Scroll down for Amygdala archives! You know you want to. [Temporarily rather borked, along with rest of template.]
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!
Commenting Rules: Only comments that are courteous and respectful of other commenters will be allowed. Period.
You must either open a Google/Blogger.com/Gmail Account, or sign into comments at the bottom of any post with OpenID, LiveJournal, Typepad, Wordpress, AIM account, or whatever ID/handle available to use. Hey, I don't design Blogger's software: sorry!
Posting a spam-type URL will be grounds for deletion.
Comments on posts over 21 days old are now moderated, and it may take me a long while to notice and allow them.
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.
Molly Ivins, the irrepressibly irreverent political humorist and syndicated columnist who skewered legislators, governors and presidents, especially those from her beloved Texas, died Wednesday at her home in Austin after a long battle with cancer She was 62.
A very saddening loss.
Read The Rest Scale: 5 out of 5. The servers at The Texas Observer seem to be down at present; likely overloaded -- a very 21st century tribute.
UPDATE, 7:59 p.m. The site is reachable again; there's all sorts of good Molly Ivins stuff on the front page, for now, including this:
And for me, it’s leaving time.
I have a grandly dramatic vision of myself stalking through the canyons of the Big Apple in the rain and cold, dreaming about driving with the soft night air of East Texas rushing on my face while Willie Nelson sings softly on the radio, or about blasting through the Panhandle under a fierce sun and pale blue sky….I’ll remember, I’ll remember…sunsets, rivers, hills, plains, the Gulf, woods, a thousand beers in a thousand joints, and sunshine and laughter. And people. Mostly I’ll remember people.
There is one thing, an important thing, I have to tell you before I go. What I’m going to tell you is more than a fact. It is a Truth. I have spent six years checking it out, and I know it to be true. The people who subscribe to The Texas Observer are good people. In fact, you’re the best people in this state. I don’t care if you think that’s pretentious or sentimental—it’s just true.
If I got to naming you, I would never stop, so I won’t. But please believe me that all of you whom I know and many of you whom I know only by letter are in my mind as I write this—even if I do forget your names half the time. Always excepting, of course, the turkey who sends me hate mail after my annual gun-control editorial. Turkey, turkey, turkey.
I wanted to call this “The Long Goodbye” but Kaye won’t let me. She wanted to call it “Ivins Indulges in Horrible Fit of Sentimentality.”
I love you. Good-bye my friends.
The closing paragraphs of Molly’s goodbye column to Texas Observer readers published June 18, 1976, as she left to join The New York Times.
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!
ALIVE. I'm afraid I was involuntarily off-line for over a week, since shortly before New Year's. My online access for several years has been Ev1.net, via a complimentary donated account.
They've had outages, in which their computer wouldn't recognize my user ID/password, or not been accessible, numerous times over these few years, sometimes for 3-5 days. So I tentatively assumed this was just another case.
Finally, over the weekend, I dug out an old AOL disk, and set up a "free 50 days!" account; I've found that Ev1.net has gone out of the dialup business, so either I'll have to start actually paying AOL, or someone else, for dialup, in another month or two, or won't be online.
But that' hard to think about since I received horrible news as soon as I got online and checked my e-mail. I'd rather not discuss it until things are a little clearer, but it's as dire news for my life as it gets, I'm afraid. Worse than all the health issues, or the previous flirtation with my landlord threatening to evict me, by far.
But, more later. (If anyone knows of any long-term work I can do online, writing or researching or whatever, that's somewhere in the neighborhood of ~24 hrs a week, for at least $10/hr, please let me know ASAP!)
On the other hand, I'm in panic mode, and apt to not be answering non-essential e-mail, and having trouble coping with the essential e-mail.