Just in time for the holidays, we present to you our Top Ten Depression Blogs for 2008. What qualifies me to evaluate blogs? As an early adopter I got absorbed in people’s candid stories and shared my own. I watched the medium develop and saw the growth of tech blogs, food blogs, etc. that aren’t diary-like. But depression blogs mostly remain as personal as (for example) 1997’s Protest Against Life. Extreme introspection and rumination are symptoms that lend themselves to blogging and you can see a thread of that depressive style in all these blogs.
One appeal of blogging about a disorder you suffer from is community; friendships and social supports emerge. But although someone’s insights may help you feel less alone, it can also prompt you to feel worse. I am depressed right now (it will pass, I’m in treatment). I’ve been preparing this list for a while but that made it much harder. Ultimately, though, I think sizing up these blogs while depressed is appropriate since that put me in the target readership. Blogs most likely to be triggering if you’re in a fragile state are marked with a *T*.
We had a number of criteria when we compiled this list, but at the top of the list is a blog that is regularly updated and deals with depression. We also looked for quality of writing, insight, apparent honesty, knowledge, advocacy, humor, information-sharing, poignancy, and personality. These blogs have all that and more.
Katherine Stone writes a peer-to-peer blog that covers all aspects of postpartum depression and anxiety, postpartum psychosis, and other mental health concerns connected to childbirth. Newly released research, media coverage of PPD, and her own exploits in advocacy are frequent topics. On our top ten list last year, this year she was also named one of WebMD’s 2008 Health Heroes and a top mental health blog by Blogs.com. She maintains many links to professional resources, blogs and research links, as well as her Surviving and Thriving Moms group.
Depression Marathon is an intimate and detailed portrayal of an eight-year battle against depression. Etta is a devoted runner who also writes about her training for marathons; a good sideline that adds a second quest to her story. It’s an absorbing blog. She’s been writing for nearly a year but just recently revealed the difficulty she’s having with transparency and being anonymous – something every blogger who writes about personal issues has to confront. *T*
17-year-old Mariah documents her ongoing grieving process after the suicide of her best friend two years earlier, plus her own depression, suicidal urges, and self-injury. A quintessential “emo blog” (I mean that in a good way!) unafraid to tackle mental illness and philosophy. She writes quick posts in a variety of styles depending on her mood; it’s very much the blog of a teenager but it’s a sublime one. A candid effort to make some sense of life, death and pain. Read the handy review page to catch up on key events. *T*
Douglas Cootey’s been gaining fame, interviewed by CNN and ADDitude Magazine, who’ve just named him one of the top ADHD bloggers. We’re not surprised: he was an easy choice for our own top ten depression bloggers list last year too. Geared toward cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with the mantra “pills don’t teach skills.” Douglas shares a positive attitude, helpful links, and cheerful humor — but still gets real about his dark inner struggles, too.
A frequently-updated powerhouse of a blog written by the friendly and thoughtful Therese J. Borchard. For those who believe spirituality is important in a holistic mind and body approach to the treatment of depression, it is the ultimate word on the topic. How many Christians promote neuropsychiatry alongside faith while some religious leaders continue to claim that sin and evil spirits cause depression? Therese’s gentle inquiries are revolutionary in a way. She also does occasional vlog posts on YouTube.
John D. explains why he started this project: “I have no cures or therapies to offer. I have only stories, reflections, impressions, records of moments when a bit of life broke through. I invite you to share this space with me, to tell your stories to others who have similar issues to deal with.” The blog design conforms to the awful new trend of undated posts, but you can find the dates in the URLs. I was only recently tipped to check it out, but I’m impressed. He’s a talented writer who can sling a phrase, and every story has a take home message. *T*
It was a must for our list last year and the quality of Andre Jordan’s blog with its quirky, poignant cartoons is as strong as ever. A new book compiling his unique depression-related doodles will be released in January 2009.
La explains in her profile that “I write a lot about depression but I don’t consider this a depression blog: I think of it as a record of the way I live now. And the truth is that the way I live now is a daily struggle. But I struggle on and muddle through.” It’s an eloquent blog with controlled glimpses of her life that are good at showing what it’s like to have depression, even though she is careful not to share too many details or identifying data (which is smart!). Posts may be about cooking, or feature a webcomic she created, or log a fragment of conversation, while others are more intimately emotional. Some posts are password-protected but she will share the password if asked. “I only wanted to write something honest and of myself,” said La, and she has succeeded. Warning: Profanity on one of the homepage entries right now. *T*
There’s a bounciness in her blogging style despite heavy subjects, partly from the use of single sentence paragraphs. Though easily pushed into blog cliché-land, they aren’t heavy-handed here. Avoidance Junkie keeps a poetic rhythm, dancing at a pace that gathers you up with it. It makes topics like anhedonia (loss of ability to take pleasure from things the person once enjoyed), sorrow and regret less sticky. There are others who write in a similar disjointed, slightly muffled style but she does it better than most, and for that reason she’s on the list. *T*
An engaging and likable blog with very detailed accounts of a life marred by depression. Not just her emotional state, but day-to-day events, relationships, poetry, work, and play. She is very into blogging, and it shows: “Blogging has been quite good for my mental health and it’s an activity I need to do no matter what… kinda like flossing.”
Still rocking after a year and a half, his is a unique perspective. After hooking up with a study (not affiliated now) he learned the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) treatment approach to depression. It involves light exposure and sleep hygiene, psychological strategies, social support, Omega-3 fatty acids, and aerobic exercise. It does help him, and he explains how. He also shares savvy mental health links.
A young woman with borderline personality disorder (BPD) in a depressive episode writes about her thoughts and psychiatric crises in an emotionally honest and anguished tone. There is much to be gleaned from her experiences.
“My husband retired in 2005, at which time we needed to cut our expenses and I stopped seeing my psychologist on a regular basis and took up blogging. Blogging is definitely cheaper although it isn’t nearly as effective as seeing a professional on a regular basis,” writes Susan King. In a recent interview (Douglas Cootey of The Splintered Mind is quoted in the same article) she explains that blogging is “very helpful” to her for reasons like identifying emotional triggers. Features short entries that are simple and easy to read.