Puppet on a String

I was supposed to visit with family this weekend and did not.  Cousins were in from out of town.  Another cousin, local, is recovering from a liver transplant.  It was a good time to touch base and connect with family.

I skipped it.  This is a side effect of my depression.  I isolate.  Also any change in routine is hard for me to do.  It’s like I’m riding in a rut and I have to jump over the ruts to get into a new path.  The problem is that the ruts are deep because my brain’s preference is for the rut I’m in.  And so what appears to be a simple change is actually the mental equivalent of an Olympic high jump for me.

It’s the same thing that keeps me still when I can’t seem to get myself moving.  When I can’t get out of bed at all.   But in those times it’s more of a jump across a chasm in the dark.

I use these metaphors because it helps me to remember that my thoughts and actions are not my depression.  My thoughts and actions are often a result of my depression and often feed it in a self sustaining loop of yuck.  But they are just the manure and fodder not the cause, not the disease.

This is why therapy works.  Because if you starve depression of it’s fodder by changing your thought patterns and actions it recedes.  It’s not gone.  I’ve pretty well accepted that it will never be gone, but if I can gain control over actions and choices,  I’m no longer a marionette enslaved to the depression’s pulled strings.

chinese puppet
Photo by Min Thein on Pexels.com

This weekend I let it pull my strings.  I know why.  I was tired on Friday night and when I’m tired my ability to use will power to change course is weak at best.  Saturday I let myself sit still for too long.  And the rut got deep.  Then I let my thoughts justify the stillness and feed the depression.  And in the end,  I didn’t do a thing that matters.

This morning it is easy to feed the depression all my shame and self loathing over not visiting my family.  But that just gives the depression more fodder.  So instead I’m writing this post to remind myself – this is how this happened, this is how to manage it.  Don’t feed the depression.  Move Forward.  Focus on the movement.  Don’t sit still and wallow in the manure.

May I make a suggestion?

Put your soul in the front of your post.  Blaze the content of your idea in your title.  Entice me to keep reading, don’t place a word barrier in front of your thoughts.  Sing them to me immediately.

Don’t do the meta part at the top a post.  Don’t say that you are now going to write a post about a thing because you are participating in a thing.  Don’t repeat the obvious first lines that every other person doing a version of this post also repeated.

Meta is utterly boring.  If it is a necessary part of the post in someway – put it at the bottom.

The reader only shows a few lines and if those lines are full of meta, I am not seeing anything that is enticing me to click to see the rest of the post.

Don’t put the meta in the headline except possibly as a tag at the end.

Just put the original content of the post front and center.  Its the part that its interesting.  Its the part people want to read.

If possible don’t include meta at all.

I realize that I’m more or less telling a great many people to stop doing something that is heavily embedded in the WordPress culture.  But its not an attractive part of the culture.  Its a thing that gets in the way of showing your creativity and blocks the interesting content.

I don’t think its bad to have things that prompt people to write certain things, in particular if they have a hard time finding things to write about.  I don’t think its bad to have things that people participate in as a group writing about similar themes.  I think these are all things that promote social community and help writers.

But placing those things as word barrier in front of the part of your post that is interesting and unique to you is hurting you.  I for one have skipped people’s posts because of the barrier.  And I really don’t think I’m the only one.