After a few days of pretty partisan, heavy political posts I thought it was time to share something a little more personal…
Six months ago, I wasn’t a member of a political party and I didn’t write about politics daily. I was also severely depressed, and this article is an attempt to explain why increased political activity and a reassessment of what mattered in my life has helped me to begin recovery.
I’ve been struggling with depression for years, so diagnosed and treated by my GP and local medical teams for just under three years but undiagnosed and untreated (in a professional sense anyway) for probably more than a decade previously.
Dealing with seemingly unending depression and the care of my son, while losing my job (because I was depressed) and realizing I could no longer function in the industry I’d worked since graduating from university was a pretty grim time… and it all played out as the independence referendum campaign kicked into it’s home stretch.
Now, I’d always been politically opinionated, although I’d become divorced from the whole process of mainstream politics as nothing seemed to change, whoever was in power and if anything it all just got worse, more corrupt and distanced from the needs of real people all the time.
I was almost resigned to the idea that in order for humanity to move onto the next stage (i.e. an equalitarian post scarcity society, which is frustratingly technologically possible now) we’d have to go through some horrible, probably violent society collapse to wash away the vested interests and traditions which were holding us back.
However, the widespread public interest in the independence debate, combined with the overwhelmingly positive message from the Yes side of the board, especially via entities like National Collective, the Radical Independence Campaign and Common Weal (there is a part of me that thinks the SNP actually lost the referendum by trying to make it all about them, which turned off a lot of floating voters) turned my head, made me believe once again that perhaps positive change was possible without having to burn the whole damn thing down.
This coincided with a period of renewed belief in myself, having obtained another normal job at a lower pressure and started looking into the possibility of becoming self-employed, as well as starting to do other things which had always given me joy, such as playing music.
So, when September 19th rolled round and my side had lost it would have been all to easy to fall back into old assumptions, that nothing I could do really mattered, that nothing would change and we were doomed to a path of further decay and eventual disaster.
However, I looked at my son who was just shy of four months old at the time and realized that for his sake, as much as my own, I couldn’t afford to abandon hope.
So I joined the Scottish Green party, started this blog and resolved to look at life from a more hopeful perspective. A setback in losing my new job (again through depression) lead to renewed seriousness in my plans to become self-employed, which ended up resulting in solving a whole host of problems (not least that of childcare when my wife goes back to work next month.)
Three and a half months on from that referendum night turning point, I sit typing this on the cusp of a career as a freelance writer, looking forward to the birth of my second child and a big year’s campaigning for the Greens and I’m worlds ahead of where I was six months ago.
Of course, my exact path isn’t a good fit for everyone but make no mistake, HOPE IS IMPORTANT, so don’t let those who would peddle fear and doubt set you back. I still have bad days and there are many struggles ahead, but with hope I can see that it’s worth it and battle on.
You can make a difference, to your life and to the world at large. Tomorrow can be better and you can be an integral part in making it so. That’s a way of looking at life (and politics) that I can happily drink to.