A number of different circumstances have set me to thinking about boundaries. In this virtual world of anonymous friends and drive by commentors traditional boundaries are blurred and we are left in the unique position of defining a new ethics. But this is not a blog about philosophy.

I think we have a good idea of sexual boundaries in the blogsphere, just follow with the tone set the by owner of the blog. This is not about those type of boundaries. As I have browsed around the journals on wordpress, I have come across so much suffering. And it breaks my heart. To the very depths of my being, I want for people to see beauty and to feel peace. I want to say something eloquent and uplifting, but is that the right thing? It feels like it is not my place. Who am I to offer consolation to the faceless ‘others’? Does it not feel odd, being so intimate with those who we know nothing about?

On the other hand, what if people are seeking support? We all know how difficult it is to exist in this world without understanding, and all too often people cannot find it in the non-virtual realm. Who am I to withhold genuine care and concern, virtual or otherwise?

I guess what I am trying to say is. I have always felt an obligation to relieve suffering when I come across it. In the non-virtual realm I have the luxury of knowing more about the animal (human or otherwise) that becomes the focus of my care. I can judge whether I should just shut up and listen or say something and act. In this world I do not know enough. If I try to be supportive, I might cause more harm. If I do not, I might miss an opportunity to show genuine care and understanding. It is rare that I am frozen, not knowing what to do. But I am, quite honestly, stumped.

On a completely unrelated topic, I start my yearly three week fast today. I always get sappy, then bitchy, then bitchier, then sappy again. Since this is the first time that I have been ‘blogging’ while on it, I expect things to get interesting. Please forgive me, in advance, for anything that I say during this time.


Six hours into the fast, apparently I have skipped sappy.


I believe this is heaven to no one else but me


~ by aikaterine on July 31, 2007.

13 Responses to “boundaries…”

  1. Sometimes a fruit diet (I assume your fast is of that kind) can actually make your mind sharper. get all your vitamins!

  2. Nita –

    I am definitely taking my vitamins. My fast starts out with nothing but water for four days. Then a lemon water mix for three. Then fruit for two weeks. The first week is always the worst. But my yoga improves. It is all worth it in the end.

  3. I’ve found three basic types of tragedy blogs in here…

    1) People who have a serious mental illness and are trying to survive… these are what I call “recovery blogs” and are not necessarily tragedy blogs.

    2) People with serious issues which could, with time and support, be worked out in a satisfactory way. Like having a kid with autism, or grief management.

    3) The emo’s. People who post their emotions like it was vomit, then move on back into their Real World like nothing happened, because — really — nothing did. These people may, in the real world, have issues, but what they post has nothing to do with reality whatsoever.

    Most personal/tragedy blogs in here are number three’s. If you’re going to get emotionally invested in someone’s Blog Life make sure they’re a) real and b) trying to do something about their situation. It takes far too much time to get a relationship to the point where they’ll take your advice seriously enough where your input would matter. Everything you do in here, like becoming emotionally attached to someone who will inevitably suck you dry, takes away from your own recovery.

    As much as Manic Depression is a giant sucking black hole for the emotion of people around you, emo’s are worse. They do it on purpose.

  4. Thank you for the insight. I think that I might just limit my blog reading to the few people who seem genuine. Because I do not want to limit my instinct to care. It is too much a part of my moral system.

    It is difficult though, even with the people who I think are talking about reality, to know what to say. There is still so much that I do not know. And I do not want to cause harm.

  5. I think most advice to depressive people goes in one ear and out the other, as FTS says…it’s nice to get encouragement from strangers, and makes you feel a little fuzzy for, ooh, about 5 seconds, but has no real impact on someone who is actually a long term depressive.
    If it’s someone you have a friendship with, depending on the person, and their particular disease, and current level of insanity, you can have a positive effect, but I think it is only over time, in a constant supporting role. I don’t think any one conversation has much effect at all.

    So, if you don’t know someone, trying to help out is a drop in the ocean, but you know, if you have the spare time, and don’t get too invested as FTS says, why not, make a passing comment, a pat on the back, a ‘there there’, you never know….but you can’t get invested in everyone.
    You’re not the only person in the world, and you’re not responsible for anyone else but your own recovery. Go with your instincts I’d say, but keep a very close eye on your own emotional reserves…

  6. darkentries –

    I think that both you and FTS are right. And I have decided to limit my reading to a select few of the personal illness blogs (like mine). I am not willing to subdue the care. So, it seems best to limit the opportunities.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my plea.

  7. Okay, well…

    Yes, the virtual world can be very strange. I’ve mentioned on my blog that I used to co-moderate an online fora for all things mental and it just about killed me.

    At least with my blog I have control over what happens. Regardless…it can still be strange and you never know who you will meet and what can or may transpire.

    Still, my blog has and always will be such a free and open space–just know that. Say whatever the hell you want and I won’t be offended. Bloody hell, with the things I’ve written about…free and open? More like “free for all!”

    I don’t know if this response suits your post but I just wanted to let you know that you don’t have to feel like you need to silence yourself in any way…at least not on my blog!

    And I don’t know what category I fit into as far as fts goes but no fucking way am I emo…god, I’m 37! I guess, I’d be 1)…

    Oh whatever…I don’t like to be pegged anyway…

    Just kidding fts…you know I love you…you too aikaterine

  8. PA –

    You are such a freaking wonderful human being. You are open and welcoming and well, you are you. I have never felt trepidation on your blog. But I do appreciate you telling me not to, just in case.

    We talked about the ‘bubble’ on another post. I am charting new territory in this whole blog-virtual arena, in so many ways. And I find that I need to create a new ‘bubble’. It’s not an easy task to do something that you have never done before, when the consequences of screwing up involve another. And I am not sure it should be, because there is nothing more sacred to me than touching another soul. And my only regrets in life are moments where I have forgotten that.

    And I love you too. How could I not?

  9. Thank you for your compliments. And blog love! Whee! I can’t remember where you live or if you wrote about it but I’m flying down baby *wink*

    Blogging is bloody weird. I mean, everyone has their styles and what they want to talk about. I never, ever thought I would have one! I felt, who on earth would want to read my ridiculous thoughts and ramblings–I didn’t even know what I’d write about but I figured it would have a psych angle to it all. As they say–write what you know. I think you know the story as to how mine got started.

    You are not alone in being concerned about not knowing what to say to people when you read a post that really blows your mind. Or even if it doesn’t, you’re just not sure what to say to someone who is hurting. I have heard this over and over from other bloggers and they question if they are doing “the right thing” by remaining silent.

    It’s perfectly alright to do so. Or sometimes a simple post with a few words of understanding or that you are thinking of them etc… can still mean so much. You don’t have to write a 1000 word essay on their post. You don’t need to be “intimate” as you say–unless you really know the blogger and that’s completely fine–if you feel it’s fine?

    I think it also depends upon the content of the post. I know if I can relate then it makes it easier for me. Another thing is that if I see a lonely little post that no one has responded to then I will make some sort of comment! That makes me feel terrible!

    Some bloggers don’t get a lot of traffic or readers so I like to say something. Again, even it’s just like, “Wow, I can really identify with what you’re going through. I really hope you feel better soon.” That may sound kind of lame but you never know; it might still help the blogger out just to know that someone is listening and has read their post.

    I also know what it is like to want to relieve everyone’s suffering and burdens. I grew up that way but you can’t–in the virtual world or otherwise. You may want to so much (and I still do) but…?

    Another way that I’ve found blogging to be strange is how you skip along and change your reads. I used to be so much more into the med blogs but I haven’t read so many in so long. I think it’s because of my health and I just haven’t had the time or energy and also because my blog has changed a bit and taken much more of a psych angle than before. And I’m not writing as many pseudo-medical posts. Also, I’ve gotten to know more fellow crazies and reading their blogs has sort of consumed what time I have.

    So where the hell am I going with this…I think I need more tea!

    I think it all comes down to quite simply how you *feel* about it. What you read, if you think you can contribute in any way–albeit small–and that’s all well and good. I don’t think bloggers have high expectations and if they do, I don’t feel that’s the right way to approach blogging. Again, you write for yourself–not your/an audience.

    And oh yes, as far as the “bubble” goes…like I said, all blogs are different. I always maintained that if my blog could help at least one other person in their dealings with crazy head problems, then it has been a “success.” Again, that’s not really writing for your readership but more sort of a vague goal. Well, it has helped a person. More than one much to my surprise?

    I am grateful for that–very. It encourages me to keep blogging when I feel very low about it.

    Okay, I’m being a total spaz and trying to work and write this at the same time–without enough tea. Help me.

    I think simply by being aware of “screwing someone up” you probably won’t. You are very intelligent and you seem quite caring to me. Hardly a bull in a china shop?

  10. “Wow, I can really identify with what you’re going through. I really hope you feel better soon.”

    I might have to steal that from you.

    Thank you PA.

  11. All yours dear. Simple but effective?

    You are most welcome.

  12. The only ‘obligation’ you have is to relieve your own suffering not anybody else’s. Any goodwill you extend to others should never be at your own expense – physical, mental, social, or any other way.

    Yes, touches of support often help, but I also wouldn’t lie about the care/concern I express – to make someone feel better, I will not lie to myself. And that someone understands when I’m lying and when I’m being sincere.

  13. Mahendra –

    I should have used a term other than obligation, it was the easiest way for me to verbalize what I was feeling. That is the problem with language. I have never really viewed my care for others as an obligation, it is an extension of the love I feel for myself.

    I love and care for myself, and I do not see people as sufficiently different from me to not warrant extending that love and care to them.

    This was one of those things that changed when I met the Dalai Lama, the english language is not sufficient to describe it. I keep going back to, it is an extension of the love I feel for myself.

    And no, I would never lie about the care/concern I feel. I would never lie to myself about such things, so why would I do it to another. My problems are language issues, saying the wrong thing, wording my care the wrong way.

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