The Hangover, my version

 

washinghairDecember 31 — the last night of what had been a peculiar year, to say the least– I watched the hours and minutes run down with my typical celebration. A few hours earlier in the evening, I did what many a wishful thinker would, rushed out to the local convenience store and bought a lottery ticket. There had been cosmic signs all week prior about the appearance of a certain number that would be the key with my name on it to unlocking the million-dollar win. I did this despite a conversation with the Great Cosmic Voice that had told me earlier in the year I was free to buy lottery tickets for my own amusement but I wasn’t going to win. Yet, since a certain number kept appearing, it being the number nine, I decided that maybe there as a bit of a wobble in the space-time continuum that would let me slip through. Or maybe, I could cheat using clever insight. After all, the individual digits in the year 2016 add up to nine.

Anticipation of the result of my little amusement was more interesting to me than TV news flashes of mass midnight celebrations the world over, made effervescent by firework artistry. There was no need to keep watch for the clock rolling over to midnight with the usual 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 and musical break out of Auld Lang Syne. Like a World Cup soccer match, so many millions are fixed on a moment that you can feel when it happens without having to be tied to a television screen or radio. Instead, my media report had to be about whether or not those numbers sussed out from the ether would change my 2017.

At the stroke of midnight, with the sound of fireworks bursting somewhere in the neighbourhood, there online, appearing first, was the number nine. Nevertheless, all my other clever purmutations of the number failed to present themselves. I had so wanted to have something on the crest of this New Year to be my own version of effervescent fireworks. Instead, I felt deflated.

Checking social media moments later meant looking at short messages which, inbetween wishes for a ‘Happy New Year’, continue to ruminate over the strangeness of the electoral results in the U.S.

Although the sum total of my bubbly consumption on New Year’s Eve consisted of ginger ale thinned with club soda to mitigate the sweetness, I still woke on the first day of 2017 with a post New Year’s Eve hangover — the emotional kind.

Thankfully, January 1 was a sunny day in this region, which helped lessen the despair. The other hangover treatment that made a difference was to take a hot shower and thoroughly wash 2016 out of my hair. washinghair

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Thank you, Michelle and Suzanne and Max: Let the Dance Begin — Petchary’s Blog

I very rarely write about spiritual matters. I have also not commented on the current U.S. election campaign, except to share some tweets. Yet, like many other women around the world, I have been deeply disturbed, spiritually and mentally, by the growing atmosphere – the scornful hatred and the focused disrespect against women (AND girls) […]

via Thank you, Michelle and Suzanne and Max: Let the Dance Begin — Petchary’s Blog

Courage on depression a service to others

Courage on depression a service to others

By PAT WATSON

Courage. That’s what politician Celina Caesar-Chavannes had by going public about experiencing periods of depression – the kind of depression that would have her going to hospital to seek relief.

Across this planet an estimated 121 million people live with some form of depression, but fewer than one in four get adequate treatment.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the fourth leading cause of disability. By 2020, it could become the second leading cause of disability.

Women are almost twice as likely to experience depression as men. However, at least one U.S. study found that depression is higher among older immigrant males from the Caribbean, relative to the general population.

Depression also affects people in high-income countries more than in lower-income countries.

Most people will experience deep sadness during particular life events which may extend into depression. Loss of a loved one, extended periods of unemployment and divorce are among the life events that can result in what can be called situational depression.

Read the rest of this column at

http://sharenews.com/courage-on-depression-a-service-to-others/

Pat Watson is the author of the e-book, In Through a Coloured Lens. Twitter @patprose.

Domestic abusers are really addicts of a type – Opinion

Here is the latest Pat Watson column as it appears in Share Newspaper

Although recent focus has been on public exposure of  domestic abuse by professional football player Ray Rice, this kind of addictive behavior occurs throughout society. To attach so-called racial identity to it is to confuse the facts. There are enough studies that domestic violence is almost twice as high in homes of law enforcement officers. Furthermore, sociologist Scott Melzer, a postgraduate researcher at the University of California, Riverside, found that that “men in the following occupations have higher rates of violence at home than men in managerial occupations: 
Men in “female-dominated occupations” (i.e., clerical workers), 47% higher;
Men in “physically violent occupations” (i.e. police, military, correctional) 43 percent higher.
Men in “dangerous occupations” (i.e., working with explosives, mining, emergency workers), 23% higher.”

Domestic abusers are really addicts
By PAT WATSON

The recent video airing of the knockout punch from professional football player Ray Rice to his then fiancée, now wife, Janay Palmer, that occurred in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February of this year, has again put the disturbing matter of spousal abuse at the forefront. Back in March 2009, the public was presented with photographic evidence of Barbadian singer Rihanna’s bruised and swollen face following her being assaulted by her then boyfriend, rapper Chris Brown.

These are the public faces of spousal abuse; this type of domestic violence is sickening. We fear for the lives of those who remain with their abusers while also wondering what is inside the heart and mind of a person who would perpetrate such cruelty on the person that would otherwise be his love partner.

The broad public response in the face of this type of unhealthy relationship shows unawareness of the dynamics.

– See more at: http://sharenews.com/domestic-abusers-are-really-addicts/#sthash.ApowsqgP.dpuf

If We Take Life Too Seriously, Life Will Seriously Take Us – Book Excerpt

In the wake of the loss through depression of Robin Williams, here is an excerpt on mental health and mental ill-health from In Through A Coloured Lens
October 26, 2009
If We Take Life Too Seriously, Life Will Seriously Take Us

One of the unspoken truths of this world in its totality is that it is really one of organized, controlled lunacy. The evidence is everywhere, and while so many of us have had those moments, some individuals lose the façade entirely.
A case in point: A person travels from another land to this one – heart and mind filled with hope for a new and better life. But somewhere along the adventure, her hope dims and in response she finds a new way, nothing like the imagined one. In fact, her life is one of carting bundles, and it does not allow for daily hygiene. It finds her positioned between doors at the underground entrance to a downtown subway station where she humbly seeks your spare change. You might smell her presence before you even see her.
She couldn’t have imagined this as a young woman in the now faraway Caribbean homeland where her dream of traveling to a new country to find a new life was born.
Where does she go at night, one wonders?
You don’t see many Black women living on the streets of this city – a testament to the resiliency of the many, and our invisible, informal support system. But there are some. Being so few, they stand out. They live in our midst, yet still are on the outer edge. There was another who used to collect spare change at Bathurst and Bloor. Where is she now, one wonders?
Another woman of colour, though coaxed, refuses to tell her story. She keeps the details of her life to herself, holding on to her dignity, controlling what little privacy she still can. Yet, her life is very much a public statement, as daily she drags her large, battered piece of luggage around with her. Her hair is sprinkled with grey; some teeth have gone missing. But every day her hair is neatly combed, makeup beautifully presented, although that does not hide the frayed edges of her psyche.
Some days, if she allows you, there will be conversation. One day she gave away that she has a daughter. Where? She doesn’t say. But she will talk nonstop about the “iniquity workers on the Earth.” She will tell you that the devil will trick the unaware in many ways and she will talk, half in a trance, about the spirits of evil that are busy fooling us all with enticements of wealth and power. She will speak to you, but she is not friendly. And if you listen carefully, with empathy, you can hear her keen intelligence mixed in with the madness. You will get a sense of what plagued her mind until she tipped over the edge. You will understand that she is crazy, but not stupid.
If you ask about her swollen foot, bandaged but not seeming to heal, she will tell you frankly that she doesn’t care to discuss that at this time… or any time. She has lost her mind, not her pride. To have come so far to a new land and then to have taken this unforeseen road is heart-wrenching misfortune.
On another day, in another place, there is the other, older, woman of colour. She doesn’t seem to be as disconnected from reality as her younger counterpart. She is friendly, with an approachable demeanour, if you can manage to overlook the smell. For some who abandon themselves to uncontrolled insanity, this is an instinctive defence, keeping them safe – other people are less inclined to approach them because the stench ensures they have a wider personal space. Yet, with compassion, some individuals extend a hand.
One of the pointed differences between the relatively few man and women of colour who live daily on the streets of this city– at least from this observer’s perspective – is that the women’s unstable mental health is not tied to drug and alcohol addiction. Other pressures came to bear to take them to the private hell of mental illness and the public admission of their homelessness. What rejections, what disappointments, what patterns have been running throughout their lives? How is it that they have so lost their humour?
The singer Seal reminds us “we’re never going to survive unless we get a little crazy.” In other words, allowing the madness out a little at a time prevents a full-blown leap into the chasm. Our sisters on the street remind us that Adversity has its own plan. Yet if we take life too seriously, life will seriously take us.