Okay wow. Hi everybody! Ten days ago, I wrote a blog post with self-care questions to ask during depression or suicidal ideation. Since then, it’s gotten ten thousand notes, and my follower list has increased by half. So I wanted to add a couple of explanations about the post and to introduce myself to y’all.
But first: I’ve been so, so touched by all the comments that people have written, whether added to my post or sent to my inbox or written in tags. I don’t want to seem full of myself, but just, thank you. It means so much to know that it’s helping.
I’ve been seeing therapists for depression for as long as some Tumblr users have been alive. It comes and goes, and I’m grateful to be at a place where, thanks to medication, a great therapist, and slowly accrued coping skills, I can usually keep going without grinding to a total halt. Still, some days/weeks are better than others, and one of the frustrating aspects of the disease is how it’s hard to relate to one side when you’re on the other side. When I’m down, the fact that I’m sometimes happy seems distant and meaningless; when I’m up, I don’t want to linger in a bleak state of mind.
So, on a day when I was in an upswing but could still remember the other side of things, I wrote myself some questions. I’m incredibly glad that they’ve helped other people, but originally, they were simply personal. I know that when I’m in a depressive headspace, optimism and compliments and logical arguments just don’t work. I can’t persuade myself, “oh hey, maybe I don’t suck after all!” But what I can do is make sure that I’m giving my body and mind the best tools to be myself and think more clearly, and those pragmatic concerns are easier to follow than simple “positive thinking.” That’s what I tried to encourage, and in the ten days since then, it’s already helped me some.
Responding to some of the comments/critiques …
1) I’m aware that the post doesn’t apply fully to everyone. I wrote it for my own body, but not everyone has the physical, mental, or financial ability to do all the things I suggest. If I’d known that so many people would read the post and take it as universal advice, I would have used less ableist language. I’m sincerely sorry if this caused anyone to feel excluded, and I would happily collaborate on suggestions for more inclusive options. I also encourage everyone to adapt or ignore the suggestions as appropriate for your own situation.
2) Not everyone has local friends, family, or furry creatures to ask for hugs. I’ve been in that situation before, and it’s tough. If anyone wants, I can talk to you about alternatives: volunteering to help with animals, joining local interest groups to make friends, politely approaching strangers at a dog park, etc. Stuffed animals aren’t the same, but for me, they totally help too.
3) teiledesganzen had a really great addition about hormones, and how (especially for people experiencing PMS, menopause, or trans* related hormonal changes) they can have a big impact on mood and outlook. So that’s another important thing to consider.
About me …
I’ll be honest: mostly I hang out on Tumblr for fandom (especially Avengers and Dragon Age) and beautiful pictures (especially those that subvert standard skinny-white-youthful-straight-Western paradigms of beauty). Depression and self-care are very important issues for me, both personally and socially, but I can’t promise a steady stream of insightful posts here. I’m so glad to meet you all, though; feel free to introduce yourself?