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The final day of Mimi: Day 187

My first blog photo on the left from 2015, to now in 2020.

I woke up this morning and felt right about making this decision, as it's been one I've been considering for months now. This blog's title '100 Days Of Mimi' never stayed true, as today is my 187th post. It's a difficult decision, but with my reasoning that you can read below, I finally feel like this is right for me and I am going to retire my blog.

I started this blog 5 years ago when I was 19 and newly diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I started the blog as a 'mood diary' that would also allow people to see the journey, in the hope that it would dispel negative stigma of mental illness and give people a look through the keyhole of what life was like living with this horrible disorder. After a few weeks of posting, I remember being filmed for STV and having all these newspapers take photos of me and promote my story and it was so weird to me. I never expected my blog to have any attention, but there you all were and I'm only being honest when I say I felt so validated by the attention. I became not only a blogger, but one of the faces of 'bipolar disorder' in a media landscape - and at the time it was a role I relished because I felt helpful and needed.

I wrote my blog every single day for 100 days, and I brought you on the journey of my illness... but also the journey of a woman trying to find her place in the world as she reached her twenties. University... work... relationships... you read the intimate details of my life and I became an over-sharer living to gossip at night to her 'internet friends'.

After the 100 days, I continued another 100 days after a small break. I didn't get very far, I don't even think I got halfway because I had a horrible break-up. I was 21 and in short, a boy broke up with me because his family resented that their son dated not only a girl with bipolar disorder, but a girl with a mental health blog. This was the first time I had felt like I should be ashamed of myself for doing what I did.

I entered yet another depressive episode after that break-up as at the same time I lost my brother-in-law and had to support my sister and nieces emotionally through a horrible time. Spending time away from university meant I was missing valuable time working on my degree project, and I walked away with a result much lower than my projected grade. I spent a few months ploughing on with my media work, which gratefully this blog gave me the opportunity to have, but I was having my quarter-life-crisis moment.

I went back to my blog at the end of that year when I was 22. I wrote a piece I'm still immensely proud of called 'The Cupboard'. It was the moment where I committed myself to telling my story in a creative way without spilling out all the details. This post opened my eyes to how much control I could have over my own story - and that everything I gave out to the public (regardless of pressure from followers) was up to me. Having a blog means having control of your message, and for a while that renewed my enthusiasm for writing about mental health.

For the next 3 years, I wrote every so often when I felt inspired. Though the time between each blog grew, so I started feeling more dread at writing because I thought to myself 'well if people are only going to get a new blog every 5 months, then I better make it a good one'. Pressure and I are not a pleasurable cocktail, and throwing bipolar disorder into the mix makes for a pretty rancid tipple. My censored nature eventually grew onto my personal social media platforms too. Gone were the days of telling everyone my personal life and crying out to Twitter like it was a therapist. For someone who found talking about her feelings on a blog helpful for her illness, five years afterwards, I found not airing all my dirty laundry the ultimate act of self-love.

100 Days of Mimi, at its time, did something new on the internet: it discussed complex mental illness with great personal detail. 5 years later, I'm sure you'll see that millions of people are sharing their stories of their battles. All our stories are different of course, but with my uneasiness at sharing details recently - I feel better knowing that I'm not taking away a service that helps others, because there are plenty more people out there to make you feel less alone. Thankfully, five years after I first opened my blog and typed my heart out, now so many people are comfortable discussing mental health. My blog was only a small piece of that puzzle, but I feel content that its played its part and it's time to let it live a happy retirement.

What now? Well, the blog will live on the internet forever but there won't be any new posts. I feel quite sad that so many people still read my blog everyday, but there are 187 posts for you to pour over. Read them, enjoy them, laugh, cry and read again. Or you can ignore them, if you like, but they've found their home here.

Last year, I became a director at Bipolar Scotland and I have a lot of plans moving forward to champion causes I feel strongly about including: mental health and young people, mental health and media and the stigma of complex mental illnesses. 100 Days of Mimi was just one project, there are so many more to come and you are very welcome to come along with me as I take on my next big project (or two!). I will write again about mental health sometime, but I will also write about other things I like - and my storytelling skills will be flexed, but with other people who have incredible stories worth sharing.

This might be the last day of 100 Days of Mimi, but it's not yet closing time for me and I'll continue my work but in another way. In the meantime, it's time to reclaim my identity as just... Mimi Black, who likes walking her dog, drinking chocolate milk and doing all the other things that make me quite ordinary. I don't want to be the poster girl for mental ill health, I don't want to be your inspiration - I want to just be a girl, who sometimes has something important to say.

For the last time on here, take care of yourselves.

A wiser by five years, 25 year old, Mimi.


Twitter: @ItsMimiBlack

Instagram: @ItsMimiBlack