I first heard about the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon last week, when I was watching the A to Z pilot. And today my dad watched a film about the Baader-Meinhof group! It’s almost as if it’s everywhere, all of a sudden. So meta.
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I realized that there was no point in denying oneself a pleasure because it was denied another, in refusing to allow oneself to be happy because someone else was unhappy. I realized that all the time one was laughing and cracking silly jokes, somewhere in the world someone was lying at the point of death; that misery was lurking, people starving, behind a thousand windows; that there were such things as hospitals, quarries and coal-mines; that in factories, in offices, in prisons countless thousands toiled and moiled at every hour of the day, and that it would not relieve the distress of a single human being if yet another were to torment himself needlessly.
The way forward
Here are the things no one tells you about (chronic) depression.
- It is incurable. Once you’re diagnosed, that’s something you’ll be dealing with for the rest of your life. It can be managed, it can be molded, but it cannot be cured. For most people, depression is a sine wave. You will go up, you will feel happy, hell you’ll feel “normal” and it will be wonderful. Things will be easier and life will be manageable. But there will be another valley. There is always another valley. And that’s okay. Because there’s always another peak, so long as you can hold on.
- It is boring. It’s so boring. You spend so much time numb that feelings seem like a foreign language to you. I find myself avoiding things I know under normal circumstances I would enjoy because I don’t want to ruin them forever with the taint of my malaise. You’ll play games you’ve already played, read books you’ve already read, stare at the ceiling and contemplate how much effort it would take to move your sorry carcass to another room and attempt to make something of your day before falling asleep midthought. Don’t worry. Your dreams will be full of anxious scenarios from your past, so it’s less rest and more draining unconsciousness, making you more than ready for your next nap in 4 hours.
- It is not a selfish disease. This one may surprise you. You hear a lot about how people who suffer from depression or commit/attempt suicide are selfish for not thinking about how much pain their actions are causing others but that could not be farther from the truth. See, people who are suicidal can often only think of others. All they can see is how much of a burden they are on the people that love them. That their inability to function in the most basic of ways costs the people around them time and money and love and worry and they are eaten alive by the guilt of causing pain to the people they love. When people commit suicide it is because they have reached a point that they cannot see a better way out of the current situation for anyone involved. They know their actions will cause pain but see it as a better option than the alternative.
- It is not a lonely disease. Oh, how I wish it were. It would be one thing if depression were merely about being isolated and disconnected from the world at large. But that’s not entirely accurate. There have been many nights that I’ve laid in bed and prayed (and I’m agnostic) for the peace that comes with solitude but it never came. Because depression is a prison sentence, that much is true but while we’re locked in the cell that our mind has become, we have a cellmate. That cellmate is the worse than the worst bully you’ve ever known. They’re cruel and inhuman. They are your sworn enemy, your nemesis, your final level boss. And they know all of your deepest, darkest secrets. They know every insecurity you have. They know all your secret hurts and fears. And all they live to do is exploit them. And when you’re depressed, you are never alone. You live in your cell, with your cellmate all hours, every day. Whether you’re surrounded by people or all alone, whether you’re asleep or awake, your cellmate is there and they are pushing and they are picking and they are wearing you down. There is no peace.
- You can die from depression. You can. Most people think of suicide as a choice, as something that could have been avoided. People think that if someone would have known or said something or medications had been different or different doctors had been seen that tragedy would have been avoided and everyone would have been better off. But depression is a disease. It is incurable and inoperable. And as you live on its sine wave, the constant roiling up and down, no matter how much you get used to it, it does eat away at you. As high as the highs are, the lows always take a piece of you. When it recurs, your heart breaks a little more, because no matter who you are, you are certain that you had beaten it this time. As you age, you get tired, and as you move through life you have successes and happinesses and fulfillments that you were always sure would be enough to stave off the darkness for good but that was always more than your body would allow. Sometimes people die from depression because their bodies, their minds, their hearts, they just couldn’t take anymore. And that’s sad. But that’s okay. Because people can only withstand what they can withstand and to ask them to do more isn’t fair. We wouldn’t, shouldn’t, do it of victims of cancer or AIDS, we should grant our victims of longterm mental illness such release.
- There is honor among the ill. The depressed can sense each other. We find each other. We see the sadness someone carries with them and we feel comfortable reaching out. It is a singular, dehumanizing condition that allows us all to feel inhuman together. It also grants us a fearful understanding when one of our own chooses to end their journey voluntarily. We recognize the tragedy and feel the keen sting of loss. But we also wince with the familiar yen to be off the roller coaster for good and are grateful that our brother in arms can, if nothing else, find greater peace in the void beyond. It is uncomfortable to understand the decision to end one’s life and it is perhaps reprehensible to support a person making that choice but when you’ve come so close to the edge you understand how much pain can blur the edges between black and white.
- You can survive depression. You can live with it. You can embrace it as a part of yourself. You can acknowledge it as a part of your unique makeup, understanding that it may cripple you but that it doesn’t have to paralyze you, not forever. You can fight it. You can find a way through it. And there are people who are out there who can help you, who want to help you, find a path to peace. There is time and there is opportunity and there is joy and there is laughter and there is a way back to all of it for all of us.
Your depression may kill you. It may. But it certainly doesn’t have to be today.
In case anyone needs this right now. Solid piece by someone I really look up to.
Halikha LeKasariya [Eli, Eli] - Regina Spektor
I listen to this every night.
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-Yes - we’re already a week into the next month. But maybe it’s good to do a recap, because it turns out that two weeks of research into one week of crazy writing into half a week of unpacking and repacking into two weeks of holidays isn’t the best way to go for me. Not that I suffered or anything, it just made my brain confused.
-There was this huge build-up to the research course, and then all of a sudden it was done, and I had to get used to the idea of: this is that relaxing time you’ve been looking forward to!
-And that’s also the time when I dream of endlessly confusing university buildings, of group work (ughh) and all the things that I do. not. have. to. worry. about. right now.
-So about that holiday: Lesvos is a beautiful island and the temperature is great, there are lots of cats which is both sad and fun, and Dutch tourists are everywhere. We stayed at the same apartment for two weeks, which we never do, and I don’t really want to do it again, but on the other hand, we had a spectacular view of the sunset by the sea every night.
-A terrible thing happened with the MH17 flight. We followed the Dutch and international news every day from our sunny Greek island. It felt like we were there, but also incredibly far away, in a different time zone even (the difference is just an hour, but the sun set at like 9pm and it just felt really different).
-We discussed the accident with our temporary neighbours at the apartments - most of them were also Dutch. One man told to his fellow citizens that he loved the apartment because there weren’t so many Dutch people around. Is that what you’d call irony (am I asking the month of July a question now)?
-I don’t know why I didn’t mention it in the June post, but I bought a ticket for next year’s ATX TV festival and I’m super excited about it.
-Some TV notes: The Leftovers has been really uneven for me. The first episode made me cry, the second didn’t really impress, third was terrific, fourth and fifth - shrug, and then I really liked the sixth one.
-Masters of Sex - Fight. Watched it twice.
-I’m still catching up on Mad Men, slowly but surely. The season three finale was a lot of fun.
-Rectify is also just terrific.
-On film: I’ve seen The Grand Budapest Hotel in cinemas three times now. The third time was in Lesvos, open air, again basically surrounded by Dutch people.
-I watched The Act of Killing on Netflix, very intriguing.
-RE: the research assignment: got a 8,5 out of 10.
-Resolutions for August: look into voluntary work. Just finding out more about what’s out there and if I could make it work - or make myself work.
Carrie Brownstein by Ramona Rosales for Bust Magazine
Wardrobe: Gaelle Paul
Makeup: Toby Fleischman
Hair: Ashley Streicher
Manicure: Whitney Gibson
Before, I wrote in all the introductions of my papers, ‘The ideal experiment to measure the effect of this would be … ’ I just got fed up of writing about what the ideal experiment would be. Why don’t we just do it?
Photoset reblogged from with 178 notes
Clothes to Die For directed by Zara Hayes, a documentary about Rana Plaza disaster in 24 April 2013 leaving 1,134 workers dead and 2,500+ injured
BBC recently broadcast ‘The Secret Life Of Your Clothes’, a documentary on the second-hand clothing market in Ghana (where tons of charity shop-donated items end up), and this documentary on the survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse. I watched both on iPlayer yesterday, it made for a very intriguing double feature. If you have access to iPlayer (the MediaHint add-on can help with that) and have two spare hours I highly recommend them - two days left for the former and three days for the latter.
'Two Alarms' is the first single from Scott Spark's upcoming sophomore album, Muscle Memory. The accompanying animated clip was illustrated by Oslo Davis.
Thank you for um… well, for Kerwin
Thank you, Ray McKinnon. For Rectify.
Sandra Cisneros, “Eleven”
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