Monday, 29 December 2008

Six Months Of Blogging - I Didn't Think It Would Last

Tomorrow it is six months since I started this blog. I'm still not sure what possessed me to do it, but I am glad that I did. There are times when that six months seems like a life time, and others when it has seemed to pass in a flash.

I wasn't really sure what I would write about when I first started, except that I felt that I needed to explain what it felt like, for me, to suffer with depression. My depression was not something new, I had been suffering for nearly 10 years, but because I live on my own it often feels as though there is no-one who I can talk to about how I feel, and even if nobody read the blog, I felt that I was at least speaking my thoughts out loud and not keeping it bottled up inside. I have been asked why I called myself Madsadgirl, and all I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. I'm not mad, although there are times when I have doubted my sanity, I am sad some of the time, but there are also times when I am quite happy, and at my age I am stretching a point to call myself a girl, but the name sounded catchy and I couldn't think of anything else.

Many of my early posts were about depression, but I was aware that this would make a pretty boring blog and may not attract much in the way of readership if everything that I wrote was negative, so I also included posts about being a student with the Open University, about things that I had seen in the news and that I had strong opinions about, about the way that members of the medical profession, particularly GPs, were being vilified by some members of the government, particularly as these men and women do a difficult job and rarely get the thanks that they deserve.

Sometimes I wrote about things that were happening around me, for example the dreaded roadworks that are a consequence of the replacement of London's Victorian water mains, and I wrote about the sometimes funny and sometimes beautiful things that I saw around me. Knitting has also been a subject of a great many posts, even if it was only to say that I was having to unpick what I was working on and start again because I had made a mess of it.

Of course, depression and the effect that it can have on a person still remains one of the main reasons that I write this blog. I have written about the discrimination and stigma that those with mental health problems face, and I write about them through experience. I have also written about what it is like to undergo psychotherapy, not short-term cognitive-behaviour therapy that many undergo, but long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy with the traumatic issues and feelings that this can raise, and the relief that it can bring in being able to understand why I am the way that I am.

Sometimes I write almost every day, sometimes more than once a day, and sometimes there can be days between posts. My aim has always been to write something meaningful and that will cause anybody reading it to think about what life can be like for other people. I hope that I have achieved this aim and that what I have written over the last six months has helped people to understand what life is like for someone with depression and that it has given hope to some who find themselves in a similar state.

All bloggers say that they are surprised that anyone reads what they write, but we would be liars if we did not admit that there is a hope that someone else will read what we have written. I will never have the following of some of the blogs that I read, but I am thrilled that I have managed to attract more than 4600 hits since the blog started. I am honoured that some of my posts have been considered of enough value to warrant such worthy bloggers as the Jobbing Doctor and Dr Grumble to select them as shared items on their blogs, and I know that each time they have done this I have experienced a marked increase in traffic to the blog. Thank you, Gentlemen; it has been much appreciated.

Like many bloggers I tend to see what leads people to read my blog. Obviously the word "depression" brings up many hits when a Google search is carried out, and this is a way that a few find their way to my blog. Another frequent search term is Open University, or OU, sometimes with the word "studying" sometimes without. Psychotherapy is another term that has appeared frequently, with or without other search terms. I have been amused by those studying with the OU who have found their way to my blog when trying to get ideas for the particular TMA that they are working on at the time. That has happened for both of the courses that I am studying at present, but I am afraid that they will have gained nothing from what I have written other than to learn that even after many years of studying with the OU, I still find it extremely difficult to sit down to write an essay for a TMA.

I have made a number of virtual friends through this blog, and I have met one blogger, with whom I now correspond on an almost daily basis outside of this blog and who is now much more than a virtual friend. I started to write this blog anonymously, and I still think that was a good idea. I didn't tell anyone that I was writing it until it had been going for almost a month, and even then I only told a couple of people. Six months of blogging and there are still only a handful of people who know my real name and anything about me, and I find that something of a comfort. This means that comments received on my blog mean that much more because they do not come from people who feel that they have to make a comment because they know me.

So here I am, six months on. Has writing a blog made any difference to me? The answer to that is definitely a resounding "Yes". I have written about the good times and the bad, I have written about the funny and the sad, and I have written sometimes when my heart was breaking but I knew that writing was the only way that I could carry on. And receiving comments when I have written at these difficult times has helped me through them and helped me to come out smiling on the other side.

To all of you who bother to read this blog I say a big "Thank You", you have made life worth living again, and to those who comment "Keep commenting, I love them", and to those of you who read and don't comment "Why don't you?"; although I moderate comments I have published every one that has been written.


Anonymous said...

I'm also glad you are blogging. I have only just begun to follow and begin my own blog (thus have alot of catching up to do).
Writing through depression has been my saving grace and can often be transforming.
Knowing that someone else is listening without judgement is a double whammy. Receiving my first few comments was like getting shiny gifts on a dull, rainy day.
I have found that the most important thing to do during the dark and difficult, sluggish times is to keep moving - whether through writing, painting, walking or even knitting!
You seem to me to have tireless and enviable resolve in doing just that.
Keep it up. Your writing means alot to so many people.
Kate. x

Lily said...

Yay! Congratulations on 6 months of blogging!! I hope there's many many many more months of blogging still to come

cb said...

Good work on the 6 months mark and here's to many more! I have certainly enjoyed following what you have to say about all sorts, the knitting, the OU and the roadworks!