I read a number of blogs about depression before I launched this blog.
I’ve done a large amount of research about depression and I know what I’m going to say now is consistent with that research. So what I say next is said with kind intentions.
Many blogs seem to tell the same story over and over again. Every day is terrible. The comments are more of the same with most people reinforcing everyone else’s low moods. I read these and ask myself, “How is this helping?” I also ask myself, if a person is that miserable day after day, wouldn’t they want all the help they could get?
And when does depression turn into choices?
I know some of you out there are going to think I’m really being harsh but I remember when I was that miserable. And I would’ve moved any mountain I had to, to get better. I worked seriously hard to get better. It was no easier for me than anyone else. I’m certainly no super-hero.
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 one most experts agree is counter-productive. Even if you’re depression-free for a period, 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 commented on a young man’s post when I started blogging. He was depressed but I didn’t encourage his depression by supporting his depressed mood. I let him know I heard him but I also 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.
(I don’t offer unsolicited advice anymore though. I now ask if the author of the post would like any suggestions. I’ve learned many people aren’t that interested in getting better, just commiserating. But, of course, maybe the mere act of them recording their thoughts is therapeutic for them. Of course, I would think if that’s the reason one is posting, that it would be a better idea to keep their blog private. 🙂 )
Empathy is good but sympathy can be counterproductive.
Again, I do not mean to cast aspersions on other blogs. I’ve read many that are very good. Their content is honest but also encouraging. But it seems to me that some 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 need to get back on track.
One of the ways I monitor my personal feelings is by reading my own posts. If there’s too many days of me sounding “down”, I know I need to look at my thinking, my actions, my habits, etc.
There are times someone has to lament and pour out their hearts. I welcome that on this blog as well.
I truly want to listen when someone is hurting because I know first-hand what depression feels like. But I don’t want this blog to deteriorate into only a place where that is all that happens. I want this blog to offer encouragement and practical steps. I try hard at staying abreast of the topic and offering as much practical help as I can. When a person feels there is something they can do to help themselves, they feel empowered, a sadly lacking feeling when one is depressed.
I’ve been under some stress lately. Not depression but it could easily morph into that if I let it. That’s why I cleaned out some closets,discarded some books and magazines and kept busy. It felt good to do something constructive instead of spinning my wheels trying to figure out everything.
I know what’s triggering it. Its fatigue, poor sleep and stress. These are huge triggers for me and it’s been a while since I’ve experienced this particular combo. I’ve shared this but not every day and when I do, I consciously monitor my conversation so I just don’t go on and on. That only makes a person feel worse.
I want you to feel free to share on this blog how you are feeling but please don’t be offended if I offer suggestions or ask questions. I think we’re all meant to listen, yes, but if that’s all we do all the time, aren’t we just allowing a person to wallow in their misery? I’m not suggesting we pretend we have all the answers. I certainly don’t.
Personally, I like it when people care for me enough offer suggestions, when they challenge my thinking. Even recently someone’s remarks to a post I wrote about pursuing my interests, caused me to reconsider the allocation of my time. (I hope you’re reading.) I appreciated her honesty.
We all need insight from other people now and then.
Anyway, this is my approach to this blog.
I would love to pray for you and am always open for those requests.
God bless and I hope you have a good day.