Today I started a Facebook page dedicated to Mood Pride. Mood Pride is an offshoot of the neurodiversity movement, suggesting that we focus on the ”differences” of people with mood disorders, rather than solely on the ”deficits.” Mood disorders are terrible afflictions, don’t get me wrong. My own mood disorder (five episodes of major depression and dysthymia throughout my 62 years) has been the single most horrific, no good, terrible thing I’ve had to deal with in my life. But I believe that the neurological and genetic differences that make me vulnerable to depression also give me what I’d like to call the ruminative and contemplative capacities that help me as a writer. As it turns out, many writers have had mood disorders.
Now, again I have to emphasize that a mood disorder is very serious stuff. Between 2-12% of people with mood disorders commit suicide. So, it’s basically a potentially terminal illness on a par with some forms of cancer. People who think that those with mood disorders should just ”snap out of it” ”pull themselves up by their own bootstraps” or ”shake it off” ought to keep this sober statistic in mind. But it’s also an integral part of being human for many individuals.
I believe that the focus should be on both the challenges (the best means of alleviating depression and preventing suicide, including the medically supervised use of antidepressant medications), and the strengths (which will be explored on the Mood Pride Facebook page). If you have a mood disorder, or know someone who does, then suggest to them that they ”like” the page. Here is the descriptive statement for the Mood Pride page on Facebook: