Now that I’ve introduced myself, however verbosely, I suppose I should discuss why I’m writing this blog. The honest answer is, I’m not really sure. I don’t know if I’ll ever make this blog public beyond a few friends, although it might be nice. But then, I also have to consider if that would be detrimental to my social and professional lives. It also depends on if I have the steam to keep it going. In the meanwhile, I’m going to write it as if it was a public blog. Sorry, dear hypothetical reader, I won’t be giving you too many of the grisly details.
I’m mostly hoping that the act of writing might be a part of my treatment process. I am seeking treatment beyond just writing this blog, of course. I take the antidepressant bupropion. Sometimes I use trazodone to help me sleep (Insomnia is a common side effect of antidepressants. Trazodone is also an antidepressant, although that’s not why I use it.). I take vitamin D3 supplements (despite being a ginger). I see a therapist. Not always successfully, I try to watch my diet, exercise, and sleep habits.
Sometimes it seems like treating my dysthymia is like playing whack-a-mole. You feel really good about yourself for all that animal abuse you’ve just inflicted because damnit, you knocked them down! Then, in a moment of weakness or inattention, you let one slip. This gets you down. Then, all those other moles you thought you’d shoved sufficiently back into their holes come rushing back out. Anyway, my analogy is wearing thin. Just think of this blog as one of my mallets.
The inspiration to start this blog actually came from a post from the great Coping with Depression blog by Erin Schulthies and Jennifer Tazzi. The post discusses coping with depression while you’re unemployed. I’m fortunate to have never been unemployed, but the post got me thinking how much I’ve relied on my employment to distract me from my underlying mental illness. I’ll go into that further in a future post, but I thought it might be interesting to start a blog exploring the interaction between dysthymia and employment. My identity is almost inextricably linked to my job in a not terribly healthy way. I’m not sure I fully know who I am independent of the job I’m doing at any particular time. There’s an interplay between my job and my mental illness that I think is worth exploring, and I’d imagine I’m not the only person for whom that’s true.
There are so many good depression blogs out there. The aforementioned Coping with Depression. Erin Schulthies’ other blog Daises and Bruises. Douglas Cootey’s A Splintered Mind about overcoming depression and ADHD. The sadly silent-of-late Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. Many more that I’m failing to mention. Hopefully, I can contribute a few new ideas to the mix, or at least think through some ideas for my own treatment process. In future posts, I hope to explore a lot of things: the work versus home persona, jobs and identity, who and how to tell about your illness, the dangers of “natural” remedies, the interplay of depression and atheism, how workplace leave and health insurance policies affect mental health treatment, and more. We’ll see how far I get.