Private or Public?

I can completely understand why people who keep their blogs private. Some of the things I write and see on here are deeply personal, so why would we want the rest of the world to read it? Especially those blogs concerning mental health. There’s still a massive stigma attached to it and you don’t want to have to proof read and edit everything you write so that your language is acceptable for every person that could come across it.

It’s not about how many people follow your blog or how many people find what you write interesting; sometimes it’s just about having an outlet to scream and shout (and let it all out!). It’s so therapeutic to write all your feelings down – it takes them out of your head for a while which can be priceless and more useful than anything any doctor can ever offer you.

For me though, I have to say, people I know personally do see my blog. My mum reads it, my best friends read it, and occasionally I or people I know  share it with others that are struggling as well. Sometimes there’s just that need to sit down for five minutes and read that you’re not the only person in the world that is going through hell and if I can give someone that then I wouldn’t hesitate to do so.

I first and foremost encourage people to read through the comments when they come to my blog, rather than the actual posts I write, because reading the nice words you all leave me and the positive outcomes a lot of you have had, it gives a person hope and a sense of belonging. Which is at the end of the day what we all need.

Additionally, I think mental health awareness needs to be stronger and people need to understand the impacts that some of these illnesses and disorders have on our lives. I want people to know that it’s OK and not something to be ashamed of or something that they should hide away – therefore to me, hiding my blog away would be somewhat hypocritical of my views on the topic in my opinion. But that’s just me.

It does interest me though. I read a lot of your blogs every single day and I feel as though I know you. Some of you comment frequently to me and vice versa, some of us email – let’s face it I even have a few of you on WhatsApp. So to me, I do know you. But do people who actually physically know you read your blog? I would have thought it’s quite evenly split!

However you blog though, just make sure you keep doing so. Because I for one, love your posts and think you rock.

xxx

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59 thoughts on “Private or Public?

  1. jenasauruswake says:

    People who physically know me read my blog, my mental health team included. But I have an anonymous space too, just for people I know virtually, for letting off steam. I guess I’m having my cake and eating it

    Liked by 2 people

  2. jamilouise says:

    Well said Lauren. I’m not sure my purpose of writing if I don’t “just write”. I guess I could go back to paper and pencil… I like having all of the media here at my disposal tho… even though I don’t touch half of it. IDK… nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      My thoughts happen to fast for pen and paper. I used to try when I was a teenager but couldn’t write the words down quick enough when they came to me so it was never as natural! That’s what I found anyway. So in the end, even before the blog, I used to just type them and save them as Word documents!

      Liked by 2 people

      • jamilouise says:

        Yeah… I’m old enough that all I had was paper and pen and loved it… I was WAY more personal with it… and wrote ALOT more. You guys are LUCKY – to say the least. lol. But… I do like the media that I have to use. Wish I knew how to use it better – like I said. I still have over 300 paper journals in my attic.

        Liked by 3 people

      • C says:

        I’m the same way. Because of all of the work travel and need for detailed notes I started using Dragon Naturally Speaking. I figured if spending $150 would help me not have to sit up late at night in some hotel room trying to remember all of the details from the visit(s), it would be a good investment. I use a voice recorder so I don’t need to lug out the laptop when I drive, which saves a lot of time and frankly, distracted driving.

        Most of what I want to say on my blog or to just journal about in general comes during those long drives from city to city, so I’ve been using the recorder for that as well. At least if you can talk at the same speed that you want to articulate, it’s really worth it. I have a ton of word documents that have never made it to the blog. Some are ones that I’d prefer not to share only because of how personal they are relating to other people. Though nobody I know face to face knows about this blog, I still would feel guilty and that I’ve broken trust to post about the struggles my wife has in any amount of detail, or things going on with us.

        There are versions that cost less, but they didn’t offer the option to use a voice recorder. The version they have for the Mac sucks.. I’m really disappointed in that one.

        I wonder what someone would think if I were to get into a wreck and they listened to my voice recorder, or checked the browser history on my laptop. A lot could be learned about me by those closest to me if something happened to me or if I died unexpectedly. I’m not ashamed of anything I write here. I do have people in my life that I can talk to if I ever chose to.

        Isn’t it odd though, that even with complete trust in your significant other or those closest to you, that we all seem to lead partially secret lives? My only hesitation would be fear. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. I’ll reach out if it’s time for someone to be concerned about me, but otherwise, I don’t want people hovering around worried about me if I’m struggling. The other part of that fear is that if I ever get to the point to where I simply can’t continue that people will feel responsible, or more responsible because they knew. When I lost my best friend, I did know how deep her struggle was. I get it; I understand why and don’t blame her for it. I’m also left with wondering if there was something – anything that could have helped her get through that one particular moment. It’s haunting, and I never, ever want anyone to feel that about me. Most of the time I push forward for me. Sometimes I stay because of what I just said. Either way, I’m still here and will be for the foreseeable future. So, I use my blog to get out what I need someone else to hear; someone to bear witness to the struggle within. I’m grateful for those that take the time to read my blog. At least one other person heard me, if that makes any sense. Those silent screams need to get out one way or another.

        Anyway.. I hope you have a good weekend. So far I’m doing nothing today and it’s frigging awesome. I’ve not taken time to just vedge out in weeks.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. hbhatnagar says:

    Personally, I’d rather that people close to me not read my blog. I’ve been hurt and humiliated and derided for opening up my heart and I don’t want ot go through that again. That’s why I post here, and I don’t link these with Facebook or Twitter etc. People here might judge me for what they and they have, but they don’t know me personally so it’s a little easier to take.

    Liked by 2 people

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      That’s a shame that a past experience has made you feel this way. Opening up shouldn’t encourage negativity, I’m sorry that it did for you. Everyone’s like a big dysfunctional family on here anyway so you still have plenty of people to talk to, and I’m glad that the experience didn’t completely put you off writing your feelings down – it’s important to do so.

      Liked by 5 people

  4. Bee says:

    I have two IRL ppl read my blog – my husband and my good friend. Sometimes it’s hard to write openly knowing they’ll see it, but I keep putting myself out there.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. AlphaSilvr says:

    Very few in real life know I write a blog, but I know they don’t really read it. I don’t exactly tell people about it, but I usually don’t care. I tend to get a lot of people that at least try and understand. They say a lot of lines like “Well, we all go through that,” or “Oh yeah, I know a lot of people that deal with things like that.” Its hard because then I talk to professionals and others on here and I am told its not the same.
    That is sometimes more difficult, for me, to deal with than those that just ignore me or don’t even try. It creates a sense that I am just doing this for attention or I am not that strong and just weak for not being able to handle what “everyone” experiences.
    In the end, I leave it public, but I don’t announce it either.

    It is nice to see that some family and friends can hear/read about mental illness without crushing the writer in the process. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      That’s nice that you’re not worried either way. They have the option but don’t need to. I know my friends like it because they understand it a bit better because I can’t express myself in words as well as I can in writing!

      Liked by 2 people

      • joyful2bee says:

        Thank you all! Having a second private site is brilliant!!:My pain/ wounds though of a different nature need airing to my own mind because I repressed incidents. But how can I know if I am dwelling on them so much that I am not living in the present. Most of the time I am very happy and grateful for the life I have now. I am aware of the abuses I was dealt. How deep do I go? My head tells me “When you don’t need to anymore.” I hope we each get to that point speedily.

        Like

  6. itsjustme1986 says:

    I whole heartedly agree with you. I find it theraputic to blog about what goes on with me. I have struggled with depression since 2007. It can be hard talking about it with people who have not gone through it. They can read the litrature and know what the medical definition is but they dont know how hard having mentall health issues is. I blog so that hopefully someone will read mine and know they are not alone. Thank you for your blog as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. moodsailor says:

    I just feel such freedom in being anon. This is a place I am finding I can be most honest even though I am hiding who I am. I think you are really brave to show who you are. 🙂

    Like

  8. AlphaSilvr says:

    One of my friends that understands (I actually talk to him in person about this stuff) said it perfectly when it comes to people understanding: “The greatest thing you want is understanding, but it will be the one thing many will never be able to give.”
    I paraphrased, but he basically meant that we all crave at least a little bit of understanding, but very few will be able to actually give it. Usually, not always, but usually, empathy only comes across from those that have faced the darkness and struggle as well. Its the old “well, I was sad once” type of sympathy that people mistake for understanding. I have found empathy with those that are also depressed or have faced crippling addiction, but very rarely with those that have never faced a chronic illness.

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  9. Josh Wrenn says:

    More people who don’t know me read my blog than those who do, but I think that is because most of the people I know don’t like to read anymore! I love your posts and think you rock too!

    Like

  10. Zoe says:

    I don’t have a good situation with my family so for the time being my blog is strictly for the public online. I am probably going the link to my new therapist just so she can keep up with the emotions and save the session time for troubleshooting but it’ll be a long time before I invite my offline crew here.

    What you’re doing is very brave. You’re sharing a lot of yourself and showing people that you are just a young woman with hopes and dreams like many others who is fighting the fight every day to live fully in spite of the mental health stuff. Which is inspiring and much needed for all. So thank you for being public! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. the Prodigal Orphan says:

    Lauren –
    “… therefore to me, hiding my blog away would be somewhat hypocritical of my views on the topic ….”
    Mental health, my seven-year bender, drug usage …
    I’ll put it all out there. There’s some sort of a reason I’ve made it through some of the things that have been so disruptive and even destructive in my life, and my recollections and remembrances of them might just get people to thinking about similar challenges in their lives. Hopefully thinking about them in a way they never have before in addition to sharing things that might be very familiar to them. Maybe help them deal with some of the shame or stigma they might feel.
    People who get feeds from my Facebook page (I believe the euphemism is “Friends”) all know by now I have the blog, and if they want to check it out they can. They don’t want to because the posts are longer than 144 characters, cool. That’s the reason they will remain “Friends” and never be friends.
    Yesterday (in commemoration of the thirty-seventh anniversary of my sobriety) I re-posted a post approaching 15,000 words (which in the Queen’s English is still almost 15,000 words, I believe) about my seven years of staying stumbling drunk all the time, my wife and daughter leaving me during our first year of marriage and the reasons AND reasoning behind a lot of those stories.
    If it had fit in appropriately I would have shared the story about sleeping behind a dumpster in an alley in Boulder, Colorado when I couldn’t see / find my car parked half a block away from the entrance to the club I had been at for a concert. Maybe a hundred feet (fewer meters) from the front door of the place.
    That story tells more about me than the one I have about taking a leak alongside John Lennon in the men’s room at ABC studios in New York when he taped an episode of the Dick Cavett Show in the very, very early ’70s.
    I just finally decided to quit drinking one day. With God’s help, I did. No simple story to it.
    I write about Borderline Personality Disorder, which has plagued my wife for decades, and the way it has affected our forty-year relationship. People with BPD who worry about never, ever, EVER being able to hold on to the one they love might appreciate those stories.
    Much of what I write about my mental illness is just my way of letting people know that I honestly don’t give a fiddler’s flying f*** what they think. I will not accept the stigma they believe I so richly deserve. I’m not going to hide under rocks or behind trees because of the way I am or the things I’ve done.
    It’s not that I’m proud of everything I’ve done – or not done – just that I have come to accept their places in my life.
    And the reasons I might have / have not done those things or acted a certain way… or even the life-changing decisions that might have led up to those behaviors …
    they’re just landmarks on the journey I’ve taken. Reference points.
    Just like taking a whiz in the loo shoulder to shoulder with a Beatle.
    The important ones are not always the most entertaining or awe-inspiring, but they’re the ones worth sharing.
    And if they bring a smile to someone’s face or a tear to their eye because they are recognizable reminiscences, all the more power to both of us,
    But largely it’s a matter of putting it out there that I have no reason to be ashamed or guilty of what life and circumstances have brought my way. Maybe I could have handled some of it in a more balanced, responsible manner, but if any of it strikes a familiar chord with a reader, well then…
    they’re obviously not alone, are they?
    And it doesn’t make a difference if they actually know me or not.
    Some people who have actually known me for years likely don’t realistically know me as well as some people who have never even met me but have read things I’ve had to say.
    I just really wish that during certain times of my life I had come across more people willing to share their stories with me.

    Harris

    Like

  12. brentblonigan says:

    It is truly cathartic to be able to write. You are correct that it brings some order to the chaos that is our head. When the rodents in the head are running around, I am not sure what else there is to do. It seems like it is easier to write than talk. When you talk, a lot of times, the timing may not be right. I think when you read, it is something that is integrated in a way that is more efficient.

    Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Completely! For as long as I can remember, if I have something important to tell my mum (mental health or otherwise) – I’ve written a letter. I can never get my words out and make sense when I’m nervous (which is probably why I’ve had so many useless doctors appointments in the past!) Writing makes it much easier.

      Liked by 1 person

      • brentblonigan says:

        When you have relationships with doctors or other “professionals,” something is missing. That may be trust.. When you writing peer to peer, or in a group of peers, the relationship is inherently more equal and you are not feeling shame about sharing. Writing does the same thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. stuffthatneedssaying says:

    I share a link to each blog post on Facebook, but usually only to a restricted group of close friends. I have shared publicly before though, so anyone who knows me could theoretically have saved the link and returned for other blog posts. Also, I occasionally send links to my therapist when there’s something specific I want her to read. I don’t think she reads it unless I send her a link, but it would be okay if she did.

    Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      I think you’re probably the only person so far that has been open to sharing with everyone. It’s a very brave thing to do and it’s nice to have a ‘it doesn’t matter’ attitude on whether people read or not. It saves upset if someone accidentally got ahold of your blog. I only share certain points on facebook (more general ones) that I think people may be interested in, but of course people are welcome and able to scroll and see my other posts. My mum however, shares my blog weekly!!

      Like

  14. darie73 says:

    I make my blog public for the same reason. If someone sees something similar in me or what I have experienced and it helps them then I’ve done something positive. I’ve had to change up my name due to some people not being respectful but that’s ok, it won’t stop me. I suffered in silence for over 20 years and I refuse to do it anymore. The saddest part is my family refuses to read any of it. That’s ok too. It’s their choice. One they will in time regret. But I can’t force anyone to understand I can only hope they will try. Thank you for your inspiration.

    Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      That’s great, I’m sure you do help many people, more than you know. Family’s a difficult one. I think sometimes they think it’s easier not to know. My mum does read my blog but I know she finds some of the stuff she reads hard because she doesn’t want to see my hurt. My boyfriend doesn’t read it though. I do talk to him about things (seriously I wouldn’t be able to hide it all from him even if I wanted to), but he chooses to keep this part of my life separate from him and just be involved when I physically tell him. It all depends on the person!

      Like

  15. lifeofmiblog says:

    Thanks for the post Lauren, I agree totally with your thoughts. Quite a number of people I know read my blog including my wife and two sons. The others are mostly people I have been in hospital with or at group sessions with.
    I would never have believed that writing things down in the public forum would be so helpfu, but it is. I really got started when I started reading other people’s blogs (your blog was one of the first) and found it helpful, as you say, knowing others are going through the same. Once I started writing myself I then found it helped me track my behaviors, seeing where I was at by the tone of my posts. I couldn’t stop now if I wanted to.
    I have also been amazed at the audience you reach. I have readers from everywhere in the world, recently I have had a person reading from the Seychelles. We don’t know what access these people have to good mental health services so if they can get at least a sense of ‘belonging’ from these blogs then like you I am happy to share. Keep it up…

    Like

  16. bylaurenhayley says:

    I think it can be useful for family to read (although sometimes difficult because they don’t want to always read how much pain you’re in) – but it gives them an understanding that you can’t give them otherwise. It’s really difficult to physically tell them. I’m glad that blogging has been really useful for you! I know that you’re still a frequent reader of my blog and I make sure I don’t miss your comments when they come through because I really appreciate it!

    Like

  17. matts1970 says:

    My character is being attacked by someone I went to uni with 20 years ago. This guy occasionally pops into my life just to tell me when he reads my blog posts about my depression he says I am full of shit likes it’s part of portraying myself as an “artist”. I wrestle with should I leave those posts private or not write about them at all but when I write..it’s therapeutic to me. And I don’t mind being candid about myself either. Why would I pretend to be mentally ill ?

    Like

  18. jennybinhbender says:

    I’m new to blogging and probably the majority of folks that follow my blog are somehow connected to me personally–friends, or friends of friends, etc. I really hesitate at times before I post things, but more times than not, I go for it. I figure, this is who I am, these are my deepest thoughts and fears and sorrows, and my hope is that it will make the friendships that matter closer than ever; and just maybe, my most intimate thoughts will also help others feel less alone when they read that others have similar experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Darkwriter11 says:

    Lauren, I am new to your blog but I do like this post. Mental health is something to not be ashamed of since lots of us experience a falter in it. We should embrace it more and lean toward acceptance and treatment in order to better the stigma attached to it.
    As for the idea of blogging and private versus public, I agree with you as well. I understand why somethings are easier to private rather than share publicly. Still, I do make an effort to just post my thoughts without being restricted by expectations of other viewers. It is, as you say, therapeutic.
    I’m enjoying what I have encounter thus far! Do take care. 🙂

    Like

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