HerStory 2 - Anneli Roberts @ Pigletish
Introducing to our HerStory series is Anneli! She is a phenomonal mental health advocate, blogger, vlogger and hosts her own podcast; all under the brand 'Pigletish'.
Hey Anneli, so tell us how this all got started?
"I started Pigletish in March 2017, as a way to journal my recovery. I'd come out of an abusive relationship in Oct 2016 and while I haven't talked about the abuse much at all, it did make me realise how important and powerful my mind was and that others may be feeling how I am too. Pigletish has since grown into a fairly well known blog, a podcast and a youtube channel - all of which are run by me. While I hope to get sponsors for the podcast in the future - so far it has been a labour of love and one that has helped others, but I'm yet to make any money from it that hasn't come from donations from my readers."
What were you doing before you set up Pigletish?
"Before I started the blog I was working as a media manager for a newspaper group, a job that I enjoyed but that was putting a lot of pressure on me at a time when I should have been focused on recovery."
What made you take the leap from a job you enjoyed to set up on your own?
"I didn't actually have much choice in "taking the leap" - it was what my mind needed at the time and, after the almost 3 years of abusive hell I'd been through, I chose to embrace it."
Coping with your recovery, as well as leaving a job and starting up self-employed at the same time must have been tough. How have you handled it?
"Luckily for me the friends and followers I have made online have been so understanding and compassionate. There are some days I can't bring myself to post, but I make up for it in being very vocal on the days I can - and try to push the stigma boundaries as often as possible. While there is an expectation that I put out regular content - there's also a lot of empathy when I can't manage it."
Having that support, even from strangers is incredible. How has working for yourself impacted you personally and with your mental health?
"I'm finally doing something that I've always cared about, and although the abuse was the worst thing I've ever survived, I'm proud of myself for finding some light at the end of it. It has opened my eyes to the fact that I want to study again and I don't think I would have ever realised that without Pigletish. I would have allowed myself to fade into the background of life, but now - for the first time EVER - I'm determined to stand out. My recovery is definitely going way quicker than it would have without Pigletish (given that I have had no NHS support whatsoever to date) - and it really is almost like therapy. I receive messages every single day from people saying that I have helped them in some way, but I don't think people realise how much they've helped me too."
It's so inspiring to hear how much positive has come from such a dark place. You should be seriously proud of yourself. What goals and vision do you have for Pigletish?
"I'd love to be able to support myself with the blog/podcast so that I can take the financial pressure off myself and focus on content - people underestimate how much worrying about money affects your mental health and it's an obstacle I wish would just bugger off to be honest. As that isn't really a manageable goal for me at the minute, I'm focusing on booking the best guests for the podcasts and trying to get a regular upload schedule in place, while I learn about YouTube"
Finances are such a huge worry for anyone in the infancy of self employment. I think we just have to believe in doing what we do well and have faith that others will buy into that. Other than money, what are the biggest struggles you've got to overcome?
"The biggest struggle for me is definitely seeing the value in what I'm doing. It's very easy for me to feel like I'm firing content into the digital abyss, and not having that face to face contact with my audience can be challenging - the messages I get make all the difference."
I know personally, how much your content means to me and lifts me up when I need it. I can appreciate until you get that feedback from people who feel comfortably and confident enough to discuss their mental health, it can seem quite lonely and very much shouting into the void. Ok, talking of messages and feedback - what's the best message you've had that's made you super proud of what you do?
"My proudest moment so far was when BBC's QI picked up my letter to Stephen Fry, which led to a message from his PA - and a future message from him."
That is HUGE! You are doing glorious work, you should be so happy with all you've achieved so far. Looking back to when you started and based on what you know now, what's one bit of advice you wish you'd been given?
"I wish that before I got started, someone had pushed me into the podcast and youtube earlier, because I love being able to reach people on different platforms."
I guess it's all part of the learning curve though, and maybe not taking too much on too soon. You've built things up at a pace that's worked for you and your recovery. I think you're doing amazingly! If you had someone here now, saying they wanted to get into blogging, what's the advice you'd give them?
"I'd tell someone starting now to be as loud and proud as they possibly can be about the content they're creating. Seriously, shout about it. and also put your heart into everything, don't write what your audience "wants to read", they're reading you for a reason... write what you want to say."
Amazing advice - I've seen so many bloggers who are writing to please others and over time you can see their heart isn't in it and there's no passion. It's all about being your truest self and making it your own.
Ok, last question; for the HerStory playlist, what's the one song that really gets you pumped up for a day of working at home?
At the minute my go to song for energy is Taylor Swift - Bad Blood - but it changes all the time :)
Go check Anneli out on all the socials and make sure you subscribe to her podcast and Youtube channel. All the links below!