Thursday, May 14, 2009

Depression Wellness and Illness (Part 3)

Yesterday I wrote about how I feel about blogging when I'm depressed. Today, I'll focus on how I feel about blogging--and relationships with others--when I'm well.

When I'm well, I post on a wide array of subjects with the hope of helping others--and I don't need anything in return. I try to think of issues that might be helpful. If I've recently figured out a life lesson and/or read something I think might be inspirational, I like sharing it.

Knowing how horrible depressive episodes feel, I like trying to help others find insight. I find meaning in using my blog as a platform from which to discuss issues that might be helpful to us all.

For the most part, because I try to concentrate on positive aspects of healing, or share behavioral patterns that I may not like about myself but feel strong enough to publicly admit because I'm working hard to change them, I usually feel good about the comments I receive.

I genuinely like my readers, and I feel that within this universe we are the most upbeat and positive people.

I know the major difference between blogging while I'm depressed and blogging when I'm not has more to do with my own needs than with the response from others.

When I mentioned the blog stats yesterday (Immi, this is for you), quite honestly I know how to build an audience, but I'm not willing to do it in the traditional way. I'm not interested in posting more than once a day, which I know boosts my numbers. I don't want to write about "popular" topics that don't interest me. I choose not to spend my free time (other than this blog) talking about mental wellness or illness. I'm not interested in networking within this field nor do I wish to have a presence on Facebook or Twitter. And, I know that a key element of healing for me is engaging with people face-to-face, participating in activities I enjoy, and delighting in feeling so well!

In general, when I'm well, my relationships with people are positive. After years of medication-induced rapid cycling, it's no longer an issue for me. So, I no longer go from a depression to a hypomanic state. Usually, once I can feel the depression is over, it won't reappear until the season changes in October or November.

And now that I'm in therapy, I'm working on ways to see if we can prevent its recurrence altogether. My goal this year to "end" or totally diminish the impact of depressive episodes. Now that I'm feeling so much better, I've got a "to do" list of daily wellness activities that I think will make a difference.

What is so great about shifting out of my fall depression is that I no longer have to worry about it for the next five to six months. It's an amazing feeling to know I'll be well for such an extended period of time. And since is the third year running that I've felt like this, it's getting increasingly easy to return to "normalcy."


Mariposa said...

Going through all 3 posts is like reading a part of my journal. Depression comes to me like a theft in the night...and it leaves me just the way it arrives, rude and abrupt...

I share your sentiments...not wanting to talk to people...feeling tired...but mine gets worst because of this seemingly chronic fatigue and immune deffiency syndrome I get to have when my depressions gets to hit bottom. This is the hardest part...and today I feel I'm just slowly recovering from it...the illness, just had asthma attacks...I'm a bit better now yet still down. I'm trying to pull myself out by making a list of things to be grateful for...usually it starts with a silly feeling then it gets to be real...and it cheers me up.

Like you I also would want to help and share a lot...yet with my moods...I am not sure I can sustain, thus you get to see how random my topics are...I just try to sharee more and open up in comments...


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Mariposa,
For me, depressions go through stages. So, the rock bottom was in December when I wasn't blogging, and it truly was devastating. While I know I've felt equally bad during other episodes, at the time I wondered how I could survive.

This past few months, things have been far better. But it's been feeling like a low grade depression that I know is there, but it's lessening every day.

This is a different pattern because usually it goes away as quickly as it comes. So, I'm not really sure why it's been hanging on. However, I also know that I'll feel much better when it's totally gone.

I have always felt your comments are very honest and open, and I so appreciate that quality. I hope you know that.

And, as a reader of your blog, what I appreciate is your joy of living, your upbeat attitude, and your enthusiasm.

P.S. It must be very difficult to deal with asthma, and your other medical issues, and I feel you do a wonderful job!

Immi said...

I don't blame you for not being willing to do a traditional network build. Nor do you need to. We find you. And for us at least, it's good. I'm glad it is for you when you're not wrangling black dogs. :)

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Immi,
Isn't that the truth? :)


Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel (Alice Joyce) said...

Hi Susan,
Stopping by to say thanks for the link. I certainly support all your efforts and laudable blog. Best wishes, Alice

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Alice,
Thanks so much for dropping by. I'm a newbie gardener who's taking my first gardening class at UCLA Extension. It's a whole new world for me, and I love your blog!


katie said...

this is a wonderful post, susan - i'm so much appreciating your openness and sharing. i wish i had larger windows of time where i felt i could be more consistent in my contacts with otheres, like you said, it's part of the depression and i'm a rapid cycler. i've just had to let go of the need to be a "normal" person when it comes to consistent and timely contact with others - sometimes, if i get out of bed and accomplish a few things, i feel like it's okay. as i look back on my life, now that my daughters are adults i see that i was this way when they were growing up and farther back as well. it's just me, and i'm still in the process of learning to accept it fully. thank you again for your thoughtful musings (yours is one of the only blogs i'm reading these days :-)

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Katie,
I'm glad you're finding it helpful. Although I've always needed alone time, before I started taking medication I was only depressed for two six-week episodes a year.

But, for the last 15 years it was a different story. And what I'm dealing with is trying to forgive the psychiatrists who recommended drugs that dramatically worsened my condition and were so toxic, and the people who were so turned off by my behavior, which I'm willing to admit was erratic albeit medication-induced.

So, we all have our own demons to face, don't we?