Guilty sadness sprinkled with apathy – a love story

I’m feeling sad. Again. And guilty for feeling sad (hello darkness my old friend). Remember my post – of now more than three years ago – about, ironically, how time flies and we drive ourselves mad by the need to be “better”?

I remember feeling many feelings, all the feelings, while thinking, writing and giving myself an extremely hard time about writing that post (hello ex-boyfriend, remember that splendid weekend of laptop-throwing?). Anger, sadness, anxiety, the whole lot, about the state of the world and the state of people. At the same time, I also remember that period as the slow onset of creeping indifference.

Whereas I felt so much then and – quite literally – at times hid under my duvet to force my brain to stop processing information and producing anxiety, I now, three years later, feel almost numb. While I do know and accept myself and my needs a whole lot more (thank fuck for therapy), I don’t quite know where that leaves me.

By society’s standards, I have everything going for me – somehow I managed to stumble into working as a human rights lawyer for the United Nations, working on women’s rights and gender equality with the best team you can imagine, the dream of a lifetime which I’d never even dared hoping to come true. Imagine, I even have enough money to afford a decent doctor (bye bye see you never NHS) who is trying to figure out my longstanding chronic energy problem, coupled with empathetic colleagues who somehow honestly care about my well-being.

And yet, being here, I’m feeling like I am making the smallest impact on human rights and social justice yet, and feel further removed from the cause than ever before. How do speeches, conferences, meetings, training and reports on improving global gender equality and eradicating discrimination matter when I cross homeless people on the street every single day in wealthy Switzerland without knowing how to help them, recognising that there are tons of governments out there that do not consider social welfare, education and health to be priorities, and realising that I am just a tiny wheel in a huge bureaucratic system pretending to uphold rights and freedoms, care about imminent climate disaster and promoting and maintaining peace all the while itself being a product of the exact capitalist system that is at fault?

What is worse is that I notice myself caring a little bit less every day – turning off the news, starting to turn a blind eye to people in need and getting a bit further removed from the version of myself I imagined I would be looking up to today. Piece by piece.

Apathy is worse companionship than outrage.


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