Depression is a part of my life and has been for a long time. Usually I can find my way through it but lately it has been pulling me under. I feel such overwhelming powerlessness and despair that I'm close to shutting down.
First, despite our victories in some local battles, it feels like the crazy right is winning the war. The harder we fight, the harder they push back. The difference is that they have money, politics, and propaganda on their side. Their resources are massive so a campaign that might drain us dry requires just a drop in the bucket from them.
Second, the general political situation is so bleak that it seems hopeless. I have no confidence in either party right now (though I know some great people are working locally to change the parties). The truth is that I don't want to vote for either candidate, not any candidate really, in the 2012 election. I don't trust any of them. I don't approve of any of them. I don't believe the 2 major contenders want to change anything and I don't believe that the third-party candidates who do want to change things really know how. Sometimes I wonder if I should just sit back and watch America burn. I wonder if my ancestors felt this despair just before the Civil War.
Third, I feel like I've lost a major support system. My local atheist community is comprised of some great people but I haven't seen them since the Reason Rally. My health just hasn't been conducive to getting out. So I've had to rely on the internet community of atheists instead. But this no longer feels like a safe space to me. The eternal battle on sexual harassment and misogyny has brought out some really hateful folks and, frankly, I don't want to participate on those blogs any more because I don't think I can cope emotionally. Even the people I agree with have become sharp with their words and ready to pounce. I understand why to some degree - the issue is important and has a lot of implications for both sides. However, when things get to the point where you can't ask a question or tell a story without being viciously attacked, then why bother? Why take that risk on myself when I'm already weak?
If history is anything to go by, this will pass in a few months. What seems so hopeless today has a way of becoming boring history tomorrow. Yet I feel caught up in this cycle and I don't know how to find my way out. Every time I try to get back in the swing of things, I get knocked back down.
So it isn't that I'm giving up on my work here - it's that I'm not making any commitments until I get better. I have to step back now in order to care later. I may try to make some more Facebook art or do something simple but I can't find the strength to post everyday or do videos or podcasts. It's just beyond me right now.
People who think depression is just having a case of the blues that they can go shopping and shrug off (like my mom) need to walk in my shoes for a day. They really do.