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Dear people posting about suicide hotlines… thoughts on depression

(This is not an easy post… so bear with me.  It’s also entirely my opinion based on my own experiences.)

Yesterday, the call went out loudly that if you’re depressed, you can get help. That’s a beautiful notion. But I think it shows a lack of understanding of what some depressed people wrestle with (I can only guess). Maybe hotlines lit up yesterday. Maybe the wakeup call worked for some people. I hope it did. But I’m guessing it also made other people want to hide more carefully.

It’s up to us, not them. We have to do a better job of looking out for one another.

Quick aside: I recently saw a tweet that said something like, “what kind of asshole says anything other than ‘fine’ when you ask them how they’re doing?”

That sentiment (and it’s a common one) is a big part of the problem. We don’t make it easy for someone to say they’re having a hard time. We don’t have the patience for it. Everyone says “fine, thanks” when asked how they’re doing and everyone is lying. We’re all wounded. We all have things that eat at us. We all have bad days and dark times. - Buck 65

As someone who has had depression affect both my own life and people close to me, the above quote could not be more true.  It’s lovely that people want to help and it’s lovely that people are pointing out suicide hotlines.  But telling someone with severe depression that there’s a solution in a phone call isn’t necessarily any better than telling them to cheer up.  Those hotlines may help some people, but they aren’t going to help everyone - it’s certainly not something that would help me.  Like every other aspect of life, everyone’s depression is different. 

Here’s a personal example of what people say when I try to talk about how I feel: “There’s so much good in your life.  Focus on that.” This does not help me, it makes it worse.  Because then I start thinking “They’re right, why can’t I be happy?  Something must be wrong with me.”  And then I feel worse and spiral further downward.

My advice, and again, this is based only on my experience, is that if you want to help a friend who is depressed, just be there emotionally and non-judgmentally.  And don’t push them into hanging out with you.  There seems to be this prevailing “Just talk to us!” sentiment right now.  A couple of things make that difficult.  First, it’s hard to talk about how awful you feel when it seems like the world perceives depression as a weakness, a fake ailment, or something you should just get over.  Second, even if the person knows they can trust you, sometimes, they really do need some time alone before they can talk to you about it.  For some people, like me, being around other people gets exhausting, especially during a bad time.  Hiding how you’re really feeling takes energy and sometimes, just being alone and resting is necessary to getting through it and eventually being able to talk about it.  When I say that I don’t know how I’d get through things without my cats, I am not being factious.  There are times when I can’t be with people, but I can’t be alone and the cats and their unconditional love keep me sane.

So, just make sure that they know that you are there for them, unconditionally, when and if they are able to talk.  Make sure they know that you will hang out with them even if they don’t want to talk about it.  You will be there even if they are difficult to be around.  You will not be afraid, you will not judge them, you will not stop being their friend.  My fear in talking about this has always been that people would think I was crazy or just too much work to be friends with.  The older I get, the more I realize that anyone who would think that isn’t worth being friends with anyway.  But that’s taken me a long time to realize and it’s easy to forget when my brain chemistry goes off.

But the most important thing you can do, in a general sense, people who don’t have depression?  Don’t post advice - like call a suicide hotline.  Just stop stigmatizing it or making it sound like something that has to be fixed.  Stop making it hard and embarrassing to talk about.  It’s only been in the last few years I’ve talked about it to friends and even then, I barely do and it’s always terrifying (this post, for instance… rather stressful). 

It’s not advice people need - it’s to stop feeling like outcasts that no one takes seriously or that everyone thinks is crazy or faking it.   Because once we stop feeling like outcasts, we can talk about it.  And personally, as much as I love the support of friends without depression, finding a friend who has it and knows EXACTLY what I’m talking about has been the most helpful thing in the world.  If you don’t have depression, you cannot really get it - it’s not just feeling sad.  So, talking to someone else who has experienced it is less scary.  I know I can tell her what I’m thinking even though I know it sounds crazy and she’ll understand, because she’s had those exact same thoughts.  And I can do the same for her.  And realizing I’m not alone and someone understands - rather than just empathizes - means everything.  And we’ll never find each other if we can’t talk about it openly.

People ask how someone like Robin Williams - a successful, respected actor - could feel horrible enough to take his own life.  The simple answer?  Because depression does not respond to logic. 

Please keep that in mind when you’re trying to help.  You may feel like everything you can say or do gets rejected by the person you’re trying to help and that may just be the place they’re in.  But let them know that you’re there anyway, no matter how they act.  And make it known in public (like social media), when there’s nothing specific like a celebrity death to trigger it, that you are a person who does not judge depression.  You probably have friends with mental health issues that you have no idea have them.  So, just be out about your support.  The less stigma mental illness has, the easier it will be to talk about.  And that’s one thing truly helpful.

(There’s more to say on this, but I have to go to work and take fur off cats.  Much love to everyone who has even a vague sense of what I’m talking about.)

n

I know a lot of creative people and perhaps by correlation I know a lot of people who struggle with depression. They have told me (and they’ve told the world) how depression sits there, implacable, and drains the color out of the world until no success or joy matters. I believe them, and it becomes increasingly evident that no matter who you are or what you’ve achieved, that depression is a good liar and can make you believe none of it matters.
 
I know and love too many people with depression to believe that it’s something that’s shameful to talk about or to acknowledge. I want them alive and I want them here with us. If you have depression I want you alive and here with us. Don’t let the moment take you. Don’t be afraid to get help. The people who love you want you here. Believe it.

John Scalzi

No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

(via wilwheaton)

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Sarah’s California Vacation Post #1

(This multi part blog will eventually tell of my whole trip… I’m fucking tired, so it’ll take a while)

Friday, July 18

I woke up at 3:30am and left my house at 4:40am. However, since it was so ungodly early, I managed to get to the airport in 15 minutes, leaving behind the horrid Molson Indy and there was much rejoicing.

I learned that customs has a fancy new declaration system that involves taking a photo – this was not welcome news at 5am. I was accidentally surrounded by some family of bros (dad, uncle, son, and nephew bros from the sounds of it) who not only didn’t understand how lines worked (which is how some wound up in front and some behind me), they were also just shocked – SHOCKED! - that there was such a long line at customs. Apparently, they have never been on an airplane before and had no idea that complaining about the customs and security lines do not make them move any faster. Having finally gotten through, I was able to buy breakfast and, more importantly, coffee at this fancy lounge where there were ipads with free wifi and warm chocolate croissants. Win.

My plan had been to watch Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters on the plane because that movie is bananas and therefore awesome, but it turns out Air Canada had the option to watch Hunger Games: Catching Fire on their fancy individual seat entertainment systems. Of course, that didn’t last the whole flight, so I most certainly pulled out Hansel and Gretel after that. If you’re going on a pop culture vacation, you should probably kick it off with pop movies.

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(photo not from trip, but I just kind of felt we all needed to remember that Jeremy Renner is awesome)

I hopped off the plane at LAX to discover that there was nary a Jay Z nor Brittany song to be heard, which only added to my conviction that Miley Cyrus knows nothing. I managed to figure out the shuttle to Union Station and Union Station LA turns out to be way nicer than Union Station Toronto. This is helped immensely by the lack of construction. On the way, I got a text from my sister telling me that she had been for an ultrasound and was having a boy, so basically, my day was getting awesomer by the minute. I decided that taking the subway with a large suitcase and no sleep was going to go poorly, so I ordered up my first of many Uber cabs and was happy to get a lovely driver.

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(photo: Union Station Los Angeles - a place that makes me not completely hate transit)

I arrived at my Airbnb to find the world’s happiest dog was going to be my host. For real, this dog (her name is Joy) is one of the best dogs I’ve met. Her owner (and my human host) Jannica had found her in the subway. I attempted to nap, realized that I was too excited, changed and headed off for Griffith Park to go and see the Griffith Observatory.

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(photos: Joy, the dog who most resembles her name)

Guys, Griffith Park is not like parks in Toronto. I learned very quickly that a) it is almost entirely comprised of hills and b) the trails leading up these hills have almost no shade on them. It took me over an hour to walk up to the observatory and I did consider quitting… but then I remembered that I’m a stubborn bitch. 

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(photo: entrance to Griffith Park, which is located in a deceptively tree and grass covered area)

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(photos: a view of the Griffith from the trail.  The long, winding, uphill, dusty, uncovered trail.)

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(photo: the vegetation, which is apparently confined to the valley portions of the park and is not generally very high)

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(Photo: a look back at where I came from…)

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On the way up, I saw the Hollywood sign. Iconic thing found!

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(photo: my first view of the Hollywood sign.  It is quite far away)

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(Photo: Hollywood sign as seen from 3/4 of the way up to the Griffith Observatory.  Photo taken as an excuse to sit down in the shade and stop walking.)

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(photo: view of the city from the park)

The observatory is pretty cool. I saw a demonstration of how to make a meteor as well as a planetarium show. You can not take photos of those things.  Here are some of these things that I was allowed to photograph.

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(photo: The Foucault Pendulum, located in the central rotunda.  This device demonstrates the earth’s rotation - the pendulum stays in place while the earth moves beneath it.  There are pegs - see bottom right of image - set up that it knocks over every set amount of time.  Super hypnotic)

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(photo: planets.  I thought they had perhaps not removed Pluto, but it turns out that the info graphic below did mention that Pluto is no longer considered a planet.)

I wandered outside to check out that place where Tom Paris and Tuvok met Sarah Silverman and enlisted her to help stop Ed Bagley Jr. from fucking up the timeline.  Whatever, I love Star Trek Voyager and you can all just shut up about it.

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(Photo: Where Tom and Tuvok were.  Thus begins me seeing a lot of stuff from television…)

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(photo: I even took a damn selfie here where Voyager filmed a small part of one episode.  Well, two episodes.)

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(photo: the city from the Observatory)

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(Photo: Hollywood sign from the Observatory as the sun is getting ready to go down…)

After buying souvenirs – mostly for my nephews – I headed back down. 

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(photo: The walk down was much nicer… no direct sun, way cool clouds)

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(photo: I have been awake for 19 hours.  So, the fact that these hills looked like boobs from this angle was way funnier at the time.)

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(photo: walking home, I realized that I was going right past the AFI.  I proceeded to do nothing with this information.)

It was in the middle of the planetarium show that I remembered I’d forgotten my hair dryer… luckily, I was in ‘murica and found a dryer for a mere $12 on the way home. Then, realizing that I had been awake for 20 hours, I collapsed in a heap and slept.

to be continued…

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Thoughts on Our Intense Feelings About Spoilers

Note: I will be discussing Empire Strikes Back, the third seasons of Game of Thrones and Walking Dead, and the second season of Once Upon a Time. So, if you haven’t watched those by now, stop reading or STFU that I’m talking about them.

Spoilers are a sensitive topic in today’s fandoms. And much debate has arisen over timing and content of spoilers.  What is okay to post?  How long do you have to wait before it’s okay to talk about things?  I find this topic to be getting pretty tedious and starting to impact my enjoyment of shows (because dear god, what can I post on my own personal blog/facebook that will not get me yelled at?), so here’s my thoughts for the once and final time.

Here’s how I think of a spoiler and to demonstrate, I shall use one of the hugest surprise plot points in history: Empire Strikes Back. Imagine it’s the day after the movie opens…

A spoiler: Guys! Holy shit, Vader is Luke’s dad!

And that is a 100% dick move.

I’d also say that this is enough of a spoiler that you should not be posting it the day after release: Guys! You will never guess who Luke’s dad turns out to be!

See, it’s trying to not to be explicit, but given that there’s no reasonable expectation for someone going into Empire to be thinking that they’d be learning anything about Luke’s parentage, it’s a still a pretty crappy thing to write.

However, this, to me, is not a spoiler: Guys! The end of Empire! Holy shit!

This is really not telling anyone anything they don’t know. You go into the movie knowing that it ends. You can reasonably assume that the ending will be big in some way. That doesn’t tell you how or why, just that this person was surprised by what happened.

To me, that’s perfectly okay.

The point at which we start telling people they can’t even post that they’ve seen an episode of a show is the point at which the strictness of anti-spoiler people starts to remove the fun of watching a show all together. Part of the fun of movies and tv is discussing it with your friends and being part of a communal reaction.

Plus, at what point on this spectrum does the spoiler onus shift from the writer to the reader? Everyone knows what day their favorite show airs and everyone knows what their tolerance for spoilers is. If you know your the kind of person for whom seeing “HOLY SHIT! THAT THING THAT HAPPENED!” is going to ruin your experience of a show, why not just stay off social media until you can watch it? Why is it up to everyone else in the world to acclimate to your strict standards?

A personal example.

I’m a huge reader of Entertainment Weekly. I know that they cover all my favorite shows the day after airing. So, when the Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones aired, I had seen vague things of people being generally WTF, so I knew something big went down (though would not be able to watch the episode until the evening after airing). I also knew that if I went to the EW site, I ran the risk of seeing something about the show.  I did it anyway and sure enough, saw something that tipped me to happenings in the episode. Nothing major, just an article about an interview with a title to the effect of Michelle Fairley talks about Catlyn’s decision. At which point, I closed the browser and stayed off the site until I’d seen the episode. Now, is it EW’s fault I read that? No. I knew the risk when I loaded the site.

Now, I’m not a strict no-spoiler sort, but I don’t really want to read specific details either. I don’t want to know in advance that Lori’s going to die in the prison on Walking Dead, but I’m fine knowing that the episode she dies in is bananas. I expect episodes of Walking Dead to be bananas. I don’t want to know that Snow White kills Cora, but I’m fine seeing “Wow, can’t believe Snow did that thing!” That, to me, says nothing. I know that Snow is on the show and I know that in each episode, she does things.

There’s also a question of timing – how long do you have to wait before it’s reasonable to assume that everyone has seen a show? I’m talking about previous seasons of Walking Dead and Game of Thrones because they both aired over a year ago (though I’m sure someone would bitch that I’ve spoiled it for them). But I’m not going to write about the Game of Thrones episodes from this season as the season isn’t over yet. It’s reasonable to assume that someone may not watch it as it airs. But it’s also reasonable to assume that if it’s important enough to someone to rabidly avoid spoilers, they’ve seen the previous season. If you haven’t, maybe you aren’t that big of a fan and should stop complaining?

Another personal story: I haven’t watched Breaking Bad. I’m trying to avoid major spoilers, but I also know that at this point, if I find out something, it’s my own damn fault. I’ve had over a year to watch it since the finale and I haven’t. It’s one thing to ask your friends not to speak to you directly about something you haven’t seen, but after some time has passed, I think it should be permissible to be posting plot points online. And at this point, the onus is on me to avoid articles and discussions of a show that I haven’t bothered to watch yet. It’s not reasonable of me to ask others to refrain from talking about it.  If someone wants to post a status that talks about a Breaking Bad plot point, I really can’t be mad at them this long after the show has aired.

I suppose it boils down to what we can all assume are reasonable expectations of a show and each other. It’s reasonable to expect that Walking Dead or Game of Thrones are going to air episodes that make the audience go WHAT, so in my mind, if you want to post that an episode shocked you, it’s not a spoiler so long as you don’t post why.  It is not reasonable to expect that Walter Frey is going to murder what seems to be a show’s protagonist or that Carl is going to shoot Lori to keep her from coming back. So no, you shouldn’t post “OMG, not Robb!” or “Well, that was the worst wedding ever!” or “Thank god Lori is gone!”

But limiting any and all reaction to a show seems, to me, to be getting into censorship territory. There’s expecting human decency and there’s expecting everyone to live by your rules. I am also a believer in personal responsibility. If you know you’re a massive spoiler hater and you know that a lot of your friends watch the same show, maybe don’t go on Facebook the day after a new episode. The flip side, of course, is that if you’re going to post something about the show, have the decency not to put in anything specific.

I was trying to think of why this topic gets so heated and I think in the end, it that everyone feels very passionate about their shows. And that’s great. I know some people think it’s just that everyone wants to put their two cents into the world, but I think that’s making it too self absorbed. I think, for a lot of people, they just love a show so much that they want to share their reaction to it so that others can share that.  We all get invested in these shows and we all care when bad things happen.

So, to be clear, I’m still very against specific spoilers or plot related posts, especially right after a show airs or a movie comes out. I just think that posting a reaction is a different thing. Sure, no one has to post their reactions on social media. But no one has to read social media either. So, maybe we could all stop bitching about spoilers and – as I’ve said about a million times in this post – think about what’s reasonable to expect from each other, both as the writers and the readers.

n

What test do you mean?
So there’s a guy and a girl, and they’re talking to a guy that we’re going to call the Gatekeeper. And the guy goes, “Man, I really like Green Lantern.” And the Gatekeeper goes, “I know, right? Me too.” And the girl goes, “I love Green Lantern!” And the Gatekeeper goes, “Oh, yeah? Who’s the Green Lantern right now? I bet you haven’t even read the comic book.” You know? They do that kind of shit. And I’ve said it so many times: Being a nerd is not about what you love; it’s about the way you love it. And no one gets to tell another person, “You’re not loving a comic book the right way.”

I identified this when Twitter started blowing up. And just because I was an early adopter, I was on there before a lot of legitimately famous people were on there. And all of these social-media gurus were coming to talk to me and I figured out that when someone says “This is the right way to use Twitter,” the translation for that was “This is the way I can profit or benefit from you using Twitter.” And I kept telling people, “Do it your way, it doesn’t matter. Just do your thing.”

And I don’t mind kicking a beehive. Some people say to me, “You could have so many more followers if you didn’t say this or that.” And I don’t fucking care. It’s not like I’m keeping score. And you know, if I’m going to alienate people who think that standing by a park with an assault rifle is okay because you can, then I don’t want that person to follow me anyway and I don’t fucking care if they don’t support any of my work, because fuck that guy.


Source shellytotter
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This.

vampmissedith:

When I was a freshman, my sister was in eighth grade. There was a boy in two of her periods who would ask her out every single day. (Third and seventh period, if I remember correctly.) All day during third and seventh she would repeatedly tell him no. She didn’t beat around the bush, she didn’t lie and say she was taken—she just said no.

One day, in third period, after being rejected several times, he said; “I have a gun in my locker. If you don’t say yes, I am going to shoot you in seventh.”

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Source vampmissedith
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Rogers Fun or Why your attempt to keep me as a customer is failing miserably

(hold music for 15 minutes)

Rogers: Welcome to Rogers Wireless, how can I help you?
Me: I called the number on your website for Rogers Internet.  I don’t know why I have you.  Please transfer me.
Rogers: ok

(hold music for 25 minutes)

Me: I’d like to cancel my internet
Rogers: May I ask why?
Me: TekSavvy is significantly cheaper
Rogers: What are they offering?
Me: 300GB for $41.95.  I pay $54 for 80 with you for the exact same 25mbps.  That is silly.
Rogers: Let me see what I can offer you… how about a 15% discount and free modem rental?
Me: That’s still more expensive as I get over 3x the usage with them.  Please cancel.
Rogers: let me transfer you to customer service.
Me: Seriously, unless you plan to offer me the exact same plan, I’m quitting.  Also, I’ve already been on hold for over half an hour.
Rogers: I’ll put you in a rapid queue.

(I’m now up to 50 minutes on the line and only about 5 of that was actually speaking to a human.  Not looking good for you, Rogers.)

Update: It has now been 1h 40min.  Still haven’t been able to cancel.  Setting up a system in which a person cannot quit without talking to a specific department is insanity.

n

If you said the things that you say to yourself about other people, you’d be like “you’re a fucking monster” - Nick Kroll on The Nerdist podcast

— Ain’t that the truth…