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3 Things I Learned From Major Depressive Disorder

Mental health is something I feel very passionately about and that is because I have first-hand experience with it.  I have had major depressive disorder pretty much all my life.  It's shaped a lot of who I am -- although not all of that is in a bad way, let's be clear -- and colors some of my earliest memories.  (Yet it is also why I have significant memory gaps.)  I also know what it's like to have these types of issues when no one around me really understands them.  When I grew up, I had no idea that the things I suffered were out of the ordinary.  It never occurred to me that I could be "crazy," and because I kept much of it secret, my parents also only saw me as a normal if rather emotional and sensitive child.  (Please also understand, I don't mean any aspersion on my parents for not knowing.  None of us were aware of what was going on and I never told them about my symptoms until I was an adult and had learned what they were.)  Now, as a writer who has…
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Why I Don't Believe in Creating Purpose

The culture I live in is increasingly utilitarian when it comes to living. We're all about productivity; if you're not making, creating, on the move, or bent on achieving, you're viewed as a low-life or a waste of space. (This has serious and deadly ramifications for disabled people and for children, but that's an entirely different discussion.) Because of this constant drive to do and achieve, which is often praised as a hard work ethic and an excellent trait, many in our society suffer from poor self-esteem and even from self-abuse because they can't allow themselves to take things in stride. It also feeds a growingly dire identity crisis for young people, whose very being and right to life nowadays seems to be shaped by their career choices and how much they contribute specifically to the national economy.

 Don't get me wrong: of course I realize that our experiences shape us, and the jobs or careers we pursue are a big part of that. But as I grow up an…