Category Archives: Steff Rants

RANT: You’re Stupid And We Know It, School Board

A six-year-old has been suspended for singing the words an LMFAO song: “I’m sexy and I know it.”

The school board thinks he should’ve known better.

You know what the six-year-old knows? That these people look like they’re having a LOT of fun when they’re bouncing around singing this song in the video. They’re cool, weird, neat performers with great hair, exciting lives, and they’re singing a super-catchy song that makes the six-year-old come to life when he sings the song too. And they were on top of the world because of it. That is what he knows.

Know what the adults on the schoolboard know? Better. They damned well know better than to suspend a six-year-old for mentioning the words to a ludicrous song by a campy band. And to call it sexual harrassment?

“Zero tolerance” laws are for a moronic people in a moronic world. We’re smarter than that. We know that not everything’s a crime. We know that kids tell lies, adults make mistakes, and shit happens. But we want to seem tough, strong, and like we’re in the moral right, and so we say HEY, ANY CONTRAVENTION OF THIS LAW, AND YOU’RE SCREWED, PAL.

So what happens? A kid gets suspended because he’s singing lyrics to a song he probably doesn’t even understand.

When I was a kid, I was 8 when I found an Elton John record with my brother at a yard sale. On it was “The Bitch is Back.” I didn’t understand the lyrics, but I loved the way it sounded when he sung the words, and I remember dancing around the room singing all summer long.

In grade 7, I loved the song “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. It would be years before I’d understand it was about premature ejaculation, or even what “premature ejaculation” meant.

We can hear songs as kids and love the way they sound, but not have a clue what the premise is.

Even if the kid had any gleaning of this song’s meaning, to call it sexual harassment when he’s just emulating what’s in pop culture is a ridiculously hypocritical move.

I don’t want to live in a world where there are no shades of grey. We’re boring enough already, people.

Let’s get over ourselves and stop the stupidity. Zero tolerance makes zero sense. Look at cases on their merits, not just under the dimwitted light of asshat politicians who pass laws under the guise of looking tough on crime — because it’s we who pay the price, not actual bad guys.

STUPID PEOPLE win money for believing NUTELLA IS HEALTHY

Oh, you think that title’s politically incorrect? Well, then, buckle up.

I’m kinda pissed after reading the makers of Nutella, that incredibly addictive chocolate-hazelnut spread that pimps out a crepe like nobody’s business [shudder/twitch], are settling a lawsuit with consumers because people actually BELIEVED the commercials.

Nutella claimed their meal was part of a nutritional breakfast. You know, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, if it’s on whole-grain toast with a banana sliced on top, and a bowl of strawberries on the side, plus a glass of fresh-squeezed OJ and a shot of insulin.

Unfortunately, people didn’t grasp the “PART of a balanced diet” bit. Nor did they read the sugar content or the fact that North America’s lesser-than concoction of Nutella (Europe gets the REAL thing, we slum it) has PALM OIL.

See, I had this “holy SHIT, is THIS STUFF CRACK?” phase of Nutella addiction, and then, one day, I read the packaging. I saw the fat, the sodium, the sugar, the palm oil, and I thought “Whoa.” There was a really tasty Real Canadian Super generic version that had all CANOLA, not PALM, oil, and it was pretty good, so I switched for a month, but then I just realized I was eating too fucking much of it and I dropped it altogether.

Because I READ THE LABEL.

Some of us do that, you know. It happens. It’s RIGHT THERE. You don’t have to walk two blocks, catch a bus, and SOME of us have educated ourselves, or were taught in public schools, as to what the calorie count we’re after, how many grams of fat are bad, and so forth. I mean, I barely stumble through this stuff and YET I have an inkling of the right information, and even I was scared off by reading Nutella’s nutritional low-down. I mean, holy crap! There’s crack in them-thar jars, Batman! ask someone —  you just have to turn the jar over and READ THE LABEL.

But, no. People who don’t read labels, who don’t empower themselves, who are ignorant of any basic logic (sugar + nut butter + chocolate = not awesome for your ass) and believe commercials with violin instrumentals, they’re all being rewarded with $3 million of Nutella’s dough.

OH, THAT LOOKS HEALTHY. HOW COULD IT NOT BE? IT'S SO SMOOTH, SHINY, AND GLOOPY.

You know what? I call bullshit.

 

Fucking learn your stuff. Don’t trust advertisements. Be judicious. Empower yourself. Don’t be a victim.

This rewarding-people-for-not-caring thing, it’s just not cool. Apathy and ignorance are not excuses. They don’t deserve this.

There’s ZERO incentive to being a proactive, informed individual anymore. Society only rewards the opposite.

I’m fed up with it.

Here’s an idea. Let’s stop this “I don’t need to know because I can just sue them later” epidemic of STUPID in North America and totally change the game. If a manufacturer misleads you, and it’s not something like, say, a life-saving drug or something like a car’s safety where your life is literally on the line, you don’t keep the money from the lawsuit.

They’re really angry that chocolate spread is unhealthy? It’s FAT-FILLED NUTS and CHOCOLATE and SUGAR. Yeah, that’s a fucking surprise — unhealthy. Idiots!

No. They’re angry enough to sue? Great! Do so from a Good Samaritan, Kantist “for the greater good” standpoint, and I will applaud you — so long as the money paid by the offending party is distributed among relevant charities. (ie: Food banks.) NO MONEY FOR STUPIDHEADS.

Let’s STOP THE BLEEDING. Let’s not reward apathy. Let’s make ignorance less profitable. Let’s just try to be in it together, so we’re shutting down corporations for irresponsible behaviour, but we’re not being a part of the Cash Cow System that’s so detrimental to our civilization. Let’s start caring again.

You can’t fucking tell me you put a couple tablespoons of that chocolatey-hazelnutty crack-like concoction on bread and think “THIS TASTES SOOOOOOO HEALTHY.”

Jesus. It doesn’t taste like sawdust. Do. The. Math.

Fuck. I’m gonna start taking a parachute EVERYWHERE I GO, because society is going DOWN, man. Score one for the stupids.

No Nutella for ANYONE. EVER. Pass the whiskey.

RANT: Censorship & The Nonsense of a Non-Seuss World

I’m swearing a lot here on purpose. When I talk about censorship, it makes sense to do so. Avert your sensitive eyes if you’re all bent out of shape by cusswords, and all will be fine. Because that’s all you need to do… not fucking ban it.

We’re regressing as a society, and it scares the shit out of me.

Dr. Seuss is being banned. Why, I can’t fucking fathom it, but it is.

Some bureaucratic asses who are terrified of lawsuits have deemed a story about a turtle as political.

Here’s what the Globe and Mail explains in this article about a BC’s schoolboard’s choice to ban this much-loved children’s classic:

The quote in question – “I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we too should have rights” – comes fromYertle the Turtle, the tale of a turtle who climbs on the backs of other turtles to get a better view.

In the midst of a labour dispute between the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and the province, the quote was deemed unsuitable.

“I responded that in the context, it was borderline,” Mr. Stigant said. “Contextually, it was political – but it was grey and I would prefer it didn’t appear and I believe she agreed.”

Yertle’s quest for a higher vantage point ends when the turtle at the bottom of the stack – who’s pleaded, “I’ve pain in my back, my shoulders and knees – how long must we stand here, your majesty please” – burps, sending Yertle hurtling to the mud.

Yeah. “Political.” Fuck.

Look, people. Banning political messaging from schools is precisely part of why we’re now living in a society where constructive thought seems elusive at best. We’re in the age of Jersey Shore and Real Housewives, when people become famous for partying and being dysfunctional assholes, and the least we could hope for is a return to critical thinking by the children who are our future.

I mean, DUDE: Teach them well and let them lead the way. So sayeth Whitney.

Instead, political hacks who can’t even be trusted to file expense reports have decided the politics of arguably one of the most intriguing children’s authors is too political to be morally tolerable when teaching kids ‘cos — oh, the unthinkable of unthinkables — it might inspire children to think of classism.

Excuse me while I ram my head into my desk for a minute.

Well, that feels better. Okay. Deep breath.

PEOPLE. We’ve dumbed down EVERYTHING in society.

We print legal warnings that coffee cups contain HOT liquid and therefore are DANGEROUS. We rubberize playgrounds because some kids scraped a fucking knee. We pander to the lowest common denominator in everything we do, and North America is suffering an epidemic of stupid. Are you infected?

Instead of offending ANYONE EVER ANYMORE, we live in a completely vanilla society where the mere suggestion of offense means some public relations department comes running with an ass-kissing statement that does nothing but blow bubbles.

Saying “goddamnit” on television would probably explode transistors coast-to-coast in America, for Christ’s sake.

Children today grow up without any threat of getting hurt. God forbid they go ziplining in a public park, go head-first down death-defying slides, or even get a sunburn. Quick, shield little Jonny before he gets a bruise!

Back when I grew up, we actually got grades on report cards, fell down on concrete, jumped off things without safety nets, learned about racism and political parties in school, and look at me — I’m just as fucked up as the next guy, but I get through my days A-okay without needing meds or therapy. I’m normal, Ma! Fucked up in all the best ways.

Not like today. Kids are growing up without critical thinking, scared of getting hurt on adventures, and obsess over looking good instead of being smart, because that’s the pansy-assed culture we’ve given to them.

Stop it!

Allow kids to fall. Encourage them to fail, so long as they’ve tried. Let them learn conflicting ideas and find their own ways. Make them flex brain muscles.

Let’s pray we haven’t undone everything that’s made our culture so awesome for the last century, and let’s get back to embracing free will, allowing competing ideologies, and enjoying everything else that makes life in a free society so goddamned much FUN to endure.

Bureaucrats are making life boring, and it should be a crime. Lock ’em up! Stop saving us from ourselves.

Wake the fuck up and  say no to censorship, people.

And let’s just stop the rubber playgrounds, please. Buy a motherfucking box of Band-aids and live a little, mm-kay? Like they say, life’s tough. Get a helmet.

Bittersweet Beginnings

I know I haven’t been blogging, but I’ve obviously been settling into a new life and don’t feel badly at all that my attentions are otherwise focused.

But I have to drop in for a quick hello, even if I have a busy day ahead. It’s worth commenting on this.

My heart’s breaking as speculation mounts that the Book Warehouse in Vancouver might be closing its four locations, the last indie book chain in town, sounding an almost-imminent death knell for independent bookselling in a city of 2 million.

The Playhouse's last night inspired protests. Photo by Arlen Redekop of the Vancouver Sun.

In the two weeks since I left my hometown, which was a decision two years in the making, the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company has closed down after 49 years, a found 70+year-old “ghost wall” reflecting a time long past, uncovered in a demo, was unceremoniously demolished, and word was announced that the venerable arts-house theatre The Ridge would be shutting down and replaced with, yes, more condos.

I’m broken-hearted for Vancouver, and have been for a long time.

Many of us residents felt it was a joke that the City had so many arts events happening during the Olympics, and we were right, because as soon as the Games left town, so did this newfound arts embrace demonstrated by government.

It seems now the slippery slope of not respecting arts and not playing an active role in finding a way to keep culture alive in Vancouver has resulted in people wondering nationally if Vancouver’s not just a little kid in the sandbox, since the town clearly doesn’t grasp the effect a cultural scene plays in keeping a city vibrant.

And, the thing is, it’s not just about the City Council kicking arts when they’re already down and out, by giving developers carte blanche to go ahead and mow down iconic locations like The Ridge, but it’s the incessant stupidity of continuing to allow foreign investment in Vancouver, when it’s driving rents into ludicrous territory, because there’s no person making under $40,000 who can comfortably live in Vancouver — anywhere — now.

It’s the people who make under $40,000 who answer your phones, serve your coffee, teach your kids, act in the theatre, read poetry in cafes, sell you movie tickets, and more.

And soon none of them will be able to afford Vancouver.

Don’t think I’m the only one who had an exit strategy. That door out of Vancouver’s a revolving one now, man.

There’s no sense living in the world’s most beautiful city if you can’t afford to live there in a way that allows you to enjoy it.

I was born and raised in Vancouver. The Vancouver Playhouse was instrumental in my cultural upbringing. I’ve seen musicals and ballets and murder mysteries there as a youth.

The Ridge Theatre was where I saw my first independent arthouse flick, and turned me onto all things cinematical — from Easy Rider to Nicholas Roeg’s Walkabout. From Baraka to Rear Window. I saw ’em all on screen at The Ridge. Across town, The Rio Theatre is fighting to stay alive by trying to become a hip place where you can see live performance, filmed entertainment, and have a drink — but governmental idiocy will likely kill them too.

And, Book Warehouse, well, they were never my cup of tea but they have been an important part of Vancouver’s independent bookselling scene for a long time, and the more informed reader could walk in and score deals on writers that met the returns pile but should be more read here in Canada, like James Kelman, Iain Banks, and Colum McCann.

These aren’t just “businesses.” They’re the soul of a city.

Vancouver is a young town and it disses its heritage, saying “well, it’s only 70/80/90 years old, so…” because other towns have been around for centuries.

But heritage is where we come from, and I don’t give a fuck that Vancouver’s become a city of immigrants. It’s OUR HISTORY.

There’s no cultural soul anymore. It’s tech industry and more.

But here in Victoria, they’ve attracted Microsoft, largely because of the quality of life offered to those living in Victoria. I predict we’ll see more businesses deciding not to open in Vancouver because they know it’ll be too hard to attract entry-level employees making under $50K, who are the backbone of any enterprise.

Soon, Vancouver’ll be a city full of Lululemon pants, people who never say hi to each other, toy dogs, and business folk — no artists, no creatives, no funky people.

And I won’t be there when it is.

Yeah. It breaks my heart. I love Vancouver. I just don’t like what it’s become. Vancouver, to me, is like that girl who was always pretty and fun and great to be around, but didn’t know it — then one day she figures out she’s hot, gets in with the cool kids, stops being a geek, wears high fashion, and loses all the personality that made her great in the first place. Now she’s just another vapid hottie.

Vancouver’s quickly becoming the vapid hottie with no soul, and it never needed to happen. There have long been incredible artistic peoples in Vancouver.

There just won’t be, soon.

And if Vancouverites don’t demand change, if laws around investments don’t alter, if tax credits for artistic societies don’t improve, if housing options for those who aren’t working in big biz don’t improve, then, yeah, expect to see a continuing demise in Vancouver’s arts scene.

Please, don’t let Vancouver become a vapid city. Even from afar, I don’t think my heart can take it.

A Dissenting Voice Against Stephen Harper

I never thought I could feel my reputation as a Canadian in the world was sullied, but then Stephen Harper came to town.

Under Stephen Harper, since 2006, Canada has enjoyed George W. Bush-quality leadership.

Rejecting climate change, encouraging destructive environmental practices like the tar sand oil refineries, creating division and hate between right and left, the Harper Government is anything but about bringing Canada together.

They practice active misinformation, enjoy peppering the news with stories aimed at distracting Canadians hot-button issues (by way of talking about changing Oh Canada lyrics, and other foolishishness), and use scary rhetoric on issues of catastrophic importance, like Iran (because, hey, war is good!).

Stephen Harper, like George Bush, seems to have a “divine right” sense of rule, like old-time monarchs who believed they came to power with their bloodline because the gods deemed it so.

The latest issues in Canada?

Harper wants to build more prisons. He wants to impose mandatory sentencing on crimes.

And he wants to give the government and law enforcement the right to invade personal privacy in email, on cellular transmissions, and more.

And, with a majority government, the odds are in his favour.

Oh, Canada… indeed.

I’m not the only one who’s concerned that the government is looking to expand the books on law, push for tougher sentencing, and increase incarceration capacities at the same time that they want to invade a nation’s privacy.

Hey, baby — incarceration is good for business when you’re trying to appease the big business that got you elected, like Stevie is. Here’s to self-incrimination and the web! Now, about those emails…

Aw, who’s kidding who? Nothing’s REALLY private on the web. Want private? Stay off the web. But that doesn’t mean I’m gonna sit by and watch more and more of my privacy erode with a great, big government-approved snooping stamp on a new law, thanks.

You can’t assume an entire country’s in on crime and throw open the doors to electronic monitoring. It didn’t work well under McCarthy or Hoover, and it won’t work here. Creating more paranoia and suspicion isn’t what Canadians need, Harper.

When I grew up, I’m sorry, but I grew up believing Canada was more free than the United States.

Pierre Trudeau said government had no business in the bedrooms of Canadians in 1969. We allowed free speech, but not hate speech. When slaves fled the US back in the day, they came here. My dad gave me a book on the Underground Railway when I was 10, so I had this pretty noble view of Canada in the world.

We had so much pristine nature, so many parks. We had so much to be proud of, and my parents raised me to believe that.

It wasn’t till I got to travel, see the north and the prairies, that I realised the immensity of how little a population we were in such a great, big land. Like a 5-year-old wearing his father’s clothing, there are wide expanses of beautiful nothing where population has yet to grow, even now.

These days, those naively innocent feelings on how great Canada is are a thing of the past, as much as I still love what being Canadian means to ME. I only dream we can bounce back after Harper with a leader who inspires people on the world stage, like Obama, who didn’t turn out to be the second coming, but he’s certainly sitting pretty now.

Under Harper, the erosion of privacy, the divisiveness, the refusal to work with — let alone not LEAD — the world on the issue of climate change and the Kyoto Treaty, elimination of arts and equality funding, our declining stance on human rights around the globe, and so many other issues make me cringe when I think of how far Canada has fallen in the eyes of the world.

Because it’s our fault. We haven’t allowed Stephen Harper to get into office ONCE. We’ve elected him THREE TIMES.

No leader of Canada has ever disgusted me as much as Harper does, and it’s the apathy of the voting public and the lack of turnout at polls that’s to blame.

Now, Harper and his henchpeople want to stomp all over your privacy.

Are you gonna let them do that? Or are you gonna take 30 seconds out of your life to sign this petition, to tell Harper, Toews, and co. to go fuck themselves when it comes to reading your emails and snooping on your phone calls?

Join OpenMedia.ca and fight the invasion of privacy that will tie up cops’ time and raise your utility costs. Sign here.

And start speaking up.

This is OUR Canada. Harper has a MAJORITY MANDATE until October, 2015. We need to stand together to keep the Canadian pendulum swinging too far left. I’m in. Are you?

Depression isn’t a CHOICE, People.

This post was in response to something that has now been removed from the web. The author of the original post, Mary Rose, in comments below has asked that this similarly get removed. While I understand why she thinks post is “hateful,” I respectfully disagree — this is an angry post, and anger was an understandable reaction to what was originally written, from my perspective.

I’m also of the belief that we NEED discussion about these things, and Mary Rose isn’t the first person to maybe be a little quick-worded in writing about something daunting like depression, and therefore I will not be removing this post.

This post should be seen as a snapshot of what someone’s mental process is after reacting to something they take the wrong way.

Anger isn’t hate. It’s a justifiable emotion, and, yeah, I was angry when I wrote this. It doesn’t mean I wish Mary Rose harm, or that I disrespect HER. I took issue with her words, and that’s clear here, I felt. The comments are where to disagree with me, of course.

Times like this are when we learn what kind of reach our language choices have — and LOTS of people are guilty of telling people to cheer up when depressed, whether they mean it as flippantly as it sounds, or not, and it’s to ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE this posting is directed. Thanks for reading.

***

So, I started my Saturday wanting to drop-kick someone for a post they wrote in which they asserted depression was a choice and one could just happily choose to move on.

Know how I know someone’s never experienced REAL depression?

When they tell you to move on, to “choose” a better attitude, to buck up and deal. C’mon, everybody! GET HAPPY! Let’s watch the Partridge Family and have a love-in!

Here’s an image for you. Tortured guy goes through life dealing with endless depression, finally decides being unhappy to his very core is literally too painful to endure anymore, and kills himself. Let’s say there is a St. Peter and some Pearly Gates. Suicided Dude shows up there, and St. Pete goes, “What the hell are you doing? You coulda just CHOSEN to stop being depressed. Wow. Waste of life there, selfish dick.”

And Suicided Dude’s jaw drops, and he goes, “WHAT? I coulda JUST STOPPED being depressed? Why the fuck didn’t anyone tell me it was like putting on pants? JUST DON’T DO IT? Who knew? Aw, man. Don’t I feel like a dumbass. The next 40 years mighta ROCKED.”

Right. Sounds pretty fucking dumb, doesn’t it?

That’s never gonna happen. Why?

BECAUSE DEPRESSION ISN’T A CHOICE.

Here’s what Hippy Guru Writer says about “leaving depression behind” in this blog post:

Depression is manifested anger and fear. An extension of the above. Take Usana multivitamins, Univera cell renewal, and exercise for fun. Do it alone if you feel like everyone thinks you’re a loser. Get out of your stale mindset. Enjoy the space inside of yourself and tell the demons inside that they are not welcome there anymore. Tell the part of you that doesn’t believe in you that while you appreciate its special, non verbal brand of tough love, you’re renting all the space inside of you out to new tenants. These new tenants are all the magnificent, hidden, scared, doubtful parts of you that have been beaten down by the giant called depression. Tell it to leave you now. You do not need it to sit on your face anymore.

MULTI-VITAMINS? Really? 30 push-ups? Insta-glee? “Yo, demons! Get outta my space! Hasta la sayonara, BADDY!” What the fuck?

I’d just tell her to fuck off but she’d tell me I’m manifesting my anger and fear. Which, actually, I kind of am.

Namaste. Hakuna matata. Awimbaway!

Image 'Depression' by David Baldinger. Source: http://www.dbaldinger.com/drawings/depression.html. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Generic

Here’s the deal. I’ve been down the depression road and back again. In my descents into darkness, there are a few things I’ve gleaned to be true.

(Reminder: I’m some chick sitting cross-legged on the floor in boxers as I write this, and not a trained professional who bled money for a degree to learn about psychotherapy. Mm-kay?)

Anyhoo. I’ve learned there seems to be both SITUATIONAL and BIOLOGICAL depressions. Now, situational is when it kinda makes sense that you’re down over a long period of time.

Maybe you’ve lost a job, got dumped, shattered your leg when skiing, have creditors chasing you down and no prospects, or maybe you had your mother die. Whatever. Being depressed then not only makes sense, it’s part of being human, and it’s a necessary journey for our growth. It’s not a DEFECT to be ignored and leap-frogged over, it’s a natural situational depression that means our soul’s hurting a little. It may be treated with chemicals, diet, and/or exercise, and that can take the edge off and make fighting one’s way back easier. It still takes a long time to do right.

Biological depressional, however, is a total beast and the reason why it can lead to suicide is because your chemistry overtakes logic, emotion, and everything else. It’s being under a black cloth and not knowing how to find your way out. At its darkest, it is a living hell that isolates you from your dreams, family, friends, and every aspect of your life. Your anger and hopelessness catastrophically cut you off from everything and everyone.

The most insidious part of depression is how it can take over and you’re so incredibly in the dark you don’t even realize it’s an illness. It’s been nearly 6 years since a chemical depression brought me to the brink of suicide, thanks to bad-ass birth control pills I was on that caused an imbalance in me.

The idea of that EVER happening again is terrifying because I had absolutely no control over this darkness that was consuming me for the first 4 months. It was a horrifying descent to the brink of madness for me, and I thank my lucky stars I got past it.

But then assholes like this Hippy Guru Writer come along, who think they’re being helpful for depressed people by going, “Come on, Skippy! You can do it! Just a little hill, and we’ll have climbed right on outta Unhappyville, boys and girls! YAY, HAPPY-CHOICE TIME!”

And do you know what that does to someone who’s actually clinically, biologically depressed? It increases the self-loathing, hopelessness, and frustration, because they remember the 287 times they have gone to bed at night telling themselves it would be better in the morning, promising that they would get up, “do everything right” and have a great day. Then, they get up, a trigger happens, and they’re fighting tears and hyperventilating, just because work beckons in 45 minutes and they need to “pretend” again.

So, on behalf of everyone who’s currently being crushed by depression, I’d like to tell you to fuck right off if you think you’re a part of the solution by telling someone to “get a grip” and move on. They don’t have the objectivity to do it for themselves, thanks to people like you and whatever chemistry’s at fault.

Luckily, I’ve fought depression on both the chemical and situational fronts, and I can tell you it’s as different as summer and winter. In my situational depressions, occasionally things transpire that I find fun and enjoyable, I might even have a whole day or week that’s good, and those are the natural highs/lows of a system that’s functioning properly despite suffering a recent blow the mind needs to heal from.

In my one chemical-based depression based in imbalance, it got darker and darker so that no light entered my life at all. I tried to think my way out of it, do things to cheer myself up, but it often backfired and became worse because it meant I really TRIED, only to FAIL AGAIN, so it perpetuated the feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness that define true depression.

Of course, being unable to “cheer” myself up then had nothing to do with failure at all — that was the nature of the illness. It took two years to undo, but I did it — with the help of medication, exercise, diet, and great friends around me. There was no one cure. There usually isn’t.

The last year and a bit, I’ve been in a mild situational depression because I knew I was unhappy, and I couldn’t figure out what part of my life was the problem. But that’s not actually a situational depression — it’s just being plain old unhappy, indicating change is needed.

I can’t tell you how many times I tried to “think” myself out of my situational grumpiness, either. There are times when thinking one’s self out of a mood works, but when there are actual causes and those causes haven’t been mitigated, choosing “happy” isn’t usually enough. Sometimes, you actually need to change a lot in your life, and that’s not always an option — especially not in this economy, which has given a lot of people reason to be depressed and scared.

You may think you’re giving depressed people a pep talk, but in actuality, you’re likely part of the problem.

Here’s an idea. Be quiet. Listen. Ask them if they need to talk, and just listen. Sometimes, there are no solutions. Sometimes, it just takes a while of hangin’ on, holdin’ out, and hoping. And most of us do those things in different ways, whether you approve or not.

But if all it took was a decision, they would’ve fucking solved life a while ago. Mm-kay?

Don’t just get off your high horse, shoot it. Please.