Anxiety and depression

I’m a person who struggles with anxiety and depression. I wasn’t born depressed, but I definitely have a tendency to develop depression as a part of my personality. I remember being 13 and feeling a “dark thing” enter me and it left me in shadow most of the time ever after.

Anxiety and depression limit what I do in life. There are some normal activities I steer clear of because they cause me too much anxiety, and I could probably be capable of having a higher-level career if I was able to handle anxiety better. Sometimes I find myself wanting to do something but unable to do it because I am paralyzed with a sort of dark heaviness that drains my energy beyond reason.

The dark heaviness is often coming from life circumstances and although it might look like a chemical imbalance if someone were to scan my brain, I don’t think it’s an inborn trait. I have a sense of weariness that comes from the frustration of identifying problems every day that I want to solve that I can’t solve, and knowing that each day will bring new problems, many of which I still will not be able to solve. I have a sense of hopelessness from knowing that the world I live in is totally wrong and yet the task of fixing it is unfathomably large and hardly anyone around me is willing to even look at what the problem is. I am very emotionally sensitive and sometimes when I’m feeling tired, frustrated and hopeless it causes additional effects like trouble concentrating, feeling “spaced out” and forgetful. When I’m in this state, tired and spaced out, I make stupid mistakes, and then I get more frustrated, which causes a snowball effect where I keep feeling worse and worse until I just want to escape from my life. All these factors are a part of the Dark Thing.

I have found cognitive behavioural therapy very useful, and I took medication for a few years. I am not on medication now, but sometimes I’m on the verge of needing to go back on it because I’m not doing well.

There are a few reasons why I don’t want to be medicated. I have a belief that medicating depression just covers up the problem without solving it. I hate the pharmaceutical industry and I don’t want to give them any money. I hate drugs and don’t want them in my body. I’m scared of side effects–both known and unknown. I’ve been on medication before and I know that it numbs me—I feel less anxiety and depression, which is good, but I also feel less joy. I am capable of feeling joy sometimes, and I want to keep that capacity. I also know that anti-depressants kill my sex drive, and since sex is one of my favourite things in life, I don’t want to lose that. It’s a contradiction to give up one of the few things you enjoy in order to feel better. It’s just trading one problem for another problem of equal magnitude. Not worth it.

My official plan is to manage my mental health by meditating. I know that meditating helps me a lot, because I’ve done it before and it has helped me a lot. It helps me by relaxing me, which makes it easier to sleep, easier to think clearly, and easier to deal with problems. This prevents the Dark Thing from building up too much. Sitting quietly and listening to my body also means that I acknowledge feelings I’m having that want to be acknowledged, which means that when they feel heard they can finally let go, and I feel better. If I don’t listen to my feelings then they build up until I can’t ignore them, and at that point I’m usually not even a functioning human being anymore.

I don’t necessarily follow my official plan though. I don’t do meditation very often even though I know I need it. It’s hard to explain why this is, but my best guess is that it’s exhausting to process emotions and our default habit as humans is to find distractions in order to avoid them. I also have an underlying attitude that it’s silly or frivolous to just sit and listen to my body for a while. This is an attitude I need to let go of. It’s not silly or frivolous to take care of yourself, and emotional care is as important as any other kind of care.

Sometimes I have a really bad time, where I either cease to function entirely and just sit still feeling paralyzed, or when I lose it and start sobbing. In these moments I face the fact that I either have to start meditating or I have to take antidepressants again. It’s one or the other, I don’t get to choose neither. And yet old habits are hard to shake. I’m still at an impasse where I haven’t done much of anything and I’m letting myself just be a mess.

Just this month I did finally sit quietly and listen to my body again, and I was amazed that I got all sorts of insights and clarity in a short time. I also felt more relaxed. I know that the brain gets into habits with emotions, and when the brain is in the habit of feeling anxiety it jumps right to that feeling all the time and stays there. I know that retraining the brain to feel something else is a process that requires a change of habits and a practice over time. I know I can do this is if I stick to it. I should do this regularly, not just when I’m in a crisis, because that’s how you prevent a crisis.

Even though I don’t like taking medication, I did for a while because I wasn’t going to be able to get through my life otherwise. I went off it a few years later when I got more stable.

Even though I don’t like taking medication, I wouldn’t try to stop someone else from taking it. We all get to make our own decisions about how we take care of ourselves, and we all respond differently to medication—some people might like it better than I do.

Some people might look at my situation and think I’m absolutely crazy for not being on medication. I clearly am losing out on some things in life because I have mental illness that is untreated. This is where values and priorities come in. I value the feelings of joy that I feel really strongly when I’m unmedicated and I value having a sex drive. Feeling sexual desire is actually one of my sources of energy. I have a right as a human being to feel joy and to feel sexual desire and to be energized by that. I have the right not to have that numbed. If I had less anxiety I might be able to move into higher positions at work, but I don’t think this is something I need. I don’t have much money, but I also don’t think money is that important.

I don’t think children and youth should be medicated, because there is a risk of side effects, one of them being increased suicidal feelings, which is a very big deal. I think young people need to learn how to manage their emotions and they shouldn’t be encouraged to see drugs as a solution to problems, because that’s the wrong approach. Medicating a person numbs them to emotions, good and bad. When you medicate a young person, they might lose the opportunity to learn to experience joy as well as pain.

If there was a large lobby group insisting that everyone with depression necessarily had to take pills, and that was trying to cover up other ways to deal with depression, and that was calling people “bigots” for managing depression in ways other than medication, then I’d be really pissed. This would limit the choices available to people for how to take care of themselves, and it would steer everyone toward the method that generates money for capitalism instead of the method that connects us to our humanity. If there was such a lobby group, I’d call them a part of capitalism and I’d say they didn’t care much about depressed people.

Feeling the emotional impact of the shitty world humans have created is a part of the human experience, and we can decide that it’s a reason to make things better, or we can decide to blame ourselves for being defective and just numb ourselves to it. Some people might have to numb themselves because they have no other choice, they can’t manage otherwise. I’m not trying to judge those people, I know it’s rough. I have been there. But anyone who can should fight for a better world so that people don’t have to feel this way in the first place.

You have probably guessed by now why I decided to write this post—because my attitude toward anxiety and depression is the same as my attitude toward gender dysphoria. I think our natural feelings are a part of who we are and can be managed, and I think that being born with a tendency to feel uncomfortable doesn’t necessarily mean we have to use medical interventions. This is my attitude toward mental illness, including my own.

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Male art that dehumanises women vs. female art that illuminates the reality of sexual violence and female objectification

Nordic Model Now!

Rae Story reflects on how when male artists create works that dehumanise women it is taken to be a comment on society as a whole, while women’s resulting brutalisation, isolation and objectification is seen as little more than a sideshow. She compares this with the powerful art of Suzzan Blac who mines her own traumatic memories of abuse and prostitution to create a blistering commentary on pornographic, female objectification and paedophile culture.

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Another lesbian feels like a guy

A reader sent me this video and asked for a post about it. It’s a short documentary-style video about a lesbian who identifies as a man and has no plans to transition. Here’s the video:

She says the same thing I’ve heard 100,000 times now from women who identify as men: “Ever since I was small, I always identified more with boys, I always kind of felt more like a boy.”

As is very common in stories of women who identify as men, they turn out to be attracted to women. Gender dysphoria doesn’t just randomly strike random women. A large majority of the women who “feel like a boy” are lesbian or bisexual. This makes it really freakin’ obvious that gender dysphoria in women is often related to the difficulties of being a same-sex-attracted woman in a sexist and heteronormative society.

This particular lesbian who identifies as a man doesn’t plan to transition. This means what she is experiencing is not discomfort with her female body, it’s discomfort with the feminine gender role. She’s okay with being female, she just “isn’t a woman.”

Dear readers, please raise your hand if you feel discomfort regarding the feminine gender role.

When dressing as a woman, Lauren feels like she is in drag and like she is putting on a character. She feels this way as an actress, but she seems to be implying that that’s the way she feels about being a woman all the time. This is also a comment I’ve heard before. Some people think that “being a woman” is an act that has to be performed, involving specific dress, appearance, mannerisms, speech patterns, and behaviors. This is not true. A woman is an adult human female, and the only way to be a woman is to be born female and to grow into an adult. Anyone who is existing in a female body is “being a woman.” It turns out that women can have any kind of mannerisms, appearance, and behavior. We can have any kind of personality and thoughts and feelings. Everyone with a female body is a woman, no matter how she feels or what she wears. There is no acting involved at all.

In the video, Lauren is shown on a bus “manspreading” across her seat. This is probably supposed to display her masculine mannerisms, although she looks like a typical woman and no one would mistake her for a man.

So why does Lauren “feel like a man”? I can tell you right now. Lesbians often grow up feeling different from other women. We are often baffled at straight women’s behavior, and we often identify with the cultural stereotypes assigned to men. These days there is no on-the-ground lesbian community, so there is no way for lesbians to share their feelings with other lesbians and find out that we have similar feelings. Instead there is a “queer” community that is all too eager to label women who aren’t feminine and who vaguely and subjectively “feel different” as not-women. They can be nonbinary, or trans men, or genderqueer, or any other bloody thing. The message is clear: real women are feminine, therefore unfeminine women aren’t women. It’s the same old-school sexism that caused the last two waves of feminism, repackaged as “progressive.”

Here’s the thing: a lesbian is a female homosexual. If you are female, and you are exclusively attracted to females, you are a lesbian. Whatever feelings you have toward yourself are lesbian feelings. If you feel like hot stuff, you walk with a swagger, you like looking at the ladies, you want women to think you’re a stud, you like wearing comfortable clothes, you don’t fit into the same culture as straight women, but identify with men, you’ve always felt “different,” and you don’t meet the dominant cultural idea about what women are, then congratulations! You are a perfectly normal dyke. Your membership card’s in the mail. Welcome to the club.

Where will you draw the line?

Trans activists tend to say that trans people are essentially or intrinsically trans, and that they have to transition, it’s the only way. They also tend to say that if a male-born trans person has a sexual fetish or a criminal conviction, that shouldn’t stop him from transitioning. His fetish or criminal history shouldn’t stop him from being placed in a female prison, or from entering a female washroom or locker room.

This means the trans community even supports a guy like Stefonknee, the 53-year-old man who likes to imagine himself as being a six-year-old girl while getting fucked in the ass by his “Daddy.” You’d think that they could see that this guy is a disgusting pedophile, but no, he has the full support of his local trans community, including politicians.

Now there’s a new disgusting pedophile in town, Jorven Seren of England, a 55-year-old man who thinks he is a 5-year-old girl. He was arrested recently for kissing an actual little girl, which he did in full view of her mother, and there were 460 images of child abuse on his phone. The Judge was forced to refer to this man as a woman while in court. When he took away Seren’s doll, Seren began to suck his thumb.

(By the way, this man only got 15 months in jail, after sexually assaulting a child and having 460 images of child abuse on his phone. This sentence may have been so low because declaring yourself trans is a get-out-of-jail-free card, or it may be because the justice system has a remarkably high tolerance for child sexual abuse, and doesn’t take any serious steps to combat it. Or maybe both.)

Trans activists—where will you draw the line? Will you continue to support the “gender identity” of men in their fifties, even when they have pedophilic fantasies of being girl children? Even when they like to get fucked in the ass by their BDSM “Daddy” while dressed as a little girl? Even when they sexually assault actual girl children? Even when they suck their thumb while in court? Even when they have 460 images of child sexual abuse on their phones? When will the support end? At some point, don’t you want to enact some sort of criteria to distinguish people who transition due to dysphoria and people who are deranged pedophiles? Don’t you want to make sure you aren’t creating laws that allow deranged pedophiles into women’s prisons, washrooms, and locker rooms? Do you care about little girls who might have to change out of their swimsuit in front of men in their fifties who believe they are little girls and who actually sexually assault little girls in broad daylight in front of their mothers?

It’s long overdue for trans activists to take a good look at what kind of men are joining their movement, and to make an effort to ensure their political organizing isn’t enabling abusers.

Even more men oppressed by cupcakes

I couldn’t believe it the first time that men reported being oppressed by cupcakes, and I couldn’t believe it when it happened a second time. Now there’s a third one! It seems that on a regular basis, men privileged enough to attend university are having their human rights violated by the mere existence of sugary treats.

From ABC news:

Backlash to university’s gender pay gap bake sale highlights ‘trend of online behaviour towards women’

“A “gender pay gap” bake sale to be held at the University of Queensland (UQ) during its Feminist Week, which will charge based on gender, has sparked outrage from students and threats of violence towards the organisers.

Madeline Price, the vice-president of gender and sexuality at the UQ Student Union, said the response to the Brisbane event highlighted an “underlying trend in online behaviour towards women” that has “galvanised the feminist community on campus”.

Feminist Week is held on the UQ campus each semester, hosted by the UQ Union (UQU), UQU Women’s Collective and UQ Women’s Department.

A series of events will be held between April 4 and 8, but it is the pay gap bake sale that has drawn the most attention, with many students calling the bake sale discriminatory on the UQ Stalkerspace Facebook page.

The description of the event reads: “Specific to each faculty, each baked good will only cost you the proportion of $1.00 that you earn comparative to men (or, if you identify as a man, all baked goods with cost you $1.00!).

“For example, if you are a woman of colour in the legal profession, a baked good at the stall will only cost you 55 cents!”

A now-deleted post by a UQ student described the bake sale as “blatantly discriminatory against men” and cited Queensland’s 1991 Anti-Discrimination Act and the federal 1984 Sex Discrimination Act.

Ms Price said the “infamous” bake sale stall was designed to generate discussion, but had instead resulted in rape and death threats towards its organisers.

“The whole purpose of the gender pay gap bake sale was to generate discussion and start a conversation about wage inequality,” she said.

“[But] instead of being genuine discussion about, ‘Oh, a pay gap exists? Let’s talk about this and engage with this issue’, it’s been a lot more personal attacks against the organisers and against members of the Women’s Collective and students of campus.

“We’ve had rape threats and death threats by people who were threatened by the existence of a bake sale that could potentially engage with an issue of inequality.”

There is a good reason why men send rape and death threats to women holding feminist events. Men’s power over women is threatened when women organize against our oppression. They hope to intimidate us out of joining the feminist movement.

If you have time to sit around complaining about cupcakes, you’re not facing much oppression.

Sadly, I am now going to start an “oppressive cupcakes” tag on my blog, because there are now enough cases to warrant this.