A Lifesaver

I’ve had a draft of this post for awhile now, but hesitated to publish it because it makes me feel a little lame (you know how I get insecure with serious things.) However, the Studio 30 Plus prompt this week was :

“I said what I needed to say.”

I figured I should just say what I needed to say.

Shorter and lighter post next time.

It might sound dramatic to say blogging saved my life, but I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it has been and is my buoy. It keeps my head above water. It keeps me afloat.

life-preserver

Because while I don’t talk about the serious things all the time on this blog anymore, that doesn’t mean they’re not there.

I’m still underweight.

I still struggle with the rigidity of OCD as it relates to food, exercise and daily activities.

Depression is not a dark cloak I can throw off with a shrug of my skinny shoulders. These are hurdles I face on a daily basis, sometimes sinking down, sometimes rising up, sometimes treading water.

Through it all, blogging is my buoy.

It’s not that I hide anything—this blog isn’t called “Abby is Extremely Well Adjusted”—but instead I blog about things unrelated to the “issues” I’ve dealt with for years.

Blogging lets me bring out other parts of me—whatever parts I choose, good or bad—and I’ll never hide behind any of those things on my blog.  Maybe I still bury those things, but I’ve also let others shine through.

It’s All About Me

I don’t really know or follow any of the preconceived blogging rules of design, etiquette or scheduling. There are blogs that I read because I enjoy the people who write them, not because I think it will somehow enhance my “brand,” whatever that means, or because I want to get my name out there.

There are also blogs I know I can’t read, not because I don’t enjoy the people writing them, but because I know topics as seemingly benign as diet and exercise will trigger my competitive nature and possibly send me two steps back when every inch forward is a fight.

Sometimes I think that’s selfish, but then I realize that my blog isn’t about pleasing other people all the time. I do that on a daily basis, so blogging has become  an escape for me from obligations and rules, and the only stress it brings is the stress and obligation I put on myself. 

I want to make people laugh, to make people think, to connect.

But most of all, I want to stay afloat.

Actually, It’s All About You

While I hate to say I seek outside validation at times, I most certainly do. On days when I’m teetering between self destruction and self care in a variety of forms, a comment or a post can change all that.

Not to bring it up again, but the book? This was the first thing I have actually let myself feel proud about, in no small part because everyone has been so supportive.

While I in no way base my self-worth on this outside validation,  I’ve found that sometimes I want that social support and connection. That’s something I’m completely indifferent to when mired in the muck of my mind, and while I have to tow the line between obsessing over the amount of interaction, seeking connection outside of my head is healthy progress.

It’s a healthy escape.

But sometimes I wonder if instead of an escape, it’s an excuse. Maybe not blogging about the ugly stuff is a way for me to pretend that everything’s fine. Health is wealth, and on those days I feel bankrupt, I wonder if I should share where I am at that point.

There is no right answer. But for now, I enjoy writing about whatever I want to share—the good, the bad, the in between—even though like everything else, I openly admit that I still put too much pressure, stress and obligation on myself.  

I’m a constant work in progress.

So while I’m sure  I use blogging as a distraction at times, I don’t know that that’s all that bad. Without a distraction, without a connection, without a way to express myself that isn’t revolved around other issues, I’m not sure where I would be.

That might sound dramatic, and to those who don’t really “get” blogging and the community it can foster, I realize that might sound ridiculous and selfish. But for me, being able to blog and use humor to heal has truly kept me afloat.

It’s been—and continues to be—my lifesaver.

For that, I thank you all.

Like the blog? Buy the book.

Advertisements

52 responses to “A Lifesaver

  1. Sigh. Glad to see I am not the only blogger with issues like depression. Which reminds me, I need to take my anti-depressant. ANYway, my blog became a way for me to vent when I lost my therapist of three years. I have been accused of being negative and of posting about repetitive content, but seriously? It’s my fucking blog and I’ll write what I want to! Because YES I am in love with the comments and the stats and I too have regulars that I read, but I gotta say: when I write a post I really like, it is not uncommon for me to read and reread my own blog. That’sssss right! Because I love my readers, but I write it for myself. And it is therapeutic. I am not out to win most popular blogger award in the circle of bloggers of awesomeness but if said bloggers like my shit, cool. Anyway, this was nice to read and relate to.
    Happy Holidays, fellow blogger.

  2. Amazing! I hope you don’t take this down like you loosely threatened to on Twitter. 😉 Anyway, what I really want to tell you is this: Your blog is your own space. What you do with it, what you choose to leave out and what you choose to highlight is solely up to YOU. We all hide the ugly parts sometimes. Because, well, they’re ugly. But sometimes it’s good to bring them out in the open, too. It’s all about balance and it’s different for everyone. I simply adore your blog for all that it is. And no matter what direction you choose to take it in on a daily or annual basis, is fine by me. You’ll always have me as a reader!

    • Thank you, my dear! I would never not write about what I want to write about–I’m lacking that filter thing other people have–but sometimes I wonder if I should write about more crap, just so I can’t pretend it’s not there. On the other hand, I like to share the healthy part of me. We’re all multi-dimensional with many different sides, and I’ve come to love being able to show the fun and healthier side more often. Because of great readers and friends, I feel free to publish the good and the not so good. The not so good just makes me a bit more insecure 😉

  3. I agree. When I retired from a job that kept me busy 60 hours a week, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Blogging has been a lifesaver!

  4. Wow, very poignant stuff. Especially about a comment making or breaking a day, or esp. about kind of glossing over the negative stuff to present a certain image. Things I’ve thought about a lot…. thanks for putting it all out there! I don’t comment much, but I do enjoy your posts!

  5. Everyone needs social interaction and validation. Ok, most people do. Sure, there’s a line in there, but don’t let anyone tell you that wanting and enjoying positive feedback from your community is a bad thing. It’s a human thing.

    XOXO.

    • Agreed, but it’s also a new thing for me. I’m fiercely independent and think I should be able to just do everything by myself all the time, so actually inviting in connection is something I’ve only recently introduced back in through the blog the past couple of years. Worth it 100 percent.

  6. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    I’m glad you wrote this Abby and I’m glad you have the blog. I feel the same way and mentioned it in one of my recent posts actually. My blog has been keeping me afloat, alive even, for a long time. It’s the only thing I understand through my struggles.

    • Very well said. I also think it’s important to publish the not so good from time to time, as it’s real, and it gives me something to look back on and read when I doubt how I feel. Thank you for the comment, as always, and for the support. Right back at ya.

  7. Abby, as you know, I’ve been in ED treatment for the past 9 weeks. One of the things I’ve learned is that it is OK to have distractions. It is healthy and normal and a skillful tool, when used with awareness. You have that. You have that awareness Abby, and you build it more and more when you write like this. How can I encourage you to keep fighting forward? You have done so much internal work through your writing. I just want to tell you, you HAVE IT in you to come out of this part that hurts. I’ll be honest, it really IS about weight. I’ve learned in a short two months of restoration…it is a major piece of the puzzle. With restoration of body comes restoration of mind. Easy? No, and a long road to go for me and many yet. But I believe it. 100%. It doesn’t have to be “this way.”

  8. Abby – can I say, without being condescending, that I’m proud of you? Because I am. It takes a lot of courage and self-awareness to notice how you feel and put it out to the public so eloquently. Personally, I think I need to trust myself and the people in the blogging world who support me and put myself out there more frequently. At any rate, I think you’re brilliant and reading your blog is always one of the highlights of my day.

  9. You’re awesome.

    I hate reading blogs where the author is always posting something light and fluffy…sure, I love humor and travelogues and ridiculous funny shit as much as the next neurotic batshit dumbass, but in order for me to be able to “connect” with someone I have to know they have flaws and problems like normal human beings. I also don’t like the whole “bad feelings are always bad and we should pretend they don’t exist” sub-mantra that society currently has.

    The validation…I’m a bit like you, I guess. I like doing things by myself and having my space and trying to figure out my own shit, and used to think I hated validation because it was just people trying to be kind and I didn’t need their opinions. Generally I don’t believe people when they say something nice to me and compliments can infuriate me.

    But my own head is a shitty place to be stuck in sometimes, and when there’s nowhere to go and nothing good in there to dig up, validation helps. Not because I believe it (I still don’t) but because it makes me doubt. Maybe, possibly, I don’t completely suck at life and everything quite as much as I think. That’s my perspective; and here is someone else’s. They’re probably wrong, because my GOD I am incompetent, but there’s more than one possible truth.

    Also, it’s nice when people are nice. 🙂

    Blog on motherfucker

  10. The pen really is mightier than the sword, erm, I mean the computer is more powerful a tool than we give it credit for being but you are its master. Write what you want and allow it to be healing, fun, frivolous or life-changing because on any given day of the week we are all those things from one second to the next. Hugs for what you do!

  11. I think it’s great that you’ve found such a healthy outlet for yourself (and you have a LOT to be proud of with this blog). And don’t worry, I don’t blog at all about dieting or exercise. Though wine comes up an awful lot. People in AA probably shouldn’t visit.

  12. Abby this is terrific. And I can relate on so many levels. I won’t go on and on because I think other commenters have said it better than I could, but I give you a lot of credit for putting yourself out there. I think a little vulnerability in a blog post makes the blogger (you!) that much more relatable.

  13. You’re welcome and thank you back.

    I’m glad I have someone who “gets it” to trade barbs, smart ass remarks and pithy comments with, daily.

    Plus, during baseball season, I can talk hardball with someone who may be more knowledgable than I.

    You do blogging, twitter, and email very very well, Abs. I’m proud you let me hang.

  14. That’s my girl! I love you Busi.

  15. Blogging is both a lifesaver AND a bane of existence for me. Sometimes it gives me joy, sometimes it gives me headaches and heartaches. Many times I want to quit but for some inexplicable reason, I just…can’t. Not yet. I still need it.

    I can see why your blog is a lifesaver for you. You keep it real, Abbby. I love that. Sometimes it’s light-hearted, sometimes a bit more intense, but always with a healthy dose of Abby-wits and Abby-humor.

  16. I appreciate that you can write about both “sides”. I can relate to feeling sometimes like the more serious feelings/experiences I go through (mainly the anxiety and concussion-related issues) don’t really “belong” on my blog because they don’t fit in with the rest of the ridiculous content about falling on cactuses and pleather pants. It takes a lot of courage, actually, to not care about “keeping readers” or even maintaining a certain voice, but to just write for yourself and, just maybe, connect with someone on a deeper, more “real” level. I’m not quite there yet myself, as I still tend to censor a lot of my content and keep it to the “happy stuff” – not because I care about what people think, but because hitting “Publish” somehow cements that I don’t have control over certain things, and “control freak” is one of my issues 🙂 For me, the best thing about blogging, though, is that I can re-focus my energy on to the more light-hearted things and essentially laugh at myself, which is an awesome form of therapy. It kind of takes the pressure of wanting everything to be “perfect” and just sort of celebrates that shit happens, that that’s okay, and that sometimes it’s freaking hilarious when things don’t go your way. As far as the more serious issues go, it’s pretty impressive how hearing/reading, even on a blog, that someone relates to what you’re going through makes you feel connected to people (the only time I can really relate on my part is when I wrote about my panic attacks and a few people wrote back with tips on handling them, snarky comments and even books I can read to help me chill the fuck out). I hope you find the same with what you’re going through. Like I said before, I don’t just read your blog for the “funny Abby” or the “Abby with a hilarious gnome”, or the “Abby who irons her pants on a tiny ironing board that makes me pee my pants”. I follow you more because I can relate to you on a bunch of levels, including some of the other crap that isn’t fun to write about, and even the crap that I can’t relate to but that encompasses “Abby” as a whole. Keep writing, woman.

  17. I know what you mean. I suffer from depression and I have found that blogging is incredibly therapeutic!

    I also don’t think you should worry about it being an “escape” or a way for you to “pretend things are normal”. I think it’s important for you to write whatever helps you to feel good. If it’s about where you are right now and how you’re feel, tell us! If it’s something goofy that makes you laugh, tell us! Whatever it is at that moment that makes you feel good to be writing about is all that matters. If you’re feeling good then you’re healing or at the very least not getting any worse. At least that’s my theory!

    I know we don’t know each other that well, but I know what it’s like to be very deeply depressed and filled with anxiety. If you ever need someone to talk to, I’d be more than happy to listen without judgement.

    • Exactly! I’m all about doing whatever makes you happy (legally, of course), whether it’s writing, sitting in a park feeding ducks or hanging out with yourself and a good book. If you can find a piece of calm and comfort, I say latch onto it and screw what others say. With that said, easier said than done, right? We all have our “things,” but it’s nice to know that we ALL do have our “things.” Sometimes it would be nice to be a little less self-aware though… 😉

  18. Really glad you decided to publish this post. I’ve noticed you don’t talk so much about weighty Issues anymore, and hoped you were doing okay but didn’t want to pry. You’re an amazingly insightful, intelligent, and talented person, and a lot of people enjoy your writing, so I’m glad that it acts as a buoy for you too. Never hesitate to reach out, though, if you need.

    • Cammy, you can always pry, as I know you can relate to some of the same things. I know you have great support, but feel free to reach out to me at any time as well!

  19. Your blog, Abby, was one of the first I read when I was new to the blogosphere. I can’t remember how I fell upon it, but I stuck around, read through the archives and awaited your new blog posts. Something in your writing resonated with me – your writing is so very congruent – you don’t gloss over the ‘darker’ subjects, and for me, it felt like I could connect with you because you were real. So many blogs out there, even wildly successful ones, rely on ‘funny’, there’s nothing else to grasp on to, and I find I lose interest in them really quickly.

    Thank you, Abby, for sharing this post. Looking at your inner self, reflecting and accepting the light and dark shades of who you are is often one of the most courageous things to do – you’re awesome.

  20. Fantastic post Abby. I’ve struggled with some of the same things you’re struggling with and it helps to know that I’m not alone with these things. Without blogging, I would think I was really f’d up, but reading about others going through the same things lets me know that I’m normal and keeps me sane. We all have our things and I like that blogging helps us work through those “things”.

    • For the record, I’m not-so-secretly glad you’re back writing about those “things.” Thanks for the sincere comment, as coming from you, I take it to heart.

  21. It’s also not an exaggeration to say that your blog helps me keep afloat.
    I have yet to publish my first blog and don’t know if I ever will, but I love your blog; the way you writie is delicious. it doesn’t matter what the subject is, it is always full of wonder, insight, complexity and mirth.
    Thank you for the gift of your writing.

    • That’s possibly one of the best comments I’ve received, as even though I don’t want to say I’m glad you can relate to feeling the same way, I’m glad you can relate to feeling the same way. It helps to know things aren’t always rosy for the rest of us. We all have issues. Even if you make your blog private, I encourage you to write about them–good or not so good! 🙂

  22. right now my ability to think of anything coherent let alone insightful or witty is being wasted on school but I’m thinking very sincere – albeit amorphous – thoughts of praise, support, and empathy!

  23. Right on all counts. For some of us, writing is like breathing, whether is is a novel, short stories, or blog posts (or any combo of). Keep writing, keep venting, keep working on your craft. Not for us, but for you. We’ll be listening. Cheers.

  24. Thank you, Abby.

    I haven’t read any of the comments yet, so I’m sure I’ll be repeating some of them, but…

    It takes a lot of courage to bear your heart out to strangers – even through the anonymity the internet offers.

    Many of us have “issues” and it’s people like you who make it just that much easier for the rest of us.

    Again, thank you.

  25. Blogging saves my life daily.

    I have that on my About page.
    Because it’s true.

    i was sad and lonely beyond description when I started my blog two years ago.

    I don’t know what I’d do without it.

    I can handle the world, with my blogging and twitter friends in my back pocket.

    I know what you mean.

    xo

  26. You’re exactly right about blogging being a way to get things out, good or bad, but with control over what we share. I’m glad blogging has been so helpful for you and I don’t think it’s any different than someone saying journaling has been therapeutic for them. I’m new to blogging, so I’m still very cautious about what I put out, but hopefully I’ll be able to bring myself to share more as time goes on.

  27. As you know, there are plenty of us out there with issues like yours. I’m so glad you’ve found an outlet for all of the swirling emotions.

  28. I like you. And you write well.

  29. Melanie The Spork Lover

    I love this blog. And it really is all about blogging about whatever you feel comfortable blogging about. If you don’t want to share some of the dark stuff, that’s totally your right. You can use this medium in whatever way you see fit. That’s the beauty of it. By the way, I’m in the middle of the book. The two things that struck me were: how lucky I am to have a year round farmer’s market and not have to deal with people who don’t know what dino kale is (the green bean story seriously made me laugh out loud), and how I can’t do drive through car washes. I found one near me where I just drop off the car and leave the key in the ignition, and they run it through and vacuum it for me. I had WAY too much anxiety in drive through washes.

  30. Great post my love.
    I have a hard time explaining to other people outside the blog community how it has so greatly impacted my life. Not just the people I’ve “met”, but the kind comments and validation (?) of the fact that all our random thoughts and actions aren’t totally crazy, and there’s so many other people out there that share them. A pleasure (as always) to read 🙂

  31. thank you for this. You are real and thats why i love reading. You are never selfish when it comes to knowing what you want and desire for your health! Blogging has saved me, its taken a while to realize. For that i am thankful.
    xoxo

  32. Miss Abby – I have only recently stumbled across your blog, and, after reading a few of your older posts, I ordered your book. I *love* the way you write. You have such a refreshingly candid point of view! One of the biggest differences that I see between you and other blogs that I follow is that you have courage to write/publish about the good AND the not-so-good. You’re human (whereas the other bloggers never seem to have a bad day or have troubles and “issues”, etc). We’re all flawed and less than perfect. You GO, girl!!!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I absolutely ADORE your book, btw. I’ll be ordering additional copies for friends soon, and keeping a sharp eye watching for your NEXT book to be published.

    PS – this is the very first time I’ve ever left a comment. Wanted you to know that this Southern chick thinks you ROCK!! =)

  33. I don’t think the journey ever ends for any of us. Those who think it does are fooling themselves. Any “issues” we have don’t resolve overnight and I don’t think we can expect them to. I love that you keep it open and honest.

    One thing I believe is that taking care of yourself is never selfish. (I said I believe it but I don’t always do it!). Making healthy choices for our minds, bodies, and souls is never easy. Some people struggle to swap salads for fried chicken, others struggle to think positive thoughts. It’s an individual journey, and as I said, it never ends!

    Thank YOU Abby.

  34. I heart you. In a big way.

  35. I relate to this so much. Blogging really has saved my life….more than once. It has helped me to hold on, and the interaction with blogging friends has helped to pull me out of the darkness.

  36. This was great, Abby. You put into words the reasons why many of us blog. You helped me realize why I blog. Sometimes I wonder if I should stop, but then I know I’d miss so much, like you & this blog!

  37. I can BEYOND relate to this post.

    but i’m not sure how i keep you afloat, cus i suck at swimming and if someone’s drowning, i’m going all Rose from Titanic on their ass.

    That raft is mine.

    But, i get what you’re saying

  38. Knowing someone else out there has issues make my house full of them seem a little smaller. And when I get a good blog to follow that both lightens and inspires me, well I feel I’ve hit pay dirt. So…
    Thanks pay dirt. And don’t read my blog we could totally compete on calorie counting and exercise achieved. *do note I refuse to blog about those things*.
    Also you could totally call your blog Abby has a right to be her GDed self issues or no issues Thankyouberrymuch!
    It isn’t copyrighted.

  39. Amen! It sounds so hokey to say it out loud, especially to someone who isn’t involved in the blogosphere themselves. I dread the upcoming holiday family reunions, where my excited answer of “I’m a blogger!” will be met with blank stares and probably some, “Oh…that’s nice…”s. But you know what? It’s saved my life, too.

    It gives me a purpose, an outlet, accountability, and has opened doors to new possibilities I’d never have imagined possible. But more than that, it’s introduced me to some incredible people who make me smile and keep me going on a daily basis. The person I am now and the person I was a year ago when I started this venture are polar opposites, and that’s a fantastic thing.

    I don’t think it matters what sort of things you’re writing about. What matters is that you’re out there sharing your life and your thoughts, and people really connect with them. It’s serving you, and your readers, and whatever direction you decide to take it in, that will still be the case. There’s no need to analyze or doubt or explain…just keep being the Abby we all know and love, and we’ll all be here for the journey!

    • “It gives me purpose.” Very well said. This is especially true with me, as before I would find my “purpose” through slightly self-destructive behaviors (overexercising) just to feel I was “doing” something, even though I was working my butt off at work, helping my family, etc. It wasn’t enough for me for some reason. This is a healthy outlet and I’ve changed so much since I started writing here. I have days where I want to delete and quit forever, but for now, there’s no chance of that (sorry to those who would suggest otherwise.) No analysis. Just appreciation in knowing it will always be here if I want it.

  40. This was a powerful post and obviously well received. It’s funny how sometimes the posts we’re the most reluctant to post are the ones that resonate with people. Writing is part of my coping mechanism. At least, I’ve allowed it to become one. I’ve found that the relationships online and support has been phenomenal. These are people I haven’t even met in person. Maybe that’s why it’s easier for us to be that shoulder to lean on. Who knows? Keep writing and expressing. It’s good stuff.

  41. This is why I keep coming back to your blog. I am way late to the game on this post but I just have to say how much I admire you and your ability to be so wonderfully expressive and so damn honest at the same time–no matter the topic.

  42. wonderful post, and thanks for sharing it.
    i get it.
    I was dating a boy who did not agree with forming communities online, and meeting people that way, and blogging… It hurt me when he finally told me how he really felt about it. I had told him the first time we went out for supper about my best friend, who I met just that way. It was many months into the relationship before he admitted to thinking that whole aspect of my life was stupid. So I asked him if he thought less of me because of that, and he said yes :/

    anyhow, long story short, i fell out of blogging and all that while in vet school, and missed it. but while i was him i was afraid to get back into it because he and i had enough problems. (i will be the first to admit i make questionable life choices. yes, i should have dumped his sorry ass. for so many reasons.). When I discovered a blog of someone he worked with, and became friends with her through email, it pissed him off. (turns out that was also because he was afraid she knew he was sleeping with one of their other coworkers. he was a real class act.) I joined twitter to follow the olympics, and keep in touch with a friend who lived far away, and I didn’t tell him because I knew he thought poorly of twitter and wouldn’t care about that aspect of my life. When he found out a couple weeks after the fact, he got legit mad at me. We had a huge fight. Which, I realise is one of the most ridiculous things ever.

    Yes, this really is the short version. 😉 Anyhow, we did one day break up, and despite his bullshit I was devastated and I was in a horribly dark place. There are a few things that got me through that summer. . . but the girl who I got to know because of her blog was a huge reason I survived. And she encouraged me to get back into blogging, and it gave me a focus. Getting back into this kind of escape from my daily life helped keep me sane and helped get me through a really hard time.

    So, yeah, I get it. It’s kind of been a lifesaver for me as well 🙂 And when my job gets crazy and I’m too busy to eat or sleep, let alone spend time reading my favourite blogs or writting something for my own, I think the absence of that in my life contributes to how crazed and moody I get 😛

    I’m very rambly. apologies. But after a month of crazy schedule with work, a big part of my relaxation vacation has been catching up with my favourite blogs… and it sometimes brings out the rambler in me 😉

Talk to me

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s