There is (often) help.

The more depressed I become, the more I blog. The more I blog, the more readers I get. And though I am basically a selfish sad-sack, I feel I should have some Public Service Announcement, so here we go:

Most depression is treatable! And not with hardcore treatment like ECT, either – I mean physical movement (I hate the word exercise as much as I hate doing exercise), counselling/therapy, and/or medication.

My case is an unfortunate exception, where I’ve got a strong family history, a seasonal component, and a history of abuse and trauma, among other things, followed by years of trying to find ways of trying to get on top of depression once and for all. I would really plead with you, if you feel you are depressed, to give yourself an honest and necessary chance to have it properly treated. Resources will depend on where you live, but some Googling or a chat with your family doc might be a good place to start.

To Write Love On Her Arms (www.twloha.com) is my favourite website about depression and some of the blog posts are truly beautiful. So please, if depression is new to you, don’t let it end your story without reaching out for help.

thanks for reading this.

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

W. B. Yeats

Chester Bennington hung himself.

God damn depression. Fucking hell.

That’s the lead singer from Linkin Park, if you didn’t recognize the name.

I just listened to “Leave out all the rest” today:

I dreamed I was missing
You were so scared
But no one would listen
Cause no one else cared
After my dreaming
I woke with this fear
What am I leaving
When I’m done here?
So, if you’re asking me, I want you to know

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

Don’t be afraid
I’ve taken my beating
I’ve shared what I’ve made
I’m strong on the surface
Not all the way through
I’ve never been perfect
But neither have you
So, if you’re asking me, I want you to know

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

Forgetting
All the hurt inside you’ve learned to hide so well
Pretending
Someone else can come and save me from myself
I can’t be who you are

What time off plans will be most vacation-ey.

My shrink has been on holiday, so I haven’t seen him for three weeks. Or rather, Tuesday was the first time I have seen him in three weeks. In the meantime I’ve started crying at my boss, and I’m just sort of feeling worn out with the stupid summer weather and attendant migraines.

When I cried at my boss, I had said that I hadn’t really been on a good vacation since 2009, and that I didn’t actually have many vacation days accrued yet, and he said he was happy for me to do whatever I needed, that he didn’t want to lose me, etc. So I had said to him, I think this was last week, that I had thought about taking some time off around the Labour Day long weekend and the beginning of September.

By the time I got to my psychiatrist this week, five weeks  away was just seeming like way too far, and that there was no way I could go to work five days a week for five more weeks until I got time off. It ended up being a pretty long appointment because he was trying to figure out what would be the best for me to take a little bit of time  I have to hopefully nip this in the bud so I can be rejuvenated and not wait until I totally hit the wall.

I didn’t just want to start days off immediately, because I’d be stressed out about work that wasn’t getting done and whether I can remember what I was doing and what I was supposed to do when I got back, and I couldn’t imagine whether it would be better to just work shorter weeks and take a long weekend for a few weeks in a row, or take off a big chunk of time, or what.

So  it ended up being a pretty long appointment before we figured it out, but my psychiatrist made what I thought was a great suggestion and then he wrote me a note for it. So I’m working a four day week this week and next week, then taking a week off which will really be like 10 days with the statutory holiday.  So I’m trying to decide what to do. I haven’t gone camping in ages, and although the weekends are mostly booked up there are quite a few walk-in tent sites available for Sunday through Friday.

I would have to pick up a tent,  which is one of the few things that I won’t be getting at Costco because I don’t need a tent for 8 people, but really I don’t even need a camp stove as I’m happy to pack some sandwiches and hotdogs to roast over the fire and marshmallows and maybe some cans of boost. I can travel light.

My frugal self thought that I should look on Kijiji first, but I’m a bit leery of buying a used tent because who knows how the last person packed it up, and I don’t really want to assemble a tent in somebody’s living room before I decide to buy it, and then I wouldn’t find out if it had a leak or small tear until I was getting rained on anyway.

My big dilemma is really if I should concentrate on all of the million projects that I have at home, including chores and more fun ones like finishing off some jewellery on making, repainting my little antique cupboard, or just try to get away..

I know is it going away is the most vacation-ey thing,  but I’m always kind of behind the gun with grocery shopping and laundry and cleaning because of the migraines, and it seems to me almost even Stephen: I could go away and then come back to a messy house which is stressful, or I could stay home but then not have any actual getaway which is stressful in a different way..

I’d like to think that I could just go to a nearby park for an hour or two, but I never seem to actually make that happen.

I woke up with a migraine, and have been taking medications for about 2 1/2 hours, and now I am mostly pain-free and about half drowsy. Which I think is a fairly doable level.  I’m in the headspace where I’m not tracking with my migraine app right now because I know that I have migraines literally all the freaking time in the summer, and it’s just depressing to see how much it actually is.  I want to go into work today so that I actually have a long weekend instead of a migraine day and then a workday and then a regular weekend because that kind of defeats the point of having the time off.

Really the problem with having a migraine is having to move. I think if I could do everything by dictation, the way that I do blogging, without having to look at anything bright or get  out of bed, I could work. It’s mostly that my head hurts more when I move, and they’re so much movement involved with getting from my bed to make sure at work; into the bathroom to get ready, out of my apartment, out of my building, into the car,  Drive to work, into the Parkade elevator, down the hall, into my department, into my office. Then I finally get to sit down and not move my fucking head until the end of the day. Here goes nothing.

Too good to pass up.

Honestly, I know I said I would drop this, but it’s comedy gold! The fan who had commented here asserted the writer I criticized wasn’t young and inexperienced because she’d paid someone to print as few as 15 copies of her books. I thought hmmm… let’s give this lady a Google and see if I was wrong.

So this “journal” that she has also been published in (http://www.indianavoicejournal.com/2016/07/a-poem-by-candice-louisa-daquin-suffrage.html)

has this to say:

Candice Louisa Daquin is of Sephardic origin and immigrated to the US. She currently lives in the American Southwest. She is a long time editor, reviewer and writer of poetry, and has published three books. Her forth will be available this year. Daquin is an ardent supporter of equality and immigration reform.

Her FORTH, you say? I guess spell-check didn’t catch that should have been “fourth” and neither did the editors of this, ahem, prestigious literary magazine. It’s an online only journal and that is dated July 7, 2016; a full year ago.

 

I mean it comes back again to wanting to convince yourself that you, or the person you are a fan of, are already awesome instead of a work in progress needing a great deal of progress indeed…

Feeling like you’re in the wrong day…

i always have an appointment with my registered massage therapist on Wednesdays. Except for today, when he needed to change it. So ok, I went in Tuesday… but now it feels like it should be Thursday tomorrow and I’ve somehow gotten gypped into a longer work week. Ohhhh, perception. Why do you mess with me?

On the bright side, I was totally pre-migrainey when I went in – clammy, cold feet and hands, light-sensitive – and I warmed up about halfway through and felt a lot more like myself when I left. Sometimes I read about famous stars (actors, NFL players, etc) who have migraines and think “so what… they could afford to get a massage anytime if they had one!” An expensive but necessary summer luxury, I guess.

Kicking yourself in hindsight

Apparently the writer whose work was rejected, after blocking me from her own blog, has sent all her fans here to read all about what a big bully I am (by being pissy and snippy in writing about my interaction with her for my own purposes on my own blog.) Let’s just remember that her fan called me an “arrogant prick” if we’re going to talk bout bullying…

It’s not like I haven’t given this any thought.  My tone degraded, and I apologized for it in a comment on her blog before she blocked me. I AM sorry that she was hurt, especially if as I suspect (and none of her fans have disputed) that she is young and inexperienced.

Here’s the thing though: I am more frustrated with myself than I am with her, or anyone else involved in this, and this is why: I thought even as I started the first, gentle, maybe-you-might-consider email that I was going to be wasting my time. I just don’t think she or her fans are in a space where they can hear “your writing isn’t good” no matter how professionally or kindly it is stated.

So what was my fuckup? I kept going. And I kept going because I thought if I was somehow able to get across to her with my writing that her writing needs work in these structural elements, then she could work on it, get published easily in the future, and it would be a win-win for her and her fans.

That was arrogant and deluded on my part. Her inability to take criticism isn’t based on what I was saying or on what the journal editor said, or on how we said it. She, and her fans, are defensively invested in her identity as a “good writer.” So I’ve hurt her, pissed off her league of fans, and got nowhere in convincing her that the journal editor had a point. And now, I have to let this go.

Edit: proof that her fans are too invested to see the facts: she has self-published books (where you pay a printer the full printing costs so anyone can “self-print” anything.) Nope, that doesn’t have the same street cred as a real publication, to anyone but fans of authors who only have self-published work! Ha!

Vanishing bookmarks.

I just tried to pull up the blog teaching cancer to cry, and it’s gone. It was written by this guy named Ezra Caldwell, who started out as a dance instructor and then switch to building bicycles. He got diagnosed with cancer and kept a blog with his experiences.  He had treatments and surgeries and decided not to pursue treatment when the cancer recurred, so he died two or three years ago.

Even though I’ve read the entire thing, I’d go back periodically just because I enjoyed reading his writing, and enjoyed his descriptions of his foodie meals,  and now it’s gone. I can’t blame his wife for not wanting to go to paying for and maintaining the web domain, and I’m sure I can get it through the Internet way back machine, but it’s just kind of a shock when you go to a familiar bookmark and get that 404.

I can lead a horse to water…

I had an upsetting interaction tonight. I saw a blog post where this journal had straight up told this lady that they didn’t want to take her book reviews any more because they were badly written. He didn’t even want to try to edit them, he just outright refused her work. She posted the review in question and had hundreds of comments from people – her fans I guess – assuring her that the editor didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground, and she was an AWESOME writer!

She’s obviously smart and there were parts that intrigued me but my God, the thing WAS badly written. She completely failed to use proper punctuation, had run-on sentences and used a lot of overwrought and flowery language that seemed just a little off the mark.

So I wrote a comment suggesting that maybe she could seek other feedback about her work, or take a writing class, and maybe consider if there was room for improvement in aspects of her writing. I didn’t WANT to write the comment. I thought as I sat down to write it that it was a waste of time because she wasn’t going to listen to me because she didn’t want to hear it. But I thought that it was such a shame if her work went nowhere because of punctuation and vocabulary and structural flaws overshadowing the ideas, that I’d like to try.

Of course she replied saying that was her writing “style” and that she knew she was a very good writer. She had taken writing classes “as a kid” and worked as a professional editor (that I find hard to believe!)

So I tried again, a little more pointed this time, that maybe considering feedback was a good thing, and improper punctuation isn’t a matter of “style” for prose, and that if I was her editor I would have had to rewrite every sentence. Again, more assertions that her writing is top-notch and that she is perfectly capable of hearing the truth but she only disliked the editor’s approach.

How can you say you are open to “the truth” when the only truth you will consider is the one you want to hear? I mean, geez, it’s like giving someone a hint like “Wow, in summer I sure find it hard to stay cool. I reapply my antiperspirant after I walk/bike to work just because it’s so hot out” and they reply “Well I always smell like a daisy” and you say “Hm, really? I think everyone has to make an extra effort during heat waves” and they say “I smell awesome!” so you finally yell “YOU HAVE BODY ODOR” and then they get all offended at how “mean” you are. I re-posted her last comment with corrected punctuation and it was like 11 corrections in 3 sentences.

Anyway, one of her fans called me the most arrogant prick in the world for my trouble. If I was insisting that I was awesome at math and someone showed me 11 errors in 3 computations I hope I’d be mature enough to think wow, I better bone up on this, or start double-checking my work, or something; not double down and insist that doing math wrong was “my style.”

Why I get emotionally invested in throwing pearls before swine (metaphorically) I don’t know. I guess I try to think how I would feel in that situation but I guess being open to improvement and taking feedback are skills in professionalism and professional development and we’re not all there. This gal is probably only in her 20s for all I know.

The irony is that in wasting my time with her, I was procrastinating on a paper that I’m in the middle of editing to the tune of $50 an hour. Next time I’ll not work for free for some stranger on the Internet, haha. Just sad that I wasted my time and sad that she is totally deluded about her writing.