black and white photograph of a television where eurovision is playing. there is a woman on the screen with subtitles "Maybe we can not live in peace cos we are under a spell"

The Depressed Activists

Complete lack of energy. The eternal doom of nihilism. Bouts of high anxiety when anything can cause a panic attack, from the sound of a fork falling on the floor to a surprising flatmate saying hello in the kitchen. Moments when you feel like a hero and a survivor when you’ve actually made it out of the bed, maybe even put some pants on. It’s sometimes a miracle to walk out of the door and gather the courage, the momentum, to put any effort into anything. And sometimes that sometimes is often.

As said previously, existence might be a revolutionary act, perhaps the only one limited resources can supply. That can be a huge thing and in itself affect people. But it’s hard to feel it’s enough, and that’s also what many want us believe. To be worthwhile, to be an activist, to be a Productive Person, you need to go out there and put yourself on the spot. And there comes guilt, and there comes a sense of alienation from those who in speech and writing might say they live to support those in need. But if they aren’t there to give their solidarity, at the very least their supportive spirits, words and vibes to comrades in need, are they really worth that breath? No. They aren’t.

Mental illness is one, often invisible, form of disability and when it’s not something you should be required to understand, it’s something us as activists need to take into account. Guilt-tripping your comrades into participation will only be against humanitarian values and be likely to chase them away. Instead, we should stop to think how we can make our own activism more accessible. We can certainly keep inviting people we know might not have the spoons to attend. Many find it discouraging if at some point we stop the invitations. Mental illness won. We don’t want them anymore. They’re a nuisance and we don’t want them back.

Even just making sure to communicate that you want that person around to participate at their level of comfort, whatever it is. They might find they can participate as well as ever, they might find they want to sit down and not talk to many people. Appreciate what they can do. Appreciate their communication, their presence, their solidarity. We need to stand together when some of us are having a hard time or we aren’t much better than those who we fight against.

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