Reading other blogs is an important part of writing a blog. Has someone already written about something like this? Has someone covered this exact topic with skill and precision, rendering another post on the topic completely unnecessary? One blog that popped up in my research is Divided Dad.
The first post got my attention, so I kept reading. After only a few posts, it stopped. Well, that’s unfortunate, but the Internet is littered with sites that didn’t last for one reason or another. I didn’t think much of it.
But I did use Divided Dad to refine my Googling, and I came across a whole bunch of blogs that referenced it. Then I found out why: the author, Marc Block, had died from suicide. Several other writers with dad-related blogs had marked his passing with blog posts about depression, even though their individual blogs weren’t necessarily depression-related.
This discovery sent a bunch of different thoughts swirling through my head, some morbid, some selfish. This guy actually did it. Here are a bunch of blogs I should read. There don’t seem to be many blogs out there specifically for dads with depression. I wonder how he did it? There’s a community of blogger dads out there, can I get in? This guy is dead now, because of the same disease I have. I should research him more. That’s morbid, don’t do that. Go see what other, more experienced bloggers have to say on the subject.
So I did. I read the first half-dozen posts, then a few more that were linked to the links. A couple of the linked blogs were defunct. (Were those writers dead, too? Stop it.) For the most part, they were thoughtful, well-written pieces about a time when that writer, too, dealt with depression, the overall idea being that just about everyone has been there, so we should be more open to discussing it. But then a second thread emerged: most of these writers then moved past that period in their lives. For them, the entire experience now resides in the past tense.
Sometimes depression is temporary. Sometimes it’s triggered by an event, maybe a death in the family or the loss of a job. When that happens, the depression is no less real for the person experiencing it. It may last for weeks or months or even years. But then maybe it’s over. That person can move on with life, slightly shaken but stronger for the experience and secure in the knowledge that the depression can be beaten.
What about those who never see that light? What if the depression has been a part of you for so long that you have no memory of anything else? What if you have absolutely no confidence that there is a light at the end of this tunnel? What if your highest high is barely a medium? There is a huge difference between temporary and permanent.
Granted, in the thick of a depressive episode, there’s no way of knowing when or if it will end. Certainly, those experiencing a temporary depression felt at times that it could last forever. It is not my intention to minimize anyone’s experiences. It’s just that I don’t think I’ll ever know that sensation.
The experience is very similar to chronic pain. After a couple decades of pain, it’s impossible to even imagine being pain-free. It’s hard to know if I would even recognize pain-free. If I did, it would be years before I could begin to accept it as a permanent change.
I can hope that some day my depression will be so well-managed that I can think of it the past tense. It’s too late for Divided Dad to think that way. But, he did spur the telling of stories that lets us know it’s possible, and having more of those stories out there is a good thing.