Depression and Politics

Well hello there, long-neglected blog.

Lots of people on the internet have lots to say about politics, particularly now. For myself, it came as a shock when 45 won. I realize that this is a symptom of my own privilege, and how good I have it up here in my comfortable Blue State (Washington). I’m trying to branch out, to understand why and how this happened, to figure out what I can do about it.

I also have a long history of depression and anxiety (two great tastes that taste great together). I had a major episode with anxiety back in October and my life was just starting to get settled again when the election happened.

I couldn’t go to work on the day after. I couldn’t go to work on Inauguration Day. I went to the Seattle Womxn’s March, and that helped some. But once the dopamine wore off I found myself slipping further and further into the dark areas of my mind that I had hoped never to see again.

I’ve had four doctor’s visits and two medication changes in the last few weeks. I’ve been on LOA, because every single day, when I tried to do anything, my brain would hijack my train of thought and drive it directly into Suicidal Ideation Station. I live with a low level of this pretty much every single day, but it was like someone cranking up the volume on a channel of just static. If it’s quiet you can ignore it, get used to it. Then someone turns it up to 11 and it’s all you can hear. You can’t have conversations. You can’t focus on tasks or do anything because it’s always in the way. It’s crippling at best and life-threatening at worst.

The day after the election I bleached my hair and dyed it blue. I felt out of control. I needed to feel in control. I needed something to enjoy, something to like about myself. I don’t know. But it helped, so I kept doing it, until last week I went and had it done by someone who knows what they’re doing. It’s brighter and I’m a little afraid I’ll get in trouble at work, but I need it. It sounds so stupid in the light of what other people are going through.

I’m feeling less like hurting myself lately, but every loss seems to erode the mental health I’ve managed to build back up. And there are so many amazing people who are out there, they are fighting to keep checks and balances in place, and I try to take heart from that but it just doesn’t seem to work very well.

I tried tuning it out entirely, and found myself unable to do so without cutting off all social interaction completely, which would be more harm than good. I feel like I have a responsibility to call shit out when I see it or hear it, but then I get trapped between feeling the need to say something and the need to be liked.

I guess I need to stop caring about whether or not people like me. Or at least start caring more about everything else that’s happening. I don’t know. All I can do is keep trying, I guess. It would be incredibly freeing if I felt like I was able to tell people what I really thought, without trying to spoon-feed it or get them to come around on an issue, but that feels so counterproductive that I don’t want to do that, either.

I wonder if I would care so much about what other people thought of me if I were male?

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