Tag Archives: Mental Health

“Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands” (Elliott Smith)

Everybody cares, everybody understands
Yes, everybody cares about you
Yeah and whether or not you want them to

It’s a chemical embrace that kicks you in the head
To a pure synthetic sympathy that infuriates you totally
And a quiet lie that makes you wanna scream and shout

So here I lay dreaming looking at the brilliant sun
Raining, it’s guiding light upon everyone

For a moment’s rest you can lean against the banister
After running upstairs again and again
From wherever they came to fix you in
But always fear city’s finest follow right behind

You got a pretty vision in your head
A pencil full of poison lead
And a sickened smile illegal in every town

So here I lay dreaming looking at the brilliant sun
Raining, it’s guiding light upon everyone
Here I lay dreaming looking at the brilliant sun
Raining, it’s guiding light upon everyone

You say you mean well, you don’t know what you mean
You fucking ought to stay the hell away
From things you know nothing about


The Production of Monsters

The Not Me

george-rodger-empire-state-building-observatory-800x800In 1977, my grandparents took me and my sisters to the top of the Empire State Building. I can remember being annoyed by all the waiting in line just to ride the elevator to the observation floor. We probably spent more time waiting to board that elevator than we spent viewing the view. Still, when our turn came around and after the elevator finally reached the 102nd floor, I burst out of the doors to see what all the fuss was about.

At first, I was too distracted with taking in the view to notice that my grandpa was not with me. When I turned back to search for him, I saw that he had parked himself close to the elevators away from the windows and the view. I called to him, “Grandpa, you gotta come see this.” “No thanks,” he replied “I’m good here.” “Pretty please,” I pleaded. This time he…

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Hurting for Healthcare: Veterans, the Elderly, and the Disabled in US Health Politics

Tropics of Meta

columbus german village sue combs

Every year, the sycophants of the mainstream media get to rub shoulders with famous attractive people (actors) and famous ugly people (politicians).  The White House Correspondents Dinner is an orgy of self-congratulatory back-patting, which attendees lovingly refer to as “nerd prom.”

Well, the biennial Policy History Conference is not exactly prom, but it is definitely the nerd equivalent of some kind of major social event.  Nerdstock? Wonkapalooza?  If tax policy or brownfield mitigation is your bag, then you will surely be making your way to Albany, Frankfort, or whichever button-down cowtown the conference happens to be held in that year.  This year Policy History rolled into the Midwestern idyll of Columbus, OH, as boozy participants wound their way through the cobblestone streets of the city’s historic German Village, clutching a Dirty Frank sriracha slaw dog in one hand and the tear-stained pages of the 1981 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Bill in another.

Whenever ToM contributors…

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interlude (meditations): A Note on Suicide, Depression & Losing A Hero


Listen: unlike my usual method & mode of writing, I will keep this brief out of mourning & respect for one of my heroes, Robin Williams. I didn’t want to speak on this subject now, but, this seems the very best time of all to speak out on what I usually find so hard to say (I’m not reading these words as I write them, and I know already that I won’t feel like reading them later, either) and I don’t even like discussing with my family: five years ago, in one of the darkest periods of my life, during the summer before my junior year of college at the University of Oregon, I tried to kill myself. Twice. I wanted to succeed and I failed, and it was through years of writing, calm meditation, therapy, and years of speaking with family & friends — slowly, but surely, healing all the time — that I’m still alive today.

Why discuss this now?

Because I held off on seeking help & it was only later that discovered through a doctor (glad I did that) that I suffer from clinical depression. Because we have a terrible stigma placed on mental illness and those who suffer under the dark, ever-watchful eyes of depression. Because my entire life I’ve slipped into periods of darkness, and I was afraid of sharing this simple truth because of what I thought others would think and feel about me (I learned my lesson here too). Because tonight we lost a good man, a funny man, a man who brought joy into our lives & only asked that we forget our troubles and escape. Because it was what he knew and loved and, as someone smarter than I said on Twitter tonight, he was funny because he “helped keep the darkness at bay.” I like that. I write because I hope that someone like me will read my words & know they are not alone.

I am alive today because I discovered I was not alone. And, if you are suffering from depression to, seek solidarity, seek help, seek your friends & family. Seek a new world of your own choosing. I was able to do this, and I consider myself a weak man. You can do better than me, because you know you can.

Keep fighting. Apologies for my lack of eloquence, but I needed to speak.

Thank you, and RIP Mr. Williams. You will be missed every day.

And I will keep fighting if you all do too.

Jackson Williams.

What a Maroon.

Annamal house.

Rosenwald-Hall-Szmurlo Actually, the plant life was the best part.

I’ve never felt so courted as I did when colleges started sending me and my sister letters and brochures during our senior year of high school. At one point, mid-fall, I hauled a stack of mailers that was nearly three feet tall out to the recycling bin. Whereas I imagine previous generations of women agonized over the finding the perfect husband at 18, my classmates and I agonized over finding the perfect college. For those of us on the honors/AP/IB fast track of elite education in Atlanta, it was a kind of holy grail we chased after, plowing through chemistry homework while our classmates smoked joints at Lake Burton.

I went into college sincerely believing it was going to be the absolute best four years of my life: a distillation of the most engaging and empowering moments from high school, minus all…

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“You Are Triggering Me!” / The Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm, Danger & Trauma

Bully Bloggers

by Jack Halberstam

I was watching Monty Python’s The Life of Brian from 1979 recently, a hilarious rewriting of the life and death of Christ, and I realized how outrageous most of the jokes from the film would seem today. In fact, the film, with its religious satire and scenes of Christ and the thieves singing on the cross, would never make it into cinemas now. The Life of Brian was certainly received as controversial in its own day but when censors tried to repress the film in several different countries, The Monty Python crew used their florid sense of humor to their advantage. So, when the film was banned in a few places, they gave it a tagline of: “So funny it was banned in Norway!”


Humor, in fact, in general, depends upon the unexpected (“No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”); repetition to the point of hilarity “you can…

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