I am taking a moment away from politics and Florida society to discuss my own recent bout with depression, though like all things in my life politics is never far away. July 2021 has been the month I have felt the most lost in my life and been full of nervousness and anxiety. In advance thank you for indulging me in this moment of self-reflection and self-indulgence. Writing in first-person isn’t something I am great at but here goes…
Depression is a real-life thing that impacts many if not most Americans for large portions of their lives. I am not following the Olympic Games but appreciate Simone Biles stepping forward and discussing her mental health issues. They are very real and like the case of Naomi Osaka, an important teaching moment for all of us. It is okay not to be okay particularly for athletes and entertainers exposed to high pressure situations, and a social media environment that resembles an online lynch mob. The media has to be more understanding that athletes and entertainers are human beings, not pawns in a larger world of business (which is what sports, art and entertainment have become in the US and to a lesser extent in western Europe).
However, I do think use of “mental health” as an excuse for many of us, especially those in and around politics is often an overused cop out – including with me. For many it is legitimate but for some others our depression and anxiety issues are due to OUR failings and are squarely OUR fault. Some like me mismanage situations and then fall into ruts of depression. That’s not anyone’s fault but mine.
In a nation where accountability is often lacking and self-reflection is all too often about victimization or blaming others, I need to be different.
It would be DEEPLY hypocritical of me to take shots at various elected officials and political parties on these pages and elsewhere, holding them to account while not holding myself to the same standard I hold them – because they don’t hold themselves to that standard, I must set the example to maintain any real credibility in being a critic of others.
Politics and governing (in politics and business) in the United States circa 2021 is about making excuses, surviving crises and blaming others for one’s own mistakes. Those like Governor DeSantis who are unwilling to submit to any accountability nor show a modicum of empathy about his handing of COVID (which has to this point resulted in over two million Floridians getting sick and close to 40,000 deaths) are demonstrative of the rot in our society. Those who won’t submit to accountability for themselves and the results of their own actions.
So why am I depressed? It’s on me and basically down to a failure to accomplish much of anything in terms of persuasion and moving the needle on the things I involve myself with in recent years.
Failed persuasion for example…
I had distinctly hoped Covid-19 would be unifying moment, this generation’s World War II. Instead it became a moment of internal strife and polarization and my efforts to first unify people and then persuade those in the anti-mask and anti-vaxx movements to change their tenor failed miserably, so badly that for the first time in my life I was subjected to open racist mocking last summer and fall.
As far as the bent of this site through the years I have absolutely positively failed to persuade the Democrats to change the way they message in this state. I get more and more depressed seeing the same mistakes, same consultants, same poor execution resulting in constant loses cycle after cycle. But if I were better at arguing my point or listening, understanding and appreciating things, maybe the impacts would have been different.
The same can be said for any number of issues politically or in terms of messaging or tactics for the Democrats or specific candidates where my powers of penmanship and persuasion have failed, be it from a writing or an actual operations standpoint.
A similar thing can be said for my soccer work – I have repeatedly failed in my efforts to push for calendar change for US leagues, promotion and relegation, supporter and community ownership instead of billionaire owners, etc, etc. Again for someone in the business of persuasion, failures are down to me and the knock-on psychological impacts are on me. Either you improve and deal with it, overcoming whatever personal failures cause depression and anxiety or rightly get discarded in a rubbish bin (metaphorically of course).
So my failures aren’t down to a chemical imbalance or social anxiety or excessive nervousness even if those things may all have some impact. The failures and depression are down to me , whether it is me being too preachy, having the wrong diet, not being understanding enough of my surroundings or just flat out being an idiot with an arrogant sense of entitlement and authority. Bottom line is I am very depressed and it is MY FAULT. Accountability has to start at home if you want to critique others – nothing bothers me more than inconsistency and hypocrisy. If you are consistently dealt a bad hand in life, then you deserve sympathy. But for those who have not been, we need to deal with it or fall flat on your face – more often than not for me recently it has been the later. Personal responsibility needs to extend to these sorts of matters.
In summary, while it’s okay not to be okay for many, for others, myself included not being okay is a time to look in the mirror and figure out how to cope – or not cope which in itself brings a whole new level of discussion we don’t need to have today.
Thanks for indulging and now back to our regularly scheduled posting!
Hypocrites are abound and good on you for owning your own role in your demise
A wise activist friend, when I expressed similar feelings of depression to her, gave me her copy of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet and told me to read Letter Eight. You might find it helpful. The text is here: https://www.carrothers.com/rilke8.htm
Thanks for sharing.
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