Why I Haven’t Been Writing Lately

…I’m really depressed. Yeah, that’s about it. Yes, it’s taken me several months to get around to writing this, and sorry for any sloppiness because I’m just dashing this off before going to Tim Horton’s because the faint hope of winning a free coffee is the only thing that can get me out of the house today.

It’s not a crisis or anything. Just a long, grey slog, a sort of existential weariness. It feels ridiculous to say it has something to do with the US election or the general rise of far-right extremism, because there are like millions of people who are actually tangibly in danger right now, so suck it up, cupcake. And, as someone who remembers the George W. Bush years, I’m super cynical about this being some new “post-fact” age.1

But, I don’t know, throughout the municipal budget process I was just filled with intense apathy. I knew the outcome was predetermined, no matter what we did, no matter what evidence or research or emotional speeches people gave. Slowly starving TCHC to satisfy rich old people with cars and lawns. Everyone talking out their ass like the poor rate-payer can’t take any more. The same old pathetic drama of begging for increases for school lunches or keeping some pool open or whatever, and staff finding some change in the cushions, so that hanging on to the meagre shit we have feels like a success. These people—the Mayor and his allies, I mean—they don’t listen to evidence, or actual people; they care about ideology. Forget whatever conservatives think conservatism is. In practice it’s not about “fiscal responsibility” or anything. It’s about concentrating wealth and resources in fewer hands by dismantling public services and eroding people’s trust in government.

I withdrew from friends until having been withdrawn for so long became its own excuse. Every time I told my editors “I can’t do this, assign this piece to someone else,” I crashed into despair for days. Like Chrissy Teigen writes in her recent Glamour piece about postpartum depression,

The mental pain of knowing I let so many people down at once was worse than the physical pain. To have people that you respect, who are the best in the business, witness you at your worst is tough.

Anyway, I talked to my doctor, and I’m going to try to get back into socializing, and spend time out in nature, and find a therapist. I’ll do Council previews, which is like the absolute minimum I can do. I can’t commit to anything more right now. I don’t really see a point to journalism any more. I feel obliged to follow the stupid horrible news even though there is nothing I can do about any of it. I would much rather turn my back on everything and try to get good macro photos of springtails. Everything is kind of pointless, but I have a vague faith that if I keep slogging along eventually things will feel less pointless and I might want to do something other than sleep and stare at screens. So that’s where I’m at these days.

  1. Seriously, no one remembers this shit??

    The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”


2 thoughts on “Why I Haven’t Been Writing Lately”

  1. I relate to this — a lot. While I can’t say I’m in exactly the same boat, I was trying (and sometimes failing) to slog through life in the months after the US election. It was only after a tough conversation with someone close to me that I was able to start doing what you described here: slogging along until things feel less pointless. And eventually, they did. I hope writing this helped you, and I hope making those efforts continues to help you move through this funk. I know firsthand, it sucks.

    Also, since it’s why I originally came here, I just want to thank you for your “Who Pays Toronto Writers?” post. It’s been a great resource – I refer to it constantly.

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