Thursday, August 13, 2009
If your main interest is staying ignorant and resentful and unwell forever, there are plenty of bloggers out there eager to help you stay the way you are. If you are actually interested in gaining insight into what makes you tick and in figuring out what treatments and recovery techniques work best for you, the list is much shorter.
Following are my blogging heroes, highly-intelligent and principled individuals whose mission is to enlighten and inform:
Beyond Blue. No one does it better than Therese Borchard. Her combination of wit and intelligence and practical advice, with a deeply personal dimension, is without equal. I recently had the privilege of reading an advance copy of her book of the same name, and this is part of the endorsement I sent to her publisher:
"Let me count the contradictions: perfectionist-screw-up, brilliant-confused, depressed-hilarious ... Therese is a saint in pursuit of a masterpiece, and BEYOND BLUE is Exhibit A. This is The Book of Job as Art Buchwald might have written it, had he been as talented as Therese. Wise, compassionate, and funny beyond measure, Therese ultimately offers up healing."
About.com - Bipolar. Kimberly Read and Marcia Purse are the equivalent of those NFL quarterbacks who neither rack up statistics nor personal glory - all they do is win football games. Kimberly and Marcia were blogging way back before the neologism, blog, was coined. Unlike virtually every blogger out there, this veteran tag team neither draws attention to themselves nor dazzles readers with seductive prose - and that is their strength.
Instead, for more than a decade, in their own quietly reliable fashion, Kimberly and Marcia have served up reports of new research, new insights, and new developments - information that facilitates us in making intelligent choices without the distortions of overweening egos.
Postpartum Progress. It is highly unusual to cite a blog as the best resource for any given subject. For instance, there may be some great cancer bloggers out there, but to find out what you need to know about cancer you would probably go the American Cancer Society website. Not so for postpartum mental illness. The place to go is Katherine Stone's Postpartum Progress.
Katherine achieves the rare trifecta in passionate advocacy, personal experience, and state-of-the-art information, with each component in service to the others and thus creating a sum much greater than its parts. If you are a woman, or know someone who is, this blog is essential reading.
ADHD Roller Coaster. Gina Pera puts a song in my heart every time she butts heads with antipsychiatry nutjobs and the idiots who legitimize them. Sample this attack on Bill Maher and a panel of dunces:
"They’re entitled to their own opinions, as they say, but not to their own facts. And when their deluded opinions target my friends with ADHD — on the airwaves, in print, or on the Internet — it leaves me at once angry and heartsick at their cold-hearted, mingy-minded meanness, never mind ignorance. ..."
Gina's focus is ADHD, and her blog is by far the best on the topic, but it is as a passionate advocate of reason that she truly shines. The opposite of antipsychiatry is not pro-psychiatry. It is pro-consumer, pro-patient, pro-family member. Pro-wisdom, pro-empathy, pro-science, pro-intelligence. No question about it - Gina is our leading spokesperson.
The Happiness Project. We're all experts in misery. But if we want to get unstuck and get to well, we need to acquaint ourselves with the concept of happy. Gretchen Rubin is a highly-regarded author who, in pursuit of a book, has spent a year "test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study I could find, whether from Aristotle or St. Therese or Martin Seligman or Oprah."
From her latest offering: "The biggest challenge of a happiness project isn’t figuring out what resolutions I should make, but actually sticking to my resolutions. Somewhat to my surprise, I've found that I have quite a lot of trouble keeping my resolutions related to play ... "
Holy cow! I can really relate to that. My guess is all the rest of you are thinking the same thing.
Prozac Monologues. So far, I have singled out established authors, all of them very well-known in their respective fields. Willa Goodfellow's Prozac Monologues, which got started up in April, is my tribute to a new kid on the block. Don't be put off by her latest offering, which is highly complimentary of my work - that was how we met. Then I read her other pieces, and was floored by the homework she turned in.
Let's put it this way: Until I encountered Prozac Monologues, I thought I was the only one who had ever mentioned, anterior cingulate, in a blog. It can be very lonely blogging on topics ignored by everyone else, and suddenly I'm not alone. (The anterior cingulate modulates emotions in the brain.)
Promising bloggers have an unfortunate tendency to burn out, so I urge all of you to drop a comment on her blog site offering encouragement. To Willa: It's very easy for bloggers to get discouraged, particularly when dealing with depression. But clearly we need you. Stick with it ...
No doubt, I am leaving out dozens of worthy bloggers. If you have a favorite, please put your recommendation in the form of a comment below. Trust me, I will follow up.