Mac Musings

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Dan Knight - 2003.11.06 - Tip Jar

Low End Mac hasn't been updated for the past three days. It's nothing I'd anticipated, but when all the content on a website has to go through one person, these things can happen.

History

I'm a geek, an introvert, a hardware guy, not terribly expressive of emotions or good at relationships. I don't take very good care of myself, and over the past few months I realized that I'd fallen deep, deep, deep into depression - not so deep as to actually contemplate suicide, but deep enough to have such thoughts pop up now and then.

A month ago my doctor put me on Wellbutrin SR with 150 mg each morning. Five days later, that became twice a day. It was hard to tell what it was doing at first, but I could tell when it quit working just under 10 hours after taking my morning dose. I also found myself far more in touch with my emotions than was usual. Raw emotions. Nearly overwhelming emotions. The good feelings were stronger, and so were the bad ones. No more emotions sneaking up on me - plus Wellbutrin helped with my Attention Deficit Disorder.

Three weeks into medication, I suddenly got a nasty migraine-like headache that eased up a bit but stuck around for days. Because I had surgery scheduled for November 5, I couldn't take anything for the pain. I woke up last Friday, launched Safari, and typed Wellbutrin and Headaches into the search box, and Google found all sorts of links about Wellbutrin causing migraine-like headaches.

No more of that. Called the doctor, asked for something different, and he put me on Effexor XR, which I started taking Saturday morning. The first two days were fine, but I couldn't sleep Sunday night because of leg pains - and then I spent 14-16 hours sleeping on Monday. I simply couldn't stay awake, spent almost no time at the computer, and haven't downloaded email since last Friday.

On Monday the doctor gave me some samples with half the dosage, which I'll begin taking on Thursday. I still slept quite a bit on Tuesday and again hardly touched my computer.

I'm writing this Wednesday evening. I had an upper GI this morning - after sleeping in once again - and I spent most of the afternoon sleeping. This is the first time I've been at the computer to work on Low End Mac since Friday. I'm hoping to have two or three more articles ready to go before I turn in for the night.

Relationships

I've never been good at relationships. I gave up on having friends in grade school, settling for acquaintances until I started dating, and I didn't date much. Any time a relationship went bad and I tried to fix it, I only made it worse. My relationship skills are apparently toxic - yet one woman loved me and married me.

We've known each other for about 24 years and have been married for 22 of them. We've had four sons, several homes, and several jobs. We've had our ups and downs, good times and bad. And now we've hit rock bottom.

It's the latest in a list of things bringing my depression to the point where I recognized it - losing a job I was very good at, being involved in a new church startup that never got off the ground, being victims of spiritual abuse at a church we loved, watching my employer disregard my advice and prepare to deploy Windows, being unable to attend church regularly due to migraines, the dot-com failure nearly destroying Low End Mac.

Thanks to site supporters, Low End Mac is in the black again. This fall I've begun attending church regularly again. Some things are improving, but I may have lost my wife. Anything I try to do to fix the relationship seems to backfire - or maybe she's already made up her mind and nothing I can do will make any difference. Or maybe that's just the depression talking.

I can't give up hope, but I can't keep trying. My toxic relationship skills have made a bad situation worse, and the timing (just as I came to realize I was depressed) couldn't have been worse.

The next step is counseling, figuring out how to get beyond the depression and learning how to build a healthy relationship, how to avoid being toxic.

Looking Ahead

My goal is to get all of this week's content up on Thursday and Friday. We'll skip the price trackers for a week and concentrate on editorial content.

I have been overworking myself. I'm going to take the week of American Thanksgiving off, and we'll also be closed from the afternoon of Christmas Eve through New Years Day. I may not go anywhere or do anything, but I haven't had a vacation of any sort in way too long.

I don't know what kind of counseling schedule we'll be looking at, but once I get myself in some semblance of order, the next order of business is addressing what remains of our marriage. That may cut further into the time I can spend on Low End Mac (mostly dealing with email and our mailing lists), but as I tell my writers when they run into conflicting demands, real life comes first - writing for LEM can wait.

I'll also be working on a publishing system for Low End Mac that will allow our staff to contribute articles online instead of via email. A couple guys at church are very conversant with drupal, two of my sons are really good with PHP, and between us we're going to migrate Low End Mac to drupal in the coming months.

Eventually this will let us keep things going even when I take a vacation. That's something I'm really looking forward to.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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