Blogging Interview With Stuart

Blogging Interview With Stuart

I want to thank Stuart for taking the time to be a part of this interview- he has such an interesting blog and it was so great to learn more about it. I hope you guys enjoy reading his answers as much as I did.

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what your blog is about.

Hi! I’m Stuart, a Malaysian-based writer, and I’ve been writing for a living for some nine years now. Fun fact, I was also a hairdresser and accountant, plus I’ve held tons of odd jobs as well. My blog used to be a place for me to share my work, but now it’s evolved into a place for writing advice.

2. When did you decide to start blogging and why?

I’ve always been interested in putting my thoughts online, even since the Geocities days. So I guess I’ve always used this medium, even before I began writing for a living. My current blog started in 2014. Why do I do it though? I don’t actually know. It’s just something that I’m particularly drawn towards, and I’ll do it even if it doesn’t get me anywhere.

3. What is your favourite part about blogging and what is your least favourite part about blogging?

My favourite part has got to be the occasional fan mail. No requests to check out their work, no marketing, just sincere appreciation. There’s this one time someone told me ‘please never stop writing’, and I still remember that.

My least favourite part of blogging is that sometimes it can feel like a chore. I’m trying to stick to a once-a-week schedule, but the demands of my day job, coupled with the novel I’m working on, sometimes leaves me very little time to churn out my next blog post for the week. I love writing, but those moments really remind me how much blogging can feel like work sometimes.

4. You have been in the writing industry for a long time now. What advice would you give someone trying to become a professional writer?

Okay, this is going to sound super cliche, but just write. That, and read. A lot. I can hear the collective protests of your readers now. “Doesn’t this guy have any better advice than this hackneyed crap?”

I don’t, because this really is the best advice. It’s all you need to become a professional writer. I say this because I became a professional writer, and I didn’t even finish high school. And if someone unqualified like me can do it, then why can’t you? My method? I write and I read. A lot.

5. What has blogging taught you about writing?

I think the most important blog-specific lesson I’ve learned was how to write for an audience. I used to treat my blog as a high-school journal of sorts. I’d just play around with words and post the most abstract stories. But as read more blogs, I began to learn what was good blogging and what wasn’t. And the most successful blogs always brought value to their readers’ lives.

6. You have had a lot of interesting experiences as a writer- what are some of your favourites?

I have so many! I got to grapple with the mud wrestlers of India, tour almost the entirety of Myanmar in three weeks, get ringside seats to the UFC (and I’m a big fan), stand-up paddle in open water on a rainy day in Philippines, and cruise down the Red River in Vietnam. But I guess one of the most memorable experiences was an assignment in Hokkaido where I’d met good friends, enjoyed great experiences (like being part of an Ainu ceremony), and saw snow for the first time in my life.

7. What is your favourite topic to write about?

I’ve been enjoying writing about writing lately, but I generally like writing anything creative non-fiction. If it’s happened in my life, then I’ll find a way to turn it into a story that readers can enjoy. This comes from my enjoyment of works from David Sedaris, Junot Diaz, and Neil Strauss, among others. When it comes to fiction, I love writing cyberpunk.

8. How has being a writer enhanced your life?

I have to say that I’d been given so many opportunities just because of my writing alone, ones that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. So that’s one big way it’s enhanced my life. The other enhancement? I see things differently now, because I’m always looking for ways to describe everyday things in unique fashion.

9. What is your favourite food?

Sushi. Pizza. Fried rice.

10. Out of all the places you have travelled to which is your favourite?

I would have to say Japan, because it’s a country that caters to introverts. I’ve never seen it done to that degree in other places. Like, they have restaurants that limit your interaction with other people, and everyone’s generally quiet and polite there. I’m sure that I’d see things different had I lived there though.

11. What is the craziest thing someone has asked you to write about?

Someone emailed me asking me to write a poem based on their name once. I didn’t know how to respond.

12. Do you have any specific goals for 2021 and if so which ones?

I do! I want to finish drafting my fourth and fifth novels by the end of this year, and I want to push my writing output by trying to blog more frequently. The master goal is to sustain myself through my fiction, though that’ll take quite a while I believe.

If you enjoyed this interview don’t forget to stop by Stuart’s blog by clicking here.


If you would like to be interviewed please send me your name (optional), the name of your blog and a link to your blog via email to insomniacwithanaccent@gmail.com
I’m a little busy at the moment and have quite a few interviews ready to post so please don’t worry if I don’t respond immediately. I will definitely respond as soon as possible.

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My Week So Far

As you guys know this has been my first week back to school so it’s been a little hectic and even though I did have a post planned for today I didn’t have time to finish it. So instead of not posting anything I wanted to check in on you guys and say hi! How are you guys doing? How is 2021 going for you so far? I’m doing good and I’ve been weirdly calm about everything- am I getting used to university or is my anxiety getting better? Either way I’m good. I’m still having weird dreams but now I just try to enjoy them instead.


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Dysfunction is Evidence of Our Humanness (Guest Post)

Dysfunction is Evidence of Our Humanness (Guest Post)

By Dr. Robert F. Mullen 

There is a joke that circulates among mental health professionals. Why do only 26% of people have a diagnosable mental disorder? Because the other 74% haven’t been diagnosed yet.

We are all psychologically dysfunctional in some way. “Mental illnesses are so common that almost everyone will develop at least one diagnosable mental disorder at some point in their life” (Scientific American).

Why do we treat the mentally ill with contempt, trepidation, and ridicule? We are hard-wired to fear and isolate mental illness, and we have been misinformed by history and the disease model of mental health. There are four common misconceptions about psychological dysfunctions. They are (1) abnormal and selective, (2) consequence of behavior, (3) solely mental, and (4) psychotic.

Let us deconstruct these misconceptions, beginning with the latter.

A dysfunctional person is psychotic.

There are two degrees of mental disorder: neuroses and psychoses. When someone sees, hears, or responds to things that are not actual, they are having a psychotic episode. While few persons experience psychosis, everyone has moderate-and-above levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. We are universally neurotic. Since the overwhelming majority of mental disorders are neuroses, we are all dysfunctional to some extent.

A dysfunction is abnormal or selective. 

A neurosis is a condition that negatively impacts our emotional wellbeing and quality of life but does not necessarily impair or interfere with normal day-to-day functions. It is a standard part of natural human development. One-in-four individuals have a diagnosable neurosis. According to the World Health Organization, nearly two-thirds of those reject or refuse to disclose their condition. Including those who dispute or chose to remain oblivious to their dysfunction, we can conclude that mental disorders are common, undiscriminating, and impact us all in some fashion or another. Many of us have more than one disorder; depression and anxiety are commonly comorbid, often accompanied by substance abuse.

A dysfunction is the consequence of a person’s behavior. 

Combined statistics prove that 89% of neuroses onset at adolescence or earlier. In the rare event conditions like PTSD or clinical narcissism manifest later in life, the susceptibility originates in childhood. Most psychologists agree that they are consequence of childhood physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance. Any number of things can cause this. Perhaps parents are controlling or do not provide emotional validation. Maybe the child is subjected to bullying or from a broken home. Behaviors later in life may impact the severity but are not responsible for the neurosis itself. It is not the fault of the child/adolescent, nor reflective of their behavior. There is the likelihood no one is intentionally responsible. This disputes moral models that we are to blame for our disorder, or it is God’s punishment for sin.

A dysfunction is solely mental.

To early civilizations, mental illness was the domain of supernatural forces and demonic possession. Hippocrates and diagnosticians of the 19th century looked at the relative proportions of bodily fluids. Lunar influence, sorcery, and witchcraft are timeless culprits. In the early 20th century, it was somatogenic. The biological approach argues that dysfunction is related to the brain’s physical functioning, while pharmacology promotes it as a chemical or hormonal imbalance. However, the simultaneous mutual interaction of all human system components—mind, body, spirit, and emotions—is required for sustainability of life and sustainability of dysfunction.

The disease model focuses on the history of deficit behavior. The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) brief definition of neurosis contains the following words: distressing, irrational, obsessive, compulsive, dissociative, depressive, exaggerated, unconscious, and conflicts. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the APA, uses words like incapable, deceitful, unempathetic, manipulative, difficult, irresponsible, and incompetent. 

Moralists and the ignorant assume the ‘mental’ are weak and dishonorable, their behavior bizarre and illogical. The urban dictionary labels us silly or stupid. Adolescents derisively assign the term mental to the unpopular, different, and socially inept. These negative and hostile aspersions on our character are supported by public opinion, media misrepresentation, the mental healthcare industry, and the disease model of mental health.

This ‘defective’ emphasis has been the overriding psychiatric perspective for over a century. The disease model is the chief proponent of the notion that the mentally ill are dangerous and unpredictable. We distance ourselves and deem them socially undesirable. We stigmatize them. The irony is, we are them.

  • Over one-third of family members hide their relationship with their dysfunctional child or sibling to avoid bringing shame to the family. They are considered family undesirable, a devaluation potentially more life-limiting and disabling than the neurosis itself.
  • The media stereotypes neurotics as homicidal schizophrenics, impassive childlike prodigies, or hair-brained free-spirits. One study evidenced that over half of U.S. news stories involving the dysfunctional allude to violence.
  • Psychologists argue that more persons would seek treatment if psychiatric services were less stigmatizing. There are complaints of rude or dismissive staff, coercive measures, excessive wait times, paternalistic or demeaning attitudes, pointless treatment programs, drugs with undesirable side-effects, stigmatizing language, and general therapeutic pessimism.
  • The disease model supports doctor-patient power dominance. Clinicians deal with 31 similar and comorbid disorders, 400 plus schools of psychotherapy, multiple treatment programs, and an evolving plethora of medications. They cannot grasp the personal impact of a dysfunction because they are too focused on the diagnosis.

A recent study of 289 clients in 67 clinics found that 76.4% were misdiagnosed. An anxiety clinic reported over 90% of clients with generalized anxiety were incorrectly diagnosed. Experts cite the difficulty in distinguishing different disorders or identifying specific etiological risk factors due to the DSM’s failing reliability statistics. Mainstream medical authorities cite the poor reliability and validity, and inattention to human experience of DSM criteria. The recent head of the National Institute of Mental Health believes traditional psychiatric diagnoses have outlived their usefulness and suggests replacing or augmenting them with easily understandable descriptions of the issues.

Because of the disease model’s emphasis on diagnosis, we focus on the dysfunction rather than the individual. Which disorder do we find most annoying or repulsive? What behaviors contribute to the condition? How progressive is it, and how effective are treatments? Is it contagious? We derisively label the obvious dysfunctional ‘a mental case.’

Realistically, we cannot eliminate the word ‘mental’ from the culture. Unfortunately, its negative perspectives and implications promulgate perceptions of incompetence, ineptitude, and unlovability. Stigma, the hostile expression of someone’s undesirability, is pervasive and destructive. Stigmatization is deliberate, proactive, and distinguishable by pathographic overtones intended to shame and isolate. 90% of persons diagnosed with a mental disorder claim they have been impacted by mental health stigma. Disclosure jeopardizes livelihoods, relationships, social standing, housing, and quality of life.

The disease model assumes that emotional distress is merely symptomatic of biological illness. The Wellness Model focuses on the positive aspects of human functioning that promote our wellbeing and recognize our essential and shared humanity. The Wellness Model emphasizes what is right with us, innately powerful within us, our potential, and determination. Recovery is not achieved by focusing on incompetence and weakness; it is achieved by embracing and utilizing our inherent strengths and abilities.

Benefits of the Wellness Model

  • Revising negative and hostile language will encourage new positive perspectives
  • The self-denigrating aspects of shame will dissipate, and stigma becomes less threatening.
  • Doctor-client knowledge exchange will value the individual experience over the diagnosis.
  • Realizing neurosis is a natural part of human development will generate social acceptance and accommodation.
  • Recognizing that they bear no responsibility for onset will revise public opinion that an individual’s neurosis is the result of her or his behavior.
  • Emphasizing character strengths and virtues will positively impact the self-beliefs and image of the afflicted, leading to more disclosure, discussion, and recovery-remission.
  • Realizing proximity and susceptibility of dysfunction will address the desire to distance and isolate.
  • Emphasis on an individual’s value and potential will encourage accountability and foster self-reliance.

The impact of neurosis originates in childhood; recovery is a long-term commitment. The Wellness Model creates the blueprint and then guides and supports throughout the recovery process by emphasizing our intrinsic character strengths, virtues, and attributes that generate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to recover.

The biblical adage treat others as you want to be treated takes on added relevance when we accept that we all experience mental disorders. In fact, dysfunction is evidence of our humanness.

robertfmullen.com

Dr. Robert F. Mullen is the director of ReChanneling Inc, an organization dedicated to the research and development of methods to mitigate symptoms of psychological dysfunction and discomfort.

A referenced copy of this article is available via rechanneling@yahoo.com.

For more from Dr. Robert F. Mullen click here.


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Some Announcements And Opportunities

Some Announcements And Opportunities

What’s Going On

I want to start by saying that I promise this will be the last random post I make and from tomorrow I will go back to posting actual posts like I used to. I just wanted to talk to you guys about a couple of things going on with my blog for the next few months so you guys stay in the loop.

University

My university is going to be starting soon- from 11th January- and since this is my fourth year it’s going to be a lot more difficult than the last three years as the work load is a lot more and quite dense. For that reason I may not be able to blog daily like I used to but rather a few times a week. I will try my best to blog whenever I can and maintain some sort of schedule. Till the 11th I will be blogging daily because I missed you guys and I have a lot to say!

Changes And Opportunities

There will also be some changes to the posts since like I mentioned I won’t have as much time to write and blog for the next few months. These changes actually involve you guys! I have been so overwhelmed by how much support I have received from you guys both on my blog and privately as well that I wanted to do something positive for the community. I have seen bloggers I really enjoy reading like Zainab, Tiani and more doing interviews on their blogs and I thought that would be super fun to do on lifesfinewhine as well. I would love to interview you guys and share your blog so if you’re interested in being interviewed by me please email me at insomniacwithanaccent@gmail.com and please include your name (optional), the name of your blog (mandatory) and a link to your blog (mandatory) and I will let you know when I will get back to you as soon as possible after reviewing your blog.

Another way I wanted to help smaller blogs is by sharing posts I enjoyed every week. I thought I would share five to ten posts I really enjoyed reading or that really stood out to me every week and that way they can get a larger audience. I have seen a fellow blogger and friend Jude amongst others do something like this and I thought it was such a wonderful idea and so I decided to do something similar.

Again please email me if you would be interested in being interviewed- it’s a win-win because I get something to post about and you get your blog out there to my audience. I would love to have one interview per week but I’ll have to wait and see what sort of response I get.

Thoughts

What other stuff would you like to me to feature on this blog? Would love to hear your ideas so do let me know in the comments below!

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Guess Who’s Back-ish (An Update)

Guess Who’s Back-ish (An Update)

Thank You!

I want to start this post by thanking everyone for being so kind and patient. And thank you to everyone who reached out to me while I was away from blogging- it truly meant so much to me and kept me going! I know I didn’t always have time to respond as quickly as I would have liked to but I was just so busy with university. You guys have truly become like my Internet family and you seriously have no idea how much I missed blogging and talking to you guys everyday. So much has happened with my blog and I promise I’ll tell you EVERYTHING just not today because it’s a lot to type and I’m feeling a little lazy lol. I think I just need to get used to blogging again. Oh, and thank you to everyone who liked and commented on my post yesterday!! I woke up to so many comments and was so excited. My moderation was switched on so you may not have seen your comment on the post but don’t worry they all came through. Also since this is a new account I am no longer following the blogs I followed on my last one so if I used to follow your blog could you please comment below so I can follow you again. Please and thank you.

Okay, now let me tell you guys everything that has been going on with me and my personal life because it’s been kind of insane.

What Have I Been Up To

The first thing I wanted to tell you guys is that I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast. I feel like it would be a fun extension to the blog. I love writing but I know a lot of times I end up writing super long posts that are like 1000-2000 words and not everyone has time to read those. This way I can elaborate more about stuff I talk about on my blog anyway and if you’re interested you can listen to it and if not you can just read the post and call it a day. I am probably going to do the podcast with my sister so don’t worry it won’t just be me rambling on for like half an hour.

Some of you may remember that I accidently shaved off a part of one of my eyebrows and it never grew back. Well recently I’ve been putting a bit of hemp oil on it and it’s kind of growing back so yay! I’m not sure why I felt like I needed to share that with you but I had been making a list of everything I want to tell you guys about and it was on the list so I decided to share it since at some point I felt like it was important enough that I wanted to tell you about it.

I tried a lot of new foods and drinks while I was not blogging! It gave me time to try out new recipes and I am so excited to share them with you. I also baked cookies alone for the first time in my life because I had to for my History Of Food course and they turned out really great. I will tell you all about it really soon when I talk about my courses last semester. I also watched the movie Parasite for that course and ended up making ramen w/ steak (vegan) which turned out to be the most delicious thing EVER. I also tried oat milk for the first time and I am officially obsessed with it!

Now on to some not so positive and perky things. As you guys know I have anxiety but I also have depression. I am usually fine the majority of the time but sometimes I just get super depressed. Blogging helped a lot with my depression because it gave me an outlet for my feelings and it gave me a way to process my feelings but without blogging I was just holding a lot of stuff in. I’m glad to be blogging again and feel better already.

I’ve been having a lot of weird dreams and nightmares as well. As you guys know I’m terrified of ghosts and little children ghosts in particular seriously scare me. Well the other night- like a month ago actually- I had this dream that a little girl had died in a hospital and her doctor and I were trying to find out who killed her. Then the ghost of the little girl started haunting me and trying to show me who did it and in the end it turned out it was her doctor. It was one of the scariest dreams ever but also I couldn’t help but be impressed by the plot. Like good job brain. If that was a real movie/book I would definitely watch/read it and then immediately regret everything.

Another weird thing that happened to me that has to do with sleep is that one day I started laughing in my sleep. It was the first time this has ever happened to me and it was so freaking bizarre. I literally woke up because I was laughing so hard in my sleep!! My sister was super scared and thought I was possessed. Apparently, it’s a normal and happens sometimes when you’re stressed or something. I guess it makes sense that it happened to me since like I said I was having super weird dreams for a bit and I also tend to talk in my sleep sometimes. But it was still really strange and I hope that is the first time I ever laugh in my sleep. Have you guys ever experienced this? If you have please let me know in the comments below!

Today marks my 200th day that I have been learning German on Duolingo! That’s right I have been doing lessons for 200 days in a row and I am super proud of myself food sticking with it this time. And it’s definitely paying off because I can kind of speak and understand German now which is so exciting. Learning German has been a goal of mine since I was like 16 and I have been trying to learn it on and off but I am so happy I stuck with it this time.

Even though I have not been blogging I have been writing a lot. As you know I meditate daily and for the first few months I did not really have any major break throughs or really deep thoughts. I was kind of concentrating on just learning to focus and enjoy the moment so I was not really thinking much but lately I have been trying to become more aware of the thoughts I have while meditating. I don’t try to censor or control my brain I just let myself think and see where I end up and it has seriously helped me get my thoughts in order and just really figure out what my priorities in life are and should be. It has also really helped me deal with my emotions in a more healthy way. I mean I’m not stable all the time and I can’t say I’m amazing at meditation but I am improving and I can feel myself heading in the right direction. The other day I was meditating and thinking about how I feel the need to always be in control and plan out every aspect of my life. I was also thinking about how all that really went down the drain in 2020 and pretty much everything quickly got out of my control and I wrote down something in my meditation journal that I wanted to share with you guys. This was one of my biggest meditation break throughs:

“…We spend so much time and energy fighting the universe for control of our lives that we forget there is no battle. What is going to happen is going to happen and the harder we fight the more difficult we make our own lives. From this moment on I am going to stop fighting the Universe as it is a battle I will never win. I am going to learn to go with the Universe instead of against it. If something occurs in my life I will not let it devastate me but instead see how it can improve me.”

I don’t know if that made any sense but it really did to me and the minute I understood how little control I have it was like my anxieties melted away and I felt truly free for the first time in a long time.

What Have YOU Been Up To?

Unfortunately, since I’ve been so busy with university and stuff I have not been able to really keep in touch properly so I would love to know more about what you’ve been up to! Please let me know in the comments below what you’ve been up to, if anything new has been happening in your life, your goals for 2021 or literally just anything!

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone! I don’t know if you guys will be able to see this but I really missed you and wanted to get back into blogging but I kept having an issue with my domain which is taking forever to solve so I was like screw it I’ll use another account till it’s fixed. If you guys can actually see this I’ll explain everything tomorrow. Anyway I hope 2021 brings us more joy and happiness than 2020 and I hope you are all well. This is PoojaG from Lifesfinewhine by the way! Miss you guys like crazy!