On the insidiousness of Depression, Suicide, and Robin Williams

yowoto-aladdin-hugging-genieIt’s hard to see something like this happen to someone like Robin Williams, much like Stephen Fry’s revelation of attempted suicide last year. It reminds me that if I make it to 63 I will still be someone who struggles with depression and who could fail in that struggle at any time. It reminds me that it will never go away. And it reminds me that it doesn’t matter how much I accomplish, accomplishments will never be bulwark enough against the thing.

Living with chronic conditions, including depression and I imagine addiction, is remarkably difficult, even when those conditions are “under control,” because you’re just a bad day or a single wrong step away from them being massively out of control. And the daily grind of dealing with them, all the energy and money poured into treatment and counsel and behavior and environment can build up without warning and pull you down.

I am lucky that all my conditions are treatable to some extent. I’ve been on medication non-stop for 22 years and I will have to take medicine every day until I die. It is remarkable, really, that I’m alive, and I am grateful for it and the science that’s made it possible. But some days are a punch to the gut. And some days I am physically unwell. And some days I am sad. And some days they all happen at the same time. And some weeks are just collections of those kind of days. And some months are collections of those weeks.

I’m having that sort of a month, but I am OK. Because there are a lot of people in the world who love me and who I love and I know that, and many of you are here on Facbeook. Depression lies, but I don’t think it could ever convince me I didn’t love you all. And that is enough for today. And tomorrow I’ll figure out tomorrow.

Nerdy things that make me laugh: QI

Stephen
I refute that with every fibre of my being. The actual answer is a field –

Jeremy
No, you can’t refute. That’s bad grammar, that, Stephen. To refute, you have to provide evidence.

Stephen
Yes…

Jeremy
You mean “rebut”.

Stephen
No, I mean “repudiate”.

Jeremy
Fair enough.

Stephen
Yeah. But a good point. Very good point.

Jeremy
If you weren’t… if you weren’t showing off, you could have said “reject”.

Stephen
Yes, indeed. You’re absolutely right. Though it’s not bad grammar, is it? It’s just bad semantics.

Jeremy
Yeah, whatever.

Stephen
Yeah. Yeah. But, er… yeah. No, I stand… I stand hideously corrected and shamed.

16-20 75 Book Challenge – Snicket, Fry and Collins

16. The Grim Grotto – Lemony Snicket

At this point, I felt that the series started to lose momentum.  It’s not that the series hasn’t been absurd and over the top throughout, but I felt like there was a big tone shift to a sort of fantasy series rather than a mystery series.  In this book, the orphans end up on a submarine trying to find a missing sugar bowl that Olaf cannot be allowed to get to first.  Perhaps the sea just seems less Victorian than the rest of the series, but I didn’t enjoy it as much.  At the end of the book, the kid’s have once again lost allies and are fending for themselves.  B

“People aren’t either wicked or noble,” the hook-handed man said. “They’re like chef’s salad, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”

17. The Penultimate Peril – Lemony Snicket

This book introduces a couple characters I wish they’d spent more time with — Daniel Denouement and Kit Snicket.  The kids learn a lot more about VFD and what went wrong and end up spying on any number of familiar faces from throughout the series.  They end up, however, joining forces with Count Olaf to escape being imprisoned or killed and the book ends with them adrift at sea with the count, but of their own choice, not as kidnapees.  B

As I am sure you know, when people say “It’s my pleasure”, they usually mean something along the lines of, “There’s nothing on Earth I would rather do less.

18. The End – Lemony Snicket

The final installment is sort of a Robinsoe Crusoe intrigue on an island out at sea.  This is perhaps the simplest of the books, in terms of perils faced and places seen.  It is the culmination of the theme of how people are morally ambiguous and that safety isn’t always to be preferred to freedom.  The conclusion of the story isn’t particularly satisfactory, but it suits Handler’s tone and worldview rather well.  B

Perhaps if we saw what was ahead of us, and glimpsed the crimes, follies, and misfortunes that would befall us later on, we would all stay in our mother’s wombs, and there would be nobody in the world but a great number of very fat, very irritated women.

19. Moab is my Washpot – Stephen Fry

If you haven’t heard me gush over my love for Stephen Fry before now, then you haven’t been paying attention.  He is the smartest, wittiest, funniest, fabulousest, darlingest man in all the world and my favorite celebrity personality perhaps ever.  Stephen Fry is truly a marvel and nothing makes this “how is this possible”ness of it more clear than this account of his first 20 years.  Fry was an upper middle class pampered little bastard — he compulsively stole, hoarded sweeties and was indulgently and unrelentingly self-loathing and loathsome.  No doubt some of this — particularly the crushing depression that led to his suicide attempt and crime spree that got him thrown in jail — was an early manifestation of his bipolar disorder and struggle with being gay and Jewish.  But it is stunning to read so accurate a telling of the embarrassing overflow of emotions that is adolescence, with all the warts and horror of that time so well fleshed out and described.  I cannot over-recommend this book.  A

Have quotes:

As I go clowning my sentimental way into eternity, wrestling with all my problems of estrangement and communion, sincerity and simulation, ambition and acquiescence, I shuttle between worrying whether I matter at all and whether anything else matters but me.

No adolescent ever wants to be understood, which is why they complain about being misunderstood all the time.

I have always disbelieved that Sicilian saying about revenge being a dish best served cold. I feel that–don’t you?–when I see blinking, quivering octogenarian Nazi war criminals being led away in chains. Why not then? It’s too late now. I want to see them taken back in time and punished then…Blame, certainly, is a dish only edible when served fresh and warm. Old blames, grudges and scores congeal and curdle and cause the most terrible indigestion.

20. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

I’ve had this book recommended to me by three separate book websites that I frequent, but no on I know has read it.  When I saw it for $5 on kindle I thought I might as well read it.  I’ve now finished the trilogy, they’re very good books.  They have a similarity in tone and concept to Battle Royale and Running Man but it’s hard to believe the book is only three years old, it reads as much a classic as The Giver.  A group of kids are selected each year to fight to the death for the entertainment of the populace and as a way to keep the underclasses under control.  The main character is a 16 year old girl from the poorest part of the country and she must pretend to be in love with a boy, manipulating his and the viewer’s emotions, to survive the games. A

Grand Canyon; Why I haven’t been posting

I’ve been bad about updating because I’ve spent most of my time the last few days trying to plan a road trip.  And the thing is that I’m horribly nerdy and when I decide to do something like this I have to Have A Plan.  The basic idea is that I have a three day weekend that coincides with Valentine’s Day, and neither F or I have seen the Grand Canyon, so we thought, hey, let’s go see the Grand Canyon.  But then it was like… and what else are we going to do besides drive to the Grand Canyon and back.  And I was like Hoover Dam.

And then I spent 3 days researching what sorts of things there are to do on the legs of the trip and once we got places.  Like I learned of a place called Grand Canyon West, where there’s this horrifying/tacky/awesome thing called the Skywalk, where you essentially walk out onto glass above the Grand Canyon.  Think Indiana Jones’ leap of faith, but less cool.  It’s much much closer to the Hoover Dam and Vegas, but it’s also extremely expensive and not as high up as the South Rim.  I weighed pros and cons and decided that the South Rim was the <i>real</i> Grand Canyon, so I’d better see that.

I’ve been trying to come up with things to do in Las Vegas that I wouldn’t hate, and I’ve had a few suggestions, but you’re welcome to comment here.  Keep in mind that I don’t drink, gamble, or do things where the main objective is to “have fun” rather than do something in particular.  We were thinking we might try to get some tickets to see Penn&Teller, they do the 1/2 price thing like in NYC.  The Erotic Heritage Museum looked interesting, and it’s open til midnight.  “The Chapel Theater will prominently feature Shakespeare’s erotic material. This material has not been performed in four hundred years. Be prepared to be “Bard to the Bone” and  experience Shakespeare in an entirely new fashion.”  Bard to the Bone.  Oh dear.

It also seems likely that we’ll pass through Baker which has two things that are heavily recommended by travelers.  Alien Jerky, supposedly the best jerky ever, I’m not a jerky eater, but F is.  And the Mad Greek.  I’m not necessarily sold on either, but they’re there.

Alterniraries

LA to Tusakan AZ 8 hours
(I-40)
-Drive through Joshua Tree +50 mins
-Visit Grand Canyon Caverns +1 hour (plus visiting time of probably an hour, closes at 4)
-Roadkill Cafe (off the interstate, adds only the time of visit)
NOTE: I think we wouldn’t be happy trying to get to the caverns before 4 on this leg

Tusakan AZ to Las Vegas NV 5 hours
(I-40 to 93)
-Visit Grand Canyon Caverns +1 hour (plus visiting time of probably an hour, closes at 4)
-Roadkill Cafe (off the interstate, adds only the time of visit)
-Hoover Dam (adds only time of visit, closes at 4:15)
NOTE: I think we can’t do the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon in the same day, unless we get super bored with the Grand Canyon early

Las Vegas NV to LA 4.5 hours
(I-15)
-Hoover Dam +60 minutes round trip, +30 minutes if taking 95 (closes at 4:15)
-Drive by Death Valley +2 hours
-Take 95 to I-40 +2 hours; +1:30 if driving from Hoover Dam (if we don’t go by Joshua Tree, we will have driven this stretch already)
NOTE: I’d like to see the Hoover Dam, but we will be driving over it, so if we don’t make it to a tour, I’d be fine.

The Map

Jeeves and Wooster

Somewhat off topic, but how intentionally gay is this show?

Jeeves the American Woman

These are my concerned eyebrows

Uhh

Oh RAHther

I see you Jeeves

Jeeves, you bitch

Not at all Gay

EYEBROWS