Commenting Guidelines

Fall Color in Tree Canopy

As the readership of Storied Mind has grown, I have received more questions about the commenting process and have also run into my own limitations in responding to everyone. I’m setting out a few guidelines here so that you will know what to expect.

My Responses to Comments and Questions.

I have always tried in the past to respond to every comment and every email question, but the increasing numbers have made it hard to keep up. It’s not only the number of comments but also their length and compelling personal content. I’ve taken each one to heart and tried to offer what I could from my experience, but I guess I’ve reached a limit both in time and in emotional endurance as well, I have to say. I need to stand back for a while.

From now on, I will respond to as many comments as I can on new posts but will respond on older ones only when I think I can add something that hasn’t been discussed elsewhere in the comments on that post.

As I have mentioned on the Contact page, I will no longer be responding to emails requesting help with personal problems. I am not a therapist and have offered all the advice I have in the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve written here in posts and comments.

I hope you will understand if I do not answer your comment individually. Whatever you write is important to all of us in this blog community. It’s how we learn, and we’re all grateful for your willingness to share your experience.

Courtesy and Respect

Among the thousands of comments submitted to this blog, I can count on one hand the number I have refused to publish because they did not follow basic rules of courtesy and respect for others. As the readership and volume of comments go up, however, there are a couple of things I notice that merit a reminder or two, just to ensure that you don’t inadvertently say something that blocks your comment.

Each comment should make clear that it responds to the post or to another comment in some way. Very rarely, I get a rant about mental illness or a piece of pure self-promotion that could be written anywhere and has no relevance to the post or to other comments. I don’t publish those.

Above all, respect the feelings and integrity of every other commenter. You may certainly disagree with something you read, but I don’t publish comments that criticize others for feeling the way they feel or that attack others in any way. Just focus on what your experience is all about rather than trying to evaluate what someone else has done or telling them that they aren’t really depressed.

I hate to mention this since commenters here are overwhelmingly respectful, thoughtful, kind and supportive. But sometimes, people get carried away in the strength of their reactions and say something that’s insensitive or worse. That’s when I have to step in.

Delays in Posting Your Comments

I do review all comments prior to posting, primarily to screen for spam, so there is a delay between your submission and publication. I check comments throughout the day in an effort to keep the interval as brief as possible, but there can be delays of as much as a day, especially if we are separated by several time zones, a continent or half the globe.

I hope you’ll be patient if it takes a while for your comment to appear, but please let me know, by way of the contact form, if it seems to have gotten lost.

Disclaimer about Therapy

I have a disclaimer that this site does not offer therapy, and that applies to commenters as well. We all give advice to each other quite freely, share stories about what has or hasn’t worked and try to be as helpful as possible to others who are asking for assistance. That’s all fine, but if you are a professional mental health provider, please be careful about suggesting your own services or saying something that is more appropriate for a consulting session. Thank you.

Personal Information

I do everything I can to protect your anonymity, while asking for minimal information (email address) to make sure the comment is coming from a real person. The email address is kept confidential, and I do not use it for any other purpose.

Sometimes, commenters put personal information inadvertently in the name or website field, or use their full names out of habit when they don’t intend to. I am happy to correct problems like those, but it’s better to prevent them before your personal information appears on the blog.

Modifying or Removing Comments

Please be sure that you are comfortable publishing your comments before you submit them. Very rarely, a reader asks to have comments taken down after they’ve been posted. It’s usually because they would like someone else to read the blog but don’t want to reveal that they’ve been describing that person’s situation online. So please think ahead about that, or any other potential problem.

Often, by the time I get the request to take down a comment, other readers have already responded, and it has become part of the ongoing dialogue. It’s a loss to all if the comments suddenly disappear.

I will respond to any request you might make to modify or remove your comment and will do as you ask unless there is some compelling reason not to. I want to be sure that your contribution here never creates a problem for you. However, I also want to keep the comments intact except in unusual circumstances.

Rights to Your Comments

To be clear about the control of your comments, you always own the rights to anything you publish at Storied Mind – or any other website. Many sites, however, include terms and conditions (which most of us don’t bother to read and often don’t even know exist) that grant the site owner a non-exclusive right to use the material for any other purpose they see fit. I believe that goes too far.

I agree that anyone posting on a website is granting a “non-exclusive right” to the publisher. That just means that you, as the owner of your writing, are allowing the site to publish your comment while reserving to yourself the right to publish elsewhere. I’m OK with that, but I don’t agree with the idea that the blog publisher should also have the right to re-publish your words in ways that could go beyond your original intention.

By posting a comment on this blog, you are granting me the right to publish it on a non-exclusive basis in the context of other comments attached to a post, as you intended. You also grant me the right to edit your comment solely to make grammatical or spelling corrections, and to quote from it briefly in other related posts, only on Storied Mind. That’s it.

Occasionally, a comment has such valuable insight or tells such a compelling story that I want to publish it as a post on its own. In those cases I will always ask for the author’s permission in writing beforehand.

6 Responses to “Commenting Guidelines”

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  1. Jennifer Montgomery says:

    So here’s my story, I hope someone can provide me with some advice. I don’t know where to turn and am getting thoughts from my family that are breaking my heart. Their thoughts may be true but have never experienced depression first hand.

    My partner and I have been in a very loving (or so I thought) relationship for 8 years. We have had our tiffs but nothing I would consider deal breaking whatsoever. Approximately a year ago my partner received a promtion to a very stressful position. Roughly around the same time I noticed a shift in our sex life. We no longer seemed to be having it as much. Disappointing to me but not the end of the world. During that time he stopped working out and carrying as much about his appearance. Not to a point of extreme but fewer haircuts, no workouts that sort of thing. I chaulked it up to his job but tried hard to tell him often that he was still very attractive and appealing to me. I also discovered that he was using pornography. This wasn’t a surprise but little by little it seemed to me to be replacing our intimacy. At one point I discovered he was using pornography for pleasure when I was upstairs. This was very upsetting to me and a big blow to my ego. I told him I felt it was selfish and hurtful and it made me feel not good enough. He proceeded to smash his tablet and throw it out and apologize profusely. I felt we had worked our way through that, we didn’t stop our relations but we werent animals either which I assumed was the normal progression in a long relationship. Recently I was scheduled for a trip out of town and it was cancelled due to weather. I came home unexpectedly and caught him trying to cover up something. He made a stupid excuse and then I realized that he was lying to me and he had been watching porn. Now, I don’t have an issue with porn but considering we spent the whole weekend together without anything between us I was pretty upset. I told him I wouldn’t be lied to anymore and that it was hurting me. He told me he thought he might be addicted. I spoke with a collegue who has a degree in psychology. She made mention to me that he may be suffering from depression as that can be one of the symptoms. My partner has struggled for years with self esteem and issues with people being better than him. I brought it to his attention that maybe his pornography might be from an underlying issue. At that time he told me he had suffered with depression 20 years ago in his 20′s and had been treated for approximately a year with medication and therapy. This was news to me but I didn’t pry. He said to me he wasn’t happy inside and didnt feel himself. I asked him if he wanted to see a doctor and he did so we booked the appointment and went. He was prescibed some form of anti depressant with promise that a mental health worker would be in touch. The doctor asked a few standard questions that was that. He started taking his medication two days later in the morning. Later that day we had a discussion about an upcoming trip for a graduation and his response was he wasnt looking forward to the long drive. When I asked him if he didn’t want to go he said no. When I asked him why his response was he didn’t think he could do this with me anymore. Talk about being blindsided. Aside from the things I mentioned which may be huge and I didn’t recognize them I thought things were okay. There was always I love you, can’t wait for you to be home, can’t wait for time with you this weekend. I asked him about this and he said he wasn’t telling me the truth that he had been feeling this way for a long time. Now maybe I am being stupid or stubborn but having lived with him for years I would put my life on the line to say that he was telling me the truth. I can’t explain all of those things here but I was crushed. I can’t explain to you how I felt about this shocking confession. He cried and hugged me and of course I did the same. I honestly can tell you that the emotions and feeling he displayed to me were real. Am I crazy? I did some research on signs and symptoms of depression and he has many. My good friend says he may not be thinking clearly if he is in a really dark place. After a tearfelt and sleepless night I left with some suitcases my dog and some papers. I travelled to my hometown as I had no where else to go. I left him some information about what I had found out about depression and with that a note saying I loved him and that he needs to keep fighting. If he feels that hopeless he needs to get help. He said he needs time and was crying as I was leaving but didnt stop me. He came to the driveway and told me he made a mistake and I don’t know what that means. I drove two days to get to my family home with no sleep and not able to eat. I plan to be away for two weeks as I have to return to work at somepoint. I told him I wouldn’t pressure him and phone him but give him his space. He sounded awful, sad, hurt. He said he felt awful that he hurt me. Where do I go from here? I eventually have to go back if only to figure out what I’m going to do. I told him I loved him and asked him to speak with someone. I told him that I don’t expect him to call me right away if he needs some time but we will have to speak prior to me returning. Should I fight for him? I am scared to pressure him in anyway but I can’t live with the knots in my stomach and sleeplessness forever. He phone me to check that I made it safely and he said he felt black. My mother says its over and to get out…do I give up….someone please help, my heart is in a million pieces.

    Thank you

  2. ameri says:

    I think I’m so depressed, my husband works long hours and I’m here with our two children all day taking care of them school, homework, diapers, bottles, dinner, discipline, I do it all he comes home and don’t help me enough he do a little but its not enough. Then we I shut down from anger I find myself not want to talk to anybody don’t really wanna b around anyone. We live in a state where I have no friends or family and I just feel like a care giver with no thought of how I might b feeling. We have no child care and can’t afford it so there is nobreak for me just kids and sleep in the house all the time might go to run errands or paying bills but back to the same thing everyday. I know work is work but he get a break from the kids when he goes to work cause atleast he gets to communicate with adults there where I don’t. I feel he stays longer at work so he don’t have to deal with home or he might have someone he’s seeing at work that has always crossed my mind. I feel like I’m about to go crazy or is already there sometimes I wanna leave then I think about wat that will do to my kids , I’ve picked up drinkn everyday to deal but now that doesn’t work I haven’t thought about suicide but I have thought wat if I wasn’t round would if be better for them cause I’m very moody I will start a argument for the smallest thing. Then I feel bad for my feelings cause they didn’t ask for this I really just don’t know how to deal with wat I’m feeling! Help!

  3. Miranda says:

    I wish that somewhere there was a forum for teachers with depression. There has to be millions. I’ve googled a million variations of teacher, depression, suicide…all I get is sites that want to help teachers to help kids. I work 60 hours per week, and it’s not good enough. I don’t have the self-efficacy or self-esteem to listen to the incessant teacher-bashing. All I seem to hear is that math teachers suck, kids hate math because of bad teaching, I feel like my hands are tied. If you were a kid who found math difficult, and you heard that the reasons kids don’t learn is because math teachers couldn’t teach, how hard would you work? That’s taking the locus of control away from the kid. Now they believe that their efforts are not enough to change the situation, so why try? They have learned through the years that it’s always the teachers fault. Our education system (where I teach, and many other districts as well) doesn’t require homework, allows kids to leave tests blank and retake them piece by piece as they can, if they fail at semester, they can still make up the tests the next semester, and if many kids fail, the teacher gets in trouble, so most teachers find a way to pass them without much evidence of mastery. I mean, how many teachers want to end up like me? I try to enforce standards, hold kids accountable, I spend hours trying to make my lessons clear and connect them to life and prior learning, I’m available for help before and after school…but most of the kids do very little. They have learned year after year, that they’ll pass anyway. Not to mention that their learning deficits by high school are huge, because they haven’t been held accountable for mastering more than one concept at a time. They cram, answer a few questions, forget, then cram, and so on. I just can’t keep putting in the time, only to have half my students fail. If I’m such a bad teacher, then why are kids coming to me with A’s from algebra who failed the state tests, and can’t solve a two-step algebraic equation? How is it that the kids in my calculus class got A’s in pre-calculus, but scored below 20% on the test of pre-requisite skills at the beginning of the year? I can’t work in this system that doesn’t teach kids what learning is! How unfair it is to send these kids off year after year, knowing they don’t have a clue how to actually study math? So when I try to hold them to a standard, I’m a bad teacher. This is the second district I’ve worked in. I’m tired of more and more work being piled on teachers. In an average planning period of 55 minutes a day, (because for an hour before school and after I am there to provide extra help to students) I am expected to plan lessons for 3 different courses, make all my copies, create resources and tests, and retests, and re-retests, grade work for 150 students, answer emails, and contact parents of struggling students, keep all my materials organized…I almost never get to collaborate with other teachers, because by the time the kids leave after school, other teachers are coaching, gone home, in meetings, running copies, or wherever isn’t in their rooms. All this…and I feel like a failure every day.

    Like many of you, feel the stress on the way to work. I dread Sunday’s, because I know a week of hopelessness looms. In 2000, and again in 2009, things got so bad I actually had to tell my principal (2 different districts) that I needed time off, and had to get doctor’s notes. The first time, the principal didn’t let me back after a month absence (it was May 1). He said the kids were used to the sub, and it would be unfair to switch. (The aid I had in two of my classes said he was a retired teacher who let the kids sleep, and didn’t give tests – he was also a friend of the principal’s.) They had me tutor at the homeschooling resource center for the last 6 weeks of the year. The next time, my principal was really supportive. I always made up excuses for my department. The second time, I was in the hospital for a week, because I had a plan to commit suicide, but knew I couldn’t carry through with it (my sister already did), so I told my coworkers that expected an explanation that I was anemic and had various symptoms, and needed to go into the hospital for testing. I know at least a couple of them weren’t stupid. It was that second time that I had, for about two years, been cutting and burning my abdomen. (I figured, at first, that after 4 babies worth of stretch marks that it wouldn’t make much difference, and being as depressed as I was, it wasn’t like I had a sex life. For 3 years after that, I didn’t let things get to me…because I was taking bipolar meds. But I hated them, because I had lost my creativity and passion in my teaching. I tried several combinations, but all had some undesired effect, from weight gain to foggy thinking. Try teaching calculus through a foggy mind.

    I know…I’m rambling forever, but I need to get all this out, and you can choose not to read it. I really, really, really need a new career. I can’t do this anymore, and it’s only going to get worse. I see where policies are headed, and I can’t work any more hours than I already do. Teaching consumes my life, and for nothing. The system ties my hands at every point. I can’t change or adapt what I teach based on the kids needs, because I have to be on the same unit schedule as the rest of the department. I even have to give the same simplistic, poorly written tests that are basically written so the kids will pass if they’ve been conscious. I’m 48 years old. I feel like I’m too old for retraining in anything, but I’m not qualified to do anything but teach…and I don’t even to that well. My husband is 55, and we just don’t have time to monkey around financially. But if I do this for 15 – 20 more years, I’ll be dead from stress induced opportunistic disease or suicide. I just can’t go on. I can’t concentrate, I cry a lot, and I’ve started hurting myself again. – This had better be soooo anonymous! I keep thinking that I need a job that I can leave at work after an 8, or even 9 or 10 hour day. I need a job where I’m judged on my own performance, not that of teenagers who don’t really care – and I have too many of them to make a difference and help them to care. I try, I really do. I give it everything, but I can make so little difference, for so few kids. It’s killing me. I feel so trapped. Sorry for the epistle, but I don’t know where to turn..and no, counseling didn’t help, and I feel like all medication did was allow me to work and perpetuate the insanity of the system instead of try to change it. Someone has to try. And meds didn’t change the 60 hour weeks. Why can’t I be ten years younger with time to start over?

    • One too says:

      I was a teacher for close to 30 yrs, and I got depressed and burnt out, too! This is not a helpful comment for you, perhaps, but I just wanted to express my feelings, and let you know that you’re definitely not alone!

  4. Ella says:

    Thank you for your wonderful web site. I have been reading through it and it is giving me some hope to get through the days now, since I struggle with depression on a daily basis, hour to hour, minute by minute. I have been like this since i was about 12 years old (im now 38) and I’ve had many different life circumstances that have affected the progression of depression in my life.

    I have never been diagnosed because i cannot afford to go through the system and pay for the necessary help or medications etc. Lately i contemplate suicide a lot, it’s scary, especially when I know how much there is to live for, but some days are so black that i cannot see anything good in life period. Im so sad knowing that while i want my life to end there are many people out there desperately trying to live. I deal with these negative and guilty feelings all on my own and i’ts debilitating and very difficult because i feel very alone and isolated all the time even though i have a loving,caring and supportive family…still i feel extremly overwhelemed by these sad sad feelings and i don’t share with them…they have their own problems and they don’t need anymore troubles. They know how i feel, but i don’t let them know to what extent i feel these emotions- it would hurt them too much. They would not know what to do and they would just worry for me. I don’t have any friends to turn to either, everyone whom i’ve told about this in the past has turned away from me -like im diseased- so i haven’t talked about my feelings to anyone in years…i just fake it and pretend to be ‘happy-sunshine- 24/7. I find that people love you until they find out that you really need their help… then they leave or give you a few words, change the subject and move on to other things. its very difficult.

    Thank you once again. I wish you all love, peace and courage.

    • One too says:

      You’ve expressed so many of my thoughts exactly! The system’s too expensive, family don’t know what to do, and worry for me. Have no friends. But I can’t fake it. Too hard! I’d be glad to read answers from anyone who has solved this depression problem, and knows what you and I should do to get out of this condition!

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