The night of prom, after being nominated prom queen, Hannah Blum had a breakdown and never made it to the dance.
“I looked in the mirror and couldn’t connect what was going on inside,” said Blum.
As a junior in high school, she became withdrawn from herself and was self-harming. She had always been overly empathetic and highly sensitive. However, it took a major breakdown in college at age 20 where she had to be hospitalized, to get diagnosed with bipolar 2. Blum also struggles with an eating disorder as well as ADHD.
At North Carolina State University, Blum studied media communication and social media and learned about its impact on society.
“I saw a gap in mental health not utilizing these platforms,” she said.
So she decided to go public with her own story to spread awareness about living with bipolar 2 through the use of a blog, a Youtube channel, a web site and Instagram.
I found Blum via her Instagram which is inspiring but often times raw and real. Blum started her blog in 2016 and she’s populated it with interviews and videos and has won awards. She takes a non nonsense approach to bipolar 2 and takes her mental wellness seriously.
“I refused to believe I could just be mediocre on meds,” she said. “I fought for the routine I do today so I am able to be productive because I am a hard worker.”
Hannah focuses her attention on Instagram. “I truly believe Instagram is the platform to talk about mental health.”
She added that Instagram changed its algorithim in order to prevent trnedy people from promoting themselves. It is a platform that is authentic, honest, and connects with people. One of the CEOs of Instagram wanted mental health to be a big thing.
“Mental health has a huge presence on Instagram,” she said. “It opened the gates for people to speak their truth.”
Blum vlogs for HealthyPlace, which offers a mental health community as well as other health conditions. She has produced a plethora of videos of her giving commonsense advice about life with bipolar 2.
“My aim is to give an authentic, raw and real perspective coming from a young adult living with bipolar 2 in order to help others not to feel alone,” said Blum. “My biggest thing is to empower people who live with a mental health condition by speaking my truth.”
Blum wants to empower people to take their lives into their own hands. “People who know all about mental health are not the people who live with a mental health condition. If you don’t live with it, it’s inpossible to understand.”
I asked Blum what was wrong with the mental health conversation in the media today.
“They [the media] use the term mental health to describe anything they want…one day its used to describe the president…the next it is used to describe a mass shooter. They don’t bring anyone on to talk about living with a mental health condition. Mental health is 100 percent used as the scapegoat,” she said. “People with mental health conditions don’t have a voice [in the mainstream media].”
Blum wrote her college thesis about the history of stigma since the beginning of time.
“It’s been ingrained in society since day one,” she said.
When the first mental hospitals in Pennsylvania were opened, Ben Franklin wrote in the newspaper that they were there to house the delusional and deranged.
In addition to being a mental health influencer on social media, Blum has plans to be an entrepreneur and write a forthcoming novel coming out in 2019, a children’s book, and a series of books for teens on self-esteem. Blum was recently featured in Teen Vogue 2017 on bipolar disorder dating tips. You can read it on her web site below. Her favorite inspirational book is You are a Badass by Jen Sincero.
You can find out more about Hannah or watch her Youtube channel at www.halfway2hannah.com. Catch up with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @halfway2hannah.