Shattering Stigmas: How My Mental Illness Effects Me as a Reader and a Blogger by Amber from The Book Bratz

Welcome to the fourteenth day of Shattering Stigmas! From now until October 22 I’ll be highlighting voices from the book community on mental health. I’m co-hosting this event with Taylor from Stay on the Page, Shannon from It Starts at Midnight, and Amber from YA Indulgences so make sure to check their blogs out each day to see different content.

I’ve been a young adult book blogger for almost 7 years now. I’ve struggled with my mental illness long before that though. My love for reading developed when it became my escape from my anxieties and the darkness that bloomed around the corners. Being an avid reader, book blogger and a writer have all given me outlets to express my love of books and work with people in the industry, community and interact with other readers in general. It brings some sunshine on those dark days and it lets me escape into a world where I am strong and fierce and I can ride a dragon. (The first two I constantly tell myself are true, the last one, I wish it was.)

I’ve found that my reading and blogging habits are directly affected by mental health flareups. My anxiety is an on going battle, but my depression symptoms typically stay at bay and I don’t have any horrible flare ups as I did when I was a teen. This year I was super fortunate to be able to attend BookExpo, but on my second day there I fell leaving my hotel and fractured my ankle. (If anyone saw me that day, I was sporting a limp but I still had a smile on my face!) So, I had a lot of free time on my hands to blog and read. Which is exactly what I did. During summer though I also struggled really bad with my depression and anxiety, which lead to a few physical health problems.

Most people have found that when they are struggling with their mental health they tend to not want to read or have no desire to. Me on the other hand, that’s all I’d do. I’ll read about a book or so a day. I was able to stay in bed, away from people and interactions (except my boyfriend, who has really stuck through my side when things have been ugly) and immerse myself in fake worlds that weren’t my own. I’m always an avid science fiction or fantasy reader so genre wise I don’t change much, but I’ll feel the obsessive need to read.

With my obsessive need to read came my obsessive need to blog. I would spend the hours I wasn’t reading creating blog posts, writing reviews and doing my meme posts. (By the time I was out of my boot at the end of July, I had scheduled most of my meme posts all the way up to the end of September/ early October.) If I wasn’t doing blog work, I felt like I was a bad blogger and didn’t deserve to be in the blogging community. But with the obsessive blog work came obsessing over stats.

We became pretty relaxed about our stats in the past few years. The Book Bratz has its avid readers, we have a following and we are content where we are. This summer though my anxiety drove me to want to increase our blog traffic to the extreme. I’d get mad and upset if we didn’t reach a certain amount of page views for the day, I’d get discouraged the blog post that took me three hours to write got very little views or no comments. When my anxiety flares up and I feel like I don’t belong in the real world, The Book community is somewhere I can come and feel like myself. But when I obsess over the numbers, I feel like I’m trying to compete and I hate that.

My mental health has many ups and downs and it affects my life in so many different ways. When I began blogging I never thought that it would bleed over into my blogging. Though sometimes I struggle with blogging and the obsessive need to read to escape, I am so proud of the progress that The Book Bratz has made. I would have never been able to stand on my feet in the blogging world without my co-bloggers Jessica and Emily, who help me through these anxious episodes. Right now I am still not myself, but I’m getting closer everyday.

I love reading and blogging and the community that I have been part of for so many years now. I wouldn’t change any of that for the world.

Amber is an English major on Long Island that basically lives on the beach with a book and iced coffee in her hands. She has been blogging since the beginning with a hiatus in 2017 and returning in January 2018. When she isn’t reading she can be found at the gym or eating!

You can find her on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Want to win two mental health related books? Enter through the Rafflecopter form and good luck!

13 thoughts on “Shattering Stigmas: How My Mental Illness Effects Me as a Reader and a Blogger by Amber from The Book Bratz”

  1. This is extremely relatable. It can be difficult to read and blog when you have a mental illness and I’ve found myself obsessing over stats and telling myself I need to grind constantly in order to even be considered a blogger when it’s just not true thanks to my anxiety, but this community has been some welcoming and supportive that it makes it easier to deal with.

    The Shattering Stigmas series is such a fab idea – thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you were able to relate to Amber’s piece. I found so many pieces of myself in it too. And I completely agree with this community being welcoming and supportive! It seems like the majority of the people want others to do well and they’ll help in whatever ways they can if somebody isn’t doing well for whatever reason. And that makes such a huge difference.

      Liked by 1 person

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