My most-read blog entries of the year

I have to say, I really enjoyed the blog this year. After letting it go for months, I picked it up again and have consistently tried to create useful and interesting content. It’s also helped me expand my horizons and think about mental health in a different way.

This year also saw the publication of Redemptionan experience which has given me more joy than I ever could have realized – and an experience which was borne of my own depression. Take note, reader: You can get immeasurable joy out of sadness.

That being said, most importantly, I hope what I wrote has helped you.

So, here’s a look at the five blog entries I wrote which seemed to be the most popular. My year in review, if you will.

5) Ties That Bind: Liberals, Conservatives & Mental Health: This is the only “top five” entry which dealt specifically with public policy. It dealt with the challenges facing Democrats/Republicans, urban/rural areas and how mental health remains a huge challenge in all of these sections of the country.

4) Redemption, by Mike Schlossberg, is Almost Available: Alright, this one was blatantly self-promotional 🙂

3) The Tragic Suicides of Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain: Within a few days, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain killed themselves. I wrote this blog entry just after the news broke about Bourdain, largely motivated by a very real fear about the contingent effect when someone does kill themselves. It was my immediate thoughts on what to do and how to help those who are suffering.

2) How To Stay Hopeful in a World Filled With Darkness: This entry was one of the most painful ones I have ever done, and like the one above, it was in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy – specifically the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh. The crux of this entry was how anyone can stay hopeful and optimistic in a world where gloom and doom have become so powerful.

1) How Vacation Can Make You Depressed, and What You Can Do About It: This entry was inspired by my own upcoming vacation – and the depression which often accompanied it. What was most interesting about this one to me is that this one has seen a slow and steady increase in hits after the entry was posted back in late July. It did okay at first, but then the views just grew and grew. I suppose it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who sometimes feels this way.

It has been a wonderful year, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk to you. I wish you a happy, peaceful and restorative New Year. See you in 2019!

How vacation can make you depressed, and what to do about it

One of the issues I have had with my depression is traveling. I go to Harrisburg very frequently as part of my job, and many of those are overnight – I’m probably away from home something like 40-50 nights a year (easily the worst part of my job, and that has nothing to do with depression!). It was hard to get used to. That being said, at this point, I’ve spent so much time in Harrisburg, it’s almost like a second home. I have the same hotel (and usually the same few rooms), same basic routine, and it’s made life relatively easy.
Now, traveling to a new place, particularly when I am alone, remains a struggle. A new routine, a new city, make life very hard. For me, that happens from time to time, usually as part of a convention or hearing. I have found that it’s best for me to keep the same basic routine. I try to be back in my hotel room by 8-9, putz around for a bit, go to sleep by 11 and wake up early enough to get to the gym. Having a standard routine no matter where I go is really helpful, as it gives me a sense of comfort and normalcy, no matter where I am.
While I know I’m not the only one with travel anxiety, the idea that others could share my periodic troubles on family vacations were new to me. But, to my surprise, when I googled “vacation depression,” I found a ton!
Anyway, after doing some research, here are the best tips that I could find, along with some of my own thoughts.
  • First, and this is just me stalking, stick to your routine. Get up around the same time. Keep a normal bedtimes. Try to keep at least one meal you eat similar to what you’d eat at home. A sense of routine can avoid a shock to your body.
  • Go easy on yourself. Remember that vacations aren’t about expectations or THINGS I HAVE TO MUST DO RIGHT NOW NOW NOW – they are about relaxing, unwinding and a break from the stresses of normal life. If you suffer from depression, this may mean that you still suffer – and that’s okay. That’s who you are. Give yourself permission to be in pain and don’t berate yourself for it.
  • Choose a vacation that matches your personality. Placing pressure on yourself to go on a vacation you think you’re “supposed” to go on will only add to the depression you’re feeling. Instead, select a destination that will allow you to get what you want out of the vacation. Going somewhere you can’t fully enjoy or a place that makes you feel inadequate will only make your depression worse (via WikiHow)
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others. Many people with depression fall into the trap of comparing others’ vacations to theirs. You may look at the vacationers around you and wonder why you’re not enjoying yourself as much as they are. Placing pressure on yourself to enjoy what you think you should can make you feel worse. Instead, realize you probably aren’t seeing the bigger picture (via WikiHow)

There’s more out there, and if you have any tips, I’d love to hear them. Leave them in the comments below!