Diaries Magazine

The End Of My Blog? Viral Posts, Negativity & Anxiety.

Posted on the 22 August 2016 by Sparklesandstretchmarks @raine_fairy
The End Of My Blog? Viral Posts, Negativity & Anxiety.
Please excuse the melodramatic title to this post, but this is the overriding question in my mind right now...and has been all over the weekend.
Ironically, my blog auto-published a very different post to this one this morning which I had written last week...a post all about how this blog of mine had helped me to achieve some of my greatest ambitions in life.
I felt a bit silly seeing that go live this morning, having done a total 180 degree turnaround on those feelings now.
It's funny isn't it? How things can change so very quickly....
How you can go from being so overwhelmed with gratitude and that feeling of riding high, to suddenly having the rug pulled from under you and feeling as though this is something you just don't want to do anymore.
Let me explain a little (if I can figure out how to, it all gets quite complicated...)
This weekend, I noticed that a blog post of mine - one that I had shared to the Huffington Post as I so often do - had got a lot more attention than usual.
Now I don't really know what constitutes a "viral" post so I'm reluctant to call it that, but for some reason it was a piece that Huff Post took a liking to and they promoted it a lot more than they ever have with any of my other posts - they tweeted it 6 or 7 times over the weekend, they featured it on their front page, and they promoted it on the Huff Post Parents Facebook pages.
I'm not going to link to the post, because that would kind of go against the whole point of what I'm saying here and how I feel, but just to fill you in - it was a light hearted "fluff" style post, one that has featured on my own blog in the last couple of weeks and been very popular with readers who related to it or liked the sentiment, it wasn't anything hard hitting or on any controversial subject matter.
The Huffington Post re-blog of my article received a lot of hits - at the time of writing, it had received 708 likes on the article and 200 likes on the Facebook page. It had also been shared 70 times by people, and had received 45 comments on the Facebook page - 44 of which were overwhelmingly positive, 1 wasn't but was quite clearly from somebody who hadn't read the full thing and was just a very short disagreement - which didn't bother me, because it was apparent from the comment that she hadn't actually read it all.
But on the article itself...there were 2 comments.
And the comments were very negative.
And that's the thing with social anxiety..it's  the negative that sticks - just like that, those 900 people who had liked the piece faded into oblivion in my mind, as though they had never existed - and all that mattered to me was those 2 people who didn't like it.
Considering the light hearted nature of the article, the commenters had really looked for a dark side (which wasn't there) and had come up with their own interpretation of things which was very far removed from A)The truth and B) The point of the article.
Now this post is not about what those people said or why, or their right to say whatever they want...it's about my reaction to it and my complete inability to handle it.
 I broke down.
And I mean BROKE.DOWN...
I sat in my living room, with my poor bemused partner trying to comfort me and get some sense out of me, and I sobbed for an hour.
I hyperventilated, I was on the verge of a huge panic attack and had to "square breathe" and "Problem solve" the shit out of it all just to be able to avoid going into a full on screaming panic (My therapist would be so proud!)
And in that moment, I realised something.
I realised that I just can't do this.
I realised that my inability to handle these things means that my dream of being a "real" writer is effectively over.
If you read my post from this morning about how I came to write and how much a part of me it is, then maybe you'll understand how devastating that realisation has been for me.
As a blogger, you find yourself always striving to get noticed - to write good content that resonates with people, to find a readership and an audience that relates to you - and as a blogger with dreams of being a bonafide writer, I have always told myself that I'm using this platform both to keep in practice and to maybe get a foot in the door of the writers world.
Bloggers would surely love for their work to be seen by as many people as possible, I've lost count of how many times I've heard bloggers ponder how to go viral and what they can do to increase the likelihood of that happening.
I've always looked at the likes of Constance Hall and some of my favorite bloggers like Hurrah For Gin, The Unmumsy Mum and Brummy Mummy Of Two and seen how widely read their material is...and I always wished I could achieve a reach like that, because how amazing would it be to write something and actually have that many people see it.
But here I was...with a post of mine out there, being shared left right and center...and I HATED it.
The thought of it all makes me feel exactly the same way as my social anxiety makes me feel when I go out in public.
To go and stand out in the middle of a crowded park, shouting and drawing attention to myself is my idea of absolute hell - having eyes on me, people seeing and noticing me, being exposed like that - I would break down.
And this feels the same way to me - kind of the digital equivalent to it, I guess - and the social anxiety feelings it brings are just the same.
I don't like it. Infact I hate it. And I absolutely cannot handle it.
I don't want the attention,  I don't feel comfortable with it.
Immediately I told myself that I would never publish another piece to the Huffington Post or any other site again, because if I don't like it when people get to read it...then why am I doing it?!
But then I realised what all of this means.
It means that everything I've been doing with this blog for the past 3 years, all of the time and effort and love I've put into it, has kind of been for nothing.
Because if I can't handle it when attention comes my way, and people actually read my stuff...then what the hell has been the point?
It's kind of like finally, after years and years of wishing and hoping and trying to achieve your dreams, you finally get within touching distance of them...finally I'm being asked to write for websites and magazines, everything I always wanted....and then you realize that you don't have the ability to take that final leap.
You just can't actually do it.
You're not strong enough.
And that's where I'm at right now.
So if I can't do it...if I can't handle being "out there"...then what's the point?
I could continue on with my blog, in my own little corner of the internet where I feel somehow safer and less exposed, where I feel like the people reading know more about me, know my values and intentions and are less likely to get me all wrong or take offense.
But if the dream is dead...what's the use?
I don't know what the answers are. I don't know what's best to do.
I've loved this blog over the last 3 years, but I feel very much at a loss now...My whole lifes dream of writing feels like it's been snatched away from me, and I've only got myself to blame...it's ME who can't handle it, it's ME who didn't realize how limiting my anxieties were going to be with this.
And as the saying goes, if you can't stand the heat you should get out of the kitchen.
So maybe that's all I can do.
Maybe it's time for a new dream?
But I can't begin to explain how sad that thought makes me.
There's nothing else I've ever loved like I love writing.
I wish I knew how those bloggers that I admire so much handle it - the likes of Constance Hall must get so much negativity directed her way, I've seen Brummy Mummy go through similar things and struggle herself - but they get on with it, and bounce back.
I wish I knew how to do that.
I wish my anxiety didn't control me so much.
It's easy to say "Don't let it, who cares what people think?" but if you're sitting on your sofa struggling to breathe at 1 am because of something a commenter said...then it's just not right, is it?
This isn't about attention or sympathy or anything like that....
I genuinely don't know what to do.
This is something that I LOVE doing, and I don't want to not do it any more...but I also don't want to be struggling to breathe because somebody disagreed with it.
I don't want to feel worthless and stupid and embarrassed and exposed because of something some random person who means nothing to me said on the internet...but unfortunately thats what anxiety does to me, that's how it all plays out in my head.
So what can I do.
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