Saturday, 9 January 2010

Why anonymous blogging?

I have found myself wondering over the last few days why I am doing this. By this, I mean writing here. Earlier this evening I was reading a blog (Random Acts of Reality if anyone is interested), and it lead to a conversation with my parents about blogs and blogging. My dad asked if I had a blog, to which I replied yes but they couldn't see it. Which I suppose leads into my 2 questions; firstly why blog, and secondly why blog anonymously?

Why blog? Why am I publishing my thoughts on the internet for all and sundry to read, rather than writing in a diary and hiding it under my bed? Not that I expect all and sundry to read, but obviously the possibility is there. I suppose I have to be completely honest here, and say a big reason is for comments. I assume this is the same for all bloggers, or people would do the diary under the bed thing, or do their writing in some other way that meant others were unable to read it. Comments on my posts can do several things. Make me look at a situation differently. Make me feel my thoughts and feelings are valid. Make me feel less alone. Make me feel supported. And probably lots of other things too. So in the main, I would say that is probably the reason why I blog, rather than write in a diary. I do get disproportionately excited by comments. I suppose because I can't believe that anybody would spend their time reading my drivel, let alone bothering to reply to it. But sometimes people do, and that makes me feel good. Diaries don't comment back (although how cool would that be?!). They just leave you to get on with it. Not many people read my blog, probably partly because it is new, and partly because it isn't very interesting. Which leads nicely onto the second question.

Why do I blog anonymously? I have another blog, on LiveJournal, which is not anonymous. It is however friends locked - there are perhaps 12 people who can read my entries, and these are either 'real life' friends, or friends I have met on the internet. They all know who I am, I know who they are. None of them know that this blog exists. Why not? I would get more comments if they did, as they know me, and so are more likely to be interested in what I have to say - I do get more comments on my LJ than I do on here. But I want this to be anonymous. I want this to be a place where I can write about absolutely anything and anyone without the risk of worrying or offending people. I want to be able to write about being suicidal, without making my friends feel like they should intervene in some way. I want to be able to write on here in the same way that I would in an under the bed diary - with complete honesty. So when my parents asked if they could see this, the answer was naturally no. To me this IS my diary, and whilst it may seem strange to them that I am happy to have a personal diary out on the internet for anyone to read, the anonymity allows that. If someone who knew me well, such as my parents or L, or a few of my friends, came across this, then yes, of course they would recognise me. But the chances of that are fairly low (I hope). When I started this, I made a conscious decision not to let anyone who may read this blog know who I am. Already there are people that I would like to get to know better, that I would like to talk to on MSN etc, but that would then mean that I would lose the anonymity, which is the reason that I started this in the first place.

So basically, I blog anonymously because I want to be able to write with the honesty that I could in a private diary, but whilst still being able to receive feedback, and discuss my thoughts with people.

I wanted to change my blog to wordpress, as it seems that is better and has some cool little features that I like the look of (can you tell I am really knowledgable about blogging and blog sites?!), but unfortunately somebody else already has the nickname bippidee, and due to a complete lack of imagination on my part this is causing a problem. I could have bippidee as the blog address, just not my nickname. But I can't think of another nickname. Suggestions are welcome.

A thoroughly boring entry, but something I have been thinking about, and questioning, so decided to write!


  1. I don't want you to get disproportionately excited, but I agree with you. Being anonymous gives us freedom to express things that we otherwise would not have. I wrote about it last year in Anon.

    Your present nickname seems to define you in terms of a rather dodgy diagnosis, which doesn't seem right, but I'll not go so far as to suggest another. I like WordPress better, too.

  2. Thanks for your reply cbtish. I did start to read your post that you linked to, but to be honest my concentration is shite at the moment so I wasn't able to get through it, but I will try again another time.

    You are right about my nickname - it is clearly a reference to my diagnosis. I am curious as to why you think the diagnosis is wrong - I know from other posts etc by you that you think that people with PDs aren't capable of blogging, but you didn't go into detail on that - maybe you could write an entry about it on your blog? Personally I dislike the name 'Borderline Personality Disorder', as I feel that it implies there is something intrinsically wrong with my personality, rather than it being an illness (ie depression, bipolar etc etc), which is a rather outdated view - time for a terminology change in my opinion - but I accept that I fit strongly into the majority of the diagnostic criteria, and that it is my official diagnosis.

  3. I feel the same vis a vis the diagnosis. In some ways, it's a nasty diagnosis, stigmatised even more than most - but I very clearly do fall within its diagnostic criteria. I also disagree with the view that the illness doesn't define one, which I think CBTish was honoring at. I feel completely (well, OK, mostly) defined by mental illness, because I have never known anything different. Having said that, I don't like the term 'personality disorder' either; just because an illness is largely defining me, it doesn't mean that makes me unlikeable necessarily. Besides which, BPD is thought to exist in those that have a biological predisposition to it (something to do with emotional ((dys))regulation in the amydala, if memory serves), so shouldn't be about one's character entirely.

    But I digress; I meant to comment mainly on blogging. Although mine is anonymous, largely, I have allowed a few friends (both on and offline) to read it. Mostly I am happy with this because I can fully express things on the blog that I can't necessarily say verbally. Unfortunately it does inhibit me a little; for example, a few months ago C (the shrink) and I had a frank discussion about the sexual side of my relationship. I'd liked to have been able to write about that, but knowing my partner and a few friends read it, how could I? I did consider starting a completely anonymous blog on top of the main one - but I don't think even my verbosity stretches that far :D

    As for the reasons to blog, on the one hand it's practical - typing is quicker and easier than writing. But of course you could simply type everything into a private document, so really yes, I think comments are the most important thing about a blog. I'm exactly like you - when Wordpress emails to report a new comment, I get over-excited. Imagine my disappontment when it's just some spam!

    Anyway. Enough blather. In my typically long-winded way, I just wanted to let you know that someone out there 'hears' you :-)

    Take care hun xxx

  4. Thank you for your reply SI. Somehow comments are even more exciting when they come from someone who I respect and whose blog I like!

    This is my completely anonymous blog, on top of my LJ one which is not anonymous. I have even been paranoid enough to disable search engine searching on here, as sometimes I do the old copy and paste if I say something on here that I also want to discuss with my friends etc, but I am paranoid enough to think that someone might then search for my text and I don't want anyone finding this! Over the top possibly, but that is me all over!

  5. Oh don't worry - I understand OTT very well! Given my tendency to put my various (nefarious) complaints on my blog, I've done the same many times myself :-)

    Feel very priveleged that you feel my blog is worthy of your respect - thank you. Honestly. xxx

  6. You've taken the words right out of my mouth with your post. Why blog anonymously. I have certainly wondered what i would do if my blog was discovered by someone who actually knew me and they told me that they had worked it out. I think i am more worried about the professionals finding out and really getting an idea of what is going on in my head sometimes(something i tend to hide at times). I like reading your blog and many others and it doesn't bother me that i don't know who they are it gives me a feeling that other people have been where i am or have been and that i am not alone.
    Your right when you get comments it can give all sorts of feelings(luckily only good ones so far)and make you feel that maybe someone out there is able to connect with what you are writing.
    Keep blogging i like reading what you have to say.

  7. SI - You write very well, and your writing makes for interesting reading. I like reading about your sessions with C. I wish I could remember my appointments in that much detail afterwards! I can generally remember a sum total of about 5 minutes conversation from the entire session. And I used to have such a good memory - where did it all go wrong?!

    Mags, thank you so much for saying you like reading my blog. That really means a lot to me. I like reading other people's blogs and always think mine must be so dull in comparison. I would actually find it more awkward if my parents found my blog than L I think - mostly because I don't think there is anything I have written here that she doesn't already know - I write quite a lot between sessions and give what I have written to her each week, and some parts of that are taken from here, but I do tell her everything anyway as I have complete trust in her. The only thing I haven't told her is that I love her and want her to adopt me!

  8. My reasons for blogging anonymously are a little different as it is mostly related to work etc and I wouldn't really want people I work with to identify me although I have no doubt that if someone in my office - and possibly my Trust - found the blog, it would be pretty clear who I was. I think the anonymity gives more freedom though and allows thoughts to take a different path - just as writing diaries with little locks on them might have done but with an added 'social' element that allows other people (although not ones you necessarily would ever meet or know in 'real' life) to provide support and (hopefully) encouragement.
    I am enjoying your blog too, for the record, although I have only recently found it.

  9. As you yourself wrote (and I agree), your BPD diagnosis "implies there is something intrinsically wrong with my personality". There really are people who really do have something very wrong with their personality. Some of those people really do have BPD, and the rest have other personality disorders. A terminology change would deprive those people of an accurate diagnosis (though the word "borderline" is a historical curiosity that could be improved on).

    To distinguish people who really do have something very wrong with their personality, you have to look at how well they interact with other people. When you write a blog you are interacting with other people. So if you are a successful blogger who regularly and consistently writes posts that other people can understand and appreciate, and especially if you interact with other people in the comments, that almost certainly rules out personality disorder.

  10. hey bippidee ... just stopping by to say hi (am flattered to see myself on your blogroll and am wondering how I got there ;))

    I'm anonymous too, and that is partly work related, and partly because on my old blog I got totally screwed over in real life when someone got hold of it. Very painful/traumatic. I think having safety in place is really important so I'm glad you are doing that.

    I'd recommend moving to wordpress! I'm sad you can't keep your name though (I understand - names are SO important) but wordpress is cool and I think their designs are easier to read. Plus that would make it easier for me to comment and keep subscribed etc etc ;) Purely selfish I know!

    Anyway, I'm glad to have stopped by, I'll come again.

  11. I've got two blogs, but I feel I can be more honest in my LJ because my Mum knows about my blogger one. Whilst I want to be able to be honest with her in an indirect way, I feel I have to be a little careful about what I write, whereas the LJ I have had for nearly ten years now and though my friends there don't know me in real life, I feel that they *get* me and don't judge me. Anyway, I'm burbling...