Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

A Blog Eat Blog World

Surfing the Internet is becoming a dangerous activity for me.
The day after I wrote my post, “Is It a Relapse?,” about how very scared I was of returning to the Black Hole (or the “dark holes” as Mother Teresa said), I wrote a reader to thank her for her comment on the post. She wrote back and mentioned her blog, so I checked it out. (Because I like to help support fellow bloggers …. So if you have a blog, please mention it to me and I’ll try to find a way to incorporate it into a post.)
Her post that day was a celebration of my relapse, “so little miss perfect DOESN’T do everything right.”
I came away hurt, of course, feeling exactly like I did when in fourth grade my best friends gave me a letter of constructive criticism, which detailed each of my qualities that they found annoying (Close to thirty years and tons of therapy later, and I can’t forget the bloody letter).
But whatever. I need to embrace this (mean) chick because she suffers from depression too, and so she is a soul sister of mine (as are all women who suffer from a mood disorder—the men are brothers of course).


Then last week, I was looking around at other mental-health blogs because it seems that you, Beyond Blue readers, appreciate when I can send you to another useful source, like I’ve been doing with James over at Finding Optimisim.
I’ve visited “The Splintered Mind” by Douglas Cootey before, and I like his style, because he has a good sense of humor (and in my mind, you can’t write about this stuff without a funny bone, or else you are going to depress people even more.
But the blog post I read was about whining, specifically my whining, and how he really didn’t want to sound like me so he was going to try to keep it positive.
I felt the punch in the gut again. Then I did the responsible thing: sent his post to a few of my good friends to get their take (and to ask them “Do I whine? Is it annoying? Do you like me? Does anyone like me? Will anyone show up at my funeral?”). And they didn’t think it was a slam on me at all. They actually thought Douglas was complimenting me, in an indirect sort of humorous way (all of a sudden wit lost its appeal).
So I read it again, and I wasn’t as offended. I even sent him an e-mail telling him I liked his site very much and I was going to make a concerted effort to link to his stuff more often.
I think I’ll wait a little bit before reading another blog, though. All this not getting your feelings hurt is rather exhausting.

  • Larry Parker

    I don’t think Douglas was slamming you at all.
    But of course, I understand why that was your reaction, because he waited until the last (witty and sadly true) paragraph to wrap it all together:
    “Although some people have accused me of not really having Depression or AD/HD because my life is not a medication filled blackened cesspit like theirs, I just laugh at them now. If only they knew what a mess my world really was because of these disabilities, but if I went into too much detail you might think I was whining.”
    In other words, he understood your approach — in fact, he found it not only tempting but valid in his life — he just takes a different one for himself in his writing. Even though, on balance, most of your stuff tries to “accentuate the positive,” if not eliminate the negative, too.
    (Now the other blogger … disgusting. And that’s me censoring myself and being charitable.)
    The problem of course, is that with the very nature of this disease, we become that new trendy phrase, HSP (“highly sensitive people”) — which means we get hurt every week, every day, every hour, every minute by some thing or other. The worst part is, while a lot of our reaction to such slights is “whining” (i.e., they weren’t meant as slights at all, they were just innocuous), a lot of our other reactions are justified, giving the overwhelming stigma of this society and even, often, of our loved ones against this disease.
    Lashing out at people in our fury is probably not the answer. But holding our tongues, as you have noted in recent blog entries, has its own cost …

  • Wendi

    Sorry, depression does not excuse being mean. There’s just no excuse at all for meanness. We’re all in this together, and we don’t get to hurt each other. I’m so sorry that happened to you.
    And as for whining, I stopped posting on my blog a while back, ‘cuz people said all kinds of stupid, mean, and hurtful things in response to my honest posts. It hurt my feelings – made me feel even more misunderstood and completely pathetic. Then I started reading Beyond Blue. :) And you taught me to be brave and put myself out there for the people who do get it; for the support I can provide for those people, and education for the rest. So I’m in the game again, thanks to you, Therese. And I still get dumb comments sometimes, and I’m sure people think I’m whining. But they don’t have to read it. I’m not posting for them. I’m posting for me (being honest with myself) and for others like me. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and some people feel they need to express it no matter what. LOL. Whatever. Those are not the people who need your blog.
    Those of who understand love you unconditionally, whining included. You speak for us. In my opinion, nothing else matters. :)

  • Kathy

    Have you ever read “The Four Agreements”, I think that’s the name by D. Ruiz, I think that’s the author. My depression is clouding my mind, LOL. I think one of the agreements is something about not taking anythng personally. It’s never about you.

  • Lynn

    Everyone has something to offer in these blogs, those of us who read them should applaud you all for being brave enough to share those very private things with us. My thinking on the critisisms are if you don’t like what is being said , don’t read it. A really good rule of thumb is the old addage ” If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all” If you have to be mean or cruel, to feel good about yourself then the problem really is with you and not with what was written or said.By living by that old addage I refered to above, you end up finding the good in everything , being positive and having to think before you speak or write. I am sure we could all do with a little more thinking before speaking, I know I could. My mouth runnith over quite often. Thank you all for sharing it means a great deal to most of us that read your wonderful thoughts. :)

  • Monica

    Hi Therese,
    Please pray this prayer, I promise St Jude will help you…I was in your situation one day, I am no longer Praise God!
    Prayer in Grievous Affliction
    St. Jude, relative of Jesus and Mary, glorious apostle and martyr, renowned for your virtues and miracles, faithful and prompt intercessor for all who honor you and trust in you! Powerful patron and helper in grievous affliction, come to my aid, for you have received from God the privilege of assisting with manifest help those who almost despair. Look down upon me; my life is a life of crosses, and my paths are strewn with thorns. My soul is enveloped in darkness, discouragement, and sometimes even a kind of despair. Divine Providence seems lost to my sight, and faith seems to falter in my heart. You cannot forsake me in this sad plight! I will not depart from you until you have heard me. Hasten to my aid. I will thank God for the graces bestowed upon you, and will propagate your honor in whatever way I can. Amen.

  • Sharon

    This is why I am a misanthrope, in spite of being a liberal. (sigh) People never cease to stun me with their insensitivity.
    You have my support.

  • Larry Parker

    I wouldn’t call myself a misanthrope, but I am that odd combination of a cynical (personally) idealist (politically) myself …

  • Wisdum

    Life is a crapshoot, there is just a roll of the dice and whatever comes up, comes up. Sometimes seven/eleven, sometimes snake eyes, some time you just crap out ! God never promised anybody a rose garden, and a “Rose by any other name would smell the same (and so would crap) Is the rose any less a rose because of the thorn ? Is the apple still an apple with a worm ? Does “Beyond The Blue Horizon” lie a beautiful day ? It’s all perspective (and perspective is everything !)
    Life is 90 percent bullshit, and 10% Love. The 10% Love makes the 90 % BS, bearable. Even at 9% life becomes unbearable. Don’t let anubody cheat you out of your 10 percent !
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Lori

    Funny how we weigh things. 99 people love you, 1 has doubts and its the 1 we focus on. Just so you know as I’ve read your stuff, all I’ve heard was that I am not alone and someone gets this, and survives, and that is hope, not whining. I am guessing that is what you are going for here, not out to impress the world, but to offer some hope and to share and gain something amongst us all.

  • robert moehle

    hello, therese i know how you feel. i was always picked on in school, made fun of. now some 20yrs. later i have depession,anxity,and have been diagnossed as having explosive aggressive disorder.there has been several times that i felt like doing someone bodly harm.
    sincerly robert

  • Liza

    Hi, Therese —
    I like your blog; it’s been a source of strength for me. I learned about a book from you, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.
    The second agreement is: “Don’t take anything personally.”
    This is the one I find myself going back to again and again b/c I’m so sensitive. When I forget and start to worry too much about people and how they perceive me – I remember it.
    I know it’s incredibly difficult to put into practice but amazingly I’ve been following the four agreements ever since I saw the book on your blog and those agreements are part of a bunch of different tricks I employ to keep my moods level and also to keep me from getting over-sensitive, worried, anxious about what others think of me.
    Just to let you know you’ve helped so much and I support you. The thing is though — just keep doing what you’re doing because you’re obviously helping so many and no matter what you do — there will be some detractors…just let them do or say their thing — whatever!

  • Margaret Balyeat

    That old saw that negative attention is better than no attention isn’t necessarily true! (Negative attention is

  • Margaret Balyeat

    THAT OLD SAW ABOUT NEGATIVE ATTENTION BEING BETTER THAN NO ATTENTION SIMPLY ISN’T TRUE! Negative attention is STILL negative energu that we myst wipe off like so much mud splattered on us bt a vehicle speeding through the puddles after a big rain! Somehow it leaves a stain regardless of how much we scrub at it. And in my view, rarely is unsolicited criticism constructive. If you haven’t asked for someone’s opinion of you, which i’m assuming that as a fourth grader you did NOT, it’s simply criticism pretending to be something else, whichmakes it dishonest. Unfortunately, mud splatters on our souls are even more difficult to remove without leaving a stain behind! I suspect all of us having some of those old “9well-intentioned? Please!) spots which continue to need cleaning. And anyone who’s ever tackled laundry know that the longer a stain sets, the more difficult it is to get our! As for theother blogger,

  • Wisdum

    Re -Margaret Balyeat | September 26, 2007 7:04 AM
    ** It absolutely true in the world of your psychie. I worked in the Ad Biz, for some years. Their motto is “Bad PR is better than no PR (and it’s free)” You just have to see the news and raealize that it is true. On top of that theyu are flooding the world with “Subliminal Sggestion”, that just happens to be against the Law. There is a $10,000 fine every time they get caught. That’s just a pee in the bucket in lieu of the billions/trillions they are ripping off you !
    Negative attention is STILL negative energu that we myst wipe off like so much mud splattered on us bt a vehicle speeding through the puddles after a big rain! Somehow it leaves a stain regardless of how much we scrub at it.
    ** That is absolutely true also. You can change your cloths, or rise above it, dragging the dirt behind you, but it is unlikely that you will leave it all behind (mentally speaking of course)
    And in my view, rarely is unsolicited criticism constructive.
    ** It is alWays constructine (or is that pro-structive) if you are open to it. On the other hand if you have a ten foothigh stone wall around you, you are pretty much impregnable. Who is capable of tearing down that wall? For me the only thing that could rip it down was Love/God (for me the same thing) If you post here (or at some 12 step program) you have solicited criticism, are you open for it ? Therese knows full well that she has opened the door to let all kinds of “stuff” come through… That is the first step in tearing down the wall and cry out “I’m free, I’m free, thank God, at last I’m free” (M. L. King)
    LUV 2 ALL
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Margaret Balyeat

    I find that old saw about negative attention being better than no attention to be completely UNTRUE! Even in camouflage, negative attention is still negative, and it splashes up on us. Just like the mud from a passing car speeding through puddles after a bad storm gets us dirty, negative attention splatters and leaves similar stains, except these spots are on our very souls, and even more difficult to get off!! And like anyone who’s done any laundry knows, the longer a stain sets, the more difficult it is to remove! Couple that with the oxymoron(in my view, anyway) “constructive criticism”, and it’s like throwing a mud-spattered white blouse into the dryer before it’s clean; the stains might as well be permanent marker for all your efforts to get them off. This is especially true when the criticism was unsolicited, as I suspect to be the case with the missile you were presented with in fourth grade. I know few nine or ten year olds who are saavy enough to ask for the opinions of others in regards to their existence! In my case, it was junior high and the ubiquitous “SlamBooks” which were circulated among the student population. ( this would have been the early sixties for those of you unfamiliar with the concept. They were passed around for everyone tolist their opinions in spite of the fact that they were considered contraband and would be confiscated if discovered. Ican still feel the heat that suffused my face when I would discover my name listed on one of those awful pages (Worst dressed, Least attractive, Most likely to join the Circus Sideshow, etc.) Of course, I never found my name entered on the pages for “Most popular girl,”
    “Most intelligent”, “Most likely to
    “best Dancer” or any ‘best’ page at all. Those pages were for the kids who had no visible anyway) issues, the same kids who hung out by the country club’s swimming pool or tennis courts or who owned their own horse and showed it on weekends, who lived in the Mcmansions overlooking Lake Michigan and knew they’d receive their own car on their sixteenth birthday! At least those were immature kids making those cruel observations, so the relative ignorance of youth provides some excuse(Not that it did at the time or makes the stain any easier to remove) In terms of your fellow blogger, whom I can only assume is an adult, Shame on her! She’s obviously one of those who “just Don’t get It” And she obviously doesn’t realize that the reason you’re so successful and elicit so many postings is because you strike a cord within those of us who DO “get it” and provide an invaluable service along the way! I for one, am glad she doesn’t want to sound like you, because you’re unique and very precious to those of us who have been fortunate enough to find you, and I’m not interested in any imitations. Although Pepsi is my personal cola of choice, in terms of you, give me the REAL thing! ( My apologies to Coca Cola!) and soliciting you to read a blog which was going to reflect unattractively on you is simply nothing less than cruel. It tells me something about her personal scruples and character! and leaves me totally cold in terms of wanting to visit her blog.
    I can assure you that, in least in cyber space, you have many more admirers than detractors, and in spite of the dangers of prognosticating, I predict that your funeral (many years from now, I pray) will be SRO! Especially if you factor in those of us who will attend only in spirit due to geographical limitations.
    From reading the posts of my fellow comboxers, I think your sense of humor (especially when you’re whining0 is one of your strengths. God knows we depressives have few enough opportunities to let down our hair and enjoy a good belly laugh about our lot in life, even with our meds! I find your blog to be well-written, insightful, encouraging, and inspirational all at the same time, and am very grateful to have stumbled onto it! I’m quite certain that I’m not the only one who has given “word-of-mouth recommendations for others to check you out, especially those I know who fall into the “Just Don’t Get It category. If someone still can’t get it after reading a few of your postings, they have a definite lack of desire to understand. Mr. Rogers, special as he was, did all the talking. At least on B. B. we get to respond and be a part of this comfortable place you’ve created for us to visit. We get to relax and be comfortable right along with you, a rarity for many of us. It’s your sincere desire to share with us that keeps me coming back on a daily basis to post my own “rants”, to steal one of our friend Larry’s words. Please don’ let an insensitive boor rob you (or us) of all that’s good about your blog! It’s taken (for me, at least) too long to find this group of cyberfriends.

  • Caroline

    Hi Therese,
    I don’t think you whine at all. I think your words are witty and moving. It is one thing to be unfair and call you “miss perfect” when you are nothing but open hearted and honest and never put yourself on a pedestal but talk about the downs just as well as the ups. But it is quite another to be mean and make sure you READ the blog that criticises you. I can’t think of a reason why anyone would do that. If they don’t like you or your blog, if they have constructive critic, they could tell you via e-mail… Although I don’t see the point in doing that. Nobody is putting a gun to their heads and MAKING them read your blog. What they actually should do is read another blog, or none at all. But writing mean things for the whole world to see and giving you the link is totally spineless and vicious. Your school friends gave YOU the letter, they didn’t hang it on your locker for everyone to see. I understand depression makes people bitter and sad. But these are grown ups we are talking about and being depressed is no excuse for being nasty cowards.
    You have all my admiration for writing about yourself the way you do and being a great help to many, many people, I hope the 2 or 3 people (;-)) who think otherwise won’t manage to make you feel bad about the wonderful work you are doing.
    Have a wonderful day!
    p.s. sorry if my english is not perfect, I am writing you from Europe and am not an english native speaker…

  • Babs

    Therese, when you focus on your reaction to the unkind (to put it mildly!) comment, you are missing the point. As someone said above, the comment reveals much about the person writing it. Validate the hurting child and remind her that she is safe now. Your response to embrace the woman sounds a lot like people-pleasing. Before you can forgive someone, you first have to acknowledge the offense and intent. Being depressed doesn’t give someone a pass for being a #@%%#!
    It was a cheap shot all around.
    When I was a new teacher, I had a couple of mean eighth grade girls in my rather large class. Each time I taught that group, I fretted over those girls. I wanted to win them over and make them like me (not a great plan, but I was new to teaching). One day as my insides were churning once again over these girls, it occurred to me that by focusing on the girls, I was short-changing the rest of the class. I then made up my mind to ignore the girls and concentrate on the kids who wanted to learn.
    You can let nasty comments hurt you because it is a choice you are free to make. But I vote for writing them off. Unfortunately, blogs seem to bring out the worst in some people. But remember that your blog has also brought out some of the best in your readers.

  • Evelyn M.

    I have to admit that I needed to read this post and the replies more than once before becoming convinced that it wasn’t all about me! lol Why is it that when we hear negative feedback about ourselves we are so quick to embrace it? We practically marry the statement and we examine it inside and out and seek proof of it’s validity from our friends. Yet.. when we hear positive feedback, we immediately downplay it…. brush it aside.. pooh-pooh the very notion that we are brilliant, inteligent.. etc…
    I don’t think this is about attention at all. I think it’t about how every person writing feels about themselves ultimately. To use myself as an example, I know that as a counselor I touched many lives. I ran into an old client on Monday as a matter of fact who used these very words “Evelyn gave me my wings and set me on my path toward freedom which allowed me to get my children back, get a job and become an all around decent human being”. (We were at a meeting introducing ourselves when she made this unexpected announcement). My immediate reaction was to shake my head in denail thinking, all I did was listen to her talk.. she did all the REAL work. That was my instinct. Instead… a friend who was seated next to me and knows exactly what I was thinking / feeling… told me, just nod your head, say thank you and accept the gracious way this person feels about you. I did… and while it felt uncomfortable… wow… how different it is from owning all that I am absolutely certain is inherantly wrong with me!
    Someone said the comments refelct more about the person speaking them than the person they are about and that happens to ring so true for me. My client was speaking from a place of gratitude. It sounds like the person calling you “little miss perfect” was speaking from grudging admiration and maybe even a little glad that you seem human like “the rest of us”. People tend to place helpers on a pedastal… which is so very wrong because.. it bruises when our all too human side causes us to fall off… Seems the person who wrote of whining may have been trying to use humor as well… Yes.. it is hard to absorb feedback on yourself but if you take what you can learn from and disregard the rest, it tends to be quite the experience… and hey.. if something hurts, there is absolutely nothing wrong with stating that. The writer may not be aware how the mood they were in while composing may have impacted the over all mood of the post. As a person who blogs myself… I go back from time to time to read old posts and I have noticed that a post I thought was full of strength and insight tends to read as bitter and angry a month later when the dust settles…
    Just a thought

  • Babs

    Like Evelyn, I used to pooh-pooh compliments. Some people I guess thought it wss an attempt to get a few more, or false modesty. What it *really* was, was that compliments didn’t fit into my ideas of myself. I still wrestle with compliments as much as hurtful remarks, but I’ve learned to say, “Thank you” and leave it at that. When we negate other’s kind remarks about us, we are actually negating the person gracious enough to offer them.

  • Aimee

    If it makes you feel any better I found your blog through The Splintered Mind and have become a faithful reader and subscriber. I think sharing setbacks is just as important as sharing positive experiences because we really do learn from the down times. Its also nice to know you are not alone. So celebrate you because you have an amazing blog with a great readership.
    And if you ever decide to want to check out some more blogs, you can stop by The Reality of Anxiety sometime. I never write hurtful things about other bloggers for the same reason as your post- I would hate to see my blog with mean things attached to it. Sometimes I am embarrassed to mention the spiritual beliefs I have because I feel that no one cares but I know I must because it is a strong part of who I am. Kudos to you for being so open about it. :)

  • Lynne

    I just want to add that people who are hurting do an awful lot of “reflexive biting” in their comments. It is easy for an insecure person to attempt to make themselves feel better by ranking on everyone else! I believe that’s called “leveling” (Okay those of you who would say I watch too much Dr. Phil, at least it’s accurate.) I used to work for such a pain-in-the-posterior and she was exhausting to deal with as she had to dominate every conversation. Had to be right, the biggest, the best, the smartest!!! Yada…Yada…Yada. Luckily for me I don’t. I just give people enough rope to hang themselves…and she’s still swinging in the breeze! So people who make unkind comments just keep in mind it could be your head on the chopping block next time. Kindness is never regretable.

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