Vote!

For the first time since I emigrated to Canada, I am going to vote in a U.S. election. Even better, I’m going to vote in the Democratic primary (hopefully—the logistics of doing so may prevent it).

I’m very concerned about the election down south. Although the Canadian economy is fundamentally different than the U.S. economy (budget surplus vs. deficit, net oil exporter vs. oil junkie), the U.S. economy is such a juggernaut that when it faceplants, we’re going to feel the downward pull in a big way.

More important than the money is the character. I have to vote for Barak Obama, if only to send a major wakeup call to the present day politicians. Business as usual is not okay. Not that I’ve ever been okay with it—I believe with all my heart that electoral fraud helped elect George W., a.k.a. “The Shrub”. This is not okay!

Why do I believe this? Because my mother was the person who answered the phone the day the media started calling about problems with the voting process back in 2000. My mom *knew* the woman who designed the ballot with the hanging chads (“We sent Theresa a box of cookies and told her we were behind her.”) Hundreds, if not thousands, of people were purged from the voter’s lists in the Democratic-friendly black and Jewish areas of West Palm Beach county. People who only found out that they were not allowed to vote when they showed up at the polls. People who would have tipped the state of Florida for Gore, giving him enough votes in the electoral college that he would have been sworn in as president. People who weren’t allowed to vote because their names were similar to the name of a convicted felon. Fraud.

Anyway, I intend to vote this time around, both in the primary and the general election. As much as I have embraced my new country, Canada, I am still a U.S. citizen. I assert my right to vote.

Digging Out

I’m discovering that one of the most obvious outer clues to an impending depressive implosion is how I deal with mail. When my brain is functioning well, the mail gets processed properly: opened, reconciled or entered in Quicken or Quickbooks (depending on whether it is home or business related), and then filed. When things aren’t going so well for me, this process is one of the first affected.

Why? Probably because the decrease in cognitive ability that comes with depression makes it almost impossible to follow through with my usual mail procedure. How do I know? Because I am currently trying to work my way through a large cardboard box of unfiled papers and unopened mail: investment statements, credit card bills, old tax returns, unsubmitted medical expenses, and some just plain junk.

The process of cleaning this mess up itself is creating feelings of being overwhelmed. I’m taking lots of breaks and trying to give myself lots of credit for making it to this point, the point where the pile is going down rather than going up. My emotional response to the situation is a tendency to beat myself up for letting things get to this point. This response is actively countered by my focusing on the facts of the situation—yay for dialectical thinking.

Probably the only thing that has saved our credit rating is electronic banking. Direct deposit combined with regular pre-authorized payments keeps the creditors happy whether or not I actually look at any of the accounts.

Conclusions?

  • If you are struggling with depression, try to automate as much of your banking and bill-paying as possible. It’s one less thing to worry about, and nothing makes you feel miserable about yourself faster than collectors calling constantly. Okay, maybe some things make you feel more miserable faster, but collection calls suck.
  • Note to me and those who love me: if you notice the mail piling up, it’s time for an intervention—depression is looming and action needs to be taken.

See, all of this mail in the box is from the two–three months prior to my breakdown, that point in time when I called a time-out on life. It’s good that my brain is functioning well enough to tackle my box in little chunks of time, but I don’t want to push it too much and declare myself well. I’m not—I’m better than I was but I’ve got a way to go yet.

Interestingly enough, we’re at the halfway point of our winter. We’ve endured a lot of snowfall so far, but it’s way too early to declare the season over.