My writing about politics and current events has been in a long summer drought. I didn’t check out of the info stream because I was so consumed with summer vacations and fun, I just stopped writing about it.
It got too heavy. I got discouraged.
This happened back when Clarence Thomas was confirmed despite the testimony about his character from Anita Hill. I took it personally and went into a funk of refusing to pay attention to news.
In hindsight being personally hurt by the treatment of Anita Hill at the hands of the Senate (and the world) was out of proportion. However, there’ll never be enough Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s for Joe Biden to escape his culpability in the long, L-O-N-G term effect that his fear of being called a racist in 1991 has on SCOTUS today.
Now Robin Williams’ unfortunate suicide has snapped me back into writing about current events.
In the work that I do the phrase “Mountains are mole hills piled one on top of each other” is used to describe the cumulative effect of the slights, attacks, and subtle obstacles that make the person complaining about the mole hills look like they are crazy or overreacting.
Like Anita Hill trying to explain all the ways Thomas’s behavior added up to harassment.
Anyway, the relentless “molehills” of, among other things – abortion clinic closings, the Hobby Lobby ruling, Jill Abramson getting fired, and wars! wars! wars! – added up to a mountain of silence for me. So I stopped writing or even commenting on current events.
My mountain, in the very low stakes arena of blogging, is nothing compared to the final teaspoon of dirt that makes someone feel like the only escape is to kill themselves. How can suicide be the answer to any question? What makes the weight of the mountain unsustainable?
I am not writing to judge, but to understand. How can we accept depression and mental illness openly enough that we have more warning when someone is considering suicide? Is it a stigma issue? Do we fear our own vulnerability? I have not experienced a suicide personally but I know people who have. I can’t begin to imagine what they feel. The shock of unexpected death is horrible enough, so the magnitude of the shock when the death of a loved one is by their own hand is unfathomable.
That molehill/mountain metaphor provides an alternate perspective on the accusation “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill”, but doesn’t it doesn’t do much with the fact that we’re still left with a mountain.
It doesn’t seem to matter if that solid, heavy sucker was created one teaspoonful at a time when the result is still enormous. So how do we cope when things feel too hard, too big, too overwhelming? How do we dismantle our mountain so we don’t feel like the only option is suicide?
There’s all kinda ways to cope with or check out under pressure. Denial, avoidance, escapism (drugs, TV, drinking, books – the selection here is extensive), silence. Suicide.
I kept coming back to the idea that I need a better way to take it apart when I feel overwhelmed. A teaspoon against the mountain is just too much to think about. And my twisty mind arrived at monkey bread.
Monkey bread is made by rolling pieces of dough into balls and piling them on one another in a baking dish. Then, when its baked, you can tear off one piece at a time. You can’t see molehills once they become a mountain because all that dirt just slides together, monkey bread still has enough definition that you could manage one chunk at a time.
This is a lousy, rambly comparison between my being depressed into writing silence by the state of the world, and Robin Williams being depressed into believing his only choice was to end his life, but there it is. My first post back after a break is usually ugly, so apologies.
I am so sorry for anyone touched by suicide.
I can only hope that because Williams was such a high-profile, successful person his unfortunate death will help shine a light on how anyone can suffer from major depression.