Risto Niemi-Pynttäri

Depression and Expression in Weblog Diaries

Posted in kirjoittamisterapia by RniemiP on tammikuu 18, 2014

Depression and low feelings are popular subjects in weblog diaries, writing is among the art therapies that usually help in such circumstances (Bolton 2011:99).Much mental suffering may also be overcome by ordinary diary writing. Among 50,000 Finnish weblogs there are about 900 titles concerning low feelings, and 40 blogs with titles related to depression (Blogilista 30 April 2013. In Finland, depression is sometimes even regarded as a chronic and genetic problem, or it is seen as a cultural form of behaviour. Passive behaviour is often regarded as normal in the Finnish culture of low self-expression, and this kind of culture also permits individuals to display low feelings; the cultural tolerance for showing a less than happy existence in public is

Depression has become the subject of public discussion. Some famous Finnish people have spoken about their depression; a sign that depression is not a taboo anymore, and that it is permissible to speak of it in public. Depression as a subject in weblogs is also part of public discourse. The bloggers have found relief by writing about their emotions. But what are the reasons for this? Is it merely the beneficial influence of self-expression, or is there also some specific function attributable to public writing? There is a lot of research on the therapeutic functions of writing, but not so much on how writing in public may help in overcoming depression.

In common speech the word “depression” is used quite lightly as a synonym for melancholy and temporary low feelings. The dark winter or rainy summer may give an occasion for speaking about depression. But there are also blog writers who have been diagnosed with serious problems with their depression. Nowadays there are young women who blog about their depression due to anorexia, but there are also young unemployed people, middle-aged individuals struggling with divorce, and old people suffering from loneliness, that are blogging. The names of blogs often tell about their focus:Elämä väsyttää (Life makes me tired), Hurmaava itsemurha (Charming suicide), Surupuisto (Sorrow park).

The whole article is not yet online, it is published in
Camilla Asplund Ingemark (ed): Therapeutic uses of Storytelling, An Interdisciplinary Approach to Narration as Therapy.Nordic Academic Press, 2013 Lund.  Risto Niemi-Pynttäri: ”Depression and Expression in Weblog Diaries” (191 – 205).

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