Thursday, September 25, 2008

When I Dreamed of Fame It Was Never as a Poster Child for Depression

(cc) Douglas CooteyYou might think I'd be used to it. After all, I'm on social security disability and therefore constantly receive junk mail for hearing aids and senior citizen discounts. Obviously, at 41 I'm officially over the hill as far as the direct marketing world is concerned. I might as well pick out a cemetery plot and write my own eulogy. Still, when I was contacted to be interviewed for a news report out of Ohio, I was surprised the topic was baby boomers and depression.

Baby boomer? "I'm only 41," I replied. "My mother's the baby boomer. ;)"

It was close enough, apparently, so the interview was on.

Baby boomers, according to Wikipedia, are those Americans born between 1946 and 1964. Technically, this means my mother's not a baby boomer either, but she was born in 1945 so she always considered herself of that generation. I, however, am her child, not my grandparents, so I think it's a stretch to put me in the group, even if I was born in 1966. There was just one thing, though. I had depression and I blogged. That made me perfect for Ms. Dunn's article.

We spoke for about thirty minutes and I answered questions about how I was diagnosed and how I managed my depression. I have to admit, I was disappointed with the final results. I don't think enough was said about the struggle I had developing my method or how close it was to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or how highly I recommend that form of therapy for those that struggle with depression. However, there was an upside: I didn't sound like a complete idiot, something I was quite worried about. No foot in the mouth material here for another blog. I know you're disappointed.

You can find the complete article over at, but here are the relevant bits. Let me know if I should request a refund for my fifteen minutes of fame:

Moodiness And Depression

Douglas Cootey, 41, of Midvale, Utah, suffers from depression and attention deficit disorder. He says he was diagnosed with depression after seeking help for ADD. A magnetic resonance image was taken of his brain, and the doctor said, "Hey, did you know you were depressed?"

"I was miserable, angry and hating life," he says, adding that he had suicidal thoughts.

Cootey, like King, tried antidepressants. He says the drugs ruined his life because now he has chronic motor tic disorder that causes quick uncontrollable movements or vocal outbursts.

He says that while on the medication, he was still miserable and emotionless. In fact, he says that he was curled under a desk in the dark while on the medication.

In 1995, he went off the medication. He also started to approach his depression differently. The stay-at-home father of four says he uses "forced optimism."

"Changing the way you think will change the way you live," he said.

With self-analysis, he says he recognizes when he is depressed and works to combat it. He does this by indulging in fun activities, praying, walking, going for a ride, exercising and blogging.

Additionally, he says his wife, Robyn, has played a tremendous role in helping him cope with his condition.
"My wife gives me wonderful back rubs," he said. "She lets me talk … she'll listen to me."

Actually, I didn't specify what type of machine they used because it was ages ago and I couldn't remember, but I do recall the doctor said "So. Tell me about your depression." I was probably being cheeky when I recounted the tale, so I'll have to watch for that next time I'm interviewed. I also stated that I referred to my method as "ENforced optimism", but I suppose I am just quibbling. I also wasn't sure if 1995 was really the date I stopped taking Zoloft. A lot of those years are a bit of a blur, what with being depressed and medicated and hanging out in a dark bedroom. For the record, I only remember one time crawling under a desk, but it did happen. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I regret having mentioned it.

In the future, I'll have to nail all the parts of my story down and save it as a file so I don't give conflicting information.

So, what do you think? Was it worth the link to my blog? Did you learn anything new, or should I just keep my mouth shut next time? I hate to rush you, but somebody just requested to use a photo of mine off this blog in an upcoming book on bloggers and they want an answer. It's probably a good thing, but then I haven't seen which photo of mine they want to use. Let's hope it's not the one at the top of this article.

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