I’m thinking about retiring the blog

You’ll have noticed a drop off in my posting schedule.  Allow me to explain why.

I can’t write about myself.  I can’t.

If I write fluffy posts about inconsequential things, I feel like a fraud.  And, like as not, I run out of the impetus to write before I’ve finished writing; I just don’t care enough to finish the posts.

If I write about substantive things, I stew myself up into a state of anxiety so acute that I feel physically unwell.  The transphobia post cost me two missed meals – I felt to nauseous I couldn’t eat – and one sleepless night.  It took me three days – and I don’t mean a shorter period spread over three days, I mean three days – to write.  And then I stew myself up into a state of anxiety about whether my state of anxiety is such that I am being unfair, aggressive, in my defences of my posts.  I don’t think so – I hope not – but I don’t know.  (And this isn’t intended as as a passive-aggressive attack on anyone, and sorry if it seems like it – I’m talking about me, not you.)

I am second-guessing myself, and second-guessing my second guesses, and second-guessing my second-guesses of my second guesses – and on and on and on in an endlessly self-reflexive loop.  I’ve always had a tendency to this, but breaking out of the cycle is getting harder and harder.

Blogging used to feel like part of the solution to me.  I liked doing it.  It felt warm, and safe, and secure.  It doesn’t feel like that anymore.  I know what’s changed.  As the numbers of people reading each post have gone up and up, so I’ve started to feel more and more exposed.  I know, I’m a pathetic, whiny bitch to even mention it – and I’m grateful that people want to read what I have to say, I really am.  But the more of you who do – and the smaller grows the percentage of people who I actually know, the people who comment, the people’s whose blogs I read as they read mine – the less it feels like a conversation, the more it feels like a performance.

I am not in the best of mental health, I think.  I am being spoken to a fair bit by people who don’t exist, and I have started feeling compelled to answer them back, which is new.  They keep reminding me about every tiny mistake I have made – we’re talking about things that happened 20 years ago – and they won’t ever shut the hell up.  Telling them to fuck off feels so good.  And it works, a bit.  I don’t know if this is a troubling symptom, a sign that things are worsening – I still know they aren’t real (liar: I have satisfied myself by a conscious intellectual process that they are very unlikely to exist, they feel utterly real).  I’m not certifiable.  I’m not a danger to myself, I’m definitely no danger to anyone else.

There’s paranoia in the mix, too, I think.  Or if not paranoia then that pre-paranoid itch, that sense that the world has gone strange, and sinister, and friendly pools have turned into ocean depths.  I’m trying to say what I can’t say; Michael Stipe said it ‘a pool so deep that when I sink, I sink, and when I swim I fly so high’.  That’s it: you can’t fly forever, and the fear of the certainty of falling, if not now, then soon.

Pretentious arsehole.  But this is what I think like when I don’t wrap it up and pretend to be normal.

Worry about people I can’t see, about who they are, what they think, about why they’re there – that’s got to be at least partly paranoid, I think.

There’s depression in the mix – oh, brother, is there.  I started the blog as a way of keeping the channels of communication with the world open, even as I withdrew into being a recluse in real life.  It was good to keep the channels open, but now I don’t want to.  I want to crawl off into the dark and just rest.  This is likely to be depression I think, this overwhelming urge to retreat from the world; do nothing; like still, clam, quiet.

If it’s depression, I should fight it.  If it’s any of those things I should make myself do the things I don’t want to do.  But I don’t want to.  And I’m not sure I see the point.  Blogging used to be part of the solution, but it doesn’t feel like that any more, it feels like part of the problem.  I want to stop feeling like I’m going to throw up every time I click publish.

I’m not sure I can do this anymore.  But that’s not true; I can, probably; I could make myself.

I don’t think I am going to do this anymore.

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15 Responses to I’m thinking about retiring the blog

  1. roguesophia says:

    Whatever is best for your health! Our “satisfaction” shouldn’t come before your health. And I think there is a setting on WordPress so that only certian people can read your blog. You might want to try that, maybe then you won’t feel so self conscious.

  2. cb says:

    Exactly as roguesophia says. Do exactly what feels right to you. I know it’s easy to say that. If it helps, set the blog to private for as long as it takes.
    Try to look after yourself.. Take care.

  3. I’m so very glad more people don’t read my blog, for exactly the reasons you describe. But the reason they don’t read it is that it’s inconsequential.

    Your blog is very good. Your thoughts are well-thought, your feelings are well-felt, and you express them well. And your subject matter is important. So yes, you have readers.

    You don’t owe us anything. Do whatever you need to do. (Right now that sounds like it could include making contact with a mental health professional you trust, if for nothing else than to use them as a sounding board.) Oh, and sure, retire the blog or make it private.

  4. Katherine says:

    I’m going to be selfish and say please, no, don’t stop blogging!

    All the same, that’s entirely selfish and a bit hypocritical. You should of course do what is right for you to do. Just know I’ll miss your blog if it goes.

  5. Hilary says:

    I’ll miss your blog if you take it down, as you write well about things that interest me. I’m sorry that something you started as a way of taking care of yourself has become an extra stress in your life. I hope you find another way to deal with things. Hil x

  6. J. Wibble says:

    Sorry to hear you’re feeling crappy right now, and I would be sorry to see your blog go, but if you feel that blogging is counter-productive, then stop. You can make the blog private, as other people have said, or you can delete it altogether – though I’d be inclined to suggest you make it private, as if things aren’t going well right now you might decide later that you do want to carry on and be annoyed if you’ve chucked it in the bin, but don’t feel you’re under any obligations regarding your blog.

    If you want to hide from the world for a bit, then go for it. The world will still be here when you get back (I know whether that’s a good or bad thing may seem debatable right now). I know how frustrating it is to be constantly reminded of every single thing you’ve ever done wrong – this is why I keep my Nintendo DS by the bed so I can play sudoku before I go to sleep, in order to drown out that commentary. I’m afraid I don’t know what to do to make it better, but I understand how annoying it is and how that increases your paranoia about blogging. You can come back any time you want, and I hope that if you want to continue with your blog that it becomes more theraputic in the future.

  7. Kapitano says:

    First of all, I’d miss your writing because I enjoy reading it. It’s a purely selfish reason, but there it is. Plus our disagreements are probably the most productive online discussions I have – morons on youtube don’t exactly force one to reconsider or rephrase.

    As for getting tied up and bogged down in self-doubt, well I’ve certainly been there and I understand. The only suggestion I can make is one I’ve made before:


    You can’t beat that type of self-doubt by reasoning or willing your way out of it – for precisely the same reason you can’t win an argument with a forum troll. They’re not constrained by logic, civility, evidence, or the need to be consistent with what they said in the last sentence.

    You can only defeat a troll by resisteing the temptation to respond to it, and I believe the only way to beat death-by-second-guessing is to not even try to argue with it, because it feeds on your resistance.

    And the same goes for the kind of self-contempt that leads to people calling themselves “a pathetic, whiny bitch”.


    About the voices…I’m simply not qualified to say anything.

    Though I will say the sanest, wisest, most perceptive man I ever met cut himself with whatever sharp objects he could find, to placate a seemingly real voice which screamed abuse at him till he did.

    You don’t need to stop permanantly – you could take a month off, then decide if you want to make it three, then come back if you think it’ll be beneficial.

    Just do whatever’s best for you.

  8. Alex says:

    I’ve got to agree with all the other commenters here; I enjoy reading your blog a lot, but if it’s making things more difficult for you, then obviously you have to do whatever’s best for you. As Kapitano said, it might be a good idea to take a hiatus and see if things improve, or make it private. And if after that you don’t want to take up the blog again, I’d miss it, but it’s entirely your decision. I don’t really have any more constructive suggestions than that, but I’m sorry things are difficult at the moment. Just take care of yourself, okay?

  9. gun street girl says:

    Of all the blogs I read I like yours the best, both because of the wide range of subject matter and your sense of wit and outrage. You say what I think a lot better than I can.

    While I certainly add my voice to those encouraging you to do what you need to do for you, I’m not entirely sure withdrawing further from the world would be any better. I find the more time I spend alone the worse things get and the longer it goes on the farther I get from any anchor point.

    But…maybe it is time to take a break. Whatever you choose, I think we’ll all support you. Take care.

  10. lsnduck says:


    You look after yourself.

  11. I feel almost exactly the same, so I can understand. I would miss you, but your health, your sanity, is more important than that. Take care. xx

  12. Adair says:

    I guess I umpteenth the sentiments: I’ll miss you, you have a fine blog, but I totally understand and support your desire to stop this horrible blog anxiety.

    I mean, I’ve been commenting for maybe a year now, but I never have the guts to actually read if you reply, because sustained online discussions become too stressful for me and can destroy my life. If I’m in a good place already, I can manage it, and part of me hates that I can’t–how can I better myself without engaging in challenging dialogues?–but there are limits. And they vary over someone’s lifetime.

    I hated it when I had those critical-type voices. I couldn’t ever remember what they said, after they went away, though. Which is good. I would like you to keep a handle on reality. So maybe a private blog? Or whatever else you have…

    Thanks for many fine moments of writing.

  13. beetrootsoup says:

    I hear a lot of ‘shoulds’ Aethelread. I am sensing an inner conflict and a half! You are torn. You are beating yourself up for beating yourself up for beating yourself up…

    Of course you need to do what is best for you, as other people have said. That, er, kinda goes without saying, and I am not hearing that you think this blog is some kind of altruistic project in any case.

    But above all, PLEASE A, be KIND to yourself. You are a wonderful writer and a wonderful, unique human being who deserves to be cherished, and if there’s no one else around to do it, you must be the cherisher.

    I am not in favour of ‘fighting’ depression or any other spontaneous mental state…particularly not because you think you ‘should’. My feeling is that if you just want to crawl away and rest, then that is exactly what you ‘should’ do. And I completely understand, from what you say about your mental state right now, why rest might be the one thing that you need.

    And by the way, I completely understand the feeling of exposure you talk of and how it can be exacerbated by many comments. I almost discourage comments myself, and certainly no longer write with them in mind. There is a ‘comments off’ button you can press I believe? Gianna at Beyond Meds has barred all comments because they became a double-edged sword.

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself in this post A. I have to admit I am a big fan of you ‘writing about yourself’. You do it so well. Lots of love, Zoe x

  14. cellardoor001 says:

    Am late getting here, so can only really echo what everyone else has said A – I’ll miss you if you go, but I understand and respect your reasoning. Do what’s right for you.



  15. I’m really sorry it has taken me so long to reply to this.

    I read it a while ago as I always read your posts when they pop up on my reader on my phone (which probably says enough!) but I wasn’t able to sign in and comment then. I’m only just catching up.

    I just wanted to say I’d miss you a lot if you went, but understand your reasons. I’m sad that things are awful for you right now and hope they will get better.

    I too like it when you write about yourself. I too like it when you right about other important and interesting things. I just like it when you write. I wish you had more confidence in yourself and you enjoyed writing your posts as much as I enjoy reading them.

    Take care xx

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