Now that I’ve kept this blog for a couple of months, I have come to find it something of a mixed blessing. I love doing it, and I’ve learned that it’s a lot like exercise: the more you do, the more you can do. Writing every day is excellent discipline, and even when I don’t have anything to write about, it seems I can always come up with SOMETHING.
The downside to this, of course, is that I have to write every single day……if you slow down, the readership forgets about you and moves on to someone else, and then there are so many similar blogs out there that you really have to stand out in order to gain an audience. There are still many things I need to do in order to make this one a viable contender in the blogosphere, because I have no intention of remaining mired in mediocrity for the rest of my life….unless, that is, the world at large decides my writing isn’t as brilliant as I think it is <insert sarcasm here>.
The other problem is that blogging about a personal (and still highly stigmatized) issue can be fraught with peril, and you have to be careful about your content because people ARE going to read it. Maybe even people you know……..like your employer. And, if you’re as mercurial as I am, there are times when the filter between your brain and your mouth—or your fingers—allows bad thoughts to slip through it and you make bad decisions as to what to post.
My rule of thumb is not to post anything I wouldn’t tell my boss. Fortunately, she is also a good friend who knows me, bipolar warts and all, so I have a little more leeway than many. But I also write for the world’s largest nursing forum where I’m a site guide, so I still have to guard against over-sharing because my judgment can be off and I don’t know it until I get blowback. It hasn’t happened since I started this blog, even though my 200+ Facebook friends can read it along with the rest of the world; but when I’m in one of my hypo/manic phases I’m not only more creative and productive, I’m also more reckless and foolish.
It’s been this way since I was a child, when I kept a journal that contained all of the bottled-up anger in me that had nowhere else to go. Most of it was directed at my mother, who was more than likely bipolar herself but never sought treatment…..mainly because her moods were somehow always MY fault, and thus there was nothing wrong with her. I worshipped her, but I also feared her more than anyone or anything else in my life. So when I came home from school to find her sitting on my bed with my journal in her hands—she was also nosier than anyone I knew—I found out how dangerous it could be to put one’s feelings on paper.
It didn’t stop me from doing it, however, and as I grew older I grew more clever about hiding my secret rage, and when I was in my teens I hit upon the brilliant idea of jotting down my thoughts in Spanish. She’d never been able to speak more than a couple of simple phrases, let alone read the language, while I was fluent and used it daily. I’ll never forget coming home from school (again) and finding her hard at it, the notebook in one hand and a Spanish/English dictionary in the other…….and all I could do was laugh my ass off. I’d finally flummoxed her, and as far as I know she never attempted to read my journal again.
I continued to journal on paper into my early 30s, long before the Information Superhighway came into being. My husband aptly coined the term “bitchuary” for these little notebooks, because he knew that was their primary function. Now I do it all online, like millions of other bloggers, and I wonder sometimes how I was able to hang onto at least some of my sanity for so many years without this outlet.
Still, I can’t speak as freely as I once did in my private diaries—many of which are still packed away in a big plastic container out in the garage—and I sometimes miss that. But that’s what I have a psychiatrist for……and in the meantime, I take care to be appropriate as best I can, and continue to be grateful to the readers out there who keep coming back for more.