Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Wellness Activity: Email

Email is a lifeline for a sick person. It always worked for me when I felt depressed and and wasn't interested in squandering my reserves by trying to amuse my friends.

My friend Darcy said she felt the same way when she was undergoing chemotherapy. "I would come home from chemo and feel nauseous with flu-like symptoms for hours. The last thing I wanted to do was to talk with people on the telephone but I did want them to know I was okay. So I'd email everyone but my mother, who doesn't have a computer.

"It was great," she continued. "When I'd awaken, I'd have all these emails in my inbox wishing me well. Some friends would send me funny email cards from American Greeting Cards.com although they don't really have a category for cancer survivors. But they should, don't you think?"

While writing greeting card copy for cancer patients with a sense of humor may be Darcy's new career path, we both agree that the value of email as a lifeline has the following advantages:

1. We don’t have to respond to messages until we're ready.
2. Writing email gives us the freedom to craft our message, review it, edit it, and rewrite it.
3. Whether our voices sound sad or weary, no one can tell, and we both appreciate that kind of privacy.

While some might argue that being unable to hide illness is good because it enables your loved ones to "reach out and touch you," Darcy and I disagree. Life, after all, isn’t a telephone commercial.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I sure know what it's like to feel like you can't talk during a depression. I use email the same way.

Callie

marja said...

Hey! I like you Susan, and will stay in touch. About this post: I still feel we need to try to be around people when we're depressed - esp as we're starting to feel ourselves slip. Having some close, supportive friends who you can talk to - no matter how bad you feel - is helpful. We all need one or two of those.

Amateur Dancer said...

hi susan,

i saw you on marja's blog and came over to see your blog.

i love it! i am a big advocate for looking to creativity (along with staying on my meds)...to live in wellness with bipolar...

it has been interesting so far, but i am getting better at it...i am determined to live WELL with this thing :-)

i like your blog. very nice!

dancer

marja said...

Hi Susan, I want to leave a comment on your most recent post, Celebrating My Polarity, but can't - there's no "0 comments" button. Why is that?

Bipolar Wellness Seeker said...

Marja,
I couldn't figure it out so I went to a blogger help group. It was some sort of a "bug" in the system and I had to manually get the comments back. Sorry!

Susan

Rob Johnson said...

Susan,

I like your suggestion for using email when depressed. When I am at my worst and isolating, I find it helpful to talk to others who have experienced the type/depth of depression that I am feeling. When a well-meaning friend says things like...

"You just need to give yourself a kick in the rear."

"It's all in your mind."

"As you get stronger you won't have to wallow in it as much."

"Stop feeling sorry for yourself!"

"You have it so good, why aren't you happy?"

"It's a beautiful day!"

"You have so many things to be thankful for, why are you depressed!"

"What do you have to be depressed about?"

"Happiness is a choice."

"You think YOU'VE got problems?"

... it only makes me feel worse. I attend a weekly support group and there are some there who fully understand my pain and can relate.

That helps me the most.

Rob

Wellness Writer said...

Rob,
I have come to realize that unless a person has been depressed, he/she can't possibly understand what it's like. All of the advice--of the pull yourself up by your bootstraps vein--is so annoying that it makes you want to smack the person who says it. If we could, we would. Wouldn't we?

Susan

Rob Johnson said...

Susan,

I know there have been MANY times when I wanted to. I do it in my head, it's less painful to the other person. Even when I'm depressed, I'm thinking of the other person. What's that about?

Rob

Wellness Writer said...

Rob,
Have you ever considered that you're thinking of the "other person" too much? I used to be like that and changed because I realized that while I always thought of others' point of view, few people thought about mine. Now, I only consider other people's feelings if they consider mine.

Susan

Rob Johnson said...

Susan,

Yes, there many times. Sadly, I had to extricate my own mother from my life. She has been an alcoholic as far back as I can remember (I'm almost 49). I set some boundaries and she couldn't abide by them. She was a very toxic influence on my life and it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

I like your way. I've certainly got quite a ways to go to put my own mental health first.

Take care,

Rob

Wellness Writer said...

Rob,
I do believe there are "toxic" people, and it's very sad when they are related to you. But, sadly it's a lesson I've learned as well. My brother and sister are no longer a part of my life. They were terrible to my mother when she was dying from dementia and to me during my illness.

But, now that they are no longer a part of my life, I don't miss them. And I have some very good friends who are like family!

Susan