Depression is hard to understand, because it is not a consistent state. Depression is rather like a virus, but like a virus, it has its manageable days and its acute, life-threatening flare-ups. You can be in a depression and still laugh at a friend’s joke or have a good night at dinner or manage low-level functioning. You grocery shop and stop to pet a puppy on the corner, talk to friends in a café, maybe write something you don’t hate. When this happens, you might examine your day for clues like reading tea leaves in a cup: Was it the egg for breakfast that made the difference? The three-mile run? You think, well, maybe this thing has moved on now. And you make no sudden moves for fear of attracting its abusive attention again.
But other times…
Other times, it’s as if a hole is opening inside you, wider and wider, pressing against your lungs, pushing your internal organs into unnatural places, and you cannot draw a true breath. You are breaking inside, slowly, and everything that keeps you tethered to your life, all of your normal responses, is being sucked through the hole like an airlock emptying into space. These are the times Holly Golightly called the Mean Reds.
I call it White Knuckling it."
"But the stigma of depression is that it comes with the sense that you shouldn’t have it to begin with. That it is self-indulgence or emotional incompetence rather than actual illness."
“When it’s White Knuckle Time, you will have to remind yourself to stand in the middle of the subway platform, well away from the edge.”
“There is an undertow to depression. It doesn’t take you all at once. It leaves you with some false sense that you are coping. That you are in control. That you have the shore still well in sight, until, at some point, you raise your head to find yourself all alone, battered by rough seas with absolutely no idea which way you should swim.”
This is such an important thing to say, though.
A lot of people are acknowledging this as a very powerful sound bite, but take a minute to really consider the context of this.
Every time you misgender a trans person, you are putting their lives in danger.
You aren’t just hurting our feelings - and there is nothing “just” about hurt feelings for people prone to suicide - you risk outing us to people we may not want to be outed to.
It opens us up to harassment, discrimination, and even assault. We could lose our jobs, our families, and our livelihood.
Every time you intentionally misgender a trans person, you tell us that you consider us to be less than animals.