One of the things I wrote in my round-up of thoughts of living with depression is that it's important to recognize when you're just putting your face in the blender, and stop it. Another thing is that it's much easier to recognize others' need to do something and encourage them to do it than to apply this kind of advice to oneself. However, I'm trying.
The blender in question for me is political blogging. I was raised with an appreciation for social engagement. My parents grew up in the Depression, and Dad fought in World War II, and they always took the life of the nation seriously, starting with the idea that there is a life of the nation (and the whole world) and not just whatever works on corporate balance sheets. I like ideas and am interested in their consequences, and I know that many important good things come only through political action.
But not everything political is actually useful. There are things that responsible adults have to do, starting with voting and with being informed enough to vote (including recognizing when there are no acceptable options on the ballot, too—least evil is an important category but not always one that compels a vote). And there's stuff that has to be looked at between elections, most particularly at the moment internal challenges to established party figures via contested primaries and the like, and there's stuff that happens outside parties, including all the various manifestations of research and lobbying. But then there's just obsession and bickering.
In recent years I've repeatedly resolved to disengage from a lot of the basically sterile political back-and-forth online, and to use that energy for other things, but it never seems to last. But then things are different for me this time around. I have both the medical crisis at hand and the long-term gender concerns to occupy such time and energy as I can give them—learning about options and then doing something about them. So. I've just wrapped up my first quarter on Weight Watchers, started before I knew about all the medical stuff, and now I'm emerging from the first wave of crisis diagnosis and treatment. (There's more coming, but the pace is slowing substantially.) I have all of that to deal with, and my work.
This is my goal for the next six months: identify and donate to one worthy cause each quarter, to some group that seems to me to be lobbying effectively for causes of concern to me. And I'm going to try to keep away from every political blog I read that has a tendency toward vile stuff in the commentary, because that's upsetting to me and I need not to be pointlessly upset. Others can fight it out in the bloggic trenches; I want to focus on helping support those doing the most directly applicable work, and otherwise get on with my own life a bit more.
We shall see how well I manage this.