Hello there! Happy June! Also: Dang I am not doing well at the moment.
I think the simplest description is just that my depression is acting up again. I take my medicine (wellbutrin) every day. I haven’t changed my schedule or taken on unusual projects. There isn’t really a good explanation for why it’s hitting me now. Sometimes it just takes over despite my best efforts. It feels like I’m in deep water, and I’m kicking hard to get above the surface of the water, but I never quite reach it.
Something different I’ve noticed this round is that I kind of feel blasé about it? As if maybe I am more accepting of this brain of mine? I’m not particularly worried about the darkness this time. I’m not obsessed with wanting to die. I’m just enduring, getting through it, trusting it will stop at some point. Is it possible that I’ve become practiced at depressive episodes? Or maybe my medicine is just keeping me from the worst of it?
It’s been a week and a half of this and I find myself preserving my energy for the have-tos (like the meeting with the plumber this morning), and I don’t even pretend to give energy to the want-tos (like sharing updates on Instagram stories).
I’ve mostly learned to live with depression. I feel like I do quite well most of the time, and it’s easy for me to feel related gratitude — for medicine that works for me, for resources to get my prescription renewed, for family and friends that don’t push me to “just be happy”. Still, I’m sometimes angry at what depression has taken from me. Two weeks ago, when I was driving around Oakland with my oldest kids, and they were reminiscing, sometimes I couldn’t remember what they were referring to, and then I would realize it’s because I totally missed out. I don’t share that memory with my kids. I wasn’t there. I didn’t go. I couldn’t get out of bed.
Of course, what I’m feeling right now might not be depression at all. Is it depression or is it a pandemic? Is it depression or is it peri-menopause? Is it depression or is it reading the news? Is it depression or is it just deep-but-vague discouragement?
Then again, it might be (and probably is!) all of those things and with a dollop of depression on top.
The good news is: I’m writing a newsletter, which means I’m likely through the worst of it, and will surely be feeling like myself in short order.
Other good news: Our daughter Maude (the one who just graduated from Berkeley) has a plane ticket to France in three weeks. And our son Ralph (the one who will be starting at Berkeley in the fall) is planning to fly out in early July. And our daughter Olive (the one who attends film school in Paris and who has been in California for three weeks) is traveling back to us this week.
Even my depressed brain can see a bright spot in the near future, where the whole family will be together. (Yay!)
Here are a few things I’ve been wanting to discuss with you:
-There has been talk about getting rid of the filibuster since before Biden won, but it seems like it could maybe actually happen if Texas passes voting restrictions? Like maybe that’s the thing that will convince Manchin and Sinema? Here’s an article about the history of the filibuster by historian Kevin Kruse. (If you’re on Twitter @kevinmkruse is a great follow.)
-This plant pot has stairs for potato bugs (or other bugs) and it’s so charming I can’t handle it.
-I’ve been following the discussions about Critical Race Theory for many months now, and I continue to be disturbed by the Republican take on it. What Republicans call "Critical Race Theory" is just accurate history. Republicans don’t want accurate history taught in schools. URGH. Here’s a NYT article, if you’d like to get caught up on this topic.
If you find yourself with negative feelings toward the term Critical Race Theory, that’s because conservative think tanks have been working tirelessly to make it a toxic term. Don’t fall for it.
-Meg Conley just launched a new site and newsletter called homeculture. I highly encourage you to subscribe! Her writing is always compelling and there is no topic she is unwilling to grapple with in a thoughtful way.
-I saw this quote for this first time today, and I really like it. No one is entitled to be ignorant. Have you heard it before?
-Yesterday marked 100 years since the Tulsa Race Massacre. A thriving, prosperous Black community called Greenwood, made up of 35 blocks, was systematically destroyed and burned. White people organized para-militaries that killed 300 people, wounded 800 more, and drove the Black citizens from the land they owned. I had never learned about it till last year when The Watchmen came out. If you’ve never learned about it either, try this incredible thread by historian Michael Harriot, and this New Yorker article about the women who preserved this history, and here’s a 3D model of what was destroyed in the massacre. Also, here are 3 documentaries you can watch.
I took AP U.S. History, and I don’t remember a single mention of this horrific event. We can not be afraid to teach accurate history.
(By the way, it’s not just Tulsa, read this: Look What Has Been Taken From Black Americans.)
-The histories and reports about massacres and murders of Black people are essential learn from, but don’t forget to seek out stories of Black Joy too. Definitely follow @HarlemLoveBirds on Instagram. In her Insta Stories, Quiana covers current events and topical news, and then she always ends her daily series with several slides dedicated to joy. The slides feature her family, being a family, and enjoying that experience, like any family would. (I really want Quiana to have 10k followers so she can get the swipe-up link option.)
-China has changed the rules for families. Married couples are now allowed to have three kids (instead of two). Do you have thoughts on this? I feel like 3 kids is considered a lot in the U.S., and anything over 3 kids is categorized as a “large” family.
-This is the truest thing I’ve read in a while. And it made me laugh super hard.
-Are you following the story of Naomi Osaka and the French Open? I’m proud of her (and anyone) who insists on boundaries for their mental health. I appreciated this commentary:
-YES! I agree. Suffering is not inherently worthwhile.
-Hah! For the last 48 hours Irish Twitter has become obsessed with how much Matt Le Blanc (Joey from Friends) looks like everyone’s uncle. Read this thread to get the full sense of it.
-How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously. No really. So many headlines about UFOs lately.
-What? 2900?! Maybe we need a Hippo Week instead of Shark Week.
-The remains of 215 indigenous children have been found in an unmarked grave at Kamloops Indian Residential School in Canada. "Casimir said in a news release that some of the children were as young as three. She said she believes there are more children to be discovered as they have not surveyed the entire school’s grounds."
-I keep thinking about this tweet. I’m working on a thread/essay about how we talk about mothers.
-A thread of the PRETTIEST cookies! Click over and scroll through. I love this set based on designs from William Morris. I’m looking at wallpaper featuring designs by William Morris right now too. The best.
I hope you are having a lovely week. I’ve missed you like crazy.
Hi, I’m Gabrielle Blair and this is my newsletter. It’s completely free to access and read, but if you feel so moved to support my work, please consider a paid newsletter subscription: just $5/month or save money with the $50/annual sub. You can also go way above and beyond by becoming a Founding Member at $75. Not a fan of newsletters? You can support the work directly via Paypal or Venmo (@Gabrielle-Blair). Thank you! Seriously, thank you. Support from readers keeps this newsletter ad and sponsor-free.
Gabrielle, I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing a depressive episode. And I hope that you are on the other side of it soon. I too experience bouts of depression (and mild hypomania) and am on Lexapro. After many years of therapy, I was able to experience the cycle without thinking I would be stuck in eternal depression each time it hit. Please take all the time you need to heal. Ruth
No fun! My daughter recently tried a new class of anti-depressants that's been successful after years on wellbutrin, have you considered switching medications? Trintellix is the name of what she's been trying