[Semi-Interactive Podcast] 13, Major Depressive Disorder

Who would have thought that talking about depression for nearly 6 hours would be so entertaining? Lively? That doesn’t feel like the exact right way to start this essay, but it’s what my mind started with as I began the prep process to write, so let’s roll with it. If I could say about our semi-academic conversation about Major Depressive Disorder, it’s that we had a fun time. Academia isn’t dry when applied to real-world situations…

We covered so many topics that the image above truly looks like a scrapbook.

As far as the podcasting logistics go, now that this is the 13th official episode, I’m fairly comfortable with the whole process – and can extend that comfort outwardly in figuring out all areas of the podcast format from prep to adding things, on the fly. That did cause a mid-air crash, as the program I use could not handle me moving around an asset as quickly as my brain could process, but these are things I’ll learn more as I go. There was also the bit I mentioned toward the end where there was a disagreement between two chatters. I said their names during the podcast in a move of transparency perhaps against the norm, but if there are interruptions to the semi-interactivity, I should at least comment on them, especially if the results are one person leaves and the other sticks around.

I spoke to both people after the podcast.

The nature to which I commented extensively might not have been professional in a formal podcast environment, but the chaotic energy of doing something like this live lends itself to talking about issues like this here in the sort of post-podcast debrief. Writing these essays helps me think about everything related to the podcast, starting with top-of-mind things, then working down through any nitty-gritty aspects, outwardly toward new ideas. So between the two people’s conversations I had in private, post-podcast, I arrived at the conclusion that I talked about the issue live [which is available in the Gsheet document in either of the VOD show notes] accurately. It might have been heavy-handed of me, but this is part of the post-podcast self-analysis. How could I have improved on that? Maybe leaving it to the chat-only side of things? Maybe verbalizing it only when it is truly disruptive, instead of an argument between two people over ideals and principles?

There is no real perfect way to handle upcoming situations like that when they happen.

The podcast is gaining traction, so there will be conflicts from varying perspectives, whether between chatters or between guests/hosts/g’hosts and myself. Ideally, the difference should be a matter of drawing out the situation to logical conclusions where we might disagree over some things but overall agree. The only thing I truly contest is what I know to be false information or bigoted statements. Since we’re doing it live, there is that element of unpredictability that eventually might go away. The category I stream under has been tame for chatters, but what happens when there are racists? It’s easier to deal with them quietly and quickly, without giving them a platform to stand on, but I’ve worried about this in the past – how can I make sure that these podcasts are open to good conversations without letting in bad conversations?

We’ll handle it when it happens.

For more controversial topics like the Trans podcast, I endured the podcast was as safe as I could for my friends before we began, so that way we could talk in a public venue, but, semi-privately in that the chat was only open to people that had previously followed me for a while, so there was no bullshit from the general populace of Twitch with the burner accounts that spew hatred to get banned. I would express sympathy for people like this and how sad it must be for their lives to only be motivated by racism or transphobia, but I don’t empathize or sympathize with this behavior in the slightest. Having that mental resolve to see and act is important, not just in a broadcasting environment, but in the topic of mental health as well. If you feel like any of the information we talked about is relatable, then the next step should be going to a medical professional to talk about the issue on a personal basis.

There’s only so much we can do for broad, general information.

From there, you must decide how you want to act on what you’ve realized about yourself, whether you feel like MDD might apply to you or anything else I’ve written about over the years or talked about on any of my broadcasts. There is an element of self-respect that goes in realizing that you might have a problem that is consuming your life and choosing to work toward fixing that. It is challenging and there is no right answer for everyone. For depression, some people may decide to get medicated and it might go extremely well. For others, the medication might go horribly wrong, like for me as I mentioned during the podcast. Still others might find they dislike how medication makes them feel and prefer to live a life without medication. That’s OK as well, just as long as it doesn’t harm themselves or others.

But I think it’s important to talk openly about our problems.

Talking about my chronic pain symptoms feels close to me complaining but when I bring it up to sympathetic people, then it helps normalize what’s going on for me. Chronic pain has affected me throughout every moment of the past 15+ months, maybe not directly in every moment, but in all areas of my life to some degree. I can usually focus through my pain well enough to not let it bother me or affect my ability to operate, but other times it can be tough, so having friends that empathize and understand is my first step toward feeling better about my own pain symptoms, similarly to how if you feel you might have depression or MDD, normalizing the idea as it relates to “normal” depression versus suicidal depression can be valuable to not ostracize people that feel more depressed than usual.

My spontaneous kitchen example of mental health was an interesting one.

So imagine that your psyche is like a kitchen counter. It’s smooth, it’s stable, and secure. You can put many things on it, but there is a depression partway through it. That depression… is a kitchen sink. The sink is good for washing dishes or getting water. That’s like the sort of normal depression that we all experience relating to small or major events. Ideally, the depression kitchen sink is where we dump all of our bad thoughts or wash off our dishes and spoons so we can return to normal operation. But when that sink leaks, that’s when we need help. That’s when things can go wrong, and our psyche kitchens can flood. That’s never good, but, if we try to reach out for help with our psyche’s plumbing and get denied, that’s not good either.

What do we do?

Many cultures, and I mentioned dog packs as a particular example, don’t let these sorts of flaws get exposed out too often. Dog packs don’t have doctors or plumbers, so issues usually can’t be fixed. We aren’t dogs. Our cultures might discourage us from seeking help, maybe because we’re too rich or we’re too poor or we’re too X, or too Y, but, you don’t need to feel alone. You can get the help you need to get back into fighting shape. Whatever that might mean, to whatever degree it might be, you don’t need to be kicked out of the pack. The problem is that most cultures still have trouble shifting away from the hiding-one’s-flaws mentality that threatens us all.

Or maybe we hold onto notions that our flaws amplify our strengths?

There is no right answer to meander through this thought to advise, short of “you’re not alone” through all of this, and that’s been what I’ve learned throughout my experiences with chronic pain. Regardless of how terribly I’m treated by doctors in the American Healthcare System, those doctors aren’t gods amongst humans – they are regulated by insurance companies, and their paychecks are written by hospitals that communicate with those insurance companies. I have a better support network than ever, between all the friends I’ve met broadcasting – legitimate friends, people that I talk to about multiple topics, and, we don’t have a power dynamic where I am better than them or they’re better than me, so there are no parasocial relationship aspects involved – so if I ever truly feel more than a casual depression that might happen to all of us, then I can talk to them to figure out the help I need to keep on fighting the good fight.

What will we cover from here?

I don’t have any more podcasts lined up for the next week, so this might be a good time to assess what I’m doing there along with my own physical health. My mental health has been in good condition, overall, I would say. I do feel a bit of physical dysphoria surrounding my disability, in that I want to do things – pick up dropped food, use the washer/dryer casually, get groceries – but I either can’t or have to do things with significant differences to my former norm. If I ever get to a point where I can do things “normally” again, then I will have plowed through any of the insecurities of life. I literally had nothing and now I have everything available to me. I can fight the good fight for as long as there is fight in me – especially if I can overcome this chronic pain and spine disability to fight as an able-bodied person again.

I feel good, overall, about the podcast’s future.

I do podcasts based on people’s interests. As soon as someone tells me they’ve got something to say, then that potency makes for a good episode. If they’re indifferent, then it’ll be a pain to get them on, let alone talk to them, so I do rely on the excitement of wanting a platform to talk on. To that extent, I don’t worry about finding people to make content. That happens naturally as I talk to people throughout the rest of my day, and if it’s been a few weeks without a podcast, well, part of that is on me to talk to more people to find people interested in podcasting. If it ever runs its course, then, I’m not worried about that either. If the podcasting ever interrupts the writing, then that’s when I’ll end the podcasting or transfer it over to someone else. If podcasting can help promote my writing or help me write, as this essay helped me think about my relationship to being decisive, then they’re positive additions to my weekly routine.

It’d be cool to have a monthly podcast about mental health topics.

Talking more about depression from personal perspectives, anxiety, and other mental health topics would be cool to do. All this does depend on the overall level of interest from guests, though, so I can’t talk too much about relying on things in the next few weeks or months, but when I think about long-term plans, especially if I’m able to return to work, the podcasts might be the once-weekly things I do longer. I might do one shorter stream once-weekly, too, and maybe do an offline art or Writer Talk conversation, assuming I work 40 hours weekly. It all depends on where my physical health takes me. If I can recover well enough to work full-time, I may do that. Maybe I’ll move somewhere cheaper, work part-time, and stream more often? Who knows. Even if this is all free, I feel better for having made the podcast and writing this essay.

Becoming financially independent from all this would be cool.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Commenting at length about the podcast as it was, is, and will be.
Related: Other Media Meandry essays.
Picture: The scrapbook of what we talked about during the podcast.
Written On: 2021 July 23 [11:04pm to 11:52pm]
Last Edited: 2021 July 23 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]


My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.