Hello sunshines! ♥
Finally it’s Tuesday and for me it is always an honour to present you a new special guest and in that way getting some inspiration and learning something new. He has a background in a field that interests me a lot which is mental health. Actually that is the job I am looking for in Norway. However, let’s go back to our amazing guest and please give him a warm welcome and support.
Hi Robert, so nice to have you here today! Thanks for accepting my invitation!
Q.1) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what has inspired you to start a blog.
I will be 64 in November.
I have a background in Mental Health but my main love is writing and spoken word
performance which is what I did in the 1980’s.
In 2009, I was the director if a residential treatment center in San Francisco for people
with chronic mental illnesses. I became symptomatic with what I thought was depression.
Over the course of a year, five characters that I had created in the 1980’s for
performance pieces had come to life as Second Life avatars. Second Life is a multi-user
video game with complex digital dolls that the players manipulate.
These ‘characters’ logged in when I thought I was asleep which meant that I was always
sleep deprived without knowing why.
Each character was living a separate ‘second’ life and I could not stop them.
I went to a psychiatrist and after meeting with me once a week for six months he diagnosed
me with Dissociative Identity Disorder and referred me to a specialist.
It took a year before I accepted the diagnosis and in that year I had to resign my job, because
I knew I was no longer fully competent.
I started my blog because of the stigma I experienced from mental health professionals and
many of my former colleagues. DID is treated with hostility, especially now when psychiatry
prefers to treat simple illnesses that respond to pills and pep talks.
I understand the mental health system well enough to know how to write about it and I felt that my ability to articulate the experience of the irrational stigma that surrounds mental illnesses might
help to empower other people, especially people with trauma histories.
Since then the blog has also become an extension of my need to write and make art.
Q.2) How would you describe your blogging style to someone that never read it?
One of the benefits of DID is that alternates do specific things and become expert at them.
I blog about mental health. Or I blog a piece of flash fiction or a poem. I blog nature photos and music or a second life avatar as a model in a virtual outfit. The blog covers allot of territory, which may make it difficult for some people, but the people who read the blog seem to enjoy it and every so often, someone tells me that he or she finds hope in my blog. That is better than a zillion followers, which
I hope to have one day. 🙂
Q.3) What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to his readers?
That’s a good question or a safe place to be human, and to be wrong.
We live in a nation of people who have forgotten how to disagree with respect.
I try to state my case and accept the fact that good people will disagree with me.
Maybe I’ll find out that I’m wrong…or maybe the other person will change his mind.
What I do know is that if I dismiss everyone with whom I disagree as an idiot then
everything gets worse.
I don’t always have perfect patience, but the goal is to be the best person I can be.
Q.4) How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging for two years, six if you include Flickr.
Q.5) What is the easiest about blogging? And what do you find the most difficult?
The easiest thing about blogging is producing content and the hardest is promotion.
I’m always producing content while constantly trying to keep up with comments and
other social media. My daily stats are in flux, some of that is due to shifts
in personal consciousness.
The part of me that responds to comments doesn’t get as much time as the creative parts.
Q.6) What are your goals for your blog?
I want to have the elements in place to market my photography and to some extent,
blogging gives me a new kind of stage for performance art. One of my inspirations is Kendall
Person who uses his blog to present reality shows that are in fact performances organized by
a network of collaborative artists. Performance art was what I did in the 1980’s. New technologies
allow older people to do things they might not have the physical stamina to do. My Grandmother
used to say that age was an incident, that inside she remained young but she lived in a culture
that forced her to assume the role of ‘old’…To some extent the computer frees our minds from the limitations of the body. Stephen Hawking is a great example of this.
Q.7) Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
It’s both which means that I’m still in a transition. I still have to find a solution to the obstacles presented by my dissociative process.
Q.8) A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money online. Do you have some tips for those people who are interested in making money from the blog?
I have not made a dime nor bothered to add a donation jar.
Q.9) What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?
My strategy is to write the best content I can and to some extent, I’m still producing that
content. I think that one has to have something to market if one is going to market a
blog for income and I’m still learning how to use different social media to promote
the blog and I’m still discovering the kind of impact my illness has on whatever timeline
is normal for people who don’t have this kind a disability.
So I’m still producing content while learning the technology and I pray that I live long enough
to make money
Q.10) Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
So many people but I will limit myself to the first seven people who pop into my head.
I admire Linda Bethea at Nutstrok who brings her heart and soul to her blog and tells us
about her family and childhood with grace and dignity.
Kitt O’Mally who is a model when t comes to blogging about Mental Health,
Erika Kind who is a wonderful blogger and one of the finest people I’ve met on WordPress
Kendall Person who showed me how to use my skills in performance as a blogger and
for his focus on social justice.
Dream Big, Dream Often: I like his sense of community and his no nonsense approach to life.
A Momma’s Way (double check) because of her integrity
My Friday Blog for pure courage, strength, and honesty.
And Opinionated Man who is clearly passionate about blogging as a profession.
All of these people Bering themselves to their blogs in such a way that you can sense their
presence on their blog.
For them blogging is self-expression and a tool for building relationships. I admire that.
Q.11) How much time do you spend blogging?
I don’t know…If I’m not blogging, I’m making content. Making art is how I deal with the anxiety
and other symptoms of my illness,
Q.12) What do you do in your spare time?
I go for long photo walks, again making content.
I spend about eight hours a week walking around San Francisco with my Canon. Recently I’ve started using the camera feature of my android.
Q.13) Did you have any professional help or did you created the blog yourself?
I’ve had no help at all. Before I started blogging, I read several books about how to get started. Then I had to build the confidence. When I got sick, it blew my self-esteem so it took some time for me to get the confidence I needed to begin. Slowly I added did social media platforms.
Q.14) What do you think is the best social media strategy for getting more visitors to a blog? Do you have any other strategy for get more visitors?
To be honest, I’ve only begun to think about it. I notice that certain topics pull in more visitors but if I limit myself to only those topics that draw visits then I defeat my work as an advocate. In general, people don’t want to hear that they might be responsible for some of the world’s suffering. What most
of us want to hear is that we are strong and good and that if we think good thoughts good things will happen to us. This is somewhat true but not entirely. We’re fragile creatures who live at the mercy of powerful forces and we live in denial of that. To some extent, we have to live in denial just to get on in the World.
I have no problem with people who sooth themselves with affirmations and positive thoughts.
My problem is with people who think that those who suffer have somehow brought it on themselves.
Not only is it cruel, it allows as a culture to behave in ways that makes their suffering worse.
Q.15) If you had to describe yourself in two words, witch two words it be and why?
Passionate and creative. They what I was born to be.
Thank you so much for this opportunity.
Q.16) Is there anything else you would like to add?
I hope that the people who read my blog come away with a better understanding of the human dimension of mental illness. Many people think that people with mental illnesses are ‘crazy’ or stupid
and it’s just not true. Trauma survivors are not crazy and we’re not stupid. We did not ask for the abuse that damaged out bodies and minds and we do not need the unreasonable negative judgments that
people impose on us.
What we need is access to proper treatments and time to heal.
My blog page: https://robertmgoldstein.com