Suffering from Depression in the U.S.A. is Terrifying.

Working blows. But so does school. And if you’re a regular schmuck in your early 20’s like myself, then these are two pretty shitty options that you find yourself faced with. Outside of the psychological clusterfuck that defines my own internal reality, there is this incredibly disappointing external reality in which it seems that one’s mental and physical health are not priorities and are seldom considered more important than money or “prestige”. The most important lesson that I learned in rehab was that I can only speak from my own experience. In rehab, when sharing my own story about my history of drug and alcohol addiction, I was instructed to only speak in “I statements” and avoid giving advice. This made a lot of sense to me because in rehab you really don’t wanna be taking ANYBODY’S advice and you really should not be giving out any advice either. Respecting others’ experiences while keeping your own in perspective is pretty much how I would define “thoughtfulness”. I think it’s really that simple in the same way that Nietzsche said that all morality really was is simply having good manners. I don’t think that it needs to be any more complicated than this because it seems like very few people can accomplish on a daily basis NOT talking at you and giving you shitty and stupid advice and also it’s painfully embarrassing how rude people can be. Pleases and thank you’s, people. It’s not difficult.

I don’t know what the situation is around the world. Here in America, it feels like all that I hear is this empty talk about how “the system must be changed!” and, “they got it right over there in the EU and Canada!” And yes. I 100% agree with that. Our education system is butt and our health care system is somehow even fucking worse. Our military is fucking AWESOME but our government is about as useless as middle school career counselor. If you want to live in America, you gotta pay up. Or GTFO! If you get hurt? Welp, sorry, bro…yer fucked! I was talking to a new friend that I met at work and all day long his contact lens was killing him because it was busted. I asked him if he had glasses. He said no; he couldn’t afford glasses. That’s what it’s like to live in America. If you need glasses, you need to pay a shit ton of money. Got poor eyesight that could easily be fixed by seeing an optometrist? That’ll cost you a full month’s pay. How is that not a human rights violation? We’re supposedly the most powerful country in the world. We’re supposed to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world. But if you’re an American citizen with vision problems and you need glasses? Go fuck yourself and come back when you’ve got $400.

Is that why we’re “powerful”? Because we exploit the basic health needs of our citizens? If our government took care of us and didn’t squeeze us for every penny then would we be nearly as “powerful”? If it didn’t cost money just to stay alive would we be a “weak” nation? If our government care about us would they become “weak”? Would our government lose “power”?

I’m an American citizen who suffers from depression. I’ve spent too much time thinking about death and suicide. I don’t think the statistics of staying alive and managing my depression are that good because I live in America. If I didn’t have the money? If my parents didn’t have good insurance? Then I couldn’t go to therapy. I couldn’t see a psychiatrist. I couldn’t see a doctor. I couldn’t afford antidepressants and other medications. Am I only alive because my parents are upper-middle class? If I wasn’t born into an upper-middle class family would I be fucked? Would I be dead? Would have committed suicide by now? The truth is that health is expensive in America. Depression is expensive. Anxiety is expensive. Staying alive on the most basic level of physical health is expensive.

Our government is weak. GMO’s and pesticides give us cancer and the FDA says that they don’t give us cancer. Why does the FDA tell us that GMO’s are fine? When other countries and other super powers like China warn their citizens about the dangers of GMO’s and pesticides? Because there is money to be made off of sick Americans. You want to survive cancer? Pay up or die. You don’t want to commit suicide? Pay up or die. You want to quit heroin? Pay up or die. You want glasses? You better get a second full time job and save up because your blind ass is gonna have to pay up or stay blind. This is the most depressing country in the world. If you wake up feeling “ok” and less depressed than the day before and then go out on a walk around the neighborhood you might get shot by a cop or some other psycho with a gun. Going to high school today? Better wear a bullet proof vest because you’re likely to catch a stray. I’m terrified of high school and I hate going anywhere near a fucking American high school. I’ve been around drug deals that have felt safer than strollin’ past a high school.

This is what it’s like to live in America. This is the basic shit. If you’ve never been to America and you’re wondering what it’s all about? Broadway to Hollywood this is the horseshit in between. This is the fuckery going on in the shadow of Beverly Hills and the back alleys of Manhattan. And what do we hear? We’ve got an election coming up. And is anybody promising our human rights? I don’t know. I can’t watch the race because it’s just pathetic and upsetting.

There are a lot distractions. I’m not one of these “fuck the media” types because it doesn’t affect my sobriety as long as I don’t let it. But it seems to me that the problem with the American media is the blind-spot that it creates. I think that we should only worry about our basic human rights in this country but a lot of us choose to focus on issues that distract from what is really important. This is what I mean by the “blind-spot”: we’re all butthurt about illegal immigration and gun rights when that time and energy should be spent on human rights issues. The “blind-spot” is created when we waste valuable time an energy on issues that really should not be a primary concern. The gun issues is horseshit compared to the heroin epidemic. And if you think otherwise, you’re an idiot and you should kill yourself. I don’t care about being objective about this. If you care more about gun rights than human rights then go fuck yourself. I think that this is a crass way to put how the majority of Americans (and the world) feels but more people are talking about guns than heroin. Or food. Or healthcare. This is a problem. We know this is a problem. We’ve all got guns and no healthcare. That seems fucked up. So why does it seem that we’re so reluctant to solve it?

“The right to work” is the promise that is made to American citizens. The government is supposedly sworn to protect our “Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.” This seems contrary to how it actually feels. Maybe it’s just me. Suffering from depression makes everything extremely difficult. And it’s upsetting to think that I have to pay to live when I have not a whole lot of will to live. It’s scary as fuck to be on anti-depressants. I don’t have a fucking clue what these drugs are doing to me and it’s fucked up to have to quit drugs only to get prescribed “ok” drugs. It’s awful. It feels like my government isn’t even propping me up so that I can be a useful, working, tax paying citizen. It’s illegal to commit suicide but it costs money to fight depression. Heroin is illegal but it costs money to quit heroin. This does not make sense. This is insane. We’ve got a mental health crisis in the United States but we refuse to address it. We’ve got a heroin epidemic but we refuse to address it.

The most fucked up part about depression is that everything in my brain is telling me that I shouldn’t be alive. It feels “unnatural” to be alive and if I should shut down my respiratory system, I would. It feels like I’m disconnected from my survival instincts. That’s really as close as I can get to explaining it in the most condensed and precise way. I don’t like to think about it or dwell on it because I’m trying my best to just manage my own situation. I’m doing well for what I’m working with. There’s others out there far worse off than myself. I’m lucky. Especially as an American citizen with mental illness issues. If nothing else, I feel that this is what keeps me going. I have the “luxury” to get help. If I wasn’t born in this socio-economic class then I’d be fucked. I can’t do it for myself every day. When shit gets real tough I have to stop and think about other people. It could be so much worse and I am grateful for what I have. I’m grateful that I do have access to healthcare. I can get help. Too many other people aren’t as lucky as I am. This isn’t to say I’M DOING IT FOR THEM I AM JESUS — fuck no. There’s no fucking martyrdom here; to me it’s just a science experiment and I find some solace in accepting my role in it.

This is NOT a very happy post. However, I feel like I can address these things because I’m starting to feel strong enough to. I’m starting to feel strong enough to discuss the things that upset me. Having the energy to BITCH is a sign that things are going well! I got a dope job working as a temp in an office and so far (day 3 today!) it’s going well! I’d like to wrap this up by sharing that I do believe that there is hope and that I’ve found that my only responsibility is to find those little things that fuel my battered optimism. I can only speak from my own experience. This situation above is how I perceive what is going on in my country. It blows but all I can do is EMBRACE THE SUCK. I feel like once I address the dreaded suck then I can move on and find what’s good or at least what doesn’t suck so bad. I look for the little things. The stupid things. The funny things. Whatever works and whatever it takes. I hope that everybody who’s in this boat with my can also find those stupid little things that give them some shred of hope. At the very least, I hope that we can have a laugh.

5 comments

  1. True North Nomad · November 12, 2015

    Not to rag on the US but as an outsider looking in, I agree with most of what you say. The truth is the mighty dollar is valued more than a human life. Not just in America but across the world. Like you I try to find any and all good. There is a poem with a line that goes, all the darkness of the world cannot extinguish the light of one small candle. You don’t have to be a martyr you just need to be a voice to facilitate change – as your blog does. As the old saying goes, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room”. Take care my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • TEDESTEN · November 13, 2015

      It’s good to hear from you, True North Nomad! Thanks for your insight it’s great to get the international perspective from our friends across the border. What poem is that line from? I also really like the mosquito saying; haha that one is REALLY good! I do hope that the sooner that US citizens (and everybody around the world too) all admit that we’re all afraid and no amount of money will make that feeling of constant fear go away.
      I admire the way that you love and appreciate your country. No place is perfect, of course, but in the US it feels like it takes an insane amount of energy to wake up every morning and feel like you’re in the worst action movie of all time.

      Like

  2. Nikita · November 12, 2015

    This is a great post, touches on a lot of important things. Sometimes I think it’s the depressed people who actually see things as they are, and the “normal people” are really deluded. My sister, for example. Very smart girl–with an enormous optimism bias. She was born with it, and all emotionally healthy people are, in my opinion. Optimism helps people survive, so it’s an evolved trait. People prone to depression seem to lack a bit of that bias, I think.

    Anyway, my point is, I can relate a lot to what you said here.

    I also second what True North Nomad said. You’re already making a difference so keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll be doing the same.

    Cheers,
    Nikita

    Liked by 2 people

    • TEDESTEN · November 13, 2015

      This is EXACTLY how I feel about it sometimes! I feel like there’s a really strange and awful side effect where by seeing the world in black and white my logic is ELITE and I have a very easy time seeing through bullshit (mostly because I feel like I see the negative in everything without even trying to find it).
      Thanks for your support, Nikita! I’m really happy to hear that I’m not just tossing out HOT TAKES and obscure, highly personal rants. What I miss the most about inpatient and rehab is that connect with other people who deal with the same things. The most frustrating thing after getting out of rehab this time around has been trying to explain what’s really going on for me psychologically and it’s very alienating.
      That’s what I’ve been hoping to find is blogs like yours! And what’s been great is to see other people all trying to get to the bottom of this. I wish that there was some kind of organized media outlets (in whatever form) that was like THE place to go. Something like an unofficial “Psychology Today” or the mental health version of ESPN.com or some other sports blog.
      Thanks again, Nikita!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nikita · November 13, 2015

        Man, that’s why I’m writing. I’m frustrated and so is everyone else. Some people are so depressed they can’t even feel frustrated and try to help themselves, so I feel like I’ve got a purpose with this thing.

        I haven’t found an ESPN for mental health, and I think Psychology Today is more about popular psychology than about effecting change (Pretty much every one of their issues has a sexy/good-looking woman on the cover–they definitely utilize sex as a means to sell, and probably rely on that more than they do on good content), but there are some good sources/pages out there. I’ll have to post a list of them. Good outlets can be hard to find because it takes some time to know what to look for. But I’ve definitely been on the lookout lately on Facebook and Instagram and there is indeed some good stuff out there.

        To start with, though, you should check out Andrew Solomon. Just a really brilliant guy who articulates depression very well and has written about it. His TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eBUcBfkVCo

        Also, Robert Sapolsky is awesome and you’ll probably really like this video even if you just watch 10-15 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIcf-2AFHgw

        Like

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