Spring 2020 – right before Quarantine
Puig (“Pweeg”) is, in fact, a cat.
This website is managed by Puig’s mom, Melooley, an educator & person with depression. Dad, who blogs less often, works at the courthouse. We all have strong opinions.
This is me. Millie Kay Dooley, the moderator and human of ProfessorPuig.com. Here, I plan to blog about–and despite–depression. You’ve already met Puig.
Puig is one of three cats we currently have, and they are a key part of my holistic approach to managing my depression, hopefully someday to the point that I can get back to teaching, at least part-time.
Let me back up.
I’ve dealt with depression basically forever, with my belated official diagnosis within a few days of my 18th birthday. (Fun fact: October, my birthday month, is also Depression Awareness Month.)
Despite my depression, I managed to get a bachelor’s degree from MIT, and a master’s in science from a much less well-known institution, Sul Ross State University. I started medical school, but was unable to manage the commitment alongside the depression, so I dropped out in 2014 and started pursuing teaching certification. I’ve been mostly working in high schools since then, though there was a fun year teaching introductory technical college coursework.
I started out at Lubbock High School, teaching science–mostly biology–and confirmed how much I love teaching science. Teaching anything, really–I volunteered as the Assistant Robotics Coach, and even accompanied my programming team to a competition on the MIT campus. (And no, I don’t really like revisiting that time of my life, and no, I wouldn’t’ve gone if it hadn’t been for my students.) I was particularly intrigued by the Special Education teacher who co-taught all the Biology courses, and when my husband and I moved to Colorado, I pursued and achieved certification in Special Education, as well as Science.
Like medicine, teaching is an awfully difficult career choice to exist alongside depression, and last month, I resigned from my position teaching Special Education at a juvenile detention center–which I loved, by the way–to focus full-time on my mental health. In theory, this blog is part of my newfound focus on mental health.
Currently, I’m spending my mornings attending Intensive Outpatient Therapy at my local psych hospital, and then my afternoons consist of writing, walking, and otherwise trying to get more physical activity.
I’m also slowly coming to terms with the fact that I’m heavier than is healthy, possibly due to a psych med encouraging weight-gain, but that dealing with my weight and my nutrition certainly won’t hurt my efforts to live more healthily. There’s some interesting evidence regarding gut microbiota and mental health, so increasing my protein, fiber, and probiotics, while decreasing my sugars and simple carbs, may actually help my mental health.
There’s been a couple of factors contributing to my starting this blog. As I mentioned, I’m making a concrete effort to focus on my mental health, including learning what I can about various treatments, recording my experiences, and recording my more holistic efforts to manage the depression. Also, recently, I was chatting with my sister, who mentioned her efforts to research depression and treatments–specifically ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy. Apparently, the Johns Hopkins website reported that patients will receive between 8-12 treatments in their life. I recently had my treatment #41, and have already scheduled #42. In fact, the nurses and I were debating who needs to bring donuts for the big five-oh.
So, apparently, there’s a lack of accurate information about ECT out there in internet-land. I’m not saying my experiences are perfect, or the way ECT should always happen, but I at least want to share my own knowledge and experience, and think this blog would be a good place to do that. I’ve made a few in-real-life friends that have experience with ECT, but hopefully this blog will allow me to connect with other ECT patients, as well as friends and family with questions.
I guess I want to be your ECT Big Sister. Plus, when I go into Teacher Mode, I tend to be less anxious, and I am all for having less anxiety about ECT. I still get nervous the night before and frequently cry the day of, even though I’ve done it before, and I know that statistically, the drive to the clinic is more dangerous than the procedure itself. So, if I can be an ECT Teacher, hopefully this will help both you and me.