“Good Morning, Alabama!” Robin Williams’ Suicide and My Vacation

How do you “trigger warning” the news?

For those that know me, they probably know that I’ve spent some time fighting depression and anxiety. A lot of time, really. And on some days, just reading that news would have been enough to send me spiraling down and make me think about my alternatives.

When you’re there, you can’t think of the reasons to go on. They’re hidden behind a wall, a magician’s curtain.

Those days are like a skit from a Wiggles DVD. When they have a magic coloring book that goes from empty to full of colored pages. Only instead of it being something that appears when you say the magic word, the colors all vanish instead, and the magic word is “suicide.”

It’s a slippery slope in my brain, the slip and slide of depression and death.

I’m lucky, though. I’ve found good doctors and good medication. I’ve made some good choices. I’ve had some good support.  It’s been almost three months since I spent a day unable to get out of bed. Seriously unable. Nothing could convince me that it was worth it to get out of bed.

silly string - kateWe were all on vacation in Alabama when I read about Robin Williams. I was sad to hear it happened to him, but I was also glad that I wasn’t there anymore – not right now. Right now I could see that there were good things in my life, I didn’t need to look at alternative, I wanted to get out of bed and do things every day.

If you haven’t been there, then you can’t understand, and you can’t judge.

It’s easy to say that he did it because he was weak, because he was worried about his future, because he had other problems in his life…but all of that was incidental. The depression is what did it.

Whether or not we want to admit it, depression can and does kill.


Ah, Seattle!

Dear girl at the Doc Marten store,

No, I don’t think it’s funny that you have all these friends who make their cats “service pets” so they can bring their pets to their college dorm, thanks to notes from their doctors that they use to claim “anxiety problems.”

First, you imply they are lying about their need, potentially thereby making those with legitimate need seem to also be faking. And who are these doctors who make these cats “service pets”? Do they realize they are just catering to a bunch of spoiled girls? (Girls, not women. Because women wouldn’t pull this kind of childish thing.)

Second, you are also, in a way, mocking those of us who do have anxiety issues. Those of us who might actually well and truly benefit from some calming influence of a pet. You don’t know me at all, but you assumed that I didn’t have an issue. Why?

Third, learn some customer service skills. When someone seems familiar with Docs and says, “This, in a 6,” when you finally deign to pay attention to her instead of your little coffee klatch of friends trying on boots, get her a UK 6 as that is how Docs are sized. Don’t bring a woman’s 6 and then ignore her as you unlace the boot a bit, then hand it over and ignore her some more. Or, even better, learn that questioning is a good choice and ask a fucking question instead of being a rude ignorant entitled little prick.

Thanks for summing up my whole Seattle experience in one exchange.

 (Just as a side note, that isn’t truly the *whole* experience. But it seems pretty typical thus far…and I leave tomorrow.)ugly ass seattle


Misinformation 101

Calm! by Pennywise http://morguefile.com/archive/display/178142
Calm! by Pennywise

Reading through the paper, I came across an article that I just had to take issue with.  My issue is that it spends the first three paragraphs seeming to imply that those with mental disorders or disabilities (including such “diagnoses” as being “socially awkward” and having anxiety”) are more likely to snap and go on a school shooting spree.

The title is that there is “no simple formula to identify dangerous people,” but then the first three paragraphs review three people and incidents.  Scary! Scary! “Those” people are dangerous!

Except…except that in the fifth paragraph, the article says – for those who have bothered reading that far – that “attempts at profiling run the risk of misidentifying individuals who may only be suffering from depression or a behavioral disorder.”  In fact, the article went on to say, “only a third of the attackers had received a mental health evaluation” and “most of the shooters – whose ages ranged from 11 to 21 – came from two-parent families, socialized with mainstream students, had no history of violent or criminal behavior, and had never or rarely been in trouble at school.”  Basically, there is no way to predict that those people would commit those atrocities.

So why the seeming subterfuge?  Why spend the beginning – the part that’s most likely to be read – giving the idea that there is something “at fault” with these people?

Well, I hate to keep harping on it (no, I don’t), but once again, it’s that need to separate ourselves.  The need to make sure that anyone capable of such acts isn’t “one of us.”  As was repeated over and over in an episode of Life:  “There’s us.  And there’s them.  Us.  Them.  Us.  Them.”

We like that division.  But it isn’t real.

I remember one evening about 20 years ago, around 6 p.m., my at-the-time-boyfriend-and-now-husband and I were going out on a date.  We were driving down the main drag of my town, over by the train station that everyone commuting to New York rode out of and into daily, and this guy, carrying a briefcase and wearing a suit, was walking down the road, obviously one of the previously mentioned commuters.  Then, he stumbled a little and started to jog.  Then run. All the while pulling at his tie, shedding his jacket, and first muttering then yelling, “I just can’t take it anymore!”

And it scared me.  Because it hit me: we’re all on that edge of not taking it anymore.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that I feel myself on that edge now.  I don’t think I’m going to run down the street, stripping off my clothes and screaming.  It’s just that I accept that it could happen.  And for some people, it does happen.  And we should know that and accept that and be less judgmental of those who seek help to fix their problems and try to find help for those who need help and don’t know it.