#TalkMH kept popping up on my Twitter feed as I began to follow mental health bloggers and tweeters. There I found the creator of such a wonderful chat, Hannah of Little Thoughts. With the main focus of her site being her recovery journey, mental health tips, and personal essays about her own mental illness, I was really excited when Hannah agreed to take part in an interview for This Stuff Is Golden!
You’ve done so well as a blogger, in no time at all! How do you think you achieved such a large following/readership in such a short time?
To be honest I have no idea. It’s not something that I really thought about when I started my blog. I didn’t even really think about other people reading it – I just wanted somewhere to write about whatever I wanted! I guess I’m just honest. It’s important for me to be as open and honest as possible when writing about mental health and I think people value that. Also, passion. It sounds really simple but when I’m doing something I’m passionate about, that comes through. So when I write about mental health you can see how passionate I am (hopefully).
When did you realise your passion for writing?
I have always written for almost as long as I can remember. I wrote a lot as a child, but as I got older it wasn’t something that I thought about for quite a long time. All throughout secondary school really. Then, I can’t remember why or what we were talking about – probably something about me wanting a creative outlet (as usual) – but my friend was like ‘why don’t you start a blog?’ At first I was like no, absolutely not. What would I write? Then one day I just changed my mind and Little Thoughts happened.
What made you start #TalkMH?
It was actually really random. I was driving home from work one day thinking about what I was going to do that evening and I realised that there weren’t any mental health related twitter chats (to my knowledge). So I thought about it a little bit and I decided that actually, a mental health related twitter chat would be quite a good idea. It would allow people to meet others in a similar position to them and give people a space to share and support. I remember feeling incredibly isolated when I was first diagnosed – the chat could be something that may help people who are in the same position.
Why did you start to the #TalkMH store?
Again, it was very random. I’d love to give amazing stories about how I came up with these ideas but unfortunately, I can’t! It came about when somebody sent me a message on Twitter seeking advice. It emerged that she was soon starting a new business which involved some really cute homeware, stationary, accessories etc. and she offered to put the #TalkMH logo onto a mug for me. Of course, I was incredibly excited to see it on an actual object rather than just floating about in my head, so I bought the mug. When I shared it onto my social media, people started asking me where they could get mugs from and if they were available to buy. At that point I thought it would be really nice for people to have them and share photos etc. I wanted people to have everyday objects like mugs and notebooks that give a little reminder that there are people there and it will be ok, and for me it just heightens that sense of community amongst the group.
And how did you go about setting up your #TalkMH store?
With difficulty. Ha! No it was ok. First it was finding suppliers, working out costs, then I installed a store plugin onto my blog which enabled me to add all the products and photos to my site. That’s the easy part really. It was working out all the prices that I struggled with – I am RUBBISH at anything involving numbers but luckily my Dad helped me work it all out.
If somebody wanted to start their own blog, what advice would you give?
If you want to do it, do it. It’s the best thing I ever did. Working full time whilst trying to make my blog a success if very difficult but it’s worth it. If you can help people, you should.
What is your favourite thing to write?
Blog posts! Particularly mental health ones.
What do you think is the toughest part about being a mental health/lifestyle blogger?
There are times where I’ve written posts whilst crying my eyes out. It’s not always easy to talk about. But the most annoying part of it for me is trolls. There are always going to be people who don’t understand mental illness and make no attempt to try to. That’s just the way it is. I believe that everybody is entitled to their own opinion but if it’s harmful to others, keep it to yourself. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
What hurdle(s) have you ever had to overcome in regards to your writing? (Style, spelling, grammar, etc.?)
I guess this doesn’t really count as writing but I’m talking generally about blogging here – photography! I love it but I’m rubbish and working full time means that I can only take my photos on weekends and evenings. Right now, it’s far too dark when I get home from work to get photos. So my weekends are usually desperate attempts to get decent blog photos.
Do you have a book that changed your life/favourite book you’d recommend to everyone and anyone?
Matt Haig – Reasons To Stay Alive, Lisa Thompson – The Goldfish Boy
What is your favourite genre to read and why?
Anything on mental health, but that’s probably obvious! I enjoy crime/thrillers like The Girl on the Train as well as a good old slushy romance by Nicholas Sparks.
Any favourite bloggers?
Many! Milly Day Dreams and Dorkface are two that I’ve looked up to ever since I started blogging but right now there are so many mental health bloggers that write fantastically – there are too many to mention!
What does your normal day look like?
Get up late. Get to work. Eat. Work. Eat. Leave work at 5.30. Write. Eat. Sleep.
Who inspired you to start a blog (if anybody)?
Before I started blogging I didn’t really follow bloggers or read blogs or even really know that it was ‘a thing’. It was my friend’s idea and I’m so glad I did it.
Biggest supporter of your blog so far?
Tough one. Possibly my Dad. Possibly my pal Josh.
What helps you get through a stressful day?
Meditation, music, friends and enough food and water.
What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
Always keep going. The next five years are going to be tough but when you come out of the other side it will have been worth every second. Use your voice. If you can help people, do.
Any favourite quotes that particularly motivate/inspire you?
‘And though she but little, she is fierce.’
I’ve had quite a lot of stick in the past for being little but I can assure you, I am fierce!