A short while ago, I was notified of the fact I had been nominated in the UK Blog Awards. To complete the process, I had to fill in a form to confirm my entry. After some deliberation and a battle with imposter syndrome, I did this.
Last week, I received an email to say I was through the second stage. While many were quick to post their email on social media, I took a few days to process it. I told a handful of people, but mostly kept it to myself. It didn’t feel real. Still doesn’t, actually.
This is not something I anticipated happening at this stage in my blogging journey. I imagined it to be much further down the line, if it ever happened at all. I am proud, touched and overwhelmed.
It all sounds very Hollywood and cliché, but to even be nominated is enough.
The category I am in is the mental health category, which is a new addition to UK Blog Awards, and that makes me so happy. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter who wins, we all do. Again, I know that sounds like one of those things people say, but I really do mean it.
What we advocate for is being recognised with its very own category. There are enough mental health bloggers to warrant a separate category for the topic. That shows there is demand, and that means there are plenty of people writing about this subject.
That’s what matters.
There are people sharing their stories. There are people opening up about their struggles. Collectively, we are working to show how mental illness affects a variety of people, but that no one is ever alone in their experiences. It’s something really special and to see it being acknowledged with a category in the blogging awards is wonderful. So, thank you, UK Blog Awards!
I would be a liar if I said I didn’t care about winning, because it sure would be nice, but this post isn’t to ask you to vote for me. Although, if you’d like to, you can click here. Please be aware you can only vote once per category, so make sure you’re happy to choose me. I’d hate for anyone to regret it!
It’s simply to ask you to vote in general. Blogging, as a rule, can be challenging. Yet, writing about mental health requires a high level of vulnerability. Though I rarely see it that way for myself, it’s something I recognise in others. Anyone finding the strength to do that should be seen, heard and appreciated.
It’s hard to confront your demons and put them down on paper (well, screen, I guess). It requires an unprecedented degree of openness because, for people to gain a better understanding of mental illness, you have to show it all. The good, the bad, the downright hideous.
You have to face up to uncomfortable, awful feelings. For some people, such as myself, writing is a coping mechanism. It’s how I make sense of things. It helps, but the process isn’t always easy. But, I do it. I do it for the same reason others do – to teach others how difficult life with mental illness actually is; to demonstrate how recovery is rarely straightforward and never easy, and to show those who may be experiencing it that there are people who understand.
The very act of admitting you have a mental illness takes guts. There’s still stigma around mental illness, so occasionally there’s a backlash because of that. To deal with that, and write in spite of it, when you’re already going through inner turmoil, takes a lot more strength than some people realise.
Whether it’s me or somebody else, please vote for someone who you believe deserves it. Vote because their story touched you in some way. Maybe because you found yourself feeling lost, and they showed you things would be okay. Or, perhaps, it gave you a better understanding of a loved one going through the same thing. Vote because you know the content they create is important. You have the opportunity to show some of the people who need it most than you believe in them. Please use it.
I would also like to encourage you to vote for any other bloggers you enjoy, too.
Since I started blogging, I have discovered so many amazing people. Passionate people with a message to spread. Incredible storytellers with a tale to tell. Beauty bloggers who create makeup masterpieces. Travel bloggers sharing their adventures. A whole range of individuals who inspire me to no end. It’s so important to recognise the talent we have in this industry. That’s the whole reason these awards exist, after all.
If I’ve helped you in some way, then by all means, having your vote would be brilliant and very much appreciated. But I’m aware of the talent I’m up against, and I’m comfortable with that. That’s not me selling myself short, by the way. It’s merely an acknowledgement of the fantastic people who share this platform.
For me, it’s a privilege to be amongst others who are contributing to the conversation around mental health. And it’s an honour to be surrounded by so many determined individuals, whatever their niche may be.
Voting is now open, so go ahead. You only get one vote per person per category. Choose wisely. Vote with your heart.