Today we’d like to introduce you to Nikki Opara.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Nikki. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When I think about my story I always go back to my 12-year-old self. My middle school and half of my high school years were rough. I am sure we can all agree those are the years where we start really putting our value on friendships, boys, and our physical appearance. I did not handle this period of my life well. It was overwhelming mentally, emotionally and I remember having constant breakdowns. One little issue with a friend and I felt my whole world was falling apart.
In desperate need of expressing these overwhelming feelings of self-doubt, insecurity and loneliness I started journaling. If you were to look back at my journal from those years, it was very depressing and nothing really encouraging was in that notebook. However, you could definitely see someone who was going to have a passion for writing really soon even though I did not see it like that at the time. Fast forward to my junior year of college, I was not journaling as often as I use to but I was definitely craving a creative outlet where I can continue to document my journey and maybe, just maybe help someone along the way.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely not. As a mental health/lifestyle blogger, I am trying to make sense of my own journey through writing and sometimes it can be difficult. As a writer, you are kind of forced to dig deep into areas you do not necessarily want to dig up again in order to connect with your readers and remind them that you are in the trenches with them as well.
Another struggle I go through is lacking the encouragement and I guess the support from my parents. When engaging in a passion project it is nice to know the people closest to you are 100% in support of it and when they are not, it can bring in some doubts.
Finally, the comparison issue. I do not struggle with this as much as I did before, but I definitely have my moments. I am learning that I am on a different path with my writing so to compare myself with another writer is not productive.
Please tell us more about your work.
I am a mental health/lifestyle blogger. I created the blog HerDaringThoughts in 2016. This is an online space for me to share my experiences with depression, anxiety, loneliness, and just the overall struggle of being a 20 something-year-old women navigating life. In my blog, I also share the stories of other young adults who struggle with different types of mental illness. This series is called The BeBrave Series where well over 10-15 people have sent in and shared their mental health stories.
I am really proud of the small community I have built through blogging. You always hear the phrase ” You are not alone” when it comes to difficult situations or hardships. For me, was not until blogging and reading the stories of young people just like me who are going through the same struggles that made ” You are not alone” such an impactful statement for me. I truly believe my blog gives off that same message. Whether you are reading a post about a dating experience I had and what I learned from it or a poem I wrote or even a BeBrave story from someone else, I am proud of the fact that there is something relatable you can gain from it.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
That is a good question! If I had to start over I probably would have been a little more confident in sharing my writing. I think at the very beginning of this whole blogging thing, I really tried to keep it a secret from my friends. It wasn’t until I shared a personal post on suicide awareness to my personal Instagram that I saw the unexpected, overwhelming support I got from my peers. I was ashamed of my writing for a long time and I am actually just now owning the title of “mental health/lifestyle blogger” and not being afraid to share it with the people around me. I definitely wish I would have done that sooner.