So a little background information….
This is Janine Ripper who through her blog http://reflectionsfromaredhead.com/ shares her personal story of depression, anxiety, burn out and recovery through learning self-care and how to live authentically, to help inspire others on their path to wellness. I sat down with Janine to find out more about her and her journey so far.
Q1. Do you think that you are living a more authentic version of yourself now versus when you first began blogging about your life?
When I started blogging I was quite shy and introverted, was in a different career I hated, was incredibly stressed as I wasn’t living according to my values, and was lost. Over the last 8 years so much has changed, and I do credit my blog for helping me to do this – including to change careers! It’s really been an amazing journey (yep, I went there with the ‘j’ word).
Q2. On your blog http://reflectionsfromaredhead.com/ you share your story of depression and anxiety, are you more alert and aware when a burn out is coming or a depressive episode is about to reveal itself to you?
I most definitely am! Well, mostly. I still push myself more than I should, and struggle with fatigue, but I know the signs, know when I’ve overdone things, and know when I’m not feeling right.
Q3. What tools do you have on hand when a depressive episode or burn out is occurring?
Candles, incense, emergency anxiety medication, my dog, go-to movies to watch and music to listen to, a short-list of yoga You Tube videos, my fave podcasts, a comfy bed, and a supportive husband.
Q4. As a mental health advocate do you see that the landscape surrounding mental health and its stigmas have significantly changed in the last say 5-10 years?
I would love to say YES, and I guess we have made some progress over the last 5-10 years, however there is still so much stigma, so many people who don’t ‘believe’ in mental illness, and so much work to be done. I can tell there is as every time I write about depression or anxiety, or share something related to it on social media, people unfollow. I try not to focus on that however, as the beauty is in the people who receive your message and are in need or grateful.
Q5. How has in the media landscape and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and the like changed the way that people respond to someone raising their hand and saying I have suffered with mental health issues?
It has made it so much easier for people to put their hand up and declare they have or have suffered from a mental health issue. It definitely helps people realise they are not alone in their battles! People just need to be aware that mental illness is still largely stigmatised and that through sharing publicly, not everyone will understand. This can include friends, family and employers.
Q6. What was it about blogging that appealed to you?
Blogging initially appealed to me as a way to get back into writing after a number of years of writer’s block. It was also very cathartic, as I started blogging when I was very lost and depressed. I loved the connections I started to form with people, people who had been through similar things or who were supportive. Blogging helped me to feel less alone and to realise that there were others out there just like me. I wasn’t weird, and I wasn’t weak.
Q7. Do you have a passion project in mind that you would like to achieve?
I would love to write a book one day. I would also love to become a digital nomad, being able to work from anywhere in the world. Part of that involves my husband coming on board and us making a real go of it! A life of freedom and exploration sounds perfect.
Q8. Do you have a specific way that you deal with your depression and how you overcome it?
Dealing with my depression is a life-long process, I accept that today after a few relapses. I take my meds, I try to prioritise self-care and rest, I’ve learnt to say no (mostly), I try not to eat too much and to eat fairly healthy, and I see my psychologist monthly.
The most important factor is to recognise the signs – recognise when you are feeling down, when that feeling is prolonged, when you are feeling tired and need rest, and when you need to make changes in your life to prevent burn out and a relapse.
Q9. Do you think you could do a TED talk if they asked?
I could try. I do have issues with memorising speeches though. I find notes help me to manage my anxiety these days. I work well from written prompts!
Q10. Do you have a favourite blog post?
I like 64 Ideas for Self-Care When Life Gets Hard – the post was crowd sourced and is my most popular blog post ever. It has really resonated with people and stood the test of time. It’s also great to refer back to whenever I need some self-care inspiration of my own!
Q11. And a least favourite?
My least favourite I have ‘unpublished’. I do, however get disappointed in the performance of blog posts, with list posts being the most popular posts that also take the least sweat and tears to write. They are fun to write however.
Q12. What advice would you offer to a new blogger?
Just start. You will waste lots of time trying to write the perfect blog posts and design the perfect blog, however there is no such thing as perfect – so just dive right in and go with it!
Q13. You are my mentor and I am extremely grateful for that, what was it that you saw in me as a professional blogger that made you think ‘this guy has what it takes’?
For starters, we just clicked. Also, I think I saw something in you that was in me. We have similar natures and personalities and have or are dealing with similar things.
I could see your passion and talent for writing and thought blogging could help you in many ways, most importantly by connecting you to others, and as an easy way for you to get your writing out into the world. I know what it did for me – it changed my life – and I thought it would be great for you. I guess I could also tell that you would just do it, as the Nike slogan goes! And you did!
Q14. As a marketing and communications specialist is their one specific company that you would like to work for?
Not really. I like diversity therefore I like being able to help lots of organisations, businesses and individuals with them marketing and communications needs.
If I had to pick a ‘dream job’ though, it would be in travel! Just imagine getting paid to travel and write and do social media!
Q15. I hear you have a love of cheese and burgers am I correct?!
That is correct, although these days my body can’t handle the cheese 😦
Q16. I also hear that you are the world’s best blogging editor is this also true?!
I have it on good authority that I am, however I’m terrible at editing my own blog posts! I think I need my own editor.
To find out more about Janine you can follow her on twitter
Or you can follow her on instagram here https://www.instagram.com/janineripper/
Or engage with her on Linkedin here
You can also email her if you would like to work with Janine, and you have a passion project you need help with, or hear of something you think would be perfect for me, don’t hesitate to contact her at email@example.com