01 March 2013

social and media or why on earth do you blog

On the day I wrote my first blog post in December 2009 I had been told by yet another medical "expert" that I was imagining things and that in his opinion I was a tad hysterical and so on. He gave me two options: a prescription for "something to calm you down" or a referral to a psychosomatic clinic. I took option three and walked out of the door and started this blog. Well to be honest, I did not quite walk out of that door because at the time, walking was difficult, the ground seemed to shift under my feet most of the time and my energy levels were unbelievably low. Unbelievably for me that is. I know now that "experts" like this one see an awful lot of women in their early 50s who after complaining of similar symptoms do the slow shuffle out of the door clutching a prescription for a psychopharmacology cocktail. And to him I was just another one of these poor misfortunate hormone-stricken creatures. Bless him.

I knew, KNEW, that I was not going through some menopausal depression drama. Or I think I knew. But there were times when I was more than tempted to give in, declare myself mad and depressed and get on with "life" from there. I remember one morning a few weeks earlier sitting in the car in the pouring rain, quite unable to face the short drive home because yet another wave of vertigo was hammering through my head. I was holding a prescription for "simply the best on the market" anti-depressant in my shaking hands. Looking back, this was clearly one of my historic moments because once it had stopped raining I got out of the car and handed that prescription back to the surgery receptionist. No, there had better be another explanation for all of this.

Of course there was our baffled GP who, while at a complete medical loss, had known me well and long enough to keep on digging (with hindsight, we had some of it staring into our faces). And there were my people who tried to stay patient and supportive and hold my hand etc. But three months of this had been quite stressful and also quite boring in its repetitiveness for all of us and I was running out of people to turn to in my modest hope of... oh I forget what I was hoping for. And so to blog. 

I knew next to nothing about blogging. It seemed a good enough way to dump my fears and panic stations. Like Hansel and Gretel I started to drop my crumbs in the hope that one day they may lead me back home. Back to my normal life. Well, obviously things did not quite turn out that way. For starters, a few weeks after my first post I was finally given a diagnosis and with it a year (72 weeks to be precise) of hospital stays, drugs and tests I never thought existed.

When I got the first comment I freaked out a little bit. I had only told half a handful of people about this blog (all of whom had heard my stories ad nauseum anyway and pretended to be interested but basically stayed well away from it) and although I soon discovered other blogs and left a tentative comment once in a while, I never thought that anybody would read my shit, let alone comment on it. It still surprises me no end. That and that the majority of comments come from such wise and clever and human and gentle and caring and funny and understanding and sympathetic and kind people out there on the planet.

Still, I was more than unnerved when I realised that there are people reading my blog (silly me). Well, I have calmed down and what the heck. And while I will never disclose real names, real places or any such personal information, there it is: the real me tumbling through this maze.

Whereas facebook, that's another story alltogether. I joined it when our daughter decided to make ALL of the world her homeland incl. travelling to ALL of its corners.  Last week a colleague went off in a little huff because I would not let him be my facebook friend. I am old-fashioned here. My facebook friends include a) people I have been able to hold hands with in real life, b) maybe even hugged in real life, c) people who have sat in my kitchen, that is any or even all of my kitchens in the past 50 years, and d) the wonderful kids, parents, lovers, ex-lovers, partners, etc. of a) to c). 95% of the stuff I post of facebook is for my daughter to smile at, the remaining 5% are videos of kittens - and they make her smile as well.


am said...

Yes, this is why we blog (-:

Loved your comment today over at Dale's blog, which is where I became aware of your blog some years ago -- probably in 2009.

I remember being astonished at the first comment that showed up on my blog. This is my 7th year of blogging. I don't post or comment as extensively as I used to, but reading a handful of blogs and learning about other people's experiences and passions around the world is something I treasure on a daily basis. There is a sense of world-wide community that comes from blogging, and I have been careful in choosing that community and limiting it within my energy to continue to engage over a long period of time.

Ms. Moon said...

Facebook? I hardly ever put anything up there. I just lurk. But my blog- that's my house. Which, by the way, I am so glad you visit.
Damn doctors. There. I said it. Let me say it again. Damn doctors.

beth coyote said...

We're here for you and yes, the blog-o-sphere is a beautiful and sweet place, where real writers write. Facebook-piffle. And then there's tweeting, whatever that is.

And as a health care provider, I know I don't know much and my clients are so smart. I have to listen. Google has leveled the playing field and I, for one, am very glad.

When I visit you, and your photos, I can pretend I've traveled to distant lands. And I hold your suffering in a light and tender way, as you journey through. We're all together on this bus.

X Beth in Seattle

Rouchswalwe said...

Ja! I am certainly glad that we each found our ways to the other's blog. In everyday life, I often grunt or nod or use other non-verbal gestures. So this blog thing is something wonderful because I have to make an effort to actually put my thoughts into words. And yet it relaxes me. Thank you, Sabine! I can only hope that some of my posts give you as much as yours give to me.

Anonymous said...

"wise and clever and human and gentle and caring and funny and understanding and sympathetic and kind people out there on the planet"

Yes :) And I will always feel grateful to have read you and to have you come to my blog to comment or not to comment, but to just come and read and be a presence.

Hugs to you.

Karen said...

"wise and clever and human and gentle and caring and funny and understanding and sympathetic and kind people out there on the planet"

Yes :) and I will always feel grateful for having read you and having you come to my blog to comment or not to comment and just be a presence.

Hugs to you :)

Jayne said...

Amazing what can happen when you start a blog, Sabine. And yours is a beautiful place. I don't remember how we bumped into each other. But I'm glad we did.

Radish King said...

Hi! I followed you here from my blog.

WV: persrve it's almost persevere isn't it? or preserve.

My life so far said...

I remember when I started blogging too and feeling shocked that someone would comment on my blog. I haven't been writing much lately but I need to. I need to get the crap out of my head and writing works the best for that.

Sabine said...

Get that crap out of your head, Lily. You write, I read.

Tara said...

I've been reading your comments on New Dharma Bums for YEARS. Robin and I were talking yesterday -- the miracle of PHONES -- and she reminded me of your wonderful blog, and so, I make it my pleasurable duty to start checking in here. Your writing is fantastic. I share your surprise upon getting your first comment! I've been blogging (inspired by Robin) since 2005 and have a small audience of 4 or 5 regular readers. Sometimes that ticks me off, most times not. I like to write, and like to chronicle, and it's been a good way of journaling over 14 years! And I've met some wonderful people. Looking forward to coming here more often.

Sabine said...

Hello Tara, it is good to meet you here.

Joared said...

I never intended to comment on blogs when I visited my first one to find out what they were. I certainly didn't plant to start a blog of my own. Like you, I was astounded anyone would read anything I wrote when I finally did actually start my blog and pretty much continue to think it's amazing any others read it now.

A friend had discounting of her symptoms pretty much as you describe, including informally from a neighbor neurologist who worked at a prestigious teaching hospital. Her husband had even ceased to be very sympathetic. After a couple years as her symptoms gradually worsened she finally was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The young Dr. neighbor apologized to her profusely that he had not picked up on this diagnosis. Her husband died suddenly not long after her diagnosis which angered her even more as she felt that he left her just when she really needed his help. Fortunately, she had three very caring and solicitous young adult sons.

MFH said...

Did you see my comment elsewhere about the Historic Moments video being gone?

The big question....is there a copy somewhere?

Sabine said...

Sorry, no more copy out there. It was a short clip from the film Clockwise (1986) with John Cleese. The film is termed absurdist by Wikipedia, I call it British humour. If you haven't seen it, try to get hold of a copy even if only for snippets. There is a moment in the plot when all the misadventures and challenges - and there are many - come to a beautiful climax at the moment the main character thinks it's all good now and starts delivers a boring speech opening it with "This is a historic moment".

Years before I got my shitty diagnosis, this sentence has become one of the standard phrases that our family uses as code. When, for example, my teenage daughter called to inform me that the washing machine had sprung a leak flooding the basement, this was her opening remark.
You get the drift.