Okay

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There are no absolutes in blogging. You can start a blog about knitting then, three months later, add a regular feature about Norwegian Death Metal. Not a big deal, because it’s your blog and it’s free and, really, why the fuck should you care about what other people want out of your Norwegian Death Metal-knitting blog.

And you don’t even have to explain yourself. You wake up one morning, put aside the “chapter nine: knitted pillow covers” post, and write up a thousand words on your life-long love affair with Gorgoroth, and the year you spent as their groupie / sex toy / official knitter.

At least that’s the way it works in my head. I wake up, write something about something, then publish it and respond in a reasonable time frame to the feedback.

That’s what personal blogs are, personal. It’s about the things we do, and the things we’ve done and the shit we think we can do in the future.

The problem I’ve been having recently is… as retarded as it sounds, this isn’t supposed to be a personal blog. But I’ve added all kinds of personal material. This isn’t supposed to be a blog about how my son did this week, but that’s what it’s turning into because, apparently, a bunch of people enjoy reading those posts.

Or at least that’s what they tell me.

But writing bullshit about what songs my son listened to this week, or what movies he saw, or what terms people used in Google to find my blog, is not what I’m supposed to be doing with this thing.

I started this blog — here I go again — because, after a tragic incident chronicled thirty or more times in this blog, I wanted to see if I could still write. And I could, so I decided to write about my recovery from a nasty and deadly disease known as manic depression. And it helped. And it got to a point where I could write about larger, more complex issues, like my family and clinical depressions.

But the personal stuff, the stuff about raising my son, the humour, the weeks in review, writing about movies, the post about Bristol Palin, the one about my cat, another about someone reading all of my 287 posts over two nights… what the fuck does any of that have to do with my recovery from one of the most prolific killing diseases known to mankind, or my broken relationships with my family?

Really? A fucking cat post? WTF!?

It has actually reached the point where a few months ago someone* nominated me for a blog award in the “Health” category, but the organizers decided I was better placed in the “Parenting” category.

So I recently posted five things I wrote between 2004 and 2006 to remind myself, and anyone else, what this blog is supposed to be about. Then I shut it down for a week because I needed time to think all of this through.

In terms of “a recovery blog” I’ve actually restarted another blog of mine to write about my son, my family and about where I live. It’s going to be my personal blog, and it’s also the next logical step in my recovery — both as a human being living with manic depression, and as a writer.

I’ve written quite a bit there for close to a month now, but still not getting a lot of feedback, which sucks, but what the fuck.

So that means this blog will be about my ongoing appointments with my psychiatrist, trying to manage my clinical depressions as well as my life as an almost fully functioning member of society — as someone whose treatment for manic depression has turned his life almost completely around.

No more cat updates.

*okay, I nominated myself. Seriously, would it have killed someone else to do it?

.

...thanks.

.

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, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Health, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Mental Health, Psychiatry, Salted Truths. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Okay

  1. zoom says:

    Maybe part of recovery is seeing your life expand to include children and cats and humour.

  2. Rhiannon says:

    I agree with Zoom, part of what I get out of this blog is seeing someone struggling with similar issues getting past them enough to open his life to new experiences. Kind of an ‘if he can do it so can I’ thing. I also really appreciate the recovery specific posts so I kind of feel that this is actually the best solution. I like that I can have access to both sides of the story.

  3. thordora says:

    I’m not online as much as I once was, and in some ways, I don’t miss it. Part of my own recovery has been in learning to see past it, and see myself as a new person. Having a child-that’s a quantum shift on it’s own.

    Don’t preconceive who you should be. Let it come.

  4. Meg says:

    I like the part about nominating yourself. That is great. And I like the varied posts. I’m not bipolar and have never been seriously depressed but it seems like part of recovering from depression would include writing about things that aren’t depressing.

  5. Gabriel... says:

    …okay, except what I’m trying to say is “concern for what others get out of this blog cannot be a concern for me if this blog is to continue to work as a recovery blog.” I’ve invented a dozen ways to get people to comment here, and another dozen because I think it’s what people want to read. At the time, maybe, they made sense because I was at a stage in my recovery where I couldn’t separate cat posts into their own blog. But I can now.

    In other words, I can’t be writing here in a search for comments, so all of the post-types I invented to make it easier for people to comment have to go.

    I’m not going to be changing the posts you’re looking for, Rhiannon, those are the ones I need to write as part of my recovery.

    But no more “Baby Victor Updates”, unless it’s about how I’m dealing with being a father with manic depression trying to raise a kid.

    …in the past six years my recovery has gone from just trying to find treatment, to my learning about manic depression, to figuring out what it has done to my life, to trying to fix those things, and now it has split into two parts:

    1. is about testing to see how far I’ve come and how far I can go. And those are things I can do on the other blog.

    2. is about dealing with the clinical depressions left uncovered by the now treated manic depression, which I’ll continue to do here… without any cat days.

    I can’t do both on this blog because writing on Monday about the music my baby has listened to, followed on Wednesday by a thousand words on that time I was raped, and then a weekend “Week In Review” post just feels obscene.

  6. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Clare, Meg and Thor.

    I honestly don’t think people who come to this blog regularly, who share the same recovery interests as I do, will miss the stuff I won’t be writing about anymore. They might miss the frequency of the posts — without all the filler this has always been a 4-5 post per month blog (4000-5000 words / month).

    Something I’m not sure about yet are the “issues” posts, like the stuff I’ve written about Scientology as well as the anti-vaccination / medication people.

    I also don’t think people are going to split their attention between both blogs. I’ve never had any success whatsoever in directing people from here to other blogs, so I don’t expect most — or more than a few — people who read this blog to be reading, or enjoying, the other one.

    But, if you’re here primarily for the baby updates, and the social issues / poverty posts and the day-to-day stuff of being me, then the other blog is where it all is. I’m also working in the archives of our local paper (120-years of material), and I’ll be posting the weird shit I find.

    Because I’m posting on the other site using my real name and location, I won’t be posting the link here. So if you want it, and you don’t work for Tom Cruise, just ask.

  7. Yo is Me says:

    duuuuude. i totally would have nominated you. next time, send me a link, wouldja? i don’t keep up with all the blog awards up in your neck of north america.

    going to visit your other blog. will you post cat updates on that blog?

  8. detached99 says:

    I think that 2 blogs is totally the way to go! I have read this blog for several years because we are on a similar recovery journey, and your insights are helpful. I will continue to be a regular reader because I like you and am interested in how things are going.

    Baby Victor is adorable, and your cat is cool – I don’t want to miss out on that good stuff 😉 I would love to read your new blog if you don’t mind sharing the link via email.

  9. Pearl says:

    Yeah, one can’t write to get comments. It’s a losing proposition. It could spiral out of control so the whole internet becomes lol cats sponsored by McDs and your local militia.

    Whenever I do write for comments, I feel resentful when it doesn’t work. Then the public isn’t pleased and since they aren’t saying they are, I don’t get vicariously pleased. Best to write for oneself and cut out the middle man. That doesn’t mean the middle man can’t speak, if so inclined.

  10. NiroZ says:

    I personally don’t think you need to be so strict with yourself, a post that goes off topic isn’t bad in itself, although yeah, if all your posts suddenly focus on the strange shapes that you picked from your nose, yeah, you’ve gone too far. But taking about your child makes for great light hearted reading, which helps detract from the grim dark topic of mental illness.

    And where is this personal blog? I like your writing.

  11. Bromac says:

    hahahaha! I think that’s great that you nominated yourself. I think it’s even greater that you fessed up to it. You deserved the award in my book.

    It’s your blog. You blog what you need to blog and don’t give a rat’s ass about what other people want. They can go to the other one….or not. They’re gig, not yours. Do what’s best for you.

  12. Em says:

    Most people have already said what I wanted to say after reading this post – it’s your blog, recovery from manic depression comes in many forms (I can attest to that myself), and I personally come here for your writing and not any particular topic.

    My blog started out as a knitting blog, but now it’s about 10% knitting and 90% other stuff going on in my life. And that’s when I post, which isn’t very often lately. I’m not trying to make money off it. I’m not trying to be the best blog out there. It’s just a place where I write stuff that I want other people to read about.

    And btw – no one’s nominated Knitting is My Boyfriend for anything either.

  13. Gabriel... says:

    Okay… first, everyone has to go see Inception. It’s not brilliant, but it’s close and it’s also pretty fucking cool.

    Second, the award I nominated myself for was one of those Canadian Beaver awards. I came in a distant fourth in 2008 — someone else nominated me for that one, then last fall I tried to submit my blog in their Health category, but they had cancelled the category because they’re a bunch of useless / clueless dicks… they said it was because there weren’t enough Health / Recovery blogs out there. Fuckers.

    This all just came back to me. So they suggested “Personal Blog” instead, which would have put me in the same category as KnitNut… so then I found out another Award had been created, and they had a Health Blog category because they know what they’re doing, so I filled it up by nominating like twelve Health / Recovery blogs… thirteen including my own.

    I also nominated a bunch of my blogroll in other categories as well. I’ll check Em, but I’m pretty sure I nominated you in their “Crafting” category.

    Anyway. Back on topic… and before I get too far into my navel here, the problem isn’t only What I’m writing, it’s also Why I’ve been writing it.

    Since January 1, 2010, I’ve written thirty-five posts… of which twenty-five have been: updates on my son; Bristol Palin; Jenny McCarthy; Facebook; Week In Reviews; my apartment; a blogging anniversary; a movie; my cat; my birthday; Scientologists in Haiti; a 2009 Year in Review, and; my girlfriends ex-husband.

    So 25 of 35 posts over six months had nothing to do with my recovery, and very little to do with me. That’s a problem that I’m solving by moving the non-recovery writing to another blog.

    All the diabetes stuff, the manic depression stuff, the psychiatrist stuff, the family drama stuff, the “trying to become a functioning parent” stuff all stays here… and I might write more about the anti-people here as well. But no more BS “updates” on my son — I’m being very careful on the Other Blog to be as honest as possible about him.

    …so, yeah. I should have a real, honest to God post up later today (Sunday).

    Thanks for hanging in there.

  14. auralay says:

    Keeping pets can help reduce anxiety and rebuild routines. I vote for occasional cat updates.

  15. Finola says:

    I have been lurking here for a while now. I love your writing and would like to read both of your blogs. Can you please send me the link to your other blog to my email? Much appreciated!

  16. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Finola, and Auralay… if anyone wants the address to the newish blog, I think the best thing to do would be to email me at the address on my About Page… I probably should have done it this way to start with. Anyway, I’ll send an email out tonight.

  17. mudmama says:

    I opened the comments to say exactly what Zoom said. I can understand how you feel though, and I’d like to follow both blogs.

  18. Gabriel... says:

    I’ll send you the link mudmama.

    …here’s the thing about this:

    1. the Other Blog is (IS) the next step in my recovery evolution. The only way I’ll ever work in reporting again is if I practise reporting, and writing non-soul tearing stuff. In fact, the other blog was created soon after this one with the plan of eventually using the other blog as my primary one. I even made the move over just a few months after starting Salted, but realized pretty quickly it was way too soon.

    I need the other blog to be separate from this one for a lot of reasons, one big one being I have to be anonymous here — my sisters, brothers and mother would not appreciate the things I write here becoming part of their everyday lives, but the other blog won’t work as a recovery tool if it’s anonymous.

    If I can’t get the Other Blog to work then I really have a hard time seeing what the next step in my recovery could possibly be… in other words, what the fuck has been the point of all of this?

    2. If I wrote a post saying all of Salted’s “readers” were going to die next week unless they went, right away, to this other blog I found where there’s a cure. All they had to do was click on the link. If that ever happened, the world would lose about 120 bloggers next week.

    For whatever reason I’ve never been able to move people from here to somewhere else. I’ve written posts extolling the virtues of several recovery blogs, and leaving links to them, and those posts get read, but no one ever clicks on the frigging links.

    I’ve never understood that. I’ve sent out about six emails to dozens of people* I know from Salted, from college, from work, from down the street, from my family, and I can’t get anyone to take a look at the Other Blog. Which is fine. I don’t mind starting over, it’s just weird that people will go out of their way to ask for the link, then never click on it.

    …I’ve been angry all week about stuff that has nothing to do with this. Whatever.

    Anyway… for whatever it’s worth, mudmama, I’ll send you the link.

    *I mistakenly emailed a few people twice. Whoops.

  19. Kitty says:

    Just keep writing Gabriel.
    I know what you mean about getting people to click on links to other blogs. I’ve thought about just combining mine. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing, I want to post a bunch of photos. Other times the opposite.

  20. Gabriel... says:

    Hello Kitty… I still get a kick out of writing that. Thanks. I closed my photo blog about a month ago, but last week I imported all of those (50+) posts into my ‘other blog’, so now I’ll be putting up photo-specific posts there as well. The ‘twenty ten’ theme (the one I’m using here and there) is large enough to post decent photos — 640px on the horizontal, so it all seems to make sense.

    I don’t know if anyone noticed, but WordPress changed their importing tool. It’s really pretty incredible now. You can now export / import specific dates from / to your blog. So if you have two blogs, and you want to copy all the 2007 posts from Blog A to Blog B, now you can without importing every single Blog A post.

    My problem with the tool used to be what it did to the comments. When the posts were imported the actual comments came along, but they lost some of their attributes. But now every comment comes over, and they function exactly like regular comments. Bonus.

    You can also use the export tool to make a backup of your blog in your hard drive. It’s something I do every two months.

    The import / export feature is available in your dashboard. You can also use it to move your blog from any other platform (Blogger, TypePad) to WordPress. Tell your friends.

  21. Kitty says:

    Whoa. I can back up my blog? I am going to do that right now. Thanks so much.

    Shoot me a link to the other blog of yours so I can add to my rss feed. I enjoy your photos.

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