I’d like to share a bit about my experience deciding to run for Hanover Borough Council. I made the decision to run after the incivility, mud-slinging, name-calling, and pointless complaining that take place in my local government frustrated me; I felt like there is enough of that on a national and state level, and my beloved hometown can do better. The politics of my Hanover did not reflect the heart of its citizens, and I hoped to correct that.
First – I was sued. SUED! My ballot petition was challenged, without warrant, and the plaintiff requested $1500 in legal fees for his troubles. When I bothered to show up at court the suit against me was dropped, leading me to conclude the whole thing was a fruitless effort to bully a young woman out of civil engagement. Nice.
And now…someone has anonymously emailed a link to this very blog to our local paper, implying my use of colorful language (rather than my Depression, presumably) makes me unfit for public office.
So. I find myself in the rare position of having to explain myself. (Long time readers know this appeals to my ego, ha!) Allow me to explain the context and purpose of the following blog:
I write at my worst. That’s important, so I’ll repeat it – I write at my worst. These words in no way reflect the whole of who I am. The purpose of this blog is to record as accurately as possible how I feel in the depths of a depressive episode. On one hand it’s a purge of sorts, but really it’s helpful in other ways. Sometimes I’ll read it when I’m feeling well, and brainstorm effective ways to talk to that girl – so that I can talk her out of that funk more effectively next time. This process of understanding my Depression has been more helpful than I can explain in overcoming it.
I won’t pretend my couple hundred readers (international readers – not gonna lie that’s kinda cool) have conquered Depression because of some crazy wisdom I somehow imparted. That’s not how it works. But I’ve received many messages from friends & strangers alike who are comforted by the knowledge that there are other people in the world who unwittingly explore these depths. And when I receive those messages they buoy me in a way I cannot find words for. To feel helpful, useful….it’s damn near a cure. It does something for them, and it does something for me, and I think that’s pretty awesome.
When I decided to run, a few friends asked if I would close or purge my Facebook page, censor myself, etc. No – I’ll leave that, along with opposition research and smear campaigns, to the politicians. I am who I am. I am a mother, a professional, a daughter, a volunteer, a woman (the only woman on the ballot, er-hrmmm), and a citizen of what I believe to be an amazing town. If you feel a diagnosis of Moderate Depressive Disorder – which over 30% of the U.S. shares, far more than the percentage that bother running for municipal office – disqualifies me for office, than I probably won’t have your vote. If you feel the colorful language I employ, when I am at my very worst, to connect with others at a time when connection is my healthiest goal disqualifies me for office, then I probably won’t have your vote. But if you think that politics could use a dose of authenticity these days – of good old-fashioned positive pragmatism in the face of all negativity – then I’m your gal.