The second year of Salted Lithium ends on November 14, 2008. This is the third post in a series taking a look back at the past two years.
The first post was a collection of posts I’ve written about my relationship with my father. The second was about my relationship with manic depression. But both posts had other stuff as well, just like this one.
This collection is made up of my favourite posts which have little to nothing to do with manic depression or my recovery. Most of them are about being poor, falling in love and living in the big city with my punk friends.
The idea of these Anniversary Posts is to encourage people to take part in the conversations which were started on the original posts last year or two years ago. But no pressure.
Food Banks, Roaches & Potato Soup
May 31, 2007
“During my early unmedicated years, just after I had moved to Ottawa, there were a few months during which I survived with no money at all. Usually when I received a welfare cheque the money would last five to ten days, after which I would usually have enough groceries (re: pasta and butter) to keep me going until a little later on. But there was just enough weirdness in my live so that on one particular occasion I received my monthly cheque two days early and had completely spent it even before the month even started. I had paid my rent and bought a small gift for my girlfriend and, taa-daa, it was gone.”
Fred Nietzsche Was My 240lb Solvent-Huffing Ex-Nazi Rooming-House Neighbour And Friend
July 4, 2007
The first time I met “Wild Bill” was when he woke me up to tell me our front porch was on fire. It wasn’t, yet, but would have been if he hadn’t discovered the smoke. I had been asleep in my room, which faced the street in front. My room, when Bill* woke me up by banging on my door, had been full of smoke. None of the three fire extinguishers on our floor worked, so we doused the smoke and embers using cups and pots. Someone had stuffed a lit cigarette into the rotting wood.
“The next time I met Bill was when he knocked on my door and politely asked if I had any bug spray so he could “kill some flies”. When I said no he said my can of air freshener would do. For some reason that’s pretty much how William “Wild Bill” Fred Nietzsche – a 5′10″, 240lb, 50-year old, balding, heavily tattooed, ex-Nazi White Supremacist, former Hell’s Angel associate, solvent huffing, recovering alcoholic — and I became friends.”
How To Avoid Being A Writer In Five Steps
October 13, 2007
“4) When it comes to critiquing your writing your mother, cousins, girlfriends, boyfriends, teachers are all complete wastes of skin. Exactly what training do the have to be your critic? If they knew what they were talking about they’d be Stephen King. Is your last name King? Didn’t think so. Judge and compare your work to other people’s stuff, not to other people’s opinions.”
Smoking Smoked Smoke
October 26, 2007
“Thanks to my roommates, S. and F., we always had massive boxes of smokes in our garage because they supplied students at the main College in Ottawa, and one of the Universities with cheap smokes. And hash. Which you can also smoke. We also had a Sega and the NHL Game where you could still make players bleed on the ice. So life was pretty sweet. The only problem was heat.
“Heat takes money. And I had none except whatever the government was handing out. My brother was in College, so he was broke. And the street corner / local dealers never, ever have any money, so we scraped enough coins together to pay for half a tank of oil to heat the house. Thing about half a tank is it’s not a full tank. So again, two months later, we had no heat.”
Welcome To Frontier Lodge: Part Two
November 5, 2007
“When you’re on lunchtime juice duty at a two-week all boys Christian camp and your counsellor, a juice guzzling passive aggressive asshole, sends you to the counter for another jug of water with a hint of synthetic grape flavour, you take your time. Because the kitchen staff are chicks. Ladies. Young women. People, but with boobies. And sometimes… sometimes they looked at you. And then you had something to talk about for the rest of camp which, thank God, had nothing to do with God.”
The only reason I started Salted Lithium was because in September of 2006 I accidentally erased three years of edits to my book. This is also when I grew my first full beard.
Salted gave me a place to learn about manic depression, but by the third month I had begun to feel like I was living with the disease, not recovering from it. So I abandoned Salted for another blog, where I wrote about (aboot) Canada. I actually went almost four months without posting on Salted.
I eventually decided, however, it would be best to restart Salted because my recovery was nowhere near complete or even guaranteed, and I thought the best idea would be to write about the disease, my recovery and my life in general all on one blog.
Despite having a much larger readership with [the other blog] I chose Salted because it felt, and continues to feel, the most comfortable of all my blogs.
Salted, in every way, has been a success. And will continue to be a success no matter what happens to the readership levels, the blog hits or anything else.
Wherever we are in our recoveries we can always learn from others. And not just from the tragedies, or how we cope living with a mental illness. We can learn from reading about the everyday stuff… from how we describe growing up, about how we describe our favourite memories and movies and books.
One of the things I’ve learned from friends in AA and NA is not everyone moves into each stage of recovery at the same time. We shouldn’t necessarily be looking for “bipolar role models” because being honest is the most important thing we can do in our recovery, and we shouldn’t waste time wanting to be anyone else. It’s important to witness, however, to watch people in various stages of recovery to have some idea what to expect.
Ultimately Salted has changed because I’ve changed. I think that’s why some people using their blog as a recovery tool either abandon, or delete their blog. Because it just gets too difficult to be writing about something like manic depression when you’re thinking about the clinical depressions in your life. Or you’re finally seeing your friends and family without the thick haze of mental illness blurring your vision. No one should live inside a mental illness if they don’t have to, and that includes writing about it on a recovery blog.
Or maybe you’ve reached a point in their recovery where you can concentrate on just starting again. I started a photo blog not too long ago, for example, so I could also start writing humour again. The focus of Salted has changed because my recovery has moved forward, and our recovery blogs have to keep up with us…