Today, in response to this my post on the article, in a group, I got this response:
(Name retracted) “Depression has plagued me many times in my life. Not the idle depression that is confused with sadness, not the manic depression of bipolar in which one’s neuro-chemistry plays a particularly cruel joke of the alternating between no color and entirely too much. No, the clarity of negativity–the negation that enables to me see without too much cynicism–if I am honest, comes from being functionally depressive. In that way, I am the cliche of both the poet and the leftist–different in being driven my analytic thinking but the same in that my emotional understanding comes out of the chairoscuro I am describing. I have been told I have a gift for mapping pain, and also wanting to aid in ending pain. This gift is the one upside to lacking enough sarotin or whatever mild brain dysfunction has meant that I feel emotions differently. Sometimes in a such a way that “I” don’t see the “me” in my own life.”
and I stopped right there.
(Me) Why is that?
(Name Retracted) me me me me me my life is so interesting and uniqueism. Couldn’t even stick around to see an argument unfold it was too gross. like i have this special kind of mild depression im so different.
I didn’t respond to this well–it was in a “Leftist” forum where people may have wanted to engage on the bottom part, and the part about depression was both focused in on and missed. The mixture resentiment and daftness that I see among of graduate students on the “Left” often amazes me. I do not know the background of my interlocutor, but most are upper middle class. The point of the paragraph that was mocked was in contrast the next paragraph said individual found “too gross” to read:
Yet, the reason why I couldn’t work on my primer today is not “my depression.” As many things in neurochemistry mixed with people of the same class, environment, and emotional resonances, my family–both immediate and not–tends to be depressive. My intelligence helps me out in this and the fact that I have been lucky. I have traveled the world: I have a support group, comrades, my partner, my poetry. While I can’t go into specifics and I won’t name him, one of my brothers has suffered from a much more acute form of depression. He is currently in a coma. I do not live anywhere near my family–not even in the same country, and I have tried to understand my own emotions as to where he is at and how he got there.
The focus on me is intellectual. My depression is not mild or special, and my life does not feel interesting to myself. Objectively, however, I know this is wrong. Objectively, I know that I have had a privileged life, but the gray haze that has nearly led my brother to a cold hospital bed in our home town, my brother did not have that. I can barely make myself get up some mornings when things are good–it’s not special, it’s not unique. I don’t feel special or unique either. It makes me able to see some things clearly, but it takes the color away and the motivation away, and all that left is banal motions. Objectively, I know this is ungrateful. I have to overcompensate and talk about me. It’s too gross.
I have dealt with ultra-leftists, maoists, primitivists, and whatnot for years. Many of the ultra-leftists, to be frank, have some kind disconnection. Some kind of keen alienation beyond what most people have; even if that alienation is the life-choice of being a graduate student in history. Self-proclaimed leftists tend to abstract, and while that does not automatically remove decency in most, in some it is an excuse put making personal points ahead of reading what is being said or being fair. That is not true of all ultra-leftists. It fact it is not true of most, but when it is true, it is often glaringly so.
So no, I am not special. I am trying to what could be a crushing and crippling condition into something useful for myself and for others. I realize I have the resources to do that. For reasons of economics, shit luck, and health, my brother has not of those options. He has ended up somewhere particularly hellish. It would take a lack the moral compass to not at some level realize the difference that means and will mean–even if I don’t feel anything special about any of that at all. IF a self-appointed defender of the proletariat finds that too “gross” to deal with–so gross that they can’t write in fully formed sentences–that’s a lot about where all this concern about subsumption has taken them. Despite all the edge and the venom, it ends in politics that mean as much as “Liking” a statement “against depression” on a facebook wall.
It is unhealthy to dwell in this. Little has grown from that branch of history and history is its manifest judge.