Content Notice: Depression and discussion of suicidal ideation.
I’d like Chris Hall’s unit of measurement for depression to be A Thing, a scale from -1 to 1 measured in Marvins, referencing the comically depressed robot from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Marvins are bad to have, meaning 1 would be suicidal.
I think the best I’ve ever been was 0.1 Marvins. Well into my transition, with a loving and supportive partner with a good sense of humour and just the right amount of mean streak to satisfy my kink, a job I enjoyed that paid the bills and then some. Even then, a distant dread, a little devil whispering in my ear that I would lose it all. (Which turned out to be right). It doesn’t help that my metaphorical devil gets help from outside my brain. No shortage of people penning lengthy diatribes about how monstrous I am because I’m queer or trans or poly or kinky. Might as well hand my devil a megaphone and name it after a fake goth.
My childhood was 0.25 Marvins at best. Even during times of happiness, there would be a cloud, a fog that surrounded me at all times. The sun wouldn’t be quite as bright, the colours would not radiate quite as vibrantly, laughter was always short lived. It was pervasive, as if the entirety of my wardrobe had been freshly rained on, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.
A few months ago I would’ve been 1 Marvins depressed. I sat in the shower with a razor in my hand. I hadn’t considered self harm since I was a teen, although I had a suicide plan still fresh from less than a year ago. It was a break up with the aforementioned loving partner, Orlando, my abusive break up with another partner, another sexual assault, the loss of my chosen family, all piling into one boulder chasing me down the hill–except I was convinced no one could hear my screaming. My abusive ex outright told me I was imagining my PTSD after she sexually assaulted me. I knew it couldn’t be true–even so, the edge of the razor looked very inviting. It would make the pain real. I used my supports and ultimately avoided cutting… but that doesn’t mean I didn’t hit that point and seriously consider it.
I’ve been running between 0.50 and 0.75 Marvins for so long I didn’t even really remember what it was like to not be depressed. Some days were better than others, sure. But they would always be haunted knowing there would come a day–suddenly, without warning–where I was unworthy of even the most basic of self care. Sometimes I had reasons, like above. Sometimes I didn’t. All that matters is that I have never been off the Marvin scale. At least, not that I can remember.
These are all far more useful distinctions to make than simply “I’ve been depressed my whole life.” Although Chris is half-joking when he proposes this scale, I think it’s incredibly useful. It equips me to say “My idea of a ‘good day’ is one where I still feel like I’m being rained on.” It puts things into scale. I run from 0.1 to 1.0. That helps people understand my happy moments aren’t really happy moments, they’re just less sad moments, that there’s the little devil just underneath the surface all too eager to remind me of the fleeting nature of safety and security.
Just some cheery 0.5 Marvin thoughts.