Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Posted by Laurel Garver on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 13 comments
Every year, I toy with the idea of joining the A-Z blogging challenge, and I always talk myself out of it. It has the potential to be a huge time suck. But it's also a great way to make new connections, and I could use some of those. As part of my new year's housecleaning, I unfollowed seventy-some blogs I used to read that have gone inactive. That's a lot of lost connection.

April is also National Poetry Month, which would make it very, very easy to come up with a theme for posts. Poem a day, featuring the letter of the day. I could introduce readers to some poets they may not know or simply forgot. I could challenge myself to write a new piece or three to work into the lineup. With planning, I could get a majority of the posts prepared well ahead of time.

So what's the problem?

I don't seem to be able to maintain enthusiasm for anything for very long. Inevitably, I hit a low every single month and it's a struggle to do much other than soldier through those eight or nine days doing the absolute minimum. It's "just" a hormonal thing, and a pretty rare one that only about 8% of women deal with. But because there have been so many studies linking depression to creativity, I wouldn't be surprised if a number of my writer friends also suffer from the same thing. Unlike clinical depression, PMDD clears up quickly, and that can make you feel extra crazy. And then guilty. Really, really guilty for these short spurts of do-nothing.

Apparently dietary changes and supplements are the first line of attack with the fewest side effects. So if you also find yourself going through monthly 7-14 day stints of feeling really blue, lethargic, unable to enjoy or engage with anything, irritable, having sleep problems, or any of these symptoms, studies show that upping your intake of magnesium, calcium, vitamin B6 and l-tryptophan will improve how you feel. There are other medication options your doctor might also want to try.

I've been encouraged by others' willingness to share their struggles with depression and bipolar disorder. I hope this encourages those out there who feel absolutely terrible a week every month of the year. It's a chemical thing for us, too, friends. Try the dietary changes. Talk to your doctor. Don't just keep sucking it up and toughing it out alone.

Have you participated in the A-Z challenge? If so, what did you enjoy most about it? Do you struggle to be a joiner? Why?

13 comments:

  1. I participated with no planning and failed fairly dismally :S I'm stocking up on random drafts so maybe I'll leap in at the last second this year, I agree with the lost connections, I need some new blogs in my roll!

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    1. I get the sense that planning makes all the difference. I can't imagine any other way to find the time to visit any other blogs. Here's to new connections!

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  2. Severe perimenopause-related hormones swings be really tough that way too. Some days, I feel like crawling into hole. But I'm thankful that eventually the sun comes out. :)

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    1. My older sister had great symptom improvement with herbal supplements like black cohosh for perimenopause. I know some doctors like to throw SSRIs at these kind of cyclical depressions, but those meds have some rough side effects. Wishing you sunshine!

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  3. I seriously need to weed the blog roll -- there are so many that are inactive now -- but it's a tedious process I'm not looking forward to.

    Haven't succumbed to the siren call of A-Z yet. Afraid I'll end up resenting it halfway through as it IS a huge commitment to do a post a day (and visit the other participants). Maybe next year. :)

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    1. It took me an entire afternoon, but it really needed to be done. Some blogs on my roll had been inactive for three years!

      I'm not sure how well I'll do with visiting people, but I have half the posts planned now and five finished. This will be a big test of stamina, but I'm going to give it whirl.

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  4. I thought about A-Z. I'm sure it would be great for connections, but I just don't think I can maintain the momentum for that long. If I were to do it, something would have to go on the back burner, and I'm not willing to put my other writing aside.
    Besides, I'd rather not be going at a frantic pace on or near Easter.
    I think it's okay to know your own limits.

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    1. Your reasoning sounds similar to mine these last several years. Pacing oneself is truly key. I'm kind of curious about how it might be to have twenty-some posts pre-written.

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  5. I did A-Z one year and would love to do it again some time. I can write up the posts but do it right it's about spending at least an hour and visiting other blogs. That's what I'm not sure about. :)

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    1. I'm not sure the timing is especially good for me either, but I'm going to give it a shot. We'll see how it goes!

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  6. Firstly, I need to do house-cleaning with blogs I follow too. How did you go about doing it? Did you click on every single one to see if they are still active?

    I'm going to have to look into PMDD. As I read your words, my shoulders dropped then drooped. Sounds a bit like me. :( As far as the AtoZ, I'm doing it again, but stay structured under my regular blogging days of Mondays and Wednesdays. I highlight the letter for that day. I do, however, visit more blogs.

    Sheri at Writer's Alley

    Home of Rebel Writer CREED 2014
    Mighty Minion Bureau Team #atozchallenge

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    1. I did the housekeeping in Reading List view on blogger. When you click the blog title, it shows when the last post was. In cases where it was two or more years ago, I unfollowed. To save time, I kept a running list, then did the unfollowing in batches. You click the little gear icon for "manage reading list" and then click settings by each blog. In the pop-up, click "stop following this blog." It's a slow process. Good to do in small batches.

      Sorry to hear you think you're a PMDD sufferer too. It's both better and worse than clinical depression, because it's so predictable. Ugh.

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  7. this is my 3rd year with the A-Z. The key is to write posts ahead of time. All year long, actually. I write a couple a week. Come April, it's just a matter of posting, and then reading other blogs. That's my greatest tip. :-) Come visit me, if you'd like: http://adventuresintheballpark.blogspot.com

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