out of service

I suffer from depression, and some related issues like anxiety. I was first treated for it in high school, though my condition predates that treatment by some unknown amount. Since that time, I’ve had varying success managing that aspect of myself, but most of the time I can keep it from interfering much with my personal and professional life.

The severity of my condition varies, and lately it has varied…against me. I’m not really functional, due to a combination of random-onset crying, incredible fatigue, (even for me) very high distractability, and virtually no motivation or enjoyment of my usual pleasures and rewards. Because of this, I’m taking some time off work to recover, and during that period Damon Sicore will be assuming my duties. I have complete confidence in Damon, and knowing that he’ll be ably running things is a source of no small comfort.

I am 100% certain that I’m going to be OK. I’ve been through episodes like this before — though it’s been perhaps a decade since the last one of this severity — and I have always come out the other side with a better understanding of myself and improvements to my life. I am intellectually optimistic, even if my emotional state doesn’t often match these days. I could not wish for a more supportive family, circle of friends, and set of co-workers. I’m truly touched by the kind notes and words from so many people already, even though I know that my absence will make their lives harder for a while.

I’m writing about this in some detail because my absence will affect a fair number of people in the project and community; because I want to encourage everyone to help Damon sort out the things I’ve dumped on him; and especially because I think that people don’t talk about mental illness enough. If we could discuss mental illness with the same candor as we do our diets, food allergies, back pain, or diabetes, I think that it would be much easier for people to get the help they need. It is very hard to make good decisions about treatment (like to get some!) when your very mind is working against you; doing it alone is terrifying and for many people virtually impossible. I am incredibly fortunate to have the support, experience, and resources that I do, and it is still a very difficult thing for me to work through. Even as I write this, part of me worries how it will reflect on Mozilla. I just wouldn’t worry about that at all if I had a “physical” ailment.

I’ll likely post more on my blog about this, but not likely syndicate to planet; it’s not really Mozilla-related, other than the fact that Mozilla, like most communities, is probably more affected by mental illness than we realize.