Welcome to The Invisible Vision Project’s blog and to another new episode of the Guest Blogger Interviews series. Today’s guest on the blog is Helen, and her blog-Helen’s Journey. Helen blogs about life with chronic illness while focuses on Green living, wellness and positivity. Without further ado, let’s get right into today’s interview!
- Please briefly introduce yourself.
Hi everyone, my name is Helen, I’m 35 and I live in Birmingham, Englands 2nd city, UK. My family heritage is English and Irish on both sides of my parents family trees.
Life has brought along many lessons. At 21 I started suffering from post viral fatigue after catching the mumps in my last year of university, which led to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, At 23 I became very ill and very immobile from a chronic pain condition called ‘Fibromyalgia‘ which as a very basic explanation; not only affects your muscles/ tendons & ligaments but also gives you a hypersensitive nervous system to heighten the severity of pain & discomfort you get when using your muscles to do things. For more detailed info here is a blog post I wrote: “FIBRO-MY-WHAT?” LET ME EXPLAIN… ALL ABOUT THE HEALTH CONDITION FIBROMYALGIA: https://helensjourneysite.wordpress.com/2018/05/12/fibro-my-what/
For over a decade I have run my own support group on Facebook for chronic illness sufferers & their loved ones to get support, encouragement, help, advice & a safe place to discuss things. It is also for non sufferers & loved ones of sufferers to join and gain an understanding of the condition and more widely the issues that chronic pain sufferers face daily. Find it on Facebook by searching: “Helen’s FIBROMYALGIA AWARENESS GROUP (also relevant for other chronic illness)” www.facebook.com/groups/HellsFibromyalgia/
I enjoy sharing my story and sharing the lessons life has taught me, in order to help others navigate through life’s struggles.
- What are your hobbies and interests?
Of course as a blogger I have to say writing, but that includes writing poetry, prose and playscripts as well as writing blog posts themselves. I love live theatre, eating chocolate, travelling, colouring, movies, taking and posing for photographs, fun with friends and banter with family. To know more about me personally, I have a section on my blog menu called ‘Awards’ and there you will find a collection of interviews that ask me many personal questions: https://helensjourneysite.wordpress.com/category/awards/
- Name your strength? And your lacking?
I think they are the same thing – my kindness! If you need help & I can help you I will. But certain people in my past have taken my kindness for weakness, as I find it hard to not help you when you ask for it, even if you have done me a wrong or not treated me nicely.
I had to find the balance between Christian duty to help and the right not to be used and having the ability to say no without guilt. I mastered this in September 2017 & healthily cut of the unhealthy people in my life – Thank the Lord I finally did, as 1 month later in October 2017 I started blogging!
- What is the highest level of education you have completed so far? I graduated with a 2:1 Bachelor Of The Arts Degree in “Modern Drama Studies” from Brunel University (Greater London, England UK).
- What is your current occupation?
Because of my health I don’t work full time anymore. However, I work on a freelance basis in the ‘Community Arts‘ field; So I’ve delivered drama workshops in a variety of settings; from schools for children with special educational needs, to sessions in a high security female prison. I’ve performed in plays in Birmingham Art Centres, as well as part of NHS staff training days. I’ve ran drama sessions for all ages; after school clubs and Saturday school for children aged 4 upwards, youth groups, homeless teenagers, to OAP’s in retirement homes. As you can tell I like variety in life, so I get career satisfaction out of the variety the Community Arts gives.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’m hoping to be married and a mother in five years time. Suppose I should put more effort into trying to actually meet someone then really shouldn’t I… *as I ponder trying internet dating again or not?* Hopefully I will still be blogging, although I’m sure the subjects I write about would expand once you are Fiance, Wife and Mother.
- Describe one of your proudest moment in your life.
On my travels around the world I’ve enjoyed many experiences: lying inside a tomb inside an ancient Egyptian pyramid, riding a camel, quad biking in the Sahara Desert, skiing on The Alps, visiting the most southern point of the USA closest to cuba, watching the musical ’42nd Street’ on New York’s 42nd Street, climbing the Statue Of Liberty… I’m so blessed that I could carry on writing this list.
Yet, better than life experiences for fun, is life experiences that make you feel proud! I think I’d choose growing my hair for three years to then donate 12 inches of my hair to ‘The Little Princess Trust’ which is a charity that made my hair into a real hair wig for a child with hair loss from cancer and other medical treatments. Here are blog posts I wrote sharing this heart changing experience with my readers;
WHAT I’VE LEARNT FROM 3 YEARS OF GROWING MY HAIR FOR CHARITY, TO MAKE A WIG FOR A CHILD WITH CANCER “SHORT HAIR DON’T CARE” TO “LONG HAIR COZ I CARE” https://helensjourneysite.wordpress.com/2018/06/11/long-hair-life/
- What is your biggest fear in life?
If you had asked me this 10 years ago it would have been the fear of my health not improving. However, 10 years on and some health improvement on along the way – my biggest fear now I think would be not having children.
- Please tell us about your blog: What is the title of your blog? When did you first get in to blogging? Why did you start?
My blog is entitled ‘Helen’s Journey’ – I know right my blog name doesn’t give away my real name at all does it?! 😉
It all began when I started to share on my personal social media about changing things in my everyday life to be more natural; such as changing to organic food, getting rid of plastic tubs and bottles, getting rid of all chemical products, etc. My friends showed lots of interest and many asked me to keep them posted on my steps going forward, for going down the more natural lifestyle route.
From there I thought what better way to keep everyone informed than writing a blog to share my journey… and so ‘Helen’s Journey’ was dreamt into being
writing was always a hobby of mine from a very early age. When I went through emotional situations in life my outlet was writing poetry and this is still something I do. I had just got out of a long-term toxic relationship. I was starting over, breaking free, healing and working my way through the fog to rediscover who I was before heartbreaking life experiences and abuse distorted me. So it was fitting that once again writing became my way of expressing myself and talking about the lessons life had thrown at me and sharing my life’s journey with you all.
- How would you describe your blogging style?
Put it this way if every blog needed a theme tune, mine would be ‘This Is Me’ song from the greatest showman because my style is unique to me. Although I call it a ‘Green Living, Wellness & Positivity Blog’ that only loosely covers all the subjects I write about as I don’t have just one niche. I blog about living with chronic illness, reviews of day trips, natural product reviews, blogger advice, self-love, personal development, mental health, lifestyle, food – the list really does go on! As well as all of that I post some of my own poetry into the mix too!
This is what I wrote in my first blog post & I stick by it: I should do a disclaimer from now: I’m far from perfect so things around here won’t be done in the ‘best way to have a successful blog’ way, but more like ‘my way of having a blog’ way!
For example after the life experience of cutting my hair for charity that I spoke about earlier, in order for me to deal with the emotional rollercoaster I feel I went on, I decided to open up a blank page and start writing a blog post. However, what I ended up with was me writing my own lyrics to ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’ theme tune, to talk all about this experience. My creative mind and imagination is also a big part of my blogging style. You can read this creative twist here, but I don’t take responsibility if you end up singing the theme tune rap all day: https://helensjourneysite.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/creative-writing-therapy/
- Who has impacted you the most in blogging?
The whole twitter blogging community has impacted me the most. embrace the arms of the blogging world, which to be honest I had no idea even existed. I started blogging and doing social media for my blog and I suddenly found myself sucked in full force into a big fraternity of bloggers supporting bloggers & it’s been FAB! I’ve chatted, congratulated, been congratulated and really been encouraged by the support from a collective of fellow friendly bloggers. Twitter helped me so much I wrote a post all about how Twitter can help grow your blog and help you increase blog traffic: https://helensjourneysite.wordpress.com/2018/02/17/twitter-win/
- How active are you on your blog and approximately, how much time do you spend blogging?
My health condition, es the fatigue side of things really impacts on my consistency when it comes to blogging. Some months I have posted four posts and other months only one blog post, but I always post on social media even if I’m not posting new content. However, on my blogs 1st year anniversary (bloggerversary) I decided to write a post about despite illness, how I built my blog in a year to reach over 10,000 VIEWS & OVER 11,000 FOLLOWERS. Click to read it for more insight: https://helensjourneysite.wordpress.com/2018/11/01/1-year-anniversary/
- Have you ever faced a challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
I found blogging hard in March & April this year. March my Nan was in and out of hospital and we were busy caring for her. Unfortunately she died on 14th April, then came her funeral & now sorting through her belongings. I was on a nonstop rollercoaster and I couldn’t get off to write blogs or do much promotion for my blog either. my stats suffered and it really reminded me how much work is involved in blogging, blog promotion, social media, image creation, etc. I am still trying to catch up and get back into my flow again…
- In the future, where do you hope your blog will take you?
I’d like to also start a podcast and youtube video’s along side my blog. It is something I have been researching into and learning about. Find my youtube channel in my social media links at the end of this post and please follow my channel as I will hopefully soon be posting my videos… *watch this space*
- What would be one piece of advice you would give to first time bloggers?
If you are thinking of starting a blog let me tell you – there is never a perfect time, there is always something else you want to change or tweak or learn etc. So my advice is – JUST DO IT!!!
So that’s exactly what I did, I just started it and thought I’ll learn and change things along the way… (I’m very happy I stopped putting it off and didn’t waste anymore time!) I read others blog posts with blogging advice as I went along and ‘learnt on the job’ rather than getting fully qualified with information first, before I put my hands into action.
I decided to write my advice into a post for new bloggers or potential bloggers to read: Thinking of starting a blog? JUST DO IT! WELCOME to HELEN’S JOURNEY – Here is how it all began…
- Please Provide Contact Info and Social Media Links below:
Here’s where to find me & follow my footprints on Social Media:
Twitter @helens_journey www.twitter.com/helens_journey
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/HelensJourneyBlog/
Instagram @helens_journey www.instagram.com/helens_journey
My Facebook Chronic Illness Support Group www.facebook.com/groups/HellsFibromyalgia/
Here we have it! This is the end of Guest Blogger Interviews #8 with Helen and her blog, Helen’s Journey. I hope you all enjoyed reading this blog, and got to know a little more about Helen, her blog and her story. A huge thank-you goes out to Helen, for your participation in this series!
By: The Invisible Vision Project