For the second year in a row, more American soldiers—both enlisted men and women and veterans—committed suicide than were killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Excluding accidents and illness, 462 soldiers died in combat, while 468 committed suicide. A difference of six isn’t vast by any means, but the symbolism is significant and troubling. In 2009, there were 381 suicides by military personnel, a number that also exceeded the number of combat deaths.
“The first truth is… a democracy is not safe if people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by… any controlling private power.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt (via disconnectedreality)
‘At 16, Kristen Peskuski was suffering from joint inflammation and an array of autoimmune conditions which made her organs and other tissues swell, including interstitial cystitis and lupus. She was prescribed over 40 different anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and painkilling medications to combat the symptoms. Still struggling to bring the symptoms under control, Kristen developed steroid toxicity. She was told that the most she could hope for was reduced discomfort, and with luck, she might make it to her 30th birthday. Seeking alternative treatments, she began juicing raw cannabis leaves every day, and within two months, Kristen’s back pain had been eliminated, and she had stopped using any other painkillers.
At two years old, she was diagnosed with terminal brain tumours. Her mother was told that with treatment, Amber had a 10 percentchance of survival. After surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the tumours were still spreading. Her parents were advised to take their child home, make her comfortable, and prepare for the inevitable. A month later, her parents reported a startling change. The tumours had decreased in size and number. The family had been juicing cannabis leaves and feeding their baby a few ounces of the juice each day.’
Depression is humiliating. It turns intelligent, kind people into zombies who can’t wash a dish or change their socks. It affects the ability to think clearly, to feel anything, to ascribe value to your children, your lifelong passions, your relative good fortune. It scoops out your normal healthy ability to cope with bad days and bad news, and replaces it with an unrecognizable sludge that finds no pleasure, no delight, no point in anything outside of bed. You alienate your friends because you can’t comport yourself socially, you risk your job because you can’t concentrate, you live in moderate squalor because you have no energy to stand up, let alone take out the garbage. You become pathetic and you know it. And you have no capacity to stop the downward plunge. You have no perspective, no emotional reserves, no faith that it will get better. So you feel guilty and ashamed of your inability to deal with life like a regular human, which exacerbates the depression and the isolation. If you’ve never been depressed, thank your lucky stars and back off the folks who take a pill so they can make eye contact with the grocery store cashier. No one on earth would choose the nightmare of depression over an averagely turbulent normal life.
It’s not an incapacity to cope with day to day living in the modern world. It’s an incapacity to function. At all. If you and your loved ones have been spared, every blessing to you. If depression has taken root in you or your loved ones, every blessing to you, too. No one chooses it. No one deserves it. It runs in families, it ruins families. You cannot imagine what it takes to feign normalcy, to show up to work, to make a dentist appointment, to pay bills, to walk your dog, to return library books on time, to keep enough toilet paper on hand, when you are exerting most of your capacity on trying not to kill yourself. Depression is real. Just because you’ve never had it doesn’t make it imaginary. Compassion is also real. And a depressed person may cling desperately to it until they are out of the woods and they may remember your compassion for the rest of their lives as a force greater than their depression. Have a heart. Judge not lest ye be judged.
EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS.
Depression is not a synonym for being sad or having a bad day/bad week.
It’s not a PHASE. It’s not a CHOICE. It’s not LAZINESS.
“GM has also retained MTV Scratch, a consulting group owned by media conglomerate Viacom dedicated to teaching brands how to appeal to today’s youth. As the Times put it, ‘The strategy is to infuse General Motors with the same insights that made MTV reality shows like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom breakout hits.’”—Jordan Weissmann, on why young Americans don’t buy cars. (via theatlantic)
“People of color, women, and gays—who now have greater access to the centers of influence that ever before—are under pressure to be well-behaved when talking about their struggles. There is an expectation that we can talk about sins but no one must be identified as a sinner: newspapers love to describe words or deeds as ‘racially charged’ even in those cases when it would be more honest to say ‘racist’; we agree that there is rampant misogyny, but misogynists are nowhere to be found; homophobia is a problem but no one is homophobic. One cumulative effect of this policed language is that when someone dares to point out something as obvious as white privilege, it is seen as unduly provocative. Marginalized voices in America have fewer and fewer avenues to speak plainly about what they suffer; the effect of this enforced civility is that those voices are falsified or blocked entirely from the discourse.”—Teju Cole, The Atlantic (via theatlantic)