Blog Spotlight | Life Through the Haze

Welcoming our latest featured blogger, Catherine to AMC, to discuss the business of blogging and much more. Catherine, also known as Cathy, Cath, Cat or Kit is a wife and mother of three from the Illawarra who shares her musings on life, love, food and mental illness at Life Through the Haze.

 

Life Through the Haze
 

 

How long have you been blogging and why did you start?

 

According to my blog statistics I first posted something in 2007. I guess back then I would have been thinking that I would write about life with three small children. A lot has changed since then and I really started writing in earnest in 2015. At first I started writing to keep family and friends updated with my recovery. Then I started to write for myself and that is where I find myself today.

 

 

Tell us a bit about your blog and what we can expect to see in the next 12 months?

 

Early last year I had a fairly dramatic and public physical and mental breakdown that had a huge impact on our family. Ultimately I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety, PTSD, Dissociative Amnesia, with a dose of Depersonalisation and Dissociation thrown in for good measure.

 

In addition to the significant mental health issues my brain and body also stopped talking and also had left side hemiparesis so I couldn’t walk properly or use my left arm. So in the early days my writings are primarily letting family and friends know how I was going and where I was up to with my recovery because getting out and about was very difficult.

 

This year as I mentioned my writing has more turned into an outlet for me where I get my thoughts out. Over the next 12 months I would like to develop this further. I have started writing every Thursday in a space on my blog called Soft Landings. I have weekly prompts for others should they want to join in, though this is really a space for me to work through lots of thoughts and feelings that have built up over the last 30 or so years. I hope to continue this next year.

 

In addition to the personal writing I am hoping to branch out into some review work and ideally develop my personal stories into a place where others can come and know they are not so alone. Mental health or complex physical health journeys can often feel very isolating and lonely and my aim is to help others know they aren’t alone.

 

 

Do you have a favourite place or dedicated space for blogging?

 

Not really. Have laptop will travel in a sense. Though my deck at home is probably my favourite spot at home. One day when the kids move out I plan to have a very pretty office space just for me!

 

Life Through the Haze back deck

 

 

What are your must have tools and resources when it comes to blogging?

 

My laptop, my journals (I have a notebook and my diary in my bag all the time), my phone and I have a good camera. Though I am a terrible photographer, that is something I would love to improve!

 

 

Have you ever experienced blogger’s block and what are your top tips for when it strikes?

 

All the time. My bloggers block comes a lot from having nearly teenage twins and a teenage son and wanting to protect their privacy. Because I mostly write about my personal stories I am very conscious always about what I say online and the impact that could have on my kids and family. So when that happens my tips would be:

 

  • To go for a walk and let go of the pre-conceived ideas,
  • I read back over journals and see if there is another idea that I could work with instead of that one,
  • Bake a cake and blog about that instead!
  • Sometimes I will just accept that it is perfectly ok to not write every day and that takes the pressure off.

 

 

What have been your blogging highlights and biggest challenges?

 

My biggest highlights have been when I have had my writing published by other bloggers with really large followings I guess that gave me a little boost. I also recently had something of mine published on The Mighty.

 

My challenges centre around the fact that while my story is mine to tell there are also other people in my life that me living my story out publicly could have impacts for. So trying to find that balance between telling my story in an open and vulnerable way which is the only way I really know how to be but at the same time protecting their privacy, this is a very fine tightrope to tread at times.

 

 

Who inspires you and what’s on your Worth Casing list when it comes to other bloggers?

 

Wow I really don’t know where to start with this list! You are on that list, Sammie from The Annoyed Thyroid, Sandra from What Lies Within, Shauna from ‘Round the Corner, Glennon Doyle Melton from Momastrey, Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit, Sarah from Sarahdippity.

 

Honestly I love anyone with a really great authentic life. I get inspired by seeing others achieve their goals and know that it is possible for all of us.

 

 

What advice would you give to anyone that is thinking about starting a blog of their own?

 

Be true to who you are, don’t try to create something that you think will be popular or that isn’t who you are because it will never feel right.

 

 

Is there something you would like to achieve through blogging and what are your favourite posts? 

 

Clearly as a personal story teller mental health is really important to me, not just breaking down the stigma that we talk about it openly and understand that it is real, can have physical impacts and can be debilitating in exactly the same way that other chronic illnesses are.

 

Also the advocacy aspect of raising awareness for people to reach out and get help by ensuring there is help there when they need it. It is a huge thing to put your hand up recognizing you need help, another thing all together when you find out that there is no net to catch you once you have spoken up. So ensuring there is a safety net for everyone is very important to me.

 

Some of my favourite posts are:

 

 

 

If you weren’t in the business of blogging what would you be doing?

 

Wow, I am not sure. I once worked in advertising and brand design but that was in the years pre-social media so a very different world to today. I am also a trained high-school teacher though I think lion taming would be an easier prospect than teaching!

 

Probably finding a way to help others using the skills I have picked up over the years. I do a little bit of volunteer work helping a not-for-profit set their Social Media and Digital Strategies so maybe something there. Thankfully for now I am in a position where I can write and blog and not have to worry too much about the real world.

 

 

MORE WAYS TO CASE

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Life Through the Haze

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Have you discovered Cath and Life Through the Haze? What are your biggest blog challenges right now?

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Managing Editor of Agent Mystery Case. Follow Raychael aka Mystery Case on her mystery adventures 'casing' people, products and places to bring you her worth casing favourites.
  • Wow! Thank you so much for sharing my little blogging journey xoxo

    • Thanks so much for taking part Cat. I’m looking forward to seeing what evolves from your Soft Landings project in 2017. I may even look to join you.

      • Great post Raychael. Love that you support other bloggers in this way. Is your new Facebook Link up thingy still in the pipeline? Please be sure to keep me in the loop as I’m very interested. 🙂

        • Definitely going ahead with it. Possibly trialing next week. Will keep you posted. Everyone is so very busy this time of year, I’m keen not to add to the chaos.

    • Congratulations Cat! This was such a pleasure to read and not just because you MENTIONED ME (thank you!!!) but you truly do have an amazing story. I can relate to your quandry re protecting the privacy of your family. It’s a tough one. You’ve inspired me to finish a post I’ve been plugging away at. It’s amazing what a little boost can do. Thank you x

  • I love that deck! That would be a great blogging office.

    • I love that deck too. Do you have a favourite spot for blogging Vanessa?

      • Not really, I’m not a fan of the house we rent. But it is cheap! I’d love to move to a three bedroom house so I have my own study though.

        • We are in temporary, much smaller, accommodation while we sell/buy/build. It means I’ve gone from having a massive formal lounge/dining area plus study to no office at all. Which is fine when the family are all at school and work. I can’t wait till we move and I can have my dream office/space.

          • Oooooohhhhh I love the sound of a dream office/space lol. Though I suspect yours is for working in mine would be for daydreaming a lot I think. My dream would be a view of something other than my next door neighbours houses. I would love to put a second storey on our house with a parents retreat upstairs (bathroom, lounge/reading/study and a HUGE bedroom with a WIR that I could sit on the floor of and hide in from the rest of the family!) That would have glimpses out to the ocean if the trees were blowing in the right way and over the houses! That is my dream. I would banish everyone else from the space (probably including hubby lol) and have a big overstuffed lounge and everything white so I can change the colours of cushions and things when I get bored. Hmmm I think I have put way too much thought into this.

          • Interestingly, I had to design my dream office for an assignment as part of my business diploma studies, earlier in the year. There was a pretty good virtual office/room builder on IKEA but obviously you were limited to IKEA furniture for that one. It certainly got me thinking though. Mine has a dedicated photo studio, boardroom table, massive storeroom and well just about everything including a kitchen sink. More like an apartment.

  • It was great to read this and get to know more about Cat and her blogging journey too. Thanks for sharing.

    • Love Cat’s blog and can’t wait to see what evolves through her Soft Landings project. I suspect it is something I can see myself getting involved with in a big way next year.

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    I love getting to know Cathy more. She is a lovely person and I also learn lots when I read her posts. I need to remember Soft Landings on a Thursday – I’m still getting used to the new landscape of blogging linkups!!!

    • Are you missing ‘I Must Confess’? I keep looking at the domain name and thinking I should talk you into running with it, perhaps as a collaborative thing. I miss confessing. Although, not sure I want to continue with that side of things here next year and as you know, like yourself, I already have far too many things on the go. How do you choose which ones to run with? I really want to do it all.

  • Alicia-OneMotherHen

    Thanks for introducing me to Cathy. Great to meet and get to know other bloggers 🙂

    • I love e-introducing people. Just as much as I like to finally meet all my online friends in person.

  • Everyday Joey

    Checking out her blog now!! 😀

  • Oh Cat, I love your thoughts in this interview! Your compassion towards others and your family just shines through so much. You inspire me too – I’m humbled to be on your worth casing bloggers list. Love your outdoor office by the way! Thanks for this lovely feature Raychael. Xx

    • I must confess, I’ve been feeling rather disjointed with blogging since the latest trolls. Connecting with yourself, Cat, Leanne (Deep Fried Fruit) and many others has helped me find my way back.

      • Raychael, that is lovely of you to say. I’m so very pleased that our collective on line “path crossing” has been of support to you. Especially as you give so much of yourself to others. This supportive group is helping me with my love of sharing with meaning and purpose and is a constant source of support for me. Xx

  • Thanks for sharing Raych and Cathy. I love the Soft Landings idea and the notion that blogging can be cathartic. I definitely find it that way! #teamlovinlife

    • I’m currently working privately with terminal and aged patients, blogging for therapy. Helping them tell their stories through private blogging and then turning those blogs into hard copy keepsakes for their family. I’m rather passionate about this side of blogging and thinking Soft Landings ties in well with that side of things for next year.

      • I teared up reading this – beautiful gift of sharing and receiving for all involved.

  • writeofthemiddle

    Awesome to learn more about Cathy. She’s been very kind to me and is a lovely soul! Love this Blog Spotlight idea Raychael! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

  • So great to see you here Kit, Cat, Cath, Cathy Catherine.
    I enjoy spending time with our blogs and on social media, but now I know so much more about you!
    Thanks for the mention.
    You’re gorgeous!
    L x x x x
    #TeamLovinLife

  • So good to see you in the spotlight, Cathy/Kit and such a pleasant surprise to find my blog in your list! I love finding out a little more about you and your bloggy story, I love your work and I too am a fan of your deck! That’s what I call a top spot!