In general, I’m not a fan of posting on this blog multiple times in one day, but I think there is appropriate cause for this second post.
Lately, I’ve been in a difficult mental space (to put it lightly), and so I’ve written about it here. I’ve gotten a lot of responses from readers, mostly inquiring into my state, but also telling me that they think it’s brave of me to put how I’m feeling out there so brazenly.
One of the reasons I started this blog was to connect my personal and political lives more demonstratively, to portray the innate relationship between the two in a feminist context. Writing about my depression was not in the plan. I didn’t intend to do it for political reasons, but now that I’ve done it, I see the deep political and feminist implications. People are ashamed of their depression, they try to conceal it. I try to conceal it, and sometimes I actually do. It’s been easy sometimes, to fake normalcy, but it feels horrible and stiff, like a mask, which it is. It doesn’t feel like a brave act to talk about depression, it feels necessary, but it’s not a solution. That’s the problem-at the end of the day, you have to tunnel yourself out.
There are constructions of gender alive everywhere here-what a man experiencing depression is supposed to look like, what a woman is supposed to look like, how both are supposed to cope. What’s important is to lift the film of distortion off of everyone, because ultimately, the suffering is the same, although it manifests very differently.
I didn’t know what I was experiencing until someone told me what it was. In college, I went to many doctors complaining of chest pain, convinced it was an impending heart attack or metastasized breast cancer (when you live in my head, nothing is completely impossible). It was neither, of course, but the moment I was told it was anxiety, the pain disappeared. I was convinced that I didn’t need medication, but that came from a programmed place, a bullshit place, but a real one. In a way, it’s not so different from the idea that we shouldn’t talk about these things at all, or that we should use vague, unhelpful words that shroud it even further.
This is some false bravado, of course. If you’ve ever experienced depression or anxiety, you know that moments of clarity are a privilege, and that you can almost never fully articulate how it feels. Most of the time, the best you can hope for are good listeners.