Posted by: mydarkestplaces | March 21, 2018

Passive suicidality

So. Yes. I’ve done a stint in inpatient treatment (yes, somewhat involuntarily). So yes, I’ve spent more than a little time in Maine Med because my passive suicidality has trended active. So yes, I’m smarter than the average bear. But this doesn’t mean I have always understood why my passive suicidality was treated so…dramatically. After all, I’ve long hoped to be dead, I’ve had “I wish I could” plans, but I’ve never had “I’m going to” plans.

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Posted by: mydarkestplaces | March 9, 2018

Out of nowhere

So. I know I’ve touched upon my alcoholism here and myriad other locations in my blogosphere. Truthfully? It was no where near so close as it was last night.

A tech meltdown at work, interpersonal factors, external factors…all these conspired to want me to drink myself stupid and shut my brain down for as long as possible. It was mainly the weather helping me avoid grocery stores and places selling bourbon, but I still struggled getting home because, hey, the grocery store was right there. But I got home. I went to bed without raiding the liquor cabinet.

In talking with my sponsor today about last night she asked me, “How did you not? Who did you contact?”

It occurred to me that while I didn’t contact any other members of AA there may be other mental and substance abuse health resources that would have been of help with the battles that appear when one fights oneself.

At this exact moment I’m practicing gratitude that I got through last night without succombing to the sirens’ calls, but trust I’m going to keep that resource line close to hand. There are times I don’t want to talk to people I know about what’s in my head. That becomes a little…spotlight-y for me. But if I know there’s a line I can call after I get out of work at 3am chances are good that I’ll do so. It’s how I learned about the Suicide Text line (741-741) and the National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255).

When you are willing to look for help there’s help available. The act of actually seeking it out is the hardest, but it’s something that’s possible. There are people there to help you get where you’re going.

Posted by: mydarkestplaces | February 27, 2018

There’s help out there

I know there may be confusion as to why I’m going back to Waiting for that Rocket when most of the past couple years has been documented on My Darkest Places. I felt it important to return to my roots .That doesn’t mean I’m out of My Darkest Places. My core is definitely still dark, but with my Program, my various Talking Head Shrinks, Med Head shrinks, my social media circles, my family…and all the crossover therein, I’m starting to notice a brighter edge.

This morning, when I went to meeting, it occurred to me that I’m starting to think myself worth it. It’s remarkable how just the presence of strangers in my life who listen to me judgement free have helped with that. I have to thank friends I never would have met without Twitter. And, as always, my thanks go to Fark and Wil Wheaton for convincing me Twitter was a place to be.

It’s my immediate thought of the Internet teaching me about self care for my mental health issues that has me wanting to spread the word about some online resources that can help you gain a more even footing. Below you’ll find a couple links about finding resources online or a way to find a human resource in your neighborhood to meet and talk with on the regular.

If we don’t share our issues with another human in whatever forum necessary then we’ll never stop being weighted down and resenting our issues regardless of how much said issues endear us to our loved ones.

Use these links to remind you that you’re worth it. Use them to talk yourself out of whatever choice is percolating in your mind. These resources will help you stabilize yourself remind you that you’re an okay, or better than okay, human being.

You are loved. Sometimes we all need that explicit reminder.

Pros of online counseling

Looking for a face to face appointment? Counselors near you.

As always when you find yourself in danger of hurting yourself or someone else please call 1-800-273-8255 or text 741-741. We may forget, a lot, but there are people in the wings waiting to help.

Posted by: mydarkestplaces | April 28, 2017

Current events

I end up with a lot of thoughts a lot. You may have picked up that having contributed to four blogs, two of which are my own, and having multiple social media accounts across several platforms. With my thoughts today I thought it’d be best to go back to the beginning with my first public consumption blog. Because today’s post doesn’t really fit anywhere else.

So. You all know how strongly I feel about Fark. I write about them. A lot. They’re the crew that introduced me to Twitter. I tweet at Drew Curtis (the founder of Fark) a lot (because he’s amazing). Fark also happens to be where I get a lot of my current events. Those who submit to Fark help weed out what should actually be news as opposed to what those out to make a buck are saying is the news. For example. A lot of times my email contains headlines outlining the penis contest that the international relations field currently is (“We’ll do this for them so we prove ourselves better!” “But we’ll do THIS for them so we’ll show WE’RE better!” ad nauseam), but Fark shares the things that often get buried under the same headlines over and over.

For example, today I saw a headline on Fark that stopped my heart. “Kids are losing their childhoods…You can see the stress on their faces as they get ready. It’s like, you know, they’re suiting up for battle.” As opposed to many Fark headlines that twist the subject matter or point of an article to show the absurdity of said article, this is a direct quote. From a parent. A parent who lost their child due to unchecked gang violence.

Many of those in a position of legislative and legal power are pointing the finger of blame at anybody else, but themselves. I think they’re missing the point though.

Ultimately it shouldn’t matter where the issue started, it should only matter who’s going to stop it. And – newsflash Washington, New York, every legislator everywhere – unchecked gang violence isn’t a new issue. Republicans, this isn’t something that started five or twenty years ago. Democrats, this isn’t something that started four months or fifteen years ago. It’s not something that started in city halls or on Capitol Hill. What’s going to make the difference is who stops it. And it’s been well proven that parents scared for their childrens’ lives aren’t going to stop it. Teachers scared for their students’ lives aren’t going to stop it.

This has to be a cohesive effort where parents. And kids. And educators. And law enforcement. And flipping EVERYBODY gets together to say, “Yeah, no.”

I don’t remember when or where I wrote it, but I know at some point I wrote that kids shouldn’t be afraid to go to school. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask a teacher to go to the bathroom. They shouldn’t be afraid to join sports teams, go to the library or get on the bus. Our communities shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for their kids so they’re not scared of any of those things.

No. I don’t have an answer for how to strengthen our communities and schools. I do know that putting the kibosh on immigration hasn’t, at any point, stopped reprehensible outfits from getting into our country. And saying, “Yeah, you can’t come in even though you’re twelve and have a family at the receiving end of your trip,” hasn’t done anything to stop the violence. I do know there are a lot of people smarter than me who are trying to do things to change the world. Who are studying and working hard to make a difference. Let’s not impede their abilities to do so.

Posted by: mydarkestplaces | December 13, 2016

Why Stalin?

The vast majority of you have picked up on the fact that I’m back to doing Stalin research again. The vast majority have been left asking, “Why??” What follows is my response:

Of all the history I’ve studied over the years if I were to be asked what my focus is, I’d say, “Stalin,” with zero hesitation. Whenever I say such, even to friends of mine who’ve studied a fair bit of history, the reaction is typically a blank stare and an, “Oh…why?” Which is why I want to write this piece. Stalin and his henchmen were so – are so – responsible for shaping the hyper ideological way the world has developed.

One of my goals with writing this…whatever it turns out to be (series of essays, a book, who knows – I’ve never been great at planning) I would like non-academic folks to better understand what can happen if we just allow today’s Powers That Be to run the world unaccountably.

It’s going to take more than a series of letters to the editor and blog and social media posts decrying nominations, proposed legislation, state affairs to prevent President Trump, President Le Pen, the Right Honourable Theresa May from running roughshod over their citizens and any elected and nominated officials.

The global circumstances that led to Hitler and Stalin were nothing if not a global small penis competition that facilitated evil men being responsible for the deaths of tens of millions human beings. I’m not saying we should lie and propagandize so that the Global Powers That Be feel they have the biggest penis in the world, but we need to activate so that they don’t feel there’s no one to hold them accountable. It’s one thing for candidates/electeds to say they have morals and values it’s a completely different thing to have them prove it. In order to prove it they need to not make state decisions that lead to the deaths and/or disappearances of opposition, minorities, anybody that doesn’t fit in the electeds’ acceptable schema.

There’s a lot of work to be done so that we don’t find ourselves walking a path that’s been walked before. We can’t shy from the work. We just have to do it so that there’s never a possibility of finding ourselves poised on this precipice again.

Posted by: mydarkestplaces | June 2, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner

Okay. So. Interesting article raising interesting feelings.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Caitlyn Jenner nee Bruce Jenner, transitioning male to female. Words cannot express how proud I am of her. I hope she feels more comfortable, more loved, more herself, in being who she is.

On the sidebar of Facebook came an interesting link. Sherwood Golf Course, the golf course Bruce was a member of for fifteen years, has stated publicly that Caitlyn will not be allowed to patronize the dining room and bar as those locations are men only.

This raised some very interesting feelings in me.

On the one hand, I was upset about the fact someone who’d been a member in good standing for so long patronizing those spaces is now turned away, but on the flip side, I found myself a little happy. The club saying, “Nope, you’re a chick now, you’re not allowed,” means they’re unquestionably accepting Caitlyn’s identity. So, gendered segregation? Bad. Accepting that the man formally known as Bruce is in fact Caitlyn and thus shall be held to the rules that govern female members of the club without any question is kind of…awesome.

Groups that are traditionally more liberal are rarely so unquestioningly accepting, to have a group so traditionally more conservative say, “Welp, you’re a lady now so you can’t come in,” is kind of awesome. And, yes, I am choosing to look at it that way. I’m choosing to think it’s more “no chicks allowed” than “ohmygerd you’re different so therefore not allowed.” It could ultimately shake down either way. Given the nature of the far too public transitioning of Caitlyn and the public status of the men and women she associates with I know this is something we’re going to be hearing about in the mainstream media for a very long time (cod forbid mainstream media cover anything not pop culture) so make no mistake – we will hear how it ultimately shakes down.

I want the news cycle on this to stop now. I don’t want main stream media to go through the process of uncovering and over exposing all the ins and outs of the gender acceptance programming at this country club. I want to remain thinking this country club is saying, “Yeah, you’re a chick so you can’t do what you’ve always done.”

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the gender exclusionary policy is a good one, but I also know if this country club said, “Bruce you’ve been a member forever, why wouldn’t you be able to come in?” that would be far more upsetting to me because it would completely disregard Caitlyn’s gender identity.

So there are layers to this. The country club accepting Caitlyn’s gender identity. Society accepting Caitlyn’s gender identity. … Country clubs ceasing to exclude women when women play golf as well. So we have to be sad about being happy with the start of the country club accepting Caitlyn Jenner’s identity, but at least the country club is accepting Caitlyn Jenner’s identity.

Posted by: mydarkestplaces | February 6, 2015

Help those who need help, help yourself at the same time

Today I went not just off peninsula, but left Cumberland County. Why you might ask? I went to a regional middle school to bring some non-perishable real food things to the school to be put in Go-Bags for kids whose family may not have the resources to provide real food for these kids. Me writing about it in this form and function may come across as, “Look at me and how giving I am!” and, because I’m human and 31 years old, sure there’s a small, small portion of that which is true, but the bigger thing is that there’s a whole slew of things spiraling out of control in my world right now. That’s similar to what these middle schoolers are facing. The difference is that I have a bit more flexibility in my life. With money showing up every two weeks in my name I’m able to get food. I’m able to leave the house. I’m able to see my friends, see my confidants, splurge on coffee, splurge on pizza. These pre- and peri-adolescents don’t have these abilities or flexibilities nor do their families.

So, yes. There’s an aspect of me that gives back for me, but what I get back isn’t a tax deduction. It’s the ability to help someone. Help someone who needs it, help someone who’s asked for it. And the ability to feel something is under my control.

Ten packs of oatmeal may only help five kids – and maybe for only two days – but they’ll help five kids right away who need the help right away. And where I can’t help the people closest to me? Those packs of oatmeal will help someone. That’s enough to keep me connected right now. And that connection? That’ll get me to the next minute and the minute after, maybe even the minute after that. Those minutes? Eventually they’ll get me another hour, day, week, month and year. And eventually? That’ll be something I’m grateful for.


Post Script – There are kids and families in your community who are particularly in need, even if you don’t know who they are. Contact your local schools, United Way, churches, civic groups, whomever so they can give you guidance on how to get help to those people.

Posted by: mydarkestplaces | November 30, 2014

Company with a soul

Many of you know I worked for a clothing company called Horny Toad for a few years. There’s more awesome to the company than incredible comfortable clothing that often doesn’t scream, “I’m wearing the most comfortable clothing in the world.” (Think what you’d wear to an 8:30am final in college.) in addition, the folks who run the company, work for the company, source for the company, produce for the company, distribute for the company are *good people.*

It’s the distribution I’d like to talk about here. Since 1997 HT has partnered with Planet Access Company (PAC), a distribution center outside of Chicago. PAC works with Search, Inc., an organization whose primary objective is to empower and enrich adults with developmental disabilities, a demographic far too often overlooked. These men and women work to pick and pack the warehouse’s orders. They get paid. They are so enthusiastic, so excited, to be treated with dignity and respect (shouldn’t be so much to ask, right?).

Par for the course, this is all a long lead-in.

Search, Inc., is a part of the Coleman Foundation’s Giving Tuesday Matching Grants Program this year – the philanthropic answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This Tuesday the Coleman Foundation is offering a dollar-for-dollar match of donations up to $15,000. That can make a difference in the lives of so many who deserve a difference made in their lives because they’ve had their families and the state give up on them.

Like the posts on the Animal Refuge League I’ve been sharing of late, this is an effort that can make a very real difference in the lives of a lot of people (in the case of the ARL, a difference in the lives of animals). As I’ve said in my other entreaties, it’s not always easy to find the money to give this time of year, but with the ARL and Search, Inc., these are opportunities where five dollars can make a huge difference.

Let’s do what we can to make Giving Tuesday a thing. Whether it’s a dollar, a word, a hug or a smile we all have something we can give and each of these things are capable of changing the world.

Posted by: mydarkestplaces | October 1, 2014

Arab Spring – Fall 2014

In 2011, I was working third shift in a retail store. I did a lot of work, but the world was also in turmoil so I also spent a fair amount of time sneaking into stockrooms so I could check in on the goings on in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc. My social media feeds weren’t filled by just the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN or even the BBC (though the last was certainly better than the American three – granted that’s a low bar to clear in my opinion). Somehow, from behind the scenes was Andy Carvin (@acarvin on Twitter) the man who would live tweet a revolution.

From the beginning he would retweet what folks on the ground – the folks literally in the line of fire – were saying. He wasn’t doing so in any studied, propagandizing, biased way. He was just hitting the “retweet” button in a manner which got someone’s words from their phone or computer located in Libya into my phone or computer in Maine.

Just think about that for a minute.

With or without him the Arab Spring would have happened. Men and women – young and old – found themselves despairing of the status quo. They may not have known for sure – hell, they still may not know – but they knew enough to know it couldn’t continue as is.

They had the presence of mind and principle to say, “We can’t live under this dictator anymore. It’s time for us to fight back.” And they did. And it was excruciatingly glorious and exultant and heartbreaking and tragic.

It would have been all these things without social media and people like Andy Carvin bringing news of North Africa and the Near East’s plights to Western attention. We would have just let it happen. Not that Western influence did a whole lot even when the powers that be and the general public were made aware, but the Western awareness at least stemmed everything from being completely apocalyptic.

Too many people died. Too many people were injured. When it comes to people dying or being hurt at the hands of their government it’s always one too many.

Why am I bringing this up three years down the line? I Just picked up Andy Carvin’s book recounting his experience helping curate and commemorate the events that happened in 2011. I’m remembering all the feels and fears I felt watching the events in the Near East and North Africa unfold. I remember crying the day Muammar Gaddafi was unseated. Cheering the day he was assassinated. Through Andy Carvin’s work I felt I had gotten to know some of the people who lived in those areas. In some cases I even became friendly with them and we would tweet and message each other (another sign of social media shrinking the world).

When the twenty-four hours of any particular news cycle is up we – particularly we in America – tend to adopt an, “Out of sight out of mind,” attitude. This is dangerous. Not just for us (please reference hysteria regarding ISIS), but for those who live in the Middle East and North Africa. Like my feeling that if we’re not talking about mental health issues then we’re missing someone who’s suffering if we’re not talking about what’s happening in the Middle East and North Africa then the sacrifices of those who fought throughout the Arab Spring have been wasted.

Let’s not forget those who sacrificed everything so that all could live the lives they want.

Posted by: mydarkestplaces | August 24, 2014

Ferguson, MO, and beyond

Because of all the all going on, I have a friend who had to have the “hands up don’t shoot” conversation with her kids this weekend. I imagine several other friends have been having similar conversations with their kids this weekend.

Fucking. Kids.

What. The. Fuck.

There are parts of our population jealous my friend got to wait until her kids were double digits. Parts of our population who are jealous my friend’s kids are still alive because that part of the population’s kids aren’t.

There are parts of our population who don’t see anything wrong with any of these situations. THAT same population will often whine and bitch and cry about how gays, gender non-conformists, divorcees, atheists and any other portion of the population not white, Christian and – preferably – male and rich (although white, Christian, stay at home mom is a reasonable alternative) are tearing apart the moral fabric of society.

I can appreciate that not everyone has the same world view as me. Not everyone had the same upbringing or the same life experiences as I (the reverse is also true). But can’t we all be on the same page about this? The page where people being dead because of ignorance, ineptitude and flat out hate is unequivocally wrong? Particularly when hidden behind a Badge? PARTICULARLY when the Badge’s superiors do everything in their power to protect the Badge?

The events of the last two weeks aren’t because a kid stole a cigar from a convenience store (one, multiple accounts say he didn’t; two, convenience store cigars don’t warrant eight shots into an unarmed man). The events of the last two weeks are because a city’s population is standing up for itself against the very people who abandoned their oath to serve and protect. The very people who showed, that day and every day since, that the lives of non-whites don’t hold the same value as whites.

**I’m sure it’s not every police officer. I know there are good police officers in Ferguson and the rest of the world. What’s happening right now isn’t a situation where the police can, in any way, be portrayed as individuals. They are a very lethal entity. An entity who has military grade tactical gear at their disposal –that they’re using – to “control” the population. The good is being FAR outweighed by the dangerous.

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