Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Depression Wellness and Illness (Part 2)

This week I'm posting about the changes I notice in myself during a depression episode, and when it's over.

4. Blogging. When I'm depressed I find it very difficult to write this blog. The first reason is because my blog is entitled Wellness Writer, and I always feels it's somewhat hypocritical to call myself a wellness writer if I'm undergoing a depressive episode. A few months ago I wrote a post about this, and the answers I received suggested it isn't a problem for my readers.

But the second reason remains a real impediment. When I'm severely depressed, I need to marshal all my resources to aid in my own healing. So, spending a few hours a night writing a post, responding to comments, and visiting other people's blogs is exhausting.

During a major depression, I'm also unable to read about other people's problems (something Marja discussed in a comment from yesterday). A depression makes me feel so vulnerable that I can't set appropriate boundaries. So, if someone writes to me about how miserable they feel, I'm devastated for them. If they tell me about their problems, I can't cope with their unhappiness and my own. And if they write a comment I feel isn't sympathetic or kind, my feelings are terribly hurt.

In the same vein, when I'm feeling bad about myself, I focus far too much on the blog statistics. If my numbers are down, I feel unappreciated. If they're repeatedly down, I feel like I'm investing too much effort in a project that isn't giving me the returns I need. If I go through the blogroll, and read a series of posts that I find depressing, I find myself eliminating blogs from the blogroll.

If people reach out to me, and I respond, and they don't thank me, I feel unappreciated. If they don't respond to the comments I leave on their blogs, I stop reading them. If I can't find helpful tips and advice, techniques that work, stories that inspire me, and quotes that uplift me, I stop reading all the blogs that don't help me achieve wellness.

Tomorrow I'll write about how differently I feel about blogging when I'm well.


Gianna said...

Susan...I'm responding to hardly anyone right now and in general can't respond to everyone all the time in any case...

know that I always love you and think of you as a special friend.

sallyo said...

I feel similarly about my blog, and I'm the well spouse of someone with bipolar disorder (most of the time anyway, although sometimes I get down from the stress of it all). Your blog gives me insight into how my husband feels and how to better help him with his disorder.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Gianna,
I know how ill you are, and I know you know that I'm sending love your way. Thanks so much for writing, and I consider you a special friend as well!

With love,

Wellness Writer said...

Dear sallyo,
Thanks for letting me know. I'm glad that what I'm writing is helpful to you, although everyone's experience with bipolarity is so different.

Actually, I've tried a couple of times to leave comments on your blog, but I'm not able to. When I hit "comments," nothing comes up.


katie said...

i appreicate you susan, and all that you put out in your blog. when i am depressed, which in all honesty feels much of the time, i don't have the energy to be very contactful with others, which is why i drop off the face of the earth. when i drink alchol, sometimes that helps create a space to communicate, for me to reach out. it's the typical bipolar scenario, one i wish i didn't have but do. i'm afraid i've hurt a lot of peoples feelings by not responding to comments, not following their blog. i just don't have the resources much of the time to do it = please know that i care, even if i do drop off the face of the earth for awhile. it's not you, it's me, as george from seinfield would say :-)

xo katie

Immi said...

It is helpful to me, always.
Though I continue to feel weird because there's no point I worry about blog stats and I often feel I should. I'm glad it doesn't add to my depression at least. I'm sorry it does to yours.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Katie,
Thanks for your comment, and your honesty and candor. Sometimes, we're the recipient of behavior that hurts our feelings, and sometimes we're the causal factor of that for others.

Like you, I try to let people I care about know when I feel I may have hurt their feelings by my absence.

But, sometimes it's just unavoidable, and I'm so exhausted by the depressive experience itself that I don't have the energy to try and figure out who I might have hurt by my inability to communicate when I was feeling so depressed.

Anyway, thanks for letting me know!


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Immi,
I'm glad it helped. It's great for you that you don't care about stats.

Because I made my living as a professional writer for 20 years, I have a problem investing my energy in a writing project--particularly one I'm not getting paid for and which requires a lot of time and energy--if I'm not being read.

However, my feelings change somewhat when I'm not depressed.


Wendy Love said...

You sound perfectly normal to me,but then...look at me!
Wendy Love

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Wendy,
Isn't that the truth?