In a year I write around 50 posts for Bipolar Burble, some of which are popular bipolar or mental illness posts and some of which are not as much. If you haven’t kept up all year long, who can blame you, really? So I’ve put together a list of the top 10 bipolar posts of 2015, just in case you’ve missed one or two.
This list is always an interesting one for me because it tells me what you, my readers, care about. In general, you care about a lot of what I can about but sometimes you surprise me with exactly how much you care about a given subject (and by what doesn’t show up on the list).
The Top 10 Popular Bipolar Posts of 2014
10. Bipolar Treatment Fatigue — We start the bipolar post top 10 list with a term I invented. “Treatment fatigue” is a concept that is widely felt but underrecognized. It’s when you can’t bear undergoing any more treatments because you’ve just lost faith in bipolar treatments altogether or are tied of the side effects or are exhausted with your doctor or, or, or. I would argue that while these feelings are real, we need to fight bipolar treatment fatigue in order to get better.
9. Accountability for Your Actions with Bipolar — I’m a big believer in accountability and I’m a big believer in not saying, “the bipolar made me do it.” Sometimes, bipolar does strongly influence our behavior and sometimes we truly aren’t accountable for it, but most of the time this just isn’t true.
Over 70 articles were published here on the Bipolar Burble blog in 2013. Some were hits and some not so much. So today I’d like to look back at two top 5 lists: the most-read bipolar blog articles of 2013 and the most talked-about bipolar blog articles of 2013.
Last night saw the launch of the Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page. In all honesty, I’ve been meaning to do this for quite a while but couch-contributed inertia slowed me down. This Facebook page is dedicated to supporting people with a mental illness and all those who love them.
Why a Bipolar Burble Blog Facebook Page?
I created this page in response to the concerns that some people had over the nastiness that was being put on my own Facebook profile. People felt it wasn’t a safe space to discuss articles or leave comments and while I try to make the Bipolar Burble blog clutter-free, that’s tougher to do on Facebook. Having a Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page, though, makes this task easier, so you can consider the Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page a safe space to comment and discuss mental health topics.
Benefits of the Bipolar Burble Blog Facebook Page
With a page I will be able to blacklist the appropriate people, use additional moderation when needed and try to keep everyone from being attacked, much like I do here. I want my readers to feel safe discussing delicate issues and I know that’s hard for some people. I hope this page can help out. The commenting rules for the Bipolar Burble blog Facebook page will be similar to the commenting rules here.
We’ll be discussing my articles from the Bipolar Burble blog, Breaking Bipolar on HealthyPlace and Bipolar Bites on Healthline, which might be particularly helpful for people as Healthline doesn’t currently have any way to leave comments directly. And, of course, anything else I think is interesting in the mental health world.
If you have any comments on or suggestions for the new page, I’m all ears.
Well, like a travel writer writes about travel, I write about mental health. Perhaps my type is not as common as a travel writer, but mental health writers are out there, nonetheless.
And, I have to say, it’s not easy being a mental health writer. It means talking about unpleasant subjects on a daily basis and facing parts of yourself that you’d probably prefer to gloss over. And it means forming an opinion, standing up and standing by that opinion even when it’s very unpopular. (At least, that’s what being a mental health writer means to me.)
And making a living is hard and there are no vacations, no weekends and no sick days.
I started the Bipolar Burble eight years ago anonymously. And for the vast majority of that time, no one read my blog. Oh, sure, I had a few avid readers and a person would stumble on it now and then, but even after I started producing decent content, no one read it.
Which initially was OK by me. I didn’t write for others, I wrote for myself, so if I had one, lonely reader, then that was fine, I still felt the urge to push pixels around.
Until, of course, it wasn’t fine. Then I had to figure out why no one read me and figure out how to actually get people out there to know about me. And so people ask me all the time: How do I get people to read my blog? How do I find an audience?
Figure Out What Your Blog is About
Ah, you say, but I know what it’s about, it’s about me!
Well, good for you. How many people are putting your name into a search engine? Unless you’re Ashton Kutcher, I’d wager, not many. You might want to alter your focus.
Pick a topic that interests you and that you can stick to, day after day after month after year – like, say, mental illness. And then be prepared to write on your topic and only your topic for a long time. Changing topics (like I’m doing right now) might confuse and fracture your audience.
Make the blog topic broad enough so that you can write many things but narrow enough so that you can identify a group of people who would be interested. For example, My Pet Parakeet, Pete is specific, but may not find much of an audience. Whereas Cheery Chairs is a pretty broad topic but it might be difficult to identify the segments of people deeply devoted to it. Chairs for Parakeets might be something in the middle.
Write Great Blog Content
No matter what you choose to write about, your content had better be stellar. It has to be something that connects with people so that people will want to go back to it again and again.
And make sure that content stream is constant – 2 blog posts per week at a minimum – more is better when building an audience.
Figure Out Who Cares about your Blog’s Subject
Once you’ve decided to go with a topic, figure out who cares about that topic and target them. Perhaps the National Society of Parakeets? Maybe the International Council for Chair Care? Perhaps Pets for Rest?
And then access those groups. Become a member. Participate in their events. Discuss things with other members. Get the word out that your Chairs for Parakeets blog is the very best.
Get an Audience – Get Loud, Proud and Social
Tell everyone under the sun you have a blog. Tell your family and friends and neighbours and school chums. If they don’t know about it, then they can’t support it or you. You can never tell too many people about your work.
And seriously, start social networking. Don’t roll your eyes at me – Twitter and Facebook have been the major drivers of my audience and they can be for you as well. I can’t go into all the ins and outs of social networking here, but set it up, do it, and use it for promotion every day. (But don’t be obnoxious.) (See how to write a Twitter bio here.) Also promote sharing and subscribing to your blog.
Learn About Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Yes, this one is last because if you’ve done all those other things, then blog SEO will (sort of) happen naturally. SEO keys in on keywords (subject focus), connections (networking) and quality content – things you should always be doing anyway. To get finer-grained, you’ll need to start learning about how Google works and that could take some time. For now just know that those other rules really matter.
Overall Tips on How to Have a Popular Blog
- Talk about what’s in the news – people are looking for commentary on it and they likely have thoughts on it too
- Be controversial (or not) – this always gets readers but you might not like the fall-out
- Answer your comments – this builds community and conversation and keeps people coming back
- Use headings, bullet points, paragraph breaks and images liberally – no one wants to read a large chunk of text
- Create solid, frequent content – oh, did I mention that one already?
- Keep articles to 400-600 words – people don’t have the attention span for more than that
- Link everything together – social networks, to blog, to homepage, etc.
- Guest post elsewhere
- Comment on other blogs or in forums where your audience hangs out
- Care for and about your audience
And keep in mind, becoming popular takes time. I have more than 6 times the traffic than I did a year ago, but that took a year. So be patient. If you want people to read you – they will – but it isn’t as simple as build it and they will come.
I don’t like to write too many self-referential posts because I’m pretty sure masturbatory navel-gazing isn’t why people come here. However, now and then people like to know what’s up.
And right now there are exciting things afoot at the Bipolar Burble and for me as well so I thought I’d let you know about them.
Natasha Tracy Nominated for Health Activist of the Year
WegoHealth is awarding health activists of the year. They have categories for:
- Best in show
- Rookie of the year
- Paperboy award
- Health activist hero
- Advocating for another
- TMI award
- Hilarious health activist
- Offline crusader
- Best affirmation post
- Best kept secret
And I am honored to be nominated for Best in Show. And while I suppose everyone says “it’s an honor just to be nominated,” I do mean that. People have said such kind things about me and that’s the fuel that keeps the fires here at the Burble lit.
Have Your Say on Health Activists
Want to have your say? Contact WegoHealth to tell them what you think of me or nominate someone else! (They are also looking for people for their judging panel.)
Bipolar Burble Nominated for Best Health Blog 2011
Yes, in the string of self-congratulations, I must also say that the Bipolar Burble has been nominated for Best Health Blog of 2011 at HealthLine.com.
This, alas, is a bit of a popularity contest, so I must ask you to vote for me now and as often as possible (you can vote once a day) in order for me to win. I appreciate every one of your votes and I hope you’ll forgive me for prodding you about it over the next six weeks.
Off Label – An Unbalanced Look at a Bipolar Life – Memoir
You might have noticed that I published an excerpt from my memoir, Off Label, months ago. This was to get some public feedback and to generally let people know what is happening. But the memoir has sort of sat in a bottom folder on my hard drive collecting dust for quite some time. It’s not that I don’t care about getting it published – I do, but because of the way the publishing industry works right now, I have to prove my popularity before an agent will be interested in me.
And recently I’ve managed to do that.
Over the last few days two agents have shown interest in representing me and I’m hoping one of them will sign me as a client.
Now, publishing is still a far off dream, but I’ve taken another big step forward.
And in case you were wondering, a tip of the hat goes to Natalie Jeanne Champagne as she spurred me forward in this endeavour.
Sharing the Good News
So that’s the good news around here. It’s nice to take a break from the medical stuff and bring it to you. Thanks for a wonderful year of support. If you keep it up, I promise to keep working hard and bringing you quality, well-researched information on mental illness.
You all rock.
Admit it – you haven’t kept up with your bipolar reading. Come on. I know it. I can barely keep up and I write the bipolar articles.
Luckily for you, I like you a lot, and I’m happy to give you a little cheat sheet on what’s been getting attention at Breaking Bipolar. We’ve got mental illness and higher education, mental illness and physical pain, how to tell if it’s a med side effect and oh so much more.
Articles Breaking Bipolar Over at HealthyPlace
- Is it a Med Side Effect? – What is a medication side effect and what isn’t a med side effect? How can you tell?
- Temperature Dysregulation – Or Why I’m So Cold – Speaking of side effects – did you know psychiatric meds can change how your body temperature feels?
- Yes, You Can Get a Higher Degree With Bipolar Disorder – So many people have written me to say how successful they have been in school. Read this for inspiration and hope. Some people have taken 10 years to get their degree – but they got it. Article includes tips on being successful at school.
- Mental Illness Means Physical Pain Too – People think mental illness is “just” in your head. They would be wrong about that.
- Is It Really Never the Psychiatrist’s Fault? – I’m tired of doctors acting like they never make a mistake.
- Being Thankful Even When Anhedonic – Even when I can’t feel pleasure I can feel grateful for the things that go right in my life.
- How to Keep Going When Medication Doesn’t Work – And for your final dose of hope and encouragement, here are some tips on continuing mental illness treatment even when everything is going wrong.
Popular Articles at the Bipolar Burble
And just in case you haven’t been glued to the Bipolar Burble, here are a few things you should read here:
- Questioning the Evidence of the Efficacy of Therapy for Depression – Interesting information on how evidence-based therapy for depression really is. Less so than I would have thought. And do you think CBT is intellectual and analytical? I do, but a commenter disagrees.
- When to Get Off Antidepressants if You’re Bipolar – The first in a three-part series on getting off of antidepressants.
- Important Safety Warnings for St. John’s Wort – Please read if you’re on or thinking about trying St John’s wort.
- Cutting Supplemental Security Income Hurts Mentally Ill Children – A guest post by Allison Gamble that garnered a lot of reads.
- Psychiatric Myths Dispelled by Doctor – Fighting Antipsychiatry – Have you read this article yet? It garnered more comments than any other at the Burble. It’s always a hot topic.
Hi all. Natasha Tracy here with a couple of meta Bipolar Burble blog updates on commenting, rss, mobile browsing and sharing by email.
Commenting Rules on the Bipolar Burble Blog
I have recently created a page outlining the rules for commenting on the Bipolar Burble blog. I never wanted to do this. I wanted a shiny, happy blog where people could discuss openly and honestly their feelings. But yes, I’m aware this is the internet and such desires generally go unfulfilled.
A Safe Space for Anyone with, or Anyone who Loves a Person with, a Mental Illness
The Bipolar Burble blog has always had sensitive material on it and I’ve always wanted it to be a safe space for people. This is a place to come to learn and talk to others who are like you. This is a place for rational discussion. This is not a place of acrimony. This is not a place of hate.
And in part this is a mea culpa. I’ve been letting too much hatred onto the Burble. I’ve done it because I believe in free speech and free discussion. I’ve done it because I can take some abuse and still be OK. I’ve done it because I understand how high people’s feelings run on these topics and that passion can overrun the better judgement of normally reasonable human beings. I’ve been trying to make allowances.
And I don’t like moderating people. I don’t like asking people to leave. I don’t like having to be the mommy or referee.
But I’ll do it to protect what I have built here. And while I know 99% of people are wonderful, reasonable, respectful, caring human beings, I have to make explicit the rules for the other 1%.
What I’ve Learned about Free-Speech and Hate
And I’ve learned something: I don’t have to allow people to come here, abuse me and others, just to prove how evenhanded and fair I am. I am fair. I am evenhanded. I don’t have to prove that to anyone.
I don’t have to put up with hate. I won’t. This isn’t a democracy. If you don’t like it here, feel free to start your own blog.
Rules for Commenting on the Bipolar Burble Blog
A page listing the rules for commenting can be found under the “bipolar blog” link above. For your reference:
- Comments must be on-topic. If it isn’t related to the article or another relevant subject, I’ll just remove it. This includes personal conversations. If you want a back-and-forth with someone else about how they’re horrible, go somewhere else.
- Don’t name call. It’ll get you warned the first time and then it’ll get your comments deleted until you calm down.
- Don’t be abusive. Yes, I get it, group A is evil, group B is the devil, whatever. If you’re too nasty and acrimonious I’ll have to moderate you.
- Don’t make other accounts. Believe me, I’ll know. I’m likely to ban you for this.
- Don’t scream and yell. This means no typing in caps all over the place. It’s just good manners people.
People are free to disagree with me and others. People are free to disagree vehemently. But if you can’t do this like a rational adult, you can’t do it here.
RSS and the Bipolar Burble Blog
Some folks like to read blogs via RSS feed rather than visit sites directly. For them, I have provided an RSS feed for the Bipolar Burble. However, this RSS feed doesn’t give anyone the right to reproduce my work without permission.
What You Can Do with Bipolar Burble Blog Content
You can quote parts of an article, give credit and link to the original source. No problem there.
What You Can’t Do with Bipolar Burble Blog Content
You cannot republish whole articles without explicit permission. If you ever want to reproduce an article for some reason, contact Natasha Tracy and we can chat about it. I’ll probably say yes.
The Bipolar Burble Blog and Copyright
You may not realize this, but any time a word is written, it is immediately under copyright. There is no need to state this as it is true of all writing. Therefore, by reproducing an article you are breaking copyright law.
(I know the vast majority of you would never do this, but I have to clear it up for the tiny percentage who don’t know or don’t care.)
The Bipolar Burble Blog Additions
At the request of one of my readers I have installed a plug-in to allow you to access the Bipolar Burble easily from a small screen, say, on an iPhone. It gets rid of most of the pictures and makes it reader-friendly. Contact me if you have any issues.
The Bipolar Burble Blog and Email
In addition to all the other sharing options at the bottom of posts, you can know also share by email. You can thank a reader for this addition as well.