27 December 2011

What did you get out of contributing to this blog?

by Nia, Soledad, and Pastor Jayne

This is our penultimate post. Our last post will be on December 31st. After that, we'll just be a-tweetin'.

Nia: My experience with this blog has not been what I thought it would be. I started it as a place to vent my anger about the depression that started in junior high and ended about 12 years ago, both for my sake and just in case there's someone else out there searching for some affirmation of their experiences. I worked the anger out pretty quickly, what with all the writing and reading myriad perspectives of hundreds of other bloggers who have gone through similar crap.

Unfortunately that anger was replaced with another one. I found myself drawn to writers like those at Beyond Meds who are deeply troubled by the scattershot, inept, and uninformed approach to mental health care of the average practitioner encountered by the average depressed person. These doctors think they're healers when they're just nodes in a distribution system of anemic ideas about how the mind and brain function, ideas that in practice have a sucky record at easing suffering and that are based on a research process warped and distorted by the influence of pharmaceutical companies.

I was more content with the world back when all those thoughts were just vague suspicions. Confirmation was not comforting.

But except for that...

For the first few months I found myself building up a weird, resentful-nervous-bitter-paranoid jitteriness that would keep me from writing. I'd manage to clear my head and write a post, but then the whole thing would start again. Finally I figured out that I was trying to frame my thoughts the way my favorite popular bloggers do, who write for audiences of approximately 5 trillion on subjects that make their readers happy, like Parisian fashion and life on a (seemingly highly profitable) Oklahoma ranch. That voice didn't work for my topic. Am I the only blogger to go through that?

Working with Pastor Jayne and Soledad was by far the most enjoyable aspect of this enterprise. I am proud of myself for managing to con talk two such articulate and compassionate people into participating in this little folly, which was in danger of becoming a seething cesspool of sarcasm otherwise. I hope their experiences have made Blessed Depth that much more helpful.

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Pastor Jayne: (Editor's note: one of our Twitter followers is a gluten-free pastry chef. I'm assuming we caught her attention because I mentioned the gluten-free diet in one of my posts.)

Other than hoping to get a following that included a pastry chef, Justin Bieber and prominent members of the Mormon tabernacle choir (1 out of 3 ain't bad!), I was jazzed to reconnect with my college roomie once again, about something which deeply changed both of us. I remember our original e-mails about coming up with another term for "depression" which would take away some of the pain and stigma. "Blessed depth" was the result of many great e-conversations.

In addition, it was good to be reminded of how far we've both come. I hope it gives the same hope to anyone else who reads our musings. This too shall pass. And even if it doesn't ever go away completely, there are blessings in the depth.

Fond aloha to our favorite pastry chef. And Justin, you missed out. To my Blessed Depth blog-mates: be blessed.

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Soledad: I have enjoyed writing for this blog over the past year. It was very interesting to see how three very different people, who happen to be friends, see depression, its causes, and its fixes.

Nia's posts were light and funny, not something you'd ever expect to see in a blog about depression. Her wit, intellect, and humor make it hard to believe that she has ever suffered from the Big D. Her humor reminds me of something I read not so long ago about the irony of comedians. Their depth and intellect and insights into human nature are what make them funny, but a large number of them suffer from D. I call it being passionate. They're passionate when they're happy, and they're passionate when they're sad. They never do anything half-assed. It's that depth and that sixth sense that allows them to view the world so precisely, that leads to some great comedy and also some very low places.

The world ain't a kind place sometimes. And comedians are sharp enough to see the doom that threatens us. But they also know how to make it immediately humorous, a skill that brings intense happiness to so many. It counterbalances the negative in the world and helps make the journey more worthwhile for all of us. I tip my hat to everyone like you, Nia, with the gift of comic insight.

Writing for this blog has also helped me revisit many of the notions I have arrived at that help me continue to survive in a world that is often unfair at best. I know my creativity comes from the dark, blessed space where D also resides. That depth has been the blessing that brought me a wonderful writing career and awards and recognition from readers of my work. I was never a superficial type; I always looked further into every subject than many others would. And it's made me who I am, for better or worse.

Thanks to Nia for starting this blog. And to Pastor Jayne for adding her unique perspectives to round out this study of experiences. I salute you both for your courage and wish you more success in everything you seek.