RTOD: “Civic Holiday”

I was just talking to a co-worker about the coming long weekend and all the signs talking about “Civic Holiday”.

I said, “I don’t care, its a day off.  They could call it Crapfest Day and I’d still be happy!”

Happy #Crapfest Day everyone!


Caregivers need care too….#grief #suicide #mentalhealth

For those of you who are finding my blog through this post,  last weekend my friend, and fellow member of the local community theater community Eric took his own life.

In the wake of that tragedy,  I posted this, attempting to help people understand why its hard to reach out for help when they are fighting depression,  and I posted this,  in explaining that suicidal people are not selfish and weak.

In the days since Eric’s death,  I have been working to help people understand,  and help people who are hurting.

I am honoured, and consider it a privilege that people trust me enough to let me help them through difficult times.

Yesterday at work, let in the morning I found myself suddenly,  and violently emotionally shattered.   I likened it to walking through a beautiful forest on a sunny day and finding an old well covered with some rusty wood and falling through.

I’m sorry, what…wood doesn’t rust?   Well then mr or ms smarty pants…go start your own blog where you can make proof-reading a thing ;).

It only lasted a few minutes but was surprising because at the time I was writing code.   Being a Codeaholic which means that Code is My Drug it was very surprising.  I was in what was supposed to be my happy place.

Some of you are going to be very surprised by this next bit.

I immediately let two of my friends know.

That’s right,   I,  David Rothbauer actually let two other people (who didn’t ask at the time if I was okay) that there was the possibility that I might need help.   I wonder what size winter jacket Satan ran out to buy…

I also immediately canceled a meeting I had today,  and while I stayed a few hours at work,  I took today off to take care of me.

After I climbed out of the aforementioned well, I went into analytical mode (because I do that).   I realized that we were in the 3 to 5 day window after a communal tragedy where caregivers and first responders start to drop.   I also realized that I was starting to see the cracks in others.

Many who gravitate towards the care giver role after a tragedy like this,  and I’m not talking just the professionals, have demons in their past.

These dark times are what gives us the perspective and experience that allows us to (hopefully) be effective when helping others.

Many of us also, me especially,  are mission oriented.   What that means is that our nature is to not stop until the mission has been accomplished.   I mean for real…not when some asshat hangs a “Mission Accomplished” banner on an aircraft carrier and has a press conference.

That’s what happened to me yesterday,  and it took me a long time to sort it out.

I found myself in a strange place emotionally.  I felt depressed, but not in that curled up in a ball on the floor and unable to stop crying depression….that I could’ve dealt with,  because for me, that’s normal.

After some thought I realized that I had accessed some very dark and scary places in my past in order to write the things I wrote, and to help people who needed it.

Think of it this way….you’re want to show a friend something that might help them understanding…no wait, I have a better one…

You want to help someone understand that its okay to not have a Mission Accomplished press conference,  so you start digging through boxes looking for a copy of “Chicken Soup for the Asshat’s Soul” (which someone gave you as a gift, because you’re not an asshat, right?).

In your digging you run across a picture of a clown,  and up until that moment you had completely forgotten about your deep and terrifying fear of clowns.

That’s what happened to me yesterday….except the clown was strenuously objecting to being shoved back into that box.

I was feeling lost and wavering and..I really didn’t know what, or why.

I ended up chatting with my friend Kristen Keller on Facebook when I thought I’d give this “Asking for Help” thing a shot.

I’m glad I did.

What followed was a long meandering conversation where there were some painful moments, but there was a lot of laughter as well.

I felt better after, and thanks to Kristen I could sleep.

I’m feeling a bit better this morning, but I can hear that fucking clown stirring.   Too bad its a proverbial clown, otherwise I’d just let the dogs take care of it.

Before I go, I want to ask you all to remember that we all come from different places and deal with things differently.

So if you think that someone isn’t “doing their part”,  or “Is being disrespectful”,  please take a moment and ask yourself if you know their story…..

There might be a reason that they show their grief in a way that is different from yours.

#FightStigma Suicidal people aren’t selfish or weak…

Before I begin….

A few days ago I learned that a friend, Eric Russel, took his own life.

This entry, and every one that I write about mental health is dedicated to his memory.

He was admired and loved by many in the local theater community and his loss was a blow to us all.

Many struggled with understanding how he came to the decision he did.

Many of us knew all too well that dark hell that leads one to such things.

For me personally,  thinking of the pain our friend found himself in was heart breaking.   I shed many tears as I came to grips with that.

But, as our friend Brian Moore said, “This shows that we theater folk, are indeed a family”.

As we struggle with Eric’s loss we, the artsy folk who love and admire him are banding together to ensure that something good comes from Eric’s tragedy.

As talked to turned to #stigma, I wanted to say something about that.

When I first started writing, I wanted to write something funny, and sarcastic.

That’s not what happened.

I backed out what I had written, and just started typing.  None of what you are about to read was planned…it just fell out.

It was incredibly hard to type…it left me emotionally exhausted.

I think it needed to be said though.

Eric,  I’m so sorry that things got that bad for you.   Please know that the people who cared about you wish you nothing but the best on your journey and we fervently hope that you find the peace that escaped you in life.

And know my friend, that we, those same people will ensure that anyone speaking ill of you will learn that consequences are a thing.

And here is the blog

If you clicked on whatever link brought you here so that you could convince me that I’m wrong,  don’t bother,  because, as a rule,  I’m not swayed by arguments put forward by insensitive idiots.

And yes…if you agree with anyone who says that suicidal people are selfish, then I just called you an idiot.   If that hurts your feelings, I apologize for saying that you were insensitive.

Let’s look at the whole selfish thing..

Selfishness is being concerned, sometimes excessively or exclusively, for oneself or one’s own advantage, pleasure, or welfare, regardless of others.

That’s the definition from Wikipedia.  It looks fairly accurate so we’ll go with it.

On the face of it, it reads in such a way to make people think that selfishness is bad 100% of the time.

Many of you would be surprised to learn that life isn’t like that.  There are times that it 100% OKAY to be selfish…to act entirely and exclusively to further one’s self interest.

Let me give you an example:

You find yourself, alone, in the dark.   You are standing at the mouth of a long, very dark tunnel.  You hear awful sounds coming from it, it smells awful as well.

You try as hard as you can to see even the faintest light on the far end, but see nothing….

Even though entering the tunnel is something you must do,  it causes a paralyzing fear, and emotional turmoil.  You hear voices in the distance trying to reach you, trying to help.

You know that these voices have helped you in the past.  You know that some of them will be always be there to help you.

But you just don’t have any strength left to reach out to them.  To shout out so they can come and find you, and, if they have to, carry you through the tunnel until you can see the light, and find the strength to walk on your own.

It reaches a point where you are in too much pain, too exhausted from fighting, and you choose not to enter the tunnel and walk the path to try and find the light.

Even though it pains you greatly,  letting the people behind those voices down,  you silently pray that they will forgive this “one selfish act”,  but after, you reassure yourself that they will not miss you, not even a little..  and then deliberately close your eyes, and escape the pain.

Imagine being in that situation and having someone say to you, “Oh, you’re just being selfish and weak!”

Would you perk up and say, “Yeah, you’re right! Life is great! Thanks Friend!”  and then run to Facebook to tell everyone that your depression has been cured.

If anyone legitimately said, “Yes” to that scenario…go and…I don’t even have words…seriously…you know what…go be stupid somewhere else…

I will admit that the above blurb started off as pointing out that if you didn’t send money to your friend The Nigerian Prince, then you too were being selfish….but I backed that out and just typed….and that is what came out.

I’m sitting here at work, during my lunch, fighting back tears…because it physically and emotionally hurt to type that.

I’ll be fine….let’s move on.

The point I wanted to make is that sometimes its okay to be selfish,  but I think it should be this…

Yes, sometimes people are selfish.  When someone is wanting to stop an ever-present,  seemingly unending pain that stems from the absolute and total loss of hope,  do people really think it is at all helpful to say to them, “Hey, you’re being a selfish jerk!  Think about all the people who your loss would hurt?!!”

I’ll admit that it might, but it wouldn’t last long.

If you’re the one saying that to someone who is in a deep depression and on the brink of suicide,  whose really being a jerk??

Here’s what I heard when someone said something like this to me…

“Hey, I don’t really give a shit about you or your pain.  I’m tired of you being depressed when you’re normally fun, but come on….how many people will be hurt if you off yourself?  Oh, and yeah, I mean, I’m here if you need me, and I know I’ve said that in the past, and kinda didn’t show up when you asked for help,  even though every time I’ve needed you,  you were there (included the time I was broke down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere at 3am)…..come on, lets go grab a beer or something.”

…you know who you are…and if you’re reading this…yeah, its still “Stay the fuck away from me”.

Do you get my point?  I hope so because I’m tired of talking about it…and that it still needs to be said, so lets move on the weakness thing.

If you want to display an astonishing lack of understanding of what its like to suffer from a mental illness, I would suggest saying, out loud,  that people who’ve reached the point where life is intolerable are ending their journey are doing so out of weakness.

I was recently trying to figure out how to tell a very dear friend how I felt about her. (this wasn’t a proclamation of undying love…not really, so don’t read anything into it).

I tend to rehearse these things, which is terrible because I always do better when I just move my mouth and let my brain do the talking…but this is one of the things I came up with..

I was going to say that I would die for you and your daughter…but dying is easy, living is hard.  Instead I’ll say that I would live for the two of you.

Now that I read that I’m thinking Dayymm…that’s pretty good.

Now before the idiots among you go pointing out that I just won your argument for you, let me point out what’s obvious to everyone else.

I think its safe to say that the vast majority (I’m thinking all) of people who’ve ended their own lives didn’t do so during their first major depression.

That means there were times previous in their lives where they pushed through that black hell (which takes a great deal of strength, selflessness,  and courageand chose to fight the darkness and live.

If you saw someone climbing a mountain, carrying a pack that weighed more than they did, is there any point where, after they started their journey, they faltered, would you complain that they were weak?

Because that’s what life with depression is like.

If you want to argue, go fuck yourself, you’re not worth the effort.

I’m exhausted from typing this…..and will end this here.

We know your justifications for fat shaming are BS excuses for your prejudice

I read a story on the CBC news site with the headline “‘Fat Guy’ cycling across country to lose weight and keep wife”

You can read the story for the details,  while I’ve got loads of respect for the guy and applaud his efforts I want to talk about some of the comments left by readers.

Some are very supportive and encouraging.   In fact over the years I’ve seen that positive comments are more prevalent on stories like this.

Naturally the fat shamers must put in their 2 cents worth.

One frequent poster said that lazy slobs who over eat and don’t exercise disgust him.

I replied and asked him if he meant all over-eating lazy slobs, or just the fat ones,  or maybe he just meant fat people in general.

He hasn’t replied yet..

I’m going to post another comment from the user Watchingtext and my response to it here as I think I’m made the message from the blog title clear..

You can view the original thread here

Original Post:

Some people here defending the obese saying they don’t eat more than others, they are not lazy, etc. etc. (I’m wondering how they would know this).
Here is what we do know: When obese people eat right and exercise they lose weight. There is no way to put on several hundred lbs without overeating. I applaud this man for changing his life and taking on this challenge, but please people stop defending fat like it’s a badge of specialness.

My response:


You seem to think that “eating right and exercising” is easy.

Its not. Many of us, myself included have emotional issues around food.

Telling someone with food issues to simply eat less is like telling an alcoholic to drink less in a world where..

– they need to drink alcohol every day to survive
– where “healthy” alcohol isn’t as tasty as bad alcohol, and bad alcohol is usually easy to prepare, and lines the shelves close to the check out in almost every store.

No one is defending “fat like its a badge of specialness”

What people opposed to fat-shaming object to is that some people (I’m presuming that you’re one of them) measure our entire value to society by our weight.

These same people will look at a person who is skinny due to serious mental health issues such as substance abuse,  anorexia or bulimia and see them as being “healthy”, while at the same time, seeing someone who is larger, who eats right, and exercises every day as “a lazy slob”.

Here’s the thing with all that…

Judging someone’s character and value to their society purely by their physical appearance casts you in a pretty bad light.

Yes you can say, “Oh, I care about your health!”, or “I don’t want you taking up healthcare dollars!”

We know you’re FOS when you say these things to justify your prejudice.

And here’s a word about costing “healthcare dollars”…

You would never say it when you looked at a stranger who wasn’t fat who smokes 10 packs of cigarettes a day.

You would never say that to a high performance athlete or adrenaline junkie who participates in extreme sports.

You would never say that to some stranger who you don’t realize drinks and drives.

So spare us your spurious justifications.

Fun With Headlines #2: Google Will Soon Let You Buy Things With Your Voice

According to the Huffington Post Google Will Soon Let You Buy Things With Your Voice

Google’s has proven time and again that they are capable of delivering extraordinary technology to pretty much everyone on the planet.

Once delivered,  Google will free us from having to rely on hand signals, facial expressions and grunting when attempting to make purchases at our local retail outlets!