A text by a friend of min on the topic methal health problems in the far left scene. Translated from German via deepl so there might be some errors in there but I had to share it with you guys. Part1: CN: Self-harm, depression)
Against left-wing hero worship. For the sake of your mental health alone.
Why are actually, at least according to my self-reflection, so many members of the radical left depressed?
At least half of my personal environment is or was in therapy. Quite a few have scars on their arms, I am one of them.
Ignoring one's own personal limits, working oneself into burnout, risking one's own physical and mental health, that's somehow part of doing political work.
And that's shitty.
I am used to hate myself, to blame myself, to punish myself. It is for me, and for many other depressed people, the usual way of dealing with oneself. It's just so simple. I think I started to hate myself at the age of 13 and - at that time mainly through self-injury - to punish myself for my inability to live up to my standards. I didn't deserve it any better, because: I couldn't meet my left-wing demands on myself to revolutionize the circumstances.
During my adolescence I began to deal with how bad the world really is. Everywhere oppression, exploitation, political persecution, hunger, environmental pollution, everything really bad. From these insights, an empathetic, nice girl like me, who was around at 13, 14, developed the awareness that something should be done about it! And then you are confronted very, very quickly with your own powerlessness. The fact of not being able to save the world was my first big offence, ridiculous as it sounds. This was followed by a whole lot of smaller insults, which went from "Getting beaten up by the police because you demonstrate against Nazis" to "Your own comrades are sexists". The usual; anti-fascist politics is a very ungrateful affair.
It is first of all a matter which can be done only in common work. Revolutions are a matter of the revolutionary collective, not of individuals and charismatic leaders.
I realized this myself very, very, late.
My father (a text about my Mental Health Issues does not do without references to my father) was one of those old 68ers who preferred to refer to Che Guevara rather than to their boring theory reading circle, and when I started my political work he showered me with numerous writings and the like about important and charismatic heroes of different socialist struggles. Which, the whole material suggested, somehow managed to drive away the tsars, kings and dictators in an ALONE way. It was the shining figureheads who were at the forefront of their struggles and who proclaimed the revolution. That's the way I wanted to be. I wanted to be the person who single-handedly saved the world. I didn't realize at the time that these narratives made all the fighters* and theorists*, who were perhaps less photogenic than their leaders, invisible.
The desire to become a revolutionary is the left-wing equivalent of the pop star dream (or rather: rock star dream. Heroines are rarely offered). It is the size fantasy of desperate, but also offended young people. It is by no means egalitarian, but rather the authoritarian desire to finally set the tone, veiled from itself as revolutionary consciousness. It is also easier to wait for instructions from above, instead of organizing independently in cells. And people like Ulrike Meinhof or Vladimir Lenin are also better dressed on shirts and book covers than in the image of the tiring plenum of a sailor's council or a women's group. The revolution is not shown on television, but blockbusters can be made about charismatic revolutionaries (who replace the will for boring self-organisation with the trust in a hero who comes and somehow judges everything).