Sunday, June 01, 2014

Answers, Part VI

Roger has a question about politics: How would you define your politics, and what circumstances or which people most had an impact on this?

Considering how much I used to write about politics on this blog, I'm not really sure what they are anymore. I discussed my aversion to groups on a previous post, and it certainly holds true with political groupings. I used to consider myself a nascent social democrat, but Third Way policies really feel like just liberal capitalism to me. Really I'm more of a Bernie Sanders-style socialist.

There really aren't a lot of people I can point to who've had an impact on my politics specifically, although certainly fights for equality, civil rights movements, those have made an impression. When I see disenfranchisement and inequity, to me that's the same as bullying, which is the one thing I cannot abide. I also think a lot of the short-term-profit-driven policies we've got in place now are asinine and destructive.

What's really had the biggest impact on this is growing up bullied and seeing how people are treated. I grew up around casual racism, sexism and homophobia. I used to live in a fairly affluent area as a child; now I've lived in a barely-scraping-by sort of poverty--and this with mental disorders that have become a problem in the past couple of years--for some time. And in farm country, to boot. I know firsthand how our debt system is attempting to turn an entire generation of Americans into debt slaves with little hope of prosperity, and abandoning the elderly and needy. It's disgusting, and it makes me very angry at both our government and the amazing amount of complacency your average citizen has in favor of a limited amount of comfort.

It's hard for me to talk about, because I have a tendency to catastrophize everything as being "too late to really do anything about it."

Kelly also has a political question: Even given the fact that the Congressional opposition has made enacting his agenda far more difficult than it's been for most Presidents, how disappointed are you in President Obama? (I remember you were never particularly enamored of him.)

Yes, and that's what ultimately drove me away from the Democrats. I point out that Obama thinks unions are special interest groups and I find that problematic, and people start accusing me of being anti-Obama, because, you know, let's only criticize conservatives.

Even with the given of our obstructionist, do-nothing-to-prove-a-point crybaby Congress, I'm disappointed that President Obama has continued a lot of the Bush-era policies, particularly where foreign relations and war are concerned. Between his drone program, the warrentless wiretapping, and his treatment of whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, I don't think he has his priorities straight. That's the nicest way I can say that. And I really don't want to say it nicely, but it's Sunday morning.

I am indebted for Obamacare, though. I was not for it initially, if you remember. I bought into a lot of the rhetoric about the economic impact, and that turned out to be wrong. And, of course, I still think it doesn't go far enough. But it's been nothing but a help to me for the last five months, and it's helped enormously to get my life somewhat back on track. Every time I hear some politician vowing to repeal it, I bristle. Some of us aren't going to be able to survive without it.

It's a mixed bag. That's the best I can say. I know Obama's better than the alternative, but to me, saying something could be worse is not saying something's actually good. But I didn't have huge expectations of him to now be disappointed by. I wasn't ever really pro-Obama as much as I was anti-McCain and anti-Romney.

One more question from Kelly, this one not about politics: Do you feel we're making progress in getting people to see depression as a real thing, as opposed to just something you can just "choose happy!" your way out of?

When I first started with therapy, it took me a very, very long time to get over the stigma of it. I grew up feeling like depression and anxiety weren't a real thing, and that really messed me up, because when I had issues with them, I really felt like something was just wrong with me as a human being. That I was bad. And I really felt like a lot of people in my life wouldn't be very understanding about it because this was probably the sort of thing you should keep to yourself. (Especially me, because of my belief of being insignificant; I felt guilty asking for help, having problems, or even acknowledging them.)

I was wrong on a lot of counts. My Mom actually understood pretty well. My Dad is very, very supportive, and I had actually expected him to be in the "depression's not real" camp. Looking back, I'm not sure why. I guess I've just always assumed I must be a disappointment.

I have dealt with the occasional "You're agoraphobic? You should go out more!" type of comment, which is well-meaning but not helpful. I think sometimes people want to be sympathetic but aren't sure of what to say. I think maybe having Obamacare in a lot of states now will potentially make it easier for people to seek help or even just become more educated. And I think the internet is doing a good job of making people understand what depression and anxiety are like. Also, the influx of veterans of our most recent military efforts seem to be more open about their experiences, rather than "manfully suffering in silence." There's more attention to mental disorders, and that demystifies them. So yes, I do think we're really making progress, especially among my generation and younger.

What I am disturbed by, however, is the increasing need among young people to romanticize these things. I always find it disconcerting. These are the same people who are Hannibal fans and trying to turn sociopathy and mental illnesses into fetishes. That's... that's messed up.

No comments: