Dying Over The Holiday? Not Likely.

“There is no fucking ice cream
in your fucking future.”
Otis, “The Devils Rejects”

Despite a commonly held myth that the Christmas season has the highest suicide rate of all the seasons, studies have proven that across North America, suicide rates are actually lower at that time of year. Studies suggest that while the holidays can bring up some very difficult emotions, they also tend to evoke feelings of familial bonds and these feelings may act as a buffer against suicide.”
The Canadian Mental Health Association

“You want some nightstick?!?”
Two Star Cop,
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

Maybe it’s the added emphasis the people in our lives place on making sure we Manic Depressives are not alone over the holidays, or maybe it’s because we search out people because we feel as though the holidays are a danger to us, but there are no spikes in North America for suicides over the Christmas Season. In fact this time of year is one of the safer periods for Manic Depressives.

This particular season, however, remains one of the worst times for common depression. The daylight is mostly gone; there are happy people all around us who appear to be having a much easier time coping with their lives than we are, and; every hour of every day advertising reminds us we are all too broke to properly show our love to our family and friends.

While our disease creates depressions which are absolutely random, Manic Depressives are not immune to the Christmas Blues. It’s just very difficult for us to distinguish the difference between real emotion and the disease. It’s even harder to guage what our response to a real emotional depression should be. Because we get hit so often by the same hard emotions over time our responses become almost automatic (“I can feel the wave coming on, I should just stay in bed and not move”). Then when we experience a common depression we completely surrender before we realize we only feel depressed because NBC has pre-empted The Office. If Pavlov wanted to observe conditioned behaviour he could have used Manic Depressives.

It takes a certain amount of introspection sometimes to figure out the difference, but as you learn to distinguish between your self and the disease you’ll learn that the common depressions far out number the disease-induded ones. It was a revelation to me when I figured out that most of the time I was depressed I could actually get over it rather easily… or at least a lot easier than ones caused by the ‘chemical hot-shot overdoses’ served up by my brain.

I’ve found that most Christmas depressions can be pushed away simply by finding people. It’s not the season, it’s not the religion, it’s the traditions which I’ve found are the most important thing about this time of year. And traditions are where you find people. I grew up in a house full of Revolutionary-wannabe’s, so we didn’t have many holidays when I was a kid (no one takes a break when they’re on Uncle Mao’s payroll). But we’ve had them every year since my mother took myself and my brother and ran. After leaving my mother made it a point to immediately start creating new traditions for us.

The first one was Summer Camp. Somehow mom found out about a camp in the Eastern Townships of Quebec right across a lake from Vermont. Mom needed sometime to settle in our new mini-city so her parents paid for the first year, but after that my brother and I talked about it constantly so mom sent us back for another four years or so. It really was one of the things I enjoyed most while growing up.

So. Away from home for the first time, I was nine-years old and surrounded by complete strangers for two weeks. When we left The Revolution we didn’t have much. When I got to camp that first year I had a change of clothes, a pair of rubber-boots and a bathing suit. Still, it was a lot of fun and kids that age never seem to notice smell. There were sports, canoing, swimming, and arts & crafts. I suddenly had a lot of people my own age around. Everyone seemed to have a great time making new friends and so did I. And there was this one special person at camp, who everyone already seemed to know, but I had no idea who he was. His name was Jesus Christ. As in: “would you like to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour?”

Every morning there were two bible study’s, one in our cabins, then a group teaching for thirty minutes in the Rec Hall after breakfast. Before every meal there was prayer, and every night before bed there was a group prayer around the fire then another one in the cabin.

From Mao to Evangelical Jesus in three weeks. The first time I accepted God into my life I was nine-years old. It was after supper and I was sitting on the Rec Hall Stairs looking out to the lake. There was some prayer of acceptance involved. I did it again every year I went back as a camper. At no point have I ever understood Christianity as anything other than another philosophy I am inadequately educated in. I understand the human need for religion, and I understand the human need for belief and I generally respect people who have both. My grandfather used to bring my brother and I to his Catholic church almost every Sunday. But the service was always entirely in French, so were the handouts and my grandfather never discussed religion. To me Sunday was always hotdog day, because he would take us out for lunch afterwards.

I have accepted God into my life on numerous occasions, but he was a poor substitute for a Father. To me Christmas is something which can, and probably should, be celebrated by all faiths. Like Martin Luthor King jr. Day, or the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Our latest Christmas Tradition is a pick-up hockey game on Christmas Day. There’s a Co-Op (farmer feed & seed cooperative) on our street (it’s a village, back off) and every year the neighbourhood kids and parents get together with our family and we play street-hockey in the Co-Op parking lot from lunch until supper. We’ve been playing every year since 1990 and, yes, we have a trophy. It’s called “The Co-Op Cup.” One year my youngest brother wanted to be the goalie, so I gave him the equipment and played forward. He forgot to wear his cup. That was the year he became a man.

Being depressed around this time of year, until very recently, was my personal tradition. But with the medication has come clarity, and with clarity I have learned about the sacrifices my family have made over the years. We are part of a larger whole, even when we think we’re not. So cheer the fuck up it’s only three weeks out of the year.

Besides, it’s July and August we really have to worry about. So have a Happy Whatever and a Something New Year. Take your pills.

.

.

About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression in 1989, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. I have a 4-year old son, a newborn son, and I'm helping to raise my 8-year old step-son, I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal.
This entry was posted in Bipolar, BiPolar Christmas, Christmas, crazy people with no pants, Depression, Depression And Christmas, General Tao's Chicken, Humor, Humour, Lithium, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Old men in red suits, Politics, Poverty, Punk, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Dying Over The Holiday? Not Likely.

  1. puddlejumper says:

    I agree with you. Christmas is a hard time for many people. If you work, or have children at school, you lose the structure to your days. The pressure is on to by so much crap and there’s an expectation that you should be spending time with your kin, regardless whether you get on or not.
    A lot of folk who wouldn’t identify themselves as being depressed end up down at this time of year.
    Me, I like it. The pagan in me likes to celebrate the newly lengthening days after the solstice I enjoy the ritual feasting and making merry. In Scotland New Year/Hogmany is as much a holiday as Christmas and I think this reflects our pagan roots.
    New year, without fail, fills me with hope. “This year things will be better.”
    I’m an optimistic depressive!

  2. puddlejumper says:

    Oh…and I liked your photos. I especially liked the riot cop picture. Very powerful.
    I think in the future folks will look back at pictures of riots and hang them as works of art the way we do with “charge of the light brigade” and such stuff.
    Yeah, Brit*ey looks sweet in that photo. You could sell it as such…Brit*ey in rare “girl-next-door” moment. Or celebrity magazine it as a before and after splash.
    As for Glaswegian roots. Nothing better. How many of my countryfolk ended up in Canada?
    I read the Shipping News last week (okay its set in Newfoundland rather than Canada but bear with me here) There was a story in it about how all the orphans in Brittish Children’s Homes got shipped out as “farm hands” (read slaves) to places like Canada, Austalia etc.
    These kids were packed into ships 300/400 at a time. You could probably not even imagine the conditions.
    One of the boats goes down off the coast of Newfoundland, most of the kids and the crew perish. A handful are saved and the Newfoundlanders take them in but the authorities come and make arrangements to send them on.
    One of the boys has bonded with his new family so much that they hide him, and he is saved.
    It was a moving tale within a pretty awesome book.
    Later dude…
    x

  3. Gabriel... says:

    If you either have, or had, a mother you should read Puddle’s latest post:
    puddlejumper.wordpress.com/2006/12/15/birth-stories

    Just to clarify:
    1) Newfoundland has been a proud part of Canada since 1949
    2) Kevin Spacey made a lousy Newfoundlander (re: Shipping News — The Movie)

  4. puddlejumper says:

    Thankyou for the link.

    And sorry for my geography not being great. I always err on the side of caution.

    Being from a nation that is often wrongly called England.

    I’m sure Canadians feel the same when someone, who must have a hearing impediment to miss the different accent, asks if they are American.

    I wasn’t sure if Newfoundland and Labrador were provinces or seperate countries or what.

    So thanks, that’s my something new for the day.

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, just read the book, was absolutey beautiful. I fail to see how a film could do it justice really.

  5. Gabriel... says:

    “Being from a nation that is often wrongly called England.”

    Scots are not English, Canadians are definitely not American (just to prove it a bunch of us got together back in 1812 and burned down their White House), Quebecers are not French, Kiwi’s are not Australian.

    Generally speaking when someone asks us if we’re American our first reflex is to duck. There’s a reason they travel with our flag on their backpacks.

    Newfoundland used to be a separate British colony until they went bankrupt defending The Motherland during WW2, that’s when they joined with Canada. NFLD & Labrador were spliced together sometime in the 1700′s… I think.
    NFLD is almost twice the size of Great Britain, and the seventh largest Canadian province (we have 10 plus three territories, two of which are roughly the size of Europe. Yes, Canada is that big… and, seriously, we have more oil than Saudi Arabia and we supply the Americans with 60% of their daily fix. But don’t tell anyone:
    http://www.nrdc.org/land/use/gastank/contents.asp)

    The movie was horrible, but watching Spacey swallow his tongue might be worth it.

  6. puddlejumper says:

    You make my wee country feel so small. I take it so much for granted that I can just drive from one end to the other in less than a day, even the islands if you time it right for the ferries.
    Just looked at Canada on Google earth and it is huge, and yet,like Scotland, relatively uninhabited.
    We “share” all our oil with oil-less-england, and it’s unlikely we’ll get independance till it’s run dry.
    I liked Spacey in that movie about the mental patient/alien…*runs off to check google* K-PAX. I just liked the idea that some folks might not be crazy,it’s the rest of the world that’s not right.
    So whereabouts in Canada do you live?

  7. Gabriel... says:

    I’m currently orbiting around Ottawa (I think it’s still the coldest ‘national capital’ in the world… all this global warming has me confused).

    “…like Scotland, relatively uninhabited…”
    33 million of us in a country roughly 2.5 times the size of the current European Union (The EU: 3.9million square km vs. Canada: 9.9m sq km). Honestly, we don’t know how you put up with the crowds.

    We’re pretty much all tucked along the US/Canada border. Actually, I think 80 per cent of us are around there. At night, from space, 99 per cent of this country looks like North Korea.

    “unlikely we’ll get independance till it’s run dry.”
    Didn’t Scotland reclaim that stone… or something? Actually, politics-wise, Scotland and Quebec operate in similar ways (Quebec has yet to sign on to the Canadian Constitution and has their own Civil Law… they’re difficult because they’re french).

    I liked that movie because of the way Kevin ate bananas.

    Have you ever seen “Bubba Ho-Tep”? It stars The Great Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead). It’s Elvis vs. The Mummy. Brilliant. Elvis is in a Texas retirement home where everyone thinks he’s an Elvis Impersonator, then the mummy attacks. It is seriously badass.

  8. Gabriel... says:

    What? Who told you to take the day off? Get back on that Refresh Button, Trax, I need more blog hits if I’m gonna get into the Top Five Hundred And Fifty Thousand Blogs by New Years 2008.

  9. traxiom says:

    puddlejumper, pay no attention to fear, he likes to talk about how big his stuff is.

  10. hellfried says:

    loved the post and i am totally fascinated by the quotation right at the end of it about burning one’s traits away. mind pointing me to the origin of it?

  11. I’m a Godlover, but not in any sense a religionist. My sense of spirituality is extremely broad. But other than disagreeing with you on that point, I loved this post and I’ve directed others to it. Hope you get some hits.

  12. feartheseeds says:

    “But other than disagreeing with you on that point…”
    I think actually we do agree more than disagree on that point Clare. I may have just been a little hamfisted about putting my idea into words… I’m a lot like my grandfather when it comes to religion: “we don’t talk about that kind of thing. Finish your peas.” So I’ve never really had the opportunity to discuss religion outside of the classroom or away from the bar.

    I do, however, believe that Christmas works better as a secular celebration of the man, with religious overtones tacked on, rather than a celebration of God wrapped up in a baby, with little room for the ideals of the man. MLK jr. Day, but with a virgin birth. Christmas is about the birth of a man who fundamentally changed all of human society… shouldn’t Easter be the time to celebrate the origins of the Christian religion itself?

    I hope you’re over your cold soon. I’ve really enjoyed reading your work over the past few months.

  13. feartheseeds says:

    hellfried: “i am totally fascinated by the quotation… mind pointing me to the origin of it?”

    It’s all mine. It’s a slightly shortened variation on something from a short-story of mine that was published roughly twelve years ago. I’ve been trying to figure out how to attribute it, and some other quotes scattered around this blog, without using my ‘offline’ name. I’ve got very few secrets from very few people, but there are a few specific family members who should only read this Blog with me holding their hand… if at all. And they know how to Google.

  14. puddlejumper says:

    “Feartheseeds for Hogmany No.1″
    Would spread the word but that would be assuming folks are reading my work too.
    With regards to your worries about your quotes being preserved for prosterity I wouldn’t worry. Blog handles will, I’m sure be logged in history as much as the pseudonyms of the great writers (Lewis Carrol, George Elliot, Mark Twain et al)
    And yeah, Scotland has not only kept it’s own legal system (in my opinion, far superior, as one who for a time worked in the legal field) but our own eduction system too.
    We also have a reputation for being the inventors of the industrial world, though sadly don’t seem to invest enough now for that to still be the case.
    Going to check out your film suggestion. I liked evil dead, but actually preferred
    the original zombie movie “Night of the Living Dead” and the remake of “Dawn of the Dead”.
    And you must have watched the brit flick “Shaun of the Dead”? It’s superb.
    traxiom -yeah, he’s tried to drop hints about how big it is. but I just thought that was a “guy thing”

  15. feartheseeds says:

    ohmydearlord… this is not the forum for such things, and I have only written about the gargantuan size of my country… nothing else. You sick, sick people. If anyone is surfing through here trying to find smut I suggest they go here:
    http://womensspace.wordpress.com/ and repent. They like repenters.

    Dawn Of The Dead (starring Canadian actress Sarah Polley) was awesome. The music montage at the end was spectacular. And the Johnny Cash bit… wow. “Shaun” is on my favourites list.

    Scotland & Quebec: all ten Canadian provinces, even the few not larger than Europe, have control over their own Health Care and Education systems. It’s a little more complicated, but it gives us the opportunity to say things like “Canada’s Health Care system is ten times better than American Health Care.” Then we laugh.
    Quebeccers invented the snowmobile, six-packs a day smoking habits and poutine (fries, cheese curds and dark gravy) as a meal substitute.

    I can’t believe how perverted you people are. And Christmas is right around the corner. Think about the children. Seriously… I have to go wash my gargantuan harddrive now.

    .

  16. hellfried says:

    i am still fascinated by the quote. every time i read it i get goosebumps. thanks feartheseeds for a great concept.

  17. mercurial scribe says:

    It’s always May and September that screw with my moods. How odd.

    The doc supplied me with as many free samples as he had (6-7 weeks worth!) and my husband and i have ironed out some of the financial kinks, at least for now.

    It’s always nice to know i don’t fight alone. Your encouragement helped bolster me and for that i am very grateful. Thank you.

  18. feartheseeds says:

    Doctor’s know about the failings of the health care system better than anyone, and they have no problem handing out freebies on occasion to their patients… the other thing is if you’re having a hard time finding a psychiatrist who will take you on, ask your GP if there are any clinical trials going on near your area. Back in 2000 I made an attempt (half-hearted) to get into the system for treatment but there were no doctors taking new patients. My GP (at a walk-in clinic) managed to get me into a Lamotrigine study which put me under the care of one of Canada’s best shrinks and access to Lithium… for about four months then other stuff happened and that was that. But still, you see the point.

    And seriously, try that jumping up and down while screaming thing… you’ll feel better.

    .

  19. Janie Jones says:

    hi feartheseeds et al
    did you mention to puddlejumper that (unless I’m mistaken) Canada has the world’s biggest highland games? – in Glengarry County between Ottawa & Montreal. Scottish Canadians (& I’ve known many) are pretty devout about their Scottish-ness. Nova Scotians doubly so -they’re also very proud of their province. i would love to go to Scotland (I’m Irish/Scots/Welsh/English background). a friend told me Loch Lomand was one of the most beautiful places in the world. plus i love reading about Scottish mathematicians & scientists.
    my great-grandfather was one of those “farm hands”. he was 13! he managed to escape before he got to his destination. he eventually went to war in europe, was gassed, received a pension, and bought a 100 acre farm.
    I LOVE Christmas, but as a true agnostic it’s a secular thing. I do however relish mythology and rituals of any type. I love the religious songs -like O Holy Night, the “fall on your knees” part is wonderful! It’s New Year’s Eve I don’t care for. The passage of time is a drag…
    Cheers!

  20. feartheseeds says:

    Not the biggest, but close. I didn’t want to brag… http://www.glengarryhighlandgames.com/

  21. puddlejumper says:

    Just as well it’s in Canada. If we had that many visitors in one weekend I’ve a feeling we’d maybe sink.
    We however, have the original..
    GLENGARRY HIGHLAND GAMES
    Event Date: Saturday 1st July
    Location: Shinty Park, Invergarry. Nearest Towns: Glengarry. Airport: Inverness.
    Bring your own caber.
    http://www.visitscotland.com/sitewide/hg_highlands_2006
    Now. I really have to bugger off today and try to get some stuff done about this house before the kids finish school.
    But you can so tell I can’t be arsed.
    I have an urge to sit and drink cocktails and talk toot in a smokey bar.
    Not that there are any smokey bars in Scotland any more. Have they banned it in Canada yet?

  22. puddlejumper says:

    PS. You made Janie Jones up didn’t you?

  23. feartheseeds says:

    There is no imagination big, or sparked, enough to come up with Janie Jones, or her alter ego. I’m not sure why Jen… I mean “Janie” is choosing not to reveal her real identity, but I’ll guarantee you she’s real. She has to be… we dated. Unless…

    Most of our bars are made of wood and steel. We also don’t have dragons anymore, so that might explain the general lack of buildings built of smoke. Am I not the most frustrating human ever? I think Quebec goes smoke free in the New Year. They were the last holdouts. I quit last January so now I think it’s funny that large groups of people hang around the outside of bars, freezing their genetalia off for a nic-fit. It’s minus 30 you stupid, stupid people, give it up for the night!

    And, as I just wrote somewhere else, we also have cabers. But here in Canada we call them hockey sticks.

  24. puddlejumper says:

    We have hockey sticks too but we call it shinty. It’s about as dangerous as sport gets.
    Not like you ice-hockey guys with all your padding and crash helmets…
    Okay. janie is real.
    Janie, just to prove that you aren’t a figment of fts’s imagination you are most welcome to come visit me.
    Loch Lomand is okay, bit full of tourists and Scottish B list celebrities.
    There are much much more beautiful places in Scotland.

  25. feartheseeds says:

    If ‘shinty’ is a sport then so is clubbing seals. I expect Sir Paul McCartney to show up at the next match and pose for photos with one of your wee shinty victims.

    http://www.hickerphoto.com/mccartney-seal-7989-pictures.htm

    Lets not forget now, there’s this wee frozen rubber puck about the size of a fist that gets tossed around at 100mph, and I do believe those padded 200lb men do “run” at each other at 20mph… oh sister, don’t get a Canadian started on defending hockey.

  26. puddlejumper says:

    Listen, we invented your game…
    “Shinty is one of the forebears of ice hockey, Scottish immigrants to Nova Scotia playing a game on ice in 1800 at Windsor. In Canada, informal hockey games are still called shinny.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinty
    This is making me dizzy, running backwards and forwards between these two conversations. Its like the inside of my head just now.
    I do fear no washing of children will be done until much later.
    I’m not sleeping again and am convinced I can actually achieve everything I need to get done before Christmas.
    Given that I need to get my benefits sorted out (my official job end date is Friday), I have a uni course to sort out funding for and a house that resembles an archeological dig I know I better get cracking…but I keep getting sidetracked.
    Can we stick to one place…?

  27. feartheseeds says:

    “Invented” is a pretty strong word… I think, if we go back far enough The Mayans might have a claim at having “invented” European Football, it’s just they used a head as a ball while European Men Footballers generally have no balls… oh. That had to hurt.

    “I’m not sleeping again”
    Why not?

    “I have a uni course to sort out funding for”
    What’s the field? I’m guessing this isn’t some flight of fancy philosophy course… this would, probably be a career changer?

    We can mess up my place if it’s easier… I don’t think there’s anyone else here except you and I. I watched Dawn Of The Dead again Sunday night. The entire thing was filmed at a mall just north of Toronto. I hated the girl and the dog. Characters tossed into movies specifically to be plot devices bother me. The girl has nothing to do with anything until the dog dissapears and then BANG suddenly we’re supposed to believe she’s a fleshed out person. I was surprised not to see more of Sarah Polley’s breasts though. She’s got a rep over here for whipping them out in every other movie she’s in. If you get a chance to see “Beowulf & Grendel” she’s in there. Good movie. Her role… not so much.

  28. puddlejumper says:

    Hey, nothing wrong with gratuitous breast shots.
    With regards to your suggestions over at mine. I think you should fly over here. Actually, don’t fly. Teleport. Its quicker and better for the environment. It’s 20 minutes past noon, so our pubs have been open an hour now. This means the first pints have been drawn off so the beer is clean.
    Not sleeping why? Um…don’t know. Messed up my internal clock partying at the weekend? Reaction to the docs upping my ADs? Posting shit on blogs rather than getting on with important stuff like applying for uni funding? Just not tired…
    And No. Not flight of fancy uni course.
    Open University degree I started a few years ago. The deal is you do 360 credits to get your honours degree. I did 60 (social sciences) a while back and 60 last year (media studies).
    Since I’ve quit my job I plan to do 120 credits this year, which makes it more like full time.
    (History -Romantisism to the Enlightenment & Creative Writing, since you asked)
    Hopefully then I’ll have my degree within next two years, and either write or do research or some other skive that I can fit around my illness. Instead of working trying to fix up the chaotic and confused, which is what I used to do.
    I’m also having to apply for sickness benefits, but it will be held up because of the Christmas holidays.
    Everything is a bit up in the air just now…

  29. feartheseeds says:

    “History -Romantisism to the Enlightenment & Creative Writing, since you asked”
    If I can convince Jen… I mean “Janie” to pay more attention to her computer you two will have lots and loads to talk about. She’s an Enlightened Bookie-Type as well.

    I’m a “Journalism-Print” College graduate (1997). I applied because my girlfriend of three years was getting ready to leave me because I was a shiftless slob (re: unmedicated). Didn’t work out, but it did keep me employed for awhile.

    “I’m also having to apply for sickness benefits…”
    I’ve officially been out of work since 2001 when I quit my PR Job and took on a contract to write a book. The contract’s still ongoing, but obviously the publisher stopped with the advances some time ago. The subject matter revolved somewhat around my family and researching it meant dealing with people who had a lot to do with messing my head up. I spent two years working on the book, but it all just caught up to me in a horrible way and I collapsed. All that to say, I’ve been on Disability for eighteen months now and it has been a Godsend. All I have to worry about now is getting healthy. It’s relatively easy to get on to Disability here, you just need a doctor and a few people to vouch for your insanity, but when you’re unmedicated it’s a little bit harder…

    “I think you should fly over here. Actually, don’t fly. Teleport.”
    I’m the only one not to have been over yet. My younger brother was over just last year, I think it was his fourth or fifth time. I’m pretty much due but I don’t think the government would appreciate me using tax money to fly over for a quick pint or twelve.

    “Not sleeping why? Um…don’t know. Messed up my internal clock partying at the weekend? Reaction to the docs upping my ADs? Posting shit on blogs rather than getting on with important stuff like applying for uni funding?”
    Yeah. Me too.
    The Seroquel works like a charm, but I’m at the point where if I don’t take it, I don’t fall to sleep. So, basically, I can stay up for days. I don’t have much around here to focus on (I moved here from Toronto because it was home for awhile and my mom and her husband are still here). I live in a village of 1800 people and while Montreal and Ottawa are an hour away, I really have no reason to go… so there’s no structure, no reason to get up. So I sleep whenever.

    Most Gratuitous Breast Shot Ever: Halle Barry in “Swordfish” when she drops that book and flashes Hugh Jackman for no apparent reason whatsoever.

    How’d you like the new page? Does it come across as too… pretentious? Or something?

  30. feartheseeds says:

    “You would have been proud to see the Mounties arrived three days before the US feds bothered their arses. How could america let that happen?”
    One of my uncles best friends is on that Search & Rescue Team (they’re actually regular Vancouver cops, when they showed up down there people referred to them as “those Canadian policemen” which got turned into “RCMP”. They travelled West-East across the entire continent, then down to the Caribbean and still got there faster than the Americans… stunning, just stunning).
    I really think the Americans were just in shock. I mean, an entire city was flooded. People had been saying for years that those levies wouldn’t hold, but I really think there was this “It’ll never happen here” attitude at the State and Federal level. I really don’t think it’s actually set in even yet. 911 they came to grips with relatively quickly, mostly because you can see the effect and it’s really only a few city blocks. But an entire city got wiped out in New Orleans. One of the Bloggers in here that I read on a consistent basis is from down there. She still tears up when she thinks about it.
    Honestly, I really don’t think too many other countries could have done much better… I mean, if Ottawa slid off the cliff into the river? I have no idea what our response would be but I know the Americans would be up here helping out in a heartbeat. But still… it took too long to get in there, and too many people suffered needlessly. I like the new U2/Green Day thing… if you haven’t seen the video it’s actually pretty powerful.

    “What was the journalism thing like?”
    Editors are cool. You’ve gotta watch out for the Managing Editors, they’re the vice principals of the news room. I grew up around editors and magazines and reporters and all that (Revolutionaries are great at publishing). Being a reporter is the coolest job in the world. I’ve been backstage at tonnes of concerts, air shows, car races… I’ve met interesting people, I’ve been able to write about really interesting topics. The entire newsroom of every paper in the area becomes your drinking buddies. If you get an opportunity to report on something, do it. All together I’ve been a reporter for eight(?) years and I was never bored.
    Tips:
    1) There are five W’s, the most important is “why”, and it’s pretty much the one you never have the proper time to write about. But find answers to them all, every time.
    2) Learn about the ‘reporting writing style’. The lede (not lead), is the most important bit and should be the first two paragraphs.
    3) Here there’s a manual called The Canadian Press Style Guide. Find the Scottish equivalent and study it… while you’re drinking.
    4) Watch “All The President’s Men” to see what it’s supposed to be like.

    “Whilst I was trying to hold down a job I just felt like I was only just holding it all together.”
    Arrrrgh… I know exactly what you mean. We have to suffer, right? And suffer and suffer and suffer. It’s just expected, by us and the people around us. No cancer patient ever got better living in exhaustion everyday.

    “But I get bored. And it can be lonely.”
    OhmyGodyes. When I was starting on the book I lost everyone who was a part of my life. Somewhere in my blog I’ve written something like “and if you’re dating a fantastic woman from Finland and she’s going back, don’t stay for the book” well… if I was sane chances would have been much higher I’d be in Finland right now eating pickled herring in a sauna.

    “Maybe get me published somewhere…”
    If you’ve got a local paper, start writing letters to the editor. Even if it has nothing to do with what’s in the paper. Last spring I wrote four 800 word essays on Afghanistan and a few other things and the local paper published them as letters. Other than dick around on the PlayStation (Grand Theft Auto… which is why some of my posts have GTA quotes) my only other regular activity is I try to volunteer with the local Historical Society… it’s completely made up of women over 60 so they need someone to lift stuff every once in a while. I think I might be taking over their website after Christmas. And I’m growing a beard.

    Juliette Lewis has made a career out of pretending to be ten years younger than she actually is. She’s a strong actress, but she creeps me out sometimes. Those early movies… teenage girls are not supposed to have eyes like that. Remember “Natural Born Killers” and her scenes with Rodney Dangerfield? Yikes.

    “Do you mean the one you emailed me about?”
    Yeah. I’ve had people email me, some of them think I’m some kind of expert on depression. I just wanted to have some place to guide them to show that I’m not.

    “Shit. Listen to me. I hope you’re not going to charge me by the hour.”
    I think that whatever you owe me is made up in what I owe you.

  31. puddlejumper says:

    Halle Berry, absofuckinglutley. Though she’s at least rather lovely. Though so’s Hugh Jackman. Mmmmm. I haven’t watched Swordfish for ages. If I remember rightly it has rather a high death to bullet ratio and loads of pyrotechnics. I actually own it on DVD so I may watch it later if I’m still not sleeping.
    Sat up watching Kalifornia last night. Brad Pitt being evil and Juliette Lewis being her usual but infinately watchable trailer park self. She’s played the same role in every movie, Cape Fear, Dusk till Dawn, Strange Days (where she covers a PJ Harvey song no less)but I can’t help but love her.
    I also watched the Spike Lee documentary about Hurricane Katrina. It was pretty moving. You would have been proud to see the Mounties arrived three days before the US feds bothered their arses. How could america let that happen?
    I’m a Jen too (well, a Jenny, well actually a Jennifer, but don’t call me that because I’ll think I’m in trouble)
    Your right about the whole being on the sick being easier. Everyone I know keeps telling me how much more relaxed and happy I seem these days. It’s only been 4 months but I do feel better. I can think fairly clearly again for one thing.
    Whilst I was trying to hold down a job I just felt like I was only just holding it all together. I actually had a breakdown earlier in the year and spent a week or so at my parents (to rest) but stupidly went back to work way too quickly.
    I’ve been poor plenty of times before so the lack of income doesn’t worry me so much.
    But I get bored. And it can be lonely.
    I’m in a similar boat to you. The nearest big towns are 50 miles away, Glasgow’s a two hour drive away. There are only so many books you can read. Walks you can take.
    All my friends and my husband, they all work during the day and I’m not really up to making new friends right now. It’s been hard enough keeping the ones I have.
    Shit. Listen to me. I hope you’re not going to charge me by the hour!
    What was the journalism thing like? I’ve been thinking about speaking to my local paper to see if they’d maybe let me work experience one a day a week or something. I figured it would give me practice. Maybe get me published somewhere. And give me a reason to wash my hair and look nice once a week.
    What new page? Do you mean the one you emailed me about?

  32. puddlejumper says:

    AW…you and the girl from Finland. That is soooo sad. It still cuts you up a bit then huh?
    I honestly don’t know how I’d have got through the past year or so without my fella. I’ve put him through hell and back. It has been touch and go at times (you probably know this already -I’ve posted about it).
    It’s still not as good as it used to be. He’s gone from being the “strong one” to having to cope with me getting better. And even though I know that’s what he wants for me, its hard not to live a relationship within the set patterns you’ve created. Do you know what I mean? Now he’s almost TOO careful with me. Neither of us are sure what’s real and what’s just my fucked up brain chemistry. I’m sure plenty of guys would have walked by now.
    Thanks for the tips on reporting.
    The who, what, when, where etc I remember from somewhere (isn’t it a quote by someone?).
    The lead/lede (what’s the difference, please explain) I figure must be like writing blog posts and luring people in. Is that right?
    Feel free to critique any of my posts. The feedback will be appreciated.
    Style, I guess I can crib from my previous jobs where I had to liaise between chaotic underdogs and big-shot authority types, your just adjusting your language and tone appropraitely right? Though I will keep my eyes open for the Scottish manual.
    All the president’s men I haven’t seen. So at least that’s my next Friday-night-home-alone DVD viewing taken care of.
    As for the drinking? That’s the one part I must be qualified for already!
    I’m not sure I would want to be a reporter as my career change though. I just love to write. I used to have to draft up letters to nasty landlords and solicitors, really persuasive stuff. And reports for our company to justify our funding. I enjoyed that part of my work.
    Even the essays for my course last year -I thoroughly enjoyed. The reading up, turning it into something a lay person might understand.
    Part of why I started blogging was I thought it might be good discipline. Write SOMETHING every day.
    The thing that has surprised me most is how many people are not only reading my shit but responding to it. It’s kind of cool.
    I love learning new things. The romantic part of me imagines myself as being right at home in Left Bank Paris, sitting in Salons, being “an adademic”. You ever read Simone De Bouvier’s biography? I read it and just thought. Yes…that’s who I want to be!
    God I’ve just read that back through and I sound like a pretentious twat.
    I’m not half as up myself as I sound…
    -”whatever you owe me is made up in what I owe you”?
    You definately owe me a beer then.

    x

  33. feartheseeds says:

    “It still cuts you up a bit then huh?”
    Only occasionally. It’s mostly just another one of those “could’ve/should’ve” memories now. “If I had been sane 18-years ago; if I had been sane 14-years ago, if if if if…” She’s not the last woman I’ve dated, but she’s the last woman I’ve dated I would’ve moved to Finland to be with.

    “It’s still not as good as it used to be. He’s gone from being the “strong one” to having to cope with me getting better.”
    Every day you wake up medicated is a day you’re going to be different. He’s probably taking his cues from you. Things that frustrated you or pissed you off unmedicated might be okay now, and vice versa. Just be as patient as you can. One thing is for sure, the sex is DEFINITELY going to be different… no more manic lovin’ for Puddle’s Man.

    “The lead/lede (what’s the difference, please explain) I figure must be like writing blog posts and luring people in. Is that right?”
    Pretty much. Lede is pronounced ‘lead’, as in: “Take the lead, and I’ll follow”. Basically in most newspapers the articles are written like an upside down triangle with the most important stuff up front. People don’t usually read the whole article, so the lede is where you pack the most important bits. Any of the publications on Yahoo! News use this method. I don’t think some of your dailies do…
    http://www.cp.org/books.aspx?id=182

    “All the president’s men I haven’t seen.”
    It will open your eyes. It’s a book worth reading.

    “I just love to write.”
    Find a trade magazine. Make a list of your interests, and I’ll guarantee there’s at least a dozen magazines or websites you could contribute to. Actually… send me a couple and I’ll see what I can find. There are oodles of places you could sell: “Young mother tries to cope with newly medicated life.”

    “The thing that has surprised me most is how many people are not only reading my shit but responding to it.”
    I remember the first posted response I received. Clare wrote it. It freaked me right out. The fact that there were people “In There” was something I hadn’t really thought it out at that point.

    “You ever read Simone De Bouvier’s biography?”
    The romantics are a little lost on me. I love hearing about them, and I really enjoy the idea of that time period, but I mostly read about politics and history. The best book I’ve read recently is “Occidentalism: The West In The Eyes Of Its Enemies” by Ian Buruma. Mom’s always trying to get me to read more fiction, she gave me four of Ian Rankin’s “Rebus” novels in August, but I ripped through all of them in two few weeks. “Frankenstein”, however, is one of my very favourites. And I do read poetry… George Bowering would be worth checking out. And Charles Bukowski, of course.

    “I’m not half as up myself as I sound…”
    I am, entirely. Other than the dick jokes.

    “I tried to”
    Oh, not those. This page is the one I’m looking for feedback on: http://saltedlithium.wordpress.com/about/eight_questions_nine_answers/
    BTW: That’s me in the superman pose.

    Did you get that Big Sugar song?

    Hey! You’re coming up on 10,000 blog hits… Congratulations!

  34. Pingback: My Thanks To You On The First Anniversary Of Salted Lithium… YAY YOU. « …salted lithium.

  35. Pingback: Some Things I Learned About My Recovery From My Trip Back To The Big City « …salted lithium.

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