Most of my professional circle does not know that I have major depression and anxiety. I’ve had these lovely brain chemicals as pets since I was in elementary school, and they’ve continued to tag along to everything I do. They’re like very creative and poorly trained dogs.
Unless you met me before 2006, you don’t know me without medication. I know many people see medication as something that dulls the mind and creativity. I see medication as my way to actually live a normal life. I don’t always freak out about going out with friends. I don’t always spend my time convinced I am a failure. I’m not always angry and frustrated with myself for this shit. I still have those feelings but I don’t feel like dying about it 98% of the time.
I am more confident now. I don’t apologize for what I like or think as much anymore. I know I’m competent, despite occasional impostor syndrome. Part of this isn’t meds, but rather a few years of therapy and self-help books.
To be honest, without some medication, I probably wouldn’t have made it through library school. I probably wouldn’t have gotten a job. I probably wouldn’t be here right now writing this.
That brings me to being crazy in the archives. When I left my first archives job, I was convinced I didn’t want to do archives again, because I had felt so isolated from everyone both personally and professionally, despite the fact that archives are a good places for me to be.
Archives are filled with people. Mostly dead ones, but I can’t hold that against them. And as someone who goes in and sees archives as a world of stories to be shared, I think the best thing I can do professionally is share those stories, and occasionally help our students make them up. The best thing I can do for my collections in the long run is to lower the ratio of dead people to live ones in the archives.
For me, the quiet, sit in the basement archives experience isn’t for me. Since that’s what I thought I wanted as a young whippersnapper, I am learning the skills to reach my community, in part because I’ve been the super crazy pants in the archives, and I know that’s no way for me to be.