My first-ever appearance in an official music video. Thanks to the great local band Sur for asking me to be a part of it!
HYPE THIS FOR MY MAN SEAN P AND HIS RAD-ASS VAN!!
On the evening of Friday, May 18th, while I was playing bass with Zest of Yore at Red 7 in Austin, TX, someone walked into the venue’s “green room,” took one of my electric guitars out of its case, and walked out with it.
For the sake of my own sanity, I’m going to assume that it was an accident, due to the fact that there were six people who played guitar on stage that night, and instruments and equipment can easily get lost in the shuffle. I don’t entirely BELIEVE that it was an accident (why leave the case behind?), but I’m trying to have faith in people.
Anyway, this guitar is a right-handed baby blue Squier Jagmaster with a burgundy pick guard. I don’t know the serial number, but it does have one identifying customization: It has strap buttons on both sides of the neck, due to the fact that I play it upside-down left-handed. I’ve owned this guitar for 15 years. My mother bought it for me as my high school graduation present. It’s the guitar that I wrote “Steal My Guitar” about; yes, that song is based on a true story.
I’ve already talked to the staff of the venue about it, and I’ve already filed a police report. If you have any information about where this guitar could be, please let me know privately. If you’re the person who has this guitar, please give it back to me, and I won’t ask any questions. If you’re reading this @ all, I’d appreciate it if you could share this info with as many fellow Austinites as possible.
SPREAD THIS SHIT FAR AND WIDE
THIS SPECIAL GUITAR BELONGS TO A KING
A while ago, I penned a fairly angry response to something circulating on the internet – the 21 Habits of Happy People. It pissed me off beyond belief, that there was an inference that if you weren’t Happy, you simply weren’t doing the right things.
I’ve had depression for as long as I can remember. It’s manifested in different ways. I did therapy. I did prozac. I did more therapy. My baseline is melancholic. I’d just made peace with it when I moved, unintentionally, to a place that had markedly less sunshine in the winter. I got seasonal depression. I got that under control. Then I got really, really sick. Turns out it’s a permanent, painful genetic disorder. My last pain-free day was four years ago.
So, this Cult of Happy article just set me off. Just… anger. Rage. Depression is serious – debilitating, often dangerous, and it’s got an enormous stigma. It leaves people to fend for themselves.
It’s bad enough without people ramming Happy Tips at you through facebook. There is no miracle behaviour change that will flip that switch for you. I know, I’ve tried.
A friend of mine suggested that I write something from my point of view because, surprisingly, I manage to give an outwards impression of having my shit together. I was shocked to hear this. And I find this comical, but I see her point. I’m functioning. I’ve adapted. I’m surprisingly okay. I think the medical term is “resilient”.
So, here it is.
My 21 Tips on Keeping Your Shit Together During Depression
1) Know that you’re not alone. Know that we are a silent legion, who, every day face the solipsism and judgement of Happy People Who Think We Just Aren’t Trying. There are people who are depressed, people who have been depressed, and people who just haven’t been hit with it yet.
2) Understand that the Happy People are usually acting out of some genuine (albeit misguided) concern for you, that it’s coming from a good place, even if the advice feels like you’re being blamed for your disease. Telling you these things makes them feel better, even if it makes you feel like shit. (If they insist on keeping it up, see #12.)
3) Enlist the help of a professional. See your doctor. You need to talk about the ugly shit, and there are people paid to listen and help you find your way to the light at the end of the tunnel.
4) Understand that antidepressants will only do so much. They’re useful, they’ll level you out and give you the time you need to figure out your own path to getting well. They can be helpful. There are lots to choose from. They may not be for you, and even if they are, they take some time to kick in. Conversely, they may not be for you. Work with your doctor.
5) Pick up a paintbrush, a pencil, an activity you got joy from in the past and re-explore that. Or, sign up for the thing you always wanted to try. There is a long history and link between depression and creativity. It’s a bright light of this condition, so utilize it to your best advantage.
6) Eat nutritionally sound, regular small meals. If you’re having trouble eating, try to focus on what you’d like to eat. I went through a whole six week episode of tomatoes and cream cheese on a bagel twice a day. Not great, but it was something – helpful context, I’m a recovered anorexic. Conversely, if all you want to do is scarf down crap, try to off-ramp it by downing a V-8 and doing #9 for 15 minutes, and see how you feel. Chucking your blood sugar all over hell’s half acre is going to make you feel worse.
7) While you’re doing #3, get some bloodwork done. If you’re low on iron or vitamin D, or if your hormone levels are doing the Macarena… these can all contribute to zapping your energy or switching your mood to Bleak As Hell.
8) If you’re in bed and the “insomnia hamsters”, as I like to call them, are on the wheel of your head, watch Nightly Business News on PBS. This has the effect of Nyquil. Swap out your coffee for herbal tea. If you just cannot sleep, try the next tip….
9) Learn how to meditate. Start by focusing on your breathing. Not sleep, not thoughts. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Meditation is focusing on being present in your body, not careening around in your brain. It may not be as good as sleep but it will give you some rest and recharge you.
10) Face a window as often as you can – at work, at home. Look out into the world. Watch. Observe. Try to find something you find pretty or interesting to focus on. And, handily remember that one in five of those people out there feel the way you do.
11) Cry. Better out than in. Sometimes it’s not convenient or career-enhancing to cry, so find a private place as best you can and let the tears go. Carry Kleenex and face wipes and extra concealer if you wear makeup. You can always claim allergies.
12) Any “friend” who resolutely believes that your depression is because you’re lazy, because you’re not trying hard enough, who blames you for not bootstrapping out of it- that friend needs to be cut off. Polite (#2) is one thing, but there is a limit. You don’t have to explain, you can just not respond. You feel badly enough, you don’t need their “assistance”.
13) Limit your time with people who drain you. You know who they are. Often you don’t have a choice- but you can put the meter on. And, subsequently, be aware of what you’re asking of those close to you.
14) Everyone has shit they’ve got to deal with. What you have been saddled with is your shit. Recognize, just as you’re not alone, you’re also not unique. The grass may look greener, you may be jealous or envious of others who don’t have to deal with depression, but you likely do not know everything that’s going on with them.
15) Let go or be dragged. This is an old Buddhist saying. It’s a very useful way to frame aspects of depression. Betrayal, anger, fear… letting go is a process – often a painful and difficult process - but it’s ultimately going to show you the path out of this terrible place. Repeating the mantra can help when you’re feeling gripped by these feelings.
16) Wear clothes that make you feel confident. It takes as much time to put on nice clothes as it does to put on sweatpants. You will want to wear the sweatpants. Fight the urge. The whole “look good/feel better” campaign isn’t limited to cancer and chemotherapy. Or women.
17) Avoid fictional drama and tragedy like the plague. No Grey’s Anatomy, no to The Notebook, or anything that won a Pulitzer prize. You’ve got enough going on In Real Life. Comedy only. Or trashy stuff. Old episodes of WonderWoman? I’ve got the box set. Mindless drivel, like the latest CGI blockbuster. Or clever, funny books. David Sedaris. Jenny Lawson. Fiction exists to elicit emotion, and the emotion you need to express most right now is laughter.
18) Simple exercise, if you can. It can be something as simple as taking the stairs up a flight, or walking around the block. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it doesn’t have to involve climbing a mountain or running a marathon. Baby steps.
19) Depression will lie to you. Depression will try to tell you what others are thinking. That you are unloved and unworthy, that others think little of you or don’t care – or even wish you harm. You are not a psychic. Keep repeating that. “I am not a psychic”. Repeat. The only way to know what another person is thinking is to up and ask them.
20) If you are well and truly losing this battle, reach out to someone. I’ve been the random friendly-but-not-close person who has fielded the occasional outreach. I like to think I’m not judgemental and generally resourceful, and others have thought the same, so they called and asked. You know someone like me. And they will help you.
21) Forgive yourself. I’m writing out all these tips, and I can’t always muster the strength to even stick my nose outside, or walk up the stairs, or eat my vegetables. Today, I got outside for ten minutes. I will try again tomorrow. And I will try again the day after that.
This list will not cure you. This list will not flip on the happy switch. God, I wish it were that easy. The theme here is to not to unknowingly sabotage yourself. All these little things? Like your blood sugar, or watching nonstop episodes of House, or endless Try Harder lectures from your Perpetually Perky sister?
They all make dealing with depression just a tiny bit harder than it needs to be. And it’s hard enough, all on its own.
UPDATE: Wow, guys. Thank you. The feedback has been wonderful - all I wanted to set out to do was something helpful.
For those of you who want to see the original rant, Here it is.. www.diycouturier.com/post/41923259437/to-the-person-who-wrote-21-habits-…
And here’s the response to my response (?) - basically, after posting my retort, the happy people came at me with torches all over the interwebs.
Also, a few people have mentioned that having a critter is a great thing to keep you on track, that taking care of something and having something rely on you keeps you going. I went back and forth on including that, but for some, it’s just not feasible to have a cat or a dog… but my cat is my Prozac.
And, I wrote this in Canada, where we have universal health care. It breaks my heart that people don’t have access to professional support. You can sometimes find a community health centre, or sometimes your work benefits will have an employee support or assistance plan as part of your insurance. If you’re without benefits and hitting desperation, phone someone. Friend, family - even your local distress centre.
Stay well, my melancholic interweb friends…xoRR
I’m sick of people pretending like artists (from the most tone-deaf American Idol aspirant, to the operatic virtuosa languishing in an under-funded music class) don’t deserve material support, or that somehow being able to offer free work implies a higher state of being.
My dad worked for years giving his talent away. Both literally and figuratively. Because he believed in the calling of his work.
It killed him.
I’m not proposing every single person who goes into the arts be raised up to a millionaire, but the issue isn’t with the artists. Its with a world that doesn’t see art as inherently valuable.
If artists were fairly compensated for their work, whether for Island Def Jam, or in someone’s living room, the issue of giving away work would be all but moot.
But the fact is: giving away your work, before you know your bills are paid, is a sure way to work yourself to death.
Please just read this one little thing and never, ever, EVER tell an artist to “get a real job” while you’re stealing hir art.
“People don’t see creative people as they are in reality,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of everybody in a creative field is barely eking by. Also, when it comes right down to it, people like getting bargains. They’re not following the product chain back to the initial starting point.
“People are always going to want to get things inexpensively, so part of our job these days is to remind them there’s an actual human being on the other end of the equation, and that actual human being has rent to pay, and children they’d like to feed. The vast majority of writers are not like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins. The average author makes a four-figure salary a year from their writing. If you don’t pay them, a lot of them will decide they can’t afford to write professionally anymore.”
I was planning to write a long text post updating everyone about my life in general, but with this year’s South by Southwest festival approaching, I don’t know if I’ll have time for that.
In the meantime, any fellow Austinites reading this are urged to begin their SXSW pre-gaming by attending the following shows:
Wednesday, March 6th - The Bell Riots will play Trailer Space Records with Bike Problems and Utero Shock. The show is all-ages and will begin @ 7 PM. Click here to RSVP on Facebook.
Friday’s show will be C.Spaniels’ first of 2013, and we’ll be playing @ least one new song. Even if you can’t attend, a signal boost would be greatly appreciated!
La gente de Austin: if you somehow manage to suffer from vitamin R deficiency, no cure is as effective as watching Sean Padilla perform in ANY of his nineteen crazillion bands.
I AM NOT KIDDING HERE WITH THIS
We hear gun supporters often say “guns don’t kill people…people do.” True. A gun can’t walk up to you and discharge itself. Also, the mere presence of a gun doesn’t mean someone will die of a gunshot. In civilized countries where guns are common, deaths by firearms are lower than in the United States because apparently, we’re violent people who don’t know how to behave.
This is why we need gun control.
Because Americans don’t know how to act.
Saturday Night Live 36x12
“When you talk about guns you always hear a lot about the Second Amendment and the Founding Fathers, and what they would say if they were here. Well, I for one think that if the Founding Fathers were here today, they would be super freaked out by cars. You can talk to them all you want about the Second Amendment, and they would just yell, ‘What are all these metal beasts doing rolling down the thoroughfare?’ And you’d tell them, ‘Those are cars’. And then you’d try to talk to them about militias and they would scream, ‘How can you speak of militias when steel dragons fly through the sky?’ And you’d say, ‘Those are airplanes.’ But even if they could wrap their heads around that they would eventually ask, ‘Why are all the slaves out?’ And they would think that. You can groan all you want, but they would think that.
And yes, the Founding Fathers wanted you to have the right to bear arms, but the guys who wrote that would pee through all eight layers of their pants if they saw what guns are now. In 1787 shooting a bullet was slightly faster than throwing one. If you wanted to be bulletproof in 1787 you put on a heavy coat. So with that in mind, I’m all about Americans having guns as long as they’re the muskets from 1787 that take forever to load.”
THIS YES THIS OMG YES FOR SERIOUS THIS