I was first diagnosed with depression in 2015. At the time I was undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy to treat a chronic anxiety disorder (fear of catastrophe).
My family has a long history of depression, some members were treated, others were not but the symptoms were recognizable. It’s part of my genetic makeup that my body struggles to chemically balance itself.
It requires medication to achieve that balance as part of a wider treatment plan.
I was @audiodesigndan and then @danielkdewar and then @pcdkd.
I joined Twitter on June 09, 2012. It was a powerful tool for getting access to the people I admired most as well as people I considered peers.
My profile photo was a black & white screen grab of Walter Hotenhoffer, a character in The Simpson’s episode, “The Scorpion’s Tale”, voiced by Werner Herzog.
The episode features the following exchange:
Assistant: Mr. Hotenhoffer, there’s a mob outside.
Hotenhoffer: (pulls out gun from desk and places against his temple) An angry mob?
Assistant: No, a cheerful mob.
Hotenhoffer: (sighs and removes gun from temple) I’d like to have just one day when I don’t put a gun to my head.
This post probably best explains the appeal to me. Before Hotenhoffer I used a black & white screen grab of Ray Patterson (voiced by Steve Martin), the incumbent Sanitation Commissioner Homer runs against.
Twitter became my main source of news. I hadn’t owned a television for nearly a decade at the time of writing this, so I don’t have a reporting feed such as TV news available.
If ever I overheard or saw something breaking on a TV in a public space, I’d immediately go to Twitter and search for it. If I saw a street blocked off by emergency services around New York City, I would search Twitter to see if anyone was posting about it.
It has the potential to be a valuable news outlet, disinformation bots aside—but that is Twitter’s own fault for not managing the problem.
Disassociation & Mental Health
Over time, I started to mute most of the accounts I followed. I’ve thought for a long time that it was pointless to be on Twitter if I muted over 70% of the accounts on there. I then started blocking and muting accounts I didn’t follow.
I felt I had a feed of thoughtful people, who generally aligned with my world view. At some point it all became a lot of noise.
And I say this from a position of privilege that is not enjoyed by the people directly being disenfranchised and targeted by the US body politic.
As far back as 2011, the University of Vermont was conducting research that suggesting that Twitter had links to depression-enablement. As Twitter and social media has become more pervasive, the negative impact of societal health has only grown more recorded (here and here).
Twitter was enabling my most negative behavior, the speed of its information delivery resulting in a shorter attention span and an obsession to constantly doomscroll.
I enjoyed reading the thoughts of the following accounts, and appreciate their contribution to my use of the platform.
Every thing I contributed to Twitter does not matter. Neither does my decision to leave. It’s an insignificant and easy death.
(2022 update) I’m on Farcaster [@pcdkd] and Nostr and check in minimally.