Monthly Archives: January 2015

bird in the reeds

damned if i do, damned if i don’t

my wife has been pushing exercise recently. I definitely comprehend and understand that exercise would be good for me. hell, exercise and diet alone pulled me through my first depressive cycle. right now, i just can’t find the motivation to exercise. that leaves me with the damned if i do damned if i don’t dilemma.

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clouds rolling by…

the battle against non-existent judgement

seeming support gift
with accountability
potential judgement

the other day, I shared with depressionless in her post Four Things I Could Say About Depression, that it makes it much easier to get the support you want if you ask for the support you want.  sounds simple, i know, but sometimes asking can be the hardest thing in the world. today, i decided to take some of my own medicine.

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wintery island

my self-care struggle defined

self care struggle—pain
another anxiety
lurks around corners
recently, followers have read about self care struggle and self care struggle-part deux. they had a common theme of self care seemingly going well and as planned yet the results were as if an emotional mine had gone off leaving emotional parts of me here and there.

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blue boat getting away?

the general theory of support

ever feel like punching someone in the nose for suggesting, “if you only did this, you wouldn’t be depressed anymore.”  i’ve been there. there is a reason for that. my last cycle through depression has taught me much about support. here is an abridged theory of support as put forward, by me, bipolarsojourner.
there are three main types of support, solutions, acknowledgements, and a conglomeration that i’ll simply call neutral. they are all valid types of support and they all work sometimes. let me introduce them.

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Smiley Face

[Guest Post] Depression, Stigma and Society

Hi, I’m Depressionless and I am fortunate enough to be able to write a guest post on this blog. For more of my writing, check out my blog at depressionless.wordpress.com.


Some people have depression because of family issues, some have depression because they have lost someone they love, but when I was asked why I have depression I just couldn’t reply. It is not because I didn’t want to tell them, I actually had no idea. I still cannot figure it out. It doesn’t make sense. Depressionless, you can’t be depressed, look how good your life is… Yeah, that probably makes the whole feeling worse.

There is a lack of understanding about depression. The first friend I told (except for my really good friend who lives 3000 miles away) could not understand how I had depression. “But you look so happy all the time” was one of the first things they said as we sat on the park bench discussing my mental illness. I just replied with “Yeah, I look happy, but I have depression”. Maybe it is because teenagers have no understanding of the world yet, or maybe people judge a book by it’s cover. This is why I do not tell people about my depression. Those who don’t understand (the majority of people) will think I am making it up or think I am attention seeking, just because they don’t really know how depression affects me.

I’m not the only one. There is a stigma around depression which forces those suffering from it to stay silent. For me, the internet is the only way I can talk about it because people cannot judge me, only what I write. Without the internet I would never have seen a doctor, or my counsellor, or realised I had depression, or receive help from my friend who lives 3000 miles away. People don’t understand depression until someone they know suffers from it, which is very sad. It takes anonymity for many people to get help, and anonymity is not the best way. It is hard to help your depression by sitting behind a screen in your bedroom, in fact that could make everything worse.

If the stigma behind depression were to disappear I am certain you would suddenly hear about a lot of people you know suffering from depression. At the moment, I don’t know anyone who has depression yet statistics suggest 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some kind of mental health problem each year. I know quite a few people, so I can’t see how that statistic would make sense if I was the only one in 20, or 50, or 100. The truth is that people you know will be hiding their depression from you. I am hiding my depression from most of my friends. That may not be your fault, society as a whole is to blame. But society must change, and then the care of those suffering will also improve.

Hiding your depression hurts. You need to be cared for in a special way. But you can’t get help because of society. That is the problem. How do we solve it? Simple, we must educate. When everyone knows the truth about depression, they will understand what sufferers go through better, and they may be able to help instead of forcing the sufferers to stay silent. Bloggers such as myself try to show the world the truth. The internet has various sites that teach you about depression, teach you about the illness that is more than just feeling sad. Many of you will have thought depression is just feeling sad, and if that is your belief you should read up on it. I hope you never have to suffer from depression, but I do hope you can understand and empathise with those who do. The more you know the better you can help.

fall on the way to kendall catwalk

we are fam-i-ly?

or are we?
family(n) a group of people related to one another by blood or marriage; friends and family can provide support.
i wrote to my siblings on March 22, 2013 announcing my most recent swim in the mental disorder pool. the second part of the definition above troubles me. i’ll do a review of my family support structure since then.
oldest sister: I am probably closest to her. we are separated by ten years and one day.  she always voices her appreciation for me not being born on her birthday. she had a long planned trip, years in the making, to the area. communication happened to coordinate that, not much more.  in her visit, I never remember us talking about my situation. she calls for celebration days; birthdays, thanksgiving, christmas, but still months go between calls.  we shared some truly excited interest on our last call.  I told her about a book I am writing. she uses many of the ideas that I will develop in the book in her work. she looks forward to see what i develop.
oldest brother: I get a christmas (cash) gift card from him every year.  I get a beautiful calendar he produces using photos he has taken throughout the year.
middle brother: he has contacted me twice _through_ my middle sister. the first time he wanted help picking out a new computer.  the second time he had questions on how to install old programs on his new machine.  i guess i meet the qualifications to answer the questions, but I didn’t even feel like the most qualified person in the family. more about him later.
middle sister: we had a tight relationship at one time.  things fell apart when my dad died.  she served as the conduit for the computer questions. one time in one of those calls she actually asked about how I was doing. beyond that, not much more has happened.
youngest sister: she lives in the area, also. so we had communication to coordinate my oldest sister’s visit. she suffers with depression, also.  nothing like two siblings fighting wit depression trying to fight through isolation and make a call.
you would be right in saying I could have picked up the phone and made a call at anytime. maybe you’ve never dealt with a full blown case of isolation. for me, i always struggle with feeling worthy. depression makes that struggle all the harder. i reach a point where i don’t feel worthy to make calls to my friends or even my dysfunctional family members. isolation feels like living in a prison with no bars. even though no bars are present to hold me in, there doesn’t appear to be a way out. isolation sucks! it sucks the life right out of me.
I promised more about my middle brother.  we have been on similar tracks for about the last year, me with depression and he with cancer. i try not to get resentful on the difference in treatment, but it keeps getting more and more difficult.
my middle sister has bedn his advocate. she sends out regular updates on how he is doing and the progress he is experiencing. she lines up transportation for him to his cancer treatments; his cancer makes it not possible to drive the eight hours to his cancer treatments.
the topper came this last week when i got an email request for his financial support.  i won’t be participating; something about not having worked for two years and having to dip into retirement just to get by.
i guess I’m glad my brother still has a “family” and support. i hold nothing against him, personally. but, i an part of that family structure, too, i know because i continue to get the updates and request for support.
my question is where is my support from my family beyond the maybe two dozen or so phone calls i have received in the last two years? i can tell you, absent. I find that sad, real sad.