Into the ring! Also that's not me in the picture. Obviously. Blue on blue? Come on.
I've been thinking about Snack's post (p.s. I don't hate you) as I went through my daily dailyness, and it reminded me of Carol Hanich's article, The Personal is Political, which I am greatly going to stretch and paraphrase for my own purposes. As one does.
On one hand, I get that it's entirely possible and likely to feel fatigue from reading posts about folks on this board who are in crisis. It's bound to happen, and is probably why so many people in those fields (social workers and mental health experts) get burned out over short amounts of time. It is emotionally exhausting.
What we should consider, however, is that GT has the potential, and often is engaged in the dynamic potential, of being a place that oppressed groups feel comfortable sharing their narratives. I think there is the assumption that when people express their problems that we are going to react with advice, or some way towards finding a solution, when really I think we need to also question whether or not a solution exists, or whether or not that solution is viable for the person. Often times, it is not. I know a few commenters, on a variety of issues, have said that they do not feel comfortable sharing personal stories and so cannot fathom why anyone else would or, similarly, they act or behave a certain way and do not understand why someone else would react in a different way. People are complex and are grown up in different ways and in different situations, and part of intersections is realizing that.
So Hanisch writes:
I've been pressured to be strong, selfless, other-oriented, sacrificing, and in general pretty much in control of my own life. To admit to the problems is to be deemed weak. So I want to be a strong woman, in movement terms, and not admit I have any real problems that I can't find a personal solution to ... one of the reasons I participate in these meetings is not to solve any personal problems. One of the first things we discover in these groups is that personal problems are political problems. There are no personal solutions at this time.
Partially, even being able to voice or express personal problems was considered political by this movement (And frankly, ideally is still one) because they had no platform, even in personal spaces. It also helped these women understand that there were others with similar problems who were suffering in silence as well. That is not to say that all problems are systematic in nature, but even something like mental illness is under political attack: the underfunding, the myths, the self-blame, and so on.
Now I am not sure if we have demarcated GT as a feminist space, but regardless of that, by it's very nature of being un-safe and open to anyone with browsing capabilities, we are sharing personal narratives of varying natures on this space, and to be welcomed and have a space to be able to express that is by its nature political. We can't separate the two.
So my personal take is that while I get the fatigue and sometimes if not often feel it myself, I do think that there is something innately empowering about offering a space for crisis. Or accepting this as a potential space. As I said in a comment to Snack's post, not everyone has the access or means to seek professional help, and there is a lot of stigma associated with that as well (see mental health myths).
There is not easy solution to this, and because I come from a partially marxist background I don't particularly feel that it is my job to offer one, though I did like NYCyclists approach (can't find the post) about collecting databases and other outreach programs. That sounds like a good start.
This space is not therapy. This space is not a doctor's office. But that doesn't mean that we are wandering alone out here either.
Don't spend all my two cents in one place, folks. I NEED THAT.