Forewarning: Contains a whole lot of talking about depression.
Anyone not currently living on Mars is probably aware that Covid cases in Ireland are pretty much out of control, along with the death rate. Anyone paying the least amount of attention will remember that last year Ireland, a small, sparsely populated island, was in single digit figures for daily cases and deaths in the early summer. We nearly had it beaten. And then the government decided to abandon all pretence of vigilance and opened everything up for business again, going as far as to pay for advertising about how pubs, restaurants and hotels were perfectly safe in an effort to get everyone out spending money.
And now, well, we’re in our third lockdown, over 3,000 people are dead from an easily preventable disease, and the government is completely washing its hands and blaming the public they lied to. They’re still pretending schools are safe. They’re still refusing to quarantine tourists leaving or arriving. They’re actually claiming, as of today, that there’s nothing they can do, that a “zero covid strategy” is not 100% possible, therefore it’s pointless to even try.
I was unfortunate enough to read all this doom and gloom yesterday, combined with bits and pieces on the side about how stressful the last year has been, mostly from people who’ve never experienced depression, who respond to cries for help with platitudes like “have you tried mindfulness?” or who genuinely believe “sad for a while” is the only symptom of depression. And I got angry. Neurotypical people are juuuuuuust starting to feel the weight of the last year being a write-off, and yes it’s been a rough year. But to have the audacity to claim they’re dealing with severe depression, when they’re still spouting all the harmful platitudes, and still showing that they have no understanding at all of mental health… Oh my sweet summer children, so naïve, so innocent. The darkness hasn’t even *begun* for those of you still fortunate enough to have never gazed into that abyss.
So I wrote. Twitter is a fucking awful place to read long threads at the best of times, so I’ve transcribed it to over here and tidied up the paragraphs. Because somehow, despite [waves at world burning down in the background] I still care. I very much hope that the below doesn’t happen you. But, given the monumental stupidity of the massive pissbabies currently running the country, that hope is brittle. Consider this a warning of sorts.
I’m so tired of all of this. All the hurt and fear and death that could have been avoided. The future disappearing because a few rich people traded it for profit. The numbing sameness of it all. I remember a while ago someone told me that feeling suicidal wasn’t about wanting to die, it was about feeling dead already and looking for anything that could be used as an excuse to go on living. I wish I didn’t understand what that was like.
You feel it too, don’t you. Yeah, you do. I can see it in every other tweet. The lack of purpose. The light at the end of the tunnel getting smaller and colder and dimmer. Like you’re just a meat clock with no goal but to tick down the seconds until nothing. You don’t want to get out of bed, because there’s nothing out there to give you direction. You don’t want to wake up, because being awake means feeling that nothingness, and unconsciousness is a far less horrifying proposal. You don’t want to watch television, browse a website or engage at all with the outside world, because the outside world is run by fucking monsters so invested in the idea that there’s nothing they can do, that they do nothing.
A lot of you are getting your first taste of depression over the last year. Just a taste. A sniff. A thin slice of what you’ve been able to merrily ignore all your life because it was something that happened to other people. It shows. A fun (read: not actually fun) bit of depression is the wee detached part of you observing your new thought processes and your actions and thinking “how fascinating, that’s not how I normally think or act, I must make a conscious effort not to- oh, I did it anyway and made things worse, shit”. I’ve never seen it affect everyone at once before.
I say all this because I want you to understand that I know what I’m talking about here, after years of dealing with it myself, and so that you understand that there’s genuinely no malice involved when I say that you have no fucking idea how much worse it’s going to get for you.
It’ll tear out the heart of you. It’s going be that breakup on repeat. It’s going to crush you underfoot. And it’s not even out of spite or evil. It’s going to steamroll straight over you without even noticing you were there. It’s going to show you, really show you, what ‘insignificant’ means. You’ll fight, of course. Oh, how you’ll fight it. How could you not? You’ll fight it harder than you’ve fought anything before, you’ll give it absolutely everything you’ve got and somehow even more than that. And it won’t matter. You’ll feel so small and alone and and empty. Helpless. You’ll be taken apart, piece by screaming, agonising piece, and left in the dark to try and put yourself back together. And you’ll fail. Some parts of you will be too bent out of shape. Others will simply be gone, dead little pieces of you that won’t ever wake up.
And you’re going to think you’ve gotten a handle on it. You might see hope. And more than once, I promise you, you’re going to be wrong, and you’ll fall apart all over again to begin from scratch. This is going to take you years. Decades. You’ll try and fail so many times that you simply stop hoping, because it’s the hope that made it hurt so much every time the “fixed” you shattered again. Hope becomes the first step on the road to despair and you just can’t bear to travel that road any more. You remember what it was like, and may well pine for the time before, but you know you will never be complete the way you were before. You’re someone different now. The person that was you is dead. You’re a ghost of who and what you used to be. A muffled echo. An imperfect reflection in a shattered mirror.
You’re probably reading this, waiting for me to say “However…”
No, that’s not how this story ends. That’s not how it works. How any of this works. This is your life now. Trying to glue the shattered mirror back together, knowing it’ll never show the reflection it showed before.
You don’t get a happy ending. That’s not how it works. You’re a blind man begging to see a rainbow. A deaf man hoping to hear a symphony. You’re a meat clock, ticking down the seconds.
I’m sitting here, watching almost the whole world lose its fucking mind at once, and I wonder which of you will make it through in some shape or form. I might have some experience but I still couldn’t guess who’ll break and who’ll bend. I do wonder if you’ll emerge realising the enormity of the damage this has all caused you. If you’ll rage against the people who lied to you, demand accountability from those who led you down this path that damaged you in ways you can never repair. Or perhaps you’ll go straight back to denial and claiming mental health problems are only for lesser people.
I know I’ll still be here to see for myself.
Not out of hope.