5 Things People Say & Do When You Write About Your Mental Health

Writing about mental health struggles isn’t easy. If you’re doing it for any kind of audience, be prepared for an onslaught of criticism. While 1 in 4 Americans suffer from some form of mental illness, it remains largely misunderstood by the general populace. Reactions are rarely positive, and while you may receive the occasional message from someone praising you for your bravery and thanking you for inspiring them to deal with theirs, the overall reaction is pretty unpleasant.

Here are some examples of the kinds of things people say and do when you write about your struggles with your mental health:

1. Downplay your feelings.
Most people can’t deal with their emotions in a healthy way. Instead, they find other outlets for them. When people see someone actively and openly fighting their mental illness, it makes them uncomfortable. They don’t want to admit that there might be something wrong with them too. That’s why they will make every effort under the sun to downplay your feelings. Why can’t you just get over it already? Something bad happened to them once and they got over it! You know, by bottling it up deep inside and drowning it in alcohol. That’s the healthy solution! Therapy is for weak people who make excuses for themselves. This brings me to…

2. Say that you’re just being lazy, imagining it, and/or making excuses not to work.
As previously stated, mental illness is vastly misunderstood. Most people just don’t take the time to sit down and read the DSM. They aren’t interested in learning how brain chemistry works and how it contributes to difficulties functioning. It’s much easier for the average person to lump people into categories, such as “lazy,” “delusional,” and “liars.” Again, this is most likely because they are struggling with something deep down and don’t want anybody to know about it. It’s much easier to put on a “strong” front than actually deal with your issues.

3. Accuse you of lying and/or making things up for attention.
If you’re writing about the emotional fallout you suffered from assault, rape, bullying, and other forms of abuse, people will bend over backwards to defend your abuser. They will come up with any and every reason to call you a liar. After all, what kind of attention is better than everyone you know turning against you because that guy you thought was so nice decided to get wasted one night and force you into doing degrading sexual acts in your own bed?

Did you have to go to court to get a restraining order against a guy who threw you into a wall? You’re obviously just making that up too! Don’t even waste your time showing them the physical evidence. These people don’t care. They are uncomfortable with the fact that they personally know someone who committed an assault. They would rather see the accuser burn at the stake. Why is this? I don’t know. The short answer is that most people are just plain assholes.

4. Retaliate against you.
If you’re writing about your abuser, get ready for the flying monkeys to come after you in response. The worst thing you can do to a narcissist and/or abuser is call them out publicly. They cannot stand being told they are anything but perfect. Should someone point out that they are, in fact, a jerk who hurts other people for fun, they WILL retaliate against you. They will destroy your reputation, turn your friends and family members against you, jeopardize your employment, and even run you out of your home.

Sure, it’s scary now, but all they’re really doing is proving you right. You may feel the need to apologize in order to mend things, but it’s already too late. Abusers get off on abusing people. They want to see you hurt. They will do anything and everything in their power to manipulate those around them into hurting you. There’s nothing you can do. It’s just how they roll.

Your only option is to escape and cut them out of your life forever. It may seem difficult at first, especially if said abuser is a family member hellbent on isolating you from your blood, but it really is the best option in the end. Don’t worry, eventually the people around you will see how unhinged they really are. If not, hey! At least you finally got away!

5. Call you crazy and/or toxic.
This one is a classic. Mental illness comes in many forms. It can range from mood disorders such as depression to full-blown, degenerative diseases like schizophrenia. The spectrum is incredibly wide and diverse. Unfortunately, people who don’t understand mental illness also don’t understand this spectrum. It’s much easier to lump everyone into the “crazy” category. This is so things are simpler to process. Why take the time to listen to someone who is struggling when you can just slap a label on them and move on? Exactly.

Struggling with mental health issues is hard. Don’t make it harder by wasting your time worrying about what other people think. Abusers are going to abuse, people are going to use labels, and haters are going to run their mouths. Don’t take it personally. It has nothing to do with you. You are the one who is brave for standing up for yourself and fighting back against your illness. Your journey is an inspiration to others who struggle just like you. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll inspire the people who hurt you to face their own issues too.

10 Reasons Male Strippers Are Better Than A Boyfriend

After years of failed attempts at online dating and way too many unhealthy relationships with terrible, narcissistic men, I made a decision to give up dating for good. Men just weren’t contributing anything positive to my life. In fact, most of them were either abusing me or just straight-up wasting my time. It just wasn’t worth it to me anymore to seek out companionship.

Luckily, right at that moment, something better came along: male strippers. The popularity of the Magic Mike film series suddenly made male strippers visible to me in ways they had never been before. Suddenly, it seemed like they were everywhere in our culture! A troupe of them was even invited to perform in the small town in the middle of nowhere where I was living.

The venue was small enough for me to attract the attention of the troupe. I sat at a VIP table right by the stage entrance, won the stage game I entered, and was rewarded at the end of the evening with an invitation to dinner with the guys. There I was able to interview them about their experiences and lives as “male entertainers.” The conversations were very enlightening. I learned so much that night.

Ever since, I’ve become a loyal and faithful ally of male entertainers everywhere. In fact, I actually prefer them to regular men on dating websites.

Here are 10 reasons why:

  1. They’re fun!
    If there’s one thing male entertainers know how to do, it’s have a good time. You know who doesn’t know how to have a good time? Guys who hang out in basements playing video games. BORING! So boring. Male entertainers bring the party. You’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth when you buy that VIP ticket.
  2. They will treat you right.
    Yes they will. Unlike weird, gross, pornsick men, male entertainers are here to please you. They’re not going to use you for sex and throw you away like you’re nothing. They’re not going to try to bite, slap, choke, or spit on you without your consent. They’re going to take you into their arms, look into your eyes, and make you feel special. Just the way you deserve.
  3. They’re ridiculously good-looking.
    Wow, so good-looking. They work out. They’ve got great arms, great abs, great legs, great butts, great everything. And you get to enjoy it all while watching them dance around in a thong.
  4. They’ve got serious dance moves.
    Dancing is a great way to express yourself, work through negative emotions, and get in shape. Male entertainers know that. And not only can they dance, they can also do some serious acrobatic tricks. Who wants to watch a hot guy do three back flips in a row just because he can? I do.
  5. They wear a lot of hats (literally).
    Don’t you ever get bored seeing the same guy over and over again? I know I do. I appreciate a guy who knows how to change it up. What am I the mood for tonight? A sexy cop? A firefighter? Indiana Jones? The possibilities are endless. Truly.
  6. They work hard for their money… and they make a lot of it!
    Dating broke guys is boring. All they do is complain about taking you out to dinner. Male entertainers don’t do that because they have cash to burn. So much cash. Cash they are going to use to treat a lady right. A dinner out? That’s nothing! No complaints here.
  7. You can pay them to come and go as you please.
    In my experience, having a boyfriend around all the time can be a drag. They’re always complaining about something. What is it going to be today? How is he going to blame me for his problems? How is he going to pick me apart and break me down so I feel like crap? Male entertainers don’t do that stuff. They come and go as I please. I see them when I want and the rest of the time, they leave me the hell alone. It’s great!
  8. They’re the nicest gentlemen you’ll ever meet.
    To be fair, it is their job to be your fantasy. Still, I found this particular troupe to be quite amiable at our post-show dinner party. They were polite, gracious, and held their own during conversation. It was by far the best dinner party I’ve ever attended.
  9. They know how to express their feelings.
    What do male entertainers do on all those long bus rides between shows? Talk about their feelings, of course. You may not know this, but male entertainers face a lot of harassment and abuse. Instead of getting angry and blaming women for all of their problems, they talk it out among each other. What do most boyfriends do? Use you as a free therapist so they don’t actually have to confront any of their issues and therefore change.
  10. They travel a lot.
    Travel is good for the soul. The more you travel, the more your world opens up. Some of these guys have traveled the world. Some all over the continental US. Either way, they’re always on the road. They’re getting out there, meeting new people, and making new friends. What’s your boyfriend doing? That’s right. He’s sitting on his ass playing video games and throwing the controller across the room when he loses. Lame.

There you have it, ladies. Ten reasons to trade in your lameass boyfriend for male entertainers. Take my advice or leave it. I don’t really care. I’ll be out there living my life to the fullest.

10 Things You Need to Be A Successful Writer

As a small town famous writer with over 20 years of experience not getting paid for her work, published, or produced, I know all about what it takes to keep your dream of becoming a real writer alive in a cold, cruel, indifferent world. Here are the Top Ten things you absolutely NEED in order to sustain yourself in the face of improbability.

  1. A Room of Your Own
    Don’t take it from me, take it from Virginia Woolf. If you want to be productive, you need a room of your own. Ideally, this means a studio and/or 1-bedroom apartment so you can do whatever you want whenever you want. Of course, living with roommates or family can be more practical for a variety of reasons. Just make sure you carve out a space that is YOURS and YOURS alone where you can listen to music, talk to yourself, converse with your characters, dance around, or do whatever else it is you need to do in order to achieve maximum productivity.
  2. A Viable Business Plan
    The #1 reason most freelancers fail is because they don’t have a plan. They just go into it with this vague idea of what freelancing means. This is a mistake. You need to think of it as a Business. Would you start a business without a viable plan for profit? No. Treat freelancing the same way. Take the time to make a plan. Take courses if need be. Seek out other freelancers and learn from them. Treat yourself like a small business owner because that is exactly what you are.
  3. A Diversified Skillset
    Writing alone isn’t going to make you money. Trust me, I would know. As of today, I have made exactly $0 from writing. It’s a good idea to have other skills that you can monetize so you aren’t relying on writing alone. I sustain myself in other ways. These ways are not glamorous. Mostly, they involve mixing drinks and waiting tables. This was a great back-up plan until Covid. Well, not really. I don’t really do well working for other people. I could not keep a job for the life of me, but I was also living in South Dakota and people there are… well… different. That’s why I’m starting my own online business now! I’m taking the numerous skills I’ve learned and developed over the last two decades and turning them into something profitable! At least, we hope…
  4. Lots of Ideas
    Don’t get hung up on one idea. Let’s say you’re really dedicated to one manuscript. Finally, after years of struggle, that book gets published or that movie gets made. Now what? Do you have another idea to develop, or are you just going to become yet another One Hit Wonder? The more you write, the more likely you are to develop a real, sustainable, long-term career. You have to keep writing, no matter what. That’s the real secret ingredient to success. Or so I hear. You’re looking at a Work-in-Progress here, people. I’m not trying to pretend I’m something I’m not in order to profit from your naivety.
  5. A Good Attitude
    This part is very important! Put down the “I can’t” excuses and start telling yourself you can! You can do this. You are a writer. Be confident in that fact! If you want to be a writer, tell everyone you are a writer. Don’t wait around for other people to give you that validation. Fake it until you make it, like I’m doing right now with this blog. Most important of all, you need to have a thick skin. There are going to be so many people who are going to doubt you, tear you down, rip you apart, and tell you that no, you can’t do this. You will endure failure. You will face rejection. You will get bad reviews. You will get banned from your favourite bar. But you can’t let any of that stop you. Start developing a sense of humor now and it will be your best weapon when it feels like the world is against you. Your success will be found in your resiliency.
  6. A Sense of Dignity
    Let me explain what dignity means, says the person who was arrested for setting up a chair to write in outside of her favourite bar after getting kicked out and refusing to “just let it go.” Dignity means knowing your value. That means getting paid for your services. It means not taking assignments “for experience” after a certain point in time. It means walking away from unhealthy situations. It means not staying in bad relationships. It also means ghostwriting is a scam and if you really valued yourself, you wouldn’t let someone else take credit for your work and reap the profits from it. Just saying.
  7. Orderly Finances
    If you’re planning to quit that job you hate, tell your Boss to get bent, and live your dream of becoming a traveling writer, make sure you have your financial house in order first. Pay off any significant debt you may have so it doesn’t hover you when you can’t afford groceries because you spent the last of your money on booze. Maintain a solid credit score. Seek out benefactors and/or patrons, aka family members who are willing to give you cash so you can eat. Make long-term investments. And most importantly, figure out how your taxes work BEFORE you become an “independent contractor.” Pro Tip: Maintain residency in a state with no income tax, like South Dakota. Sure, it’s a third world shithole with a crazy two-bit dictator of governor who is totally and completely out-of-touch with reality, but at least I have Muh Freedoms.
  8. Professional Support
    There are three very important people you need in your career as a professional writer. The first is a great agent. You will never get anywhere in any industry without an agent. It is what it is. Keep querying until you find one. Eventually that day will come.

    The second is your lawyer. Yes, you need one. The first reason is because you should never, ever, EVER sign any kind of contract without consulting a legal mind first. Do not trust anyone who asks you to sign something without a lawyer present. Furthermore, do not trust anyone who threatens to rescind an offer if you don’t immediately sign the contract without reviewing it. Contracts should always be negotiated to protect your own long-term self-interest.

    The second reason you need a lawyer is because you might potentially piss people off with your writing. Should you offend the fragile ego of a raging narcissist, he will send his flying monkeys after you in the hopes of destroying your career, your life, and your sanity. A lawyer will protect you from this person’s attempts at sabotage. A lawyer is also great to have around should you deal with a client who tries to screw you over. You have rights as a small business owner. Know them. If you can’t be bothered, keep someone on retainer who will know them for you. Your career will thank you later.

    The last person you need is an accountant. If you’re shitty with money, numbers, and finances, it’s worth it to keep someone around who you can trust to take care of it for you. They may find things you never thought of, like clever tax write-offs or investments with long-term potential. They will also help you translate the utter gibberish that is the US tax code.
  9. A Stone-Cold SOLID Self-Care System
    Writers are not well-known for their exceptional mental health. In fact, we’re quite famous for the opposite. How many of your favourites have had epic breakdowns and interesting suicide attempts? If you’re going to be a writer, there WILL be days when you seriously contemplate sticking your head in an oven or stuffing your pockets full of rocks and wandering out into the sea. You have to be prepared for this. Develop the self-care routine that is right for YOU. Do whatever it takes to fight for your sanity. This business is not easy. Creativity is both a blessing and a curse. Figure out your counter-curse.
  10. No Fear!
    Don’t be afraid of failure or rejection. It is inevitable, like death is inevitable. Learn to face your fears and carry on without them holding you back. The world has always been a hard place for writers, artists, and creatives of all types. You are no exception to this rule. Hashtag, Live Fearlessly. Yes, even if that means letting the spider in the corner of the room stay. Spiders are good spirit guides for writers, but we’ll talk about that later.

There you have it, friends! It’s not so hard after all. Just work hard, stay positive, and never forget your dreams. Someday they’ll all finally come true.