky.  Not a good look at all.
  • Can you remember who your worst school teacher was?  His name was Mr. Boyd.  He taught grade 9 honours math, but he was a PE teacher and hadn’t the slightest clue about math.  We’re talking 3×4=14 kind of thing.
  • We all have one, but who is yours? The crazy relative?  That would have to be me.  But I do recall a hillbilly cousin Gerald that my dad didn’t want visiting back in the day.
  • What completely safe animal are you TOTALLY afraid of??  Moths.  They’re like the ugly drunk uncle of the butterfly stumbling around and just generally being icky.

 

Come on, you know you want to answer a few – that’s what the comments section is for!

 

Image credit: qimono on Pixabay

Ways to share your story

In my post Spreading your writing wings I listed a number of sites where you could share your story or submit a guest blog.  Personally, I find it easy to feel comfortable about sharing my writing on my own blog, but there’s some uncertainty that comes along with submitting a post to another site.  So I try to push myself every so often to venture out of my comfort zone.  Here are a few more ideas on ways to share your work:

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Life Unlimited feature: you can submit a request to be featured; submissions should focus on what the early indications were of your illness, what you’ve had to overcome, or what you’ve learned about yourself

GoodTherapy: personal experience, story must be 500+ words and original work

Having Time: personal essays about major life transitions, or actionable tips on improving mental wellbeing

Ideapod: this site isn’t specific to mental health, but accepts guest articles that “present bold, clear arguments about the ideas you believe should shape our future”

Mindful magazine: you can submit a mental health-related story pitch

Mind of Our Own: lets you share your mental health story in whatever form you wish; can be anonymous

Old Cove Road: particularly focused on the intersections between mental health, community, and social media

Open Minds Quarterly: share the experience of life with mental illness, in various forms including non-fiction, fiction, or poetry

Psyche: part of the Vocal media group; articles must be original content, and you can get paid based on how many reads your article gets

ResilientApp: accepts guest posts on a range of topics including mindfulness, meditation, self-care, and managing stress or anxiety

SameBoat: you can post in different topic areas including depression, suicide, anxiety. and body image

 

Of course, you can always keep an eye out on WordPress for fellow bloggers who are looking to collaborate or accepting guest posts.  If you’re reading this and you’re looking for guest bloggers on your blog, please leave your blog link in the comments below.

 

 

20(ish) Questions

pile of question marks

I’ve decided to take a break from blog awards, but when I’m nominated for awards I’ll answer the questions posed to me in this 20(ish) questions format, along with assorted other question tags and the like.  Feel free to join in the fun with your own answers to any or all of the questions 🙂

 

Questions from Liz at My Wellbeing and Learning Journey:

  • Are you a city, beach, or country girl?  I’m a city girl.  I grew up in a small town and was not at all impressed.  I do have this unrealistic dream, though, of spending my later years on a little hobby farm in the middle of nowhere surrounded by various furry critters.  I would be completely incompetent at maintaining said farm, but hey, a girl’s gotta dream.
  • If you could choose to live anywhere, where would it be and why?  I think where I live now (Vancouver, Canada) is pretty great.  For one, it’s in Canada, but also it’s pretty cool that you can go from the beach to being on top of a ski hill in less than an hour.
  • Do you have tattoos?  I have 3.  A dolphin on my right hip, Chinese characters on my left hip, and a phoenix on the left side of my ribcage.
  • What are your favourite hobbies?  I think blogging is my only hobby.
  • After a stressful day, what do you do, to help you relax at the end of the day?  Snuggles with the guinea pigs, plus maybe a funny video for distraction.
  • Are you a spring, summer, autumn, or winter person?  I like early autumn, when it’s still sunny and warm-ish, but the leaves are starting to change.  I hate winters where I live – it rains for weeks at a time and sunny days are very few and far between.
  • Sweet or savoury?  I don’t think I could pick just one – both are so yummy!  What I’m not keen on is spicy or bitter.

 

Questions from Marie-Céline:

  1. What is your top tip for writing a blog post?  Write with yourself and what you want to express in mind, and try not to focus on what other people are likely to think.
  2. Which Country do you live in?  Canada – best country in the world!
  3. Do you like to travel?  Yes, I’ve always liked travelling, and it’s probably something I picked up from my parents.  I try to do an international trip almost every year, although sometimes my illness gets in the way.
  4. What is your favourite music?  I don’t really have a favourite.  I’ve got a bunch of songs loaded on my iPhone, and listen to whatever I’m in the mood for.
  5. What is your favourite food?  Cheeseburgers!  And I answer this question often enough that I’ll spice it up and add toppings of the day.  Today will be the oldie but goodie combo of bacon and cheddar.
  6. If you could collaborate with another blogger, who would you choose?  Maybe the author Jenny Lawson, who wrote Furiously Happy, because I think she’s totally hilarious.
  7. Do any of your friends or family have a blog?  Not that I know of.  Then again, I don’t have many friends or a lot of family, so it’s a pretty small pool of potential bloggers.
  8. Do you prefer handmade or shop-bought presents?  I’d probably do more handmade stuff if I had more talent in that department.  There was one year that everyone got scarves for Christmas, but there’s only so many scarves people need, right?  I usually try to get either something that’s useful or something that tastes good.
  9. Besides blogging, do you have any other creative skills?  Writing is really my only creative ability.  I’ve done artistic things before, like dance and playing musical instruments, but I was never inclined to do my own choreography or composition or anything like that.
  10. Would you rather text or talk?  Text, hands down.  I hate talking on the phone, and always have.
  11. If you were asking the questions, what would you like the final question to be? I’m fascinated with animals, so I’m going to pick an animal-themed question.  If you could have one wild animal magically be tame and live with you, what would it be? And I’m going to be very Canadian and choose a moose, although he’d probably find my living room a little too cramped for his liking.  He’d probably want to jump off my balcony, and I’d have an excuse to yell out “there’s a moose on the loose!”

 

Come on, you know you want to answer a few – that’s what the comments section is for!

 

Image credit: qimono on Pixabay

20(ish) Questions

pile of question marks

I’ve decided to take a bit of a break from blog awards, but when I’m nominated for awards I’ll answer the questions posed to me in this 20(ish) questions format, along with assorted other question tags and the like.  Feel free to join in the fun with your own answers to any or all of the questions 🙂

 

Questions from DM at Pointless Overthinking:

  1. What is your biggest fear?  Being unemployed and running out of money.  It may seem like catastrophizing, but it would have been my reality a couple of years ago if I wasn’t such a diligent saver.
  2. What would you like to achieve with your writing?  I’m not particularly goal-oriented when it comes to my writing, but I do want to continue to connect with other bloggers and tap into this sense of community.
  3. On a scale from 1 (hell would be better) to 10 (everything is more than perfect), how satisfied are you with your life right now and why do you think so?  Hmm, that’s a very tough question.  Right now I feel like I’m coasting along on momentum rather than feeling much overall satisfaction.  I’m definitely below a 5, but how much below varies depending on how I’m feeling.
  4. What is the first thing you do every morning?  Feed the guinea pigs.  If I try to stay in bed for a while but they hear me rustling around, they’ll start squeaking to remind me to give them their breakfast.
  5. How do you like to spend your weekends?  At both of my jobs I work casual, so there’s really no difference in my world between weekdays and weekends.
  6. What are you grateful for?  Those same 4 little balls of fur that kick up a ruckus if I don’t feed them exactly when their little hearts desire.
  7. What things do you have on your bucket list?  I’m leaving very soon for a trip to Italy, which has always been on my bucket list.  Roman ruins, renaissance art, good food, good wine… what more could you ask for?
  8. What’s the craziest dream you ever had?  This question would require that I remember my dreams, which I rarely do.  Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s a bad thing… I’m inclined to think it’s a good thing.
  9. What’s your core belief?  I think the belief that has stayed the most consistent through my life is the belief that it’s important to always be expanding my mind, by learning more and seeing new things.  That’s a big part of why travelling has always been very important to me.
  10. What is your biggest desire?  The problem is that would require me to feel desire, which I just don’t.  I guess what I want the most falls more into the category of not wanting – I don’t want harmful things to happen to me.  I feel like I’ve met my quota on that for a while.

 

Question from Have You Ever Noticed? blog:

Talk about an incident that impacted your life in a really positive way.

There have been a lot of occasions while I’ve been travelling that people have decided to take the dazed and confused solo white girl under their wing.  In Hanoi, Vietnam, I was visiting a museum and came across the board of directors of the museum (or something along those lines) having lunch.  They decided I should join them, and they were showing me how to eat the food properly and telling me all about their museum.  In India, I had gotten confused and thought I’d missed my train in the middle of the night.  Turned out my train was just pulling out of the station, and they radioed and told it to stop.  One of the staff picked up my backpack and starts running toward the train, with me huffing and puffing along after him, and I made it on the train – a great Bollywood moment.  When my friend and I were travelling in Romania, we got to a town where the guesthouse mentioned in our guidebook simply didn’t exist.  We were trying to ask directions, and a lady took pity on us and invited us to stay in her house.  She spoke maybe 5 words of English but she was thrilled to have us there.  This is why I love travelling; it’s such a good reminder that there really are kind people in the world.

 

A few questions from A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip‘s Game On series:

What is the funniest first name you have ever heard used in the real world?[as in not cartoon or films and so on]  When I was younger, my friend had a crush on a guy named Tree, who had one brother named Ember and another sibling named something tree-related.

Why did 6 cry?  Because 9 was a useless lover.

If you awoke one morning and found your five year old self in your current body, what would be the first thing you do?  Probably gaze at the mirror in confused fascination about having breasts.

If animals could talk which one do you think would be the rudest?  My guinea pig Squeaky.  He can be a grumpy old man.

What is your most favourite funniest film – provide link please.  The Heat with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock.  It’s one of my main go-to’s to lift me up if I’m feeling shitty.

How many mice would it take to lift an elephant?  Only one if the elephant is hooked up to a crane and the mouse is qualified to operate said crane (the guinea pigs would be willing to help out).

Ok, somehow you have found yourself in front of a panel of doctors in the local insane asylum and you have to convince them that you are not mad, even though you are acting quite bonkers – how would you convince them that you really are ok?  I would recite pharmacology info while doing the hokey pokey and balancing a DSM on my head.

How much did the polar bear weigh?  The square root of the weight of the elephant divided by the combined weight of the mouse and any guinea pigs helping out.

Blimey!! You have just landed the task of making a room filled with straight faces laugh – how are you going to achieve it??  Show an episode of Seinfeld, maybe The Contest.  Are you still master of your domain?

Who is your favourite comedienne?  Probably Melissa McCarthy.  I loved her Sean Spicer impression.  Plus she was great in The Heat, as mentioned above.

Do butterflies remember their life as a caterpillar?  They’re too busy being pretty to worry about caterpillar-hood.

Why is a carrot more orange than an orange?  I think an even better question would be if an orange is called an orange, why isn’t a lemon called a yellow?

Why does grass smell only when it’s been cut?  Insert fart joke here.

If a word is spelt incorrectly in a dictionary – how would you know if you didn’t have any way of checking it?  My question here would be what if you don’t know how to spell a word, how the heck are you supposed to find it in a dictionary?  Say you don’t know phone starts with a ‘ph’ and you’re looking under ‘f’ – you’re truly f’ed!

What was Captain Hooks name before he got the hook?  Let’s just hope he wasn’t born with hook.  Now that would feel pretty damn awful coming out the vagina – kind of like an episiotomy on steroids.

 

Come on, you know you want to answer a few – that’s what the comments section is for!

 

Image credit: qimono on Pixabay