Gratitude

29 01 2009

I want to take a moment to thank the Jewish and general blogosphere, and all of my commenters, for the warm welcome that this blog has received.

Thank you especially to:

  • Mixed Multitudes (“Depression and Prayer”). Matthue Roth wrote about me on Mixed Multitudes (MyJewishLearning.com‘s excellent blog) and cross-posted to his personal/professional blog.
  • Jewschool (“New Blog About Depression and Prayer”) linked here and began with a lovely Rebbe Nachman quote. I need to read some Rebbe Nachman. I know that there’s a whole Breslover subculture here in Israel, which produces copious amounts of literature, but I want to focus on his writings about emotional states and prayer. Does anyone have recommendations? (Hebrew or English.)
  • Chayyei Sarah (“I’m NOT war blogging”) managed to find time to slip in a mention of my blog in the middle of a war.
  • In the Meantime (“Welcome to the Blogsphere: From Darkness”) linked here because he is “interested in non-pharmaceutical, soul-based responses to depression.” I feel a little bit odd about that, because I am very wary of people who want to substitute soul-based responses for therapy and medication, rather than use them in a supplementary or complimentary manner. (I’m not sure that Scott was saying that he wanted soul-based responses instead of other methods of dealing, I just know that some people believe that that is the way to go.) I think that many kinds of responses (broad spectrum lighting, yoga, meditation, bio-feedback, exercise) can be very helpful, if used in concert with therapy and/or medication, or even on their own for people who don’t need therapy or medication.
    I happen to believe in both therapy and medication. I more or less believe that almost everyone should be in therapy at some point in their life, preferably before they have children, and believe that some people should also be on medication. I think it likely that nobody should be on medication without also being in therapy, although I might be able to be convinced otherwise.
    Anyway, Scott’s post gave me much to think about, and I look forward to looking at the other sites he linked to alongside mine.
  • This isn’t a blog, but I also wanted to include a shout-out/thanks to Congregation Eitz Or (Seattle’s Jewish Renewal Community) for mentioning this blog in their February e-newsletter, and so nicely, too!

When I first conceived of this idea (circa 2005), I was emerging from a depression and found that writing about my emotional life through tefilla [prayer] was powerfully healing. I posted them on a secret, private, password-protected blog that I didn’t tell anyone about. Clearly, I wasn’t ready to share my thoughts with the world! Over the years since then, as I have felt better and better, I have also felt an increasing need to share my writing, personal and painful though it is, with the greater world. I spent months dithering over the decision to start this blog. Should I go public? Anonymous? Password-protected? My goal was to enable myself to write as honestly as possible, while reaching as many people as possible. In the end, I decided anonymity without password protection was the way to go. Based on the number of readers I have and the ways in which this blog, through its honesty, has been able to touch people, I think that I made the right decision.

Special thanks to all of those who took the time to leave comments. I read and think about them all, even the ones that I can’t really answer. Comments that “just” say, “Thank you for doing this,” “I find this helpful” or “I find this meaningful” are incredibly encouraging for me. They are literally what keeps this blog going. When I was dithering over starting this blog, aside from the whole privacy vs. publicity question, I wondered if this was a good idea in terms of my own mood. I was feeling, this past summer and for several years before that, better than ever. Would writing about deep, dark, scary things make me depressed once more? Was it a risk I could take? Would I even be able to write from the point of view of a depressed person if I was no longer depressed? Life, as it so often does, played a little joke on me and I unexpectedly became depressed before I even began work on the blog. As a result, the blog’s launch was delayed by several months, and it’s progress has been impeded further since then by the depression. In short, I don’t think I could keep doing this without all of your positive feedback and comments. Working on this has truly been a healing, transformative experience, much as writing the first few pieces were in 2005…also, really difficult and draining. I am so grateful for the generosity of heart, mind, and spirit in which this blog has been received.

Speaking of comments, does anyone have an answer for commenter Tamar about Elohai Nishama and kabbalah? Something about “four worlds in which the soul travels as it is being formed”? I know very little about kabbalah and don’t think I can get a handle on it quickly enough to answer Tamar. Thanks!

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6 responses

31 01 2009
Christi

Now I feel compelled to write. I suffer from depression, and finding this blog has been amazing. I’m currently on meds and in therapy, though I’m backsliding a bit and not sure if I should talk to my doctor about increasing my dosage or try to wait it out. (Also walking daily, taking a good multivitamin, trying to eat well, etc.)

Anyway, I’m a convert to Judaism and so having these spiritual reminders that speak to me and bring hope are so vitally important. I appreciate your willingness to write and share more than I can say. Thank you, thank you so much, and please continue to do this work for as long as you can. It does matter. It does help.

2 02 2009
Rachel

I also just want to say thank you. This website is on my feedburner for reading every update.

9 03 2009
Steg (dos iz nit der šteg)

There was an article in the YU student newspaper recently interviewing R’ Nati Helfgot about depression.

9 03 2009
9 03 2009
The Editor

Okay, I just read it myself. I highly recommend it! He talks about some of what I hope to accomplish in the world in general, in terms of reducing stigma.

13 04 2009
leah

so it’s been a while and i just wanted to send word out that i hope you’re doing ok. i mean, i hope you haven’t been blogging because you have been busy with cool studying good things and not because of depression and such.

i, for one, eagerly await your return. and am thinking about possibly writing something up myself sometime….

in the meantime, moadim l’simcha

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