I’ve finally gotten time to get this project of mine off the ground. After about a year of helping my husband get through cancer, I have decided that I need to do this for myself. Getting him to the point where he’s OK has made me realize the ways in which I am not. And the ways in which I am.
I have had depression for at least 15 years, and it’s something I deal with every day. However, only two people in my life know about it outside of my immediate family. I have come to realize that hiding something that’s such a major part of myself has taken its toll on my sanity. I am now coming clean about it here, where it somehow seems a little easier to do.
For me, it’s a medical problem that I, along with most of the women in my family, inherited. My grandmother committed suicide in 1969 because of it, 3 years before my birth. It’s something that literally has been affecting me since before I was born.
There is a huge stigma attached to it, mostly because it’s poorly understood. Also because it mainly affects women. It’s easy to laugh at and/or doubt those who have to take medicine for problems we can’t really detect. Those who need chemotherapy or insulin aren’t assumed to be faking it, but those who take antidepressants are thought to be using it as a crutch, or a “mood enhancer”. Not so. But I’m not going to go off on a tanget about this. Suffice it to say that it’s a genetic, physical problem that can be overcome by helping my body out with some processes it can’t do very well by itself.
I am finally to the point where I’m at peace with the decisions I’ve made regarding my health, and I’m ready to own them and make them publicly part of me.
After deciding this, I realized that I had a lot that I want to do in my life, and one is to contribute to a community that has unknowingly helped me through some hard times lately— the CSS and web standards community. I have taken to doing a lot of reading about and experimenting with CSS while Brian has been sick, and I have teaching web standards to the student assistants I co-manage at work. I think I have some points to add to the dialog from a different angle: education, both of the educators in our institutions and of our future web designers.
So, this blog is not about depression, it’s about being a creative, productive member of society that happens to have depression.