This is not infopolicy related, so if you are only here for political stuff, I am sure your regularly scheduled programming will return soon. Today I learned that Aaron Swartz, American progressive political activist and EFF supporter and one of the guys who helped Lessig create Creative Commons, committed suicide yesterday, after (apparently) battling depression.
It is too common amongst our circles that this happens. Lonely and depressed people frequently find solace in technology, and furthermore other people get wrapped up into technology and forget a real world with real people who love them exist. People within our pirate circles have the additional uphill battle of knowing so many abuses that happen in the world and many times we feel powerless to change them. It can feel like nothing you do really matters.
Depression isn’t something to be ashamed of, and it’s nothing you should hide. It’s a medical condition, and it physically affects how you think. You wouldn’t hide having a broken leg, so why be ashamed of having depression? While I don’t hide it, most people don’t know that I, myself, suffer from depression (and sometimes it is very severe). I don’t work through it on my own, I have friends who I talk to. I even have an IRC channel that I frequent full of other people who are also depressed (which is a lot less depressing than it sounds).
I don’t expect you to come out and tell the world that you are depressed, depression is very personal. You need to talk to someone about it, though. Your friends are there for you, and no true friend is going to treat you different because you asked for help, it may even make them more comfortable confronting their own depression. You can talk to me, my email and phone number are public if you need someone to talk to call me 24/7. I know that my toughest time is around 3AM, when there is no one around to distract me and I feel alone. You are not alone. If it’s 3AM and you are in a dark place, or even if you just feel lonely… there is no bad reason to talk.
@pookleblinky on Twitter has created the hashtag #youvegotfriends and is encouraging anyone who feels comfortable to use it to post their contact information so if anyone needs someone to talk to, a list of compassionate people are available to them. Please use the hashtag if you feel comfortable
I feel too often people are afraid to call crisis lines or to talk to their friends because they feel that those are there for when you are about to do something really stupid… but in reality, we are here for you all the time. You don’t need to feel bad calling a crisis line because you just feel lonely, you are not less important than anyone else. (Though, full disclosure, I have never called one so I don’t know how effective their workers are).
TL;DR – You are not alone, if you ever need anything at any time you can call me 24/7, depression isn’t anything to be ashamed of.
Also, thanks to my close friend that I talk to about depression — I have found that watching this video always makes me less focused on bad things:
public.resource.org has gone dark in memory of Aaron
tuebl.ca has gone dark as well