Just a real teen talkin' about real teen issues.
Just a real teen talkin' about real teen issues.
For a long time I had no idea that the feels - or unfeels - that I was experiencing was depression. I knew something was wrong, but after coming off a devastating year full of loss and change, I just figured that I was having a hard time adjusting. And to be honest, to not feel everything SO DEEPLY ALL THE TIME was kind of a relief at first.
Until it wasn’t. Until I just couldn’t feel anything. Until the things that I usually loved doing - hanging out with my best friend Katy, going out on dates, spending long days in bookstores - started to fill me with an almost-dread. Because I didn’t love them anymore. Because I didn’t love anything. Because even when I knew that I should be happy, excited, angry, nervous…anything…I was just…meh. Sad, but without being able to pinpoint why exactly I was sad. I couldn’t hold a conversation, I couldn’t seem to find joy, I couldn’t seem to get out of bed…and the worst part was? I had no interest in even trying to.
But it wasn’t depression, I remember telling myself once. Depression was what my friend Kim had…depression was serious, it made people worry about you, it was obvious and scary and you needed medication and therapy. And I didn’t need any of those things. I just needed to figure out how to make myself happy again.
And even after my best friend Katy instigated a carefrontation and made me promise to get help, even after I started going to therapy and actually feeling better, I still had a really hard time admitting that what I felt that long dark summer was depression. Mainly because it made me feel broken, to say that. My friend Kim has struggled with depression since we were 19. Katy and I have spent numerous nights worrying so much about her that it can bring us to tears, and sometimes it seems to get better and then it seems to get worse, and sometimes she’s on medication that helps and then she goes off it and we talk very seriously about driving down to Chicago in the middle of the night to make sure she’s okay. To me, that was depression: A constant source of struggle, worry, and maintenance. It was the thing you had to admit when feeling like yourself - naturally, with no interference - was no longer an option.
But as I grew older, I learned that depression wasn’t something that happened to broken people. I started meeting friends who talked openly about struggling with it, and I started to realize that the more other people talked about it, the more I understood it and the more comfortable I became admitting that I had it (both to others and to myself). And for the first time, I could finally admit that I had struggled with low-grade depression since I was very young (Thoughts of suicide in a 7 year old? Not normal. Not just a product of my otherwise vivid imagination). And that there was absolutely no shame or weakness in admitting that, sometimes, it gets bad enough to the point where I can’t manage it all on my own.
Everyone needs a little help, every now and then.
So knowing the above about myself, and knowing that I probably still wouldn’t be comfortable admitting this stuff if it wasn’t for the example of other brave friends, has led me to be huge advocate for removing the stigma of depression/mental illness. The more we can share our experiences and show others that this is not something they are alone in, the easier it will be for all of us to get the help and support we need when times get tough and coordinating our brain with feelings gets tougher.
And that’s why I really, really want you to read this. I read it this morning and kind of did that thing where I was weeping out of recognition one second and then bursting out in laughter the next. Because it’s so familiar, but also so brilliant, and it’s quite honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever read. So I really want you to read it.
And then share it, so other people can read it and weep with recognition and burst out in laughter and not feel so alone in their feels - or unfeels - anymore.
I was with a girlfriend who had recently been told to give up on IVF and witnessed her pain when the ”you don’t know love until you have a child” remark was dropped at a party. I have often wondered if those making the comments were aware of how they may feel if the roles were reversed and childless women asked: ”What on earth made you want do that?” or ”it’s not all rainbows and unicorns being a mother, you know”…
The simple fact - not that it is anyone’s damn business in the first place - is that most childless women today feel the decision was taken out of their hands through lack of financial and emotional security. According to a study in Australia’s Journal of Population Health, many childless women in their 30s want to have children, but can’t due to reasons ”beyond their control” such as not having a partner, stable relationship, or partner that wants children.
Perhaps in future when judging another woman on her life choices or publicly applauding your own, these statistics should be kept in mind. Not all women are awarded the same opportunities in life and not all women want or need them. Surely we can all agree on mutual respect and consideration of circumstance as a safe middle ground.
The bill is one of the most restrictive in history: it forbids abortion providers from receiving any government money or tax breaks, defines life at the moment of fertilization, and even requires doctors to falsely warn their patients that abortions can lead to breast cancer. No one’s shocked, since Brownback is avidly pro-life (after all, this is the man who was ready to tax rape victims seeking abortions last year.) Much of the bill will go into effect in July, while the tax portion kicks in during 2014.
I struggle a lot with the decision to post political stuff on places like Facebook and Tumblr, etc. Mostly because I know that posting a bunch of links to articles that support my views only serves to kill intelligent discourse, instead of stimulate it. But when it comes to stuff like this, I gotta post it…because when we talk about terrorism, we should also be talking about stuff like this. It’s allowed to continue because it’s done by someone who’s white, Christian, and holds an office of power, which, in our current climate, is not what we think about when we think about a terrorist. So we let stuff like this continue, because most of us are apathetic to the political process and the pro-life/pro-choice squabbling and all that. Which I totally get, because 90% of the time? Hey guys. Me, too.
But I’m getting to the point where, requiring doctors to falsely warn their patients that abortion leads to breast cancer? That shit will not stand. No matter where you stand on the pro-life/pro-choice spectrum…it is not okay for our governing bodies to not only condone, but to REQUIRE the giving out of misinformation - misinformation which effectively terrorizes - to a group of citizens in the name of their personal religious beliefs. Why do we ignore this stuff? Why do we stand back and let stuff like this pass across our screens, shrugging and/or shaking our heads as we read the headlines, only to go on with our day as if this stuff didn’t happen? If we let lawmakers like Brownback think that it’s okay to do this type of thing to women who might seek an abortion, then we’re basically telling him and other lawmakers that it’s okay to do this to us, too, if we are ever at risk of defying one of their personal religious beliefs.
I don’t know yet what I’m going to do. I don’t know if I’m going to rally a group of like-minded individuals who wear awesome army-colored jackets and hold evening meetings in spare looking offices…or if I’m going to go back to school and major in political science or journalism because THIS IS IT, GUYS, THIS IS WHAT I’VE CHOSEN TO USE MY MIND FOR…or if I’m simply going to keep blogging about this in a way that opens up mind, discourse, and ultimately action. All I know is, today, right now, and for now on, I’ve just suddenly come that point where this shit will not stand.
And I hope you’re getting there, too.
Ladies and gentlemen.
I give you the official launch of my 2nd/3rd book, “all the things you never knew/certain things you ought to know”, a 2-books-in-1, beautifully designed (thanks, Karah!) collection ofmy favorite and most meaningful writing.
A full (and fully-adventurous!) year has gone into producing this book, but it’s actually the culmination of almost a decade’s worth of work.
And I am so, so excited to share it with you.
You can grab a (signed) copy of your very own right here.
Also: Congratulations to Megan Fordice, whowona brand-spankin’-new iPod Shuffle during the pre-sale! (Your iPod Shuffle will be arriving along with your book, lady!)