If you're suicidal, you're where I was five years ago. (I've never discussed this publicly before.) Please read. pic.twitter.com/ipKvA9iA3k
— John Tabin (@johntabin) August 12, 2014
Click on the tiny text to embiggen.
Via Dave Weigel, “Calling All Sad Clowns“:
… If you’ve never suffered from depression, or had a public career, the suicide of a successful person makes no damn sense. It’s the same reason why an artist quitting or breaking his band up makes no sense—you wanted something, and you’ve finally grabbed it, so why would you ever give that up? What’s wrong with you?
Depression is what’s wrong with you…
It’s contradictory, and pointless, and bears very little relationship to the reality of what you’re going through. It’s unpredictable in a way that makes you feel callow; I’ve been sad but functional after the deaths of family members, then horribly depressed while walking home on a random Wednesday. The problem with a public career, like Williams had (and most journalists have), is that you’re “only as good as your last one.” Most of the time, you create something that goes off well, and you can bask in it. And sometimes you pull it off and are sure that you peaked—down you go, down the spiral.
Does this sound pathetic? Good eye. That’s one of the realizations that hits you on the way down. How many millions of people are in legitimately less fair, less pleasant situations than you? They cope, and you can’t? Like Tabin says, the mind is able to lie to itself. The moments when you need help, anything from tricks you’ve learned to help from friends to real therapy, are the moments when your synapses are crackling with ways to make you hopeless.
It’s a very good thing to see people reacting to the Williams suicide by talking honestly and asking if any of their friends need help. Depression is the weak disease that convinces you it’s invincible. And voices of reason can stop that.
I have found out today about co- workers who are dealing with these issues, after talking through RW’s death at work. For every one, there are probably 10 more. Shining the light into dark corners.
Four years ago, Marc Maron had a talk with Robin Williams. Late yesterday he rereleased that interview. In it, Williams talks with great openness about his struggles and about suicide. If you have any interest at all in this story, and especially if you have not heard Williams talk about himself in such an unguarded way, I suggest that you listen.
Observe the festering sore that is Taboola:
Best booties in hip-hop attached to a discussion about Barack Obama.
And Michelle Obama
Now you know why I complain loudly about putting money into the pockets of those who are your political and cultural enemies.
Another Holocene Human (now with new computer)
I guess it’s a good time to talk about it. I found it easier to deal with depression once I’d been through the ups and downs a couple of times because I knew it would get better and there were things I could do to make it better. It’s like having the wind knocked out of you, the more you’ve been through it the better you are at licking it. I did have major depression with suicidal ideation. I find ruminating on all the shit you’re sad/furious/hopeless about makes it worse, and the old Freudian style talk therapy was a way to feel 50x worse than when you walked in the door. I find CBT has helped me a lot. Just my experience.
I think a lot of young people go through it for the first time and they feel the despair and don’t understand why they feel that way and dying just seems so much easier. When you are suffering major depression you eventually just feel so paralyzed and despairing that you want to fall asleep and never wake up. Just existing is so difficult that it seems easier. You tell yourself it wouldn’t be such a big deal if you died and other people will get on without you.
Another Holocene Human (now with new computer)
@Richard Bottoms: Don’t get mad, get ghostery for Chrome or Firefox.
Another Holocene Human (now with new computer)
@the Conster: I’ve heard it’s as many as 1/3 of all Americans.
It’s rough out there. Really rough. When you ask what keeps us from despair, well, some of us do despair.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
I’ll just leave these here.
Adventures in Depression
Depression Part Two
So much of the talk last night and today — not here, but just about everywhere else I look — has been along the lines of “If you’re sad, tell someone.” The thing is, a whole lot of depressed people DO tell someone. A whole lot of depressed people KNOW they’re depressed and want to continue their lives…minus the misery. We kid ourselves when we pretend that the only barrier to addressing depression is asking for/offering help. It’s a fucking beast of a disease that sometimes doesn’t respond to drugs, talk therapy or most anything you throw at it.
My dad just spent two weeks in a behavioral health unit getting a series of ECT because his meds would not work. He was sleeping 18 hours a day before he went in and the only thing that gave him pleasure was reading the sports section of the newspaper. So he was not brutally unhappy for, say, 20 minutes a day. He knew he was severely depressed. We knew he was severely depressed. We begged his psychiatrist for help and she just kept changing his meds to no effect. Finally we convinced her to admit him to the best BH hospital in the region. They observed him for three days and said, “This man needs ECT.” It was a frightening thing to face, no thanks to Hollywood’s portrayal of this procedure, but it seems to have helped…so far. We are grateful and exhausted and keeping our fingers crossed.
I know everyone’s story is different, but I wish more people understood that “telling someone” or “intervening” isn’t really the end of the problem. It’s often only the very first step in addressing a disease that can be hard as hell to beat down.
@Another Holocene Human (now with new computer): I thought I had been through some rough patches until I read some of the diaries of those who have been to the depths, and I realized that I have barely waded into the shallow end.
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I just looked up those links for my brother-in-law who says he doesn’t understand what depression is and doesn’t know if he’s ever been depressed.
I was just coming here to post them here, too. Yay for you beating me to it.
Thank you for putting up the Maron clip. Will listen to it later tonight.
Just sad, sad, sad about Robin Williams.
Depression is a hell of a thing. I struggled with it for the last few years; my depression was mild and situational and relatively easily brought under control once I actually sought treatment. I’ve known people with more serious depression — insidious, neurochemical stuff that is with its sufferers each and every day of their lives. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s something nobody can even hope to understand unless you get to know someone who is dealing with it — really, intimately get to know them. And even then, you’re still an outsider, observing from a distance.
Depression is a cancer. Only instead of eating away at your lungs or your liver, the tumor eats away at the part of your brain that makes you care — about yourself, about the world around you, about living.
Robin Williams was a true comedic genius and the world is so much poorer for his loss. It breaks my heart that he succumbed to this disease. But I am so glad that we are using it as an opportunity to actually have a conversation about depression instead of simply clucking our tongues, calling it a waste, and moving on.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@WaterGirl: I love Allie.
I love Allie’s dogs.
Lauren Bacall just died.
@raven: Lauren Bacall, Hollywood’s Icon of Cool, Dies at 89 http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/lauren-bacall-dead-hollywood-icon-719699 via @THR
@JasonF: I was depressed to the point of wanting to commit suicide for about 6 months. What kept me alive was worrying that the house was too messy, that people would criticize and make fun of me after I was dead, but I had no energy to do anything, let alone housework. I mulled over killing myself—and how? couldn’t be too disgusting or painful—and tried to motivate myself to do housework.
I might have eventually starved to death while mulling, but I was pulled out of it by having to take in and care for a relative with family problems. Oddly enough, she’d been tossed out for being too depressed to do anything, aka tough love.
@lamh36: You know how to whistle. . .
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
@Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Here’s the open thread you were looking for…
Depression also comes with a situational status, I remember one night when my husband called me from ECU to tell me that the car had broken down, and he needed me to drive the truck with the broken tail lights to ECU to pick him up. I remember driving up the road, with broken tail lights waiting for a car behind me to rear end me at any minute and thinking how easy it would be to just drive the fucking truck into a wall and all of this bullshit would be over. I wouldn’t have to deal with it any more. I am pretty much in the same situation right now, my boss is requiring me to work every weekend, my mother is coming to visit in three weeks, my house needs cleaning and I do not have the hours in the day to get it done. At some point I keep thinking that just taking some of my husband’s pills would be preferable to having to tolerate what I need to get done for the next three weeks because I am in between a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals brief being due on August 25 and a Mum visit due on September 10. I am fucked, whichever way you look at it, and right now I don’t know what to do.
This is saddening. If you haven’t read it, her autobiography is wonderful, like spending an afternoon with a friend spinning endless stories. What a life!
My good friend, a former NCIS agent says that the first thing a woman does before committing suicide is clean her house, cause she knows the cops are going to be coming and she doesn’t want the cops to think she was a bad housekeeper. When you think about it, it is really sad.
I am Bipolar 2. I am one of the people who medication can and does help tremendously, and I am able to live a “normal” life. But, it can be as tenuous as one missed pill, one over the counter medication, one “innocuous” dietary supplement that throws off the meds. It’s so easy to get thrown a curveball that spins you into orbit or under a house, and all you can do is try to claw back again.
You never forget what you are. A sad day is cause for fear that it will bleed into weeks and months. A happy day means you quickly get it under control so you won’t get “too” happy, so it won’t be the start of mania, as if you can control it with sheer willpower. A change of season and sunlight is frightening. You live with the awareness that “it” is always waiting for you to look the other way.
We hear of suicides. We know how they happen…At some point the absolute despair merges with the willpower to Do Something About It. And if you have no ability to see anything but a repeat of the same demons for the rest of your existence, the Something is a gun, noose, knife, pills. There simply aren’t other options you can find.
We talk about selfish or unselfish. That has nothing to do with it. You are trapped in a funhouse of your own mind, everything warped, alone. It is impossible to explain what it is like when your mind is tearing you apart, when the thing that interprets reality is the thing whispering lies in your ear.
Again, I am incredibly lucky. Pills work. I have an amazing doc, a strong support system, and the money to afford the help. I ache for people who do not.
This is saddening. If you haven’t read it, her autobiography is great. It’s like hanging out with a friend who’s full of stories. What a life!
@Litlebritdifrnt: And it’s also true that you could win the lottery and still be depressed. Outside pressures can pile on, but at least when you explain those things to other people they understand, and there’s often a way to fix a bad situation. Clinical depression doesn’t depend upon bad things happening to you.
@Litlebritdifrnt: I think I’d also have to organize the files.
Wait a minute, where are my lawyers? IANAL, but isn’t this a violation of the citizens right to assemble, masked as a “reasonable” request?
“…We ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and respectful manner. We further ask all those wishing to demonstrate or assemble to disperse well before the evening hours to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of our community. Unfortunately, those who wish to co-opt peaceful protests and turn them into violent demonstrations have been able to do so over the past several days during the evening hours. These events are not indicative of the City of Ferguson and its residents…”
Also too, the Ferguson PD requested and the FAA approved
Apparently the PD claimed a police chopper was fired upon….WTF is up with this damn PD.
Did I miss something and somehow we are in the Ukraine?
@Shortstop: I want the last check I write to bounce.
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
@Shortstop: Okay. I found CS’s parody funny. It may well be mean spirited, but it was spot on. YMMV.
As far as the rest, that commenter does grate on me. Recently, on I/P threads, he posted a number of comments that indicated his shock that American Jews may have widely diverse views on the topic. Come on…. The Mayberry/Lake Woebegone stories of his town…. This may all be true, but his style, since it grated on me, did make me prone to pick nits with things he said. But then, I can get pedantic on the drop of a dime. That’s about it. There was no intention on my part of being a Heather (odd thing – I am actually taking a break from watching that movie to write this).
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Shit.
Tabin, OP: I like how he mentioned useless psych wards and the times when the system, it doth not work. Because simply, ‘Take your meds’ doesn’t always work.
@Another Holocene Human (now with new computer): I find ruminating on all the shit you’re sad/furious/hopeless about makes it worse, and the old Freudian style talk therapy was a way to feel 50x worse than when you walked in the door. I find CBT has helped me a lot. Just my experience.
Sadly, my experience has always been the opposite. But CBT and pills are in and talk is out, so what you gonna do?
But then, I don’t have depression. I have PTSD! Whoopee! All the fun of depression now with BONUS HYPERVIGILENCE AND PARANOIA.
So that’s big big fun.
[‘C’est la guerre, c’est la vie.’]
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I loved that about her. It was a big part of my lifelong girl crush on her. Raising my Red Bull to her long and excellent life and looking forward to the marathon.
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: @Shortstop: IIRC she and Bogie told McCarthy/HUAC to bugger off.
The Neurobiology of Depression is being studied, so it’s not completely understood*, but it does seem clear Our Friends serotonin and dopamine** are (once again) involved. Thus there are physical causes to the disease BUT even given the extremely limited understanding of the brain/mind Unity there are also psychological factors that play into it so intervention is needed at both the biochemical and “talky-talk” levels. Thus, someone with depression needs to find a trained, skilled, specialist.
While searching for that person anyone with depression needs to stop – like right the hell now – ingesting alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant and while it may provide temporary relief its full effect is to floorboard the accelerator on the Highway to Hell.
* at least by me
** and norepinephrine?
@Litlebritdifrnt: I was snickering at myself while being too depressed to clean up so I could kill myself, but I wasn’t thinking of police. I was thinking of my mother—“She was tidy as a child”—and the like.
@Anoniminous: When I was seeing a shrink while getting sober I said “Am I depressed?” Dude laughed, ” you have some stuff goin on but depressed you ain’t”! Then I watched my bride hit the clinical depression and I understood.
Excellent exposition. Kudos.
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I have a psychologist friend who says that Allie Brosh’s pieces are among the best stuff he’s ever read on depression.
Having myself experienced only (only!) mild clinical depression that was helped greatly by the Prozac spectrum (I went through ’em all), I can tell you that even that can be crushing.
On NPR today Dick Cavett had a great (and chilling) line re Robin Williams. Host Robert Siegel asked him how to understand how Williams could have killed himself when he had a wife and children. Cavett said, “It was easy: He didn’t care about them — because he couldn’t feel anything.”
Texas anti-gay leader Jonathan Saenz’s ex-wife left him for another woman
3 years ago I hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer. My wife’s friend was still doing her job as the mentor for our 11 year old. And then in September everything changed.
The friend couldn’t quite figure out how to live with her (25 year history of) depression in a world that would leave my child orphaned, again, unless a miracle happened.
I got my miracle. She took her own life. The obit lied: She did NOT die unexpectedly at home. Those of us who knew her well fully expected that eventually the voices would be louder than anything she could ignore. The timing…wasn’t so hot.
@Hungry Joe: They just showed a Mork and Mindy where he talked about fame and death. Elvis, Janis and Hendrix we among those mentioned.
@Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):
I want Tommy back. But I don’t blame him if he doesn’t want to. He is very sweet.
@gogol’s wife: I’ve tried a couple of ways to contact him just to say “we miss ya”.
Lauren Bacall has passed away :(
Reports: Legendary actress Lauren Bacall has died at 89
Cindy Clark, USA TODAY
Legendary film star Lauren Bacall has died, reports Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. She was 89. Both outlets are reporting she died of a suspected stroke Tuesday morning at her New York home.
Known for her husky voice and sizzling looks, Bacall started out as a model and then broke out as a leading lady opposite Humphrey Bogart in her first film, 1944’s To Have and To Have Not. The two had a whirlwind romance and wed the following year, but it wasn’t without scandal. When they met, she was 19 and he was 44 — and an unhappily married man.
The couple went on to star together in more films: The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947), and Key Largo (1948). They had a son and daughter together and remained married until Bogart’s death from throat cancer in 1957.
Bacall’s other notable films include 1950’s Young Man With a Horn and 1953’s How To Marry A Millionaire, in which she starred alongside Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe.
She also experienced success on stage, starring on Broadway in Goodbye, Charlie (1959) and Cactus Flower (1965), and won Tony Awards for her performances in Applause (1970) and Woman of the Year (1981).
I love her checked suit in To Have and Have Not.
And I LUUUURVE Bogey!
Rest in peace.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@rikyrah: and a pretty good Sopranos cameo
@debbie: Seconded! I read her autobiography by accident; it happened to be on the shelf of a rented beach place, and I had nothing else to read, so I read it.
What a life indeed! My favorite story was the wedding of LB and Bogie. Edward G. Robinson was going to walk her down the aisle, and when the music came on, he said, “Wait! She’s still in da can!”
Dark Passage is really great.
Culture of Truth
It has been a cruel summer.
Lauren Bacall got her full allotment of days. 89 years. Grand person.
Robin Williams, no. [Humphrey Bogart, no, also.]
I don’t know who said what to you, but I hope you come back. I love your anecdotes about your family. I love your mom that, though a Republican, believes in the voting process. I love your stories about your niece. And that you have a Lego room. And, you talk about how your small town is growing because it’s a good place to live.
Keep dropping those stories. You’re smart and fair, and I enjoy the back and forth.
I also hope you come back Tommy because though you’re in Illinois, you’re closer to the happenings down there in Ferguson. Maybe you’re seeing something on local media that the rest of us aren’t.
Oh fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
@gogol’s wife: As much as one must love Casablanca, To Have and Have Not deserves a place in the pantheon. Not just Bogey and Bacall but the Hemingway/Faulkner connection as well.
I vote Tommy back on the island. Please!
Cajun food being served on said island.
Maybe he’s just otherwise engaged during Shark Week?
I don’t believe them in the least.
I can’t believe that he could have been that offended by CS. But it’s true I haven’t seen him here since then.
This makes me wonder about my buddy (who I’ve mentioned in the past) who lost his job and spiraled into a deep funk. I really have no idea what the appropriate amount of interaction (now that he moved out of NYC and is back in NC at his parent’s place is). Since he moved out a couple months ago, we’ve exchanged all of a couple emails, all initiated by me. My fiancee thinks I should just let him be, just give him space and maybe reach out again later, maybe towards the end of this year. But he’s been in the dumps for nearly 10 months at this point – and I just worry that, with his parents working, no other family members nearby (his brother works 3 hours away in investment banking), and with only one friend who lives within any reasonable distance (and that’s 30-40 minutes away, driving), I feel like he could just get completely lost.
I reached out to his brother a few months ago and heard he was going to therapy, which was a good sign. But I haven’t talked to him since (he ignored my last couple inquiries), and his friends who are still down in the area are on the fence about whether he’s getting better or if he’s flatlining and just staying at rock bottom. I was originally thinking of swinging by in November after a wedding I was going to, but I decided against it – I know it’s not going to be happy or fun, and I am still angry that he cost me several hundred dollars, threw a wrench into my wedding plans (he was originally supposed to be the groomsman in charge of a lot of the ancillary planning), and responded late to my confirmation that he wasn’t going to come to the wedding at all.
For those who have the experience – what’s the best way to manage it, especially if someone seems to be in a state of longer-term depression and hasn’t really shown any sign (at least from what little I’ve been exposed / heard) of coming out of it anytime soon? Particularly since some of the behavior has been negatively impactful to me directly?
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Lauren Bacall and James Garner were staunch Democrats. (As was Gene Kelly.)
And we lost two of these beloveds this summer.
And you KNOW Robin Williams was not a Republican!
I sent Tommy an email earlier today expressing much the same. He contributes a valuable note of gentleness and gratitude to this blog, and I for one love reading his comments.
@gogol’s wife: He is a gentle spirit. Sometimes they need to be treated gently, too.
@raven: Thanks, raven. That’s kind.
I missed the whole aftermath.
Hopefully no health crises for the beloved elderly (Republican but humane) parents? That would take someone away from the blog.
I don’t want to pile on cornerstone. I did see the parody at the time, and it went right by me until someone wagged a finger at CS. Didn’t think it was mean-spirited, but YMMV.
Tommy: take it as the sincerest form of flattery. You must!
I trust she went through it and came out the other side.
People who haven’t been through or have had a loved one or, like me, seen friends go through clinical depression haven’t got a clue how debilitating and destructive depression is.
It is necessary to get anyone talking of committing suicide to a Suicide Prevention Center. It is utterly and absolutely vital to get someone with depression who is talking about suicide to a Center.
@Elizabelle: Corner Stone is a fucking asshole, you hear me?
@Anoniminous: Yea she did. It was strange. We had split and I was trying to help her. Her best friend said “you gotta get out, she has to save herself.” It was a bitch but she was right.
I was on Twitter as events unfolded the first night and several ppl on the scene said they thought shots were fired at a helicopter. I took it with a grain of salt at the time – rthought it was hard to believe anyone would be dumb enough to shoot at a helicopter.
@efgoldman: Except the people who find it necessary to snigger along. Oddly enough, one or two of them have consistently thin skins, so I’m at a loss to understand why they might be flummoxed by Tommy’s (apparently) hurt feelings.
I don’t blame you for being pissed, but his bowing out and late response could be part of depression. It can be paralyzing.
I think you should call him, do your best to reach out and see how’s he doing. He may not respond but I don’t think you’ll regret making the effort.
I believe that Corner Stone has been in a deep depression since his close friend and political soulmate, General Stuck, passed away.
A mathematics graduate student I knew when I worked at the Courant Institute and tried to commit suicide. He went into therapy and was taking therapy. Some months later he was feeling better and he tried again, and this time succeeded. It’s a paradox that the therapy and drugs made him feel better and better able to do things. His friends at the Institute were stunned.
I’ve spent large amounts of my life being depressed; I’ve never felt suicidal though. Small but important mercy I think from the universe.
@Anoniminous: I had someone call a suicide hotline, and it was less than helpful. I had to work hard to get the person up to the previous distraught level.
Davis X. Machina
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Bouncing so that there’ll be a fresh breadcrumb trail…
Those two pieces are hard to over-praise….
I am kind of stunned that Robin Williams apparently never won either a Kennedy Center Award* nor a Mark Twain Prize for Humor. Those both seem like huge oversights.
I’ll bet anything he gets the Twain Prize this year, posthumously.
*Lauren Bacall received the KC Award in 1997.
I’m sad to hear about Lauren Bacall. She was, well she was one of the greats and had that old hollywood leading lady quality (gumption?). I heard a great story about her told by the former director of Amnesty International, William Shulz, at a lecture he gave. I found the quote and I still get a kick out of it and can picture her saying this.
@Litlebritdifrnt: Call a house cleaning service. I’m series, I’m not being flippant or anything. I’ve it done on occasion myself. And I didn’t have company coming but I was just unable to do certain cleaning chores. It will take some pressure off of you.
I was on a mailing list where I felt pretty close to all the members. I remember going through some awful shit, sort of disconnected from everything, and then moved across the country from DC to Seattle. And then six months or so after I got here I found out that one of the people I really liked from that list, who worked as a software engineer at Amazon and lived about a mile a way from a place I hiked once a week, had, in the words of his family, died from depression.
I still feel like shit every time I think about it. Not that having me around is a pleasure to everyone with the experience, but it sucks that by cutting myself off from them, I never got the chance to be of any help to someone else.
That’s good to hear.
Her friend was 1/2 right: she needed to save herself and she also needed trained help. Untrained help is really no help and yet it is hard to stand back and do nothing.
My suggestion is to think of your friend as having tuberculosis. You want to help but there’s really nothing you can do. Your friend is getting the help needed and when cured will get back in touch.
@kc: I debate about it, because when I asked him for a response about the wedding in a couple hours, he didn’t bother getting back to me until the following afternoon…and I know he’s doing nothing (and I mean literally nothing) at the moment. He’s become very withdrawn socially, and even though I’ve been one of his closest (if not the closest) friend he’s had since we started college a decade ago, there doesn’t seem to be any interest on his end to engage in conversation. I also feel like email isn’t the best method of communicating, but I’m not going to go fly down and visit just to have a short conversation…
@Anoniminous: Yeah, I’ve contemplated that, but I am more worried that without someone actively looking out and talking to him and making sure he’s on the right path, he’s going to just sink even further than he already has. I think part of it is cultural (his family is from southern Asia and thinks that NYC was responsible for turning their sweet younger son into something he’s not), but I just hope that he can get himself together. I just worry because there really is not much of a family/friend support structure where he is, and if he’s by himself, all he will be doing is wallowing – he gets extremely restless when nothing is going on, but he doesn’t do anything about it.
Vampire Schmampire. I like this story about Lauren Bacall from The Guardian:
@PurpleGirl: This is somewhat common–the person now feels better so they can actually complete something, e.g., suicide. Psychologists often say this is the most dangerous point in recovery from acute depression.
@Anoniminous: Oh she got professional help. It wasn’t easy for her, she was a tenured professor and was terrified that someone would find out. This was 20 some years ago, she’s remarried and doing well.
I so wish we lived closer to each other so we could go for a long walk and vent about our bosses (who sound like they are cut from the same cloth). I just want you to know that you are not your job. You are not your job. You are not your messy house. You are a kick ass intelligent woman. I would love it if you could tell your visiting relatives that they are traveling to see you and not your house but it would be advice that I couldn’t follow myself. In a former life I briefly had a cleaning service come every other week. It was supposed to be a help but I cleaned for the cleaners.
Just try to be as kind and helpful to yourself as you can possibly be. Sending good thoughts and a hug your way.
Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN)
If it was Corner Stone, it was probably mean-spirited.
I love both her autobiographies/memoirs, especially the first one (By Myself). I’ve gone back and re-read it a few times. I read the later volume, Now, only once. What a colorful life she lived!
@SiubhanDuinne: You’d be too
And Tommy, another reason I like reading you is because you are self-aware. When you told the story about your DUI and I mentioned that I just didn’t know anyone Black with interaction with the police like that, you understood that you had a different experience. Too often non-Black folks dismiss our interactions with the police as some sort of thing that we just ‘ make up’ because we have nothing better to do.
Good for you to keep trying until you succeeded. *respect*
Suicide Hotlines aren’t perfect. They are staffed mostly by volunteers. Some of whom are really great, knowledgeable, experienced, people and some that are not as such. The thing is: they are the only tripwire we’ve got.
I don’t much like it but until our national priorities change that’s the system we’ve got.
You know how to whistle don’t you..
Just put your lips together and blow…
thank you, Lauren Bacall….
ETC has come a long, long way over the years. They used to basically plug you in and hope you didn’t catch on fire. OK that’s a bit far but it wasn’t much past leaches 50 yrs ago. But then neither was radiation therapy not that long ago. Medicine really has matured. It may well have a long way to go but it has come a long way as well.
I still say call him. Even though he may get on your nerves.
Hope the therapy helps him.
What happened with Tommy?? I missed the whole kerfuffle.
@MomSense: I posted info in the previous thread.
I had to make a truce with my depression. After the radiation killed most of my saliva glands I can’t deal with anti-depressants any more. The ones that work cause dry mouth & the one that don’t don’t work for me. The disease still makes me miserable at times and lies to me but I am able to at least recognize it is lying now. The deal is as long as the family needs me it and I are ok, if the time comes that the family does not need me I’ll let it win. SO far depression is sticking to its part of the deal.
@Ruckus: You mean it ain’t like what Randall had?
@gogol’s wife: Cornerstone? I agree. But if Omnes and Steeplejack were doing a parody of me like that, it would hurt.
The only time in my life I have seriously considerd suicide, and that not for long, was during one of the many times in my life I was experiencing what seemed like intractable financial problems. Little income, behind on just about all my obligations, ignoring the mail and avoiding the phone when it rang, etc. So finally I thought the easiest thing would be to close the kitchen doors, turn on the oven without lighting the gas flame, and lying quietly on the floor near the oven until I drifted off to sleep forever.
Then I realized I hadn’t paid the gas bill and they had cut it off.
At which point my sense of the ridiculous came galloping in, and I was able to work my way through that period. But I often wonder, if the gas had still been connected, would I have gone through with it? Would I have been “successful”?
Thanks, I’ll check it out.
That was a fucking amazing interview. The fact that Cavett himself is well-known to have fought the Black Dog all his life added piquancy to the conversation.
I am going to look for it online as a podcast and listen to it again.
This is what keeps me going when I’m in my darkest place. I’m the main caretaker for my son, who, if I’m gone, will have to go into an institution, where he will, absolutely, die within 1-2 months. When things are really, really bad, I hold onto that fact & it keeps me going until things improve a little. Life just makes me tired.
Troops without boots will find the slopes slippery.
Bluntly: you’ve done all that you can do and now you need to let it go.
I’m not saying that is easy but that’s the reality.
She can go fuck herself.
@Mike J: Piano player here.
Me too. Tommy, you are an open, fun, caring voice here, and you’re missed. I hope you can get back with us. The snotty, high-school mentality of some commenters aside . . .
I agree. There is a lovely innocence about him, a wide-eyed wonder and awe, that I find totally beguiling about Tommy. Even people who don’t care for his style must surely admit that he is a harmless soul. AFAIAC, we need more people like that to counterbalance the snark and cynicism.
I’m going to jump in with, no matter how much he screwed you, he probably didn’t intend to, not from what you’ve said. When you are in the shit, nothing, and I really mean nothing, looks inviting, fun, possible, or that it won’t make you feel worse. Your wedding? That’s supposed to be a happy day, what if he went and say everyone having a good time, except for him? And that’s most likely his point of view, his life sucks, other people’s lives don’t, so it must be his fault.
IOW reach out. It may be painful, for both of you. But if he is a friend, even if he doesn’t seem like it now, you have to take the chance. He will not, he’s shown you that. You can’t expect normal responses from someone not capable of them. Think about it this way, he isn’t trying to hurt you, he’s trying in the only way he knows, how to protect you. Yes he probably feels he’s protecting himself too and may not even see your side, but that’s maybe the best he can do.
@SiubhanDuinne: lord knows I need to be balanced.
@raven: I didn’t say you should go fuck yourself. Unless that;s something you want to do. However you find pleasure is fine with me.
But I want Hillary to explain how she would have left troops there against the wishes of the government that her BFF George the dumber the installed.
Second. I did it, for the first time, earlier this year, before we moved. After my dad’s funeral, I couldn’t find the energy to both pack and to clean the house. So I found a great Groupon deal, and spent money we didn’t really have, but was SO worth it. Just to get things jump-started.
Do it, you’ll be glad you did.
CS is an ass. I just ignore him. The thing about pointing and mocking is that it is better done to people who have power and abuse it or are heartless to others.
A real difficulty with mental illnesses for sufferers and care givers is the ignorance based social stigma attached to the diseases.
@PsiFighter37: Make the effort.
I had a wonderful, talented person who worked for me, and he was also a friend. His fiancé called off the wedding and he ended up very depressed. It was maddening. For about a year he was all but worthless at work; we would talk about what he needed to do and he always wanted to try, but HE JUST COULDN’T.
I would get to the end of my rope and think I just couldn’t be patient any longer. I needed my second in command to not be useless at work. One day he didn’t show up for work, wouldn’t answer the phone. A couple of us went to his house and would not leave until he finally answered the door. Suicide was definitely in play that day, and a struggle for him the night before. We made him come into work; I called his brother who lived out of town and who immediately drove here, met him at work, spent a few days with him. Brother helped him talk with his parents and then he had some family support, which he needed. Month more of being worthless at work, but he came out the other side. Now he’s happy, successful, doing well.
Do not give up on your friend. I know just how maddening it can get, but even responding to your message was something he was incapable of. It’s like asking someone to walk on a broken leg. He simply could not get himself to reply to you, even though he knew how important it was. Maybe especially because he knew how important it was.
Make the effort. No regrets.
Mike in NC
RIP Lauren Bacall. What a fabulous Hollywood legend!
The late, great actor Rod Steiger also suffered for years from clinical depression. I think he even did some PSAs on the subject. He was able to get successful treatment.
We have a friend who is bipolar and he hit bottom several tears ago because he was seeing so many doctors and taking so many different drugs that they interfered with one another. He even drove his SUV through a hedge one time trying to escape an intervention from well meaning relatives. He got fixed up and lives a pretty normal life now, but can’t work anymore.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Mike J: Peter Beinart, Paul Waldman and I all had the same reaction to that interview
Waldman: “While there are a few unsettling things in the interview (her comments on Israel could have come from Bibi Netanyahu himself), ”
Beinart’s piece for Haaretz seems to have slipped behind a paywall, or their website is funky, but the title is “Israel’s Lawyer”, and eh lays out the way she, by exaggeration and omission, made Netanyahu sound like a man on a quest for peace, more accurately titled, I think, Netanyahu’s Lawyer. I think it was a clumsy, ham-fisted attempt to win back Likudniks who are mad at Obama.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Anoniminous: You saw Shepard Smith called Williams a coward?
I’ve had depression for years. I had a course of ECT which sadly didn’t have any effect but it wasn’t terrifying or painful at all. The only negative part was some jaw pain after the first one and some fuzzy memory until about an hour later. I strongly recommend it to anyone who thinks it might help but might be afraid because of how it’s been portrayed.
It’s not called “depression,” it’s called “living in Shithole America after 9/11.”
And 300 million people suffer from it.
@Ruckus: Thanks for the kind words. Even though we know rationally that it’s safe and well-modulated these days, it’s still emotion-laden to know your papa is going through it — especially when he’s a geriatric case. A rather dim and totally boorish work acquaintance made a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest joke about it to me. Fortunately the normal people all around us told him to STFU.
An alternative to ECT is voting for Democrats. The only side effect is some pain in the part of you that used to have a conscience. But it’s not nearly as bad as portrayed in the media.
She couldn’t even non-apologize in person? She had to have her spokesman issue the non-apology for her? Jesus Christ.
Very experienced Democrat gives a long interview with Jonah fucking Goldberg and her comments get distorted? Nobody could have predicted….
Hillary Clinton is as slippery as an eel.
@Elizabelle: I’m with Omnes. Gosh, irritating.
The better to enjoy that wonderful plausible deniability about her non-denial denial.
We’re back in Nixon country, folks. Enjoy the roller coast trip of Hillary’s campaign. With Slick Willy handling her campaign, it’ll be a sight to see.
Of course, since the Republican alternative basically comes from a Hell Dimension requiring the hellraiser cube to open, it’s all moot, isn’t it?
Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN)
@mclaren: Really, why don’t you go fuck off.
Not saying it’s a walk in the park, they put you under, which I understand they didn’t use to do. But no, it’s not like what Randell got.
I used to work on a crisis hotline and did one on one counseling with clients. 4 yrs, six months of training and 3 1/2 yrs on the phone and with appointments. I had one suicide call. Back then to trace a line took a long time because it had to be done manually, someone actually checking the switches to get the number. So I never found out if she went through with it and it hurt like you can’t believe to think that I couldn’t make a difference. But the lady I shared a shift with was, she was amazing. I was almost in tears after the woman had hung up, that I couldn’t help her. The answer I got? You gave her 45 minutes she didn’t have when she called. And she was right. When it’s someone else, it’s their life. You miss Robin Williams? What about all the teens, vets and not famous people who commit suicide? What about your friends, relatives, kids. We need to get back to having real health care in this country. Medicine has come a long way, understanding, drugs, diagnostics, even therapy. What hasn’t worked is delivery and coverage. The ACA will help immensely. But it isn’t close to enough. Look at this thread or the one yesterday, look at the number of people with depression or substance abuse or both. Look at what John had to go through to get into detox, that you have to be a danger to someone else to get in. Many in this country seem to value a life at about the cost of a McDs lunch. How do we change this?
RUK THE ANDROID: “We had cleansed ourselves. Now you bring the evil back!” [Star Trek episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”]
EMPEROR HIROHITO: “…the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage.” [15 August, 1945]
In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages; to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and on the side wall, within easy reach of Winston’s arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.
As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of The Times and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconsicious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames.
What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead.
In the cubicle next to him the little woman with sandy hair toiled day in day out, simply at tracking down and deleting from the Press the names of people who had been vaporized and were therefore considered never to have existed. [George Orwell, 1984, 1948.]
@Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):
That’s no way to treat someone who suffers from the chronic depression of living in a shithole of a country without the rule of law or basic elements of democracy.
You must be a real hoot at parties.
Undoubtedly a number of African-American suspects tried to damage the treads of the police department’s SWAT tanks with their heads. Measures had to be taken.
Next up? Napalm. “It was necessary to destroy the neighborhood in order to save it…”
I’ve pied both of them and my time on BJ is much more peaceful. I get to talk to adults, the kids have to sit at the kids table in the other room and piss and moan among themselves.
`The adults in the room’ — meaning Barack Obama, who is now putting U.S. troops back into Iraq.
@Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): They did go to DC for that purpose, and they did make a statement in support of some dissenters — but then when it turned out that some of those dissenters were Communists, they withdrew their support, calling themselves foolish and impetuous and calling their trip to DC foolish and ill-advised.
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
@Cervantes: Ah, a little bit of clay in the feet. Most of us have it to some degree or another.
@Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):
Yes, they had fully intended to defend their fellow Americans’ constitutional rights, they explained — but standing up for Communists, why, that was a different matter entirely.
Late to the party, but it’s been scary hearing about Robin Williams and what he went through. I’ve never personally had it, but people I know have, and it’s horrible.
And I hope Tommy comes back. Corner Stone is an ass and deserves about the same level of respect as that VICTORY!!! dude.
Well, 2014 has just sucked a giant bag ‘o dicks.
@Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): What happened with Tommy? Link?
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
@Suzanne: There is a discussion on the previous thread. Cliff notes version: Corner Stone posted a Tommy parody comment last week. Some found it quite funny; others did not. Tommy has not been back at B-J since that time.
Y’all, Lauren Bacall was great for many things. Her acting, not so much.
I guess I missed her good stuff because I never saw her on stage. I adored her memoir when I was a kid.
But damn! There’s this footage of the premiere of A Star Is Born, and all Hollywood is out to support dear Judy Garland. It was 1954, an apparently low point in American fashion: Even Greer Garson is wearing some kinda dead goose headband thingie on her beautiful head.
But here comes Lauren Bacall. She’s flustered, but she’s wearing a sequined slip dress and a messy bob that would rock the house even today.
She looks like she’s from another planet! The planet of fabulous!
@Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I know I am in the minority, but I really like CornerStone. I think he is funny as hell.
…and the Democrats have a solution (?) to their problem with the Montana Senate seat.
@PsiFighter37: I’m so late to the thread that you may never see this, but my recommendation is to reach out and keep reaching out.
The thing with depression and other mental illnesses is that the disease itself changes the person’s brain and personality. If you break your leg you may be in pain and unhappy about it but the problem is your leg–the rest is a consequence of the broken leg. If you have mental illness, the disease itself is the mental and psychological changes.
I’d recommend you reach out and keep reaching out. Maybe make a calendar note to call or email every two weeks or so. Don’t be surprised if you hear nothing. But your friend will be grateful when he recovers. He will know you’re reaching out and you may be one of the only ones who does and continues to do so.
Depression is a giant black hole for those in it. It’s confusing, frustrating, scary and all sorts of other things for people on the outside. I’m sorry your friend let you down. He probably hates himself a lot more for it than you will ever be angry with him for it.
He cracks me up, too. However, if he was mean to Tommy, I shall have to spank him.
@WaterGirl: Yes, I am with you re: Psi’s buddy. So he cost him some bucks and some wedding inconvenience…and the friend is surely aware of that. But when you are depressed, the smallest thing seems too much, and normal folks don’t get it.
I went through a depressive period for a few years (and am still struggling with it, with the aid of therapy and medication), but I remember feeling guilty for not being in touch with my closest friend, who lives at a great distance. The reason? I didn’t have much good to tell her about myself. Finally, after a few years, I did get in touch, with an abject apology for being such a crappy friend and so out of touch, and she replied something to the effect of “Life happens, and good friends just pick up where they left off”, and we did. It was a wonderful lesson to learn, and we can still go months without being in touch, and then pick up as if our last conversation was yesterday. More to the point, though, is that I can share what is really true for me without spin to make it seem better, and as I do this, she offers more of herself and history for my understanding.
And Psi, weddings just make people weird. The happy couple are like celebrities in their crowd, and the members of the crowd end up reflective and – while happy for you – pretty much stuck in their own shit, especially if they are either single or unhappily coupled. If I wanted to start up a psychotherapy practice, I might just crash weddings and hand out my business cards. So yes, stay in touch with your friend, and practice every bit of empathy that you can spare while not getting sucked into his stuff. Also, call him. Email sometimes takes enormous effort and lacks the context of voice, leading to speculation and misinterpretation spread over time spent pondering or brooding. Conversation is real, and in real time. Unless your pal is an emotional vampire, it doesn’t cost you anything to pay attention and be a friend.
I guess what I am saying is, just open the door to conversation: “Hey buddy, how are you doing”? sort of thing. And then truly LISTEN, and ask follow-up questions without an agenda. Also, forget how many bucks he cost you in his grief over job-loss and depression – don’t be an asshole/princess because of your special day. Presumably you included him in your plans because he is important to you.
Corner Stone has had a go at me once, I think, or maybe it was more times but I didn’t notice. I didn’t bite. Tommy’s worst fault here, if it even rises to that, is merely that he recites his family and personal history more often than he needs to. Having a go at inoffensive, well-meaning types like him is bullying. And it’s worse because it made Tommy leave.
I didn’t know she’d written a second book, but I’m on line for it at the library now. Thanks!
@Amir Khalid: Is it bullying or teasing? I read the comment and it seemed to me to be a bit of ball-busting, but not outside the realm of what happens here all the time (including to me). The culture of this place is a bit tough. And do we know if the dude is just on vacation, or busy, or what have you?
@Suzanne: Here’s my perspective, worth exactly what you paid for it:
You can take ball busting. I can take it. Lots of lots of BJ people mix it up all day, every day. Elbows get thrown and more get thrown back. That’s all well and good and exactly how this place is. But with all the rank assholery exhibited all day long here (I don’t exclude myself from that characterization, obviously), why pick on someone who’s gentle, non-confrontational and obviously warm-hearted? Is there any other point to that than being a bully?
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Thanks for the links. Lots to think about there.
Psi, I hope you’ll change your mind about visiting him, but only if you can let go of the anger. Your buddy needs a friend, but not an ex-friend who’s pissed off at him because he fucked up and let you down. I saw almost the exact same scenario play out between two friends of mine, and the fuck-up is now in a very, very bad place.
As a depression survivor myself, here’s a few things you should know:
1. Change is hard. And Scary. And always for the worst. And your best friend getting married means there’s going to be a big change in a relationship that’s very important to you.
2. Depression makes you feel like you can’t do anything right, or are continually on the verge of disaster. And you gave this guy a major responsibility for The Most Important Day of Your Life. Of course it wasn’t your intention, but you have no idea how much stress that put him under.
3. Decisions are usually lose/lose, so procrastinating is SOP. Go the wedding and be miserable, or decline and piss of your friend? Hmm, best to think about it for a while.
I had a relative who was nearly paralyzed with depression 10 years ago. I thought she was being a lazy, worthless idiot. Now I get it, but if you haven’t lived with it, it makes no sense. If your friend was hit by a car and broke his leg on the way to your wedding, you wouldn’t blame him for not showing up. This is essentially the same thing.
My advice, if you’re interested: Let your friend know you’ll be in the area and you’d like to see him. Draw up your own itinerary for the visit and ask if he has any suggestions, don’t make him responsible for keeping you entertained. At some point, talk about the wedding and your disappointment, but also how you understand that he’s going through some serious shit and you don’t put it on him. Guilt is a huge part of depression, a little forgiveness goes a long way.
Indeed. Throwing elbows, etc. is cool if both parties are into it. Lurk in comment threads for a short time and it is obvious who is OK with “playing rough” and who isn’t interested in it.
@shortstop: I think the thing about Tommy’s thinking and writing that people find objectionable is how he relates every idea to an anecdote from his own life or that of someone he’s close to. I think this is an unsophisticated form of discussion, and ultimately not in line with liberal/progressive values, because I should not have to be personally affected by hardship to feel empathy for those that are. For example, LGBTQI people deserve rights and I should say so if I’m a person of character, even though I’m not LGBTQI. CornerStone’s comment was perhaps mean, but he honed in on this tendency, and I don’t think that’s completely out of bounds. Learning how to debate and argue better is important for liberals. I would hope that Tommy would recognize that, and come back, and use this as a kick in the ass to learn.
I deal with depression and take an SSRI to balance me out. I’ve also been very poor and very comfortable over my life.
I coped better when I was poor and struggling as for the most part I had something to push against, something I could rally my will around. When things are more comfortable I have more time to dwell and obsess.
I suspect that is why celebrities are more susceptible. Too much money, too much “free” time. And in Robin Williams case I believe this was overwhelmingly true – even when he was working, by all accounts, he only ever seemed happy when he could fall back to performing before whoever was there…
@Suzanne: And yet a commenter said last night that she valued Tommy’s input because, when she explained that her experience as a black person was different from his, he could readily understand and accept that without going into the whitesplaining that’s rampant around here. That’s not the first time someone here has publicly noted Tommy’s ability to empathize; I can remember two or three other similar comments from others. So this habit you note of Tommy relating things to his own experience doesn’t seem to be all-encompassing or prevent him from walking in others’ shoes.
In any case, CS’s comment and those of the other people who joined in — mockingly adding “goshes” and “hecks” and so forth — seem to have been less about his commenting on things from his own perspective and more about his linguistic habits.
I will note that I am uncomfortable with the idea of shunning or banning CornerStone over it, though. Dude plays rough and is sometimes an asshole. Kind of like someone who started this blog.
@Suzanne: Meh. If people want to ignore him or call him out, they can do it as individuals. I stopped engaging with him a while back, but that’s my choice and it would be pretty damn control-freaky of me to suggest everyone needs to do the same. It used to annoy the hell out of me that so many people would jump at every piece of unsubtle bait Tim (or whatever his real name was) put out there, completely shutting down thread after thread, but even then I didn’t suggest banning the dude.