Tag Archives: depression

Winter is almost here

I read this in The StarPhoenix today.  It was enough that I wanted to cancel my subscription. 

A special winter weather statement has been issued by Environment Canada for the City of Saskatoon.

According to a warning posted Monday afternoon on the Environment Canada website, an “intense low pressure system with a strong cold front will sweep across Saskatchewan Wednesday bringing an abrupt end to the mild November weather.”

Behind the cold front, temperatures will plummet to normal for this time of year, with overnight lows falling into the minus double digits, the national weather forecaster predicted.

Alongside a drop in temperatures, Environment Canada also predicts blustering northwesterly winds, with central and eastern sections of the province hit the hardest by gusts between 60 and 90 kilometres per hour expected.

I guess this means summer is over.  Sigh.  I missed it.

Most of you know that Wendy struggles with major depressive disorder.  She has written about it a lot if you care.  It comes every summer and has been horrible since Oliver was born.  It manifests itself in some severe self-destructive behavior and since we are married and have two sons, it affects the boys and I as much or more than it does her.

You know what, for the first time in over 15 years, it never made an appearance.

Some friends have asked what the difference is.  She has been on medication for years and that hasn’t always helped as a large part of the depression is psychological but for whatever reason, it hasn’t hit this year.  I have some theories but here is the one that makes the most sense.

Two Christmases ago, I gave her two cameras for Christmas.  I was working at Don’s Photo and Wendy had asked for a new compact camera.  Well actually she didn’t but her camera sucked and she was accepting that fact.  I bought a Fujifilm JX600 compact camera for her and later that season, someone traded in an Olympus PEN EPL-2.  I got a good deal on it and bought it for her.  She cried when she opened the gift.  She said that she would never need another lens but a week later, Olympus had their 40-150mm lens on sale for $103 so she bought that for herself.

Last Christmas I bought her a 19mm Sigma f/2.8 Art lens which she loved.  Later on she bought herself a Sigma 60mm f/2.8 Art lens which I’ll be honest, I don’t know if she ever uses.  In March, I used some Christmas bonus money and bought her an Olympus OM-D E-M10.  It’s not Olympus’ professional camera but it’s a great camera and she loved it.

Being sick this summer, plans to go to the Fringe or the Jazz Festival were changed.  I would go home and sleep while Wendy would go out with the boys, always bringing the camera.  Instead of waiting for me to take the lead, she would just do something.  I realized that photography had made her more independent and helped her fix her relationship with Mark that the depression had damaged.

If they weren’t off taking some photos at the SaskTel Jazz Festival, they were off walking along Broadway grabbing a coffee and shooting some street shots, or going to Waskesiu to explore a trail or five.

I also think the positive feedback makes a difference.  When she would post about Jian Ghomeshi’s alleged crimes this summer, she would get hateful comments.  When she wrote about violence towards women in Guyana, she got hate mail and even angry responses from her (Guyanese) parents.  When she posted photos on Flickr, she got favorites from photographers she respected and questions about lens and settings.  Maybe finding the right community makes all the difference.

So yeah, personally it was a crappy summer with a leg that keeps getting worse but as a family, it was a great summer because for the first time in a very long time, the grey clouds of depression never came by.

Entrepreneurial Life Shouldn’t Be This Way–Should It?

Excellent article about depression and entrepreneurs.

Earlier this year, two tech entrepreneurs, Aaron Swartz and Jody Sherman, committed suicide independently of each other. Both faced incredible pressures. And both suffered from depression.

It’s not a topic the start-up community understands well. After all, this is the very culture that turned the chestnut “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” into a much-celebrated verb. Admitting you struggle with depression is like admitting you can’t reach your bootstraps. It’s assumed that successful people can just “shake it off.”

But that’s not how it works.

I know. I’ve struggled with serious bouts of depression three times in my life. I’m not talking about a series of miserable days or struggling through the pressure and stress of a failing company. I’m talking about months of feeling emotionally drained.

Depression haunts homeless children

From Minnesota Public Radio

A new report by the Wilder Foundation estimates 4,500 children in Minnesota spend time in shelters on any given night — the highest number since the surveys began 20 years ago.

Those children are often haunted by depression, the study shows. Whether homeless children and teens get help and support has a big impact on whether they end up homeless as adults.

The Wilder research shows about half of all homeless children in Minnesota are younger than the age of 6. The organization found that children who grow up under this kind of stress have lasting physical and emotional problems that are hard to overcome.

The Wilder report found that one-third of homeless parents were homeless themselves as children, and 35 percent of homeless parents report struggling with depression.

Nothing in the report surprised me but from what we see in Saskatchewan, it’s a much higher percentage of children under six and from the amount of anti-depressants I see, it’s a higher percentage of people struggling with mental health issues although I wonder if that is because of Medicare and the supplemental health insurance that families on social assistance receive.

What’s at Stake?

Several people sent me this link about what is at stake with the United States running $1 trillion deficits.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has also said the U.S. budget deficit will swell to a record $1.186 trillion in fiscal-year 2009 and come in at $703 billion in the 2010 fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2009.

The actual budget gaps for both years may be significantly wider as Washington prepares to jolt the economy with stimulus spending that could total $775 billion over two years.

The following are several scenarios that could result from runaway budget deficits:

FALLING U.S. CREDIT RATINGS:

United States EconomyA string of trillion-dollar deficits could undermine investors’ faith that the U.S. government always pays its debts and put in danger the country’s triple-A credit ratings. This could lead foreign investors to shun U.S. Treasuries, the bonds the government sells on the open market to finance its borrowing. Treasuries are currently expensive by historic standards since the financial and economic turmoil of the past year has boosted their global appeal as a safe-haven investment. Serious danger to U.S. credit ratings could send the debt market downward and burst what some are calling a bond-market bubble.

SKY-HIGH INTEREST RATES:

A loss of faith in U.S. government bonds would send interest rates throughout the economy soaring since Treasuries serve as the benchmark for loans in the private sector. A rout in that market would dramatically lift the cost of borrowing for buying homes, cars and paying for university education. If it happens any time soon, this in turn would jeopardize the Federal Reserve’s efforts to stabilize the ailing economy.

Note: This is why I locked in mortgage…

DUMP THE DOLLAR:

A crisis of confidence in U.S. debt would devastate the dollar. The world’s reserve currency, the greenback is used globally by countries and companies to pay for a wide range of basic commodities, most notably oil. If investors dumped U.S. debt, they could do the same with the dollar. A dollar crisis might end its status as the preeminent currency of world commerce, deeply undermining its value and further raising the cost of borrowing for the United States.

SOARING INFLATION:

A plummeting dollar and sky-rocketing interest rates could push the inflation rate through the roof. The United States imports far more than it exports and would be hard pressed to pay for oil and manufactured goods it buys from abroad with the greenback’s value withering. Currently, though, rapidly falling prices, or deflation, appears to be a much more imminent problem than the more distant prospect of inflation.

FALLING GLOBAL STATUS:

A dollar and debt crisis would undoubtedly undermine the global standing of the United States, much of which is based on the fact that it is the world’s largest economy. If the United States lost the international reserve currency and the faith of global investors, little else might be left and the beacon of free-market capitalism might also dim.

No news like bad news

The Financial Times is saying this

Global oil demand will collapse next year and commodities will not return to the highs they reached this summer in the foreseeable future, two authoritative reports said on Tuesday as they forecast a long and painful worldwide recession.

The stark conclusions came as the World Bank’s chief economist predicted that the world faced “the worst recession since the Great Depression”.

The US energy department said global oil demand will fall this year and next, marking the first two consecutive years’ decline in 30 years.

“The increasing likelihood of a prolonged global economic downturn continues to dominate market perceptions, putting downward pressure on oil prices,” it said, forecasting that demand would drop 50,000 barrels a day this year and a hefty 450,000 b/d in 2009. US oil demand will drop next year to the lowest level in 11 years.

Meanwhile, the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report said the commodities boom of the past five years – which drove up prices 130 per cent – had “come to an end”.

The World Bank’s analysis of the commodities boom contrasts with the prevalent view among natural resources companies – and most Wall Street analysts – that the ongoing price drop is a correction within an upward trend.

Although it ruled out a return to the torrid high prices of this summer, it said commodities prices would not fall back to the depressed levels of the 1990s.

Oil would return to about $75 a barrel within the next three years, it said, while food would trade 60 per cent higher than in 2003, but about half below this year’s record.

Well in perspective it was the late 90s where $30/barrel gas was considered good for the Alberta and Saskatchewan economies.  My question is that with declining gas prices, will we all be stupid and flock back to GMC Suburbans and forget the lesson that all of us learned with the high prices.  In other words was last summer’s staycation a summer long fad brought on by necessity or a wakeup call to us needing to change our long term habits.