At the bottom, this was all I could see. I felt overwhelmed by others’ perception of me. Was I a success or a failure? Would I be discovered as the fraud I’d convinced myself that I was? These twin pressures – that I was unconscious of at the time – had lead me to a place of crippling self-doubt, questioning my very existence.

The act of discovery, of investigating how the mind functions, led me to a deeper understanding of myself. Developing an awareness of psychology and learning about conditions like status anxiety and impostor syndrome helped me to understand and recognise how my mind worked, enabling me to manage it more effectively.

via: Managing a Mind ◆ 24 ways

I feel like I write posts like this all the time, but it’s part of the process for me.

I am just now coming out of a major depressive episode that started sometime in March, before I went to SXSW. I haven’t been able to do much writing since then, and I’ve been a bad friend and family member as well. I owe apologies to a bunch of folks that I should have been keeping in better touch with: Jess especially, but also some others in places like Australia and England.

I’m not going to go on much more about all this, I have other places where I will do that. So instead I will fill y’all in on some of the major happenings that I haven’t reported.

First, the tickets for my trip to Australia are bought. I will be there from January 15 to February 28, flying into Melbourne (which you have to pronounce Mel-burn or you’ll sound like a Gringo) and leaving from Sydney. We’ll be in Melbourne for about 2 weeks or so while Brian works on a research project on greater gliders, and then spending the rest of the time traveling. Not sure of the whole agenda yet, but we’ll be spending some time in Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef.

Which leads me to say that I’m much more sad about the fate of the Crocodile Hunter than I thought I would be. The guy was annoying and flamboyant, but you can’t argue that he was a genuine animal lover. And the conservation movement has lost an important player.

The project that I have been spending the last 6 months or so working on launched to surprisingly good reviews, despite unprecedented amounts of stress. And we also just launched two new department sites, a program site, and a virtual tour.

I’m still working on a retooling of this site to make it easier for me to add new animal themes. I still need to replace the skunk. I am thinking about going with an all Australian animal theme, if I can get things set up before I leave.

I’m sure there’s more that I missed, like Brian getting tenure and other milestones that have passed in the last six months— I’ll just have to let those go an once again start over. If I owe you an email, I’m sorry, but I had to move everything to the archives to be able to face the inbox. I’m back on top of things now, so I should be a better correspondent.

Mention that you have depression.

One of the reasons I still can’t put into words my feelings about SXSW this year is that the project I’m most excited about at the moment had the effect of causing folks to run away from me as soon as possible after hearing about it. This is not good for networking.

I guess I should not have been surprised by the reaction, but I was. Partially because I’m sure that at least half of the folks that reacted that way also have depression. Partially because since I have found that talking about it is much more healthy than denying it, I assume that everyone else is on the same page. They aren’t.

That fact is the reason why I think Jangly Ganglia as a community project, rather that as just my own means of coping, is important. Mental health issues need to overcome the stigma attached to them, and the only way that is going to happen is if we all stop denying them.

I am no activist. I have tried to be an activist for a couple of different issues in the past, and it just doesn’t work for me. But I see an opportunity for a kind of “stealth” activism here— we can use the crazy-easy publishing power of blogs and the community potential of the web for our own benefit— to help us focus on the postive in life— and just by the fact that the site is there be helping to reduce the stigma that we all face.

The great thing about this is that it allows each particular person to be anonymous if they so choose, which may crucially important factor in the decision to talk about depression. But even being anonymous, you would be part of a community that is furthering understanding of your issues.

And I find the project easy to do; I have been spending about 5 minutes a day on posts. That is a small chunk of time, and it has has a had huge payoff for me.

Anyway, I am excited about this project and wanted to tell everyone I met at SXSW about it. I didn’t really accomplish what I set out to do there, hence this post. I have recently won a license and hosting package that will allow me to get this project off the ground and keep it non-profit and expense-free for me. If you are interested in joining the project, please see this post over at Jangly and get in touch.

I have been a bit quiet lately. This is largely because I got a spark of inspiration (sadly a bit rare these days…) and launched a new project over at Jangly Ganglia.

Some of you may remember when I spoke about buying the domain on a whim after reading a passage in Cryptonomicon. I sat on the name for several months, and then had a brainstorm last week. I realized I needed a way to stay positive— that no matter what happened in my life, I was focusing only on the negative.

This is a function of my biology; I have had depression for about as long as I can remember and have been actively dealing with it for about 5 years. Although I can keep things pretty much under control, I needed something else to remind me that life is not all gloom and doom. Jangly Ganglia stepped in to fill that purpose.

Jangly is a blog, where every day I post something positive, funny, wacky, or inspiring that happened to me. It is a way of forcing myself to realize that these kinds of things really do occur for me, and they really do occur every day. The public nature of the blog format keeps me honest— I can’t cheat if I know others are watching. And hopefully it also provides some laughs or inspiration for others that are in the same boat as me.

I set up Jangly using ExpressionEngine rather than my beloved Textpattern for a couple of reasons. First EE has more sophisticated membership permissions that TXP. My vision is to make Jangly into a community where anyone that wants to make the committment to themselves to post something positive from their life every day will be able to join the project have the place to do so. Ideally this will turn into a community that is using blogging for something innovative and helpful to their lives.

Second EE is having a contest that I have entered in hopes of winning a forum, license, or hosting that will allow me to do the above. Entries will be announced on March 1 and winners March 15, so stay tuned and wish me luck.

In the meantime, if you’d like to give the project a try, I am taking submissions over at JG. I will post snippets for you until I get a license that will allow me to add members to post for themselves.

So how will this all affect Interllectual? Hopefully it won’t. I will still be posting here— this is the place where I post rants, professional articles, and longer snippets about my life. What I am doing here is completely different from what I’m doing over there. If anything, I’m hoping to write more here as I’m able to deal better with my biology.

So, enjoy Jangly Ganglia, and contribute if you’re so inspired. If not, I’ll see you here before long…

Well, that buzz is gone. The evaluations came in today, and killed what was left of it. Reality had pretty much already done the job by then, though.

I am at a point where I am reevaluating a lot of things in my life, and this blog is one of them. I have found myself censoring my posts more and more, especially after publicly speaking on university web issues. The goal of this site was always to be a personal expression for all aspects of myself, even the parts that aren’t so pretty and aren’t geared toward finding myself future work and opportunities. However, as soon as I started getting work and opportunities from it, the personal expression started getting stifled. Now it all feels false. Cameron Moll even killed my tagline (“Where redesign is the the new black”)— now it has a built in reminder that I am good but not great. Actually, maybe that’s the part that isn’t false.

I have considered pulling an Oxton, or moving the personal stuff to another site. That is a false dichotomy, though, and I will end up with two sites that I neglect instead of just one. So I don’t know what will happen.

Luckily, my little sister has the good sense to be getting married a week from today, and to be doing so on the Big Island of Hawaii. This gives me a legitimate excuse to go spend a week in a 5-star hotel in a tropical paradise and drown my sorrows in coconut and rum-filled drinks. There will also be a fancy dress involved at one point, and as always, some kick-ass shoes. Life could be worse.

I will not be blogging from Hawaii, but I won’t be leaving my brand new powerbook home all by itself, either. If you’re interested, you’ll probably be able to keep up with my shenanigans on Flickr.

You know you’re in trouble when Vic Chesnutt perfectly sums up your mood.

My motivation is gone, and I have too much to do.

Today I had two cups of coffee, then went out to breakfast and had three more. When we got back, the dog had eaten all the cat’s food again, and I couldn’t even yell at her, because I had big plans to take a nap cuddled up with both of them. Which I proceeded to do for two hours. Now I am drinking more coffee.

It has seemed like dusk all day, which isn’t helping. I need to be working. I have to give a talk in about a week, and have no idea what I’m going to say. I am dealing with this fact by avoiding it entirely. The amount of crap I have to wade through at work before I leave for the wedding is inexpressible.

I was supposed to be creative today, or at least get the talk together. I just can’t make myself care.