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My Decision to Be Private

If you are reading this post today, it’s because you have become a great blogging friend.  After Friday’s events, I struggled with the decision of whether or not to make my blog private for the time being.  My decision has wavered a few times in the past 48 hours as my emotions and my self confidence have fluctuated.

I don’t feel like I have done or said anything wrong.  I recognize that there are some people who feel that my one recent episode of “venting” was inappropriate and ill-targeted, but that is just their opinion.  I did not want to privatize my blog because I don’t have anything to hide.  I was worried that people would think I am conceding that I was wrong by hiding my content.  It is for that same reason that I approved *almost* all of the negative comments that were left – people are entitled to their opinions, after all.

As I said in my post yesterday, I was surprised to learn that a number of people I work with have been reading my blog.  I’m not sure how it was found, and I don’t really care much about that: This was a public space and I am comfortable with what I have posted previously.  I struggled at work on Friday because as the day went on, blog traffic from my hometown was beginning to skyrocket and I knew people who knew me were talking and checking in to see what my response would be.  It became increasingly difficult for me to interact with other residents and nurses because I suspected that any of them could be involved in my online crucifixion.  I elected to speak to one of my chief residents, whom I’ve come to trust, about my predicament.  I asked her what she thought, what the consensus was, and I ran some of my ideas past her.

In summary:
She knew about my blog and she named a handful of other more senior residents whom she’s heard have been reading my blog.
She said she heard that once, someone thought maybe I had written something about one of our staff, and she named who.  Obviously this rumour never spread because that was never true.  I have never blogged specifically about any of my staff members, especially considering that I have been off service for the last 8 months of residency.
She said she knew for sure that one staff person has visited my blog, ands he told me who it was.  I was recently on call with this staff and they never made nay indication of this, they were extremely friendly, engaged in great teaching opportunities with me (we did 7 c-sections that shift and each one I got to do more and more) and at the end of the shift they gave me an excellent evaluation of my shift.
She thought it would be a shame for me to stop blogging because it seems like it is an important part of my life.  Since I rarely blog about work, she didn’t think it was an issue unless it continued to bother me.
She said she would support any decision I made about how to deal with it and that I could come talk to her anytime I wanted to.

After that conversation I felt much better and I realized that everything would be okay.  While I was in this meeting though, I received an extremely inflammatory, almost harassing comment from an anonymous user who was obviously someone in my program.  I didn’t even approve the comment, but after it was posted, the traffic continued to flow.  I was beginning to feel targeted and as if people were coming to my blog to comb through my life and criticize me.  I was not coping well with that thought, and for that reason, I closed my blog to the public.

After getting some sleep and talking with my husband, I reopened my blog and posted my response yesterday.  I still maintain everything I said then, and I do partially regret that I have had to make this private again.  The majority of people reading my responses yesterday were from around here and while I am generally okay with people I know reading my blog, I am not comfortable with the feeling that people are reading my blog as a form of negative criticism.  I did a little bit of “blogging” research last night and tracked the IP address that was associated with the harassing comment.  The IP address tracked to a rather remote and rural place in Northern Canada where our program sends residents to do the rural component of our program.  I know there is one resident from our program who is stationed up there right now.  This IP address also corresponded to a the comment left a few days ago by a “Jengyne,” who criticized me for my sarcasm.  Finally, this same person signed up for email notifications from my blog 5 days ago, and they used their university associated email address to receive these notifications.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that the email address belongs to the resident who is currently situated up in that Northern Canadian rural location.

The horrible comment from a fellow resident

With this new knowledge in hand, I was sick to my stomach thinking about all my rather recent and friendly interactions with this person.  I decided, in that moment, that I no longer felt comfortable writing anything on my blog as long as this person was going to be getting notifications of everything that I write – work related or not.  Until I work though this more, I decided that I needed some privacy from the people around me.  I could have chosen to stop blogging, but I love my blog and I love my readers – especially those of you here, who read often and offer me support – and I couldn’t imagine getting though this time without blogging.  Over the last 3.5 years, my blog has become a part of me and navigating this difficult situation without all your support would have been impossible for me.

Thank-you for always being here for me.

(P.S. If you’re interested in reading about the only time I ever blogged about watching a forceps delivery, you can do so here)

5 thoughts on “My Decision to Be Private

  1. I’m just catching up on all of this because I’ve been away from the computer for the past couple of days, but I just wanted to say that I fully support you and am sending lots of love. I’ll write a better comment when I’m not sitting in the middle of a field, trying to type on my phone. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so sorry that you’ve been dealing with all of this. When I saw the comments yesterday, I was so confused. This is your place to write, to pour your heart out. You keep it anonymous. Part of me wonders if just one person from your work found it (the person whose IP address you found) and that one person is mad and making it sound more widespread at your work. Also, you’ve never said anything bad at all here! Agh, I’m just so frustrated for you!

    Also, I’m glad you were able to reach out to me with an invitation to be a blog reader. When you switched your blog name a while ago, I got lost in the shuffle since I don’t subscribe via email. I’ve always subscribed via RSS. But now that you’re private, I think it makes sense to subscribe via email so I receive a notification when you post (private blogs don’t feed through RSS). Also, if for some reason you change your blog name again, I want to make sure I don’t lose your blog!

    Keep your head up and stay strong. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mel! I love that you come back all the time to read my blog! I hope you will still get notifications by email now that you are an approved reader, but if you don’t get anything for a while, please stop by to make sure (I don’t know how the private blog thing works).
      I think that there are enough people at work reading my blog. I suspect that most people were happy to keep it anonymous and respect my desire for that. How many people I angered, I don’t know. But i suspect it wasn’t more than two or three… I just did’t like feeling like someone was picking through my life to find reasons to criticize me.

      Like

  3. I hadn’t read the comments from anon when I received your private invitation, so I was confused about what was going on. I backtracked to solve the mystery and was horrified. What a nightmare for you.
    However, thinking about it last night, it occurred to me that the Anon comment was extremely exaggerated, I suspect he/she is someone who is envious of you, or your skills, or has some other inane reason to dislike you. My experiences with gossip in hospitals is that a small number get their kicks about a bit of gossip, and may talk about it to others, but they don’t increase the ranks of the gossipers. Of all those who did investigate your blog, I suspect most of them found nothing to fuss about. You are right, you haven’t spoken badly about other staff.
    The reality is that the few that may be enjoying the gossip at your expense are the ones who have a problem, not you. You are authentic, honest, and open, and I admire those traits. Hold your head high, and know that most of the staff are your friends, so don’t alienate them with fear about who’s camp each staff member is on. Without fuel, bullying dies a rapid death.
    So sorry you’ve had to suffer this.

    Liked by 1 person

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