I am an author who focuses on faith and mental health issues, particularly depression, anxiety, and fluctuating moods. My blog (faithsignanddiy.com) focuses on these issues as well, with a little DIY thrown in now and then for some relief.
I read a number of blogs about depression before I launched this blog.
I want to be kind with what I say next but I’ve done an exorbitant amount of research and I know what I’m going to say now is consistent with that research.
Many of these blogs posts sound the same all the time. They seem to be nothing more than a recounting of the host’s depression, ad infinitum. Then the comments are more of the same. Everyone reinforces everyone else’s low moods. Let me be very clear. Telling our story is a good thing but telling it over and over again is not. That is called ruminating. It’s a classic symptom of depression and if you are prone to depression but are symptom free, you can talk yourself right back into an episode by ruminating. I’m not suggesting that these blogs haven’t been helpful to some people but I question any long-term gains. If you were to visit a therapist, he or she wouldn’t allow a steady diet of rehashing, either.
For example, I posted on a young man’s post a few weeks ago. He was depressed but I didn’t encourage his depression by supporting his depressed mood. Instead, I encouraged him to think through some things rather than offer him only sympathy. I wondered how he would respond. He responded that he hadn’t thought about what I suggested and was going to give it a try. Empathy is good but sympathy can be counterproductive.
Again, I do not mean to cast aspersions on other depression-centered blogs. I’ve read some that are very good. Their content is honest but also encouraging. But it seems to me that many of them are no more than “dump” sites. They contain the garbage but they don’t compost it into anything else. It just sits there. You will hear me lament at times too (in fact in just a few minutes) and let you in on my bad days but if that’s what I do all the time, that means I’ve succumbed to the illness and I need to get back on track. There might be times that someone has to lament and pour out their hearts. I welcome that. I truly want to listen when someone is hurting. I know what that feels like. But I don’t want this blog to deteriorate into only that. I want this blog to offer encouragement and empathy, not just sympathy.
I’m having a rough time myself right now. Not depression but it could easily morph into that if I let it. That’s why I cleaned out some closets, got rid of some magazines and kept busy. It felt good to do something constructive instead of spinning my wheels trying to figure out everything.
At least I know what’s triggering it. As you know my mom is in the hospital and I have no idea what the future holds but none of the alternatives are appealing. I’m tired already and anticipate getting even more tired. For me fatigue, poor sleep and stress are huge triggers and I’ve not had this particular combo in nine years. I’ve shared my current struggle with one or two people but not every day and when I do I consciously monitor my conversation so it doesn’t turn into nothing more than self-pity.
Feel free to share how you’re doing but don’t be offended if I suggest that maybe you need to turn your attention to more constructive activities.