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Amygdala's endorsements are below my favorite quotations! Keep scrolling!
Amygdala will move to an entirely new and far better blog template ASAP, aka RSN, aka incrementally/badly punctuated evolution.
Tagging posts, posts by category, next/previous post indicators, and other post-2003 design innovations are incrementally being tweaked/kludged/melting.
Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
you are welcome to do so via the PayPal buttons.
"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
My crisis is that I've had a primary source of income for the last three or so years of ~$600/month. That was enough for my rent ($475, though it may go up any time), and obviously a bit more, though not enough to to cover my medications, or quite all of my expenses, though with the too-frequent begging for donations from me, and bits and pieces of such other work as I could manage (not much in the last year, due to my health), I've gotten by (I need about ~$800/month, give or take).
I had up to now had nothing but assurances that this income would continue indefinitely, and I could count on it and rely on it, absolutely. I was sure it wouldn't stop without lots of warning.
But it has. (Not due to anything on my side; financial problems suddenly developed without warning on the other end, and I'm nothing but grateful beyond all ability to say for the prior commitment.)
From Saturday until Wednesday I've been in one long full-out panic attack since I got the news, not eating, throwing up, and essentially having a major nervous breakdown, and wasn't remotely in condition where I should be writing yet.
I have a lifelong history of recurring profound clinical depression.
Lifelong, since childhood, though I didn't know anything about it until my early 20s, when I was first diagnosed (and should have been in treatment since early childhood).
It has a great many symptons, and reachs, and I've evolved somewhat over the years in the ways I cope, in some circumstances.
It's led to my scattered, often-disasterous, fragmented, semi-life, with many long periods of semi-homelessness, or being on the verge of homelessness, and to my being unable to hold a steady job for long. All my life it's ended up being temp jobs, or freelance work, or short-term jobs, or no jobs, and eventually losing the temp ones I had, quickly or slowly, with the job at Avon Books in 1986-9 being the only real permanent job with the faintest promise, and I screwed that by getting fired in 1989, after my depression after my father and Terry Carr died the same week. (And then screwed pursuing a lot of other promising publishing opportunities after that, after my depression over losing my job.)
I could go through an endlessly long list of all the other times, both before that, and since then, that depression (in many forms, including panic attacks, fear, near-catatonic inability to do anything except panic, or semi-sleep, and on and on -- just a literal inability to do things, talk to people, leave my apartment/room, etc., plus lots more at different times) has kept me from doing what I needed to do to get a job, work, keep a functional sleep/wake schedule, cope with minimal necessities, and so on, thus resulting in my desperate situations at times, with several times I would have been indefinitely on the streets if not for someone taking me in for a while.
This is my past. I'm 48. Up until now I've still struggled in recent times with the question of whether I should continue to work on trying to get better, and more mentally healthy, and able to cope, and slowly grow back into a normal life, able to work and support myself -- or whether to pursue trying to get Social Security Disability, on the basis of depression rendering me permanently disabled and unable to work.
I've always been extremely reluctant to pursue the latter course, for several reasons. Overwhelmingly, it seemed like a negative choice for the remainder of my life: a sort of giving up. A turning away from the hope of that normal life, and work, and supporting myself, and the other good things that go with it.
It's also a long, drawn-out, problematic process, applying for disability for depression, that takes a year or two, goes through inevitable denials and appeals, requires a lawyer/counselor/specialist on your side (who at least works only for a percentage of the payout), and can have an uncertain outcome. As well, in my case, it didn't help that I've seen a formal psychiatrist only a smattering of times in my life, none recently, and at this point long enough ago that the odds of being able to recover any records are almost non-existent. So any current application for disability to the Social Security Administration would be pretty much entirely dependent on the simple record of my erratic work history, and my testimony/interview, and I've been afraid that I'd come off too well, despite the reality. (Of course, it's likely that my fear of applying was also partially a product of depression.)
As well, you can't really pursue work and applying for disability at the same time: that's always been the huge thing. If in the middle of your disability process, it's on the record that you've been working for three months, let alone six or more, that pretty much disproves your claim, even if you can't hold the job for more than 8-9 months, or maybe a year, max.
In the past couple of years, I've been struggling with the various physical ailments I've had which have come on, none of which are technically completely disabling in themselves, as I understand it, but which in combination have prevented me from being able to do more than a very little work, and which indeed have keep me from even doing much blogging, relatively speaking, in the past year: the dental problems, the enlarged heart, the blood pressure, the gout, the occasional kidney stone gravel, and a general overwhelming fatigue, and inability to do much of anything, of which how much is the heart and physical ailments, and how much is depression, I don't know.
When I'm not experiencing the utterly crippling fear and depression, the overwhelming feeling of wanting to die, of complete fear, and utter despair, which I mostly only feel when very stressed -- such as under the worry of being evicted -- it's sometimes very hard -- or impossible -- for me to tell how much I'm genuinely not being all that depressed, and how much I'm fooling myself by simply trying to do nothing at all.
On the plus side, I'd made some distinct progress with the depression. A lot of it -- though by no means all -- in the past was situationally related. When I see no future, and am desperately afraid, with perfectly good cause, that I'm going to be put out on the street in a week, or a month, or two months, or three, I suffer overwhelming panic. Overwhelming. It grabs my heart, it locks my chest, it freezes my stomach, I get nauseated and vomit, I hide in bed, I pace, I get back in bed, I can't do anything, I can't think, and I'm totally, or near-totally, overwhelmed.
That's the situation I went back into when I got the news of the vanishing $600/month, which was my worst nightmare. It's what happens to me under major stress. I've been relatively of it, save for the fleeting worries and occasional literal nightmares, in the past 3+ years. The relief of that income was overwhelming, life-changing, more positive than I can possible say.
For the past few years, I've been doing comparatively well. I'd developed in years/decades past lots of bad habits that worked to keep me depressed even when not under stress. Those I learned, slowly, to do a fair amount about. Bit by bit I unlearned, via the freedom of not being existentionally stressed out and fearing for my life, some crippling mental habits. Cognitive therapy stuff, basically, which doesn't help the major panic attacks much, but does help during non-existentially-threatening times.
I slowly learned to cope with doing some of the things I couldn't do before, by virtue of being able to learn without being under stress, and the worry that I'd not be able to pay my rent in four months, or six.
My initial plan was straightforwardly to keep working on this, and slowly take on/get back to work, part-time at first, and then as I proved able to cope with the stress, and learn, to get back to fulltime work, and then continue reconstructing a normal life. I hoped.
That went quite well for a time, but the increasing physical ailments began getting worse and worse, and interfering more and more with being able to get work, in the past two years. I've had various intermittent bits of online work, and temp work, but in the past two years, the physical stuff has kept me largely plateaued, and largely focused on trying to get my physical health back, before I could do much more, I thought, about much more work, though I've certainly tried to do what I can, and keep an eye out for what seemed part-time enough to be feasible/doable.
But difficult as life has been the past couple of years, with that assured $600/month coming in, I've known I could survive, and that's made all the difference. As did the assurance that the money would be there as long as I needed it.
I'd always thought it was clear that it was of the utmost importance that if anything were to change with that income, that I'd need as much warning as possible -- ideally, a couple of years, but at least a full year. Because if things hadn't improved enough as regards my health and work, what I would do is file a Social Security Disability claim for depression -- but that takes at least a year or two to go through all the inevitable denials and appeals.
But, it turned out, I had no warning or hint whatever of the 3+ years of $600/month income coming to an end (due to no fault of the person who gave the assurances, to whom I'm nothing but endlessly grateful!). (If I had, I'd have filed for disability a couple of years ago, and yes I'm furious with myself now that I didn't, anyway, despite the reasons I stated above, of course; yes, you doubtless think I'm an idiot, too, but I was just so reluctant to go that route.)
Thus my utter panic.
So, now, the closest I've come up to a plan, so far: I'm going to contradictorily pursue making a Social Security Disability claim for lifelong severe clinical depression, and since it takes a year or two for those to be resolved, I have no choice but to *try* to find and do what work I can to get at least ~$800/$900 a month until such time as I, I hope, am able to get disability.
Obviously, kind as people have been with their donations, I can't expect to get that kind of money for a year, or two, just from blogging and begging.
However: the more money anyone and everyone can send for now (and/or any commitments, however small, for regular monthly payment, whether $5 -- see Paypal box at top of page, which I'll supplement sooner or later -- or $50 -- or more!), and the closer I come to getting a couple or more month's rent in the bank in advance, the further I'll be able to move back towards a more mentally healthy state, less panic, and less onset/recurrence of overwhelming crippling depression, and thus more able to work and do stuff, if only my physical health isn't too bad.
I can only pray that after a year, or two, of whatever work and donated support I can manage, I'll be able to get Social Security, and then will be out of this pit of fear/horror/despair. Right now, fear of eviction and lack of money, due to my lifelong history of depression and resulting problems (more in future post), terrifies me more than most anyone can understand who hasn't themselves been, in the past, made homeless due to depression and inability to work/function.
(There's also a contradiction between writing about my depression, and history, and pursuing a disability claim, and trying to get work, particularly as regards potential employers looking at my blog, but I don't know what to do about that, either.)
So: this is a statement of Utter Emergency in Gary's life. The only way I'm holding back the pure fear now, is by telling myself I'll get through it. I'm telling myself that I'll get through it by finding online work, that I'll be able to be up to doing enough of it, for long enough, and that I'll get through it, as well, with the help of friends, and supporters, and kind and generous people. (And with the aide of professional mental health treatment, not that I've had much luck in the past there.)
The less pressure I feel, the less fear I feel, and the more functional I am. The more pressure I'm under, the more panicked and depressed I get, and the more dysfunctional and incapacited, and I slip or move further back into the utterly disabled state of pure clinical depression.
It's that simple.
I know from the past that I'm perfectly capable of having my disease of depression cripple me completely, no matter how urgent the need, and making me completely dysfunctional, so that I lose my apartment and all my possessions. It's happened more than once, and I've barely survived. I know just how bad it gets. How bad I can get. It's an illness that needs treatment; it can be a life-threatening illness, and it is in my case. Damnit.
So I'm setting a fund-raising goal today -- knowing all too well, that I may be near or past the burn-out point in asking for or getting help from many people, and understanding entirely -- of raising at least 3 month's "nut" to survive, for the time being: $800/month for 3 months, which is $2400. I have no idea if I can possibly raise that, or even half that, but I have to try. It's a matter of survival. It's a matter of my life or death.
I'll do all I can to pursue the Social Security disability claim, mental health treatment for my depression, and what online work I can do (all tips welcome!). I hope you'll help. Please.
Obviously, donations down to $5 are welcome and helpful, but the most help will come from those few incredibly generous individuals who are out there who are in a position to donate $100 or more at a time, or perhaps at least $50 or $75. All I can say is that I wouldn't ask if I hadn't so utterly screwed up my life, and weren't in a state of desperate fear. I know that's little or no reason to help me, but it's all I've got. (That, and helping me stick around to do some quasi-entertaining blogging and commenting in the future, I hope.)
Thanks, more than I can ever say.
(I'll probably still be asked why I didn't apply for disability earlier -- as I said, I'm now furious beyond expressing at myself about that, but while the major reason is as I said above -- that it was an entire turn for my life I didn't want to take -- the situation in the past year has been that with no warning, or hints, or discussion, that that $600/month income might come to an end, I've in recent times been pre-occupied instead with my immediate worries, about my ailments, and paying for treatment, and how soon I might be able to be in shape to interview for part-time work, and what was and wasn't realistic to try for/plan for, and so on. Immediate circumstances; my gout has been acting up a lot again in the last two months; in the last month, I've been unable to walk for days at a time on one foot or another. Etc. I've been largely taking things one month at a time. And I clung to the hope that things would improve. Yeah, I'm still furious with myself.)
Any offers for online work will be appreciated, as will any tips. Only time will tell how well I'll be able to manage at them.
ADDENDUM, 10:43 a.m.: See new $25/month Supporter subscription and $50/month Patron subscription buttons at the top of the page! Feel free to make use of them, please! Or click here to subscribe at the you-are-a-saint $50/month help-Gary-survive level.
Also, per the post below this one, if anyone perchance is in a position to donate free dial-up access (I daren't dream about broadband), or at least point to the cheapest alternative, feel free to let me know. Thanks.
ADDENDUM, 3:18 p.m.: I made it out to the pharmacy and back, to refill prescriptions; it's about an hour to get there, and two buses, but getting out is good, and besides, it's actually not snowing today, unlike the majority of days in the past month, or the forecasts for the next week.
One person subscribed so far at the $50/month level! You can be the second! And you can be the third!
Why, if about 16 people did that, I could blog more or less full time for your delight and edification!
Yes, I do have an active fantasy life; it helps keep me going.
UPDATE, 6:03 p.m.: A second person has subscribed for $50/month! Thank you so much!
Gary, have you considered filing for unemployment and/or food stamp assistance first? That's much easier to get and while it doesn't last forever, might help a lot. Also, what kind of online work are you able to do? A description of your skillset/work history might help solicit more suggestions.
This is useless specifically, because it doesn't exist anymore, but maybe there's another service that works the same way -- Google Answers used to pay people for researching questions on a piecework basis. It's shut down, but maybe something's replaced it, and might have researcher slots open?
requires a lawyer/counselor/specialist on your side (who at least works only for a percentage of the payout)
I have done some work for a Legal Aid Service, and helping people get SSDI, including for a disabling mental illness, is one of the things we do. Your Battery Park photo suggests that you are a New Yorker, if so, here is a link to NYC Legal Aid, which says it does help people through the SSA application process, and mentions a disability case it did. http://www.legal-aid.org/SupportDocumentIndex.htm?docid=67&catid=43 There may be other pro bono organizations in NYC that would help, too, and the Legal Aid would probably know about them and give you a list even if they can't themselves help you.
Tribolite, thanks for the pointers, but I've lived in Boulder, Colorado, since December, 2001.
Yeah, Google Answers is out of business, and so are most of the variants I know.
I've had food stamps in the past, and am reapplying again, although a) for years Colorado has had backlogs of close to a year on fulfilling applications, despite that being illegal; and b) I don't know if they have a medical exemption from the local job search requirement; if they don't, you get cut off after a couple of months if you can't meet it; will have to see how that goes.
My donation won't help much, but I'm glad to contribute what I can. I've suffered from depression, as well, but mine was quite mild compared to this. I can't imagine how frightening it must be.
As for possible employment, I have some friends who get some good and decently renumerated work through freelance educational writing. I'm not sure how one breaks into it, but it might be worth looking into. Good luck, and take care of yourself.
I found this dialup service, which is actually free, although I can't vouch for them.
You should definitely put together a CV, including a list of the types of work you are looking for, and post it up on your blog. I do occasionally run into someone who needs a little writing/copy editing/etc done.
"but would it be at all worth pursuing disability on the basis of the gout and inability to walk, rather than depression?"
From what I've read -- and I'm no expert, I've just done some reading, which is why I hope to consult with an actual lawyer-specialist next week -- no. As I understand it, a declaration of disability requires one to be declared "permanently and totally disabled" on that basis (this is a huge part of why I've not applied up to now, despite all these decades of severe problems); there's no, if I don't misunderstand, partial disability allowed for in this system, and no combination of factors, and neither, by the way, is pain considered a relevant factor, a topic of some lawsuits, but little change by the Social Security Administration or Congress so far, if I have it right; that point is, to be sure, something for me to blog about in the future as I learn more, and if I feel up to it.
Anyway, the gout comes and goes; if it got so bad that, say, my foot had to be amputated, that would be one thing (and also wouldn't render me disabled for office/sit-down work, anyway, just for physical work; these things come in categories), but I'd strongly prefer to not hope for that, unsurprisingly.
It's, on average, not significantly disabling to me more than about 30% of the time, I say totally off the top of my head, and subject to revision or withdrawal, at most; it's just that that's enough for it to seem unlikely that I could take a job that requires standing around all the time, such as, say, in a retail store, and keep that job over the course of a year, even though a few months might not be significantly problematic.
Thus, one of the complications. If there weren't so many complications, my situation would, in fact, be much simpler.
I am on disability due to major depression and PTSD, along with Meniere's Disease.
I totally ubderstand what you mean when you say you have hesitated to apply for disability because it would feel like giving up on yourself. I felt the same way.
I want to urge you to reconsider. It is an insurance program - you have paid the premiums, and now that you need them you deserve the benefits.
In my case it took 4 years because of red tape, but it saved my life. It will give you medical insurance for counseling and meds. Also, you can still work without your benefits being cut off if you make under a certain amount - so in other words, you can still work towards recovery if that's in the cards for you, and the SSD will give you cover, a buffer, so that while working towards recovery you aren't terrified of homelessness every moment.
As far as a combination of factors not being consiered, that's not entirely correct. My meniere's disease was not considered enough on its own for disability on my first application, but the depression and ptsd in concert with it were.
Also, you are always turned down on the initial application and have to appeal - that's just how it works.
See a lawyer or social worker that specializes in SSD. Even if you decide not to go through with it, they'll consult for free and give you their advice and their evaluation of your situation, and you will have more to go on than "from what I've heard."
Thanks muchly for your comment, Craig. As I wrote (admittedly at some length), I am already researching lawyer/benefits specialists in SS disability and depression, specifically; I hope to confer with one next week.
Thanks also for your comments about a combination of factors; as I said, I'm no expert, and have only researched somewhat, so far; that's also, of course, why I want, and will be getting, a professional to help me.
But, good lord, I hope I can manage to get the thing resolved satisfactorily in a lot less than 4 years! (I know, it happens, and I know it won't happen, in all proability, in anything under a year, at the absolute best.)
"It is an insurance program"
Just because I'm me, I have to point out that this isn't so; it's a convenient fiction. But that's okay; it's not a point that bothers me. :-)
"Also, you are always turned down on the initial application and have to appeal - that's just how it works."
I don't know about Colorado, but most states provide Medicaid for low income people. This could pay for your doctors and meds. It is so essential not to stop taking meds if you have severe depression. Or any other disease, I guess.
Trying to get on disability should not prevent you from looking for work. It's good to have a plan B.
I wish you the best, and will try to dig up a few bucks to speed you on your way.
I'm looking into workaholics4hire.com myself, trying to make some extra money. I can't vouch for them yet. Some of their job categories look iffy, like "content creators" that I think are paid comment spammers. But most of their job categories look okay, including copy editing and freelance writing. I'm gonna try it, anyway. This is their page of latest jobs. Also, they have this page which reposts telecommuting job ads from various job boards, which might be helpful even if you don't want to apply through them -- you can follow links to the original ads and apply that way. Just ignore all the google ads at the top of the page -- scroll down and/or check out the menu at the left.
I deal with a lower intensity of the fear and dysfunction you described so well. Actually, it's true, you WILL get through this situation; that's (by definition) hard to see while you are suffering the symptoms. Ironically, I most recently had my doctor tell me that if I'm functional enough to keep my job, I must not need any treatment. But now I'm just thankful I have some schmuck I can call "my doctor." I really, really would like to hear that you have gotten back to stability and have a steady doctor. Good luck.
Did you know you can call the pharmaceutical companies that make whichever meds you take, explain your situation and they'll send you 90 day supplies for free?
My brother gets his antidepressant that way, he couldn't afford it otherwise.
I was just diagnosed with bipolar with hypomania and started on Lamictal, right now it's working (thank God), but I understand that bottomless pit that's called depression and I wish you the best. Don't give up.
"Did you know you can call the pharmaceutical companies that make whichever meds you take, explain your situation and they'll send you 90 day supplies for free?"
This turns out not to be true.
There are some prescription drugs that can be gotten via the charity programs of pharm companies; they're limited programs, for only certain drugs. (None of them any I'm currently taking, though it's certainly possible that a future -- for me -- anti-depressant will have some availabilty that way.)
You might check out guru.com. I've been on that site for several years, although I've never actually gotten any work from them. Most of the web/programming jobs seem to go to industrious programmers from outside the USA who are willing to work for much less than I am.
There are a bunch of writing/editing jobs on there now. Unfortunately, I can see them because I'm not registered in that category.
With your gout problems, keeping weight off your feet should be a good thing, right? Less pain = more energy and less depression.
Using a wheelchair should actually make you less house-bound and more mobile than you currently are. You have trouble walking? Roll. (I'm assuming the buses there are wheelchair-accessible.) It would expand your options as to where you could go and what you could do. It might mean you could take a job outside the house.
A wheelchair's too expensive? All of Hilde's manual wheelchairs (three in thirty years) have been second-hand. One was given to us, the other two came from garage sales for $10 and $15, respectively. Not tip-top shape, but all of them were usable for a number of years. Try online classifieds or, if you have a local version, "freecycling" websites.
If you're worried about having the upper-body strength to use a wheelchair, here's another suggestion: exercise. A can of soup, or a bottle of water, can be used as a hand weight. Isometric exercises also need no special equipment (the press-up-under-the-desktop-trick, etc.). AND... regular exercise, even light exercise, helps with depression.
But the best part about using a wheelchair, in your particular circumstances, is that when people see you using a wheelchair, they'll say, "Hey, that guy's disabled." If they see you limping along, even with a cane, on your own feet, they'll say "That guy's got sore feet." You want them thinking the first, not the second.
Thanks muchly for the suggestion, Bruce (and I very much appreciate your concern!).
The thing is, the gout only significantly affects my ability to walk maybe a quarter of the time, over the time-span of a few months, generally speaking. The rest of the time it's just more or less at the level of annoying twinges, or even just fine; it's only when it acts up severely, which is on and off, that it becomes truly deeply painful and swelled up.
For instance, two weeks ago, or so, I couldn't walk on my right foot for about 4-5 days, and also spent a couple of weeks with it ranging between painful twinges, and having to limp somewhat.
But then it cleared up again, and has been fine for the past week; this morning it's back to twinging annoying, but so far not yet worse.
Of course, it changes from hour to hour, and the future course is unpredictable (I had my first truly serious attacks in 2001). But my point is that, so far, I don't honestly need a wheelchair (not to mention that I live in an apartment on the third floor) some 80% of the time.
Oh, and minor note: I'm fatter than I've ever been in my life, which is also having adverse health affects in many ways, as well as being incredibly uncomfortable, so when I can walk to exercise, insofar as I can, and I'm not feeling the exhaustion, etc., I want to/hope to. (This past month the non-stop snow has pretty much eliminated the possibility, anyway.)
Carole: $DEITY bless you, and everyone else who has donated, both small and large. I have stopped throwing up, for now, but am still plenty worried about my future, to put it mildly, so let the donations (and subscriptions!) please keep coming (only from those who can afford it!), with my eternal gratitude and more thanks than I can possibly express!
a previous commenter mentioned the defunct google answers and wondered about similar services-- you might already know about Amazon's "mechanical turk" www.mturk.com which doesn't really pay very much except for podcast transcriptions-- and since it's piecework, if you can type really fast while listening you'll make some money-- although if you have an older OS you might have difficulty listening, as some of the podcasts require XP or Win2000 at the least.(Don't know about Macs)
You have requested an outdated version of PayPal. This error often results from the use of bookmarks. To enter the PayPal website please click on the Welcome tab. If you are already logged in, please click on the My Account tab to continue.
I'm sorry for the problem, Marshall, and others. Apologies.
It should work if you go to the main page (click here, and then work the buttons; doing it from this post may be problematic, given some technical differences between updating the blog index and all the past blog entries.
Thank you for opening up in such a deeply personal way. I think I can imagine the emotional toll it must have taken on you to do that. It's very hard to be ill or disabled in this society, especially if you have what I think of as an "invisible disability" like depression, mental illness or Lupus and the like.
Like you, I have several serious health problems, but I've been fortunate enough to be on SSDI (Soc. Sec. Disability Insurance) since the early '90's. (FWIW, I'm disabled by chronic pancreatitis, an acutely painful and progressive inflammatory disease that over time destroys pancreas). You're so right--it's rarely easy to get SSDI, but just having Medicare has been a god-send and made the misery of the process worthwhile for me. This may sound odd, but your location as well as your disease can affect the length of time it takes the process, at least to an extent. Some offices have tremendously long back-logs of cases; in other locations, the backlog is more manageable.
Craig is right about SS considering multiple illnesses in disability applications. My father was approved on the basis of the cumulative effect of his multiple illnesses. In addition to having brittle diabetes, congestive heart failure and clinical depression, over the 20 preceding years he'd had Hodgkins Lymphoma, a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, shingles, and coronary artery disease requiring triple by-pass surgery. When SS approved his application (on the 2nd appeal), their letter to him stated that while none of his diseases individually met their requirements, they recognized that in combination they did cause him to be disabled.
In my case, I was approved on the basis of my pancreatitis, which was my only illness at the time. My lawyer told me that I was at a disadvantage by being very young--I was 26 at the time. When I went before the Administrative Law Judge, the Social Security Vocational Counselor testified that my disease would result in me being unemployable because, as she said, "no employer could tolerate the type of absenteeism that this disease causes". It sounds as if this might be a factor for SSDI to consider if you apply.
Anyway, it occurred to me that in the interim you might be eligible for SSI, which, as I understand it, has a much, much shorter application process. When I first applied for SSDI, the local SS office pre-qualified me for SSI over the phone. I didn't get past the first few questions in the interview, though, because they quickly determined that I wasn't eligible for SSI since I was receiving a monthly check from my former employer's long-term DI policy that put me above the income cut-off. As I understand it, in addition to receiving a small monthly income from SSI, another benefit is that you would also qualify for Medicaid so that at least you could get your meds and see your doctors.
Please keep the faith, Gary. And please don't be so hard on yourself.
PS--I was hoping I could send you something more meaningful($)than a suggestion, but this is a bad month for me. The wolf is pacing right outside my front door, too. ;) Thankfully, though, my situation isn't nearly as dire as yours.
I'm writing to you from my mental illness blog name, even though I rarely post there now, in part because my life has improved. One thing that helped was running out of health insurance so that I had to go off the medication that treated my major clinical depression. I lost 70 pounds within 3 months of going off of it, and that helped my outlook. I also went through Voc Rehab and got a 6-month job at Social Security, so I can tell you that even though many people are denied the first time, some are not. If you have all the reams of documentation for your conditions, your claim will go faster. If you have verification of how it has affected you, it will go faster, too. Also, even with a permanent disability, such as blindness, you can always go off disability later if you actually get better--or find a job. I was on private disability for two years, and in my experience, it keeps you from growing, so it isn't a great place to be, especially if you're intelligent, which you apparently are.
You might apply at tutor.com for tutoring jobs.
I've put together a hodge-podge of ways to earn money, including an online job, substitute teaching, and adjunct teaching at the local community college. I'm supporting a family, so I have no choice except to work in spite of my disability. Out of all of that, the thing that makes me happiest is volunteering with the middle school band and doing school presentations.
My anxiety is horrible, I can't usually walk into my own yard (I can walk to my vehicle, but I can't hang out in the yard), I have no friends (and never want any again), and sometimes we're really poor. But in general, I'm happy.
Asking for money is an okay interim technique. I don't make enough to give you anything. However, if you don't smoke, aren't too weird, and want to move to the western slope, I could give you a bedroom so you won't be homeless. Winters are better here.
Gary - I sent something via CC from paypal. It acted a little weird so I am not sure it went through and I have not gotten an em confirmation yet. If you didn't get something about 9:20PM let me know here.
OCSteve, I can't know if you did or didn't without knowing either the name or e-mail addressed you used to donate.
There's a donation a little while ago that might have been yours -- it was from a Steven -- or it may not: how would I know? (If your email address is a Verizon domain, and your last name indeed starts with a C, and is four letters long, that was probably you, though; but verification would be helpful.) (I'm behind on my thank-yous; more tomorrow and/or Monday.)
I've chipped in some, and I'm wishing you the best of luck with your applications--it isn't essential to have a lawyer or counselor--Brad Hicks--whose political writing you might like got SSDI with help from friends who were familiar with the system. Ghu knows how people who aren't intelligent and/or socially connected manage.
I'm interested in anything you've written about how you manage your depression.
Google isn't keen on people selling links on that basis, but advertisers do use PageRank as a guide to value, hoping links from high PR pages will earn them higher rankings in Google search results. My guess is that if you were prepared to run text ads on your site, you might eventually be able to get as much as $600/month. (This is assuming blogger supports/allows that.)
Gary -- I sympathize, because I am (and have been for six years) exactly where you are now in terms of the depression/medical condition double whammy.
I don't know if this has been suggested (I didn't read all the comments), but I found that the state-run mental health facilities (at least here in NY) are staffed by people who know the system backwards and forwards. They helped me use my diagnoses to apply for and receive SSDI, SSI and food stamps. These folks were with me every step of the way through the application process. At no time did I need to use the services of an attorney.
Without this help, I'd still be on the street. Maybe there's a similar service where you live that can help you.
Also, many states provide financial assistance for one-on-one therapy. My guy is great, and he's also helped me cut through some red tape in a hurry.
I know how bad it can be, and I hope things pick up for you.
Gary i was almost reluctant to send this given the belittling you made of Brian Seidle. As someone who spent 3 yrs in those regions of Africa i am assuming you've never seen such stuff up close and personal ? If you had you wouldnt make such remarks
Anyways go to the library and read the omega 3 connection by Andrew Stoll. Fast some days with water only..the rest of the time eat veggies and sardines..cheap and insanely good for you. Spend 25 bucks on Greens Omega 3 + Joy..the effect(vis the eicosap acid) on yr brain will be highly noticeable. Read the Paleodiet FAQ online Walk 40 mins per day. The brain is 65% lipid and our genes are still in the paleolithic;eat and exercise similarly to what they require and with a tadge of supplementation( omega 3 and perhaps a little magnesium) your depression will be massively reduced or will abate.
Gary: My husband has gotten rid of his gout by just going with a vegetarian diet. Stay away from meat and it will help a lot. IMHO the gout is the easiest thing to deal with. I don't have time to spend figuring out why simonfellows suggested sardines, but given what I know of purines and gout (e.g. they cause it), and what I know of sardines (e.g. they are high in purines), um, I'd suggest that you read the following link.