Aaron R. Davis
Let’s face it: ever since Robin Williams died, the world’s especially gone to shit.
I’ve been going through a terrible bout of depression for months now, and I can see that it all started with the suicide of Robin Williams. They say that the suicide rate goes up when someone prominent goes, and I can see why. I’ve got clinical depression. To see someone who brought me so much joy in life become overwhelmed by the same thing I struggle with is disheartening. He was 63 years old; I’m only 38, and knowing I have a long fight ahead of me is daunting. That I’ll be dealing with this my entire life is intimidating. That Robin Williams, a man with love and children and fame and money, could eventually succumb is heartbreaking. But I understand it, brother, I do understand it. Because when you’re in the grip of this thing, you reject all evidence that you have love and happiness and only accept the evidence that confirms your suspicions about how bad it all is. I know it well, but knowing that you’re doing it isn’t always enough to stop you from giving in to it, because it’s damn powerful.
The death of this man that I didn’t know but who had been the source of so much happiness in my life sent me down on a spiral.
And then Ferguson happened. And John Crawford. And a seemingly endless list of black men harassed and murdered by police.
And all of this shit with the NFL happened, too. Did you know the NFL is a not-for-profit organization? How the hell does that even happen? People digging in over the racist name of a football team. Adrian Peterson. Ray Rice. The white pieces of racist shit who thought it was so goddamn funny to put on blackface and dress up as Ray Rice for Halloween.
And then there was the Cloud hacking and the release of all of those nude photos of celebrities, which I can only read as a misogynist attack on famous women. And women who have fought back, like Emma Watson, who delivered a great speech at the UN, have been threatened with the further release of nude photos. Because of a bunch of goddam troll assholes who live in the misguided fear that their masculinity is under attack—and genuinely believe that nonsense—think a woman’s own body is a weapon to be used to shame and silence them.
Oh, I mean, it’s about ethics in gaming journalism, or some such self-serving lie.
It’s not about violence against women. Just ignore the fact that they’ll threaten to rape and murder any woman who says so.
I don’t care how histrionic this sounds, but if you harassed and threatened Zoe Quinn or Anita Sarkeesian or Brianna Wu or Felicia Day and released their information online and made them afraid to stay in their own homes, you are a fucking terrorist and you deserve to spend the rest of your life in prison.
These past few months have been horrible. ISIS and our continued involvement in the Middle East. The Ebola panic. The way the environment seems to be crumbling around us. The fear-mongering that always comes in an election year. I have a visceral terror that my state is going to elect someone who decides to roll back the Medicaid expansion that’s made it possible for me to actually see doctors, and then I actually don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m fragile enough right now as it is, and now I’m starting to feel once again as though there’s only going to be one option left to me, and that’s the Robin Williams option.
All of these things just overlap and feed and feed and feed. I’m what they call “at risk.”
And it’s so hard to keep writing this column and try to find something to say about these things, because it’s all so goddamn overwhelming, and so much of it happens in the very social media that I used to go to so I could escape these kinds of things and gain some perspective. It’s so hard to just try to be funny or have something to say when everything seems so futile. It’s so hard to not think about how horrible the world is, especially for someone with my kind of mental problems, and especially considering that I’ve never exactly thought people had any sort of fundamental goodness to them, anyway.
It’s hard to want to change when you just don’t see a future.
It’s easy to write things like “choose optimism,” but it’s a lot harder to follow through. And it’s hard to be nice and kind to people when you never want to leave the house because you’re not happy anywhere.
It’s so exhausting to feel like this all the time. People think you’re just being dramatic. And it’s honestly hard to tell if I am, because my depression and anxiety disorders have a way of reordering this stuff so that it all fits a pattern of darkness that is easier for me to believe.
I think it’s a function of getting older. I’ve gotten to that age where I can see all the stuff I’ve never done, and all the stuff I might never be able to do. I’ve gotten to that point where I see all of the injustice in the world repeating itself over and over, and don’t know how to resign myself to the fact that many of the things that need to change just won’t in my lifetime. It’s frustrating.
I don’t know how to make peace with this world. I only know I have to try, because the Robin Williams option scares the hell out of me.
Sorry to be so dark this week, but I just needed to get all of this out. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t head into the Thanksgiving season still dwelling on this and letting myself get overrun by it.
Thanks for listening.
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org