What is depression?

I have an understanding of depression.

As a sex therapist you may be surprised to learn that the topic of depression comes up quite a bit in sex counselling. Struggling with sexual desire, sexual arousal, or connecting with partners can all be made particularly difficult when depression is present. Sexual energy is firey! It’s energized! It makes us want to move toward action whether with ourselves via masturbation or with a partner. Depression wants nothing to do with all that energy.

And I think I know why. I think depression is our mind, body, and spirit’s, way of trying to get us to rest and recuperate. Whether that’s rest from the thousand microaggressions you experienced in a day, rest from a body working overtime to correct a chemical imbalance or physical ailment, rest from the overtime you’ve been putting in at work, or rest from the trauma you’ve had to allocate so much energy to over the years.

And that shitty little voice inside your head that tells you you’re a piece of shit or you should just fucking die is not yours. That voice is the capitalist parasite you were born with that tells you, “you should always be producing! and always be making money!” so you can keep feeding the top of the capitalist food chain. And if you need to rest and take a break from producing, that same capitalist parasite will deem you unworthy.

But it’s not true. It’s unfair and your life is valuable. And I totally get it if you hear all this and think, that’s great and all but I still have to keep going. I still have to pay rent, feed my kids, not lose my job.

Totally! That’s the worst part of capitalism— you can know it’s a problem with productivity obsession for the capitalist elite and at the end of the day it’s still a system in which we’re all trying to survive and, life be willing, maybe even thrive.

I say this not to take away hope. Hope of the help of medication or therapy or being able to kick this thing depression. I say this to remind you that your thoughts aren’t you. That your passivity and lethargy and laziness are protests of self-love not self-hate.

Although I don’t know how to overthrow capitalism it becomes increasingly obvious that overthrowing capitalism is the collective medicine we truly need. In the mean time, I hope we can continue to remind each other of our true value and worth as loving, caring, compassionate, nurturing human beings. Take the rest whenever you can. Be lazy whenever you can.

And remember that this white, colonial, ablist, capitalist hellscape effects us all and marginalized communities bear the greatest brunt of this violence on the mind, body, and spirit. Don’t compare your depression to your friend’s depression or your colleague’s depression. Don’t think your relationship to depression is someone else’s relationship to depression. Our social location matters.

It is not surprising to me that sex is often a soothing remedy for capitalist-depression. Sex is often an act simply for fun (even if it is also sometimes an act of… production)! It is creative! it is connective to ourselves and sometimes others! Chemically, it gives us a boost of the happy juice.

So the next time you feel tortured by the lethargy of your depression, remember… your depression might actually be trying to love you.