Does blogging help with mental health? In this post I dive into my own reasons for writing and how this website helps with positivity.
It’s well known that blogging helps with mental health. I’m your typical 50 year old bloke, if you’d mentioned anything mental health to me a few years ago I’d have probably dismissed it and while I consider myself open minded the whole mental health thing was all over the news, in every converstion and all over the net. For me mental health was not a thing. We’re tough blokes right? soft stuff like that doesn’t affect us – until it does and in my case it hit me like a sledgehammer.
Heads up: This post talks about the loss of my son to suicide
Background into K90 Overland
K90 Overland was created back when we lived in Spain [2004 – 2023], the website launched in late 2019 purely as a personal site/blog to document us dipping our toes into the world of overlanding and creating our setup. Over time I began to throw in some personal accounts and stories of our life in Spain which, unbeknown to us at the time was reaching a very toxic and final conclusion. The site was and still is designed to inspire others to get outside and now I am also covering health and wellbeing issues from a guy’s/Father’s/Husband’s point of view as well.
A series of events
In April 2022 I had a stroke, completely out of the blue, terrifying and a challenge to get recovered from. Six months later I discovered that my Mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The following year in March shortly after his 21st birthday my son took his own life [read the full story], our life in Spain was over so we rapidly made plans and returned to the UK [houseless not homeless] and eight weeks after moving country I managed to break my ankle which put me out of action for three months.
My head was in bits.
The guy that would have shrugged off ‘mental health’ was now a firm believer. Since we lost our son there had been no time to create our own space, settle and fully come to terms with what had happened, no time to grieve or gather our thoughts. Instead we had to deal with somehow being blamed. We left Spain.
We were staying with friends until we sorted out housing and with reverse culture shock at the front of everything every day even just ‘being’ was becoming a challenge. Things were mounting up, getting stacked up in my head like a huge pile of books ready to fall if you so much as looked at them.
Life in Spain was gone, new challenges were ahead as a family of three when it should have been four and it was getting tough.
My piece of cyberspace
This website is my piece of cyberspace. I design websites for people from time to time and I enjoy creating something that represents a business, an individual or a brand. A website for yourself of course is very different, there is no-one to answer to, no payday and no rules. I write what I like.
There is something about putting thoughts down onto a digital format that may be read by others on the other side of the world, people buy me digital coffee from time to time so I must be writing something that resonates. The website helps with positivity, something that sometimes I now feel as though I have to actively seek instead of just naturally being.
This my piece of cyberspace. The door is always open. Please come in.
It’s always good to know that others are out there finding the site whether it’s for information on a Shogun Sport or a product review on my latest aquisition. The point for me though is to put thoughts down onto the blog, to talk to that mysterious person of whom I have no idea but know they are there listening, understanding, taking some of the weight I sometimes need to offload.
Real humans listen. I have so many appointments at the moment with various departments of the NHS it’s hard to keep track but I always come back to my website, a place I can sit and consider what comes next. Sometimes I find myself sitting for a full hour writing nothing and that’s fine, some days I can’t write enough and end up making dozens of typos as my screen time after the stroke maxes out at two hours before my typing mysteriously starts to come out backwards.
it helps getting it down, it offers a way to talk about it but not to talk about it at the same time…
The numbers and the stats don’t matter [although I do look at them occasionally], I simply like to offer thoughts that others may relate to or find interesting. This may not be the place you’d expect to find accounts of bereavement in a foreign country, tackling stroke recovery or mental health ‘stuff’ but hey, it helps getting it down, it offers a way to talk about it but not to talk about it at the same time…
At the front of my mind is the son I lost, he is the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about before I fall asleep. Hard to write down yes, impossible to say to another person, at least at the moment anyway.
Thought organisation & planning
I’ve always taken my own photographs, more recently it’s been purely just for digital publication so I need to think about where a particular shot is going to go on a website. It’s little things like this that keep the brain working.
Following the stroke my memory has been pretty bad, in fact I had to re-learn a lot of things including this website so I like to keep mentally active – publishing content helps me do that. A blog post is more than just text on a page, it’s thoughts and planning, images, locations, edits and more. A blog is the ideal place to express yourself as there is much more involved than just writing.
How this website actually helps:
- Keeps me creative [writing]
- Gets me behind the camera
- Offers a place to express myself
- Offers a place to talk freely
- Keeps me planning & organising
- Helps me stay positive
- Provides a goal
- Makes me use skills associated with stroke recovery
Keeping positive is tough
Keeping positve is tough after losing a child, the stroke was nothing by comparison and while both have had a profound affect on my life I know I have to keep positive for my family. Falling into the depths of depression is not an option and won’t do anyone any good. Having a son left behind following the suicide of his brother is also massive. How to deal, be, act, discapline…
I suppose this website is like a sanctuary in many ways, a safe place to write things down, express, have a bad day, have a good day and document events like broken ankles which is a new series of posts I am starting here called ‘The Fractured Ankle Diaries’. Yeah that one’s going to be fun!
Breaking my ankle [besides from being excruciatingly painful] was the catalyst to begin a change of direction as far as writing is concerned on this site. I have weeks ahead with limited mobility so the site was the obvious ‘go-to’. I will of course be covering overlanding and all the outdoor escapades too as soon as I can get behind the wheel although that will look quite different to Andalucia, better I am hoping.
For the meantime though I’ll be writing here, thinking, pondering and just putting down my latest thoughts.