I haven’t posted anything for a bit. I have been depressed. And I will not apologize for it. I will not make excuses for it. I have not been sick with the flu. It’s not a cold or a stomach bug. I have simply found it harder and harder to crawl out of bed in the morning. And it has become so much easier to crawl back in during the day. If you don’t know me, it’s easy to judge me as just being lazy. Those that are close to me and know me well know me as a high energy person who is often too much to take in large doses. I am usually the one who antagonizes, instigates, and provokes. I have to constantly entertain myself and my energy, and I usually fight boredom, anxiety, authority, or any combination of the three. But lately, I have been too tired to fight.
I am tired and depressed. I am so tired from fighting the world. I am so tired of subversive discrimination and people who are afraid to express their fears and discomforts. I am tired from people trying to put gender into a box. I am tired of people thinking that everyone with mental illness is “crazy” and not to be trusted. Like all things in life, gender and mental health are messy and not simply black and white. And I’m just so gothdamn tired of arguing this point. I am tired of doctors not listening to their patients. I’m tired of arguing with my family. I’m tired of telling my own mother that even the state recognizes me as her daughter, my name is River, and no one who sees me would even think to address me her “son.” I’m tired of my so-called liberal brother defending her and telling me that I’m forcing my perspective on her. I’m tired of listening to politicians, who think they know trans people better than trans people do. I’m tired of government agencies who don’t understand that the documents they’re asking for are the very documents they’re trying to prevent me from obtaining. And I am absolutely sick of reality stars who think they are politicians. If his run for presidency was jumping the shark, then his whole time in office could be summed up with “add more sharks.” I’m tired of people blaming me for my existence making them uncomfortable.
Whenever I am down, I think oft of my memories of abuse. As things grow difficult during my transition, and the doubt fills my head, I wonder if all those voices from my past were right. I am weighed down by them. My anxiety builds, and I begin hearing them everywhere and from everyone I see. They have followed me from a lifetime in hell. Upon my transition, I found release from the darkest place, the place that births fear. It is a place where my dreams are impossible, my body and my soul are wrong, and all that is divine hates me. And even after my escape, I found that I still carried a number of scars and was followed by a few devils. These are my personal demons. And my heart goes out to all those who struggle with their own.
Again, the familiar voices of doubt and fear showed up. In the midst of this spell, I have tried to get up and work towards things. I have continued to make jewelry. I have continued to write. I have continued to try to push myself. But it’s like driving through a fog. You take it slowly, carefully, and you doublethink every move. I have had nightmares of persecution. I have fought with my own wife and told her she doesn’t understand. But that’s the thing about depression. It’s a great liar. It’s The Greatest Liar. It tells you that you’re alone. And then it pushes everyone away to prove it. It tells you that you can’t do anything. And then it takes your passions away so that you do nothing. Though I have managed my depression better than last time around, it still lingers and I worry about ramifications even after the apologies. Or is that just seeds of more doubt? I cannot think on it too long.
For as someone recently reminded me, we have to keep swimming toward the light(or darkness, if you prefer). We have to focus on those things that are positive and encouraging in our lives. The fight against discrimination is an important one, but trans people cannot bury ourselves too deeply in it. We have to rise above it and immerse ourselves in those who support us. Yes, we have to find commonality in those who would not, so that we might find an ally in waiting. But we must also surround ourselves with people who allow us to forget we are trans for a while. We must persevere, continuing to tell our story, and continuing to do the things we love. This is how we change the world, one person at a time and by pursuing our passions. It is also how we stay sane. But by focusing on those who love us, reminding ourselves that there are things worth getting up for and just going through the motions, it eventually clicks. And all of a sudden, you have an evening or go for a walk and forget yourself and your doubts and realize, this is doable. Maybe it was all just a bad dream. And the next thing you know, you don’t feel quite as tired. You feel like you could keep going just a bit longer.