The Secret Life/Goodbye


I am saying cheerio for a while, because I need a break from being up my own hole. I still want to be involved in mental health activism and writing, so for any of those reasons, please do email me! I am still happy to be involved. It still means the world to me.

This whole blog is private now, and can’t be read anymore.   I have been thinking about doing it for a few months. I won’t delete it- this is almost four years of my life, here!  But I do want it to be, well, secret, for a while.  This will be my last post here for the foreseeable.

The last post highlighted and crystalised something that has been bothering me for a while, given the public nature of this blog.  Anything I have written- from yesterday to three and a half years ago- about things that happened- either yesterday, or ten years ago- can be found here.  In some ways, that’s useful for people, and for me, to look back and see where I’ve come from.  In others, though, it brings up things- events, mindsets, even writing styles- that I have moved on from, and makes my past present.

These days, I am doing much better.  I’m not recovered- I don’t think I ever will be. It’s something I am doing one day at a time (that hideous, vomitous cliche), without knowing if I will be returned to the worst.  The experiences have a scarring tentacle hold, lashed around your arms, legs, chest. They will always be there.  But I am recovering.  The swings are less severe, regulated to months and weeks, and I have learned to manage them, in some way.  If you know what to look for, well, you can see.  I still have the jittery demeanor of somebody waiting to be caught out.

However, there are parts of myself enshrined here that I don’t recognise anymore. And it’s just a younger person, a more dogmatic one.  I’m not like that anymore. I have grown up.

Part of wonders if it’s just unhealthy to be given to analysis, and I wonder…well, I wonder…if I stop looking, what I might find instead.

I’ve gotten a lot from it- not just friends, community and a place to speak about uncomfortable topics without being judged or ridiculed (for the most part). But lots of opportunities like BBC Ouch, One in Four and a radio play, (which still gobsmacks me!), stuff with Rethink and Mind, which hopefully they’ll allow me to continue.  And (some puzzling) accolades.  I have no idea why people read it, or where they came from, but I am proud of it.  It’s not out of shame, because I’m not ashamed. I’m not trying to deny, nor forget, the things I’ve written about here.

I just don’t want them to be so public for the moment.  I’ll still continue writing about it all in other places, and participating in things.  And I may even finally belt out the bloody book.  It’s fundamentally incompatible with what I’m doing right now, with university, and trying to get better.  One has to go for now, so it will be this.  At very least, I’ll return some posts to the archive at some point.

Right now, I need to be elsewhere and have the freedom from worry about everything already being out there, without the chance to speak for myself, now, as it is, as I am.

Sorry if this sounds like a histrionic Oscar acceptance speech- after almost four years, it doesn’t feel right to just shut down shop, without acknowledging the support and kindness you lot have given me.

Anyway, thank you, commenters, readers, voices both positive, negative, critical and comforting, for offering advice and for kicking me up the arse, and for everything.   Thank you for the 14,000 comments and the 3735 emails.  And for understanding when I am often too rubbish to properly respond.

You can always reach me at anne dot elk at gmail dot com (and please, don’t be shy about doing so, about anything) or update your bookmarks to, which I’ll now begin using again, to write about different things.

Onwards!  As a snotty writer, as a pretentious student, and as a mentalist.


Take care, and cheerio.

And here’s Neil Innes!

34 Responses

  1. take very good care of yourself and again, I thank you
    David :-))))

  2. This blog post makes me happy for you 🙂 Thank you for your writing- it’s helped me more than I can explain.

  3. Just so long as you don’t disappear, I don’t mind where you write. 🙂

    • Ditto.

      I will miss Mentally Interesting, but it sounds like you are doing the right thing. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, and I look forward to much more!


  4. Ditto Karita….
    Another cliche – onwards and upwards eh?

  5. Hello Seaneen,
    Good Luck and well done in all your writing about your life with M.D.
    Regards David.

  6. Yeah, same from me: here’s to the future!!

  7. 🙂 I wish you well with everything. Thanks for your writing here.

  8. You are inspiring, you will be great whether you blog here or not. Wishing you the best of the best x

  9. If life is anything it’s change. I understand where you are coming from and as you already know, the blog will be missed. That said, I am looking forward to what you have going on. ❤

  10. totally understandable and good luck with the new stuff 🙂

  11. Hmm.

    I guess your somewhat blotted honesty in your blog could well have sundered a potential avenue of work. Either your past is incompatible with nursing or the past you posted on your blog is incompatible with it…

    Let’s face it, people know your full name, your blog enteries are all cached in google and so are the details of the NMC. I guess you always have to be careful what you say, because if it’s a colourful interpretation, or isn’t compatible with your current lifestyle, it’ll be your undoing. Everyone conceals things when they start work, but if you hang your laundry in public, it either needs to be impeccable or you need to be unashamed of who you are.

    Very few people are unashamed thesedays. They’ll parade their mental health problems in the cosy confines of the community, but not where it really matters.

    • Lots of people with MH problems become nurses. Some of the best mental health nurses have a past experience of mental illness. Neither they- or me- are incompatible with nursing because of it. They might be for other reasons, but mental illness doesn’t automatically make you incompatible.

      I wouldn’t be, if I was at all, for the next four years. But I want the opportunity to disclose my problems on my own terms rather than have them disclosed for me. I have absolutely no desire nor interest in concealing anything, but I do not feel like I did when I started writing this, and it’s important to me to be able to speak for myself, now, as things are. It’s nothing to do with shame. The volunteer stuff I am trying to sort out (at a day centre) know all about my history, because they found via this blog. As for the past I’ve posted here, almost everybody who knows me well in real life reads and comments on this blog, and has done since the beginning, including my family. I’m not secretive about things.

      And this blog has been solely about mental health- it’s not the most balanced perspective. It isn’t something I want to worry about right now when I’m trying to focus on other things in my life, and nursing aside, I’ve been more and more uncomfortable with writing so publicly in the past year, and had been writing privately more often anyway. Once I get certain things over me and know what’s going on with everything, I’ll stick the archive up anyway.

      I think that is fair enough. It’s my bloody blog and my future, after all.

  12. wisdom beyond your years 🙂
    Go forth and prosper my sister.

  13. I must qualify. As someone twice your age who celebrated Thanksgiving 5 years ago in hospital, a lovely 11 day stretch. Its taken 5 years to semi recover after being diagnosed bipolar ( a lifetime of knowing something, something was really wrong) I was pissed, very open and forthcoming with the diagnosis. All that is now on a “need to know” basis, especially when it comes to employment.
    And I will very much miss your blog. Very much.

  14. I do hope you keep some of this up to read as
    i adore your writing. And you too 0 you will make a fine addition to any nursing staff anywhere.
    Bon voyage!

  15. This is the danger of being totally honest. After all, that idiot Nadine Dorries has more or less stated that anyone who can press a few keys on a keyboard is not disabled (or at least should not be receiving disability-related benefits). I was pretty much open with the assessment person when they were trying to see if I was `suitable` for CBT and I got the worst kind of patronising BS come back in a letter.

    Honesty is not always the best policy. I really hate to say that, but it`s only what I`ve observed (assuming that my perception isn`t skewed of course).

    Anyway, good luck for the future. 🙂

  16. I miss you already.

  17. Reasons is reasons, they’re yours. Saying hello inevitably means having to say goodbye. The bit inbetween was fucking brilliant. Its post coital and I’m gonna light up a fag pour some vino and remember the good times. Goodbye and good luck Seaneen and thanks for your time and passion.

  18. Totally applaud your response to Emma.

    I will miss your blog. Totally understand the reasons why you have chosen to make this your last post. Sometimes its just time to do things a different way. No need to explain. Thank you for doing so.

    You will be missed here by me.
    I wish you happiness, then more, then even more happiness. You are a vibrant wonderful human being and deserve good things.

  19. best of luck, but what will we do without you!
    Im glad you are doing this for yourself.

  20. Thank you for being an inspiration!

  21. Dearest Seaneen. Thank you so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so (etc, ad infinitum) much!!!

    I owe you hugely honey. You are a shining light and an inspiration. And I sense that, for you, this is a really sound and inspired decision. I somehow understand it.

    Thank you for existing, for being and continuing to ‘be there’ for me, and so many others.

    You are a true original. And I KNOW that we are all gonna see a lot more of you.

    Heaps love from your fellow blogger and (aspiring) writer. Z XXX

  22. Never delete your own life. Ever. If it can be stored on nothing/something tiny why worry about the non-space something as you say you know you will want to Have Somewhere if not Look At at some future time.
    One Day At A Time is all you can ever do anything by. (Unless staying up several in a row, for some “interesting” reason … (as you put it). )
    Akh do you want to hear personal crap from someone you barely know well I’ll say on TWO fronts I’m doing that. One seems suspiciously similar to yours and has necessitated an emergency dr’s appointment tomorrow. Up. Down. All over the place, me!! And certainly on no drug I know of (unless mysteriously spiked by pixie-goblin every single day ~ stoppit. Paranoia City….) so now someone else has to untangle that one. Because I certainly can’t do it. I’ve gone past worrying about my mood or state of mind. Everyone else seems to be doing that for me.
    Well this isn’t meant to be a cry for help or anything of that sort, rather a “glad to hear you’re doing so well, as it sounds”. I have been following your blog for ages, not always commenting v frequently. But always rooting for you, from somewhere across town.
    If this is goodbye then so long. Living in the same town (you are still in London? That’s where you appeared to be, unless my attention was worse than I thoughtit was!)… we might one day bump into one another, hopefully somewhere nice and not some dr’s waiting room!!
    All the best 😉

  23. Good Luck gorgeous girl.

  24. I found myself referring to you as a ‘friend’ in conversation the other day. We’ve never met, and most of our contact has been me reading about your life. However, I’ve come to think of you as a friend. Our struggles are similar and your stories about your life have helped me more than I could explain. Many, many thanks for this blog. I’ll miss you more than can explain, but totally understand your moving on.

  25. Excellent Seaneen
    i think this is a good decision; analysis is bad for your brain, usually best t o leave well alone once you’ve reached a certain point.
    Go forth, prosper and be happy.
    😀 😀 for you. 😀 xx

  26. Can I just say something about blogging because I do it a lot, I blog my private diary online. That’s basically what it is so people can say what they like. There’s no membership, no sign in it’s straight there and I’ve accidentally googled myself several times.

    Point being if you want to write about your moods, your life, your anything else, all you need do is give an account of what happened that day, from the perspective of the moment you write it. That’s all anyone can do anyway, but no particular “analysis” or picking over is required. Merely descriptive narration and enough recollection to commit something to cyber-paper. And that really is all.

    I got into a state where I basically have to track my own moods in some way shape or form and decided if I’m posting my life online I may as well put that on there too. But it felt too personal, too exposing and I blogged my way through a nervous breakdown that may well be bipolar (I went up, then up and down at the same time, then down, then up again… and so on) then I had commenters trying to be nice but it sounded like they were calling a beachball a pingpong ball to be frank. Then I had people implying I was self-indulgent. Then this was said and that was said and I posted a description of the entire event from the perspective of memory (because all you got at the time was my ranting, and I seemed FAR more together in print than I really was, by a long long way. People who saw me rather than just read me were badly shocked by the state I was in)… so because of all this and how intensely upsetting the entire thing was I really have to take a second look now at what is going online and what isn’t. For the time being it’s all staying on. I never delete, no matter how sad I might sound to someone. Never. But I do have an issue with telling the world something that was very very disturbing and fucked me up worse than anything else ever has done despite its relative briefness (but extreme intensity).

    So there we go.

    I said all this, and I only dropped round to say hi and see how you were I know you said you weren’t blogging I was hoping you were again….

    But I wouldn’t be too put off by thoughts of being self-indulgent. You’re lucky not to get strings of anonymouses saying very nasty things, some people I know do get that and it’s very cowardly and judgemental to people one of whom has bipolar and addiction, the other is just being herself.

    OK I’ll leave it there. Take care of yourself 🙂

    • I do get the anonymouses. I have a lot of people who are blacklisted from commenting- their comments go through to spam, and others are in moderation. And I get a pile of emails!

  27. how is this private? I don’t understand? Is it your new posts that haven’t been published? Either that, or it didn’t work …

  28. Hello darling,

    Thank fucking god I was just looking at my Referrers and decided to pop by at this (literal) juncture. I’m getting regular folks coming from you, so I was curious as to why. I never really did so many before.

    This post really resonates with me, but for different reasons. I’m not sure if you know what’s been going on in my life, lately. Regardless, I very much understand.

    I know for me, it is very hard to follow the advice I dole out to everyone else. However, you do what you need to do (as you are writing here.)

    Everyone is telling me things similar and more, based upon my situation. I’m still having an extremely hard time hearing my own words being echoed back! I’m just fumbling along, I guess. As I always do? You should definitely know that about me by now!

    I’m going to send you an email and Bookmark the link after I write this. If I don’t, I’ll surely forget!


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