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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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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.
For several years I've, finally, been in the process of applying for Social Security Disability, something I desperately needed to do decades earlier, but wrongheadedly struggled to avoid as my life spiraled into hell.
Many people have helped me along the way, some of you included, and now I've hit another emergency juncture and my only alternative is to plead for your help and hope a few of you will throw me another lifeline.
MY MENTAL ILLNESS is the primary disability, though I also have other ailments (gout, high blood pressure, and a lot of little things). I'm bipolar. I suffer lifelong severe clinical depression, and panic/anxiety disorders to the point of almost complete disability.
I range up and down to some degree depending on my prevailing biochemistry, my circumstances, and my treatment.
But I'm always, at best, near the verge of being thrust back into the hell of just wanting to kill myself because I can't stand the minute-to-minute overwhelming fear, and all the other desperate feelings that are so impossible to explain to a sane person, save as the product of chemicals flooding my brain, turning it a place of living hell.
I've long known that pretty much everyone first applying for Social Security disability for depression is denied, and can only be approved via appeal, and likely multiple appeals.
A few weeks ago I finally was notified that my disability application was being denied. I completely expected this result, but still, lacking resources, and knowledge of timing, I found myself unprepared for the appeal.
Simultaneously, I've been given notice by my current landlord here in Raleigh, North Carolina, that I have to move from my present circumstances to some new place to live (my original notice a few weeks ago was for a move ASAP; I've wangled a temporary extension, but still have to move as soon as reasonably possible).
Simultaneously, because my SS disability application has been denied, my current mental health help from the State of North Carolina (via the Easter Seals organization) has been cut off. I had had a therapist every 2-4 weeks, and psychiatrist every 3 months, plus medications. I'm appealing that cut-off, too.
Three crisi simultaneously: a place to live, reobtaining treatment, disability application to appeal.
I can't overstate how little able I am to cope with even one crisis at a time, as a rule.
Or even one difficult thing at a time. And for me, almost everything is difficult.
I am, alas, mentally and emotionally ill. It's not easy to say that, but at the age of 51, with severe clinical depression first having struck at least by the end of my teen years, I've come to face it.
It's something I've struggled with, mostly unsuccessfully, my whole life, and I almost certainly will have to struggle with the rest of my life.
I range from, when stressed, completely dysfunctional, no matter how absolutely life-critical doing something is, to minimally functional, accomplishing the basics of keeping fed and showered and a mild amount of optional activities, like desperately striving to stay in communication with friends.
Being crazy is crazy-making, it turns out.
I HAVE NO SUPPORT NETWORK of family, or local friends, alas. And I desperately need one, but in lieu of that, I'm asking here for the only substitute I can: your help.
(I would desperately like to afford to move to another state, to a place I didn't hate, and could afford, and a locale I had some friends, but that isn't financially feasible for now.)
The most frightening part of the appeal process is that now they tell me they want evidence of my disability going back many decades, and I just don't have that official proof. But that's stuff you can't help me with.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: overwhelmingly, through taking out a monthly subscription to my blog for at least six months, if not a year or more; stress on the "more," if possible, though obviously people should only do what they're completely comfortable with, and no one can predict the future.
That is, click the PayPal buttons below or in the sidebar so that you agree to automatically send at least one $5/month donation to Amygdala/me every month, hopefully until my disability application is finally approved.
Subscriptions can be taken out in any combination of the $5/month or $25/month or $50/month increments. So someone could donate $15/month with three $5/month subscriptions. Or $30/month with one $25 subscription and one $5/month subscription. Or $125/month with two $50/month and one $25/month subscription. And so on.
Individual donations in any amount can also be made at any time! But the stability of knowing subscription payments will be coming in in six months or more is what I MOST need.
You can cancel your subscriptions at any time, of course, though naturally I hope you won't, or at least not without advance warning.
A couple of weeks ago I had hoped that I'd be able to find a room with utilities somewhere here in the Raleigh/Durham area for around ~$350/month, and I'd thought that if I could just get approximately another $125/month in subscriptions, I could survive.
Realizing just how expensive food is, along with the other small emergencies and expenses that spring up, and after having lost $50/month worth of subscriptions in the past month, I've realized I need at least another $200/month to survive.
So I'm asking you, in desperation, if you've ever enjoyed my blog, or my comments somewhere, or I've helped you out in some way, or if you're simply feeling able to help out someone in need, someone in overwhelming pain and fear, to please consider taking out one or more subscriptions to my blog for a year or more, possible, and help me survive at least another year.
Four people at $50/month could do it. Or ten people with $5/month each, plus two at $25/month and one at $50. Or whatever. Anything you can do will be endlessly appreciated.
All I can say is that I try to pay help forward.
I'd like to explain the history here, but I also don't want to overwhelm people with length. Ideally I should write up a separate post with a fuller history, but experience tells me that I find this sort of thing so upsetting and depressing to write that I'm apt to do exactly what my circular problem is: not write that post, no matter how much I need to. But maybe sooner or later. Meanwhile, try William Styron's Darkness Visible.
INSIDE MY HEAD.
It's so hard to explain to sane people how I could wind up this way, and what it's like.
How I've gotten here is a long long story, but the essense is that lifelong crippling disease of depression that overwhelms me over and over again, and always, at best, hovers just at the edge of my ability to stave it off, always trying to force its way back into total control, total despair, total self-hatred and self-loathing, and a kind of psychic siren of agony and loneliness.
I range up and down, in pain and functionality, depending on circumstances, and my biochemistry, and how much my meds are or aren't helping. (Currently buspirone and Lamictal.)
When I'm doing better, I'm able to chat and do minimally functional stuff: make myself go out on walks, do some of the more important errands, give an appearance of semi-normality.
When I'm doing worse, I cry, I cower in bed, I'm overwhelmed by fear, I can't leave my room, I can't go outside, I can't cope with other people at all, I can't write, I can't communicate.
In between, I'm mostly frantically trying to maintain some communication with friends, and argue online, simply to keep myself alive, to make myself get out of bed, to feel and think of something beyond the utter despair, to keep myself alive just another day, just another week, just another, maybe, month.
I post online so much -- when I do -- because if I didn't I'd have no sanity left at all. It's almost the only connection I have with people.
It's a struggle. It's a form of therapy. It's desperation.
I can't overstate how overwhelming and out of control these feelings that overpower me so constantly are. That's the hell of it. No matter how much you know that it's biochemistry, that doesn't stop the tsunami of emotional devastation that floods your entire sense of self. It's a living hell.
I'm always just trying to maintain the barest minimum of functionality.
But anything that stresses me makes my panic disorder fly out of control. I go into panic attacks. I have to run and hide, literally. I can't get out of bed.
The more important something is, the more fearful I become of it, and the more unable I become to do it, or even approach it.
I live my life in overwhelming fear, and the rest of the time is in between periods of overwhelming fear.
Yes, I have a lot of fuckups in my head and my brain biochemistry.
I wouldn't wish them, or my life, on my worst enemy.
(It's hereditary, by the way; my father had similar problems, arguably even worse.)
And, yes, the therapy and meds in the past year have helped. But they only help if my circumstances allow me to have a place to live and continue working on improving my mental health, and GETTING STABILITY IN MY LIFE.
I hope you'll help. Subscription, please?
Thanks. Thanks so much if you do.
PayPal account not necessary to donate or subscribe!
ADDENDUM, 3:59 p.m.: That's two $5/month subscriptions so far. Please keep them coming.
ADDENDUM, 4:29 p.m.: That's five more $5/month subscriptions altogether so far, and one $50, and a bunch of singleton donations! Yay, you people. (Of course, this sort of thing comes in a quick spurt that only lasts a day or two, and I keep that in mind.)
ADDENDUM, 4:47 p.m.: Another $50/month, plus two more $5/month for a total of 7 new $5 subscriptions so far today plus the two $50s!
(Please be warned that I'm, goddamn alas, not going to be running out of need in the near future.)
ADDENDUM, 1/26/10, 10:38 a.m.: a bunch of other donations and subscriptions have come in; with luck, more today, before linking blog posts disappear off the front pages of said blogs; I know from experience that wonderful as these spurts of help are, blog-based pleas only effectively last a day or two while said posts are visible. I'll update again tomorrow.
Typically, of course, while I take much comfort from the supportive mail and particularly the lessened insecurity of subscriptions (and donations), I find, this morning, instead of feeling happy and comforted, that I'm full of angst and worry about how long the subscriptions will last, and I'm fighting constant mental flashes to the future experience of watching subscription cancellations eventually flooding into my Inbox.
I can't escape the almost absolute conviction that I'm doomed to always have disasters strike, to exist in a state of almost continual disaster and oncoming horror, since I set them up myself by my endlessly continuous dysfunctionality.
I schedule my panic attacks in advance, as well as impromtu -- kids, this takes a professional, so don't try it at home.
(Yes, I know a bunch of therapeutic techniques at this point to at least interrupt and deal with the negative thoughts as thoughts; working on self-talk has been a huge part of my therapy: it's the physical sensations of terror that are biochemically produced by brain and hormones and body that cause the whole-body feelings is much harder to retrain from lifelong habits. I'm working on trying to practice meditation, and other therapies, to deal with those, as I can, but it's just, you'll pardon the expression, an up and down thing.
Yes, I know that both mind and body are intertwined, and that what one does with one has a huge effect on the other, and that someone with my conditions has to constantly work on both.
If I'm late sending a thank-you note for your subscription or donation, let me apologize in advance: this stuff all makes me overwhelmingly anxious, and I procrastinate. Anyway, not trying to make excuses, but I hope you'll be understanding, with my apologies, if I'm not always Speedy Gonzalez in responding personally.
ADDENDUM, 1/26/10, 2:05 p.m.; it's been a couple of hours since the last donation/subscription, and the blog hits have dropped down to around 80 or so per hour, so we seem to be in the dying tail of the fundraising moment. But, hey, prove me wrong! :-)
ADDENDUM, 1/29/10, 11:11 a.m: Hi, everyone. Sorry, I didn't mean leave such a gap, but I was kinda hoping the last two days that there might be some further links and or hits/donations/subs/etc., and I didn't want to give the impression that the need had disappeared.
Only a handful of new subs and donations drifted in during the last two days, but in the rush of Monday and Tuesday, I've garnered in new subscriptions:
4 @ $50 =200
5 @ $25 =125
31 @ $5 =155
So I have a temporary income stream, that lasts as long as people don't start cancelling subscriptions, of around $1100/month, starting now, for now, which is enough to move, along with the approximately $2000 donated to add to my savings of about $1700.
Of course, that has to make a full budget for everything, so I'll have to keep down what I spend on hookers, drugs, and Vegas visits. Most of all, I know that it's a peak figure, as over coming months subscriptions will inevitably start drifting away, eventually in droves.
But it's enough to get me into some other living arrangement, and boy does that make me feel endlessly better.
I can't thank people enough. I'm still in speechless mode, actually, but didn't want to dawdle further on this addendum. More, as always, later. Sooner or later.
ADDENDUM, February 1st, 12:33 p.m.: Jeez, housing is even more expensive and dodgy, when I look really closely at it, than I thought. Definitely going to have to spend more than I thought earlier, unless I'm very lucky. :-(
ADDENDUM, February 3rd, 11:05 p.m.: This is what I get for being obsessive about reading apartment ads for days, and being depressed about how dangerous and horrible the tenants' reports are on places I had, at first glance at ads, thought sounded find, and, anyway, my procrastinating on getting to a number of the thank-yous I owe people for subs and donations: my first cancellation of a new sub a few minutes ago. A $5/month one, but, still, already the falling away has begun. :-(
Sorry, lots of anxiety attacks again in past few days, terribly interfering with writing things up so far.
Um, please don't cancel your subscriptions?
ADDENDUM, 2/08/10, 4:41 p.m.: I very much need to do a new post on where I'm at with searching for a new place to live, etc., but I'm still catching up on all sorts of other stuff!
And, yes, still, of course, fighting constant battles with overwhelming anxiety, fears, terrors, etc., about anything the remotest bit stressful, which includes anything that reminds me of anything worrying....
One clarification: I'm really hoping that people who subscribe can commit to at least a year, if possible. In all honesty, my fears are overwhelmingly about where I'll be in nine months, and a year, and two. My problems are the opposite of short-term. I don't *expect* anyone to make any commitments, but the more people can, the endlessly more of a relief it is.
Meanwhile, thanks so so much to all who have given support in any way!
Hey Gary. Sorry to hear it's still hard times for you. I dropped $100 on you brother. I suffer on a much smaller scale in the same ways you do -- it's really gratifying to me to be able to help someone in this way.
Hi Gary- I dropped a 100 too...John Cole over at Balloon Juice says you are a good guy..and thats enough for me. I'm a NC boy myself..and I hate to see anyone struggle as mightily as it seems you do...Good luck man Chris
So sorry for your hard times, Gary. Know that you're not alone. From Amsterdam, we send our heartfelt wish that better times are on the way for you, and our hope that even a small donation may help to bring you some relief.
My SSDI claim took 3 years. I finally wrote my state rep and congresscritter and explained how long the process takes. Have you tried that route et? I believe our senators and state reps need to know how unbearably long the process is. I wish you the best, take it hour by hour, day by day. Also, do you have a disability lawyer?
Gary, I live in Cary and have just subscribed. I don't know anything about affordable housing in Raleigh but if you have other needs, let it be known and maybe I can pitch in. I have a full-time job and am a single parent but we all need to help each other. I like your idea of paying it forward! Hang in there. Metalgirl (saw John's post on BJ)
I'm trying to find a lawyer, but it's all very circular. Somehow I'm going to have to find another place for treatment, because while I've had a couple of good therapists, setting aside that they've both gone away after, respectively, some 9 months and 6 months or so, my psychiatrist is a complete asshole. And somehow I need a lot more supporting evidence of my history, and I'm really at a loss as to how to compile or obtain much, given that I only had a couple of experiences with therapy before my latest stint in the past year and a half.
And my experience so far is that I need doctors to testify for me to obtain a lawyer. Underlying my whole set of problems is that I essentially desperately need a social worker to help me through these things, and help me with forms and getting them filled out and just facing them. The nature of my disability is such that it overwhelming tends to interfere with my getting things done to apply for disability help!
And that's where my totally lacking any family support, or local substitute for it, comes into play. Alas, what I really desperately need are some people *around* me who can help out on a semi-frequent basis, whom I can go to when I get a set of forms, or have to go on appointments, or otherwise Get Stuff Done, and whom I can ask to do ludicrous things like come sit with me while I work on forms, or to help me film them out, because I have completely irrational fears that constantly arise about this stuff, and which makes me put it off forever, or not cope at all, until it's too late.
I've had to restart the disability process on more than one occasion because of this crippling inability to cope.
It's one vast circle. The reason I need help is exactly because things like going through the disability application process is exactly the kind of thing I'm dysfunctional at to the point of being disabled.
And it doesn't help that my moods, being bipolar and repeatedly severely clinically depressed, shift constantly, both on an hourly or even more frequent basis, or on long cycles, as well. This makes it very difficult to plan ahead, and it also means that when things are going better, both circumstantially, and within the biochemistry of my brain, I do better, and when those are worse, I'm worse.
But the system isn't, apparently, set up to cope with people who may be mostly disabled, but are better for passing amounts of time, within strict limits, among many other problems.
Have you been in touch with: http://www.alliancecil.org/
for help with disability advocacy resources in your area? I expect you have, but just throwing it out there.
I subscribed, and glad to do it.
If anyone out there is in the Raleigh area and can commit part of 1-2 days a month to be a helping hand to Gary, I know from my own experience that just having someone present when you need to go through paperwork or make calls can make all the difference in getting stuff done, particularly the tangled ribbons of bureaucratic paperwork. If several people were able to make a minimal time commitment, it could make all the difference. I'm on the West Coast and can't offer my own presence.
I'm sorry to hear about your situation(s). I followed John Cole's link to your site. I prepared an application and Appeal documentation on behalf of one of my spouse's clients a year or so ago so I'm somewhat familiar with the process you are facing.
If you don't care to share have a few questions about your SSD claim/situation? 1. Have you been officially diagnosed by a psysician and if yes with what? When? 2. You indicate that you have a psychiatrist but that you would like to see a different doctor. Is s/he a private or a state physician? 2. Re: medical records. Do you have a personal copy of your pertainent medical records (i.e. do you know what is in them and if so do you understand what they contain)? If not, most doctor's offices will provide the patient with 1 copy free of charge. When requesting, make sure to let them know that you are aware that it is customary to provide 1 copy to you at no charge. 3. You indicate that you've spoken to an attorney but haven't reached an agreement with one to take over your case. Specifically, what is the reason that no agreement was reached? Also, How did you find the attorney(s) you contacted? 4. Did you file your initial claim for SSD benefits online or did you complete the forms manually? Did you retain a copy for yourself of everything you submitted? 5. What is the date on your letter denying benefits? There is a deadline for submitting an Appeal. It MUST BE RECEIVED by SSA 65 days from date on their letter. That's to say you have 60 days plus 5 extra days to allow for the lag time between their mailing and your receipt of the letter of denial. 6. What are the circumstances behind your moving? Don't let the denial of your original claim (and likely your Appeal) get you down. Over 60% of original applications are denied and only 10-15% get granted on Appeal. The Hearing stage is where most benefits are granted. The process is like an endurance race.
I'm including some links that might be of help to you. Legal Services Corporation (Legal Aid) has an office in Raleigh and might be a resource for advice if not representation. They handle civil cases for individuals meeting specific income criteria. There is a high demand for their services but they may be able to help with forms or a referral. http://www.legalaidnc.org/public/learn/about_us/
Disability Secrets is a site worth poking around. The author is a former examiner with SSA and explains the process in lay-person's language. Below is just one of many informative pages at the site. http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/mental-impairment-claims.html
Disability Rights North Carolina is located in Raleigh and may be able to assist you in finding another physician, or with a referral for an attorney. They may have other resources available as well. If you call them let them know some of the specifics of your current situation (housing/mental state) so they can best assess all they might do to assist you. http://www.disabilityrightsnc.org/pages/70/What-We-Do/
My Disability Blog has some tips on filing an Appeal as well as other SSD related postings. I think this site and Disability Secrets are affiliated. You might find it of interest. http://disabilityblogger.blogspot.com/2009/01/tips-for-filing-disability-appeal.html
I apologize if I appear to be prying with my questions and you shouldn't feel you have to respond. I've worked with my attorney spouse for 5 years and have dealt with medical records gathering/deciphering as one of my duties. And as I said before I did most of the preparation/case oversight for the only SSD claim/client we ever accepted. One was enough for us. The client was successful but the tediousness of the process was too much. If I can lend any insight I'd be happy to do it.
I am very, very, VERY lucky. I was approved for SSD the first go-round for problems quite similar to at least some of yours. In my case, mostly long-term severe clinical depression. I had no idea this was what you were struggling with. I thought it was a physical condition that caused you severe pain. Not that that would be any better, but my heart went out to you reading this post, because I know sooooo well what it feels like to feel what you're feeling. I know what you're going through, as well as anyone could who does not know you.
Anyway, I signed up for the $5 subscriber level. If I can give more in the future, I will.
Stay strong, Gary. Keep fighting. I have you in my prayers here in New Jersey.
Wish I had the money right now. I empathize - I'm 47 and have been on and off clinically depressed since I was a teen too. Have you tried food stamps, the local food bank, welfare, etc.? (I presume you have.) My wife had to get an attorney - they'll work on award basis (they don't get paid unless you win).
If you're in the Asheville area, get attorney Cynthia Strom for social security disability application. She is an RN and attorney and is well regarded around here re: her skills at moving applications thru. Tell me what county you are in and perhaps I can link you to mental health people. It sounds like you need state funded mental health care; as to what monies there are and as to whether you can find a provider to jump thru that set of paper hoops, that's another matter. marsha hammond, phd, clinical / health licensed psychologist, asheville NC: NC mental health reform blogspot: http://madame-defarge.blogspot.com/
I currently live in Wake County, in Raleigh city limits (just), in north Raleigh. But I'll have to move in the near future. I'd really love to move entirely out of the American south, truth be told, and to an urban area I like, and where I have friends, but it would have to be some place with cheap rents available, which rules out any intersection with my criteria, so far as I can currently see.
I'd love to move back to my hometown of NYC/Brooklyn, but finding a tolerable place to live for only ~$350/month rent, or so, utilities included, would require tremendous luck.
To be clearer, so in all probability my move will be somewhere in the Triangle area, to some room in a house that's on a bus line, not far from a supermarket. Preferably a separate room, rather than a roommate situation. Craigslist is where I expect I'll find something.
I'll probably get back to you with more questions in future, Marsha V. Hammond, Ph.D., if that's okay.
My heart goes out to you man. I've dealt with addiction, anxiety, and panic attacks for last half of my life and I understand just how hard it is for people w/o such issues to understand what a fucking monster it is. How something inside of you can just take over. I went in on a $5/subscription as it is all I can afford right now.
I'm often amazed at the wonder that is the internet and how much it helps to keep me sane. I went through a period of depression that lead to hospitalization, but to this day I know that I'm not and likely will never be "cured". I can't remember when I first came across your name in the blogosphere but in reading through ObiWi archives I knew to stop and read your comments. I appreciate the work that you've put into posts and into the content of your site and am happy to send $50 your way. It's a small consideration and I hope it and especially the community helps to make your hurdles feel smaller.
I see you mentioned Raleigh, and also that "I HAVE NO SUPPORT NETWORK of family, or local friends, alas. And I desperately need one". In Raleigh there is no need to be that way. Contact: http://www.alliancecil.org/
My son, who if he were just bi-polar would be nice, has been dealing with them for a while. It is mostly run by disabled to help disabled. They will know all the lawyers and appeals process. At least one of them is working on being a lawyer himself. They can connect you with any of the legal resources KDP mentioned. They have been great with my son. They on off the bus stop in a building at Cameron Village, so you can use the bus if you don't have transportation. They are a great support network. My son has made some great friends there and they have been instrumental in supporting him. Something about having a group of people in the same boat as you ... it just helps.
Also, contact the N&O. Yes, mainstream media. But they have a running issue with lack of mental health care, last piece was this week. http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local_state/story/306152.html Contact the reporter on that article: email@example.com or 919-829-4698
I am also going to suggest a church. I am assuming you don't attend one as you say you have no support network. It is the south and that is how most support networks connect. Stop gasping, they are even atheist friendly. You don't have to believe anything, and conversely you can believe something too and not agree with anyone. It's fine. It is the UUFR on Wade Ave. http://www.uufr.org/ That is also on a bus route. It is near Whole Foods/Quail Ridge Books. The weather this weekend may not allow much however. I recommend you start by just showing up at the discussion group at 9:30 AM in the Clara Barton Room. The people of the "church" as a whole can also give you a social support network.
These things work to provide a wonderful support network for my mentally ill son. I see no reason why they can't/won't help you. I don't usually show up here, hopped over from C&L and saw the "Raleigh". You can reach me at "hechicera" no quotes at google mail. Spelled out for no spam, sorry. Then if you want I can give you names so you can more personally introduce yourself at the two places I recommend to start a support network. Really too bad the weather will probably not allow travel Sat-Mon or so.
I too am 50 and have had one major health crisis after another.The last was full blown chicken pox virus.I found out I needed to give up gluten during that virus and have finally gained some robust healthy feeling again.The blood tests are not reliable for this unless you get the genetic test.$. The stomach is called the second brain, consider probiotics and fish oil for brain health.Best wishes.
I so sympathize, though that's all I can do. My SSD was denied years ago, leaving me with just SSI. I am looking at homelessness now, which will mean loss of therapeutic support and of my precious pets and of my beloved grandson and and and... I was so glad to see you get some subscriptions to help keep you above water. It gives me hope for my own situation. I have the room for a roommate, which would save me, and if begging and pleading will get me a decent person to share the house with me and my Autistic grandson, I will crawl on broken glass. Also thank you for describing what life is like inside a depressed and panic-stricken body -- it's not all a head thing, despite what many think. All of those days when one can't even get out of bed and the pillow is soaked with tears, when necessary things go undone... Thank you Gary, for being strong enough and word-smith enough to tell this story. I could not have done it. I hope that someday you can write that post and tell the whole story. And I really hope that this all works for you and that you get more subscribers so that you are more than just above water.
If you kill yourself I am SO fucking not going to forgive yourself. There are better ways to go out than that.
I sent you money. I will send you more money when I can, because Fafnir said so.
Now, stop being so freaking out! You can live. Yes, it's insane when you have to obey minor dictates of others TERRIBLY TERRIBLY INSANE!
Really dreadful. But dammit, just hang in there. I'll be in touch. Hell, we'll be in touch.
Just stop all this pulling in shit. I know, I know. Pain, pain, pain. La vida es una puta. Deal.
I WILL send more money. I already did the five dollar a month thing. I NEVER do that Gary; I am totally vague about money.
I UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS TOTALLY FUCKED UP GARY. Srsly.
Love and hugs,
and hopefully better stuff in the future. Not to stalk or anything, but, ya know. I'm glad I found you, oh suicidal one. Fafnir is a good reference. I trusts me some Fafnir.
Now, all we need to do is get you somewhere where there are your peeps. I have a similar problem in this department, so I can give good advice. However, I will refrain from such because sometimes good advice is the last derned thing ya need, if you get my drift.
By for now. Kindly don't kill yourself. And oh my now there is all this other stuff on the left sidebar, you wily person you.
I already sent you money, Gary!
Yes, I gathered you were single. We could be friends, but unlikely lovers, because I already went through that dozens of times, Gary. People like you never wind up liking me. I'm an honest person, though. But apparently I'm something of a bitch.
I sent the money, Gary. Haunt away.
Love and snuggles, even though I am an unredeemable bitch,