For years I have been obsessed by news and politics. I read about it, watch it, listen to it, talk about it, write about it, study it. I’ve dedicated my life to it, I’ve worked campaigns that took weeks of working 16-18 hour days.
Right now I’m not paying attention to the news. Sometimes I have the radio on or I scroll Twitter – less and less lately – and I catch a whiff of what’s going on, but mostly I just have a vague idea.
At the moment politics makes my stomach turn. I had the TV on last week and the leader of the opposition came on and I could not listen to him speak. I couldn’t do it. I’m so mad at all of them. Nothing is real. Every leader, every Premier, they spend all their time blaming each other, talking about how the other person is wrong and no one is offering real, timely solutions – they just all act like they are.
I have been diagnosed with major depression and extreme burnout. It’s been building for years. One of the things my therapist told me when we started to talk was that apathy is a symptom of burnout. I didn’t know that. I knew the growing rage was.
I’ve been off work for two months trying to recover something of myself. I’m exhausted, emotional, I feel like a complete mess and I feel as though I’m never going to come back into myself.
The passionate me that I was when I worked on the Hill, when I did my Master’s degree.
The thing is, I do still care so much, but I also feel totally powerless to change anything. Every effort seems exhausting and meaningless at the same time.
I’ve been in rooms, talked to politicians, given them good reasons to move forward on good programs and policies, but sometimes it seems as though they’re more interesting in announcing great programs than actually putting anything into place to run them.
It’s the politics of illusion and the people who are struggling to buy food and meet their housing costs are tired of it all. The world is a scary place to be right now and a lot of people don’t have the luxury of long-term disability, like I do.
(Speaking of, Bill C-22 on the Canada Disability Benefit is currently waiting on committee hearings in the Senate and they should really get going on that. The poverty that people with disabilities are forced to live with across this country is despicable).
I’m supposed to be taking care of myself, building myself back up, but that makes me feel extremely guilty when there are so many terrible things going on in the world that I am so angry about but also feel totally powerless to do anything to change.
In my heart of hearts I know I’m not powerless, I believe anybody can work for change, I believe in the system – that’s why I have done the work I have done in my career. That’s why when I go to talk to elementary classes about the electoral system I get so excited about it. That’s why when I’m having conversations with friends I get so fired up about it.
It’s the right now that’s thrown me completely off track.