Thursday, October 23, 2008

Is blogging good for your health?

I looked into this question in a guest post that I wrote for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's blog.

I wrote about how I started my blog (with an April Fool's joke), how PJ helped me start navigating the system, and how I discovered the positives: connecting with kindred spirits, finding support and providing it, easing isolation, telling funny or (I hope) meaningful stories, and framing my thoughts in a way that often helped me find the silver lining.

I also wrote about the negatives: the sadness in forming connections with people who don't make it or coming upon blogs carried on by relatives of those who died, reading of other patients' medical problems and then worrying that I might develop those problems too, feeling neglected when I don't get enough comments, and spending too much time on the computer.

Another "con" that I didn't write about is the tendency to assume all of my friends and family want to read it and comment. Some do, which is fun, but others don't. We're an older group that didn't grow up with all this computer stuff; not too long ago, I didn't even know what a blog was, and some of my friends don't want to ever know, let alone participate in one. I tend to get a little obnoxious when I really want someone to read it, or when I'm just too tired (or sick of hearing myself talk) to explain the results of my latest clinic visit. Sometimes I say, "The details are on the blog," but really they want to hear it from me.

Sometimes I blather on.


PJ said...

I've had good friends tell me that reading my blog makes them uneasy, that knowing all the intimate details about what's going on in my life makes them feel like a voyeur. They assume that I don't edit my posts for public consumption, which of course I do.

What amuses me is that some of my friends will catch up on my blog just before we're about to get together, as though I'd be hurt if they didn't study up.

Here's to blather!

Howard said...

For someone who's always loved reading classified ads, personals etc., I like this blogging thing. I'm not a blog-slut mind you. I limit myself to a few close friends blogs, and a few peripheral ones that have drawn my attention.

I don't feel like a voyeur, as I've been invited (well, not personally). I do like to think the author's revealing what they want to, and sometimes working things out. I enjoy being a gentle, respectful reader. I figure everyone I read would do the same for me.

Jim said...

Blather on, RG. You blather well and it's good for you and nutritious.

I agree with PJ ... some of my blog visitors are uneasy reading details of cancer, emotions, etc., but that's their issue.

I have my reasons for blogging (venting and education are two), and I'm sure you have yours, too.


Nelle said...

When I was being irradiated there was another young woman who had the same cancer I did. The radiologist kept us apart and advised both of us it was better we not get attached. I longed to speak with her and some ten years post treatment I spotted her in a mall. I ran over and gave her a hug and said "Damn we both survived without the support we could have given each other!" I often think of her and make a wish she is having a wonderful life.

Nelle said...

P.S. When I was diagnosed I was 23. Two of my friends reacted badly. One told me it was too depressing and she could not be my friend. Another friend kept saying how hard it would be for her when I died. How ironic that I am still alive but she died at age 36 of liver failure.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ronni,
I feel honored to be able to read your thoughts and feelings on your blog. It really is like a diary, a great exercise in owning your own mind, and in a way controlling it. The fact that your friends and family are privy to everything going on in your life is amazing. They should be jumping up and down with all the updating you do. I think it's good from the other side as well, who wants to depress their friend by asking them things that are painful? Why rehash things that are hard to deal with anyway? Blogging is the perfect in-between. Keeps people informed, makes them feel connected, and the writer gets some love back. Perfect. Don't ever stop!

Susan C said...

I don't mind repeating fun stories, but I hate repeating medical information. I also have told inquiring friends to read the blog for the latest details.

It's funny - sometimes people think I'm withholding information on the blog and they go to my friend Paula to get the real scoop.