Afraid of being noticed?

I issued myself a challenge this month, to write an article a day. I have mostly kept it. I thought that I might make a difference, even if just a small one. The difference has been in myself, not in others, though: I’m feeling more anxious and paranoid.

The longer my words sit out on the Internet, the less I want to be noticed. In my job and my personal life, I am retreating, protecting myself. For the first two weeks, I guess it was cathartic, but since then I’m starting to feel unstable.

I don’t understand why this act of bravery (the Internet is a scary place) has resulted in me feeling timid and hesitant. If anyone has any thoughts or experience, I’m eager to hear from you.

I do think your writing is pretty good!

I can relate to your posts about burnout and fighting inertia.

Are you anxious about someone at work reading your posts ?

@OvercomingMyself, same here, lots of anxiety, but no (or little) paranoia.

I have no idea, just a story (and later some questions).

A couple of years ago I had my blog up and running for about six weeks. Some incoherent posts about this and that. One day at work, I chatted with a co-worker about something I don’t remember yet. I thought, well I’ve got this blog and I wrote a post about the exact topic we discussed and… and… hesitated to tell him about my blog. Fear. Failure. rm -Rf ~/wordpress. That pattern repeats each and every time I start a blog. Stopped counting how often I setup wp and started blogging.


What do you think causes your anxiety? Is it not being able to control who reads it or what others think of your posts? Fear that your thoughts could be used against you in an job interview or end up being ridiculed on hackernews? You wrote about feeling paranoia. Is it a fear someone could stalk you or hurt your family? Those are my fears…

I like your posts. I have two blogs but haven’t written an article in a long time.

When I started my first blog, I mentioned it to my coworkers. Some had positive things to say about my posts while most were silent (that’s cool with me). There was word of one instance that some others were making fun of it.

My goal for my blog was to make myself active in the wider dev community and to post little notes for myself to remember how to do different things.

It got a very small following at one point, but the thing that kept me from keeping up with it is remembering the times my coworkers made fun of it. Sounds childish, I guess.

At any rate, I love your posts.

I would link my blog here, but I’m afraid that it might out me since I don’t have my real name on this site and I have posted things here that might not be seen too favorably by my coworkers.

@monkeypatching I write under a pseudonym, so I’m not worried about people at work coming across it. I’m also careful not to mention real companies or people to minimize overlap. If they were to come across it and know it was me, it would almost be a relief - to not have to hide the depression and PTSD and my “radical” thoughts.

@Mart I definitely have all those fears, which is why I write anonymously. But I think you’ve hit on something close to home with:

@muffinman32 You have also struck something with:

This was why I originally started the articles. I was given feedback at work that I should consider writing technical articles for the company website (as a self-improvement goal). Once I got started writing, I realized I enjoy writing about non-technical things more.

Now that I am writing, I want to be able to share these thoughts with people (thank you all for being my supportive audience). Sometimes, I want to share them with people at work. So there is that disconnect inside me: the wish to give out a link to an article, and the drive to stay hidden and silent.

I also feel like I’m strong enough to deal with the criticism of faceless Internet hordes, but I fear that I may not be strong enough to face the criticism of my peers.

Maybe my paranoia is that I will slip up and my two worlds will collide.

There is another factor that I had not considered, but you guys have me thinking, now. I found this website because of a reference made by Greg Baugues. His ability to speak openly about depression and bipolar disorder, his willingness to put his name and faced out there on behalf of Pele like me, who are still living in fear, inspired me. So instead of putting my name out there, I’m hiding in the background, just online now. I’m ashamed of myself.

Idea, not sure how it would work out, but as your blog is anonymous, you could tell them, you’ve stumbled upon this one blog where some anonymous guy writes about XY. You know what I mean? Not sure if they will recognize you by your writing style.

Let us analyze it the Dr. Burns way :wink: - it won’t hurt myself, as I have similar thoughts.

Automatic thought: You think you should put your name out there.
Rational response: Some people put their names out there and others, the big majority, does not even blog. If you blog anonymously it is your decision and it is not for laziness but more an act of self protection.

…which brings us to the next thing…

Automatic thought: Greg speaks openly about his depression, so you are ashamed because you supposedly ‘hide’ in the background.
Rational response: Maybe you’ve shared your story with trusted people (spouse, parents, GP, therapist, maybe some friends) but not with your peers. This is an act of self protection, not hiding. This is not a reason to be ashamed. *)

*) It’s hard for me to find a better rational response, because also I think we should be strong and courageous and share our story openly. The same time, I’m afraid of the consequences. Trusted people know about my depression. I won’t tell certain people (peers, parents) because I know what they think of mental illnesses.