Last week was Mental Illness Awareness Week. Did you know there are more than 18,000 patients in the PatientsLikeMe Mood Community? Stay tuned for another blog tomorrow with some interesting tidbits about this community. To warm us up, here is a recent newsletter interview we did with three-star member – marathoner452. Read on to find out what she recently told our very own Amy Morton about what brings her joy, returning to teaching, and what she has learned from the PatientsLikeMe Mood Map.
* * *
(Amy) What brings you joy?
(Marathoner452) My two-year-old niece and four-month-old nephew make me so happy.
During my most recent depression, my niece and her parents (my nephew wasn’t born yet) lived at my house and just waking up in the morning and knowing that as soon as I made it downstairs she’d be chanting my name and wanting to sit on my lap at breakfast and pop the bubbles in my cereal was enough of a reason to live another day.
You don’t remember much from when you’re almost two-years-old. I wanted her to remember me. When she gets old enough to understand, I intend to tell her how she helped save my life.
(Amy) What is your top priority these days?
(Marathoner452) I am working on moving back to live with my girlfriend, who has been diagnosed with depression herself. I lived there for two years prior to moving home a year ago at the crisis point of a severe depressive episode.
This means leaving behind a job that’s brought me to stable over the past three months, working as a job coach with adults with developmental disabilities and finding something equivalent once I move. Friends and family both have expressed concern over living that far away from my strong support network [back home], but I’m willing to take the risk.
(Amy) How does your condition affect your social life?
(Marathoner452) I am by nature a very introverted person, and when my anxiety is heightened by a mood episode, I become even more withdrawn. I’ll even cancel plans to spend time with close friends because even the travel or being around strangers is uncomfortable, and I’ll avoid answering the phone. Kinda ironic that I want to get back to being a teacher!
(Amy) What keeps you coming back to PatientsLikeMe?
(Marathoner452) See above. Online forums such as PatientsLikeMe and web chat are perfect for me – low stress and on my own schedule. Crowds and oftentimes even in-person support groups are too intimidating.
I also find all the charting to be very interesting. Sometimes the Mood Map survey will show me something I didn’t even know, like wow, I didn’t realize I was feeling that anxious. And these days I love when it pops out a really high “function” score. That makes me feel like there is hope for me to lead a stable life.
(Amy) Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Marathoner452!