I can’t hear one more awful story (but I have to listen)

I remember the day after the trump election, there were news stories of huge spikes in Google searches of “How to move to Canada” in the US. It was funny, but it resonated. The compulsion to want to move away subsided for a while, because ultimately it can’t be that bad, right? We can get through it. If we’d survived what we’d already been through, we can handle anything, right?

Lately, every awful story I hear is another bag packed on my way out of this country.

It feels worse and worse. Then, it feels better way sooner than it should–just a few days ago trump made comments in awe of a present-day dictator. How he wished americans would revere him as much as they revere Kim Jong-un. Narcissists are like that. But we stopped processing dictator-admiration because now kids are being separated from their parents.

(Btw, I’ve decided to not capitalize trump’s name anymore. This isn’t to be petty. trump uses language to manipulate us all the time and it’s more powerful than we realize. We have that option too. I still cringe whenever someone calls something “fake news” even as a joke. That is propaganda! To make you not trust journalists who put their lives on the line. Even when we use it as a joke we are giving honor and legitimacy to that phrase. Anyway, he doesn’t deserve a capital letter. It feels like the only thing I can do anymore.)

Almost worse than the awful news is the people who respond to it. I swore off getting into arguments on Facebook for months and months because it was too damaging. I was getting suicidal over people who I shouldn’t even need to talk to. Now I’m getting back into it, because I’ll literally see people who have kids of their own say stuff like “well coming here was illegal so they deserve it,” and I’m like, wow. We are masturbating over the US/Mexico border and any brown person who crosses it deserves to be in a concentration camp. And that isn’t even an exaggeration anymore! Remember when the holocaust and concentration camps were hyperbole? “Hitler” himself was hyperbole? Not so much anymore.

And the people who comment on it on Facebook are the absolute worst. I talked to a single mom, a veteran, who was like “yeah the kids being separated from their parents is hard, but they should have thought of that before coming here.”

That is a comment I’m SURE you’ve read from someone already. But I can’t stop thinking about it. And I can’t just scroll by that comment and let it sit there with glory, unaddressed. We freak the fuck out (rightly so) at any Amber Alert. And that’s for one kid. And the whole community is out there looking for the piece of shit’s license plate so we can bring that child home safe. All our smart phones buzz in unison. For one kid.

It’s the appropriate response. So then a couple thousand kids kind of go missing. Will face PTSD the rest of their lives. Because we’re jerking off at the nation’s border. Calling walking over that arbitrary line illegal enough to damage someone forever. Our smart phones are buzzing via news story after news story. We raise some money kinda. But there’s no license plate to look for. After all, we know the perp. We just kind of wait.

I keep saying we owe a LOT of reparations as it is, but we have a new set for all these kiddos who will need years of EMDR therapy (especially without a plan to reunite with their parents). Who’s gonna pay for that?

So a horrible news story comes out, something we cannot stomach. Some people who’d previously been neutral realize the toxicity of that and come to their senses. And some people get worse. And defend family separation because what they did is “illegal” even though it’s not!! Asylum, people!! And even if it were illegal, is it the kids’ fault? They’re the ones being punished. And that is assuming we like the law more than we like people (which I spose is proven every day).

I can’t argue with another adult about whether or not children should be Okay.

It’s the comments that are getting me. I can’t have any more hope. Don’t mention his spray-tan, or call him fat, or a cheeto, or Man-Baby. It’s almost dismissive: what we are seeing mirrors Hitler’s Germany so closely. People noticed it a year ago, and it’s getting even more like it. But because there’s another tragedy every 3 days, we don’t even know what to be in despair about. And I Cannot Take It. trump designed it so well–it’s like we’ve been groomed. Our peak despair happened early when trump made fun of a reporter with a physical disability. Or maybe it was when he proposed to make a database to track every Muslim in the US. Or maybe when he bragged about grabbing women by the pussy? Raping women? It’s almost easy to forget some of these things. I admittedly forgot about the Muslim-tracking database. There have just been so many things. And that is by design. That is how demagogues/dictators/fascists win over the people by way of complacency via being in a state of constant crisis. Our normal is our peak. What’s it gonna take to do something? And if we finally reach that point, what do we even do?

I have to stay off Facebook. But I can’t, because I’m camping with depression right now, and isolation is the worst thing for me. I don’t want to know anything else. But I must. I can’t disengage because that’s what fascism wants. When I see people–LOTS of people–defending trump, I lose faith that we will get better until someone bombs us like we bombed Germany. This is hopeless. Millions of people have been brainwashed and will defend trump until they die from their own loss of health care and Social Security. I don’t even want to be on the same internet as these people.

This is kind of embarrassing but when I’ve drafted suicide notes in the past, I’ve talked about trump. I’ve talked about where this country is going. That sounds so dramatic, but it’s true–I don’t want to be associated with this country, this world. But most of all, I don’t want to wait around and see what happens. Because I feel like I can’t do any damn thing. I’ve heard before “like it or leave it” and “if you don’t like it, change it.” What if we can’t do either?

I don’t have a happy ending to this post. I want to move to another country. I’ve lived under a mother narcissist (the personality disorder), not the colloquial use of the word, long enough growing up. And now one is killing us across the country.

But, you know. Happy Pride month.

Photo Credit


3 New Ways to View Living with Depression

My latest depression bout loitered in my life for months. I just got out of it. In bouts so long, whether I’m really low, scary low, or even feeling fine but haven’t yet shaken the bout, it’s easy to find the state of depression permanent.

For me, I even know and recognize the words “it gets better.” Even in the very worst moments I share with no one, I can remember “it gets better” and believe it. However, I do not find it comforting. My answer is always about how it will get better, but it will get worse again. My depression is chronic. I don’t know what would have to happen in order for me to shake it from my life–the only thing that has come to mind has been a brain transplant. Unfortunately they haven’t figured out that organ donor process yet.

SO, it gets better. It gets worse. It gets better. It gets worse. And that up-and-down, that promise of how I’ll be wanting to die again, that’s what makes me wanna go down that road.

My depression causes strain on my relationships, as you can imagine, and there’s usually a kind of debrief that my girlfriend and I do when a bout concludes. The debrief is usually inspired because I have not been a great partner in those times, and there’s some learning opportunity there. Well, this time, my gf asked me to write a list of things to try when I’m sad to help feel better. It feels impossible to do anything like that, especially at its peak, but she reminded me that having a list available will not hurt me, even if I never use it.

So I made my list today. It’s kind of a perfect day for it because the sun isn’t out, and I’ve been kinda melancholy all day, but I’m not deeply depressed so I can still think straight, including trying to think of ways to feel better.

I wrote the list on a small whiteboard I have in my bedroom. It has 7 ideas, all of which have proven useful in the past. With the extra room on the board, I wrote down three messages, and I’d like to tell you about them. I haven’t thought of depression in these ways before, so they represent a fresh perspective about living through my bouts. I distantly respect cliches when I’m doing well (there’s a reason they’re used so much – they’re familiar! And relatable to many! And they make idioms accessible to people who didn’t study literature! be nice!), but when I’m NOT doing well, someone says a cliche reminder of why I shouldn’t die and I recoil like a depressed asshole. These things feel less cliche to me.

Note: some of the things I say below get a little dark, so please note that I will talk about suicide and depression with more concrete detail than I usually do.

Here are 3 fresh ways I am looking at my chronic depression:


One of the things that always makes me feel better (but I’ve chosen to not add to my aforementioned list) when I’m suicidal is researching how I would go about it. I understand that may be difficult to hear. My therapist says that’s pretty common and gives suicidal people something they can DO and feel like they’re more in control.

A big reason I haven’t actually executed suicide (ha, is that a depression pun? wow, I’ve gone too far) is because there is not a good method that meets all the requirements I have. For example, it’d be ideal if it didn’t hurt a lot. Another example, most prevalent to this topic, is that there’s no method that will make the discovery of my body better for anyone else. Can you imagine walking in on someone’s death? Yeah. I won’t say anything else about that. I can’t think of a single way (and I’ve put far too much energy into this) that makes the moment of death/discovery of death easier on anyone else.

A method that will never be on my list of death options is jumping in front of a bus or a train. My empathy is too high, even when I’m insane, to consider jumping in front of a driver or conductor. They would be killing me by merely going to work, being at the wrong place at the wrong time. They would never be the same, maybe live with understandable but completely undeserved guilt for the rest of their lives. I could never ever do that to someone because of my internal misery.

And my therapist is like, “ok that’s nice but any other method is the same. It wouldn’t just be the bus driver. It’d be everyone around you, whether they saw it happen or not. Trauma is widespread. You should know that better than anyone.” And she’s right. There is no method that lacks the trauma on someone else like that of a bus driver. The ‘bus driver reason’ when I’m at my worst feels so real, so tangible like nothing else. But, in the end, everyone is a bus driver.


Depression’s bouts have been compared to a few different things, I think the most common one being diabetes. You always have it, but it gets way worse once in a while, and sometimes there isn’t a clear reason why.

To me that’s not really helpful in the moment. Plus, I’m grateful to not have diabetes, so I cannot compare my depression experience to that very well. And while I’m at the lowest, it doesn’t seem to make me feel any better to be like, “ope, it’s worse and we don’t really know why and also I’ll have this forever.”

Something I thought of today is that depression bouts are much more like camping trips.

Camping trips are varied in distance from your home, intensity of ‘roughing it’ vs ‘glamping,’ how long it lasts, if it rains during your trip, and if you have enough firewood. You’re gone, you’re probably going to see too many spiders, and then you come home, shower off, find a new gratitude for running water, and go back to your life.

When I think of having depression all my life, I feel hopeless. If I get into a bout, and I can think of it as, “Oh, I am camping, and I have a State Park pass so this is how I get my money’s worth,” maybe it will be easier to see as temporary.

Depression and being suicidal is not taking out a mortgage. I already own the house, and it is me, and my mental illness is just when I get away from it.


I’ve resented ‘having to live’ when I’m sad. I’ve heard people say before that suicide is selfish, that the person doesn’t think of others when they take their own life, and they should be ashamed (if they were around to feel emotions).

I fuckin hate that judgment, and it’s been hard in the past to articulate exactly why I hate it so much. Cuz it’s like, yes, I’m thinking about myself a lot but usually through a lens of “my loved ones shouldn’t have to deal with me.” I’m thinking of bus drivers. I’m trying to think about what words I can say in a note I leave behind that will bring some comfort. (spoiler, there are none. but I do think of it).

And so I survive every bout, and it feels very unfair because why is my existence so hard when other people can exist without trying, and maybe even wanting to live 100% of the time? (I cannot comprehend that btw??) And I’m the selfish one if I fail?

So, I’m going to try and take the “suicide is selfish” thing and frame it to something that is actually helpful. Living through every bout of depression is an act of kindness. It is the peak selflessness, because although others will never understand the death you dodged from your own self, you still do it. And a lot of acts of kindness aren’t really all about recognition for your selflessness. If you want credit, take it up with spirituality, but you surviving your violent mind makes sure everyone around you avoids pain. Years of pain! And suicides often trigger other suicides. You’re somehow saving lives when you save your own. It’s a thing of incredible graciousness.

Photo Credit