Monday, June 14, 2010

Four Months Later...

Has it really been four months since I've posted here?


Why so long?

The usual reasons--teaching, writing, grading, family. Agonizing self-consciousness, since it seems that some of my relatives check in to read this, which I'd never expected. Grinding doubts about the project. (How many blogs do I still read with any regularity? Who does this one really serve?) Conference-going; post-conference scrambling; extra committee work. The allure of the 143-character tweet.

Also, though, another reason.

Since mid-April, more or less, I've been wrestling what I guess you'd call a mild case of depression. I had to take a lot of pseudo-ephedrine to deal with a sinus problem, which screwed up my sleep, and somehow things just snowballed. For six weeks, more or less, I would wake up scowling and cursing, still exhausted, and my mind seemed tuned to what Annie Lamott calls KFKD, that inner radio station that broadcasts, nonstop, that everything you've done and are doing is wrong. I'd spend most of the day the same way.

I call it "mild" because I held it together for my classes, usually. But before and after them, I was a wreck.

One result of this was a sort of grim, determined pulling back from social media--and from social activities more generally. I told myself this was about the workload, an effort to be more efficient, but in retrospect it seems more a sort of electronic version of curling up in a corner of the closet. (If you could see my closets, you'd know why I had to do this electronically.)

I actually hadn't thought anyone noticed the change. Until, that is, a couple of weeks ago, my wife asked me, "who are you, and what have you done with my husband?"

Long story short, I've been making some changes in the sleep regime, the exercise regime, the medical regime. Lots of regime change all around. Aside from one or two crashing returns to the blues, things seem to be getting better, so I'm giving these shifts a few weeks. If they work, fine; if not, don't worry, I'll get professional help. (I find it hard to imagine that they won't, as my natural state is so buoyant--but then, maybe that natural state is changing as I age? Well, we'll find out.)

And since one effect of the downward slide seemed to be a lack of posting here, I figure one way out might be to start sending these little messages out into the ether again--not so much about myself, I hope, but about what I'm reading, writing, thinking, doing this summer.

My first in a decade without teaching, by the way. And the kids off at day camp. Time to get something--finally, finally--done.


Laura Vivanco said...

I'm sorry you've been feeling this way, Eric. I had noticed you hadn't been tweeting as much, but I thought maybe that was because you've been so busy.

'And since one effect of the downward slide seemed to be a lack of posting here, I figure one way out might be to start sending these little messages out into the ether again'.

I can see how, if blogging is something you like to do, and a lack of blogging is a symptom of depression, re-starting blogging would be a way you can express yourself, connect with other people and be something which might help your recovery.

On the other hand, if your depression was partly caused by the stress of overwork/lots of deadlines/feeling you need to keep up with online social activities etc., then re-starting blogging before you're really ready emotionally might not be such a good idea, because it'll feel like a burden, possibly get you more stressed, and if you had to stop again it might feel like a sign of failure (which it would't be, but lots of things can feel like signs of failure even if they really aren't).

I hope it's the former scenario, and that you'll carry on getting back to normal, but if it's the latter, then I'd much rather you took a bit longer to cocoon yourself in the safe corner of the metaphorical closet. It would be a shame if you tried to burst out as a beautiful blogging butterfly before your wings were really in tip-top condition for it.

E. M. Selinger said...

You're very sweet, Laura. I'm not feeling much like a butterfly yet, it's true, but the urge to post something was strong enough that I thought I'd give it a try and see what comes of it.

Keeping my fingers (or antennae) crossed...

Laura Vivanco said...

"I'm not feeling much like a butterfly yet, it's true"

Maybe that's because you're still pushing your way out of your chrysalis. If so, Say Something Wonderful is a nice leaf where you can hang out, gently stretching your wings before you try flying.

Anyway, it's good to hear from you again!

Pamela Dillon said...


I hadn't known this, and I'm just reading it now. I think things will look much brighter in the summer months. (For both of us.)

Take care. You're in my thoughts and prayers.


beckwith49 said...

Eric you are not alone in this. For the last few weeks I have been a growly bear! Had to go back on my meds which I have trying to get off of. It seems like I am fixing some of the medical problems, just not that one!

all the best in beating back the blues and sleep is the best medicine - 8 hours every night.