Are BiPolar Blogs Driving Those Of Us With The Disease Into Depressions OR Great Now Your Peanut Butter Cycle Is All Over My Chocolate Phase


“south be-ach!” ‘highonsugar25′
“don’t throw your empty chip bags on the beach! Seagulls are stupid.. they’ll choke!”

queenminx.wordpress (moved to qweenminx.wordpress?)
puddlejumper.wordpress (moved to puddlejumping.wordpress)
moineaureveur.wordpress
sisyphusledge.wordpress
luckymud.wordpress
notsaussure.wordpress (Last Post June 18)
mercurialscribe.wordpress (moved to mercurialscribe.com)
hellfried.wordpress
leblank.wordpress. (Last Post August 20)
catatoniatoday.com/ (Last Post July 20)
gabrielae.wordpress
tomdandy.wordpress (Last Post April 11: “The End.”)
This Bottle’s For All My Fallen Homies And The One’s In Lockdown… these are the blogs which have been deleted or abandoned by people who have left responses on this blog over the past six months.

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I can’t see the point in another day
When nobody listens to a word I say
You can call it lack of confidence
But to carry on living doesn’t make no sense…
I guess this is our last goodbye
And you don’t care, so I won’t cry
But you’ll be sorry when I’m dead
And all this guilt will be on your head
I guess you’d call it suicide
But I’m too full to swallow my pride
“Can’t Stand Losing You”; ‘Outlandos d’Amour’, The Police (1978)

Is it possible for people with manic depression… to synch our cycles together when surrounded by a community of people with the disease, therefore being regularly exposed to material and information about the debilitating effects of the disease written by people with manic depression?

Granted, it would be pretty fucking weird to be living in a community of people with manic depression, but maybe that’s what we’re starting to do with these blogs… manic depression is a rare disease, of the 20% of people in Canada who will suffer through a single clinical depression in their lives we’re the 2% who do it professionally. But despite the incredibly low number of incidence, most of my considerable blogging life is spent reading and responding to blogs about or by people with manic depression. It would be next to impossible to attain this level of interaction between people with manic depression out in the real world.

Consider that, except for Heroes and The Office, no one watches television anymore and we’re now taking that time — hours a day and days a month — and putting it into Web Surfing. And consider that, as human beings, we seek out the familiar and this applies to opinion as well. In my blogroll alone — on this site — there are thirty-seven blogs written by people with manic depression. My guess is, if you’re reading this and having been diagnosed with manic depression and having created a blog to discuss the disease or to write about your recovery, you’ve got a blogroll a mile long and they’re mostly about manic depression.

Now, while manic depression brings on depressions randomly, they’re not entirely random. There are, or can be, triggers. There’s also the fact that most people with manic depression, if not all, have crippling clinical depressions which are hidden by the disease and clinical depressions definitely have triggers. So seasonal light availability is a factor of course, so is weather, then there are always the reminders of past tragedies we encounter… fuck, stubbing your toe twice in a morning can be a trigger to feelings of worthlessness.

I can honestly say that blogging has introduced some triggers for my depressions, and even low-level manics as well. Small things like a down trend in visits, or a relatively long time between responses, or something larger like a post lost to a computer freezing or the vagaries of WordPress. Then there are the conversations I’ve had on other blogs, and on my blogs, where I not only thought I was helping someone through a crisis or an episode but I was told as much, only to return a few days later to find the blog has been deleted.

We spend months posting and reading and joking and helping then we’re hit with “The authors have deleted this blog. The content is no longer available.” and a long string of unanswered emails. There is this thing with people going through suicide fantasies where we want people to think, just for a second, that we’ve done it. That we’re swinging from a tree in our backyard, or we’ve tossed back three handfuls of Seroquel and half a bottle of Peach Schnapps. It gives us a sense of control we really don’t have. We don’t answer the phone for a few days, but listen to the messages. We tip toe around the apartment when someone knocks on the door, then watch them drive away.

Deleting your blog might seem a drastic way to gain some attention, but leaving your blog with a cryptic “That’s all folks” post fits with the ‘real world’ examples of ringing phones and unanswered doors. Are people really reading? Do people care enough to ask me to come back? But consider this… when we’re depressed enough to think suicidal thoughts and let the phone ring and the responses pile up, we’re making the people calling and posting and knocking depressed just like us.

And when the people doing all that physical activity are like us, with a disease which causes depressions and with all those hidden clinical depressions, are we creating a situation where we’re forcing our cycle onto them? And not just with the deleted or abandoned blogs, but with the constant stream of postings discussing in detail the effects our disease, or our clinical depressions, are having on our individual lives?

When a community of like minded individuals is created the opinions and beliefs of those people can actually become more extreme — a pack of knitters, for example, may become more and more involved with their knitting based on the feedback from their blogging community. There is also the reward system where, when I post something particularly tragic or heartbreaking, I get more feedback and longer, more involved responses — the warm and easy to attain blanket of compassion which is great for my short term needs, but shit on yours.

So I post “that’s it, I can’t fucking hang on anymore”, you respond “think of all the good shit” then I stay away for a few days… how does that make you feel? Because, for a time period based on how emotionally involved I am with you and your blog, I feel anxious and will generally fall into a funk. Then there are the two, maybe three times I’ve come close to deleting this blog out of depressions based entirely on other people deleting their blogs — fuck, there was once I logged in with the intention of suiciding all three of my blogs.

None of this is new, this is the way Cults are formed. A bunch of like-minded individuals come together based on philosophical beliefs or physical and emotional needs then, given time, the original ideals become more extreme as everyone evolves together. I’m not suggesting that Manic Depression Blogging Groups are leading to Heaven’s Gate scenario’s, but manic depression isn’t about suicide. Our cycles are debilitating but they’re not deadly — very few people with manic depression commit suicide… otherwise it’d be raining manic depressives from every bridge and rooftop.

But it does lead me to believe that we are having a very real effect on each others cycles. My depressing anecdotes drop your Normal Mood down two notches, or a few days of no one responding to your post leading to “why should I even bother” episode. This is a theory I’ve been working* on for awhile, and the fact I can’t find anything on Google about it leads me to believe maybe I’ve read too much Martin Amis and not enough Christopher Hitchens, or no one has given it much thought. Considering the still novelty factor of blogs and blogging groups, and the lack of manic depressive communities in the past to perform studies on, I’m leaning towards the latter… which would mean, if found to be true, this observation should solidify my standing as a Freaking Genius… or Master Of The Obvious. I’m good either way.

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*Hours of mayhem on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Litres of Diet Pepsi and chunks of St. Albert’s Medium-Old CheddEr Cheese.

And just to be fair to the BiPOnes in da house, I’m confident I’ve gotten into low-level manic phases through conversations on my blogs and through other blogs… never from just reading a post, however.

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About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression in 1989, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. I have an 8-year old son, and a 4-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Canada, crazy people with no pants, Depression, Grand Theft Auto, Health, Lithium, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Punk. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Are BiPolar Blogs Driving Those Of Us With The Disease Into Depressions OR Great Now Your Peanut Butter Cycle Is All Over My Chocolate Phase

  1. thordora says:

    “otherwise it’d be raining manic depressives from every bridge and rooftop.”

    I nearly snorted oatmeal through my nose on that line.

    I hate the “blog deleted” message. It’s so bloody depressing and sad, because I do, to some degree, become emotionally invested in the individuals I read on a regular basis and come to think of as friends. It’s like when you’re in school and someone just stops talking to you.

    Then you start that awesome game of “maybe it was me? What did I do/say/not say/not do/etc” that can go on forever. I end up feeling guilty, thinking (delusionally) that I held the key to making that person stay blogging.

    sigh.

  2. Nita says:

    Look, there’s a balance to everything. I am sure people who suffer from manic depression need to talk to people with similar problems, just like in real life there are support groups.
    but one needs to get out and talk to others too….like me… 🙂
    but about getting affected by things on the blog…well, one thing I can tell you…a blog is like a job. An unpaid one, but a job. And at any job, there are highs and lows, and if you can get through them, it means something. so if you can stick it out on your blog through thick and thin (assuming you want your blog job) its great. if you don’t want to blog, thats another thing, but to give up because of ups and downs, well, thats not desirable.
    Actually I used to go through these disappointments too….but now I am over it. And you will be surprised to read some of the shitty comments I get. It was hard at first, because in real life I had never been exposed to rude people, but now I have learnt to ignore it. It doesn’t affect me any more but yes it irritates me as it wastes my time answering argumentative, rude comments.
    but 90 percent of those who come to my blog are sweet.

  3. Bryan says:

    I don’t know what I would do with myself if I didn’t have my blog. Hell maybe I would get off my big ass and do more around the house or I would find more time to sleep. Either way it would definitely be a major change in my life style.

    I multipost on several different places so I can try to reach out to as many people that I can. I don’t do it so much for the other person that is out there but more for me to keep me in checks and balances about how I am really feeling.

    I go through the phases of wonder about if I am really being read by people but for the most part I don’t tend to care too much because like I said I do this more for me. If someone gets something out of it then great.

    I’ve known for a long time that I don’t have any control over another persons reactions and I don’t apologize for something unless it really bothers me. I know that this might seem selfish but that’s just how I think. If I don’t do the things that I think is right with the way that I take care of my blog then I’m not doing what I need to take care of myself. There’s not anyone that can change that or feel responsibility for that except for me.

    I do miss it when people delete there blog though. For the most part I chuck it up to maybe their life got too fucked up to have to deal with this as an investment anymore. Sometimes the mind isn’t in the right place to be able to do anything that would seem to be useful and that’s ok also.

    Even though we all try to interact with people in this cyber community that we have there is no definite way of telling how a person is doing in the real world unless we actually have one on one communication with them and sometimes that isn’t even enough. Even the most honest of people can lend themselves to the self preservation thinking of trying to protect their dignity and wondering how the rest of the world would really judge me if I told them really what’s going on in my brain pan. Sometimes it’s just too much for a person to handle and there’s nothing really anyone can do about it except for to keep said person in their thoughts and hope that things are going well for them.

  4. Gabriel... says:

    Yeah… but that’s not quite what I’m trying to say. I’m using the deleted blog thing as an example of something larger. People delete blogs for as many reasons as people start blogs. What I’m trying to say is once you get enough people together in a group they start influencing each other’s ideas, ideals, beliefs and even emotional cycles. We do have some control over others in a common group. People get pissed off, people get emotionally attached and people can be destructive within that group. I don’t know if you remember the “Trainwrecks” blog fiasco, where a group of people would basically take over the responses on a blog, getting the blogger so upset and depressed they’d actually delete their blog or just abandon it… for the “Trainwreck” crew it was done for a laugh, but they attacked people who were/are mentally ill, most of them manic depressive or clinically depressed.

    There’s this idea, I’m not sure if it has been proven or not — I’m finding respectable websites which say yes, and some which say maybe — but if a group of women are together long enough their menstrual cycle will synch to each other. That’s based on hormones and chemicals and possibly the lunar cycle depending on which site you source. Well, manic depression is all about hormones and chemicals and seasonal changes. With the other examples I used in the post what I’m trying to show or explain or fumble around with is that if we are part of a community, even a relatively loose one, we react to each other — I’m reading what you wrote, you’re reading what I’m writing now — and we react. We agree or disagree and follow the emotions which pop up. So if I write “I’ve bought a gun and I have it on my lap”, you — if you’ve become invested emotionally in my life/blog — are naturally going to be worried. If the next post I make — after you’ve expressed your concern — reads “fuck it, I’m done” that emotional investment will turn, naturally, to loss and regret and possibly responsibility and guilt… I’m not some stat in a government report you’ll never read, you’ve seen my picture, you’ve read about my life, I’m Salted Lithium, Gabriel…, someone you’ve proven to have an attachment to by blogrolling me or reading my RSS Feed, or by responding to my responses on your site, and by posting responses here, and now you think I’m dead.

    Then there’s the community itself. Yes, we have interests outside the group. The community of people dealing with manic depression we relate to and try to find some support in is not our life. We have family and friends offline, or there are movies and food and pornography and Charles Dickens. But there has to be a point to blogging, right? We do it for a reason. We keep our blogs open to the general public or to a select few for a reason. If we weren’t looking for feedback there are ways and means to keep our blog completely private. There’s also Microsoft Word.

    So we’re looking for a community and we become a part of a community and we influence the people in that community just as we become influenced. Deleting a blog is just a side effect of being a part of a community, just as suicide is a part of a community offline. Holding the community hostage, emotionally, by threatening suicide or harm to oneself is done the same way online as it is offline. It’s just that, with such a huge concentration of my Online life spent with people with the same disease I have means the chances for suicide, emotional terrorism, or influence on my cycles and phases becomes much, much greater offline where I’m the only person with manic depression in my personal community.

    That’s not to say there isn’t a benefit. I’ve found several insights into the disease and even some into myself thanks to the discussions and reading material I’ve found through my blogroll. I’m just putting forth the idea that maybe the longer this goes on the more we tend to cycle each other… but I’m not, in any way, offering that as an excuse for not maintaining a community of sorts…

    Nita: when I read “assuming you want your blog job” I did not read it as blog job. Needless to say I did a double take that hurt my neck… for a second there you were a very, very dirty woman.

  5. Nita says:

    Well well, now I know what stuff you read. 🙂
    About blogs getting deleted and stuff, well, it can happen in real life when friends move away. The latter is much harder.
    Life online isn’t real. Not for me at least. So even with this community thing, it isn’t real.
    Sorry if I offended anyone. I know people get very attached to the online world, but I think thats a sign to distance oneself.
    For me the priority is very clear. With my blog I am keeping myself mentally active because I am unemployed, at least at present. I am writing, which I love doing. I am sharing my ideas with people…note the word ideas. I love doing that.
    I do not share myself as such that easily although I am a friendly person. Its a a friendliness that can get hurt yes, but not too badly, not online.

  6. damewiggy says:

    I am so incredibly impressed with this post, G. I think it’s just really great insight and urges great thoughts, discussion and understanding. Not to mention how well you illustrate, and validate, and assume the various feelings and responses to and from all respective parties. Very well done.

    That being said, i think it’s only natural to correspond with someone’s emotional gears to some degree, whether they’re running in high, low, or neutral, once you’ve established a pattern of communication with them. ‘Course, depending where you are in your own cycle, it seems logical that they would compliment what you’re going through at the time, and visa versa. And once you come to rely on people and communicating with them, their absence (resulting from an isolating spell) could certainly trigger a mood dive, thus keeping you somewhat in sync with them, and others would more than likely shift accordingly. Resurfacing would probably initiate a similar movement — being happy to realize someone is okay, and isn’t ‘gone’, that they’re communicating again — the elation would again become contagious. Up domino effect.

    I’m thinking of that wave thing that crowds do at big sporting events, yanno where one follows the next, eventually creating that long, smooth rolling action. That’s the visual that i’d see when thinking of a cycle like this in motion. And of course, when one person stops, it throws the entire rhythm off. (i hope that made sense)

    Again, great post. Thanks for making me use my headgear once in awhile. 🙂

  7. darkentries says:

    I saw that…
    Cheddar.

  8. Well…how can I…?

    I suppose that I have been influenced personally to a degree by some blogs (and they were generally of the mental illness nature) but they were those where I have developed some sort of “connection” or relationship with the blogger. This may have been either on or off blog. But those are few and far between! They still are.

    PA is completely approachable and friendly and welcomes people, however…email her! That is if you like her. If a friendship evolves and we have stuff in common, great. If you prefer to just get to know her via her blog, great too.

    But back on point. I don’t think reading anything on anyone else’s blog has ever been a trigger for me or destabilized me in any way. I might have been a little concerned or worried etc… but due to the cyclical nature of Bipolar and mental illnesses in general, I have taken a “this too shall pass” sort of attitude? Now please, don’t mistake me for being cavalier about things. Oh no. I take all things about mental illness quite seriously–unless you have to poke fun at it just to try and maintain your sanity!

    As for people shutting down their blogs? There can be a myriad of reasons. It can be frustrating and upsetting–again, if you really like the blogger, the content or yes, if you know them but shit… It is their life, choice? I suppose that might be the most upsetting thing for us crazies? Yes. It is a form of “loss” and I think we’ve all had enough of that in our lives? I know I bloody well have.

    So sort of skipping to Nita’s comment about blog content and how that might pertain to myself and my blog. Well, I am all out there! I mean, I don’t hold anything back! I don’t know how that may affect other people with Bipolar or other illnesses (remember I have the good ol’ ADD as well?)

    I have received quite a few compliments for writing so openly and honestly and for helping them. Some people have said that I am so in tune with myself! Good grief. I’m not so sure about that one. On the flip side, me being such an open book might turn some people off. Well, I write how I write.

    I do recall some people getting rather flipped out when I went into hospital this past April and I sort of “disappeared” and people were worried that I had topped myself. Then I resurfaced and blogged like hell from hospital.

    So, yes, people were concerned from that event but did it drop them down into a Depressive state or even take their mood down a notch? I don’t know. No has ever told me. At most, all I heard was that people were worried and were relieved to hear that I was alright.

    I’ve never been flamed…always kind, funny and supportive commenters. I really don’t know what to say about my blog. God, sometims I don’t even know why I blog! If you all don’t already know for the nth time it was started completely impulsively on a whim by posting on a med blog! The doctor told me to start one so I did in like what, two, three days?

    And half the time, I still don’t know what I’m doing! No, more than half.

    So, I don’t know the answer to your question. Or any way to prove your theory or hypothesis. It might be too difficult because apart from blog reading we also have other external factors that can be triggers. It’s not like we do limit our lives exclusively to blogging (or at least I hope no one does!)

    For example, maybe you’ve been at work or out shopping and something happens and it’s really upset you. But not to the point where you’re really flipping but it’s sitting in the back of your mind…lurking…just waiting to be unleashed. You decide to hop on your computer to read some blogs to distract yourself. You start reading some Bipolar blog and someone’s posted about going through a rough time and then WHAM! You start feeling like shit.

    What made you feel like shit? Was it what happened earlier in the day or was it the post? I don’t know if that’s a good example. I mean, I know you mentioned external triggers in a paragraph in your post but I was just sort of throwing a different perspective out there.

    But it may be one of an isolated incident. I think you are getting at a continual sort of…oh god…are we killing ourselves and each other by blogging incessantly about our illness???

    A while back when we spoke about me getting all down about my blog, you said it was one of the hardest types to maintain as it was highly focused on illness and VERY personal. You have also said to others when struggling before to try and write about other things. It’s still good advice.

    But I guess you can’t force yourself to write about something else if you’re not motivated to do so.

    Anyway, I don’t know if this very long ramble is going to make any bloody sense at all now.

    But yes, it is believed to be true that women who live together can have co-ordinated menstrual cycles. It never happened when I was living with the other girls in Uni. but whatever.

    But I’m cool with reading any nutcase blogs. It doesn’t send me around the bend.

  9. damewiggy says:

    “But I’m cool with reading any nutcase blogs. It doesn’t send me around the bend.”

    aaahahahahaaa! you funny girl!

    You made me want to add something by mentioning personal blogs. After i read this post yesterday, i was thinking of bloggers that decide to delete, and what may inspire that. Personal blogs are tough, you’re right — particularly when you’re up against it. I think some bloggers feel a responsibility to be ‘up’ again after they post something that qualifies support, and people reach out to offer that. Yanno ‘atta boy/girl’ or ‘hang in there’, ’email me to talk’ .. all really positive support. I think some feel bad ABOUT feeling bad, so they begin getting frustrated with themselves. I’ve seen a lot of ‘shit, why do i keep posting this shit’ or ‘i keep posting the same thing’ and it really translates as frustration, they seem stuck and mad at themselves because they need to express how they really feel, and while they want support, they don’t want sympathy, and may feel as though it appears they’re appealing for it. I think some just say fuck it at that point. Yanno, as if they’re bringing people down, and that’s not what they want. So they try to take breaks, and get rest up’s and welcome back’s, but they’re still not feeling better. And eventually they just say fuck it all and delete. People can be so hard on themselves when they’re hurting like that. It’s kinda like, instead of not answering the phone for awhile — they just rip the wires out and throw the phone out the window all together.

  10. damewiggy, you have hit a nail on its head.

    Sometimes when you do get stuck in a rut and it seems that all you are blogging about is the utter crap that you are going through, you really do start to feel like a whiny broken record and it can very much add to your frustration and your already very tenuous mood.

    I have felt this way–and questioned whether or not I have needed a blogging break. But only once. Just semi-recently when getting out of hospital this spring and feeling not well enough and not stable enough.

    I don’t care about support, sympathy, empathy–when I’m feeling down, I’ll take it all *laughing* Some people may feel differently, however.

    But yes, perhaps with some people, the frustration does reach a point where it just gets to be too much and like your great analogy, the phone wires get ripped out and the damn thing is tossed forever.

    I still have a couple of blogs on my blogroll where the blogs are still “live” (i.e. they still exist) but the bloggers are completely AWOL. The blogs haven’t been updated in quite some time–in one case…it’s been since February! That one is a science-y, research kind of blog. I miss that one as that blogger was great. But I think…where are you?

    The other was more a mental/psych sort of blog and a personal one and she’s AWOL too but…blog still up. Also a good one as well.

    I still leave both of these on my blog as there still is valuable information there. And I really hope they come back.

    I also know of well…only one blogger that placed the blog under “lock and key” where you needed a password. Wait, no two and the first, I requested access but I haven’t read it in ages!

    I don’t recall seeing a post about it on the second so I “missed out” and well, just deleted it from my blogroll because why bother sending people to a place where the door is locked? There can be many reasons why people do this also–harassment, people reading it that you don’t want to (like at work,) simple ostracism in the blogging community and just wanting to have your own little club? How juvenile, eh?

    I hate to do it but I also delete people that shut down their blogs completely from my blogroll. It’s not that I’m “shutting the door” on them for indeed, I wish they would come back very much but it’s more a question of redirecting a reader to a blog that doesn’t exist. It doesn’t make sense and is not practical. It’s poor site design.

    I figure, if they come back…I’ll either hear it through the blog grapevine or if I knew the person and their was blogrolling reciprocity, I’ll either figure it out that way as well or they will contact me and let me know.

    Okay…sorry…tangent land again.

  11. Gabriel... says:

    I hope everyone watched that video… personally I think it’s one of the most touching things I’ve seen in a long time.

    Okay… picture this. There’s a store you visit regularly, not all the time — maybe not even once a week. But when you walk in the clerks are not only friendly, they make you feel they’re interested in your life and they’re always asking about you and your friends and family and they know your name and remember the stories you’ve told them about your friends and family. And when you leave you feel happy and invigorated. Except…

    Sometimes you go in and the clerks are jumpy and erratic and maybe depressed and surly, so when you leave you feel uneasy and uncentred for the rest of the day and maybe you’ll run through your encounter in your head for a day or two to find out what you did wrong, if anything, to deserve their attitudes.

    But you keep going and the cycle continues, ten times make you happy, two times make you disconcerted. And you invest money and time in there developing relationships and being friendly and getting friendship in return, and maybe you make friends with some of the other customers. Then you show up ten times and even though the sign says they’re open there’s no one there… or maybe you show up and the store’s empty with a big “Closed” sign in the empty window.

    Now, what happens when you read a blog regulary, and leave messages and invest time and energy and become friendly with the people writing the blog and the people reading and responding beside you, and you find this:

    http://depressionisms.com/dblog/

    or this:

    http://tomdandy.wordpress.com/

    or this:

    http://sisyphusledge.wordpress.com

    or maybe it’s just several days in a row of depressed writing where the blogger is going through an extreme low turn? Or maybe it’s reading several blogs where the writers are in downturns?

    I think, even people who believe they write for No One But Themselves and who believe they’re not affected by the blogs they read everyday or once a week, are affected by those This Blog’s Deleted pages and the disappearances of the blogs they read, or by the depressions suffered by the writers of those blogs.

    I think Tordora had it right from the start:

    “…because I do, to some degree, become emotionally invested in the individuals I read on a regular basis and come to think of as friends. Then you start that awesome game of “maybe it was me?… I end up feeling guilty, thinking (delusionally) that I held the key to making that person stay blogging.”

  12. benji1974 says:

    Dude I really wish that I could relate to what you are trying to say in this post, but it’s just not striking a note with me especially with the examples that you have given. I suppose that’s a part of my problem though because I don’t feel that connection with anyone, not even my kids and this is something that I am working through with my therapist.

    I have a real problem with vesting any kind of emotional interest in anything that could possibly cause me any kind of pain. Hence I have no friends.

    Don’t get me wrong I like you for the way that you write and the ideas that you have. I value that you are a really intuitive individual that has no problem putting himself out there. You have a real sense of touch on the pulse of social ambiguities and you make me think.

    I ran into a situation a while back with one of the people that I used to read for a while and he had closed down his blog. So I tried to reach out to him through an email here and there just to keep conversation open. I don’t think I really missed him though, because I honestly didn’t care if he was off drinking himself in a stupor or living his life as he saw fit even if it was something horrible. I can attribute this lack of caring down to several major life events that I had happen that has made me really neutral on the well being of people in my life.

    1st was a step father that was so emotional detached that he never had anything to do with his kids. Myself or his biological one.

    The 2nd big one was when I was with my daughters mother for 4 years and she cheated on me 7 times and I kept letting it happen without getting rid of her because I didn’t feel that I was worth anything without her. I know pretty fucked up. I was very codependent in that relationship and attempted suicide several times in the end I ended up losing my daughter to her grandparents because of some really stupid things that I had done. Example: I attempted suicide when she was 2 months old and I was the only one home with her. Social services didn’t find me to be a particularly stable parent.

    3. Was the loss of my father 4 years ago. He went to Jacksonville, Florida after threatening to take my daughter and stayed down there by his self until he drank and drugged so much that he killed himself via a methadone overdose I wished at the time that I was the one that could have killed him instead. I only had my biological father in my life for 4 years and in then end he was just as selfish and screwed up as anyone that you can imagine. He was only one of the few people in my life that I ever cried for and that was because I felt that I had lost a part of me when he finally killed him self. I never made it to his funeral and I don’t even know where he is buried besides the town that he is laid to rest in.

    After that had happened I became really damaged.

    4. My daughters grandparents moved to another state making it impossible to see her and I even started losing touch with her by phone after a while I just shut it out and accepted that I may never see fer again. I don’t call her because I can’t afford to emotional invest making promises to her that I will never be able to keep and they don’t call me.

    So while I understand what you are trying to say with social interactions being a part of an individuals vested interest in those that they call a community. Social factors can also damage a person to the point that they can withdraw from the same community also and can’t afford a vested interest in the caring of others.

    Some people would say this is a pain that I have in my heart. I don’t feel that though. Honestly I feel nothing

    I can’t say that I will always be this way. I would really hope not. It would be nice not to feel the abyss of singularity that is a part of me now.

    This has been a really great topic for your post and it has gotten a lot of wheels turning and that’s great to see.

  13. Well, shit. I guess I might be in the minority here? Or maybe I made my comment and it seems I am in the minority because my life is sort of moving along at a marginally better pace than it used to be? I mean, I can’t really measure it but I am doing better to some degree.

    Maybe if I was going down to into the depths of hell again I would have commented differently?

    However, I still stand by my comment that reading about everyone’s trials and tribulations no matter how brutal does not affect or upset me. Not at all. Not triggery in the slightest.

    But I don’t think would feel “responsible” for someone shutting down their blog. I would never give myself enough credit for that. It’s perhaps because I’m too chicken to embroil myself in any controversy? I enjoy civil discussion, yes but when it gets too damn heated, I’m outta there! I’ve always been conflict avoidant my entire life so why should blogging be any different?!

    It is very nice to make connections with other bloggers either via their blogs or even personally outside of them and okay…yes, it can hurt if all of the sudden they disappear in either one of those forms. PA freely admits she has abandonment issues. MEGA.

    Crap…you know, I probably might not handle things as well if I was not as stable? I do not know. I don’t have a crystal ball for my triggers… There is something I wish to say but since this is a blog, I can not. It will be publicly read.

    You know what? I will say it just to prove my point. I will not be a “chicken” because I don’t think this will cause any conflict. It is simply a fact of my life, something that is going on with me and how I feel about it. Why would that be in any way a conflict or argumentative?

    So how ironic that it is happening at the time of your post. A couple of people from the blogosphere are not responding to me. I do not know why. All I do know is that I have done nothing wrong. Or I don’t think I have. All I’ve been is pleasant, nice, a good friend etc…? Whatever fits depending upon the person (all situations are different.)

    Now is this upsetting me? Well, I am confused, befuddled, perplexed…but is it bringing me really down? No. It’s got me a little kind of weirded out and perhaps kind of concerned as I don’t understand it but I don’t understand people by nature! I never have. They are severely unpredictable–even the ones that aren’t mentally ill!

    So the best I can hope for is contact. If it comes, I will be happy but if it never does, what choice do I have but to just accept it. Welcome to my “friends” in real life anyway? Yay, fucking PA!

    And speaking of real life, my sister now seems to have fallen off my radar also and that is concerning me greatly as we always used to talk–she is the only family member that I can speak to–and vice versa. She does not have a blog. Ha ha. But again, if that disintegrates as well? I have no control. I can only try to reach out and if people don’t want to talk to little PA well…?

    Again, maybe if less stable I’d be having mass flip outs all over the place…

    Maybe I’ve just gotten so used to people disappearing from my life so goddamn much that even though yes, it hurts and it’s a bitch, I just have to learn to accept it. It may take me some time but again, what choice do I have?

    Okay, I think that was a bit ranty? I might be a wee bit cranky today *rolls eyes*

    Apologies, everyone…

  14. Clare says:

    I’m here. I love the self portrait you chose to represent my bog, Gabriel. –Oh and the one you chose to represent my blog too. 🙂

  15. Okay, it’s me again. This topic is making me nuts. Everyone tell me to bugger off.

    I’ve been thinking about the whole “connection” thing with other bloggers. Now, it’s not like I don’t care. I do. I care very much about what people write and what they are going through. I am a very sympathetic and and empathetic person.

    But to me, this world is “virtual.” How deep really is your connection with the blog and the blogger? Does it really hit you to the core? I think I’m even trying to ask myself that question!

    I don’t know how many real life connections are actually formed by people out there within the mental illness blogging arena/s. I mean for sure, if so, then it would (or could) be completely disastrous if they did a total disappearing act? But at that point, you’ve taken it totally out the virtual and and to a whole other level.

    And I guess what I am trying to say is that for me, real life triggers are way beyond what a blogging trigger could ever be?

    But perhaps I’m stating the obvious there. Ugh.

    Shoot me if you want me to shut up. I should probably stop talking about this now…

  16. Gabriel... says:

    Nobody’s shooting anybody and nobody is asking anybody to shut up… you’re making great points, as always, PatAnon.

    Bryan, you and I have (mostly) the same abandonment issues. I’ve had a habit for the past twenty-something years, because of those abandonments, of dismissing and shunning friends and family based on respect issues… my best friend in college, and after, pissed me off three years ago by embarrassing me in front of my girlfriend and I haven’t spoken to him since. These issues have followed me online with the blog. I rotate people in and out of my blogroll for a lot of reasons — mostly to keep things fresh and cool, but respect issues is definitely one of them. So, basically, I have very few connections online or off… or, at least, I try to keep them to a minimum. But — and I don’t want to start quoting from blogs here — I’ve read a few posts on your site about wondering who’s reading or not reading your blog. Which — of those of us involved in this conversation — we all have, except maybe Nita. But Nita, for someone not interested in blog hits, or at least in blogging solely as a way of “keeping myself mentally active”, your top widjit is a stats counter — which is cool, because if I had your numbers I’d name my blog 300 Thousand And Counting. And you’ve also given and received some emotional praise along the way — I’ve seen the messages you’ve left on Queen/Qween Minx/Misneach’s blogs, so don’t be giving me any of that “it’s all about me” stuff. You’re a softy just like us.

    My point is, the communities we blog in affect us in ways beyond our reactions towards dead or abandoned blogs. People leave an above-and-beyond insightful response, like Mahendrap did a few weeks ago, and the whole thing seems worth more than it did before the response. People attack our blogs, like the Trainwreck People did last winter, and the tendancy is towards us getting confused and depressed. Someone attacked Mercurial last winter and I went ballistic on them… if this didn’t matter, if blogging doesn’t matter outside my own recovery, why would I become so emotionally invested in Mercurial — after only a few conversations — to spend the time and energy researching the fuck who attacked her site? Why would I take on an idiot named Jeremy who did the same to ExChimp, going so far as to get the fuckers home address and phone number? A few jackoffs have posted insulting or ignorant comments on Nita’s About Page which have led to me getting pissed off enough to tell them (sometimes politely) to fuck off. These are emotional responses to attacks on people who, by all rights, don’t exist outside of my computer. At least according to some of the emails and comments I’ve received about this post.

    What Dame Wiggy wrote about seeing our cycles as a group “wave” is close to what I’m trying to say… or what I think I’m trying to say. If Bryan didn’t care, really, about Us, he wouldn’t go to Other Sites looking to start conversations. If he wasn’t willing to trust, he wouldn’t be here telling Us about His feelings. But he does trust Me, and I trust Him and we have a relationship and we’re putting ourselves out there by having discussions and learning from Each Other’s recovery. If I suddenly turned on him, or him on me, it’d be a betrayal and it’d feel like one. That’s an emotional attachment that has consequences outside of the online world. That’s the kind of emotional betrayal that can have ramifications on our depressions in the Real World. Or maybe, again, he comes here and sees I’m having a hard time and offers some advice and either I never post another thing again or I tell him to Fuck Off. That has Real World ramifications (sorry to pick on you brother).

    Most of the Recovery Blogs I read have had posts about suicide (“I can’t go on”), current suicidal thoughts, suicidal fantasies, blog suicide threats, worries about blog hits and readers. Most of the people in my blogroll, and those who have cycled in and out of it over the past six months, have alternated between “my blog is for me and me alone” and “why is no one reading my blog?”. And nearly each one has asked for some sort of validation through their blog. What this means, to me, is people’s moods are being affected by the feedback through their blogs.

    However, I still stand by my comment that reading about everyone’s trials and tribulations no matter how brutal does not affect or upset me. Not at all. Not triggery in the slightest.” PatAnon

    I don’t believe you. I’ve had some downer moments here, and other people have on their blogs, and you’ve been right there with a comment and more than a few emails. I read your responses and you’re always offering an Email Shoulder for people to lean on. There are people online, in here, whom you care about and would miss if they disappeared. Abandonment Issues are a major trigger for people with Clinical Depression which, all of us with Manic Depression, have in spades. So why shouldn’t that carry-over into the online world? And I’m not necessarily saying these are “core” issues. A blog-suicide by someone you’ve grown to trust isn’t emotional molestation by your father. These are things I’ve experienced over the past six months, granted I’ve managed to ‘get over’ them relatively quickly, but they do add up. Maybe it’s the drip-drip effect where one or two blogging buddies fucking off isn’t so bad relatively, but then ten and twelve going away, plus a few dismissals and misunderstandings and suddenly there’s an issue, even if we don’t recognize it as coming from the Online World.

  17. d says:

    Hey, first off, I like your blog! Glad to have found it.

    You raise a good question. I think sometimes the more we think about it “when feeling well” can just make you feel like crap. (that probably makes no sense at all) I do know I have to take breaks. Personally, I have to talk about other things than bipolar on a daily basis.

    The motto @ our blog is “the healing magic is in the comments” which loosely means, we go off topic a lot and laugh or comfort or whatever….about whatever. Not just bipolar stuff. It can be “my boyfriend is a jerk” or “my neighbors are perverted freaks” anything.

    I have a chronic, painful disorder (trigeminal neuralgia) the more I dwell on that on bad days…the worse it feels, so I transfer that pain into physical activity (get your mind out of the gutter, endless sex…I wish!) but I think you see what I’m getting at.

    So yes, blogging about and then going to read about bipolar, especially when it seems everyone is depressed…can just suck.

    Anyway

  18. Nita says:

    So you did a bit of psychoanalysis huh. Today I moved my blog stats counter to the left 🙂 but its still at the top. Guess I am proud of it.
    But Gabriel, I do affected by comments! The ones you saw on my about page are pretty tame. I have had worse!! I know there are some pretty stupid people out there, and thats what they are – stupid.
    In fact I am awfully sensitive person and think I am a coward at times too. But even then a comment can affect me for about five minutes, thats all, good or bad. Thats what I mean. The problem happens when people keep sending comments every few minutes…I have had that too and thats upset me for several hours!
    There are certain people I like a lot on the net, one of them is you, the other is Queenminx and Suburban and Axinia. I liked Harsh and Amit too and Shefaly. I can absolutely sense the kindness…it just flows from their words!!
    There are some other new pals I have made, like Paul and Ordinary Girl and Mariacristina and a lady who writes anonymously but I know her name because of the email id ..well, once I like someone I never stop liking that person! Its never happened in my whole life. That sound strange to you? But I get put off by rudeness…and well, if someone is rude that person never makes it to my like or love list coz I know that if someone can be that rude to a stranger, such a person is best kept at arm’s length.
    Well, I hope all these people stay in my world. I hope you stay. 🙂

  19. Nita says:

    I think I used the word ‘liked’ instead of ‘like’ when I was talking of Harsh and Amit and Shefaly! Well, thats a mistake, I mean it in the present tense…now don’t do some psychoanalysis on this too!

  20. Gabriel... says:

    Oh man… if I was to start posting the search engine terms people use to find this blog… once my Salted blog got to a certain size in terms of content, links and blog-hits I started getting the most depressing and soul-crushing terms you can think of. Today six people found my blog looking for ways to kill themselves with pills. Then there are the people looking for what to do after being raped. I can’t even look at those things anymore, mostly because after reading them I start thinking I should have a page specifically about what to do when thinking about suicide but I’m not sure yet if that’s a responsibility I want to accept.

    When you’re in AA or NA* or any of the Plethora of A’s they tell you to concentrate entirely on your own recovery. There’s a certain level of brutality you have to achieve if you want to survive. Basically, if you’re thirty days into sobriety the last thing you want to do is put yourself into a situation where you’re trying to ‘cure’ someone else. So in my own recovery from manic depression there may come a time when I’m able to counsel others, or be a fulltime sponsor, but now isn’t the time. But, at the same time, I invite them by allowing my blog to be accessed by search engines.

    Which brings up another point, I guess. If I’m immersing myself in the lives of other people with this disease to the point where their moods as expressed through their writing and YouTube choices are effecting my own then it’s my responsibility to back out and find a non-bipolar related hobby. But I’m just now at a point in my recovery where I’m able to spot the behaviours which are acting negatively on my brain. At least some of them anyway. So if I find myself getting depressed, or cycling, because of what I’m reading, or because of the mood swings and cycles of The Group I think I’m able to recognize the situation… maybe. Kind of… maybe a few weeks down the road.

    The idea a community of people, all with the same disease, could influence the physiology of the disease itself and our mood cycling would be an interesting psych-thesis anyway.

    *Maybe having a support network like what the AA/NA people have is something worth looking at.

    Nita: “…once I like someone I never stop liking that person! Its never happened in my whole life. That sound strange to you?”

    It doesn’t sound strange at all… despite how pissed off I can get at people I actually feel the same way. It just takes some time…

    d: Welcome, I’ve been checking out your “Bipolar Chicks Blogging” blog for a little while now. I like the philosophy behind your comment-philosophy. It’s something I’ve tried in the past — having one blog for recovery / non-recovery writing — but never really felt comfortable moving between the two subjects. I’ve been trying over the past month to bring in some more humour to this blog through my TISH Days, and I’m going to try and bring in more “observational” posts. I love the review on your blog on Kay Redfield Jamison’s appearance on Oprah: “By the way Kay, the newest edition of your text book sucks unwashed man-whore balls.” Now that’s funny.

  21. puddlejumper says:

    Hi Gabriel

    Totally weird. Sorry I haven’t dropped by for a while (though so no-one worries it’s because I’ve been up to my neck studying rather than because I’ve been having fantasies about razor blades)

    Interesting post. Would perhaps be useful for someone to research it fully. The way we all interact on the net and the connections we make (or don’t make) with people. I don’t think the fact that it’s on the net makes a difference.

    We all think using language and therefore any medium that allows us to share our thoughts is a form of mental connection at the very least. You write/say something and my brain then has to digest that and even if I don’t leave a comment you’ve still touched me in some small way.

    The “is this a good or bad thing” for folks like us with an illness that makes us sensitive to feelings of rejection or loss is a a good question. But it would be the same for all our interactions.

    For me (as you already know Gabriel, but I’ll expand for others who might not) I chose to stop blogging about my illness because it kept me too fixated on it and for me (and I’m not trying to say it should be so for everyone) it was hindering my recovery.

    I didn’t delete my blog out of a “cry for help” I just wanted to do something different.

    Sure it would be nice if people could leave a farewell message on their old deleted blog to explain their absence. Perhaps we could suggest that to the wordpress boffins?

    For example, I drink in my local pub. There are several characters who go regularly, some are friends, some are acquaintances, whatever. If Old Bob who is there every Thursday night doesn’t show one week then depending on how close I am to old Bob I might wonder where he is. If he doesn’t show the week after I might think, hmm, pity I don’t have a number I could call him check he’s ok (especially if in previous weeks Old Bob has been talking of suicide)

    But if I later find out Old Bob isn’t there because he got a new job and moved to another town I can rest easy because I know he’s ok.

    So there’s the solution. Get WordPress to have an option to leave a “Puddlejumper (or whoever) would like everyone to know she is safe and well and living it up in the Bahamas (or whatever)

    Cool no?

  22. damewiggy says:

    christ, that depressed the fuck outta me.

  23. Gabriel... says:

    Don’t worry Dame, I think Puddlejumper’s “Old Bob” is a fictional character. Which part was depressing? If you’re really down, try watching the video at the top… I still think it’s one of the coolest little movies I’ve seen. It’ll cheer you up.

  24. Kayla says:

    A very interesting post. Being one of the 37 individuals on your blog roll with Manic Depression, I have to say I agree with you about the community aspect. I read your blog all the time. Along with all the other Manic Depressive/Depressive blogs I have on my Blog Roll. I’m not much for comments, but I do read. When I read a post I just have to comment on-like this one-I will.

    Like you said, it’s not like we know 37 people with Manic Depression in real life. I think I read other Manic Depressive blogs because I like to see it through other people’s eyes. That way I know I haven’t actually lost my mind. There are other people that go through the same things.

    I have a blog on my blog roll that the author stopped writing in almost a year ago. I refuse to take it off my blog roll, because before he stopped writing, we would comment back and forth all the time. I think it’s a refusal to think that something bad might have happened.

    Anyway, sorry to ramble. I read your post, and just had to say something. Strange how I’ve always thought the same kind of things, but never really put it all together like this.

  25. Gabriel... says:

    Please, Kayla, feel free to ramble as much as you want. I like this very much:

    I think I read other Manic Depressive blogs because I like to see it through other people’s eyes. That way I know I haven’t actually lost my mind. There are other people that go through the same things.

    When I first started Salted it was meant to be a specific tool in my own recovery. It was the writing itself, just the act of putting words together, I was interested in… at that point blogging, to me, was something done by ineffectual and permanently angry people with no outlet for their suburban sexual frustrations once they got kicked out of their gym for “lurking”. From what I could tell “blogging communities” were made up entirely of people we, as a society, really didn’t want walking our streets or showing up at our PTA Meetings, and thank God for blogs for keeping them all at home.

    Eleven months later and I’ve found I was, mostly, right. But I also managed to find, or be found, by people working through issues very similar to mine and, surprise, they were moving along quite well. In the two months leading up to my starting Salted (and [the other blog] and Fear The Seeds) I was as suicidal as I ever had been. Last year — last year and three weeks ago — I accidentally erased a project I had worked the previous four years on. Two months later and Salted was my attempt to prove to myself I could still put words together. But what it has ended up doing is putting me in touch with several people I’ve since become friends with, and with friends I had lost touch with.

    I still think certain blogging communities based around manic depression are dangerous to the people with manic depression taking part in them who are otherwise uneducated about the disease. There are many “communities” in here whose overriding philosophy sees manic depression as an advantage, and medications as inherently bad, if not a threat. And I think this might be an interesting example of how we treat ourselves… like, maybe some of our recovery depends on the examples, thoughts and beliefs of the communities we attach ourselves to… on our own ‘Out There’ we really are at the mercy of the superstitions and urban legends surrounding the disease. At least I was. ‘In Here’ those superstitions could either be exposed or deeply reinforced depending on the community you become a part of…

    I’ve been very lucky to have found the people I have, even the handful of idiots well-meaning, but otherwise silly people who have commented on Salted — including a bizarre comment / invitation / insult from the Director of the “Ic@rus Project” — have been worth finding.

    Now that’s a ramble… and honest to God, seriously, has anyone watched that freaking video?

  26. mahendrap says:

    I liked the video…reminded me somehow of Jonathan Livingston Seagull…

    Gabriel: another one of your masterpiece posts! And the eerie part of it is I’m reading it today, just after having spent a couple of days remembering Aikaterine, wondering how she is, and then commenting on her blog again today, just trying to let her know that someone still remembers her…

    To start with, I’m not distanced from people in the virtual world. My blog, the comments on it, my discussion threads on other blogs – all matters – albeit to a lesser extent than offline, but it nevertheless does. I would have similar abandonment issues like in real life in the blog world, again to a much lesser degree.

    I think I personally experienced the overlap between online and offline worlds at a very young age, and that’s one of the reasons I take the author of an email or a blog post to be as much a real person as the one with that voice on the telephone or the one with that handwriting in a physical letter. I think irrespective of the medium of interaction, the other person is a person, period.

    Some of the comments regarding why people blog reminded me of a good post: Why Do I Blog, that you might want to check out.

    Your thought-provoking post also reminded me of Robert Pirsig’s Lila – a book I’d read many years back – in regard to intellectual and social patterns that he describes at a metaphysical level.

    But I’ve just read your post and the 25 comments at one go, and my mind is saturated. So I’ll leave at the moment, think some more, and return.

    PS: You do not know how grateful I am to you for so graciously mentioning me while referring to an earlier comment. It is we readers of this blog who should be grateful for your deeply insightful posts.

  27. mahendrap says:

    PS2: The overlap of offline/online I mentioned again became very real a few days back: I discovered that a blogger on my blogroll physically lives a block down the road from me – we can probably talk from our rooftops!

  28. mahendrap says:

    //Now, while manic depression brings on depressions randomly, they’re not entirely random. There are, or can be, triggers. There’s also the fact that most people with manic depression, if not all, have crippling clinical depressions which are hidden by the disease and clinical depressions definitely have triggers.//
    Very, very true.

    //Then there are the conversations I’ve had on other blogs, and on my blogs, where I not only thought I was helping someone through a crisis or an episode but I was told as much, only to return a few days later to find the blog has been deleted.//
    Gabriel: I think resorting to blogging when you’re suffering is a poor choice as an alternative to professional help. And if you’re commenting on someone else’s blog and trying to lend a helping hand in the process, it is important to distinguish between whether you’re the primary source of help or a secondary source of support. If you’re the primary source of help – you shouldn’t be.

    The illness may make us so empathetic at times that one may feel oneself qualified and empowered to act as a support for someone else. This myth has to be discarded by the realization that only professional help can work; MDs cannot help other MDs.

    //when we’re depressed enough to think suicidal thoughts and let the phone ring and the responses pile up, we’re making the people calling and posting and knocking depressed just like us.//
    A lot depends on whether the people calling and posting and knocking are themselves patients or are people who do not suffer from any such disease. If they’re also ones who suffer, then yes, there is a high probability that you’re making them suffer as well. Depression is contagious, as everyone knows.

    //And when the people doing all that physical activity are like us, with a disease which causes depressions and with all those hidden clinical depressions, are we creating a situation where we’re forcing our cycle onto them? And not just with the deleted or abandoned blogs, but with the constant stream of postings discussing in detail the effects our disease, or our clinical depressions, are having on our individual lives?//
    Absolutely. Of course. Depression affects not just other people with the disease, but even normal folks too.

    //When a community of like minded individuals is created the opinions and beliefs of those people can actually become more extreme//
    Yes, absolutely. That is why a community of depressives is an alarming thing. It leads to such things like the Church of Euthanasia.

    //None of this is new, this is the way Cults are formed. A bunch of like-minded individuals come together based on philosophical beliefs or physical and emotional needs then, given time, the original ideals become more extreme as everyone evolves together.//
    Exactly.

    //we are having a very real effect on each others cycles.//
    I believe this is very true. Even if it may not be apparent to some.

  29. mahendrap says:

    Nita: //I am sure people who suffer from manic depression need to talk to people with similar problems, just like in real life there are support groups.
    but one needs to get out and talk to others too…like me…:-) //
    The difference in a support group is that it is moderated by a professionally trained counselor or psychotherapist or psychiatrist. The need to talk without such a moderator, like that happens in blogs, usually results in nurturing the disease further, nothing else.

    Regarding one needing to get out and talking to others: absolutely!

    Gabriel: //Deleting a blog is just a side effect of being a part of a community, just as suicide is a part of a community offline.//
    Suicide can very much be a reality as a result of being part of a community online.

    //That’s not to say there isn’t a benefit. I’ve found several insights into the disease and even some into myself thanks to the discussions and reading material I’ve found through my blogroll.//
    These benefits and insights should be supplementary to what you gain from your professional doctor/psychotherapist/counselor. You should discuss these with him/her. If this is not the case, you’re not doing the best you can to treat your disease (I’m talking generally Gabriel; the you doesn’t really mean you).

    PA: //I don’t think reading anything on anyone else’s blog has ever been a trigger for me or destabilized me in any way. I might have been a little concerned or worried etc… but due to the cyclical nature of Bipolar and mental illnesses in general, I have taken a “this too shall pass” sort of attitude?//
    You have been very lucky, and seem to have the fortitude to tackle such triggers. Others may not be so fortunate. No, you’re obviously not cavalier about this. 🙂

    All: It is not just abandonment issues, when someone shuts down a blog that can cause a trigger. It can be a hurried insensitive comment, it can be neglect of your posts, it can be a myriad of things. If you’re depending on the blog world as a form of sustenance, you’re treading in quicksand. You never know when you’ll sink and for what reason.

    I think those who suffer should not frequent each others blogs, rather they should frequent psychotherapists’s blogs. There are many out there on the net. True, they do not offer the personal interaction and intimacy that you get via other patients’ blogs. But you can write to them, email them, get in touch via other means. And I repeat, the primary source of your interaction should be your psychotherapist and your offline friends. If you find yourself digging deep into the patients’ blogroll universe, you are risking sinking into quicksand.

  30. melanie says:

    Freaking Genius and Master Of The Obvious as always!

  31. Gabriel... says:

    Mahendrap’s the genius, I’m definitely the MOTO.

  32. Pingback: My Thanks To You On The First Anniversary Of Salted Lithium… YAY YOU. « …salted lithium.

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  34. giannakali says:

    hey Gabriel…kinda strange that I found this today as I cruised your excerpt page…it was the only link I followed and coincidentally it has great meaning to me today…

    I haven’t read all the comments…there were too many so if my comment shows that I haven’t read them…well there’s been full disclosure…

    I am way too involved in the lives of the people I read. I’ve been profoundly hurt and pained a few times—trolls have hurt me real bad too—that ever happen to you? But I also have no life without the internet…not that I don’t know a lot of people in the real world, but most of them are across the country from me and the ones I know here — well I’m not usually well enough to leave the house and see them…so it’s us, here on the internet…

    As soon as I have the physical energy to have a life outside my home I won’t be involved like this here…but for now…there are many people I’ve come to love and who deeply effect the quality of my life in a very intimate way…

    Good post…

  35. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Gianna… I’ve been very lucky with the people who comment on Salted, and the quality of their comments… I’ve never had a serious troll here.

    There were some comments made on a bulletin board in relation to one of my posts that was kind of frustrating. I don’t like joining Stuff and the only way to defend myself would have been to join a Thing. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of the Ic@rus Project… the head dude in charge came over and invited me to become a member, then he went on to a bulletin board set up to debate one of my posts and called my blog a “something something blah blah full of shit”, or something like that. But that’s about as close to a Troll as I’ve ever gotten here.

    I am pretty aggressive with Trolls though, even on other blogs. I’ve got no patience for them at all. There was one on Experimental Chimp’s blog… that was fun, just based on his first name and his job title I found the dude’s home address, phone number, where he worked and got his boss to force him to apologize.

    My favourite was on Mercurial Scribe’s blog… that guy was a fucking tool. I took his blogger name and found two of his sites, his real name and his weird hobby of getting women bartenders and servers to pose with him like they were his girlfriend.

    Sometimes I think I should put those two in a resume… or in my blog header.

    There are times where I’m reading a blog and it becomes pretty clear there is an unhealthy relationship between the commenter and the blogger. But I think for the most part one helps the other to find a focus and clarity they otherwise wouldn’t have found.

    Like when people start losing traction I think it’s really important to jump in with a comment or an email. I take my blogroll fairly seriously, and I think that comes from how I’ve isolated myself Offline over the past few years. It also comes from Others doing the same thing for me… when I first started blogging I received a lot of support from Puddle Jumper, Clare, Qween Minx, Nita and a few others, so I know what it’s like to need help and to actually get it…

    Mostly I get “hurt” when someone deletes their blog, like Mark just did… or when Gabrielae toasted her blog. Especially if I’ve left comments and offered support… sometimes it feels like a betrayal. Other times it’s like I’ve failed someone.

    And there are times when it feels like I’m herding cats trying to keep my blogroll intact…

    BTW: That’s still the best YouTube I’ve ever found…

  36. My favourite was on Mercurial Scribe’s blog… that guy was a fucking tool. I took his blogger name and found two of his sites, his real name and his weird hobby of getting women bartenders and servers to pose with him like they were his girlfriend.

    Linkplz.

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