Thursday, 11 February 2010

Another Milestone

A couple of minutes after midday the 20,000th visitor to my blog arrived. According to FEEDJIT they live in Ilford, Redbridge, their computer runs Windows Vista and they use Firefox as their browser. They are also a regular reader as they came direct to the blog rather than from another blog. It's not a lot of information but it will perhaps allow the person who was that visitor to recognize themselves.

When I started this blog in June 2008 I wasn't sure whether it would be something that lasted for a long time or would merely be one of those things that was started and then became too much of a chore and fell by the wayside. It seems as though I may be here for the long haul though because even when I was in hospital I was concerned about not being able to write to let regular readers know why I wasn't able to post. And what was heart-warming to me was that several regular readers were concerned enough about me to have sent me emails asking if I was okay.

When we start writing a blog we all wonder whether anyone will bother reading it. Will it be interesting enough to attract comments? Will we be able to find things to write about? How much of ourselves should we reveal? Many of us blog anonymously. It is a way of writing about things that affect us or that interest us or that we feel strongly about. We can say things on our blogs that we might never express in person.

I started this blog with the intention of using it to record how depression affected me and how I dealt with depression. Much of it is still about depression, it can't help but be so because that is what shapes me at the moment. Here I can write about how I am feeling rather than bottling it up inside me. It helps; it helps a lot. But the blog has become much more than that. I have included my trips out to various museums and galleries in London. I have blogged about going to the theatre, about meeting other bloggers, and about my knitting.

Sometimes it has been very difficult to write about things that were happening to me. Mr Smiley has been making regular appearances in my blog almost from the start. He is a very dear friend who has seen me at my worst and my best. He has known me as a shy 18-year old who was shy and very unsure of herself and he has seen me as a confident woman who had found her true vocation in life. He helped me through the early days of my widowhood by listening to me when I needed someone who I could talk to. He has visited me in hospital after major surgery; he has even carried my handbag in public to bring it to me in hospital after I was taken from work by ambulance one Friday morning (and many husbands wouldn't do that). And most of all he encouraged me when I told him about the blog and became a frequent commenter. He told me that he thought that it had made a difference to me and at times when I found it difficult to write he was the one who said that I should just write about whatever I thought of at the time. It was Mr Smiley who, when I mooted the idea of writing about my incarceration in a mental hospital, said that I should do it because he was sure it would help other people. So the series of posts Tackling the Mental Health Minefield was begun and it resulted in me winning an award from Mental Nurse. One of the most difficult posts that I have ever written was the one that I wrote on hearing the news about Mr Smiley having terminal cancer.

One of the things that this blog has taught me is that I love to write. Maybe that was why I was so good at my job. That involved a great deal of writing and my reports were always well received. Mr Smiley has suggested on more than one occasion that I should write a book. More recently my GP has also suggested this as something that I should do. The short course that I have just done with the OU has shown me that I am not a writer of fiction. My tutor thought that a couple of my short stories were very good, but he did not realise that they were actually based on things that had happened to me. So, if I am going to write something it will either have to be factual, something that I can research and then write about, or I am going to have to write about me, but as that sounds a bit pretentious, perhaps it will have to be about depression and me.

After nearly 500 posts the blog has received 20.000 visits. I am amazed and hugely gratified that something that has been a form of therapy for me has been interesting enough for people to visit and return again to see what I have to say. Yes, it is a big day for the blog and it is a day that has meant a lot to me too. Thank you visitors, you make it worthwhile my sitting here day by day trying to think up things that you may find interesting and that may provide you with food for thought.


Lily said...

Hurrah for 20000 visits!

We should celebrate... I'll have to find out when I next have time off, as the slavedrivers are making me go in on Fridays for the next couple of weeks, and then I'll get in touch!

Anonymous said...

WEll DONE. I found your blog on Mental Nurse and have enjoyed reading it very much. We all experience what happens to us in so many different ways and your blog is always very readable when you speak of your experiences.

rielouise said...

You're so lucky. Well done.

Could you please look at mine. I could do with some tips.

Beautiful design too.

I used to love writing but then I realized that I was too thick to be any good.

Anonymous said...

Champagne, party poppers and chocolate cake xx