Meet the Blogger: Introducing ME!

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Welcome to the latest installment of my interview series!

Who are some of your favorite bloggers? I try to follow as many as I can because they have so much wisdom to pass on. (Including bloggers like YOU!)

That’s what gave me the idea for this interview series. I wanted to glean as much knowledge as I could from those much wiser than me.

This is our thirteenth installment of my interview series, Meet the Blogger, all about ME! I figured I ought to actually answer the questions myself at this point. (You can read our previous installment here:

Interview series questions

First of all, tell me a little about yourself!

For those that are new to my blog, Diffusing the Tension, my name is Jen. I am 33 years old and live in Northwest Indiana (close to Chicago). I have been married to my best friend for a little over 9 years, and we have 2 beautiful children, Olivia and Amelia. I am a dog mom to River and a cat mom to Machiavelli.

I started my blog in January 2019, so about eight months ago. It honestly started as more of a lifestyle blog and has slowly transitioned to being centered around mental health. In my spare time, I am an avid TV watcher, an insatiable book worm, and a fitness nut.

What is your connection to the blogging and/or mental health community? 

As I mentioned, I have been a blogger for less than a year. It has been an amazing journey so far. I have made friends that I never expected to make, and learned surprising things about myself. As for the mental health community, I have suffered from depression in some form or another since 1995 when I was 9 years old. My current diagnosis is bipolar 2 with rapid cycling mixed episodes.

What is the hardest part about having a successful blog?

So far it is getting people to actually read it! Blogging is like 80% promotion so a lot of the time you find yourself working tirelessly to make sure people see your content. It involves being very active on social media and being consistent with keeping your email list updated. It isn’t easy, but promoting Diffusing the Tension has helped introduce me to people I now consider friends.

What is the biggest challenge the mental health community faces currently?

There is a distinct lack of understanding that still applies to all forms of mental illness. Simply put, people do not get it. To be fair, I understand that it can be difficult to comprehend something you have never experienced. I do not think the lack of understanding is all voluntary. It’s natural to be confused by, and even fear, something foreign.

Things are getting better, but we still have a long way to go as far as erasing the stigma. We have to keep raising our voices, not just about the journey itself, but about our own experiences. That helps put a face on the issue, which helps make it seem more real.

What are 5 things many people do not know about you?

I’m not sure what all you know about me from reading my blog but here goes!

  1. I am terrified of heights, especially driving over bridges. But, weirdly, I am not afraid of flying. I’m not sure why, but I am a very easy flyer.
  2. I don’t run anymore (maybe I’ll get back into it one of these days!) but in 2014 I completed a half marathon! My time was 2:44:45. Not super fast, but I did it.
  3. My favorite movie is “Beauty and the Beast,” the animated version. I love singing the songs along with the movie and I probably know all the dialogue by heart.
  4. I am addicted to Crispy M&Ms. You can’t always find them these days, but YUM!
  5. I am an early bird. “Early to bed, early to rise” is my motto.

What is your favorite book and why?

My favorite is “Love in the Time of Cholera.” By now, I’ve read it maybe 7 or 8 times. It is a story of tireless love and it gives me all the warm fuzzies. It leaves you with a sense of optimism and always restores my hope in humanity.

What do you do when you are having a really hard day to lift your spirits?

I’m kind of classic in the sense that nothing beats snuggling up with a good book or TV show. Right now I am reading “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart and trying to catch up on “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

I am also a firm believer that taking a hot bath solves all of life’s problems, especially with some bath salts thrown in. It is my happy place.

What makes a person brave?

A person is brave when they find the strength to live their truth, no matter what it is. When they can wake up every morning, stand up, and live with courage. This is something I have been attempting to learn myself. It’s not easy. It is a constant journey to be able to accept yourself for who you are. Kindness is such a problem in today’s world but I think one of the biggest problems is kindness toward oneself.

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself and why?

Introverted- I truly find strength in alone time. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my family and friends. But I am never able to recharge when I am around other people. For this reason, I make it a priority to spend some time alone before the kids wake up and after they go to bed.

Opinionated- I don’t bring my politics or religious beliefs to my blog, because I don’t believe it is the platform for that. But I do have very firm beliefs that make up the core of who I am.

Strong- I have fought through so much in my 33 years, and somehow I always find the strength to get up and keep going.

What is your biggest flaw?

I am too critical of myself, and compare myself too much to others. It is a classic flaw of the 4 on the enneagram I think. I get stuck in my own thoughts, and at times have a hard time digging my way out.

What is your greatest strength?

I am resilient. No matter what happens, I always find a way to persevere. I have lived with depression since I was 9, and have been suicidal more than once. I have been through struggles that I have not even ever shared publicly. Despite that, I press on, and live to fight another day.

What is your best childhood memory?

Time with my grandparents. Grandparents are so special, and WAY to often taken for granted. I cherish all the time I got to spend with my grandma when she regularly babysat for us. I cherish all her stories, and wisdom, and warmth. I was very close to my mom’s mom, and I miss her every single day.

Where do you envision your blog in 5 years?

I hope to continue to be published on other sites, and rank well on Google. I hope that I can have a bit of fame, in the sense of posts going viral and being somewhat of a household name. I would love for my posts to inspire people and give them hope when they are struggling.

Where do you see the mental health community in 5 years?

As long as people continue to speak up, I think things will keep improving.

Who do you follow to stay updated on all things blogging and/or  mental health? Share their links below!

Here are but a few of my favourites (they’re all awesome):

About the Author

Jen (the writer behind the blog, Diffusing the Tension) lives in Northwest Indiana with her husband and two children (ages 4 and 2). She has bipolar disorder and frequently writes about her experiences with that. In her spare time, she is a bookworm, TV junkie, and fitness nut. You can follow her on:
Twitter- @jvan3610
Instagram- @diffusing_the_tension
Facebook- Diffusing the Tension
Pinterest- @diffusingthetensionblog
Her blog-

meet the blogger, interview series

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9 thoughts on “Meet the Blogger: Introducing ME!”

  1. Lovely to meet you!
    It’s great to learn more about the person behind the blog. I haven’t tried the crispy M&Ms but my littlest sister and my mum like them. Thank you for sharing more about you. Xx

  2. So, I somehow just saw this! I guess I need to subscribe, huh? I haven’t seen all your posts on my Twitter TL like I thought I would so I was digging around on here and found this. We have a lot in common! You made some really salient points and I appreciate your writing ability. Also, I too live in Northwestern Indiana!! So crazy. To be fair, I’m not from here and just moved here a month ago, but that’s pretty awesome.

    Keep doing good work in this community!

      1. It’s been good! I live near Purdue, and it’s a neat little area. Lot of stores and restaurants near campus. Not too much to actually do unless I go out to a bar, but I’m thinking of joining a social club and I’m sure that would open up opportunities! Plus not being far from Indianapolis, or Chicago if I want a day-trip, so there’s plenty of potential. Have you lived here all your life?

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