The Importance of Being Honest When You’re Not Being Earnest

Reading time: 13 mins

If there’s one thing depression and anxiety makes you good at, it’s telling porkie pies. Whether it’s a little white lie, such as blaming your trembling hands on a double espresso, or something more elaborate like staging happy-go-lucky selfies for Instagram when in reality you feel like you’re dying inside, we’re all guilty of it.

In a society where mental illness is seen as a contagious disease, lies are the vaccines that inoculate those of us who are suffering from being ostracized like emotional lepers.

My go-to lie is to blame every low or anxious mood on nausea. It’s the perfect affliction to fake because they explain away any kind of agitation without inviting further inquiry, and its impossible to disprove.

Been invited to a social event? Can’t. Feeling a bit ropey today. Maybe next time. Woken up feeling shit and depressed? Need to stay in bed, must’ve eaten something dodgy. About to have a panic attack in public? Sorry, I’m gonna have to leave, I feel a bit sick.

So long as you’ve confided in at least one or two close family or friends, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with playing your cards close to your chest. Not everyone needs to know your business.

But there’s another kind of lie that I was guilty of telling in the early days of my battles with depression and anxiety, and one that isn’t quite so innocuous. It’s a lie I see told week in week out by many of the people at the mental health support group I run, and I suspect you might have told it once or twice yourself.

It’s nothing too elaborate. In fact it generally consists of just six words. But what’s interesting about this particular lie is that it’s not even necessarily intended to deceive. Because when the person uttering it does so, they themselves believe it to be true. What they’re doing, in fact, is lying to themselves first and foremost, and to everyone else as mere side effect. And it goes a little something like this:

“I tried that. It didn’t work.”

In the early days of my battles with anxiety and depression, having never experienced anything like it before, my knowledge and understanding of what was happening to me was elementary at best. I had no idea about the possible underlying causes of why I felt the way I did. All I knew was that I wanted to fix it. And quick.

But in my rush to find answers, my haphazard approach to research was both broad and shallow. Whether it was meditation, exercise, CBT, you name it. I wasn’t interested in the finer details, the science, or the research behind any of them. Just gimme the fucking instructions, for Christ’s sake. Just tell me what to do and let me get on with it.

Cardio three times a week? Fine. Twenty minutes of meditation every day? Cool. Cut all processed foods from my diet. Let’s do this. But no matter what I tried, and I tried pretty much everything, nothing ever seemed to work for me.

And it appears I’m not the only one. In the two years I’ve been running my support group, according to all the feedback I’ve received from people about their own experiences with various self-help techniques, I’d estimate the success rate of the big three depression and anxiety antidotes – exercise, meditation, CBT – to be around 5%. If that.

What’s interesting about this observation for me is that it stands in stark contrast to the results of clinical trials, which in the case of depression for instance, demonstrate a success rate of about 60% for exercise [1], 58% for CBT [2], and 52% for meditation [3].

So, what exactly is causing this discrepancy? The answer, I believe, is self-deception.

More often than not, in reviewing our failed attempts to remedy our own mental health issues, when we say “I tried that”, what we really mean is, “I tried that a couple of times”. And when we say “It didn’t work”, what we really mean is “It didn’t work quickly enough”, or we just didn’t enjoy it, or we just weren’t disciplined enough.

While we may indeed be guilty of expecting too much too soon, or just too much of an easy ride, this isn’t immediately obvious, because in many other pursuits, fast results and having fun aren’t entirely unreasonable expectations to have. Think about it.

At the commencement of most new learning experiences, progress is experienced rather quickly. For instance you can quite literally attend your first guitar lesson having never once picked up a guitar in your entire life and leave an hour later having memorised three chords, and as a result are now able to strum along to dozens of different pop songs.

Same with learning a new language, or even driving a car. You can feel the results almost immediately. This makes it fun and only serves to fan the flames of your enthusiasm to continue learning. It is in fact easier and more fruitful in the early stages, and only becomes harder and more nuanced the further along you progress.

When engaging in techniques to alter our brain chemistry or the content of our cognitive processes, this supercharged learning curve is turned on its head. Results are often much slower to present, sometimes even nonexistent in the early stages, and then still very subtle when they finally do begin to emerge.

It’s only in the later stages of engaging in such activities that the results begin to accumulate to any significant degree. Therefore its very easy, and thus very common, for people to become disheartened and subsequently disengage in the early stages of remedial mental health pursuits.

This impatience, though understandable, is in truth, unjustified, and more often than not, I believe, fueled by an unconscious dismissal of the terms and conditions laid out by the program or technique we’re attempting to engage in.

This was certainly the case with me back when I was claiming that things like diet, exercise and meditation weren’t having any effect. The reason they weren’t having any effect is because I was attempting, through a paradoxical combination of haste and laziness, to employ the techniques in isolation of the parameters within which they were designed to be effective.

In other words, I was ignoring say, the 90 day aspect of the diet program, or the daily aspect of the meditation course, or just the fact that nowhere in any of the literature did it say that doing cardio was going to be easy, let alone enjoyable.

Truth be told, I don’t know of a single quick fix approach to any mental health issue that is taken seriously by the scientific community. Most of the studies demonstrating the benefit of things like CBT, exercise, meditation, etc, are between 6-16 weeks in length. Even antidepressant medication can take about 6-8 weeks on average to start working.

But when you’re in the depths of depression or racked with anxiety, that’s a fucking long time to have to wait to see results. So quitting early is common. Even clinical trials, where a team of therapists and counselors are often there to provide support and leverage to participants, tend to see a dropout rate exceeding 30% [4]. So if you’re doing this stuff at home, alone, it’s easy to see how this figure could double or even treble.

The problem with “I tried that, it didn’t work” is that with a little semantic sleight of hand, it’s true. You can easily fool yourself into believing that you have indeed tried X, and that no, in fact, X did not work.

But this is the same kind of slippery get-out clause a cheating husband might conveniently employ when his wife accuses him of sleeping with other women. A charge he is able to deny in good conscience because indeed he hasn’t slept with anyone. Sure, he’s had sex with ten women in the past month. But that isn’t what he’s being accused of. He’s being accused of sleeping with other women. But he’s never so much as taken a nap with a single one of them. So, technically, he isn’t lying.

And this, I suspect, is exactly what many people are guilty of doing in relation to their own lack of success in trying to remedy their depression or anxiety using self-help techniques. I know I was.

So what to do?

Well, in the absence of being earnest – that is, in the absence of being serious in ones intention, purpose, or effort – you just have to be completely, brutally honest with yourself about it.

If you didn’t enjoy doing mindfulness meditation, or you found running too strenuous, fine. No big deal. If anything, this is good! This is an honest analysis of the situation that can help you reevaluate your approach. Maybe you’d be better off trying vipassana or guided meditation. And instead of running, maybe try low-intensity yoga instead.

In convincing yourself that it was the technique that was lacking rather than your commitment to it or the way you approached it, and then dismissing the entire project as inadequate or fraudulent, all you’re doing is limiting your options for your recovery based on a false evaluation, leading you to potentially dismiss something which had you stuck to it for the prescribed measure of time, could have been of immense benefit.

Furthermore, being too quick to dismiss this or that technique can quickly begin to contribute to the illusion that you’re somehow incurable. A special case. CBT works for millions of other people but it didn’t work for me! Wow, I must be really fucked up.

Apply this dismissive approach to every half-hearted attempt at the options available to you and pretty soon you’ll find yourself locked inside a prison of your own making, the walls a mere mirage constructed entirely of false testimonials that have you convinced you have nowhere else to turn.

Depending in whose company you make these claims as well, the consequences could be much further reaching than the end of your nose.

Let’s say for instance you choose to claim that you’ve tried CBT and that it didn’t work, and then post this claim on a mental health forum, or announce it during a discussion with a mental health support group. In reality you didn’t try CBT at all, you merely dabbled for a few days and got bored with it. But they don’t know that.

A fellow sufferer, hear your denouncement of CBT as “a waste of time” because “it doesn’t work”, and on your condemnation alone decide not to engage with it, despite the fact that it may have been of considerable benefit to them.

The importance of this point can’t be overstated. Truth be told, there are a relatively limited number of legitimate – that is, adequately studied and clinically verified – options available to people struggling with their mental health. And we do a great disservice to these methods, which are often based on solid research and designed by hard working, well meaning people, by denouncing them based on false testimonials, and which only serve to unfairly destroy their wider reputation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we should never criticize any of these methods simply to avoid discouraging those who might possibly benefit from them. On the contrary, they should be scrutinized to the highest degree, so that their methodology can be further refined and perfected.

But in order to scrutinize the efficacy of any therapeutic technique fairly, one must be reasonable about the bases on which they are to be scrutinized. Particularly when the technique in question requires a certain level of input and commitment from the person participating in it.

Is it really fair to scrutinize an 8 week daily meditation program based on a few sporadic days worth of participation? Hardly. To come to a negative conclusion about this particular meditation program based on this level of engagement would be analogous to a chef judging the outcome of a meal based on the recipe in a cookbook, but ignoring how he went about following the instructions.

It said four eggs, but I haven’t got eggs so I’ll just use a couple of turds. It said cook in a frying pan, but I haven’t got one of those so I’ll just use this rusty old hubcap. It said serve on a plate, but mine are all in the dishwasher so I’ll just spread it on the back of a raccoon carcass. Oh look, my scrambled eggs taste like shit. I’m not using that recipe book again. One star Amazon review: “Rubbish cookbook. Doesn’t work”.

On the other hand, let’s say you did complete the entire program down to the letter, and it really didn’t work for you. Now your evaluation of the technique is of genuine value to both the people who developed it and the people who are maybe thinking about trying it, as you can now offer up a detailed analysis of your own experience which the creators can use to refine their technique and the public can use to make a truly informed decision about whether or not it might be suitable for them.

More valuable than this though, is what the experience has taught you. You now know that meditation or yoga really isn’t the answer for you. But in seeing the entire process through from start to finish, you cultivated your ability to follow through and can now seek out other methods without looking back over your shoulder, confident in the knowledge that the road before you has narrowed based on conscious refinement and not pure self deception.

With all this in mind, maybe it’s time to look back over your past efforts to improve your mental health and ask yourself: That CBT course, that exercise regime, that diet program. Did you really try it, or did you just dabble with it? It didn’t work, or you didn’t do the work?

Now don’t get me wrong here, if you have been guilty of this, I’m not calling into question your commitment to the cause. I know you want to be able to see these things through. Nor am I underestimating the unfathomable level of resolve it takes to complete such mammoth tasks with any level of consistency while in the depths of depression or riddled with anxiety.

Believe me, I’ve been there. Jesus Christ, it took me four years and numerous half-arsed attempts before I finally mustered up the resolve to stick to anything for longer than a week.

All I’m asking is that should you call it quits at any point, that in hindsight you be honest about your level of adherence to the terms and conditions, so as not to misremember the experience and thus undervalue the potential inherent within the technique.

If you only managed three days of that 8 week meditation program. If you only quit McDonald’s for two days. If that exercise bike you bought was turned into a fucking coat hanger one week after buying it. Fine. No big deal. Just be honest about it. For your own sake.

And if somebody else asks you whether you’ve tried this or that therapeutic endeavor, this doesn’t mean you have to embarrass yourself by admitting that you didn’t really understand it, or that you just weren’t disciplined enough. Just say “no”. Because that’s the truth.

With this kind of honesty, you leave your options open to revisit certain approaches when you’re good and ready. For a fresh start, with a refined approach, and clear conscience. Instead of backing yourself into a corner that doesn’t exist because of failures that didn’t technically happen.

So, whatever it is. Whether it’s CBT, diet, meditation, exercise, you name it. Like my grandma used to say when we talked about fisting: Don’t knock it til you’ve really, really, tried it!

 

Sources

  1. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/
  2. The Efficacy and Effectiveness of Psychological Treatments: http://www.cpa.ca/docs/File/Practice/TheEfficacyAndEffectivenessOfPsychologicalTreatments_web.pdf
  3. Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being, A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1809754
  4. The Uphill Path to Successful Clinical Trials, Keeping Patients Enrolled: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684189/

 

Image courtesy: Carlos Luna

Not Another Mental Health Blog!

Reading time: 6 mins

I’ll be the first to admit we probably don’t need another mental health blog or a podcast. It’s a subject that’s become part of the cultural zeitgeist over the past few years, so there’s already a shitload of established material readily available out there.

Nor is this a business endeavor. As career choices go, from what I gather, blogging and podcasting are a fucking terrible idea. Unless you’re good at marketing, apparently. Which I’m not. Nor can I be arsed learning. I did look into it. It bored me.

So, with this in mind, I guess the obvious question to be answered, is why bother?

Let’s start with with blog.

I’ll go a lot deeper into my own personal circumstances some other time, but in short, at this point, I’m at the tail end of a five year battle with various mental health issues. Hypochondria, anxiety, and agoraphobia mainly.

Reduced to a pithy list of diagnostic labels, such a confession lacks gravitas. But it’s no exaggeration to say that the psychological hell that lies buried beneath each of these labels have at times pushed me to the precipice of my own personal threshold for pain.

I’ve felt shame and embarrassment. They’ve reduced me to tears. I’ve had moments where I genuinely believed I was losing my mind. The behaviors they compelled me indulge in have nearly torn my family apart. I’ve felt desperation to the point I’ve found myself praying to a God I’m not even sure I believe in. For a brief moment there I even flirted with the prospect of suicide.

Nowadays, I like to think I’ve left the worst of it behind. That I have somewhat of a firmer handle on my own destiny. However, I am by no means “cured”. The truth is, I’m still very much on the road to recovery. I like to describe myself as 90% recovered, and forever chipping away at that final 10%.

This blog will serve as an exposition of each side of this arbitrary statistic. As both a retrospective analysis of the slow steady hill climb that lies behind me, and as a constantly evolving speculation about the potentially even steeper road that lies ahead.

I’d feel remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the arrogance in voluntarily stepping into a limelight of one’s own construction, and declaring yourself worthy of being heard. But let’s get one thing perfectly straight. I have no desire to turn myself into your fucking anxiety guru.

I don’t have any secret techniques up my sleeve (nobody does). I’m sure many of the ideas I posit won’t amount to much more than vacuous philosophizing. Some of my practical suggestions will sound little better than the amateurish broscience of your typical self-help guru.

Nevertheless, I truly believe that my experience has furnished me with certain nuggets of wisdom that can only be found among the searing embers of introspection that pave the flaming trail of mental suffering. And I can’t help but dare to hope that in sharing the lessons I’ve learned along the way, I may have the potential to help you grease the wheels of progress in your own journey.

But herein lies an important distinction. My journey isnt, wasn’t, and couldn’t ever be the same as your journey.

I won’t spend a single moment of my time here speaking on aspects of mental health I have no direct experience with. Rather, I’ll only endeavor to expound upon the thoughts, techniques, and philosophies that have worked for me. Whether or not they have the potential to work for you, and more to the point, whether or not you choose to apply them to your own situation… Well, that’s on you, bitch.

As for the podcast?

If there’s one perk to mental illness, it’s that the search for information about your particular malady can quickly lead you down the utterly fascinating rabbit hole of the complexity of the human mind. And before you know it, what began with a simple Google search for “what is anxiety?” has resulted in a bookshelf littered with the works of Freud, Jung, Skinner, and Beck.

At the time of writing, I’ve just spent the past few months taking in part in a clinical trial for Metacognitive Therapy (MCT) for hypochondriasis at the University of Central Lancashire with a guy called Robin Bailey.

With my new found interest in psychology, I was never going to allow Robin to administer his MCT protocol uncontested. I challenged his assertions. I questioned the psychological presuppositions of MCT. I waged philosophical debates about the nature of cognition. We discussed the results and methodology of clinical trials, and argued the pros and cons of myriad different psychological therapies.

Robin is a PhD student. I’m a highschool dropout. I rarely came out on top (though I reckon I had him on the ropes a couple of times). But I always left his office more enlightened than I had been prior to entering, and more importantly, always that one step closer to recovery.

This podcast is my attempt to recreate those sessions. To sit down and have long, in-depth conversations with world class intellects about all things psychological, and to hopefully extract some helpful, healing advice along the way.

Before I finish, a word about the title I’ve chosen for this little project. “My Own Worst Enemy”. For those of you whose mental illness was something that befell them due to external circumstance, this name might seem ill conceived. Inconsiderate even.

But while there is indeed a hint of self-deprecation in there, in that I firmly believe beyond a shadow of doubt that my own psychological deterioration was entirely self inflicted, that’s not really what I was going for.

The name isn’t meant in reference to the origins of mental illness, which do indeed differ from person to person, but rather, it’s meant to refer to the subjective experience of mental suffering itself, many aspects of which, I suspect, are universal.

It’s about the internal battle we wage against ourselves in our own minds. It’s about falling into the trap of making our illness our identity. It’s about treating ourselves with a level of cruelty and neglect we would never dream of inflicting on others. It’s about knowing precisely the things we need to do to aid our recovery, and then procrastinating or making excuses. It’s about fooling ourselves into believing that we’re especially broken, a special case, that can’t possibly be fixed.

Taken together, it’s a recognition that the only person standing in the way of our recovery is ourselves. In other words, it’s about taking responsibility. For your past, your present, and your future.

Taking responsibility isn’t about self-blame. It’s about self-empowerment. Nor does taking responsibility mean we must walk the road to recovery alone. On the contrary. Taking responsibility enables us to spend our time seeking out the people who can help us, instead of looking for someone to blame.

It’s this perspective that forms the fundamental philosophical underpinning of this entire endeavor.

If you, like me, are your own worst enemy, but you want to figure out how to be your own best friend, then we have enough in common that maybe there’s something in this little project for the two of us after all.

Welcome to My Own Worst Enemy.

Danny 🙂

 

Image courtesy Rosmarie Voegtli

How to Write the Perfect First Blog Post?

Reading time: 8 mins

How many of you can relate to this experience?

You’ve decided, for whatever reason, to start a blog. You agonize for days over a name for your project where the .com, .net, or .org hasn’t already been snapped up by some arsehole domain squatter. Fifty attempts later, you finally settle on something you’re happy with and fork out a couple of quid on GoDaddy.

You buy a little web space, install WordPress, and upload a swanky, stylish, modern template that makes you look all premium and professional and stuff. And just like that, you’re ready to go. The world is your oyster.

You click “New Post”. A big blank page opens up before you. Oh, the potential. The little cursor seems to flicker with impatience, ready to skitter across your screen spilling syllables by the boatload. You crack your knuckles in preparation for the wordy symphony you’re about to hammer out on your keyboard. Just call you Williwig van Shakeshoven.

But hang on a minute. Hold your horses, sunshine. Let’s not be too hasty now.

Online, as in real life, first impressions matter. There’s fifty gazillion other blogs floating around out there in the ether. A bajillion of which already cover your chosen topic. Umpty-seven of which are authored by writing geniuses with God-tier marketing skills and eleventy-squillian subscribers.

You can’t just wing it and toss out any old codswallop. Not if you hope to compete with these behemoths of the blogosphere. No siree, Bob. You need to hit these mofos with a haymaker of an opening gambit. Come in like a wrecking ball, like that little Miley Cyrus fella says.

Your first ever blog post needs to be fun. It needs to be witty. It needs to be informative. It needs to be profound, amusing, intelligent, relatable. It needs immaculate spelling and punctuation. It needs flawless grammar and syntax. It needs structure and flow and character and style. It needs to be, well… Perfect.

Oh, the pressure. Your heart sinks. You sit and stare at your laptop screen. All that white space glaring back at you that mere moments ago felt like a blank canvas of infinite potential suddenly morphs into a bottomless abyss of nothingness. The words don’t come. The cursor flickers, slow and laboured. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off.

Five days later, you still haven’t written a thing.

Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to writer’s block.

Shit.

Oh, don’t worry. I know I’m being a drama queen. But that’s anxiety for you. And this, along with depression and other mental health issues is what this blog is all about.

Anxiety, however, is my specialty. I’m the Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi, Roger Federer of worry. Place me in any innocuous situation and I can catastrophize the bejesus out of it.

My heart skips a beat, I’m going to have a heart attack. Every minor stomach ache is stage four bowel cancer. If a loved one doesn’t answer their phone after three attempts, they’ve died in a car crash. And the content of my first blog post is as important to humanity as Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”.

What this latter delusional anxiety boils down to, is self-consciousness. I. Care. What. You. Think. I wish I didn’t. I’d like to pretend I don’t. But I can’t. Because I do. And that’s that.

Like all world-class professionals though, I have my off days. And today is one of those days where I’m off my anxiety game enough to be able to step back and take a sober look at this self constructed predicament.

Those of you with experience in CBT might be familiar with cognitive restructuring exercises. These are (usually) written exercises where you identify your negative thought patterns or limiting beliefs and then subject them to a little rational scrutiny. The goal being to contradict them and thus undermine the emotional power they exert over you.

Let’s say you berate yourself for being a “loser”. You might look for evidence why this isn’t true, such as listing off some past victories. Or maybe you could reframe past mistakes by finding the important lessons they contained, and thus turn them into a win.

The limiting beliefs fueling my writer’s block in this particular instance are twofold:

1) It matters what you, the reader, think of me. Therefore…
2) My first blog post needs to be perfect.

There are plenty of surface level criticisms to be leveled at these limiting beliefs, and plenty of vacuous platitudes I could employ to counter them. Why do you care what people think? You can’t please everyone. Who says it needs to be perfect? There’s no such thing as perfect. Ruh, ruh, ruh.

However, for your entertainment, I reckon I’ve discovered a couple of deeper misconceptions in these limiting beliefs which are slightly more profound, and infinitely more amusing.

First of all, I said a moment ago, that I care what you think. You! But who is this “you” exactly?

As this is the first draft of my first ever blog post, by definition, there’s no blog to be read yet and hence no readership. So this “you” that I’m speaking to isn’t a separate other you at all, because an actual other you doesn’t technically exist yet.

Even if I claimed to be writing for a future you, having imagined what you might be like, you’re still no more real than the nudist Kerry Washington I share an apartment with whenever I start daydreaming at a stop light.

This you that I’m so desperate to impress is really just a Frankenstein’s monster of my own paranoid projections. In other words, you aren’t you at all. You are actually just me in disguise and relabeled with the pronoun “you”.

This whole situation is like  sitting in front of the mirror and being worried about having something of interest to say in case the reflection staring back at you disapproves in some way.

In short, I’m worried what to say myself because if I don’t say the right thing and impress myself, I’ll disapprove of what I have to say, and then feel bad about myself as a result.

Jesus!

But this is just a transient issue. The fact is, there will at some point in the future be other people who aren’t me who read this blog post. Which brings me to the matter of whether or not this first blog post even matters.

It doesn’t. And neither does yours. Not that it doesn’t matter, period. It just doesn’t matter yet. And by the time it does matter, what it actually says won’t matter much anyway. In fact, the worse it is now, the better it will eventually be.

Confused? Let me explain.

I’m sure there are some examples of bloggers out there who went from total anonymity on a Monday, to a viral sensation by Wednesday off the back of their first blog post. And good for them. But for the rest of us, no matter how revolutionary it is, our first blog posts will go completely unnoticed.

Launching a blog is like setting up a market stall in the middle of the desert. The only people who know you’re there are you parents and three of your friends. Sure they’ll pay you a token visit. Maybe they’ll tell their friends, and if you’re lucky, some of them will pop by for a minute or two.

But after this, the bulk of your early readership will consist of little more than the occasional straggler who stumbles across your blog by sheer fluke of a misspelled Google search.

If you want to get past this and build an audience, you have to expand your inventory. Write and write and write some more. Rack up those blog posts until people begin to arrive on purpose. By which point your first blog post is buried so deep in the archives, even you might struggle to unearth it.

Regardless of what your anxiety might try to tell you, your first blog post will not shape the first, nor the lasting impression that 99.99% of your readers will form of you. That’s the responsibility of future blog posts you haven’t even thunk about thinking about yet. So, save your writer’s block for those.

The sole purpose of your first blog post is to get yourself off the starting blocks and into the race. Nothing more. For everyone else, the only use your first blog post will serve is to satisfy the curiosity of those readers who want to see how much of an amateur you were when you first started out.

So, do these future readers a favour and let your first blog post be shit. The shitter the better. With any luck, by the time anyone actually reads it, you yourself will have turned into the kind of blogging royalty that will intimidate the next generation of newbie bloggers into a bout of writer’s block about their own first blog post.

Genuine spontaneous side note. As I sit writing this, finally coming to the end of my own first blog post, I’ve begun to suspect that writing your first blog post about the anxiety of writing your first blog post is probably one of the biggest clichés in blogging. But bollocks to it. I’m not going to check. I don’t even want to know.

Anyway, I’m sorry if you stumbled across this blog post while searching for some practical advice on how to construct an amazing, original, SEO-friendly masterpiece that will make you an overnight viral sensation. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m sure it can. I’ll bet it has. But I don’t know how to do it.

I don’t know what makes a great first blog post. I don’t even know what makes a good first blog post. But, in my humble opinion, the perfect first blog post is the one that gets published.

Here’s to perfectoin!

 

Image courtesy: Drew Coffman