Thanks for all the advice and support on my last post. I felt really vulnerable posting that ( so whiny!), and even more so as the comments starting appearing. Instead of posting long responses to the comments that would likely never be read, I would instead like to lay out a couple of disclaimers. I'd venture that these should really be universal advice for reading and commenting on blogs.
1. You don't know the whole story
I tend to be pretty open on here. I do, in fact, discuss my marriage and mental health fairly regularly. But there are things in my life that I don't blog about, either because they are not my story to tell, or because the experiences leave me too raw to open up to the wide world. I don't like to "vague-blog", so if I can't share it all, I usually just don't mention it.
No matter how much it seems that someone is laying there whole life out there, trust me, they are not. There is more to the story, and the "perfect life" may not be what it seems.
2. Mental Health and Attitude are two different things
I am a huge proponent of the notion of "choosing happiness" and believe its true that no one but ourselves can make as happy. I have, and am continuing to, work really hard at maintaining a positive attitude, reframing my thoughts to be more grateful and less cynical, and to embrace habits that lead to more contentment in my life. The subtitle to my blog "...to change her mind" reflects my intention to do what I can to recognize and fully experience the many joys I am fortunate to have in my life.
And that's the point. I realize I have a lot to be happy about but sometimes I am depressed and anxious. That's the fundamental thing about mental health issues---they are not caused by a "negative attitude". And positive thinking and "Happiness Project"-style lifestyle changes are not the cure for depression or anxiety*. Yes, I do believe that maladaptive cognitive processes play a role in affective disorders and that specialized cognitive behavioral therapy can help "un-learn" those negative thinking patterns. But it involves pretty intensive and long-term practice to get there; you can't "wish it away". I'm pretty determined, f I could have done so, I would have done it by now.
3. Yes I recognize my privilege
I do. I really really do. I know its nothing but simple luck that I was born healthy into a loving and healthy family with sufficient means that encouraged and supported my education. And I am good at standardized test taking. I realize that those things play an enormous role in any achievements I have garnered along the way.
I will not feel the need to point out my privilege in every post I write about my life and my feelings that is not 100% glowing and grateful. I will leave it as a given, and hope my readers "know me" well enough to not need reminders.
*I don't believe that I currently have true clinical depression, though I've had it in the past, and may well have it again. What I have more frequently (and seem to be having right now) are shorter, less severe bouts of "semi-depression"---depressed mood with many of the classic symptoms (lack of interest in things, poor sleep, changed appetite) but that lift on their own without meds or therapy.