Watching Me, Watching You – On (Maybe) Being Found Out

I hath returned, good readers!  I hope this post finds you well and contented.

“Well and contented” would be a laughably optimistic description of my current physical and mental status, at least in some ways – but we’ll start with the good things, shall we?  I’ve had the pleasure these last few days of connecting and re-connecting with friends whilst I was on a short break.

TEH GOOD STUFFZ

I have already mentioned K on this blog; it was with great pleasure that A and I saw her (again, in my case) on Monday night, along with her boyfriend N.  We spent several hours discussing BPD, cats, our obsessive attachments to our respective therapists, K and N’s work (both together and independent of one another), the sheer inadequacy of mental health services on the NHS, politics, how K’s and my BPD impacts on N and A, and general life.

The day prior to that A and I met Annie for the first time.  I would have called her ‘A’, but that would seriously confuse issues!  Annie and I have known each other online for quite a few months now so it was great to finally meet her.  We spent a great afternoon chatting about her kids, her pets, our pets, mentalism (Annie has bipolar disorder; her aunt to whom she is close also does, as well as possible BPD), Doctor Who (does anyone else think Matt Smith is fucking awesome?  Pertwee and Baker are still my favourites, but Smith is already vying for third place with McCoy) and Postman Pat (don’t ask).

I consider myself a highly fortunate person to have met such wonderful folks online such as these two.  And I’m meeting CVM next month too.  And then there’s all the lovelies I haven’t met, primarily but not exclusively from Twitter.  ❤ you all.

TEH SHITE STUFFZ

Following on from that point, last week a situation emerged wherein the support of such people as aforementioned was so profoundly welcomed.  As soon as I made others aware of the problem emerging, I received lots of supportive comments, tweets and emails, for which I am eternally grateful.

It made one thing brutally clear to me: this blog, and the people I’ve met through it in one way or another, mean more to me than nearly all of my entire family.  Family-orientated individuals may find that an outrageous and utterly callous statement, but I don’t care.  It’s true.

What happened was entirely my own fault.  I didn’t do anything consciously if that in any way mitigates my actions, but I was remiss – even reckless – in my accidental use of this online persona, one that is meant to be almost entirely disconnected from my offline one.

I had a couple of pictures on my iPhone that I wanted to share with my mother, so I simply emailed them to her using the built-in mechanism on the phone.  For those of you unfamiliar with the device, it lets you send photographs without the need to actually open your email client.  Unbeknownst to me, though, when you do this, it defaults to a particular email address of which I have three.

If you don’t know already, you can guess the rest.  When I checked my emails the next day I was horrified beyond description to see a response from my mother to the aforementioned email in my serialinsomniac.com accoount.  F.U.C.K.

A and I were due to head away for a few days that day, but I decided to call with my mother under the pretence that I needed to borrow something.  The plan was to get A to distract her whilst I went in to the PC and permanently deleted the email from her computer.  She’s not especially technical, so we reckoned we could just blame its absence (if she even queried it) on the fact that Microsoft is a pile of steaming horse manure (I’m a Linux girl ;)).

It was straightforward to accomplish this mission, and for a few minutes A and I breathed a mutual sigh of relief.  As if on cue, though, my mother then declared that she had forwarded the email on – to two of my cousins in the McFaul (McF) dynasty.

FF UU CC KK ad infinitum

This rendered the matter completely out of my hands.  Fuck fuck fuck.  I wasn’t so worried about one of the recipients – her being an internet novice even more than my mother – but the second person would have the potential lack of stupidity to Google the term ‘serial insomniac’ had she noticed it or cared about its relation to me.

So, my first instinct was to password the entire blog, as you can do with blogs hosted at wordpress.com (as I used to be).  However, since I now run the blog myself, this option does not exist; I assume that WP’s supposition is that you would not pay for a domain and hosting if you didn’t want people to read that which was on the domain and hosting.  Instead I looked for a plug-in (a third party application that adds further functionality to WP) that would permit passwording of the entire site, found one, and installed it straightaway.  A and I left to head to our destination, feeling that the problem was temporarily solved; all my regular readers could visit essentially as normal, random voyeurs who might be my family could not.

When I arrived I was distraught to note that the blog was totally inaccessible; the plug-in had completely fucked it up.  It wouldn’t allow you to get to a page where you could enter the password and I couldn’t even get into the administrative pages, so I couldn’t delete the damn thing.  It was stuck on an endless loop of blank-screeniness.  My original concern of having been ‘found’ was replaced with a new one – that of having lost everything.

The first few hours of our break were therefore devoted to looking for a wireless network so as A could download an iPhone FTP program and access the site directly, independently of WordPress.  I was crawling up the walls with crazy.  I don’t know how many words I’ve written during my time on this blog, but I have something like 125 posts – of up to 8,000 words each (as seen here) – chronicling, so far, one of the most difficult years of my life.  Not to mention over a thousand comments of wonderful feedback and support.

In those few hours I made the realisation that I cared more about the preservation of the blog than I did about the potential discovery of it by my family.  If all hell broke loose – well, it just did.  I didn’t (and don’t) want it to, but that is actually preferable to being silenced or hidden.

The long and the short of the story is that Lovely A rescued the blog, and I password-protected certain key posts rather than the entire thing (I’ve since removed all passwording except the original four and the family tree).  Over the next few days, I monitored closely search terms that were getting here (after initially revoking search engine access, I later asked myself why the bloody hell I should do so.  Those few days have adversely affected my stats, but onwards and upwards, eh?) and what posts were being read, to see if there were any suspect or anomalous referrals.

TEH OUTCOMEZ

In my view, some of the search terms leading here and some of the reading patterns were kind of unusual.  Disproportionate numbers seemed to be searching for “serialinsomniac.com” or “serialinsomniac”, rather than “serial insomniac” – in others words, it looked to me like someone was Googling the actual URL rather than the blog name (as if having seen the URL in an email).  This isn’t unknown in the past, but it’s not been terribly common.  In all probability, I’m being over-sensitive, but one never knows.

I’ve started making an effort to change some names.  You can see some of the key ones on this page, and others are already changed in the archives which you can look at it if you need context.  I’m abandoning many of the old initials completely so if you need clarification on who a new name refers to, you’ll need to contact me.  I’ll try to add to the ‘Emsemble’ or family tree page with names that weren’t previously included as soon as I can.

I’m also monitoring the geographical location of people finding their way here.  I’d like to assure you that if you are outside a very tiny geographical triangle of Northern Ireland that I will pay no attention whatsoever to where you are, what your IP is, etc – so normal, genuine readers should not feel discouraged from reading.  Please, please don’t stop reading and commenting!

TEH AFTERMATHZ

To the Family:  If you’re from the McFaul family (or any other part of it for that matter), with the IP tracking site I will see you and I will block your IP addresses, rendering you unable to access this website.  I don’t care if I have to pay a fortune to maintain that; you have no place here.

If you are concerned that you recognise yourself, then grow the fuck up.  Everything has been, and will continue to be, anonymised.  The lengths that I have gone to to protect you should be appreciated, not condemned.  And if you don’t want to become aware of matters about which I write then don’t fucking read what I write.  Think I’m lying about Paedo?  I don’t give a shit; what I’ve had to go through thouroughly and utterly trumps any disgust you may feel at what I’ve revealed.  Think I’m being unreasonable about how manipulate and oppressive Paedo’s missus is?  Then you’re deluding yourselves.

In short, I won’t go into a closest for you people, and I don’t care if you don’t like it.  Try and read if you want to, but I will stop you; I’m not going to be in the position where I have to try and pay lip service to you here, on my own fucking diary, as well as in ‘real life’.  This journal is my pride and joy, my own little corner to bitch and whine with impunity about my illnesses, to rant and cry about what all of my family have done to me at various points in my life, to explore the weird dynamics of therapy.  And everything else in between.  And it’s staying as it is.

To everyone else:  So I’ve joined the ranks of mentalist bloggers that have been found by real life.  I know I’m in a long-line of such people…how did you handle it?

There’s a good bit more to report than that which has been detailed, mainly in reference to the aftermath of recent discussions with C, but I’ll leave that for another post.

I’ve been absolutely shite at replying to comments, emails and even tweets recently.  I am genuinely sorry for this, and hope you don’t think it means I value each and every one of you less, because I love you people.  I do.  I know I haven’t met most of you, and I don’t even know most of your ‘real’ identities – but it doesn’t matter.  Your feedback, empathy, advice and wonderful support has meant so much to me over the last 11 and a half months.  Here’s to the next 11 and a half years.

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Watching Me, Watching You – On (Maybe) Being Found Out

  1. Pingback: Pandora

  2. I’d feel pretty devastated if I lost all my posts. It would feel like losing a record of my life. So I’m glad that you or rather A managed to get your posts back.
    Hopefully you are not found by your family members. You are right though, that you shouldn’t have to censor and hide things just to please them. This is your blog, and your space to write about what you want.
    I’m currently dealing with my friends finding and reading my blog. This week friend has admitted to reading my blog for about 4 months now, without me knowing, and has therefore found out a lot more about my mental health issues than I ever wanted her to know. Have reacted by deleting a lot of my posts on my old blog, and moving my blog from Blogger to WordPress.
    Hope your situation resolves without too much damage done.
    Take care,
    Cassie

    • What a nightmare Cassie, I’m so sorry you were found. And how awful your friend only just told you – that must feel like such a betrayal 😦

      In some ways I wish I’d kept the blog ‘just’ on a hosted blog; it would have made it easier to move. But I’m so established by the ‘Serial Insomniac’ moniker that it would still be difficult. Ah well. I don’t think they’re reading, but if they are, they are. The damage will already be done by now anyway.

      Take care and thanks for commenting x

  3. I only started reading your blog recently but I applaud you. Your honesty is worth fighting for. Families are tricky – it sounds like you can’t completely walk away from them, but you want them out of your business. Maybe, if you have to jump through so many hoops to keep them off your site, you should let them deal with the facts that you write about that they apparently don’t want to look at. It sounds like you expended in inordinate amount of energy to protect them – causing lots of anxiety for you. Not what you need. xxkris

    • Thanks for your kind words Kristin, really appreciate them. You’re absolutely right – I’ve gone to a lot of trouble to protect people, but at the end of the day, I only report the facts here (and do so anonymously), and I’m not going to hide away just to protect people further. My writing means too much to me.

      Thanks again, and take care x

  4. Pingback: Maria

  5. Pingback: Pandora

    • Couldn’t agree more. At the end of the paragraphs to the Mcf family, I wanted to yell ‘here here’ at the top of my lungs.

      We all love what you’re doing here Pan. As someone else said your writing is worth fighting for, and you are _not_ the person the finger of blame should be directed on all this.

      Be safe
      Kate

  6. You’re brave, I don’t know what I’d do if someone found out about my blog. I mentioned it to Fr S last week and he looked it up while I was there and I found it excruciating and he gets good mentions. I don’t know what I’d do if one if my family came accrss it – move to a small island without any direct flights from Scotland probably.

    I’m glad you’re back and had a good break. Good luck with C tomorrow xxx

    • Hope it never happens to you. I suppose I’ve made a mistake in trying to publicise this in some ways, so it’s probably more easily found. Plus I’m too stupid to send emails properly :p

      Anyway, thanks honey 🙂 *hugs* xxx

  7. Shit! How truly awful. But I too commend your continuing. Your writing is very much worth fighting for. Glad you are back. take care of you x

    • Thanks very much hun 🙂 I agree; even though I don’t always think I write well or with any point, I do value this blog considerably and as such feel it’s worth fighting for. At the end of the day, as stated elsewhere, I’m only detailing the truth. If others don’t like it it’s not my problem.

      Take good care xxx

  8. I applaud your position on this. Any of your family members who find this, and read it, should be shocked and appalled not that you have written the content you have; rather, they should be horrified by the nature of that content. If they choose to believe that you are a fantasist or are malicious, it is very much their problem, not yours. For the record, as you know, I do not think they will find this material; however, if they do, and are reading this, then my message to them is this: blame the monstrous criminal, not the helpless victim.

    Seeing your devastation at the possible loss of the blog made it very clear to me how much it means to you. Carry on! What you are doing is valued not only by me but, clearly, by so many of your readers.

    • Of course, they won’t see me as a “helpless victim”; to them I’d be the “monstrous criminal” because they think I’m either (a) a delusional fantasist or (b) an outright malicious liar. But I don’t care. The people that mostly really matter know that it’s for real.

      xxx

  9. It would be awful for me to have my blogging world found by my real world. My husband and one of my therapist know how to access it but that’s it. I don’t think I’d care too much about my family finding it since I’m not close to them and never will be. It’s having my friends and community find it that stresses me out. I’m really intentional about writing in an annonomus way. But there are no guarentees are there.
    Anyway, I’m sorry for the stress you had to go through with this. I’d be pretty darn upset too.

    • Yeah, it’s difficult. I’ve heard of people whose blogs were completely anonymous still being ‘found’. I’ve no idea how, but it can happen. I don’t think it’s something about which to worry unduly, but it’s worth being mindful of it nevertheless.

      Like yourself, a couple of people I know in real life can access my blog; I know that my partner A has found it very valuable in terms of my articulating various aspects of my experiences and illnesses, so it’s not a bad thing for people one knows to access blogs in that way. But the whole damn thing has to be complicated by those that aren’t meant to know lol! Wish it was easier to divide it 🙂

      Take care x

  10. Pingback: This Week in Mentalists – The iPad Verbosity Incompatibility Edition « Mental Nurse

  11. Hi! I’m some other random nutjob from Northern Ireland – just to let you know in case
    my IP indicates me to be within your geographical triangle-of-interest that I *am*
    a stranger. I sort of wandered onto your blog (I think from twitter or some train of
    thought) in the middle of last night, and it’s done me a power of good already. Nice
    to see someone who can actually string together a sentence, let alone lace
    paragraphs together. Hope you’re feeling OK. ‘Night.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s