Monthly Archives: February 2014

For When You Can’t Forgive: The Power of Pity

Let’s say someone has wronged you grievously, possibly repeatedly over the course of your life. People keep telling you that you’re “only hurting yourself” by holding a grudge, that forgiveness will set you free, but… it just doesn’t sit right. It’s a square peg in a round hole. You try to forgive, but it chafes at you because it feels wrong.

Life is full of petty little tyrants, bullies with a hard-on for their own power. That boss who treated you like an insect because he had risen to the lofty position of “manager at a Starbucks.” The friend who manipulated you for years for seemingly no reason other than caprice. The abuser who controlled you because… why? They had a taste of power over someone else and their first impulse was to instill shame. ... continue reading.

“Should I Go to a Psychiatrist?” Frequently Asked Questions

As I subtly implied in my post “Feel Depressed A Lot? Please Go Get Medicated, You Jerk,” I tend to think that medication is a good idea if you’ve got mood or anxiety problems. I’d like to use this post to answer some questions about the whole process, maybe allay some fears, and possibly confirm some others. It’s a mixed bag, but I think that the eventual positives outweigh the negatives.

“Why should I bother getting medicated?”

If you’re chronically down in the dumps, or if you can’t act like yourself because you’re so damned stressed out, medicine can make you feel better. In fact (and this is the main reason for me), it can make you feel more like yourself.

I recently got on a new regimen (sometimes this shit stops working quite right, or you get new goals), and suddenly I can leave my house again. I can stand talking on the phone and answering emails. I’m no longer binging on sugar or booze, and my mood is just plain better. ... continue reading.

“Dear Callous Stranger,” #1

Welcome to the first installment of “Dear Callous Stranger,” an advice column of some sort.

Dear Callous Stranger,

Maybe "It was just her time to die" was not the best thing to say to your secretary, who was crushed by the recent suicide of her sister.

Angry Annna

Dear Angry Annna,

Holy fucking shit.

Your pal,
Callous Stranger

A Brief Note to Everyone Else

I’d like to offer a word of advice to all acquaintances of the bereaved (other than Annna’s boss, who will be fired into the Sun for the sake of humanity).

I know that you feel the need to say something, something, to co-workers who are grieving, but please consider shutting the fuck up. If you lack the empathy to realize that your input is neither wanted nor required, try not saying anything at all. Almost anything you say will sound like nails on a chalkboard at best, a dental drill in bone at worst. ... continue reading.

Dear Callous Stranger, Introduction

If you know me, you know that I like solving problems. I solve them so hard, sometimes they become other, bigger problems that are nearly insoluble. It’s just the type of guy I am.

In this spirit I unveil my latest Great Work, “Dear Callous Stranger,. This is an advice column in the vein of Dear Abby, having the same thinly-veiled contempt for humanity that hers often betrays.

I will not be good at it. My answers will be surreal things, twisted and unseemly, informed by madness and bile. Or maybe I’ll just give you some tips on how to stretch your rotator cuff. There may even be pictures!

I’m going to try to make this an every Wednesday kind of thing. If you want good advice, maybe hit up my comments or my email. If you want entertaining advice, send me an anonymous question in the box below. Give yourself a fun pen name lest you be assigned one. ... continue reading.

How to Talk To Your Mentally Ill Loved Ones

So you love a person with mental illness. Maybe they have depression, social anxiety, or even schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder. I can’t help you help them with a specific disorder, but that’s okay. You shouldn’t try to help them with their specific disorder either. You are not a therapist.

That is to say, you shouldn’t be a therapist. Maybe you’ve found yourself falling into that role: You try to help them figure out ways of beating their disorder, you try to ask them just the right questions so that they’ll feel better, or you look up therapeutic techniques and see if they’ll play along. As a long-time sufferer of all sorts of crazy shit, allow me to kindly say: Cut it out. ... continue reading.