Sunday, March 20, 2016

Yet Another Update

This really shouldn't be described as an "update" since nothing has really changed a lot since the last time I wrote something here. However my last entry was from July last year, and I thought I should at least let it be known that I've not dropped off the face of the earth, at least not yet.

I would say I'm now a little more open about talking about my personal situation than I had been a year ago. Certain topics are still unwise to discuss openly, but I feel like it is ok to "come out" about my attempts to fight some level of depression over the recent years. In my case this manifests itself in the form of extended periods for which I would fail to acquire any sufficient focus that is necessary to sustain professional tasks. I believe I had first started to get an idea of my condition after watching the PBS documentary on the Lewis and Clarke expedition where it caught my attention that Meriwether Lewis's (implied - these were never formally documented, even though it appeared Jefferson had known about them) mood swings were a highly extreme version of my own. This blog ( describes some of what he went through, and in particular I noted that his failure to log journal entries mirrored my own early frustrations with trying to keep my own personal and professional logs. It made me realize that until I developed ways to mitigate these problems (tentatively without having to go the biochemical route) I wasn't going to be able to dig myself out of the hole I had found myself in over the recent years. This was a slow and sometimes painful process of self-discovery, but I think I'm finally in a state where the general progress points in an overall positive direction after a few false starts (some early euphoria over "recovery" was exactly that ... euphoria - see article on Lewis.)

In any event without going into too many details, I believe I have a reasonable set of mitigation plans that are helping. Things are in fact looking up. My skin condition continues to clear, and if no fresh long-lived patches flare over the next week or so I might finally be fully in the clear. I've also started to become more active with my volunteer work with the OpenWorm project again, moving at (what I believe to be) a reasonable pace without slowing the rest down. This will be an essential step toward building up enough personal confidence to start looking at full-time technical work again - I am already fairly confident I am capable of working magic with code when I'm fully focused. My realization that depression was probably preventing me from being able to fully focus, allowed me to realize it was just not right for me to go seeking a job while in that state. More importantly it allowed me to not feel guilty about not trying until I was ready. Once I cross the necessary comfort threshold, I can begin again. Doing good software development work and perhaps scientific work with the OpenWorm group will be that key I seek. It really does tie in with how Theodore Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt dealt with the intuitive understanding of what they needed to do to fight off the depression that appeared to run deep within their family - Theodore needed constant action whilst Eleanor needed to feel needed and useful. I share some parts of both those needs, with action being activities and tasks in a structured environment where I can do the most good for the world before my time is up.

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