The Flu and going public

I fell behind a bit in this blog this past week. As I’ve mentioned before, at least one person in the house has been sick, non-stop, since the beginning of January. This last week it was my turn. Despite getting the flu shot, I ended up with a full-on 5-day flu. I haven’t had the flu in at least 15 years and I had forgotten what it was like to have a fever several days in a row. On the bright side I got to finish Haruki Murakami’s latest book, 1Q84. It had been sitting next to my bed for months but I couldn’t seem to even open it. I had other books I was reading and I’ve been so busy recently. Since I was sick and in bed I finally had the time! His books tend to be a bit dreamlike anyways, so reading in between the spikes in my fever made for an interesting experience. It happened several times that I wasn’t sure if what I was reflecting on in the book had really happened or I had dreamt it. Several of these imagined happenings worked their way into some of my fever-induced nightmares which was kind of funny. It didn’t turn out to be my favorite Murakami book and it’s probably not the best introduction for someone new to his work but I still enjoyed it a lot.

The other benefit of having the flu was that I got to practice my mindfulness. I worked on just accepting the situation (I had a fever and a horrendous cough and wasn’t sleeping much) and on reminding myself that this was temporary. I had to mentally keep chanting “this will pass” several nights just to make it through the fevers. I had the naïve notion that my flu would mark the grand finale of this family’s non-stop illness this winter, but I was proved wrong when my younger daughter came down with what seems to be the same flu that I had. I’m really hoping my older daughter doesn’t get it next. Besides seeing the kids suffer and not sleeping we are leaving for the in-laws at the beach next week and I want to get as much surfing in as I can. Keeping my fingers crossed.

So what I’m really intending this post to be about is that this blog hasn’t been made public yet. That’s not to say that it’s not accessible, I just haven’t told very many people about it. I actually haven’t told a single friend or family member (other than my wife). By not really trying to reach anyone, this blog serves as a sort of diary. I have to work on it some, since I know I have at least a couple of readers(wife and life coach). My wife commented that I am much more open in these writings than I am when it comes to talking about what is going on in my life. So besides serving as a place for me to write and reflect on my life this blog also helps me communicate with my wife!

I have mixed thoughts about going public. I think the original intent behind this blog was to use my experiences to possibly help others in a similar situation. I was asked what the worst possible response to my blog would be and I realized that I didn’t really have one. I think I’ve been fairly open in this project, maybe because I know almost no one is reading it and I’m anonymous for the most part. Still, it’s hard for me to imagine that anyone could really care about what I write. I answered that I guessed the worst possible response would be someone saying that my writing was shit and that the blog is a waste of time. Even that doesn’t faze me too much. I think the person I was talking to was looking more for how my blog might impact someone or how someone might say that I was hopeless and doomed to a life of depression and melancholy. The thought didn’t even cross my mind because I have a hard time imagining that my experience could really make enough of an impact, positive or negative in someone’s life that they would bother to read it and feel strongly enough to respond.

In a scenario where I try to spread word of this blog indirectly it doesn’t seem so scary to go public. I can hide behind a veil of anonymity and keep writing as freely as ever. Perhaps someone who recognized enough about my life would realize it was me, but it still wouldn’t be as if I personally invited them to read it. What I find really scary is the idea of directly telling friends or acquaintances about this blog(e.g. linking to it on my Facebook page or something). Exposing my thoughts and worries is something I rarely do even with close friends. Thus, to imagine friends and acquaintances reading about my failings and depression is too uncomfortable. I’m afraid I would start self-editing and end up without this space to write about and reflect on the things I go through.

I also feel somewhat presumptuous when I imagine advertising this blog. I ask myself “who do you think you are that anyone would want to read what you write, let alone get anything from it?” Thinking about this some more, I realize that the same sentiment carries over into my life as a whole. If I keep my head down and not strive for anything visible then I’m safe, no one pays attention to me and I don’t set myself up for failure. When I’m in one of my melancholy or depressed states it’s hard for me to believe that my being or existence could really impact anyone’s life. Granted having a dad is probably good for the girls, and my family and wife love me, but other than I don’t see much value in me existing. I can’t even really believe that I have much of an impact in my friends’ lives. In my less depressed states, I don’t necessarily think that I matter, but I can at least focus on the benefits I provide my family.

So I end at somewhat of a conflicted place. I’m obviously writing this stuff down and part of me wants someone else to read it and get something from it, but it feels safer to imagine it’s just me writing in some sort of diary. Also, if I don’t advertise then I am not being presumptous and full of myself. So I guess I want people to read this, but not necessarily people I know and I don’t want to come across as presumptous as to how this blog could help anyone. Does a blog about melancholy and depression make a difference if no one is around to read it?

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