When I was a little girl I found a bump on my head, or perhaps it was a small scab, or maybe there was nothing there at all at first. My fingers would search my scalp for the spot, and once it was found I would pick at it. Over time the spot became a wound from which I would painstakingly pull out each individual strand of hair. Eventually there was a hairless wet groove the perfect shape and size for the pad of my middle finger. I don’t remember why or how I stopped pulling my hair out and picking at the scab, but I do know that I had a bald spot there for years, and even now, some twenty years later, I still find myself absentmindedly searching my scalp with my fingers.
I was officially diagnosed with clinical depression, or major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder about a year and a half ago. Prior to that it was always hinted at, but never officially diagnosed by a professional. In some ways the diagnosis was a relief. I could finally tell people I had depression without feeling like a fraud. To most it wasn’t at all surprising. I mean, I created my own bald spot at the age of 12.
For the most part I’ve been able to manage my disorders through talk therapy, exercise, and nutrition. However, that was before Donald Trump became president.
Since then I have had parents try to get me fired (for being a lesbian who has the audacity to teach in a public school), friends who have been verbally and nearly physically attacked for being women of color, and a daily onslaught of news so shitty I want to literally dig a hole and bury myself in it. For most of the winter and spring of 2017 I was suicidal, and even now my anxiety is gripping me so tightly that there are days I have trouble leaving my apartment, even for things that are super important to me, like the 25th anniversary celebratory brunch for the queer youth center in my city.
So in an effort to kill two birds with one stone, I am going to leave my apartment and try one new thing every week for at least a year. Starting now. Actually, starting last week! Then I’m going to write about the thing I did. See? Two birds. And I’m going to try really, really hard for the things I do to be non-political, and I’m going to try really, really hard not to write about politics as well. Wish me luck.
Fair warning, this post is probably the least profanity-laden post I will write.