How to check on your people if your people are me

So, on depression and suicide:

There’s a lot of sharing of hotlines and encouraging folks to check on people you love. That’s great, but I’d like to be more specific. I live with depression. Sometimes it gets really bad. These are the things people have done to help.

-messaging me that you hurt with me

-listening to my hurt

-following up on messaging sincerely and vulnerably.

-listening to my hurt again, even repeating it back to me and making the story longer.

-joining me in an activity I already decided I did have the energy to do, but not making me lead you in it.

-supporting a passion of mine and the work I do for it- gestures here go a long way for me.

-showing up with a gift

-showing up with food

-showing up with a baby mammal

-showing up and just doing anything you see needs to be done and not letting me stop you.

-getting me into the sunshine.

-sitting quietly with me, nonexpectantly.

-sharing with me a long and loving thought you had about me (read: something that is true and I love about myself is best. But this can be tricky because depressed folks don’t always love things about themselves. But if you’re close enough, you can be the person to do this. Example: depression tells me people think I’m a monster with anger problems. You could tell me how very much you love how much of a fighter for underdogs I am and then just keep doubling down with examples you’ve observed without me telling you)

-show up with chocolate.

-positive touches such as hugs. I might need a heads up so I can shower first.

-giving me a heads up and tricking me into self care via bathing.

-pay a bill that is haunting me

-if you cried for me, tell me you cried for me. It will probably make me cry, but in most cases that’s good and then we can just cry together.

-ask me what I’ve been putting off, if I have time to do it if I had help, and then help.

-handwritten letters / silly drawings (careful though, sometimes this is too slow and should only be used as a bonus action)

-randomly tell me you see and understand my pain, even and especially if you’ve already done so.

-stand up for me.

-seriously though I want to mention that baby mammal thing again.

-ask me to send you this list if you can’t find/remember it.

-I don’t like saying this, but helping me make a huge sale of one of my products really helps. It helps me feed myself, know I’m valued, gives me something to do, etc.

-coming to my house and sincerely enjoying my designs and builds.

-notice how well my dogs are trained and tell me I did a good job.

-help me paint dark places in my house. They need to be bright.

-thank me and love on me when I let it be known I’m in a bad headspace.

-help me with literally anything in December.

-poker with my dudes

-dungeons and dragons / RPGs

-come over and throw axes with me

-take me up on it if i offered to help you build something at your home, tear something down, or do yard work with you.

I’m not asking for these things at the moment, but I’ll definitely take them!

You’re my friend. I want to check on you. Anything you’d add for yourself?

DSA North Star

As someone with organizational Communication / group health education and as someone with years of seeing this done both well and terribly in leadership of religious groups, I’m absolutely over the kind of organizing I see in North Star.

It’s reactionary at best and seeks to live out the old times but with new members. You don’t put new wine in old wine skins- it’ll shatter.

It’s natural to an extent to wish there was no conflict in a group. But that’s not how groups work. This “everybody stop fighting” attitude in reaction to healthy criticisms only encourages wounds that _were_ being treated to be placed behind faux “peacekeeping” gatekeepers and left to fester and rot.

Please please *please*, everyone, please recognize that the last year in DSA has exposed so many problems in lack of due process in leadership issues. This “trust the process” reaction is woefully uninformed which is even more concerning since it largely comes from the old guard who should know there is no such process.

To that point, whether intentional or not, the rhetoric of this caucus is that of a group of people who are hurt that Fetonte is no longer around. Fetonte made his own bed. If you land on the side of thinking it was mob justice, I encourage you to talk to literally anyone who actually talked to him post election. I’m available for this role, but seek out whoever you want.

The failure of this type of reactionary to learn lessons from the flaws of the GOP and DNC is immense. “We are the good guys let us do what we want” is such a weak groupthink based argument that it isn’t even an argument. Millennials especially see right through that garbage. Listen to them or watch your group die out.

Lastly, as we continue to grow, please keep these key healthy group roles in mind:

Task Leader(s): takes charge, organizes.

Central Negative(s): sees issues, corrects, asks questions, addresses conflicts in design/path/etc

Socio-Emotional Leader(s): maintains social & emotional health. Leads celebrations, mourning, and ways to emerge from frustration.

North Star is calling for none of these roles to exist.