Blogger and Instagram Star Explains How Sharing Stories Reduced Her Feelings of Isolation
Samantha MacDougall runs her public instagram account @AnxiouslyAwesome. Her bio says, “<3 Mental Illness Warrior <3 Anxiety, Depression Bipolar, Depersonalization”. She has just released her blog, anxiouslyawesome.com.
I’ve always dreamt of starting my own blog. I don’t remember the exact moment I decided to create Anxiously Awesome but I remember being in a very dark place and needing something to get me out. I was tired of feeling so isolated and alone and I wanted to create something where I could openly talk about my mental illness and mental health. I just started posting pictures of my life and what I was doing and it just took it off from there. At the time, I was away at university and wanted to connect with others and I also needed a place to vent about my struggles.
I have generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, depression and depersonalization disorder. My account helps me by giving me something to focus my energy on. A major coping mechanism for me is keeping myself busy and my account acts as a positive outlet. My account also helps me because I’m able to openly discuss my mental illnesses: my thoughts, the hard days, how I get through my struggles etc,. The more I engage the more I feel part of something bigger and also apart of a greater community.
I receive a lot of comments from people thanking me for what I post. I try to be extremely authentic in my words and pictures and I think people appreciate that. The media tends to glorify mental illnesses whereas I strive to provide an honest platform that discusses mental health and mental illnesses. I try to post hopeful and encouraging pictures to uplift others and myself.
I recently launched my blog, anxiouslyawesome.com and I am very excited for upcoming projects and to generally see what direction my blog takes. I wanted a bigger platform where I could express myself better and someplace I could write longer blurbs with a more focused purpose. Honestly, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support I receive on Instagram. Another reason I started my account was to fight back against stigma and the misconceptions people have about mental illnesses. The online community has been absolutely wonderful and I have come to connect with many people and businesses with great ideas, projects and products. When I share very vulnerable pictures and thoughts, I always receive positive and encouraging comments and I am extremely thankful for that.