I’m a loonie, you’re a loonie
I’d like to admit to the world that I’m depressed.
What can I get for it?
In today’s Ottawa Citizen, the banner story warned that Ottawa was becoming the “depression capital of Canada”. Clara Hughes came out yesterday and said that she became depressed after her first Olympics. And Margaret Trudeau, I believe, got off a drunk driving charge because of her mental health issues. Oh yes, and Daniel Alfredsson came out to the world last year that his sister (?) had a mental illness.
I’m glad that mental illness is coming out of the shadows. People who are depressed, panicked, bipolar, tri-polar and polarized need to know they’re not alone. (Actually, if they just started hanging out at bars, they’d know this, and beer is much cheaper than benzodiazepines.) There has long been stigma against people with mental illness, because most people think people with mental illness are crazy. Which they are. (Before I get some nasty emails, I have already admitted to being, at one time or another, a shiny-eyed person, so I believe I can speak with some authority on the subject.)
Here’s the thing. I don’t mind all the stories about mental illness in the newspaper and on television. I do find it a little odd that the media has all of a sudden discovered crazy. Hint: go to a shopping mall and do a three hundred and sixty. One in five people — maybe even yourself — is nuts in one way or another.
What I object to is people profiting from the whole mental health mess. Margaret Trudeau makes a piss pot full of money talking about her issues. Daniel Alfredsson gets publicity for the Senators. The spokesthingy people running roundtables and associations are making their living doing it. And, well, Clara Hughes maybe couldn’t get a better gig (pretty hard for our athletes these days). I’m not saying they’re faking it; I’m just saying they shouldn’t make their living, or have their living subsidized, because they may or may not be depressed.
There are big consulting firms in Ottawa and Toronto getting rich off mental illness. Sure, they donate some time or reduce their $250 an hour fees to help out on galas and luncheons and such. But they’re not doing this because they care; they’re doing it because it’s a networking opportunity.
Then there are the companies: Bell Canada, the Globe and Mail, Canada Post Corporation. These companies have wisely aligned themselves with the cause because it’s cheap and they get good publicity. Cancer isn’t cheap; neither is diabetes. And let’s not forget about the many orphan diseases that nobody cares about until they get them. If a company wants to support mental health, all it will cost them is a few bucks to hire a public relations firm, hire a social media expert, take out a few ads, and sponsor a dinner or an athlete. It doesn’t take much involvement, just bring out a few crazy people in the months of June and October. Definitely cheaper than a product launch.
The federal government has got on the bandwagon, too. A few years back, the government forked over a few mill to set up the Canadian Mental Health Commission which has become a good gig for Michael Kirby– who can now devote more time to his consulting practice than when he was a Senator. It’s also been good for a whole host of “mental health professional” hangers on who, no doubt will get tenure or a book contract.
Has anyone asked what the Canadian Mental Health Commission has done since it was created in Ottawa, then moved to Calgary? Sidebar: if there are so many people depressed in Ottawa, why did they move the MHC to Calgary?
As far as I can see, the MHC has managed to get a few corporations to hold a lunch and give out plaques to self-identified loons. And have stories written in the Globe and Mail, another sponsor. Not much has changed in communities across Canada, as far as I can see.
The truly laughable thing about the government setting up this commission is that all it got for it was the lousy title of employer of the most depressed people in Canada.
Why are so many superannuated people so depressed?
Because their work means nothing. Not saying federal government employees aren’t hard workers; it’s just that everything they do gets shuffled into a drawer somewhere or torn up by an over-caffeinated, Blackberry clutching 25-year-old ministerial aide who doesn’t know shit from shine-o-la. Who wouldn’t be depressed?
Fortunately, I have a solution for them. That’s right, you read it first here.
Look at your problems, look at them really hard. Think what you should do about each problem, then do the opposite.
If you’re depressed because you’re unemployed, get a job. If you are anxious because you hate your job, find another one, maybe one that doesn’t pay as much or one that has less responsibility, or one that doesn’t require you to work for a crazy boss. If you’re anorexic, eat something. Overweight? Try eating salad. Alcoholic? Stop drinking. Gambler? Buy an iPhone, cause the apps cost less and you still get a serotonin rush.
And if you are an athlete who is depressed because the Olympics are over, find something else crazy to do in the off season. Or take up yoga.
Otherwise, if you are really mentally ill, take your medication.
That will be $250, GST/HST, extra.