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Battling Depression, blogging, depression, emotional well-being, Health, Mental Health, overcoming depression, Recovery, well-being, writing

U Is For The Ultimate Blog Challenge

Just over a month ago, I came across this banner on a blog I was reading and thought that I should try it. Now what was I going to write about? That was the big question, and like most people who enjoy writing I’d heard the adage about writing what you know, but what if what you know best is depression?

After all, I’d spent 10 years of my adult life battling this debilitating illness, crying for no apparent reason and willing myself, unsuccessfully I might add, out of the safety of my bed. I’d been evicted from my home, let the bills pile up unopened, had the bailiffs knocking on my door all because I simply couldn’t face the world and the challenges it was throwing at me.

I had a lot to say on depression and what it had done to me, but was that enough? It was a good thing that since the beginning of the year I’d noticed a distinct improvement to my once gloomy disposition. With the help of a great doctor, who had finally found the right combination of anti-depressants for me, things were looking up.

On top of knowing the subject matter inside out – so to speak – I could also offer hope to the countless others out there going through what I’d been through, and I felt that that was important. If I could help people avoid the mistakes I’d made, perhaps even make a difference in just one person’s life that would be enough.

I set about getting a blog and writing my very first post. In the back of my mind I kept thinking if this doesn’t go well I can always stop, but the feedback I started to get, from people all over the world, was incredible. A real boost to my damaged self-confidence and this only encouraged me to keep writing. I’m so glad that I took up the challenge and started this blog, as the experience has been great!


About D.J. Haswell

I battled with depression, brought on by stress, for 10 years. During that time, I made many mistakes, due in no small part to the fact that I perceived my illness as a failing on my part. It took me a long time, coupled with hindsight, to realise that I hadn’t failed in my life, but rather that the circumstance of my life had failed me. I started my blog to bring hope to those currently suffering from the debilitating effects of depression that there is light at the end of what may seem like an unending tunnel!


11 thoughts on “U Is For The Ultimate Blog Challenge

  1. I think many of us out here are glad you did too, D.J.

    Posted by workingwithwords | May 28, 2013, 2:04 PM
    • Why thank you that means a lot to me! How are things with you?

      Posted by D.J. Haswell | May 28, 2013, 2:08 PM
      • I plan to write a lot this weekend. I’m brimming with all kinds of thoughts that must be articulated.

        this will be in addition to gardening, running, swimming, etc.

        something has happened. i think the antidepressants have stabilized me and given me an energy boost (though i significantly boosted my diet, exercise regiment, am outside growing vegetables, getting sunlight, enjoying 20 C weather, etc., so how much of an effect the TCA is having is unkown.

        however, it has really sharpened my mind and put me incredibly on edge. had anxiety issues before starting meds, and now i need the anti-anxiety pills even more. 0.4 mg doesn’t seem to do much, though. however, upping the amount i take just seems … i dunno … like a slippery slope.

        i mean, i’ve got energy now. i have great sleeps every night (and have to really drag myself out of bed to get to work on time — especially in japan; one can never be a little late). and i want my mind sharp, although i’m not surrounded by any like minds in my work and daily life …

        a little worried, though, that, were i to be latently bipolar, this extreme edginess/anxiety might grow into a manic/psychotic episode. i tested positive for biplar on a couple self-assessments before i contacted a psychiatrist. but when he asked me if i’d ever had a 4-day manic episode and i couldn’t recall every having experienced one, he wrote bipolar off from the start.

        but i’ve read of people having mania triggered by antidepressants, and i believe my grandfather was (undiagnosed back then) bipolar, as well as a first cousin.

        thing is, i have no feelings of happiness. just stable (which is better than thinking about suicide). i have a lot of energy, my mind is like a newly sharpened sword, and physically i’m pushing myself to use the nervous energy. as an example, after working all day, i came home and went out for a 6.5K run followed by an hour of swimming at the pool. then i watered my rather large garden. this is becoming a typical day for me. i’ll rest tomorrow and then do a long run on sunday (11 or 12 K). and I’ll work in my ‘field’ for many hours.

        and here i am, going on and on! enough, dude!

        i’m doing all right. thanks for asking ;o)

        Posted by workingwithwords | May 31, 2013, 4:34 PM
        • Glad to hear that things seemed to have stabilized for you, enjoy your weekend 😉

          Posted by D.J. Haswell | May 31, 2013, 6:47 PM
          • First off, thank you. 🙂

            But … I absolutely needed ‘the pill’ last night to go to bed at 3 a.m. Then, I had to really force myself to get out of bed by 10 a.m. Tired. Did a bit of gardening work. Had some lunch. Became even more tired. Took a long nap (hopefully it was a full 90-minute sleep cycle, but I’m not sure.

            Downhill from there :o( No motivation to do anything once I got up. When my gf went to the pool, I broke down.

            This living together when we both know we are finished as soon as she decides on the day to leave … it’s like grieving the loss of a loved one every day. When someone dies, it hurts but you deal with it and get closure. Same thing when you break up with someone.

            But seeing your relationship 99% dead every day for months or longer … there’s no closure. Only grief.

            And if you happen to find yourself in a seemingly never-ending bout of deep depression, the shame for being the cause of that ‘death’ just keeps piling on.

            To be honest, I know I’ll be extremely lonely for a while after she goes, but I’ll feel relieved at the same time because I’ll be able to deal with the finality of it and have closure.

            Wish I could offer a more cheerful reply, but this is just what life is for me right now. I think you can understand.

            Anyway, tomorrow’s my LSD (long, slow distance) run day. I’m hoping to get up early(-er/-ish) and put in an 11- or 12-K run. And use that as a booster for the rest of my day.

            Posted by workingwithwords | June 1, 2013, 3:09 PM
            • Hope the sun is shinning for your slow long-distance run and that you’re feeling energised and revitalised 🙂

              Posted by D.J. Haswell | June 2, 2013, 11:52 AM
              • It was a beautiful run. Up and down big rollers. 11 K. And the way my mind untangles and floats freely for a little while … there are few things I enjoy more. Plus the mental acuity I achieve and the slight high when I stop and walk it off to cool down (a serotonin release, I believe), it just doesn’t last long enough.

                Heard of barefoot running? I’ve been doing for a few years now. When I started, it wasn’t possible to run 500 meters without my calf muscles and tendons about ready to fall to pieces. Now I can run a half marathon, maybe longer. I’m not pure barefoot, though, full disclosure. I wear Vibram FiveFingers, which allow my foot to move as it naturally does, only with a bit of protection between my soles and whatever surface I run on.

                Way off on a tangent there, sorry. Just thought it might be something new to add to your day.

                I’ll be reactivating a blog I used to write about barefoot running and a mainly ‘frugivore’ diet. It’ll now be entitled “Running for My Life”. Essentially, I’ve found that without long-distance running and a certain diet in my life, I can’t manage the depressions that come and go. Yeah, I’m taking meds now, but I’d like to think I’ll go long stretches in the future without them, as long as I do the things that keep my body and mind ‘right.’

                Haven’t added a new post yet, and I’ll have to tweak a few things, but if you’re interested, it’s over at http://www.barefeetandrawfood.wordpress.com

                That project (and my entire life/lifestyle) was abruptly abandoned when the devastating mega-quake and tsunami hit Japan on 03.11.11. I would leave Tokyo to volunteer for a few months in one of the heaviest hit towns and walked away from my whole life in Tokyo, which had been a real struggle for a few years.

                I can now put it all into perspective, understanding better the cycle of my depressive episodes and the way they consume me and remove everything I value in life.

                I didn’t need to abandon Tokyo, the girlfriend I’d been having a rough time with for a long time, two adorable cats (rescued brothers), etc. What I was trying to do was escape from me, which can’t be done, unless ‘me’ becomes someone else, someone I can love and respect.

                That’s what I’m working towards now. 😉

                Posted by workingwithwords | June 3, 2013, 3:51 PM
  2. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

    Posted by Jonathan Caswell | May 30, 2013, 3:55 AM

    Posted by Jonathan Caswell | May 30, 2013, 3:56 AM

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