Languages: English, Macedonian, German, Spanish
Dating & Relationships
The first job I had as a freelance writer, about 11 years ago, was for a company in the dating/relationship/sex niche. I worked for them for 7 years, both writing articles, how to guides, advice columns, fiction, and non-fiction, etc on these topics, and also reading any book on the subjects I could get my hands on, from the psychology of flirting books to some really bad fiction ones. Both in the meantime, and after I stopped working for this company, I continued doing most of my freelance writing work in and around these topics – I have written and ghostwritten more than 30 guidebooks on dating and relationships, and just as many on sex and intimacy. I started working as a dating/relationship columnist for a local online magazine 3 years ago, and I still write my columns and articles for them at least twice a week. I might not have official education in this area, but I have spent a big part of the last ten years learning, talking to people and writing about dating and relationships – and I would, false modesty aside, call myself an expert in them.
Most of the reasons why I am choosing mental health as expertise are related to my both official and not as official education in the area of psychology and mental health. In college, psychology was my minor during the first two years, and I started doing a three year Gestalt course right after, interested in seeing both the differences and the similarities between the two. While volunteering with children from homes with domestic violence, and during the year I worked at a women shelter, I was offered and expected to take different lectures and work shops on CBT, DBT and transactional analysis – only to become more and more interested in less defined and strictly distinguished methods of healing. This turned my attention away from books and lectures, and more towards communication with actual people dealing with actual mental health issues and facing actual successes and/or fails when trying to get better – thus joining a psychology forum online and becoming really active on it. From the beginning, I was the one asking the questions mostly, but this was 6 years ago. I could freely say without an ounce of a doubt that I had learned a lot, way more from the people posting on the forum, very few of them actual therapists or mental health professionals, than from any book, workshop, therapy session or theoretical explanation, Which is exactly why I’d like to use what I’ve learned during these 6 years to maybe do the same for others out there.
I've been running into the topic of parenting every now and then all throughout the years working as a freelance writer, however, this is not the reason why I’ve chosen parenting as my next expertise. The reason I do consider it to be is actually much less theoretic and has a lot more to do with my early developed maternal instinct. Basically, I’ve wanted children ever since I was 13. Obviously, I wasn’t going to have any back then, but I realized that I really did enjoy spending time with kids and babies – so I started volunteering in an organization for homeless children. As time went by, the organizations I volunteered for kept changing – however, there hasn’t been a year since that in which I haven’t worked with children in one way or another for at least six months. Thus, throughout a time period of almost 20 years, I volunteered in summer camps, children cancer hospitals, kindergartens and after-school programs, baby development programs, and parenting consultation organizations, etc. Very often when I changed from one organization to another, each one of them dealing with serious and sensitive issues, I was given tasks to read certain books on the topic, take specific classes or go through different pieces of training - so I made sure to use this time quite wisely, and keep the knowledge I’d acquired. Three years ago, I started volunteering in a so-called “parent-child help” organization, which basically offers consultation, help, and guidance to both children and parents in relations to their issues with one another. I spent the first year mostly listening in and observing, learning the theory of early child development and parent-child dynamics, and taking down notes, only to be given more freedom in both giving consults and aiding in the decision making process in the organization. And lastly, about 7 months ago, I myself gave birth to a baby boy. It’s probably still early to say if I’ve got the handle on this whole parenting thing, but I really think I’ve got information and advice that could be found helpful by someone.