Depression and Activism

It feels like I’ve spent the last two weeks curled up in my chair scrolling through Twitter while repeats of bad television play in the background. The ugliness of the world breaks me, but ultimately this is normal for me. Every month or two I spend a few weeks unable to do anything beyond the minimum of my responsibilities. It hurts even more knowing there are awful policies to fight and to be unable to do anything. I recently heard Naomi Klein talk about resisting cynicism, resisting believing things are hopeless. It’s good advice, but when you’re depressed you can’t help but feel like nothing matters. That there is no hope. The problem I face is balancing my own sense of hopelessness with my desire for a better world. I know that it takes action to improve things, but depression is paralyzing. It would be easy to excuse myself. To tell myself I have depression and it’s okay to be paralyzed into doing nothing. It’s a comforting thought, but depression isn’t something that let’s you lie to yourself. If I could do that I probably wouldn’t be depressed. It’s a vicious cycle of self-recrimination. You can’t do enough because you’re depressed, but you then feel shitty because you’re not doing enough.

This is the point where I should offer some glimmer of optimism or some kind of answer. I have neither. I know my depression, so I’m semi-confident I’ll be feeling slightly less paralyzed in a few weeks. Writing this is the glimmer. When I’m depressed the messages of not being alone always ring hollow because I look around and I definitely am alone. The best I can say is persist through the loneliness and maybe you’ll be able to act.

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