A new year and a new platform. I’ve been trying to do more blogging, but struggled with my previous application to do it expediently. So now I’m restarting again with a simpler tool (Statamic) and hoping to be a bit more active with my writing. Time will tell.
I’ve kept the design simple for now and I’ll get some enhancements rolled out eventually. Let me know if you experience any issues, though.
For me, depression wasn’t about being sad all the time, or wanting to hurt myself. Depression was being unable to control my emotions, thoughts, or mood. Being unable to cope with even the slightest of issues. Having body pains that made it impossible to get up off the couch.
Depression was lying awake at night running over every possible solution to meaningless decisions in my head. And then wondering if I was missing something and starting over again.
Depression was begging to just have a day to clear my head, fooling myself into thinking that it was all I needed to feel better. Waiting for that day to arrive. And then discovering it didn’t help at all. But begging for the next day to arrive again.
Depression was convincing myself that today was “different”, and that tomorrow would be better. And repeating that over and over until you lost track of the last day you felt good.
Depression was telling everyone that everything was “fine” and that I didn’t need any help. That I knew what was going on. That I knew how to fix it.
Depression WAS. I no longer consider depression to be part of my life. Several years ago, I finally decided to stop making excuses for myself and get help. The doctor prescribed some antidepressants and suggested seeing a therapist. I accepted the drugs, but not the therapist. The fear of the unknown was still too great. It took nearly 2 years of trying different medications before finding something that truly worked. Some drugs seemed to do nothing, while others made me feel great but had terrible side effects.
Finding that “one” that worked, though, opened back up the world to me. It only opened the door, though. It gave me the opportunity to see my true self and be able to find my route through life. It has taken nearly 3 years of being on this medication to feel like I’m “normal” again. I can sleep without sleeping pills. I don’t dwell on anything, let alone small, meaningless things. I don’t freak out when I’m overly stressed and am able to calmly process things.
I’m not perfect though. But I don’t blame my imperfections on my depression anymore. I’m still on medication, and have no plans on getting off it anytime soon. I’m also not afraid of telling anyone of my struggles. The biggest thing I learned from my struggle is that others struggle, too. Any many have a harder struggle than I do, and need more help. Depression can be debilitating, and no matter how hard a person fights, they can’t get through it without help. I used to think that depressed people should “just get over it”. I’ve never been more wrong about something in my entire life. These people want nothing more than to get over it. They don’t need to be told what to do. They need understanding and help.
I am so proud of people like Wil and Jenny who can talk about their own struggles to such a wide audience. By getting the world to recognize what depression and mental illness is, we can blow apart the stereotypes and get people the help they truly need. The human brain is one of the most complex objects in the world; thinking we have complete control of it in all circumstances is silly.
I can talk about all the great people I met and talked to at TriConf. I can talk about the wide variety of interesting sessions covering many aspects of programming, design, and entrepreneurship. I can talk about the immensely inspirational keynotes that had the attendees on the edge of their seat. But I wouldn’t be able to do them justice. You had to be there.
Without knowing beforehand that the event was entirely run by volunteers, and that the sessions were led by volunteers with very little time to prepare their talks, you’d think this was run by a dedicated conference team that flew in speakers from parts unknown. The conference ran as smooth as any you’ll see, even accounting for the inevitable issues that always appear. And not only was the conference free, but each session was recorded and put online (again, for free) within 2 days. There are many expensive conferences that don’t provide videos at all. It’s hard to imagine how smoothly everything went. Guess you had to be there.
It’s difficult to pull out a signature “moment” of TriConf. There were just too many. But there was a signature “theme”: personal experience. The most buzzed about sessions all dealt with the speakers relating their personal experience to topics related to the conference as a whole. The back-to-back keynotes by Keith Nerdin and Cheryl Broetje were powerful from both ends of the spectrum. Enough humor to make you almost choke, and enough sorrow to bring you to tears. Equally inspirational, though. Luckily the videos are available, but they won’t match the real experience. You had to be there.
I had previously met about a quarter of the attendees, and “talked” to another quarter via Twitter, so there was still a good number of people I had never met before. Meeting these folks turned out to be a treat. Seems like no matter how hard you search around to find “all” the interesting folks in the area, new ones pop up and you’re thrilled to have met them. Hopefully they enjoyed the conference as much as I did, and will continue to make themselves known within the community so everyone else can meet them, too. Otherwise, you would have had to have been there to meet them.
If you were at the conference, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you weren’t there? You missed a good one. Don’t make the same mistake next year. You need to be there.