Follow Friday: Featured Blogger of the Month
This month’s featured blogger is someone I have followed since very early on in my blogging career. She’s relatable, honest, and brilliant. Not only is she an amazing mother, but she’s also a major advocate for mental health.
Natasha from Thoughts with N isn’t just a blogger. She’s also an author who donates some of her book proceeds to charity. She uses her experiences and own mental illness as a way to speak up and spread awareness. She is breaking down barriers and ending stigmas. N is a magnificent woman, and she is an inspiration to so many people, including myself.
1. You mentioned on your blog that you started coping with your depression and anxiety through writing. You’ve also written a few books as well. When and how did your blog come to be? Was blogging or writing in general a dream or hobby before you discovered that it helped you with your mental health?
So, I have always LOVED writing. I excelled in English in school and writing was basically the only thing I was ever really any good at. I had thought blogging was so neat since, well, forever. But, I also have never been good with technology and every time I looked into starting one, I got completely overwhelmed with all the information out there and would give up.
One evening, I powered through the information and landed at Blogger. I wrote one post, and left it at that. Everything I had read at that point had told me I had to have social media in order to be successful in the blogging world, and I had eliminated ALL social media for my mental health. I left it for a long time and forgot about it. Then, in March, about, a year and a half ago-ish, I set up an Instagram and a Twitter.
I had NO idea how to use them or anything but just tried. I had no followers and didn’t engage whatsoever. I had a few favourite bloggers on Twitter at that point, so I was always reading their tweets, and blogs, and learning. Then I really fell in love with my blog. To be able to express myself, completely, fully, and honestly in an environment that doesn’t judge or bully or anything! Imagine that! I kept my blog with Blogger until just this past June, and then migrated over to being self-hosted. I much prefer it now, and I love my blog.
From being a little girl, I had always kept somewhat of a “diary” and wrote on a regular basis. My junior high years were so tough on me emotionally, I actually carried my journal WITH me and used it in order to just cope.. with life. Writing was always a hobby, but it always helped me also. I have stories that I wrote when I was 4 years old, and I remember how I felt even back then. Writing helps me understand my thoughts and feelings, and it has for my whole life.
2. Mental health still has too many stigmas and barriers around it. What are some of the stigmas you hope to break with your writing?
Ah yes! The stigmas surrounding mental health. It is so sad that our world still exists with these stigmas. It’s crazy to me that there are people who still believe that depression is simply being “sad” and that being anxious is simply being “worried,” or that you simply can’t be struggling at all if you are out, dressed, and smiling.
With my writing, I try to show that mental illness is constantly masked. It’s masked with whatever the sufferer is wearing. You can’t simply look at someone and decide they are happy, and that’s it, no mental illness detected. I try to write about my successes, and baby steps that I’ve taken in my recovery, and then, I also write about the hard times as well.
Someone struggling can easily have plenty of both of these sides to them. They can even have a good, long period of time- days, weeks, months, maybe even years. It isn’t something that will be cured. It is something that you just live with.
With my writing, I try to show people the ugly side of my illness, and the beauty of finding strength to take the baby steps in recovery, with hopes to inspire courage and hope in themselves. I also want them to know that they aren’t alone.
3. What has been the best 3 aspects of being involved in the online blogging community?
Oh man, only 3?! The blogging community is literally, the best community. And, because I am also a Mental Health Advocate, the two communities are very linked for me. Joining these communities has been so amazing!
So the 3 best things …
1. SO MUCH SUPPORT!!!! It’s AMAZING how supportive the online blogging community is! Everyone wants everyone to succeed, and where else in life does that exist? Big accounts, and big bloggers help out little bloggers all the time and it is incredible!
2. It has opened my eyes, and my mind SO much as to the world, and what is going on, and different cultures. I have learned so much! I have gotten to see beautiful photos of bloggers trips, and delicious food, and more, and I just love it! Things exist and are out there that I didn’t even know about before!
3. The blogging community is so full of kindness and love, and when I became a part of it, it was at a time in my life where I basically didn’t think that existed anymore. I was very pesimistic and just did not believe the majority of people were kind or nice. The blogging community has shown me that kind and good people are still out there. It renewed my faith in the world and in life.
4. As a dedicated mother and mental health advocate, what is something you want your kids to take away from the strives you take to bring awareness to the mental health?
I want my kids to be aware of their mental health and for them to be in a world where it really IS okay to not be okay. I want them to value their mental health above school, or whatever else. I want them to know they need to care for it, and that it isn’t selfish or anything negative whatsoever. I want them to know their mental health isn’t something to be left sacrificed for anything.
5. What visions do you have for your blog and writing projects for this coming year?
Hmmm… my writing projects? Well, I have been struggling for a little while trying to find the right dosage of medication, and the right medication, so I am going to be really focused on my relationship with myself. Of course I will share this through my blog. I also have self-love groups that I organize and host online where we come together online and celebrate ourselves.
I am in the process of becoming a certified NLP practitioner and will be taking on clients who want to work on their relationship with themselves also. Information about my group can be found over at Wellness with N, and shortly, I will have pricing up for individual clients. I am really committing my writing and my focus towards self-love, self-care, and the recovery part of my mental illness.
My Favorite Posts from Her Blog
Inner Meanie – I can relate to this post so much. I have an inner mean girl, like many of us, and it’s a challenge to deal with ourselves in that way. She is relatable and very helpful. This is a must read.
Critical Moments– I love this post, because I love when bloggers are open and honest about how life experiences have shaped them. This post talks about those critical moments, and it’s amazing.
Self-Love and Mental Health– This one is one I’ve read a lot actually. She talks about self-love meaning something different for everyone, and that resonates with me. I’m on a self-love journey, and it’s not as simple of loving yourself, end of story. I love that she’s honest about it and her struggles. This post is wonderful.
Honestly, picking only 3 of her posts was extremely challenging. Everything she writes is amazing, relatable, and inspirational. I don’t think I’ve had such a difficult time picking just 3 posts. Read them all. Read them when you have a bad day. Read them when you have a good day. Just go read them!
Her Favorite Posts
BoPo Beach Day: This means a lot to me, because I struggle with my body so much. I struggle with my relationship with food and how food affects my body, and then what my body looks like. Going to this event was so meaningful and empowering for me, and I even went ALONE, which for me, is unheard of.
Medication: Then and Now: My journey of accepting that I require medication to live a full and healthy life has been very bumpy for me. This post highlights some of that and is very personal.
Nobody Wants To Talk About It: This one means a lot to me too. I think that sometimes we only see one side of new motherhood, and not the other feelings and emotions that can come along with it as well. I want new moms to know that however they are feeling, is exactly how they should feel in that moment, and that it is perfectly okay.
Where to Find Her
She has an author page on Amazon can be found over at Natasha MacFarlane, and all of her books can be found on there. With the majority of her books, she donates money to local mental health organizations around her. Support her cause, because it can change lives!
She can also be found on social media.
Go Follow Her
If you aren’t already following Thoughts with N, then you need to go do that, because she is magical. I can’t say that enough. Her blog and efforts in the mental health community stand out and are above and beyond. I’m lucky to be apart of the blogging community because of lovely women like her.
-With Love, Jenni