Venting Our Despair & Supporting Each Other

Submitted by ultraviolet on December 11, 2011

Recently, a friend of a friend committed suicide. She was an activist and well loved by her community. :( :cry:

It got me thinking about the fact that of the revolutionaries I have been able to get emotionally close to, all have periods of despair or depression. (They struggle with questions like: Will the revolution happen in our lilfetime? Will it happen at all? Will we ever create a decent world? Why shed so much sweat and tears struggling for revolution when I could be partying or making better money like my apolitical friends?) Because of this most of them have a drinking problem from moderate to severe to try to forget and cope. I suspect the other revolutionary-leftists I know who I'm not so close to have similar feelings of despair (many clearly have drinking problems).

It's hard to admit these things or talk about them even with our comrades. I think because of the political disdain for hippies common among revolutionaries, we perhaps turn too much away from anything that seems hippie-ish? -- anything emotional or touchy-feely or lovey-dovey. So we don't talk about these feelings and we don't reach out for support or comfort or empathy. Instead we drink, and many of us at a certain age burn out and then drop out of activism.

I want to open this thread as a space where anyone can vent any feelings of despair or frustration or whatever, freely and openly, and where we can respond with empathy and support.

(I know that we have political differences on this board that can often be quite bitter. I ask that this thread not be used to debate those differences. If someone's political views are described and you disagree, start a new thread about it elsewhere. Obviously you would not be in violation of board rules if you did get into such a debate here, but I hope that people will voluntarily agree not to debate politics in this thread. I hope this thread will remain a place for venting, empathy, and support.)

Nothing to vent from me right now (I'm usually pretty optimistic... though I have my moments!). I hope this thread can help us bounce back from despair or depression and in the long-run reduce our chances of burning out!

wojtek

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry about your friend's suicide! :cry:

Have you read these by any chance?

Give Up Activism

Give up activism - Postscript

Militancy - Highest stage of Alienation

I haven't done much what you'd consider 'activism' (that word along with 'comrade' makes me cringe a little tbh), but I get the impression that 'activists' take themselves too seriously, which is understandable I guess. The way I see it, you should just live your life as you normally would, resign yourself to the status quo, but still organise yourself and shit (for a laugh). I see no reason why we can't live for the weekends and make revolution ;)

PS. Since we're allowed to be all touchy-feely on this thread, Christmas and New Year is a shit time to be single yo, lonely/depressing as fuck.

Melancholy of …

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

First of all sorry about your friend.

This topic seems tailor-made for me, I mean, look at my nickname here!
I'm definitely more in the camp of "making better money like my apolitical friends" rather than the destitute activist, but I honestly don't have much choice as family/friends wouldn't be able to support me so it's either work or the streets. And in that sense, might as well have the best job I can get as that means more free time and 'quality of life' as measured by not being pushed around at work and outside it. My melancholy comes not just from the futility of my political actions but also from leading this sort of double life. For example, every Monday morning we have the bosses do a little pep talk about recent events and how we should all feel great about working there. Last Monday this touched on the November 30 strikes and the script could have been written by David Cameron for all its worker and union-bashing. Similarly during the London riots all the kitchen/elevator/internal-email conversations revolved around rubber or real bullets, water cannons, deportation to Guantanamo, public executions and so forth. All of these plus many more day-to-day examples make me feel I'm not among friends in that place... and that's a place I am forced to be for most of my waking hours.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, drink doesn't do it for me so I'm left with this seething anger and frustration at what goes around me. I don't pray for a revolution because although I want change, I'm also afraid of what this might change to. Pessimism I know but I don't trust the masses and I certainly don't think I can influence what they do or think. So I carry on shouldering the burden of being forced to do work that's against my principles (advertising) and surrounded by a mass of people who'd for the most part hate me or think me a deluded fool if I told them what I believed in. When I look at the future I only see a multiplication of this until my eventual retirement (at least 30 or 35 years away!) and I despair. Often I think of just ending this once and for all, taking a sort of ultimate anti-authority stand by completely taking control of my own life by ending it. Grim stuff. Perhaps I should give drink another try?

proletarian.

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Can an admin please take this out of libcommunity.

qbbmvrjsssdd

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This reminds me of the dual power thread going on and how a libertarian society can exist within a capitalist world even if it suffers from certain suppression. We have the opportunity to live in free communities with other radicals and even if a large part of the world is bound by the enslavement of capital we have to realize that a lot of people are essentially class collaborators, upholding the capitalist system because of their own folly and arrogance, which means beyond their ideological conditioning. For those people who are downright reactionaries, they can go fuck themselves. So opposing the system and the society which supports it can be fairly pointless some of the time when what really matters is that we create on our own non-system.
But anyways this is a good thread and that is really sad that that comrade killed herself, it's all so fucked up. But we've just got to keep trying... and take action that will bring people together.

Melancholy of …

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

qbb...

can you elaborate on "We have the opportunity to live in free communities with other radicals" as I don't think it's quite as simple as you put it. I, for one, don't have enough funds to do it.

Caiman del Barrio

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Melancholy of Resistance

I'm definitely more in the camp of "making better money like my apolitical friends" rather than the destitute activist, but I honestly don't have much choice as family/friends wouldn't be able to support me so it's either work or the streets. And in that sense, might as well have the best job I can get as that means more free time and 'quality of life' as measured by not being pushed around at work and outside it.

Wojtek is right to link to Give Up Activism IMO, cos what you're alluding to here is activism being divorced from everyday life. The point of Libcom (in theory at least) is precisely to offer the tools and support for people to struggle over issues that materially affect them (such as the situation in their workplace). I agree with you that you shouldn't give up your job for political activism and I tend to quickly tire of those who do. IMO, the point is to see how you can't manipulate anarchist practice to make your working life less painful (fight for wage rises, longer breaks, against asshole bosses, etc) with a view to empowering yourself and your colleagues.

Picket

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I have to say, this site keeps me from going batshit a lot of the time. I wouldn't call myself an activist, but having non-standard political views, and feeling strongly about them, can be a bit isolating and depressing. It would be worse not to have those views though as they can be a source of hope.

It can be pleasantly surprising when unexpected people turn out to be sympathetic, and unpleasantly surprising when other people mock those views without even attempting to understand them. The least I would ask of people is to try to understand before mocking but frequently this seems to be an unreasonable request. The worst is when you get ganged up on with rapid fire put-downs from several people, which individually would be trivial to riposte but the pressure of expectation and the number of points to deal with leaves you tongue-tied...

On the plus side I've been drinking a lot less recently but I've been replacing the alcohol with other drugs! Almost certainly less harmful though. And definitely more fun.

I also appreciate Wojtek's links, thanks.

And PS at Wojtek, I know what you mean about this time of year and being single. Family just doesn't cut the mustard when everyone else seems to be set up for cuddles. It pisses me off that my "long-term ex-girlfriend" stubbornly refuses to get back together (although we still have feelings for each other), it's obvious she gets lonely too but she cuts herself off because she's afraid of the relationship going wrong (which is admittedly a possibility, there are reasons why we're exes, but there are reasons why we still see each other). So have a cuddle from this other singleton.

qbbmvrjsssdd

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Melancholy of Resistance

qbb...

can you elaborate on "We have the opportunity to live in free communities with other radicals" as I don't think it's quite as simple as you put it. I, for one, don't have enough funds to do it.

Yeah I'm only talking about living in communes in any form that is possible such as squatting or cooperative houses with other radicals. And establishing networks in the radical community at large for these different communes and linking them together, so they become communes not belonging absolutely to an particular group of people but social space available for anyone who feels they belong to it. At least we need to begin to offer our homes as social space for radical activity and community... something like that.

Croy

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pikel

On the plus side I've been drinking a lot less recently but I've been replacing the alcohol with other drugs! Almost certainly less harmful though. And definitely more fun.

Of the mind expanding, third eye opening psychedelic variety ?

HorrorHiro

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well I haven't done very much in the way of Activism as of yet but hopefully that'll change soon enough. I have been dealing with depression on and off for awhile now and I think the source of this depression for the most part is loneliness (in more ways than 1.) And this kind of goes back to the reason(s) for me wanting to start an Anarchist organization (but I won't go into details o that on this thread.)

HorrorHiro

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

qbbmvrjsssdd

Melancholy of Resistance

qbb...

can you elaborate on "We have the opportunity to live in free communities with other radicals" as I don't think it's quite as simple as you put it. I, for one, don't have enough funds to do it.

Yeah I'm only talking about living in communes in any form that is possible such as squatting or cooperative houses with other radicals. And establishing networks in the radical community at large for these different communes and linking them together, so they become communes not belonging absolutely to an particular group of people but social space available for anyone who feels they belong to it. At least we need to begin to offer our homes as social space for radical activity and community... something like that.

Couldn't agree more, I think the only way this movement is going to go farther than it already has is if we all make a combined effort to unite 1 another. "United we stand, but divided we fall" or something along those lines as they say.

Picket

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Melancholy of Resistance

First of all sorry about your friend.

This topic seems tailor-made for me, I mean, look at my nickname here!
I'm definitely more in the camp of "making better money like my apolitical friends" rather than the destitute activist, but I honestly don't have much choice as family/friends wouldn't be able to support me so it's either work or the streets. And in that sense, might as well have the best job I can get as that means more free time and 'quality of life' as measured by not being pushed around at work and outside it. My melancholy comes not just from the futility of my political actions but also from leading this sort of double life. For example, every Monday morning we have the bosses do a little pep talk about recent events and how we should all feel great about working there. Last Monday this touched on the November 30 strikes and the script could have been written by David Cameron for all its worker and union-bashing. Similarly during the London riots all the kitchen/elevator/internal-email conversations revolved around rubber or real bullets, water cannons, deportation to Guantanamo, public executions and so forth. All of these plus many more day-to-day examples make me feel I'm not among friends in that place... and that's a place I am forced to be for most of my waking hours.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, drink doesn't do it for me so I'm left with this seething anger and frustration at what goes around me. I don't pray for a revolution because although I want change, I'm also afraid of what this might change to. Pessimism I know but I don't trust the masses and I certainly don't think I can influence what they do or think. So I carry on shouldering the burden of being forced to do work that's against my principles (advertising) and surrounded by a mass of people who'd for the most part hate me or think me a deluded fool if I told them what I believed in. When I look at the future I only see a multiplication of this until my eventual retirement (at least 30 or 35 years away!) and I despair. Often I think of just ending this once and for all, taking a sort of ultimate anti-authority stand by completely taking control of my own life by ending it. Grim stuff. Perhaps I should give drink another try?

I relate to your description of your work place, I think there is something that goes on in many offices that produces and reproduces vile opinions, I think it's a sort of machismo which isn't backed up by any level of thought, and there's a kind of race to the bottom to voice the most vile opinions. It's often done jokingly but it's a miserable kind of joke which bleeds into actual opinion.

If you find your work repugnant you should look into a career move of some kind, I don't think there's any shame in doing so and if nothing else a change of scene on it's own can make a positive difference in your mood - although there are sadly no guarantees. Better to take positive action than your other suggestion (which I can relate to also). I don't think drink helps in the long-run, I have my own self-medication regime, the only part of it I will recommend here is the non-chemical bit which involves music, friends and getting out and about.

Picket

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the croydonian anarchist

Pikel

On the plus side I've been drinking a lot less recently but I've been replacing the alcohol with other drugs! Almost certainly less harmful though. And definitely more fun.

Of the mind expanding, third eye opening psychedelic variety ?

Various varieties but yeah.

qbbmvrjsssdd

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Desiring money is desiring one's own alienation!! Focus all energy into abolishing money!!

Picket

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh, if you live on your own some sort of animal can be mood-enhancing, I recommend black and red cats over dogs as they don't smell quite as bad (litter tray aside) or slaver on you, or try to have sex with you, but they are selfish little bastards.

HorrorHiro

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

qbbmvrjsssdd

Desiring money is desiring one's own alienation!! Focus all energy into abolishing money!!

Holy S#!t! I was just about to make a thread about this! No time to waste!

LauritzTheAgitator

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

First, I join with the others in expressing my sorrow for the loss of your friend.

That's interesting that you see what appears to be widespread alcohol abuse in the movement. My experience with revolutionary leftists has been that there are a disproportionate number that are quite puritanical about drugs and alcohol. My rather minimal herb use has been cause for conflicts on more than one occasion.

Tojiah

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

HorrorHiro

qbbmvrjsssdd

Desiring money is desiring one's own alienation!! Focus all energy into abolishing money!!

Holy S#!t! I was just about to make a thread about this! No time to waste!

Please don't. It has been covered already in many threads. Say this one.

communal_pie

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My condolences for your friend's death,

To be honest, Caimon and Wojtek have made good posts. If it's right for you to more money in order to help yourself, then you would obviously be wronging yourself, if you didn't take that up - and espesh for the sake of the idea that being an anarchist means leaving (overtime?) work prematurely and being an 'activist'. That flies in the face of a century+ of (anarchist) tradition in struggle against the world system.

It's also odd that you say about people not reaching out for empathy, I think everyone must and should do that or else suffer in life, not just to do with anarchism at all. Sorry to be so blunt there but I think the point must be made.

The idea of the thread is good but it's obviously best done in person,really, it's difficult to communicate these things online, still if this thread is helpful to even one person then it's obviously great.

I think that the negative attitudes endemic in some workplaces can be pretty destructive and actually dangerous on many levels, to your mental and physical health. You can usually tell these things quite quickly, but basically yeah I think starting with yourself is good but not always practical or easy or even possible, good to try as much as poss though. Sometimes not giving a toss what certain streaks of piss think is good, espesh bosses, seeing as they don;t really know much anyway, staying in the present is good.. so is being honest as much as possible, all good and necessary things but not necessarily practical or easy to do in actuality and especially difficult in an endemically negative environment.

Still, I've seen individual workers who were so filled up with vibrance turn whole offices around, so who knows really. I think it's possible.

HorrorHiro

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tojiah

HorrorHiro

qbbmvrjsssdd

Desiring money is desiring one's own alienation!! Focus all energy into abolishing money!!

Holy S#!t! I was just about to make a thread about this! No time to waste!

Please don't. It has been covered already in many threads. Say this one.

The warning came a little too late.

Picket

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

communal_pie

The idea of the thread is good but it's obviously best done in person

I think it can be much easier to start this sort of discussion online than face-to-face as inhibitions are lower, and I think it's easier to be true to your own thoughts and feelings as there is not so much pressure to "agree". I've often been in emotional discussions, in the flesh, where I've agreed with the other person's analysis just to end an uncomfortable exchange!

On the other hand if you're having a comfortable emotional exchange with someone in the flesh you can probably go deeper and there are non-verbal dimensions which we can't have here.

Ambrose

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry to hear about her death. It's a pretty shitty reality and you can't just pretend life is easy and wonderful when you know what you know. Waking up every day just to do the same bullshit around the same people only to hear on TV that this person was killed or this is now illegal for something you know is bullshit. For a lot of people it's a life not worth living and I can't blame them.

Defacing money is one way to resist, drawing a circle A and writing a message or anecdote.

Caiman del Barrio

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

communal_pie

To be honest, Caimon and Wojtek have made good posts. If it's right for you to more money in order to help yourself, then you would obviously be wronging yourself, if you didn't take that up - and espesh for the sake of the idea that being an anarchist means leaving (overtime?) work prematurely and being an 'activist'. That flies in the face of a century+ of (anarchist) tradition in struggle against the world system.

Thanks, I found it a little bit frustrating that noone else on here has engaged with the points made in Give Up Activism. In short, while not knowing any of you here personally, I can empirically testify that the sort of 'activism' that is being discussed on this thread often leads to depression and alienation. It's hardly surprising that that people end up feeling worthless and pointless if their activity focuses around 'saving' other people. You'll almost never succeed, and you definitely won't live up to your own messianic ideals.

If anarchism isn't about improving your own material conditions, then count me out.

Picket

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Caiman del Barrio

[Thanks, I found it a little bit frustrating that noone else on here has engaged with the points made in Give Up Activism. In short, while not knowing any of you here personally, I can empirically testify that the sort of 'activism' that is being discussed on this thread often leads to depression and alienation. It's hardly surprising that that people end up feeling worthless and pointless if their activity focuses around 'saving' other people. You'll almost never succeed, and you definitely won't live up to your own messianic ideals.

If anarchism isn't about improving your own material conditions, then count me out.

That's not quite fair, I said I appreciated Wojtek's links! I've had a scan and there's quite a lot to read but what I saw looked interesting and at least partially relevant to me (though no, I'm was not planning on "giving up my job for activism", that does seem extreme, I have other reasons for giving it up!), I'll be going back to it.

wojtek

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I especially liked this bit in the first link:

The supposedly revolutionary activity of the activist is a dull and sterile routine - a constant repetition of a few actions with no potential for change. Activists would probably resist change if it came because it would disrupt the easy certainties of their role and the nice little niche they've carved out for themselves. Like union bosses, activists are eternal representatives and mediators. In the same way as union leaders would be against their workers actually succeeding in their struggle because this would put them out of a job, the role of the activist is threatened by change. Indeed revolution, or even any real moves in that direction, would profoundly upset activists by depriving them of their role. If everyone is becoming revolutionary then you're not so special anymore, are you?

Picket

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I have other ways to be special besides being revolutionary so that's not a real worry. :mrt:

RedEd

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ultraviolet

Recently, a friend of a friend committed suicide. She was an activist and well loved by her community. :( :cry:

I'm really sorry to hear this. I hope you are coping ok.

I also want to respond to your general thoughts. I think it is true that anarchism does attract a lot of unhappy people, including people with drink problems and/or mental health problems. In a way though, I'd be worried if we didn't. I should say I speak as someone with mental health problems. The reason that I think anarchism ought, at least at a low level of class struggle, to have a larger than average number of people with mental health, substance abuse, etc. problems is that capitalism fucks these people over much harder than it does the average person. It's the same reason I am uncomfortable with the fact anarchist organisations aren't
Input formatmajority women, for example. If class struggle is rooted in our consciousness of our getting fucked over, rather than some nice ideas in books. And if anarchism is rooted in remedying that (all a bit simplistic, but still) then we should embrace the fact that we have a lot of particularly materially marginalised people. We certainly care about this when it comes to socio-economic background. I think we ought to also pay attention to other forms of marginalisation within the working class.

Sorry if that was off topic.

Edit: Also, more in line with ultraviolet's original post. I can't really talk about specifics here, but many friends have burnt themselves or had real problems continuing to be political, not necessarily in the 'activist' sense, but also in terms of things like trying to persuade colleagues to refuse unpaid overtime, or being assertive in a meeting about next year pay rise (or lack of payrise). Because fighting over this shit is tiring and the odds are stacked against us. We can do stuff about that, but I think it helps to acknowledge it.

Actually, good thread all round ultraviolent :) Good space to talk into.

Melancholy of …

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

SPARK

I always resented all the years, the hours, the
minutes I gave them as a working stiff, it
actually hurt my head, my insides, it made me
dizzy and a bit crazy -- I couldn't understand the
murdering of my years
yet my fellow workers gave no signs of
agony, many of them even seemed satisfied, and
seeing them that way drove me almost as crazy as
the dull and senseless work.

the workers submitted.
the work pounded them to nothingness, they were
scooped-out and thrown away.

I resented each minute, every minute as it was
mutilated
and nothing relieved the monotonous ever-
structure.

I considered suicide.
I drank away my few leisure hours.

I worked for decades.

I lived with the worst of women, they killed what
the job failed to kill.

I knew that I was dying.
something in me said, go ahead, die, sleep, become
them, accept.

then something else in me said, no, save the tiniest
bit.
it needn't be much, just a spark.
a spark can set a whole forest on
fire.
just a spark.
save it.

I think I did.
I'm glad I did.
what a lucky god damned
thing.

— Charles Bukowski

flaneur

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think most people, not just anarchists, can relate to how dispiriting it is to wake up every day, do mind numbing shit for not enough money, whilst dealing with some utter tossers you wouldn't piss on if they were on fire. I'm actually quite envious of those that are asquiescient about it all, I think there's a sense of calm in that. Being angry and wanting to change things is draining, it never ends and it seems so pointless given the minute chances of success. But it gives you a sense of perspective that the Monday team talk is a load of balls so it's swings and roundabouts.

All you can do is live and you try to find little victories where you can. The most inspiring political stuff I've read has been worker accounts doing something about what makes them unhappy in the workplace. Like one man who had enough of the muzak being piped in to the office so he smashed it to fuck. Or another who instead of doing work, wrote books and made interactive art. It's not going to change the world but it's going to feel good and give you a giggle about this absurd world that takes itself too seriously.

Ambrose

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's a little difficult not to talk about politics when everything keeps fuckin up. Got a tracfone yesterday, right out of the damn box it wasn't working. The phone wouldn't give us the phone number so we spent about an hour on the phone talking to tech support doing the same thing over and over. So we finally get the number and now the phone won't get service. So we call them again and it's just a repeat of the night before. So I'm sending the damn thing back. Goddamn, how the hell are we to not sit there and bash the system all the time when you can't even get a phone that works right.

I'm using internet where we can only download so many megabits (I believe it's 200) which is bullshit. It's the only thing we get out here and I'm looking for another ISP. I might call them and tell them what I think of their capitalist BS.

Shit breaks down on a car like you wouldn't believe and I know for a fact it would last twice as long if they made it right and twice again if they didn't engineer it to fail (yes they do that, hell a family member took a course in design in college and it was part of the course, design a hair drier that will fail at a certain point).

I'm surprised and aggravated that there are no militant leftists anywhere, and when I say militant I mean militia shit like the damn teabaggers got. I watch protests and people get beat up by the cops and not even fight back which irritates the shit out of me. But I try not to criticize as I've never been to a protest myself and I might do the same as they do.

Hieronymous

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is such an important topic. While walking back from the p.m. action at the Port of Oakland on Monday, I saw an old comrade who'd been in the Wobblies over the years. I hadn't seen him for over a year, but I knew he and some other comrades were trying to help an older comrade who'd gone on a continuous bender. The latter was from New York and as a young guy had been a YIPPIE before coming to San Francisco. In the early 1990s, he and I had worked as bicycle messengers at the same time (the guy I saw walking had worked in the industry too).

When I asked about the ex-YIPPIE, not having seen him in over a year, my comrade told me matter-of-factly "He died last year." Yet I could still see the pain on his face. He and others had tried to do several "interventions," had gotten him into rehab at least once, had also cleaned his apartment to get him through Section 8 inspections, and had spent countless hours keeping this guy alive. The only problem was that our YIPPIE friend simply couldn't put the bottle down, even when it was clearly killing him.

I remembered doing something similar myself in the early 1990s when I ran into him (I'll use his initials: DS) wandering the streets totally despondent. He'd made his way to a cafe where a friend worked the counter. The friend plied him with free food and coffee and I sat with him for something like 6 hours, mostly just listening and trying to keep him sane. He was extremely paranoid and was on the verge of a breakdown. The cafe had a garden in back and our mutual friend who worked there kept coming back to check on him. When I said I had to leave, he called and made sure someone else could come pick up DS put him up for the night -- since it was crucial to have someone always with him. Thankfully, with our circle of friends and comrades, we babysat DS and got him through that mental/emotional crisis.

DS could be incredibly annoying and when he got nostalgic could be a broken record retelling stories about the good-ol'-days with the YIPPIES. Yet at times he could get beyond his ego and could be extremely generous, soulful and kind. He also was a litmus test for me; if people saw DS's beauty, despite his annoyances, they were trustworthy people and loyal friends.

Last Monday, the news of his death totally dampened the euphoria of having shut down the port, bringing me to tears. I miss DS.

Croy

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think part of my article I did for the first monthly edition of Freedom is relevant partially. Here's an excerpt.

"Emotionally, it’s a double edged sword. Casual passing comments made by friends can become a depressing reminder of the effectiveness of the brainwashing coming from the state. The media, perhaps the state’s favourite puppet, is everywhere, so it can be a constant and relentless source of torment. It becomes difficult to separate people from their politics, beliefs that they often don’t know they even have. Having such a fundamental disagreement in principal with what is now the norm of the whole world can give the impression that I am always depressed and hate everything. But at the best of times, I can be so passionate about how good things could be I can’t begin to explain it. So over all, my experiences coming from the outside in haven’t been perfect, but what is?"

communal_pie

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Condolences for your friend Hiero, that is really hard news and I wish you all the best. I've known a one or two people very similar to how you describe this guy (basically a yippie but an exceptionally nice person underneath, very few are like this in my experience!). I think that it's difficult to deal with the pain and it takes time, if you've friends you can really talk to about it that really helps! It's really good what you and your friend did for him by the sounds of it, if you've done the best you can at the end of the day, that's good enough, what can anyone do friend..

ultraviolet

10 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Each response to this thread has been interesting. It's sad to hear other people describe their experiences of alienation, anger, and depression... but not unexpected. Sending warm thoughts your way, to all.

wojtek & Caiman del Barrio- Thanks for those links! I did use the word activist and activism in my original post but I don't think I meant it exactly in the way described in those articles. By activism I mean activity aiming for social change, and by activist I mean someone participating in such activity.

just wojtek now - As for being lonely, I recommend the dating site "Ok Cupid" ... I know a couple people who've made important connections through this site. It has a keyword search so you can look for people who have words like "revolution" or "anarchist" in their profile. And the site seems to attract people that just might have such words in their profile.

There's also meetup.com, which is more for making new friends than finding a partner (although there are singles mingle meetups). Friendship is underrated... I think it is a reflection of how alienated and isolated our society is that we rely on romantic/sexual relationships to meet the bulk of our need for human connection.

Melancholy of Resistance - Wow your name really does suit this post! I think others have already given you some good advice. Pikel's suggestion to change jobs is a particularly good suggestion. It's good advice to anyone who hates their job, regardless of their politics. Capitalism provides few options for jobs you will find fulfilling, but you can probably find a job you don't hate. (For many even this is not an option, but if you live in a non-destitute country and have some post-secondary education you probably can.)

As for this...

Often I think of just ending this once and for all, taking a sort of ultimate anti-authority stand by completely taking control of my own life by ending it. Grim stuff. Perhaps I should give drink another try?

I really hope you don't take this route. But it's hard to know what to say to convince you otherwise. My instinct is to tell you that there is hope for revolution, and that you can take action to help make that happen. But you also said that

I don't pray for a revolution because although I want change, I'm also afraid of what this might change to. Pessimism I know but I don't trust the masses and I certainly don't think I can influence what they do or think.

...and me telling you otherwise probably wouldn't help, I don't think. That would require a much longer discussion and debate. I can only say you sound much like someone I know who is a Trotskyist, depressed, very pessimistic, and thus utterly unengaged politically. We lost touch when he moved, but I heard that he's gotten involved in "activism" in his new town and that he's less depressed. I think being around other likeminded folks is a big help. It sounds like you're around a bunch of wanks at your job. Do you spend time with comrades on the weekends, etc.? That itself might cheer you up, whether it's just hanging out and not political activity.

Oh - and the poem you posted was great! Sums it up for alot of people.

Pikel - Yeah, I can really relate to this:

It can be pleasantly surprising when unexpected people turn out to be sympathetic, and unpleasantly surprising when other people mock those views without even attempting to understand them. The least I would ask of people is to try to understand before mocking but frequently this seems to be an unreasonable request. The worst is when you get ganged up on with rapid fire put-downs from several people, which individually would be trivial to riposte but the pressure of expectation and the number of points to deal with leaves you tongue-tied...

And I totally second your advice about animal companions being mood enhancing. And your preference for cats! :)

HorrorHiro - Ah, loneliness... thankfully not something I've dealt with lately but have been painfully familiar with it in the past. I gave some suggestions for this above in my reply to wojtek.

RedEd - Interesting theory on there being a disproportionate amount of unhappy and troubled people in anarchism and why. I have discussed this with a friend before with a similar theory. I myself was attracted to anarchism because of my unhappiness but also the total opposite of that. I was extremely depressed for about five and a half years, made three serious suicide attempts... during that time i was also totally apolitical. Then I quite rapidly overcome my depression and felt so great about life but realized the vast majority of people were still miserable, and knowing how painful that was I passionately wanted to change that. Investigating the sources of people's misery led me to capitalism and other sources of oppression.

I strongly agree with what you say here:

I think we ought to also pay attention to other forms of marginalisation within the working class.

Ambrose - I can definitely relate to your frustration. And btw, I think the designing stuff to break down is called planned obsolescence. What type of design course was it? Engineering?

Hieronymous - That's such a sad story. I hope you and his other friends are coping well with this. But I'm also very impressed with what good care you and your comrades took of him. It's probably the most uplifting story I've heard in a while... not his death obviously, but the fact that you all gave so much of yourselves to help him. In his case it didn't work but if everyone rallied around their friends like that when they were down and out, way fewer people would die the way DS did or even get to that state of misery to begin with. And I shouldn't even say that your efforts "didn't work" for DS -- yeah, he drank himself to an early grave, but you'all helped him feel loved during his final years.

Here's wishing it turns out better for the other DSs out there.

acal

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

wrote a long post, found it too pathetical, deleted it and decided to thank you all for posting in this thread.

i do relate with a lot of you, i'm facing some of the hardest times since "gotten political". when i'm in a better mood, i'll try to contribute too. until then, let's try to keep cope with all the shit!

baboon

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A very moving thread. I liked the poem too.

Old_Goat

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Despair is my normative state. Ended up having a political argument with my granda while eating Christmas dinner earlier, and he has the most reactionary views you can imagine, and frankly he just doesn't have a fucking clue. Speaking with people like that just makes me think there's no hope at all.

petey

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ultraviolet

Hieronymous - That's such a sad story. I hope you and his other friends are coping well with this. But I'm also very impressed with what good care you and your comrades took of him.

yes i second this, that was first-class of you and your buds, hieronymous.

Steven.

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, my condolences to ultraviolet and Hieronymous (and anyone else similarly bereaved recently).

I think there are two separate issues here.

One is about "activist" despair, of change not happening or seeming impossible. The other is just more general human despair - general despair about work, futility, loneliness etc.

With the former, as some people have pointed out I think the only remedy for this is that we have to not think that we are going to save the world. Individually we are going to be able to achieve almost nothing. In terms of the political activity we choose, we should focus on doing one or two things which we can fit into our everyday lives, which we enjoy and which are directly related to our everyday lives.

For me, this means organising my work with my colleagues to defend each other and our terms and conditions. This improves my life. That, and helping out with libcom which I enjoy anyway. Other than that I just have fun.

There is no point being a super activist who burns themselves out.

As for the second issue, general human depression, despair, etc. This is a lot trickier, and if any of us knew how to solve that we would probably be rich. In a way I find my politics help me deal with the general futility of existence. Particularly work. When I was younger I used to think that I would get a decent job which I would define myself by. Now I am resigned to working a succession of utterly meaningless jobs, until I'm too old/disabled to work anymore. In a way this sucks - this is the proletarian condition. But in another way I find it easier to deal with now because I no longer expect to enjoy work or find personal validation in my work. I find my personal validation in being a good friend/lover/colleague/libcom instead, and in avoiding work, and helping my co-workers.

If I never get promoted, and never get praise from my boss it doesn't bother me in the slightest. My colleagues like me, my friends like me my girlfriend likes me, so that's what I care about.

So I think that looking for your validation in the right place is extremely important. Of course, this isn't something which you can just switch on and off. But if you are depressed or whatever something like CBT can be useful to help you get out of negative thought cycles.

Just a few thoughts…

Spassmaschine

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

great post, Steven. Couldn't agree more!

knotwho

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My condolences to those who have lost friends/family.

Great thread here!

Steven.

When I was younger I used to think that I would get a decent job which I would define myself by. Now I am resigned to working a succession of utterly meaningless jobs, until I'm too old/disabled to work anymore. In a way this sucks - this is the proletarian condition. But in another way I find it easier to deal with now because I no longer expect to enjoy work or find personal validation in my work. I find my personal validation in being a good friend/lover/colleague/libcom instead, and in avoiding work, and helping my co-workers.

I'm just coming to this same realization, and gearing myself toward more fun and love. And you never know, a cool job might turn up.

Steven.

But if you are depressed or whatever something like CBT can be useful to help you get out of negative thought cycles.

Meditation/mindfulness (which needn't be woo-wooey; see Jon Kabat-Zinn) is great for dealing with everyday stress. Also, I haven't tried it, but neurofeedback therapy is supposed to be quite helpful in 're-training' your brain towards 'healthy' thought patterns. Sounds crazy, but my uncle tried it with success.

ultraviolet

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

acal - Wish you hadn't deleted that long and "pathetical" post! (You should never worry about seeming pathetic... it's part of the human condition, right?) But I understand not wanting to spill your guts out on an internet forum. Hope you do write about it later.

Steven. - Good advice. As for this...

As for the second issue, general human depression, despair, etc. This is a lot trickier, and if any of us knew how to solve that we would probably be rich.

Some people do... they're out dealing MDMA. ( :D )

knotwho - This neurofeedback thing sounds awesome! But also expensive... Did your uncle have to pay for it or was it free where he's from? What country does he live in?

Old_Goat - I hope you can find a way to become more optimistic... I used to feel that same despair when debating with hard-headed reactionaries. But the influence of a friend has helped me not feel that way anymore. His advice is summarized in his slogan "build at the margins."

By this he means that our efforts to persuade people politically should be aimed at those whose ideas are already nearish to anarchism. This person is not necessarily a radical -- they might be apolitical or liberal but they have certain beliefs that give them an affinity with aspects of anarchism and thus greater potential to fully embrace it... for example, a belief in the potential for humans to be good and cooperative and peaceful in the right environment ... or a disdain for authority.

So now I don't bother to debate anarchism with reactionaries, and if I do somehow fall into a debate with them I'm unphased when they don't change their mind. I save my hope for those who have more potential.

Another thing is the power of majority beliefs. When you're in a community or social circle where most people think a certain way that tends to have a powerful influence. I know a couple where one person is vegetarian the other omnivore. They started hanging out in a group where there was a couple of vegans (one of them me). Suddenly this guy, the omnivore, started considering animal rights. His partner was surprised because she had tried to persuade him before but it didn't seem to have an effect. Actually in this case omnivores were still the majority in the group, but people who cared about the abuse of animals for food were a big enough minority that it had an effect -- and we never even explicitly tried to change his views. So a good strategy is, if you have a group of anarchist comrades, start inviting non-anarchists to hang out with you... just being around you'all and hearing your political conversations will influence them, probably more than any argument you have with them individually. Another reason this works is probably because in a political debate people become close minded because their goal is defending their views. But hanging out with a bunch of anarchists and just hearing anarchist opinions, without being attacked or challenged directly, they will be more open minded.

Also, if you've worked for a while to try to convince someone, at some point it's probably best to redirect your efforts elsewhere. If you've ever worked in sales or donations canvassing, one thing they teach you is not to waste time on people who are stubbornly uninterested. (Forgive the capitalist analogy, but there is a lesson there.) Almost everyone is uninterested at first, and so we give anyone a try, but after a while we can usually tell if further efforts on this person are going to be wasted or if our time would be better spent on someone else. Maybe someone who seemed really stubborn would have changed their mind eventually, but in the vast majority of cases this won't happen, so it's better to move on.

Lastly, even if it seems like you've failed to persuade someone, you never know if you planted seeds that will blossom later. My friend's mom became vegan after hearing a presentation I gave on animal rights. She had been trying to persuade her mom for years and it hadn't worked. Or had it? I doubt my one presentation would have convinced her if her daughter hadn't been laying the foundation.

Old_Goat

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@ultraviolet

Thanks for the good advice! It probably is best to debate with more sympathetic people, but sometimes I just can't help myself and I get into debates with reactionaries. One of the main problems overall is as soon as the word 'anarchism' or 'communism' comes out I find myself immediately on the defensive and having to explain the terms etc...

Ah well, I suppose I'll keep plugging away at it.

ultraviolet

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I understand! I do still sometimes get into debates with reactionaries, but I remember that it doesn't much matter if I don't succeed in changing their mind, as other people will be more receptive.

Oh, and I try to avoid using the words anarchism, communism, or even socialism until after I've already explained the substance. You'll find that many people are quite sympathetic and supportive of things like direct democracy, collective solidarity, the right for people to have their needs met, and autonomy... i.e. the substance of anarchism... but if you utter the word these same people will close their mind and won't give you a chance to explain yourself. So get them agreeing with the substance first, then you can say, "Oh, and btw, when you put all these things together, some people call that anarchism! That's what I'm into." :)

Old_Goat

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haha, that's a good tactic. I'll have to try that. Sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised though... when I first mentioned Anarchism in history class last year, it turned out the teacher knew all about it and was very sympathetic and even explained it to the class.

Caiman del Barrio

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ultraviolet

As for the second issue, general human depression, despair, etc. This is a lot trickier, and if any of us knew how to solve that we would probably be rich.

Some people do... they're out dealing MDMA. ( :D )

If you've found a batch of MDMA which doesn't include 3-4 days of mild to serious depression soon after, then please hook me up.

Auld-bod

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is a really positive thread.
Three small points:
If you are finding political activity depressing you could try and give yourself a political holiday. In my experience, this helps things slip back into focus. If not, take more time out and think over the miss match between the ‘means and ends’ of what you’ve been doing.

One of the down sides of being a human is feeling depressed and to wonder if it’s worth giving a damn. If a reliable ‘soma’ ever hit the market it would be embraced by capitalism, as what would be better for the ruling class, than a working class of perpetually happy drones. Though it may be a poor consolation sometimes to be depressed allows you the opportunity on occasion to be genuinely happy.

None of the political ‘quick fixes’ have proved successful, so better to pace yourself for ‘the long haul’ to free communism, and if it happens to arrive ‘unannounced’ hurrah!

mons

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Like everyone says, this is a really great thread. Steven's posted a few brilliant posts, especially on 'activism' and how no-one should feel any responsibility towards saving the world or anything. Pretty surprised and impressed people weren't dicks on this thread. A few points...

The idea that capitalism leads to miserable lives, and communism will make us happy is actually a pretty depressing belief (although as a generalisation there's lots of truth in it I reckon). It's perfectly possible to have a happy life under capitalism, and if people get ideas into their head then those ideas become the truth, for them, even if they were wrong before -i.e. if we think it's very hard to have a happy life under capitalism then we're less likely to have one. Similarly, if we say we hate something (in this instance, work - but it could apply to anything) then it becomes really hard to enjoy it. There's no shame in taking as much enjoyment out of work as possible, even if you're literally just doing what the boss wants you to do. There's nothing good, glamorous, working class or communist about hating work (or being in education, etc.), it's really shit, and we should try to enjoy it as much as possible. This is kind of the opposite to what Steven said in his last post about recognising work is shit and thus not be disappointing when it is, and I'm sure there's truth in that as well.

The point about the attitudes, prejudices and beliefs we have influencing the way we experience the world I think is so vital, and it means we can change ourselves when we want to, in ways we want to, change how we relate to others, enjoy things we previously disliked, etc. If we tell ourselves capitalism controls the content of our lives, and deprives us of the freedom to live as we want (all largely true, of course) then that's depressing. Instead, we should stress the freedoms we have despite living in this society and the huge potential we have to affect our lives.

Capitalism is shit, but the world and the social/political/economic system could be so, so, so much worse.

People joking about MDMA and that, but I think drugs/alcohol have a pretty big effect on people in our society, for better and worse. Laow MDMA - Caiman's right about that - but shrooms, acid are something else, and I'm not even joking when I recommend them as a way of getting happier, lots of people say they have lasting effects after you take them but at the very least they show you that there's lots of opportunity for having indescribably amazing experiences. Weed numbs you if you're feeling shit, and it can be fun, but smoke too much and you can become a numb person in general.

Also all that hippy shit about being nice to people helps too, and assuming people are really nice is good, and makes you more likely to see the good in people. Croydonian, you mention people being brainwashed and "having such a fundamental disagreement in principal with what is now the norm of the whole world". I empathise, and know what you mean. It is difficult to oppose so strongly the hegemonic ideas. I imagine if you're part of the 'anarchist community' this isolation might be even more dominating, and lead to a 'us against the world' mindset (I'm not and never have been so that's just speculation). But if you approach it, and people who moreorless subscribe to mainstream politics, in the right way I find people are more open-minded, and have more complex thoughts, than first impressions suggest. I'm pretty open about my politics with friends, although I never really bring them up and don't go on about them. I think a healthy amount of taking the piss out of your politics is good too, shows people you're not some strange, humorless leftist who's out to convert them! Also, ironically, I think not trying to convert people is a pretty effective way of converting people ;) Seriously, there's 4 or 5 friends in the couple of years I've been a libertarian communist who'd now call themselves anarchists/communists, partly based on conversations we've had. But the most important thing is to prioritise the friendship over trying to make them agree with your politics. Sometimes when I talk to politico's, especially Trotskyites (but this maybe is just because we've got different politics, whereas no libertarian communist would try to convert me, obviously), it's pretty transparent that the whole conversation is designed to try and convert me, and every word they say is targeted in that direction. It's really off-putting, and I imagine it's pretty dispiriting for the person trying to convert others, as well as being an obstacle to them creating genuine bonds of friendship with others.

Loads of sport or other exercise is always great.

flaneur

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mons, a lot of what you've said is pretty standard psychotherapy fare which is fine if you can get along with it. I always thought it was a cop out to to place the impetus on the person to see things in a different light, rather than solving the real problem of those things being shitty. But horses for courses.

And if you can enjoy your job or work, more power to you. Though I think it's wrong to say there's nothing good about being anti-work, let alone communist. If we ever want to see a mass movement wanting to abolish work, they're presumbly going to need to be sick of it otherwise why bother? I reckon you have fun when you're doing things your boss definitely doesn't want you to do, like dicking about with your mates or skipping out early. It's in these small things that we can feel we're taking back a wee bit of our lives, or at least make the time pass quicker.

mons

10 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah solving the real problems is obviously most important, I just think there is some truth in the idea that people's perception of a situation can have an affect on how much they get from the situation. And yeah it'd be better if you get enjoyment from taking time back from bosses, just saying there's nothing good on an individual level about needing to hate work in order to feel more communist. Basically I agree.

wojtek

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Saw this and thought I'd share it, forget the title of the website.

bulmer

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Great thread btw!

I'm in a strange situation now because in so many ways I'm more isolated than I've ever been.

Politically it's hard for me to do much at all. I can't organise in my work place and there are no chance of community organising either. This is a combination of laws in the country I live in and my linguistic isolation from the people surrounding me. I can travel a bit and link up with some anarchists I've met but there's not much chance of me being politically active with them in any meaningful sense. However, its good just to be around like minded people.

Even though my political and social views are a huge part of who I am, this lack of being able to express myself politically in the real world hasn't made me depressed tbh (and I've been in and out of depression since my pre-teens). In fact, I'm happier than I've ever been. I'm content for the first time in my life. It's strange but it's true.

I have a job that I love, even though I'm at work for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week (that said, this time isn't all working and I can get 3 months holiday a year). In the UK, I never had a job I loved after the first few weeks doing it. It soon became tedious and laborious and I tried to find any way I could to do other things on the job that wasn't my work and getting away with the absolute bare minimum. The job isn't perfect and it has it's problems but I find it rewarding and fun.

I also have an amazing girlfriend who helps me out so much. Plus, even though I can't communicate with people as much as I'd like at the moment, the people that live and work around me are so courteous and welcoming compared to what I've been used to. It's just frustrating that I can't make more friends because of the language.

There is a part of me that thinks I'll have to go back to the UK in the near future for me to be able to contribute to the 'struggle' more (mainly anyway but it's not the only reason). I do think that you are more valuable politically in a place where you are accepted as a normal member of the community and I will never have that where I live now and I know it. But there are other things in life to focus on.

When I look in to the future I see myself living in the UK, but I'm not sure I can have a happier life there. Maybe it won't happen, I don't know. For now I don't care though.

wojtek

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[youtube]iIFb6-rSJ-g[/youtube]
Mic Righteous' smile is so infectious! :)

ultraviolet

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

wojtek - nice video. corny, but got the job done (got me smiling!).

bulmer -

bulmer

Politically it's hard for me to do much at all. I can't organise in my work place and there are no chance of community organising either. This is a combination of laws in the country I live in and my linguistic isolation from the people surrounding me.

Shitty! Where do you live, I wonder, where the laws prevent workplace organizing? (Feel free to ignore that question if you don't want to post on the internet where you live.)

bulmer

Even though my political and social views are a huge part of who I am, this lack of being able to express myself politically in the real world hasn't made me depressed tbh (and I've been in and out of depression since my pre-teens). In fact, I'm happier than I've ever been. I'm content for the first time in my life. It's strange but it's true.

Yeah, I think that would make any of us here depressed... I'm glad that at least you have other good things going for you in your life right now.

bulmer

I have a job that I love, even though I'm at work for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week (that said, this time isn't all working and I can get 3 months holiday a year).

That's a fucking intense job! What are you a teacher or professor or something? (That's the only job I can think of with really long hours but long vacation too.)

bulmer

It's just frustrating that I can't make more friends because of the language.

I know how much that sucks... I hate being in that type of situation! But at least it probably won't be long before you become fluent.

bulmer

There is a part of me that thinks I'll have to go back to the UK in the near future for me to be able to contribute to the 'struggle' more (mainly anyway but it's not the only reason). [...]

When I look in to the future I see myself living in the UK, but I'm not sure I can have a happier life there. Maybe it won't happen, I don't know. For now I don't care though.

[/quote]

That's rough... luckily I don't have to choose between living in a place I like and doing political work... I would hate to have to choose... I'm pretty sure I'd choose to go to the place where I thought I'd be more politically effective... but it wouldn't be easy. If you go back to UK I hope you manage to find better happiness there than the last time!

blackout

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wrote a big narcissistic thread about having a positive outlook, deleted it.

The biggest f-you to capitalism is never letting it get you down. Keep kicking against the pricks, but don't be an ascetic.

Steven.

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I would be interested to read what you wrote blackout.

Ultraviolet, that poster is living in China at the moment, hence the laws

Picket

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

I would be interested to read what you wrote blackout.

Me too. Lately I find it very difficult to imagine how anyone with a brain in their head could possibly be optimistic. Spill the beans.

blackout

10 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ah, I'll be back when I have time.

Edit 15 hours later: Sorry that sounded really flippant, I meant I'm busy with something and will respond fully when I've got a chance.

Picket

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

blackout

Ah, I'll be back when I have time.

Edit 15 hours later: Sorry that sounded really flippant, I meant I'm busy with something and will respond fully when I've got a chance.

Still waiting mate ;)

Right now I feel absolutely alone. My family is dying and decaying round about me. My friends are scattered over the globe. My long-term partner has just told me she has felt responsible and guilty for me and is unable to actually be a source of companionship to me. This angers me a great deal as I could say the same about her except I feel mostly love for her not responsibility and have frequently offered real companionship to her. That seems to be a dead end.

At the moment libcom and another unrelated forum are all I have that actually let me be honest with world around me.

I do not see much of a future just now. I am sure I will come to terms with things over time but at the moment I just need to left of this steam. Thanks!

Bedtime, goodnight!

Pikel.

wojtek

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Big hugs man, is there anyone you can talk to? A close friend? Dare I say a consellor? x

no.25

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It'll get better Pikel, just hang in there.

Picket

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks people it makes a huge difference just to know people can be bothered to post a positive reply ;) Wojtek I'm not keen on councillors I must say, my ex has been keen on me doing that but to me out seems like a substitute for the real deal which is proper friendship and companionship. But you never know it might come to that.

<3

Hieronymous

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've been crying my eyes out for a week since learned of the death of my friend, comrade and mentor Will Barnes.

What's helped is taking the 2 1/2 mile walk from my apartment to the beach, where I can stare out at the Pacific and be alone with my thoughts in an amazingly beautiful natural setting. Listening to Bob Dylan has helped lots too.

I'd only known Will for 5 years, so like in Dylan's "Song to Woody":

"Here's to the heart and the hands of the men
That come with the dust and are gone with the wind."

Goodbye, dear comrade.

Fleur

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I just wanted to send out some support to Pikel. I haven't got any solutions to offer, but I know from my own experience that depression is isolating and it feeds on itself, undermining your confidence and your own ability to engage in the world. I also know that you can get better, a little bit at at time, so don't give up.
I wonder if you might cut yourself some slack - it sounds like you've been through a serious relationship break-up and that's something that's bound to be leaving you with some major emotional bruising. Sometimes emotional pain is a reasonable response to bad shit going on in your life at the time. The bad shit isn't always going to be there.
I'm new to libcom, I don't want to throw around advice to someone I don't know, i just wanted to say take care of yourself.
Yeah, I know it's not as good as a hug from a friend, but it's the best this stranger on a different part of the planet can offer. x

Steven.

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pikel, I'm really sorry to hear that.

In terms of counselling, I don't know, I think it can be pretty useful. I mean I have no idea what your issues are, so forgive me if I'm speaking out of turn but while of course it isn't a substitute for friendship or companionship at all, it can help you be alright with yourself, which ultimately you need to be as your relationships with other people can't fix that.

Hieronymous, like I said on the other thread, my sincere condolences

Picket

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

thanks folks and points well taken.

@ Hieronymous - I know, unfortunately from personal experience, what it is like to lose a close friend, it's shit, no other word for it. Time is the only thing that makes more bearable. Hold on in there.

wojtek

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not that it's related to anything, but I was watching 'Take Me Out' with Paddy McGuiness last night and there was this girl who said she wanted a bloke who didn't show any emotion/ wasn't 'emotional'. I'm sorry, but WTF what an insulting sexist thing to say, god I hate this ridiculous binary bs!

Croy

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I too saw that Wojtek. Anyway, Im sorry to hear that Pikel, but remember, keep your head up, try to keepm positive. As regards to counselling, I have no experiences with it and don't know any one that has ton be honest, but I think it might be a bit helpful, but its up to you etc, do what feels right. My regards to Hieronymous too, may he R.I.P

Caiman del Barrio

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pikel do you have any creative outlets? I find writing to be icnredibly cathartic personally, but any sort of creativity could help: music, art, sport, etc...

To be honest, sitting on the internet may not be the best habitual/default activity if you have emotional issues. I certainly don't find it helps when I'm udner the weather (doesn't help Libcom either really... :oops: ).

Picket

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Caiman del Barrio

Pikel do you have any creative outlets? I find writing to be icnredibly cathartic personally, but any sort of creativity could help: music, art, sport, etc...

To be honest, sitting on the internet may not be the best habitual/default activity if you have emotional issues. I certainly don't find it helps when I'm udner the weather (doesn't help Libcom either really... :oops: ).

Caiman, this is a useful post thanks. I have several potential creative outlets but I don't use them as much as I should. I like to write although it doesn't often go very far. I like to make electronic music. I can't draw and I'm shit at sport but I do like to ride my push bike, though it's been a while since I've been on it, I am a bit fat for the lycra at present ;)

These are definitely things I should be focussing on more.

I have other things to say but they are so depressing I think they are best kept to myself just now!

no.25

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry to hear about your comrade Hieronymous, I enjoyed reading his self-introduction that you posted.

The Pacific can be awe-inspiring, keep losing yourself in it for awhile.

jef costello

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can only repeat what others have said.
A counsellor is not a replacement for friends, a counsellor takes the pressure off them. I've found myself in the position of having to be a counsellor for a couple of people because they've needed it and it has ruined the relationship. I've also lost a good friend who helped me through a lot fo shit too. A counsellor is detached and trained to cope with it and they do not have an existing relationship with yoyu that will be permanently affected by their helping you. They don't replace friends they offer something that friends can't or often can only do so at great cost to the relationship.
Obviously we still help each other but beyond a certain point it doesn't help.
The internet is often no help when it comes to these problems. Getting the fuck out of the house is the best thing. A routine is important, exercise is important and some kind out outlet is important. Find a few things you like to do and make real time for them.

Caiman del Barrio

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pikel

Caiman del Barrio

Pikel do you have any creative outlets? I find writing to be icnredibly cathartic personally, but any sort of creativity could help: music, art, sport, etc...

To be honest, sitting on the internet may not be the best habitual/default activity if you have emotional issues. I certainly don't find it helps when I'm udner the weather (doesn't help Libcom either really... :oops: ).

Caiman, this is a useful post thanks.

I'm really glad and this is a really good thread.

I do like to ride my push bike, though it's been a while since I've been on it, I am a bit fat for the lycra at present ;)

LOL I've also found bike riding very helpful and i'm trying to encourage myself to use it more. I don't have lycra although anyone who knows me will be able to draw comparisons with my sartorial preferences (lol)...

In short, you don't need lycra and if you have a low body image, then that's possibly contributign to your malaise so a bit of exercise could do wonders.

I have other things to say but they are so depressing I think they are best kept to myself just now!

Au contraire i think this is pretty much the exact remit of this thread. ;)

Fleur

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i think there's been some good stuff posted here. Doing something creative is a good idea, gives you something you enjoy to focus on, helps you filter out some of the ambient noise going on which is getting you down. Everyone's life can be shockingly short of tangible achievements at times, so working on and producing something for your own pleasure can be really satisfying.
Exercise is excellent too - I'm probably the least sporty person on the planet and I've found it really helpful and mood enhancing. Nasty and painful to start with, but it's really worth sticking with it. As for the lycra thing, never worked out why anyone would spend a bundle on posh cycling gear, it only gets covered in oil and shit off the road.
As for the counselling thing, I have found that talking to strangers is often useful, because you don't have to worry about upsetting them, offending them, giving them TMI that friends don't need to hear. Generally their job is not to tell you what to do, which you might get from someone involved in your life, but to give you chance express the the stuff that is going on in your head and consolidate your thoughts.
Don't want to tell you how to live your life, just wanted to share what's worked for me.

ultraviolet

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Glad to see this thread is still going. (Although best of all would be if it fizzled out because we all stopped being depressed ever again!)

Pikel, holy crap. Things sound just awful right now. I think therapy is worth a try. It hasn't helped me but research shows it does help some people. You sound very lonely and isolated right now so I would make connecting with others my number one priority. In another post I mentioned meetup.com. I recommend this website to a lot of people and wish everyone knew about it. People organize "meet up" groups through this website based on common location and interests. There are meetup groups in cities and towns all over the world. In my city there are over 800 meetup groups ranging for all types of things. Some examples of types of groups...
- Singles meetup (if you're looking for a rebound fling!) ;)
- "Depressed but Enthusiastic" meetup (people with depression going out and having fun together, so it's like a support group but instead of sitting in a circle talking about their problems they go out and do fun stuff)
- Dogwalkers meetup
- Indie film geeks meetup
- Socialists meetup
- Stitch and bitch meetup (knitting circle)
- Basketball meetup

Almost any interest or activity has a meetup group to match it. And if one doesn't exist for what you're looking for, you can create a group and wait for people to join. Meetups are usually free and if there's a fee it's for the activity (like the cost of a movie ticket) rather than so somebody can profit.

I don't know what was going on in your relationship so I can't make a fair judgement, but based just on what you told me, I think that's a shitty reason to break up with someone. I think part of being in a loving relationship is being there for someone to help them through pain. To me, being able to be there for a loved one is a privilege and pleasure, not a burden... within reasonable limits, of course. I can understand if someone feels overwhelmed by the amount of pain that their loved one is dealing with and/or amount of support they're expected to provide, but in that case the thing to do is to say, 'Hey, I can't giving as much support as I have been, but I still love you and want to be with you, and will continue to support you to an extent, just not as much as I have been because it's making me burn out.' Why go to the extreme and end it? It seems really mean! :( I think I speak for all of us when I say we hope your next partner is more caring and supportive!

Hieronymous, I wish I knew what to say to make things better, but what really can be said in a situation like this. My heart goes out to you. Well, I also want to say that I don't think life ends at the death of the body. I know it's really odd, even taboo, for an anarchist to be anything other than atheist/agnostic. But in my defense, I don't believe in any religion and I'm agnostic on whether or not there's such thing as God. There is, however, a significant body of literature indicating that there is life after "death". PM me if you want a short reading list (again, nothing religious, don't worry). Here's a documentary on "near death experiences" (NDEs): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1vWoUoiaP4

wojtek, that pisses me off! Tragically, masculinity in its more extreme/pure form is constructed as being damn near sociopathic. And it sounds like that's what that woman wants, a sociopath. Goodness help her if she actually gets what she's looking for! I for one am attracted to real human beings with feelings.

Melancholy of …

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death."

How many times has a nazi been quoted in this site in positive way? ;)
--
I tried using the NHS's IAPT service last year and it didn't help me that much. But it was free and it was nice to have somebody to talk to that knew nothing about me and that wasn't judgmental. It was annoying the whole "you're only sick if it's stopping you from working" part, but the therapist I got was really nice (and smoking hot, too - macho comment).
In terms of activities, I got back to playing the guitar after a 8 year or so gap and it's been tremendous to be able to create "beauty". Music might not be the thing for you, but you'll be surprised at what you can do once you try to give it a go.
I also started to get back into physical activities. I think there's a strong relation about mental and physical states. If you're down mentally your body shuts down and feels lazy and soft. This then reinforces the feeling that you're down and it feeds back into itself until you find yourself having duvet days in which neither body or mind gets up to much. In that sense, I found that doing things, anything really, can help a lot. Sometimes it's just doing the cleaning and hoovering around the house or going for a long walk. This gets the body going and the mind follows. Also, you'll get a sense of having done something which makes you feel more in control of your life. This then gets you in a positive feedback loop which hopefully can attenuate the terrible feelings you're having.
It's also helped me to realise that, if I've been happy and able to do things in the past, then I can still be happy and do those things as I'm the same person. It's just a phase and it will come and go like everything else in this life.

dohball

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hieronymous, i am sorry for the untimely death of your friend.

Pikel, a while ago on some other thread i almost mailed to say i think you can do better than your relationship that you just talked about. but i didn't because it seemed maybe inappropriate and/or presumptious. i'm not passing comment on a woman that i'v never met or assuming to know who has been lacking or the wiser party at what times. just that you deserve to be with someone who passionately wants to be with you, loves you, finds you fascinating, on a profound level (if not in all the details!) shares your yearning for a better world and appreciation of what is beautiful in this one - even if only for one night!

I think people are right to remind you that on a personal level you do have a number of difficult and saddening things all happening at once. it seems the stronger approach not to be denying the pervasive force of the emotions that come from this..i echo what others have been saying; i think its good to try to find energetic ways to support yourself and also seek out support.

counselling is such a complex one. i know people who have been helped, people who have been hindered and people who have been wounded by it. i think on the NHS you find counsellors who are trained in a variety of methods and for anyone considering this avenue it can be worth researching the different methodologies. also the relationship with a counsellor is personal on some levels and it can be worth trying another one if you meet someone who you just don't get on with. i think always tho it leaves you with something else to sift through as it is unusual to find counsellors who share your political insights.

i personally have done some 're-evaluation co-counselling' several years in the past and found it very helpful and empowering. you take turns in being counselled and then in counselling the other person. i can't be bothered talking about this at great length but if someone was interested in doing this i would recommend seeking out 'international co-counselling' as opposed to the 're-evaluation' sort. a brief look on the internet would make it quite clear why i say this! however my own individual experiences of it were probably much more akin to what people experience when they do the 'international' variety. apart from one regular co-counselling arrangement (i had with someone i had no other contact with) i actually did it with friends i already had who also got into it for a while.

& i remember you were thinking of changing yr job/studying again? i think if you gravitate more towards what you feel more interested in, workwise, studywise, creatively, in terms of shared political activity you will organically meet more people you connect with...both in terms of friendship and shared sex.

personally i have also drawn succour from acupuncture, herbal remedies, massage and homeopathy occasionally over the years. these were more to help with physical health problems (which they did) but then our physical wellbeing is inextricable from our emotional states. if you can afford to pay for a treatment you feel drawn to it can be really good. i also love saunas..

also finally try not to shut yourself off from the wild beauty of the world. walk, run or cycle out of doors not in the gym.

Steven.

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Can I just quickly take the opportunity to warn people not to derail this thread into a discussion about homoeopathy. If you want to discuss this please start a new thread.

Melancholy of …

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

thanks Steven, I'd been triggered :)

Soapy

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hey,

I don't want to go in to the details but I have been down in the dumps for some years now. Music is my profession but I get depressed by the commercialism and the soullessness of it all. Every now and then I have a really good day though. One thing that I enjoy doing a lot is when I'm alone getting high and reading a good book. I recently read The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and I love how my brain creates images to go along with the story. I guess this is a sort of creative outlet that I have.

Soapy

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

double post

Hieronymous

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I want to make a heartfelt thanks to all of you for your support of not only me in my time of grief, but for the effort of all of us supporting each other. To me, that's what communism truly is.

Here's some of my advice about dealing with depression, grief, stress or any other ailments make it difficult to cope in this sick world.

I changed my routine to deal with the pain of losing my close comrade Will Barnes. Here are some of the things that really worked:

1. Meditating. I don't always reach a true meditative state, but sitting in silence for 10 minutes when I wake up and 10 minutes before going to bed really helps me get in tune with my feelings in a way where they don't seem out of control. This really helps me start the day calmly, as well as helping me chill out and stop my mind from racing with thoughts before going to sleep.

2. Get enough sleep. Being tired causes stress. Practice good sleep hygiene, which means trying to sleep when it's dark and be awake and outside when it's light out. For me, it's important to segregate my apartment so I don't read in bed and try to associate my bedroom only with sleeping. This sets a pattern where my mind associates my bedroom with only peaceful sleep. This might sound weird, but it helps make my circadian rhythms healthy.

3. Social contact. When you're feeling down, don't isolate. Even if it's painful, get out and try to be around people. Call friends to meet for a walk or for coffee (but if, like me, you're hyper-sensitive to caffeine don't drink it too late in the day). Tell trusted friends what you're feeling and most likely you'll find sympathetic ears and just talking through things is usually a catharsis in itself.

4. Get out and go into nature. This had been said before, but being out of the neurotic chaos of urban space can help. Being around trees, bodies of water, or undeveloped natural settings is healing. For me, it connects me with my emotions and I find remarkable clarity in my thinking. Sunlight is how we get vitamin D, which is crucial for brain health. It's also the perfect place to cry, scream, pound the ground, or whatever else is conducive to releasing pent up feelings.

5. Exercise. From participating in triathlons to sex to dancing to long walks, find a way to work up a sweat and get your heart pumping. Working out releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that resemble opiates in creating feelings of well-being.

6. Avoid sensory overload.Turn off the TV, radio, music player, internet, cell phone, and put down the printed word and just find ways to be alone with your thought and feelings. Try to appreciate silence. Return to suggestion #1 and try meditation, or find simple tips for "mindfulness." Since the advent of the mass media, most of us have short attention spans and there's lots we can do to develop our powers of attention and to find ways to bring our awareness to the present moment. And rather that passively consuming media, try expressing yourself and exercising your imagination instead. Journaling is great, as is writing poetry, playing music, drawing, painting or any of many, many types of art and creativity.

7. Eat well. This is a no-brainer. Avoid all processed and industrial food; don't eat anything that's been drastically altered from its natural condition. Processed food has all kinds of synthesized additives that are completely unhealthy. This crap is poison and not only kills us and shortens our life, but it makes us feel like shit. Speaking of junk food, try to see how constant stimuli -- TV, the internet, text messaging -- is the mental/spiritual equivalent of eating industrially processed food: if offers all kinds of convenience but its promises are empty and never realized; they are ultimately unsatisfying and potentially harmful.

8. If you're depressed, try to avoid self-medicating. When you're in an unstable emotional state, avoid alcohol; drinking when depressed is like throwing gasoline on a fire. Many substances might give an immediate sense of pleasure, but most disconnect us from our true feelings and are at best just a temporary escape. We've still got our problems to deal with when we come down.

9. If it's too unbearable, seek help. Counselors are often extremely good at listening and asking questing to elicit where pain is really coming from, since we unconsciously repress feelings we feel incapable of dealing with -- often for good reason. I've been lucky because when I've needed serious help, my town had a free clinic that had peer counselors. Which meant people trained in "non-judgmental listening." Once, after a particularly bad breakup, I went to a Buddhist couples counselor who taught me deep-breathing meditation techniques for the panic attacks I was having. I learned this excellent coping mechanism, so I only saw him once -- and still use this method when facing unbearable stress. Don't hesitate to see a professional counselor if nothing else seems to work.

10. Give it time. As someone said above, bear with it and with time the pain of losing a loved one -- like a breakup or grieving a death -- fades. Thanks for that advice about my comrade who died. Strange as it seems, just saying the pain will go away helped me see it in the context of life and death. I read in a self-help book about grieving that being grateful for what the friend gave you also helps; focusing on what my friend gave me really made me see that some gifts will stay with me for the rest of my life. Sadness was slowly replaced by appreciation.

Sorry if I'm repeating what others have said, it is useful for me to write all that down to remind myself what has worked in helping uplift me out of despair.

wojtek

10 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've tried meditating and the whole hippy thing (I don't use that term in a derogatory manner), but my personality won't allow it. :(

Croy

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

BUMP.
Anyone want to hear some hideously gushy love poetry I did about my crush :p Ive also got a rap thing which itself was adapted from a spoken word thing :P

wojtek

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

how do i calm down without weed/ tobacco? so agitated

radicalgraffiti

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i don't know. alcohol?

PartyBucket

9 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

wojtek

how do i calm down without weed/ tobacco? so agitated

I'm on my 5th beer and listening to Wooden Shjips on headphones, I feel pretty relaxed.
[youtube]0OzjYsOLADA[/youtube]

Chilli Sauce

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So, I haven't read this whole thread and apologize if this idea has already been floated, but would it make sense to create some sort of guide on dealing with politics and depression?

I ask not because I've suffered from any serious depression in my life (I haven't, although most of my close friends and family have) but because there have been a few threads on libcom lately by people who certainly are. It might be good if we had something we could point folks towards when these issues come up.

I'm not medical a health professional, but I imagine there's enough direct experience on libcom where we could offer some advice. Also, I think it's good to put these things (a) in class context and (b) be able to offer advice to folks who are politically active--which in itself is pretty damn depressing sometimes, even if you're not prone depression yourself.

Thoughts? Any volunteers to get involved?

Croy

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think it would be a good idea, and have it sort in a similar place on the site and in a similar format as the introductory guides to class/capitalism etc etc are.

Soapy

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well I know personally that nothing I ever read about depression ever helped me deal with it. What helped me cope most was reading books or listening to music by people who had suffered from depression and turned it into something beautiful.

Honestly I think what would be most helpful is if people just submitted stories of how they felt for one day of their life while they were suffering from depression.

If people think this is a good idea just message me some stories and I'll put em together.

Fleur

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I also think something like this would be a good idea, although I don't know how to go about it. I have a hell of a difficult time separating how I think politically from how I think about my personal life, which I wonder if that's part of the problem. So many people I have ever known with radical politics have had issues with depression at some point or another but I don't know if it's more prevalent, perhaps we're just more open about it with each other than the wider population, given that we talk about alienation etc.
Personally with me, I've come to think of it as a lifelong thing that needs managing, rather than curing. It comes and goes. Right now I'm seeing a psychotherapist, if nothing else t gives me an hour a week to have a damned good moan.
I'd be happy to help, although I have no idea what form that could be. I'm not a healthcare professional and they only experience I have is massively subjective and I'd be reluctant to give anyone else any advice, given that whatever works for me, or not, might be useless for someone else.
Soapy - what did you have in mind? I could probably give you a six volume work, complete with illustrations and a dodgy soundtrack ;)

Soapy

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haha not that I wouldn't love the six volume work accompanied by elliott smith playing on loop but I think that what would be cool would be like little vignettes. Like, the time during the day that most exemplifies your depression. Like imagine it's a creative writing exercise and you have to write a scene.

armillaria

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I have a hell of a difficult time separating how I think politically from how I think about my personal life, which I wonder if that's part of the problem.

\

I think it's part of the solution, myself. :-)

Also, what Red Ed said:

I think it is true that anarchism does attract a lot of unhappy people, including people with drink problems and/or mental health problems. In a way though, I'd be worried if we didn't. I should say I speak as someone with mental health problems. The reason that I think anarchism ought, at least at a low level of class struggle, to have a larger than average number of people with mental health, substance abuse, etc. problems is that capitalism fucks these people over much harder than it does the average person.

THANK YOU. I get so upset by the narrative that the Occupy movement was "ruined" by "homeless people with problems" coming in. Like, oh, we just want a movement of respectable suffering people, who can then later use it on their resume to get a nonprofit job or something. None of this mobilization of people who are really desperate, no, then we might have a Situation.

I am very glad to see the discussion that's come out of this, and I'm very glad that it includes Bukowski.

Croy

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Soapy

Honestly I think what would be most helpful is if people just submitted stories of how they felt for one day of their life while they were suffering from depression.

If people think this is a good idea just message me some stories and I'll put em together.

I was unsure how I could actually help or contribute but this looks like something I could do. Though still, I don't know if I really have been/am suffering it, but whatever the fuck it is its been fucking shite and made me do some stuff Im not proud of. I'm now getting counselling and I'm finding it has helped quite a bit, now that I have a space to talk about things constructively and some one that can offer a fresh perspective on things outside of my circle of friends and people that know about what has been going on for me. It also has made all the feelings seem a bit less raw, like some one turned the volume down a bit.

xslavearcx

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

TRIGGER WARNING - Discussion about suicide and attempted suicides..

Agree with fleurnoire-et-rouge that its a lifelong thing that needs to be managed. I've been wired that way since primary school and its maybe only in the last 6 months or so that i can say with a little bit of confidence that ive got a bit of a grip of it - which is mainly down to me just accepting it as part of my life and moving commitments around when it starts to kick in and not going too hard on myself.

I remember in one of my darker moments going down to the river clyde to jump in and on arrival found someone else who was already way ahead of me - i.e she was on the other side of the fence at the riverside. I ended up talking to her for about 2 hours, trying to talk her out of it, panicing like fuck inside (and not revealing my reason for being there) in case i said the wrong thing and splash...

Due to the panicing and my lack of confidence in my abilities to counil this person at this pivotal moment, i was kinda hoping that one of the many passer bys would maybe come along and put in some help, maybe offer usage of their mobile phone or something to call say one of her family, carers, friends or whatever but no, it was a nice sunny day and a nice place for an undisturbed walk.

This manifest lack of concern didnt make it easy to convince herself (or myself for that matter) that it was worth giving life another go. As it happens eventually managed to walk her to a bus so that she went home so it all for that moment at least ended well. But was a big fucking lesson to me about alienation. The anger that it prompted in me managed to get rid of the suicidal ideation for that time also....

soyonstout

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I personally have struggled with diagnosed depression for half of my life and tend to politicize it off and on since discovering the situationists about 2/3 of the way through--I agree that it can be really difficult in times of low-level of class struggle (or low compared to what revolutionists would hope it to be based on the severity of the crisis) and our own desire to base our politics in reality and real possibilities to separate these two things or not always question the extent that one informs the other (is marxism/anarchism making my depression worse? does my depression overly personalize my understanding of exploitation/alientation/etc.?). Orwell's essay on toads is quite good in this regard)

The other thing that can be pretty difficult is the relative isolation many pro-revolutionaries feel if they don't live in an area with other sympathetic and engaged folks who are doing something (even if that something is theory). I personally got pretty blue when the single issue campaigns the local Occupy movement folded into (and half of my close friends and all but one of my coworkers) fell under the spell of last year's presidential election and the climate of austerity seemed to be creating an intellectual environment where all political critique was deemed unproductive whining. For myself, almost least half of the reason I stay in touch with marxists and anarchists and the like is to avoid that kind of isolation and be reminded that other people have similar critiques and are expectantly paying attention to or engaging with workers' self-activity and think that this is worthwhile, and inasmuch as people turn to libcom for theory I would bet that a good number have at least a kind of social or anti-isolation motive as well.

I think people sharing stories, or things that seem to work well would be a good start. Depending on how well that goes it might even be possible to put together some articles on comrades' experiences or advice on dealing with mental health professionals, critiques of different psychological methodologies' often uncritical acceptance of existing social norms / markers of success/happiness/etc. could maybe develop as well. Probably many people don't feel qualified to generalize from their experience (although it doesn't stop libcoms who've never been involved in an illegal strike from applying their study of the history of workers struggles and capitalism to discussing those things), but collectively, via discussion in the comments, possibly some kind of guide or introduction could be put together--possibly with a proviso about not being a substitute for professional mental health advice.

Anyway, it's good to see folks talking about it.

Chilli Sauce

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

All good posts.

Slavearc, without trying to sound patronizing, thanks for sharing that. I'm sure that's a really personal thing for you and, I don't know, I just don't want you to think it's going unnappreciated.

Fleur

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes, xslavesrcx, thanks for posting that up. I know from my personal experience that depression can be a really isolating experience, so I think talking about it is really valuable, not just for myself but also to show other people that they're really not on their own for feeling this way. It sounds like you saved each others' lives that day. I'm really glad. :)

And now I will go away for a few days and get brooding and introspective and massively insecure about what I will write.

wojtek

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

.

xslavearcx

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

wojtek

^was so this without the fame.

Did you ever see the documentary about that dude from east 17? - that was hard viewing..

TRIGGER WARNING - Discussion about suicide and attempted suicides..

Chilli Sauce and fleurnoire-et-rouge- it wasnt really a problem to post that, as the old saying goes "if ye didnae laugh you would cry..." TBH i reckon i probably wouldnt have gone through with it as if i had been really that way inclined id've probably just been like yeah fuck it 1 2 3 or something nightmarish like that... But the main point i was trying to get across was more about the alienation aspect, like how hard is it to put it accross to someone that its worth carrying on, that people care etc, when people are just walking past something like that unfolding rather blaze. then again, im sure if i had not intervened then someone else would have.

Obviously i can t universalise from my own experiences of depression but i know for a fact that i wouldnt feel so shit if my life was less shit. Ill admit to knowing fuck all about psychology and that but when i look around, the fact that loads of people i know have had suicide ideation, or attempts whether it be of the cry for help sort or something more final, that a lot of it probably does stem from the fact that the way our lives are will probably doesn't really lend itself to a cheery outlook. I think one of the biggest signs of a shit way of doing things is the suicide stats. Im sure everyone will know of someone they know or someone related to someone they know that has actually done the deed. It really hit it home to me when i was working in a call centre overlooking the erskine bridge which is like scotlands number one suicide spot and how every second day there would be helicopters, police and what not at the bridge dealing with something nasty going down. It was also somewhat macabre but strangely understandable that such events where something intersting to break the monontony of the call centre we all worked at.

Dont get too introspective if its going to bring on the depression, but if you do post something ill post an account of my breakdown that had many nicholas cage esque comedy moments!

xslavearcx

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For myself, almost least half of the reason I stay in touch with marxists and anarchists and the like is to avoid that kind of isolation and be reminded that other people have similar critiques and are expectantly paying attention to or engaging with workers' self-activity and think that this is worthwhile, and inasmuch as people turn to libcom for theory I would bet that a good number have at least a kind of social or anti-isolation motive as well.

Actually for me its kinda having a deeper understanding on how things work thats made me be less hard on myself which has probably been good for the old depresion. Like one of my last episodes was when i had just finished doing a community education qualification and had worked in that scene as a volunteer for a couple of years. I kinda expected that with the experience and the qualification that id get a 20k plus job and id be able to be a 'better' father and all that through being able to take the kids on holidays, provide financial support and what not. But, as predicted that wasnt to be and it was immensely frustraiting as it did feel as if my life was going in a natural incline towards getting a result like that. So bitterness, hoplelessness and all that malarky kicked in. Now with a better understanding of how things are for most people i can be less hard on myself and realise that everybody is pretty much in the same boat.. Maybe they should have Capital Volume 1 on the self help sections of libraries haha ;)

xslavearcx

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

done - is that ok sawa?, dont know the format

sawa

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks dunno bout format but
Trigger warning : Discussion about suicide and attempted suicides
would be better if possible cos like for obvious reasons its like a particular bad trigger where like depression isn't or I dunno or is vaguer hmmm I dunno gah.

xslavearcx

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No worries ill just paste that on then - thanks :)

sawa

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

xslavearcx

No worries ill just paste that on then - thanks :)

Thanks a lot, its apreciated :]
was half expecting hostility to trigger warnings cos it is libcom eeek :[

Noah Fence

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Supporting each other is so important. The act of supporting another human being is a beneficial for the supporter as it is for the supported.
I think a distinction needs to be drawn between being miserable, sad, angry, alienated etc and clinical depression or other mental health issues that have depression as a symptom.
The former would generally be instigated through circumstance, enviroment etc whilst the latter would seem to be innate and inevitable.
Put in to class/political terms it seems obvious that there would be a higher incidence of non clinical depression amongst the poor etc. I think the same could be said of those opposed to the state/capitalism due the the uphill nature of struggle and the frustration at the lack of progress alongside the awareness that they are being fucked over. Of course this doesn't mean that all revolutionaries are depressed!
As for clinical depression, addiction and other mental health issues I would say the class connection is very limited. These illnesses are no respecter of class. Whilst episodes can be triggered by outside events, no enviromental pressure is required for these illnesses to manifest.
As regards solutions, at the risk of repeating what I have posted on another thread, when it comes to non clinical depression the most effective action that can be taken is to get involved with helping others. Finding a way to benefit others, especially in a group setting is great for building self esteem and a sense of purpose. Being 'a part of' rather than 'apart from' is a great antidote to feelings of isolation. Corny, I know, but true nonetheless.
I think the above can also be of great benefit to those with actual mental health issues but may be a bit simplistic in many cases and I think we need to tread carefully in this area when offering online advice to those that we know little about.
I think as a guding principle though as depression manifests itself in self centredness and self obbsession the solution would seem to be to take focus away from ones self and place it on others that could benefit from our help. I know this sounds harsh but I don't mean it that way - it's an observation, not a criticism.
I personally have a great deal of experience in the area of addiction and would be glad to help in any way I can with anyone experiencing problems of this nature. It can seem a hopeless condition but as a drug addict of around 18 years who now has nearly 16 years of total abstinence under his belt I am living proof that there is a way out. Despite many problems life is good and I haven't missed drugs for a single day!
Please take all of the above as general observations and opinions - no doubt there will be many examples of experiences that don't fit what I have written. Whilst I have a fair bit of experience with mental health issues with friends and family I consider myself a long way from being an expert on these matters(apart from addiction!).

GoHabsGo

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I have a form of anxiety. I know that anxiety and depression are two different things, there are people who will help if you let them in on your feelings. I was embarrassed for years of having anxiety. I would sometimes have to leave a public place because I would panic. I kept this inside for eight years and finally started talking to people. They have been supportive and have helped me in ways that are better than my self help method of getting laid or finding any drug I could get. It sucks having panic episodes in public, but many of the people I know help me through them or allow me to leave if it gets too bad. Talking about these issues can help anybody. Keeping it inside only makes it worse and you could do something stupid.

Croy

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I thought these might be of interest

http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/02/why-anti-authoritarians-are-diagnosed-as-mentally-ill/

http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/05/anti-authoritarians-and-schizophrenia-do-rebels-who-defy-treatment-do-better/

Im still thinking of posting my account up of the most recent incident I had, my problems are fairly normal and I might seem melodramatic. In actual fact people would be well within sensibility to suggest me just getting the fuck over it and focus on other things to be honest but this has affected me massively.

Fleur

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm going to be on the run all weekend & won't have any time to myself to sit down & type up anything which involves some serious consideration, just wanted to ask how we are dong this? I know I'm a bit waffly to post something up directly into a forum, is Soapy still happy to collate these accounts? If so I would really appreciate.

Chilli Sauce

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

sawa

xslavearcx

No worries ill just paste that on then - thanks :)

Thanks a lot, its apreciated :]
was half expecting hostility to trigger warnings cos it is libcom eeek :[

http://libcom.org/blog/trigger-warnings-why-we-use-them-15012012

By a libcom admin no less, comrade ;)

Chilli Sauce

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fleurnoire-et-rouge

I'm going to be on the run all weekend & won't have any time to myself to sit down & type up anything which involves some serious consideration, just wanted to ask how we are dong this? I know I'm a bit waffly to post something up directly into a forum, is Soapy still happy to collate these accounts? If so I would really appreciate.

Okay, so I've got a PM or two about this.

Here's my suggestion, we get a little email chain going where we (a) try to sort out some structure and (b) get sharing, editing, and feedbacking on others' accounts.

What do folks think of that idea?

jef costello

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for your post slavearc I wrote a short story about a scene like that when I was about 18. Surreal to think it actually happened to someone.
I think writing about things like this can be helpful because I don't think people can easily get these things off their chests. I can remember talking about suicide with friends and it isn't easy and I doubt any of them thanked me for it but it did help me at least.
Chilli I'd be interested in sharing a story, but not any of my god-awful teenage stuff in case you're worrying.

Croy

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jef costello

Chilli I'd be interested in sharing a story, but not any of my god-awful teenage stuff in case you're worrying.

And this is exactly why Im still thinking of contributing.

Soapy

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm down for whatever, what's the plan?

Chilli Sauce

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sending PMs right now...

Wiggleston

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So, what should I do for this? Post on here or PM Chilli?

Chilli Sauce

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

PM'd

xslavearcx

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jef costello

Thanks for your post slavearc I wrote a short story about a scene like that when I was about 18. Surreal to think it actually happened to someone.

Funny i was thinking about putting that in a fictional story of some form or another when i had a five minute ambition to become a writer - but then i thought it would seem too unbelievable ha!!

xslavearcx

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

sawa

xslavearcx

No worries ill just paste that on then - thanks :)

Thanks a lot, its apreciated :]
was half expecting hostility to trigger warnings cos it is libcom eeek :[

http://libcom.org/blog/trigger-warnings-why-we-use-them-15012012

By a libcom admin no less, comrade ;)

Yep, one keeps learning every day :)

flaneur

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

xslavearcx

jef costello

Thanks for your post slavearc I wrote a short story about a scene like that when I was about 18. Surreal to think it actually happened to someone.

Funny i was thinking about putting that in a fictional story of some form or another when i had a five minute ambition to become a writer - but then i thought it would seem too unbelievable ha!!

They already made it into a film, except the bloke saves her by showing how to throw knives.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl_on_the_Bridge

isawamouse

9 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

xslavearcx

jef costello

Thanks for your post slavearc I wrote a short story about a scene like that when I was about 18. Surreal to think it actually happened to someone.

Funny i was thinking about putting that in a fictional story of some form or another when i had a five minute ambition to become a writer - but then i thought it would seem too unbelievable ha!!

Interestingly there's a scene in one of Sartre's Age Of Reason trilogy (think it might be The Reprieve) which involves a similar scenario taking place on the banks of the Seine.

Anyway, this is a really good thread, I've just read all the way through it, and there's some good life affirming stories and advice dotted around it, and also a lot of positivity and mutual support surrounding discussion of things which are by their nature quite negative. I've never been in this "general" forum before, normally I browse about the news, theory and history forums, very occasionally posting comments etc. But it's good to see folk talking in this way on here, I generally (and I don't mean this in a bad way at all) find the libcom forum to be quite dry, and at times somewhat harsh and critical. So it's good to see a bit of balance.

I've nothing specific really to add at the minute, but my interest was piqued when someone (not sure who) suggested in a post above that advice relating to how to deal with mental health professionals might be of use. I might be able to help with this/knock something together, as this is actually sort of what I do as a day job (mental health advocacy). If anyone has any suggestions as to how this would work, whether it would fit within some larger guide/document etc., please feel free to make suggestions.

For anyone in a situation where they find themselves having to intervene where another may be planning or in the process of harming themselves or in the midst of an episode of mental ill-health, having read this info might put you in a much better position to help:

http://mhfa.org.uk/en/first-aid-strategies/

From experience (given the line of work I am in it inevitably happens from time to time) I know it can be a daunting situation to find yourself in, but just knowing very basic things in relation to what approach to take/not to take, can really help make a huge difference to someones future. The info above is pretty straightforward and common sense, but I know how easy it is just to panic and clam up in these kind of situations.

If anyone has anything at all they'd like to ask me or thinks it might be helpful to talk about anything I've mentioned above, or anything relating to what's being discussed in this thread, but doesn't want to do this publicly, feel free to send me a PM. Can't promise I'll be any use, but I'll try my best. :)

Hieronymous

9 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[deleted] Thanks for the warm and supportive comments. I feel that I need to share my thoughts and feelings in face-to-face settings.

Noah Fence

9 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Shit man, sorry to hear of all these problems for you and those around you.

When it all hits seemingly at once, it can seem unbearable.

It does seem to be the case that stuff like this comes in a sort of pile up. It's certainly been that way in my life recently but I've been getting through it ok. Christ though, it's really been going at you. I'm sure you will cope - I've seen time and time again that when under the most pressure, the human spirit really goes to work. I guess doing what you can for those affected is the best course of action but also, as you say, allowing time for your own grieving.
My thoughts are with you and best of luck in wading through this.