The Dark Side

 

With Yoda strapped to his back, Luke climbs up one of the many thick vines that grow in the swamp. Panting heavily, he continues his course – climbing, flipping through the air, jumping over roots, and racing in and out of the heavy ground fog.

YODARun! Yes. A Jedi\’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger… fear… aggression. The dark side of the Force are they.

Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan\’s apprentice.

LUKE: Vader. Is the dark side stronger?

YODANo… no… no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.

LUKEBut how am I to know the good side from the bad?

YODAYou will know. When you are calm, at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.

LUKEBut tell me why I can\’t…

YODA (interrupting):  No, no, there is no why. Nothing more will I teach you today. Clear your mind of questions.  Mmm. Mmmmmmmm.

 (From The Empire Strikes Back - Lucasfilm Inc.)

I am sitting in my office now.  It is after 7 PM and my day of seeing patients has ended.  It is a hard time of year for primary care – flu season is on us with a vengeance and we are packing in patients in record numbers.  I finally am getting a moment of peace and to take a deep breath.  My shoulders ache and my desk is a mess.  The soft constant white-noise from the air conditioner is the only sound around me other than the clicking of my fingers on the keyboard.

I have meant to write this post for a while, but circumstance and obligations have kept me from having the time.  This requires much more of me than most of my posts, which I can whip out fairly fast.  The gravity of my experience and emotion are too great for me to do this without a lot of thought (and even more editing).  My belief is that many other bloggers have/are experiencing the same experience I went through.  Perhaps my observations in retrospect can help them.

My Blogging Experience

Blogging has been a great experience for me.  I have really opened up a side of me that I never really knew.  To create something worth reading from my daily life, or from wild ideas, has been a wonderfully visceral experience.  It is even hard for me to accurately describe what it is like.  Perhaps it is how a woman feels when she brings forth a child.  Perhaps it is how an artist feels at an easel; I am just glad to have had this experience.

A joy like this, however, always carries with it the potential for harm.  Most good things can become destructive if the desire turns to obsession.  When life is hard in other areas, it is easy to escape to a world one creates without the difficulties of real life.  My life took many difficult turns over the past six months, and so I turned more and more to my blog as my comfort and my therapy.

At first, I felt like this was not a bad thing; I had many friendships online and was not doing things that were themselves bad.  I was entertaining and informing others while developing new skills of my own.  Yet I found that my pleasure from blogging became an obsession.  My blog started consuming more and more of my time, taking me away from responsibilities and letting me hide from situations that needed to be addressed.

This brings to mind a quote from C.S. Lewis\’s Book, Perelandra.  In the book, Ransom, the main character, is on another planet where he finds an amazing water-fruit and moves to eat…

After a moment’s hesitation he put the little aperture to his lips. he had meant to extract the smallest, experimental sip, but the first taste put his caution all to flight. It was, of course, a taste, just as his thirst and hunger had been thirst and hunger. But then it was so different from every other taste that it seemed mere pedantry to call it a taste at all. It was like the discovery of a totally new genus of pleasures, something unheard of among men, out of all reckoning, beyond all covenant…. As he let the empty gourd fall from his hand and was about to pluck a second one, it came into his head that he was now neither hungry nor thirsty. And yet to repeat a pleasure so intense and almost so spiritual seemed an obvious thing to do.  His reason, or what we commonly take to be reason in our own world, was all in favour of tasting this miracle again. Yet something seemed opposed to this ‘reason’. It is difficult to suppose that this opposition came from desire, for what desire would turn from so much deliciousness? But for whatever cause it appeared to him better not to taste again. Perhaps the experience had been so complete that repetition would be a vulgarity like asking to hear the same symphony twice in a day.

The pleasure itself was overwhelming, yet his immediate desire was to relive that pleasure and not simply enjoy it for what it was.  I found the same to be true with my blog.  I got real joy out of writing and having others enjoy it.  Yet success did not breed contentment on my part, it bred a more intense desire to repeat the pleasure.  This obsession began to accurately parallel other kinds of addictions (alcohol, gambling, eating), where the escapes became problems in themselves, creating more trouble in life and hence more need to escape.  The more I struggled in my real life, the more I blogged (or spent reading others); and the more time I spent away from real life blogging, the worse real life got.

The anatomy of obsession

The blogging experience was no longer about writing, but instead about doing the right things to get people to read my blog.  There were a number of things that give examples of this:

  • I became obsessed with checking my site-meter.  I spent nearly as much time checking my traffic – looking at graphs, where people came from, what they read – as I spent writing and reading.
  • I got multiple applications to measure my traffic and checked them all regularly.  Perhaps the most addictive application was the "Live" widget on WordPress where you can watch people coming to your blog in real time.  I would sit and watch this for hours sometimes.  (Seems kind of pathetic to me at this point).
  • Whenever I wrote what I thought was a "good" post, I obsessively checked for comments on it.  I would check numerous times throughout the day (sometimes multiple times per hour) to see what comments or links I had gotten.
  • My mood was often tied to how people responded.  I was depressed when I thought I had written a good post but got few responses.  On the other hand, I was elated when I was praised or quoted in other blogs.
  • I spent many evenings at home with my laptop on my lap, either looking for pictures for a post, writing the post, or looking for others quoting my posts.

\"vader\" Success was my worst enemy.  The more people liked my blog, the more I obsessed on the attention.  Being quoted in the NY times, or being on the "Power Eight" of Kevin, MD, became important to me as I composed posts.  I was no longer posting for the pleasure, but was under great pressure to maintain my readers\’ visiting my site. 

The Light of day

When life fell down around me in the early days of November, my initial response was to run even more to blogging.  But wise people around me told me what my heart was telling me: I needed a break.  Blogging had become a dangerous escape for me and needed to be put on the shelf for a while.  I have since slowly began to post again – with significant limits on time spent and obsessive behaviors.

I am not saying this all to put down blogging.  I have found too much good in it to be able to leave it behind.  Even those most effected by my obsessive blogging see it as something too positive for me to abandon (although I must admit, I was willing to drop it all if I had to – it never came to this). 

\"hands_on_bars_2\" It is my hope that my experience will serve as a warning to some and an encouragement to others.  Let those who are as drawn to the opium of public praise as I am be warned that it is a cup that is impossible to fill.  The joy comes in the writing and the friendships, not in the acclaim and praise.  Spend as little time thinking about the responses of others as possible and write for yourself.

To those who are in the trap I was in, I offer encouragement.  My problem was much deeper than blogging addiction, it was some deep insecurities that made me a prime target for this kind of addiction.  I did not overcome things by simply walking away from blogging; I walked away from all of my escapes for a while.  Initially I felt like I had my life ripped from me – as I spent most of my free time in these escapes.  Eventually, however, I found that I could once again find myself as a person, apart from those things I ran to for comfort.  I am who I am when I am not blogging.  It is me that comes to write the blog; I am not defined by my blogging.  This may seem ridiculous to those who have not been through it, but it is really easy for some of us to lose ourselves in the doing of life.  We no longer live, we do things.  I am very thankful to be once again living.

Where to from here?

The irony of this post is that I am aware it may, in its candor and relevance, get a lot of comments and attention.  I cannot say I wouldn\’t be disappointed if this did not happen.  Yet I have always valued honesty in my blogging and feel I must share on such a crucial topic.  Nobody is perfect, and my awareness of my own imperfections are what make me a good husband, father, doctor, and friend.  I consider many of my readers to be among my friends, and so I hope this helps you understand the last few months a little better.

I am not certain exactly how often I will post on my blog from here on in.  I don\’t see myself going at the torrid pace I once had.  The minute I see myself going back into my obsessive patterns, I will once again back off.  I will still check for links and quotes from others, but will try not to obsess on them. 

Part of the appeal of medical bloggers is the fact that you can see what goes on in the mind of medical professionals.  What is it really like to be a doctor in the exam room, the operating room, or the ER?  One of the things I have often said to my patients is, "One of the best things about being a doctor is that you get to see that everyone else is as messed-up as you are."  I get no illusions of the perfection of those around me.  Medical blogging should be the opportunity to turn the window around.  You get to see into our lives and see that we are just as messed up as you are.  Is it scary?  Probably a little.  But it is reality that none can escape – we are all on this ride together.  We are all a little dumb, a little blind, a little bad, and a little confused (some would argue "a lot").  But we are far better to be that way together.

Let\’s just try to stay out of the dark.

58 thoughts on “The Dark Side”

  1. What an excellent post. I think most of us that have followed you for sometime understood what you were going through. I personally, don’t just read for the medical information – although that is an obvious interest of mine, and you, my friend, have one of the absolute best deliveries of anyone out there. I stay when I begin to see the real person that comes from within the writing. The true person can not help but emerge from their writings. Excellent advice is contained in this post. You were sorely missed while you took your break, but I think we’d all say, we’d rather you were happy- wherever you need to be.

  2. What an excellent post. I think most of us that have followed you for sometime understood what you were going through. I personally, don’t just read for the medical information – although that is an obvious interest of mine, and you, my friend, have one of the absolute best deliveries of anyone out there. I stay when I begin to see the real person that comes from within the writing. The true person can not help but emerge from their writings. Excellent advice is contained in this post. You were sorely missed while you took your break, but I think we’d all say, we’d rather you were happy- wherever you need to be.

  3. You are very witty and candid. I think that is what people like about you.Blogging definitely has a dark side. I don’t even want to count the hours I’ve wasted in front of the computer since I have discovered blogging, or more appropriately, other people’s blogging.
    Congratulations on your personal growth and discovery.
    I think your anatomy of obsession fits more of us than you realize! I have a theory that dysfunctional people are drawn to medical fields, therein may lie the double edged sword!
    Welcome back, no matter how sporadic you may post.

  4. You are very witty and candid. I think that is what people like about you.Blogging definitely has a dark side. I don’t even want to count the hours I’ve wasted in front of the computer since I have discovered blogging, or more appropriately, other people’s blogging.
    Congratulations on your personal growth and discovery.
    I think your anatomy of obsession fits more of us than you realize! I have a theory that dysfunctional people are drawn to medical fields, therein may lie the double edged sword!
    Welcome back, no matter how sporadic you may post.

  5. Jeepers, Dr. Rob.
    You are hurting here (and me too) but also celebrating.

    Hey, sometimes all you have is the damn blog. That is a pain and joy for me — often wide awake at 2:00 am and there are only so many dark hikes you can take to the convenience store, for a candy bar or a pack of smokes… especially when all you REALLY want is somebody to talk to…

    My sister said this best, I think: “when you meet your neighbor in the Wal-Mart parking lot, you aren’t really talking about socks”. Uh huh.

    Well, blessings heaped on ya and post when you wish, visit when you want to…

    You have a sparkle about you that most folks don’t.

    Your sad fan,
    tl

  6. Jeepers, Dr. Rob.
    You are hurting here (and me too) but also celebrating.

    Hey, sometimes all you have is the damn blog. That is a pain and joy for me — often wide awake at 2:00 am and there are only so many dark hikes you can take to the convenience store, for a candy bar or a pack of smokes… especially when all you REALLY want is somebody to talk to…

    My sister said this best, I think: “when you meet your neighbor in the Wal-Mart parking lot, you aren’t really talking about socks”. Uh huh.

    Well, blessings heaped on ya and post when you wish, visit when you want to…

    You have a sparkle about you that most folks don’t.

    Your sad fan,
    tl

  7. You’re probably going to think I’m kidding, but I totally relate to this story. My dark time was about 12 months ago. I was totally obsessed with my site meter (and still somewhat, but I’ve learned). For me, the success came with “the haters.” They are the occasional negative comments that were sometimes pointed and personal. With more success brought more “haters.” And, I took the negative stuff too personally. I even took a long blog break and considered quitting altogether.
    It’s taken me a long time to live these words and believe these words – I blog for me and for no one else and for no sitemeter. I remembered back to day one of blogging when I really didn’t care if anyone read anything. I had something to say and blogging gave me the vehicle to say it. I’m going to write bad posts; I’m going to write incomplete posts; I’m going to write posts I don’t think are quite perfect – and that’s ok with me (at least now it is).

    It takes a long time to balance personal fulfillment with personal recognition from others. When you find that balance in the force, blogging will finally be fun again – as it is for me. Good luck my friend as you find your way….

  8. You’re probably going to think I’m kidding, but I totally relate to this story. My dark time was about 12 months ago. I was totally obsessed with my site meter (and still somewhat, but I’ve learned). For me, the success came with “the haters.” They are the occasional negative comments that were sometimes pointed and personal. With more success brought more “haters.” And, I took the negative stuff too personally. I even took a long blog break and considered quitting altogether.
    It’s taken me a long time to live these words and believe these words – I blog for me and for no one else and for no sitemeter. I remembered back to day one of blogging when I really didn’t care if anyone read anything. I had something to say and blogging gave me the vehicle to say it. I’m going to write bad posts; I’m going to write incomplete posts; I’m going to write posts I don’t think are quite perfect – and that’s ok with me (at least now it is).

    It takes a long time to balance personal fulfillment with personal recognition from others. When you find that balance in the force, blogging will finally be fun again – as it is for me. Good luck my friend as you find your way….

  9. What you’ve described is what I’m afraid of, with blogging (or life, for that matter). I just started a blog, and already I’ve become obsessed with it – checking the stats, etc. Although no one reads it anyways, I get on at least 4-5 times a day and see if anything has happened.
    I think part of the problem is that blogging can be so self-centered. This focus on the self can lead to pride (which, if I remember right, leads to the dark side).

    I appreciate your honesty, and have enjoyed your posts thus far. You’ll be in my thoughts.

    From one obsessed to another.

  10. What you’ve described is what I’m afraid of, with blogging (or life, for that matter). I just started a blog, and already I’ve become obsessed with it – checking the stats, etc. Although no one reads it anyways, I get on at least 4-5 times a day and see if anything has happened.
    I think part of the problem is that blogging can be so self-centered. This focus on the self can lead to pride (which, if I remember right, leads to the dark side).

    I appreciate your honesty, and have enjoyed your posts thus far. You’ll be in my thoughts.

    From one obsessed to another.

  11. If we are honest and self-aware, every one of us has “gone overboard” on something or another, perhaps many times in our lives. We may have wondered if we were “addicted”. We may have felt out of control with our emotions–there are many appetites which might draw us into gluttony, in addition to the appetite you so vividly describe, Dr. Rob.
    We have all had “crushes” or perhaps have even fallen in love/in lust and felt we could not help ourselves . . . Some of us have spent more than we earned . . . Some of us lust for power.

    We should all be saying “There but for the grace of God go I”. Or admit that we have been and are still vulnerable to going overboard, to the point of the upheaval of our rational decisions and the lives we have built with our families and our professions.

    Where to draw the line? Assuming we see that we are about to go over the line–sometimes you don’t see this line of demarcation till it is almost too late . . . (I have my own answer–and others may have different answers to this question. But I draw the line where I am taking away from my family–taking away time, betraying a loyalty to family . . .)

    Rob, the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip-slidin’ away . . . Perhaps this close call that you had means that you are close indeed to Nirvana.

    You took a big risk in writing–perhaps you feared being so candid. You risked criticism. You risked being thought tooooo human . . . Well, it backfired. Your readership has said that it understands what you are saying, and many (if not all of us) have been there/done that . . .

    Chris and Vic

    Chris and Vic

  12. If we are honest and self-aware, every one of us has “gone overboard” on something or another, perhaps many times in our lives. We may have wondered if we were “addicted”. We may have felt out of control with our emotions–there are many appetites which might draw us into gluttony, in addition to the appetite you so vividly describe, Dr. Rob.
    We have all had “crushes” or perhaps have even fallen in love/in lust and felt we could not help ourselves . . . Some of us have spent more than we earned . . . Some of us lust for power.

    We should all be saying “There but for the grace of God go I”. Or admit that we have been and are still vulnerable to going overboard, to the point of the upheaval of our rational decisions and the lives we have built with our families and our professions.

    Where to draw the line? Assuming we see that we are about to go over the line–sometimes you don’t see this line of demarcation till it is almost too late . . . (I have my own answer–and others may have different answers to this question. But I draw the line where I am taking away from my family–taking away time, betraying a loyalty to family . . .)

    Rob, the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip-slidin’ away . . . Perhaps this close call that you had means that you are close indeed to Nirvana.

    You took a big risk in writing–perhaps you feared being so candid. You risked criticism. You risked being thought tooooo human . . . Well, it backfired. Your readership has said that it understands what you are saying, and many (if not all of us) have been there/done that . . .

    Chris and Vic

    Chris and Vic

  13. Ditto what Dr. A said. I can identify with this.I’m probably teetering on the edge of the dark side.
    I’ll take this as the warning that you meant it to be for people like me.

    Excellent post.

  14. Ditto what Dr. A said. I can identify with this.I’m probably teetering on the edge of the dark side.
    I’ll take this as the warning that you meant it to be for people like me.

    Excellent post.

  15. First I read your post, nodded my head, read your comments. Now I’m going to check my site meter. What me addicted?

  16. First I read your post, nodded my head, read your comments. Now I’m going to check my site meter. What me addicted?

  17. Nothing wrong with blogging, if it doesn’t get too personal. If one is not motivated by the acceptance of others in the bloggosphere.
    I’ve learned one thing about blogging. I don’t care what people think. And I love to jerk people’s chains.

    As long as you enjoy writing what you want, as long as you “truly” don’t care about what people say, go to it.

  18. Nothing wrong with blogging, if it doesn’t get too personal. If one is not motivated by the acceptance of others in the bloggosphere.
    I’ve learned one thing about blogging. I don’t care what people think. And I love to jerk people’s chains.

    As long as you enjoy writing what you want, as long as you “truly” don’t care about what people say, go to it.

  19. There is no doubt about it, blogging is addictive, even when one doesn’t really have anything to say. It’s like giving a performance in a way, even if one only has a few readers.
    Luckily you recognized the dangers or had them pointed out and were able to deal with them. Just don’t fall into the trap again, which probably would not be too difficult.

    The bottom line is that real life is the top priority and blogging is not.

    Take it easy, we will always be by to read whenever you write. That’s why bloglines and google reader etc were invented.

    regards
    jmb

  20. There is no doubt about it, blogging is addictive, even when one doesn’t really have anything to say. It’s like giving a performance in a way, even if one only has a few readers.
    Luckily you recognized the dangers or had them pointed out and were able to deal with them. Just don’t fall into the trap again, which probably would not be too difficult.

    The bottom line is that real life is the top priority and blogging is not.

    Take it easy, we will always be by to read whenever you write. That’s why bloglines and google reader etc were invented.

    regards
    jmb

  21. We are all the same in many ways. The unfortunate thing for me was that it was too easy of an escape when I shouldn’t have been escaping. Yet that is thankfully done and I have much to look forward to. There is nothing wrong with us…as long as we use each other as our standard. My hope was more to offer encouragement/warning than to make it sound like I feel bad about myself. I have done far worse things in my life than getting obsessed with a site meter. Still, it is good to have more of a handle on things and nice to hear some of you feel the same. To the others of you I would say: Don’t worry too much about losing traffic. Once you are away long enough it does not bother you. Then you come back and do it more for fun. You still get your friends back – just not the riff-raff as much.
    Ironically, I have been checking my site meter too much these days. Dang, TL, I really don’t know if I am strong enough to lose it. I think it is my Y chromosome.

  22. We are all the same in many ways. The unfortunate thing for me was that it was too easy of an escape when I shouldn’t have been escaping. Yet that is thankfully done and I have much to look forward to. There is nothing wrong with us…as long as we use each other as our standard. My hope was more to offer encouragement/warning than to make it sound like I feel bad about myself. I have done far worse things in my life than getting obsessed with a site meter. Still, it is good to have more of a handle on things and nice to hear some of you feel the same. To the others of you I would say: Don’t worry too much about losing traffic. Once you are away long enough it does not bother you. Then you come back and do it more for fun. You still get your friends back – just not the riff-raff as much.
    Ironically, I have been checking my site meter too much these days. Dang, TL, I really don’t know if I am strong enough to lose it. I think it is my Y chromosome.

  23. Great post, Rob.
    It is a difficult balance. I think we’ve all been surprised at the emotional highs and lows that come from blogging. Then again, all relationships are made of highs and lows, and perhaps we were naive not to expect that.

    When I pat myself on the back for keeping my blogging under control, I wonder what I used to get done during that hour or two every day. If I’m forgoing TV or dusting, I’m can handle that. If it’s talking to my husband, it might not be the best decision.

    Here’s to balance.

  24. Great post, Rob.
    It is a difficult balance. I think we’ve all been surprised at the emotional highs and lows that come from blogging. Then again, all relationships are made of highs and lows, and perhaps we were naive not to expect that.

    When I pat myself on the back for keeping my blogging under control, I wonder what I used to get done during that hour or two every day. If I’m forgoing TV or dusting, I’m can handle that. If it’s talking to my husband, it might not be the best decision.

    Here’s to balance.

  25. Hey, if you’d like to know more about learning to play the fiddle later in life, check out my blog. I’ll be watching for the blip.
    πŸ™‚

  26. Hey, if you’d like to know more about learning to play the fiddle later in life, check out my blog. I’ll be watching for the blip.
    πŸ™‚

  27. Every one of the behaviors, blogwise, that you listed have been mine, too. I care a little less about the sitemeter than I did, but I still obsess over comments, and wonder why my “good” posts often get fewer than others. In other words, I completely relate and understand and sympathize. My hiatus was less about deciding blogging had become an obsession than about general mood deteriorization; in fact, it depressed me more that I had nothing more to say, since blogging was about all I was doing.
    I’ve enjoyed your unique wit and insight. I’ll come around once in a while in hopes of finding something. Meanwhile, if you haven’t already seen it, you might enjoy this. (The cartoon, not my words.) Stay well.

  28. Every one of the behaviors, blogwise, that you listed have been mine, too. I care a little less about the sitemeter than I did, but I still obsess over comments, and wonder why my “good” posts often get fewer than others. In other words, I completely relate and understand and sympathize. My hiatus was less about deciding blogging had become an obsession than about general mood deteriorization; in fact, it depressed me more that I had nothing more to say, since blogging was about all I was doing.
    I’ve enjoyed your unique wit and insight. I’ll come around once in a while in hopes of finding something. Meanwhile, if you haven’t already seen it, you might enjoy this. (The cartoon, not my words.) Stay well.

  29. Dr. Rob, although the compulsive StatCounter checking hit me early on in my blogging life, somehow blogging was never as much about the blog – as it was about communication and friendship.
    This last year has been tough when it comes to blogging, and these last eight weeks have made it completely impossible for me – but it’s not blogging that I miss, it’s the people. The people are so much more than their blogs …

    The friendships I’ve made in the medical blogosphere have buffered me through some of the most difficult times of my life – and they still do – and I expect that many of those friendships will last well beyond the linear world of posts and templates.

    I’m so sorry that you went through all of that pain. You know how badly I wish you’d never had to go through it. I’m just intensely relieved that you’re “back” … not your blog … but you. Don’t get me wrong – you know how much I love your blog, but what I missed most was the person behind the blog.

    I hope you don’t ever have to vanish again.

  30. Dr. Rob, although the compulsive StatCounter checking hit me early on in my blogging life, somehow blogging was never as much about the blog – as it was about communication and friendship.
    This last year has been tough when it comes to blogging, and these last eight weeks have made it completely impossible for me – but it’s not blogging that I miss, it’s the people. The people are so much more than their blogs …

    The friendships I’ve made in the medical blogosphere have buffered me through some of the most difficult times of my life – and they still do – and I expect that many of those friendships will last well beyond the linear world of posts and templates.

    I’m so sorry that you went through all of that pain. You know how badly I wish you’d never had to go through it. I’m just intensely relieved that you’re “back” … not your blog … but you. Don’t get me wrong – you know how much I love your blog, but what I missed most was the person behind the blog.

    I hope you don’t ever have to vanish again.

  31. One could substitute calorie counting and weight loss with remarkable similarity of behavioral and emotional descriptions. So I don’t know if the term “obsession” resonates as much as addictive behavior – or very goal-oriented behavior. And aren’t most physicians pretty goal-driven, given that you/they spend a great deal of time working toward identified patient outcomes?
    Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to be “good” or prove to yourselfor others that you are. You already exhibit commitment to being present and genuine. That’s the most difficult thing most of the time in most circumstances.

    From the contributions of your commenters, it’s pretty clear that you’ve been present for them – your readers – your online friends. That’s pretty telling and something from which to take comfort, satisfaction and support.

    Since you enjoy comments, why not consider writing some open-ended questions and hosting some blog chats? Or go cold turkey and turn off the statistics functions? Blind blogging? Yikes!

    Like weight loss or a major diet change, it’s usually more successful to approach it as a game or project with incremental goals, viewing changes as novelties instead of restrictions or punishments, and using a support group for confirmation, affirmation and mentoring.

    Good luck-

  32. One could substitute calorie counting and weight loss with remarkable similarity of behavioral and emotional descriptions. So I don’t know if the term “obsession” resonates as much as addictive behavior – or very goal-oriented behavior. And aren’t most physicians pretty goal-driven, given that you/they spend a great deal of time working toward identified patient outcomes?
    Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to be “good” or prove to yourselfor others that you are. You already exhibit commitment to being present and genuine. That’s the most difficult thing most of the time in most circumstances.

    From the contributions of your commenters, it’s pretty clear that you’ve been present for them – your readers – your online friends. That’s pretty telling and something from which to take comfort, satisfaction and support.

    Since you enjoy comments, why not consider writing some open-ended questions and hosting some blog chats? Or go cold turkey and turn off the statistics functions? Blind blogging? Yikes!

    Like weight loss or a major diet change, it’s usually more successful to approach it as a game or project with incremental goals, viewing changes as novelties instead of restrictions or punishments, and using a support group for confirmation, affirmation and mentoring.

    Good luck-

  33. I haven’t been blogging but a year – and I never told anyone I had one – never would leave my blog in the comments. I recently went on an internet “fast”, didn’t get on for a week, except to pay bills for half an hour. It was one of the hardest weeks. I just recently got a little bit of traffic to my blog and began to obsess about it. It’s difficult to have something so personal out there, to be vulnerable, when I wonder if we’re all just searching for is acceptance.

  34. I haven’t been blogging but a year – and I never told anyone I had one – never would leave my blog in the comments. I recently went on an internet “fast”, didn’t get on for a week, except to pay bills for half an hour. It was one of the hardest weeks. I just recently got a little bit of traffic to my blog and began to obsess about it. It’s difficult to have something so personal out there, to be vulnerable, when I wonder if we’re all just searching for is acceptance.

  35. Writing IS personal, no matter what venue.If you author/host a blog . . . if you write for a news publication and get a byline . . . your ego gets tied up in it.

    AND there is something magical about having someone respond, write back to you.

    I don’t know what name to give it other than a unique kind of “connection”.

    And if nobody writes back, does that mean we lack the ability to connect? Horrors!
    Does it mean I am alone and nobody thinks, feels, believes as I do? Double horrors!

    There is a really good blogger out there, but for some reason she seems to have few responses . . . I see her continuing to write, as if her blog is a diary–no need to be public . . . I see this as a strength in her. I am full of admiration . . .

    Chris and Vic

  36. Writing IS personal, no matter what venue.If you author/host a blog . . . if you write for a news publication and get a byline . . . your ego gets tied up in it.

    AND there is something magical about having someone respond, write back to you.

    I don’t know what name to give it other than a unique kind of “connection”.

    And if nobody writes back, does that mean we lack the ability to connect? Horrors!
    Does it mean I am alone and nobody thinks, feels, believes as I do? Double horrors!

    There is a really good blogger out there, but for some reason she seems to have few responses . . . I see her continuing to write, as if her blog is a diary–no need to be public . . . I see this as a strength in her. I am full of admiration . . .

    Chris and Vic

  37. Lee Siegel, author, “Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob” (Spiegel & Grau)
    Lee Siegel, who was interviewed on my public radio station this a.m., says that blogs and myspace and face pages bring out peoples’ most base responses.

    He maintains that an online community is NOT a community. Only face-to-face can really be considered a community.

    He is appalled at the bullying (my term, not his) and lack of social restraint in evidence on blogs, and other venues that let you easily give feedback online.

    Chris and Vic

  38. Lee Siegel, author, “Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob” (Spiegel & Grau)
    Lee Siegel, who was interviewed on my public radio station this a.m., says that blogs and myspace and face pages bring out peoples’ most base responses.

    He maintains that an online community is NOT a community. Only face-to-face can really be considered a community.

    He is appalled at the bullying (my term, not his) and lack of social restraint in evidence on blogs, and other venues that let you easily give feedback online.

    Chris and Vic

  39. I often don’t comment on some of my favorite posts by other bloggers simply because anything I’d add would just seem wimpy and pale. And just saying “Thank you, that’s was a great post” is something that seems spammish and yet again, weak. I guess though, not as weak as nothing.
    So Thank you. That was a great post.

  40. I often don’t comment on some of my favorite posts by other bloggers simply because anything I’d add would just seem wimpy and pale. And just saying “Thank you, that’s was a great post” is something that seems spammish and yet again, weak. I guess though, not as weak as nothing.
    So Thank you. That was a great post.

  41. Oh heck, Dr. Rob.
    I enjoy your comments almost as much as your posts. We could keep your spirit alive here indefinitely, even if you are sorely determined to fade into the ether.

    Love and hugs and best wishes…
    and hey, I would starch and press all of YOUR shirts for free!
    tl

  42. Oh heck, Dr. Rob.
    I enjoy your comments almost as much as your posts. We could keep your spirit alive here indefinitely, even if you are sorely determined to fade into the ether.

    Love and hugs and best wishes…
    and hey, I would starch and press all of YOUR shirts for free!
    tl

  43. heh heh (an uncomfortable little laugh) — the Dark Side, indeed!It’s strange that a few months ago (when my ex-husband gave me an uncomfortable jolt by being, well, CORDIAL! & thus threw me into suspicion that he MIGHT be reading my blog!), I almost gave up blogging — but instead have seemed to “rebound” & have made more posts than ever…
    It does seem a sad substitute for a real social life.

  44. heh heh (an uncomfortable little laugh) — the Dark Side, indeed!It’s strange that a few months ago (when my ex-husband gave me an uncomfortable jolt by being, well, CORDIAL! & thus threw me into suspicion that he MIGHT be reading my blog!), I almost gave up blogging — but instead have seemed to “rebound” & have made more posts than ever…
    It does seem a sad substitute for a real social life.

  45. I don’t know who the other Val is by the way… it wasn’t me! πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and struggles with us, Dr. Rob. We all have our crosses to bear… luckily for me, my blondeness has kept me from the site meter obsession. I don’t even know how to put one on my blog! Oh, and people don’t comment on my posts because it’s too much of a pain to sign up for Revolution Health membership first. So I’ve been blogging into thin air for so long, I don’t get too riled up. Heh. But just dangle one homeopathy article in front of me and watch me freak out!

  46. I don’t know who the other Val is by the way… it wasn’t me! πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and struggles with us, Dr. Rob. We all have our crosses to bear… luckily for me, my blondeness has kept me from the site meter obsession. I don’t even know how to put one on my blog! Oh, and people don’t comment on my posts because it’s too much of a pain to sign up for Revolution Health membership first. So I’ve been blogging into thin air for so long, I don’t get too riled up. Heh. But just dangle one homeopathy article in front of me and watch me freak out!

  47. I have also been in this exact spot. I no longer even check site meter and I also took a long break from blogging. Well that and having surgery. I have started again, but I honestly don’t think it is something I will continue long term. I have broken the addiction. Eventually you get to that point where you feel this horrible pressure to keep putting out posts. I think I was getting performance anxiety from it. Even now, it does not feel the same as it did the first year I blogged. I think my get up and go, got up and left.
    Im sorry this was so hard for you. Im glad you are back posting some now and that you recognize this for what it is. From the first time I read one of your posts I was hooked on your words. We have to keep in mind what, and who, is really most important and not let any addiction put us at risk of losing those things.

    This was a great post, Dr. Rob

  48. I have also been in this exact spot. I no longer even check site meter and I also took a long break from blogging. Well that and having surgery. I have started again, but I honestly don’t think it is something I will continue long term. I have broken the addiction. Eventually you get to that point where you feel this horrible pressure to keep putting out posts. I think I was getting performance anxiety from it. Even now, it does not feel the same as it did the first year I blogged. I think my get up and go, got up and left.
    Im sorry this was so hard for you. Im glad you are back posting some now and that you recognize this for what it is. From the first time I read one of your posts I was hooked on your words. We have to keep in mind what, and who, is really most important and not let any addiction put us at risk of losing those things.

    This was a great post, Dr. Rob

  49. elizabeth wardlow

    I’ve just found you, and I must say, at first I leaned in as my eyes widened… I have been the same place you have described, and we are from opposite spheres. Ahhh, yet you and I share the frail nuances of human beings. I am a paralegal, a semi-professional person and you, an expert. Yet we share this obsession. Thank you for sharing your human nature with us and I look forward to reading more of your blogs. Take care Dr. Rob.

  50. elizabeth wardlow

    I’ve just found you, and I must say, at first I leaned in as my eyes widened… I have been the same place you have described, and we are from opposite spheres. Ahhh, yet you and I share the frail nuances of human beings. I am a paralegal, a semi-professional person and you, an expert. Yet we share this obsession. Thank you for sharing your human nature with us and I look forward to reading more of your blogs. Take care Dr. Rob.

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