Wednesday, March 07, 2012

My Human Face

"Thank God for granting me this moment of clarity/
This moment of honesty/
The world will feel my truth

I actually intended the last post on the Nexus to be my last post on the Nexus.

But then it occurred to me that there was more to say. And considering what I've shared up to this point, I don't see much point in stopping now.

What I showed the world yesterday was something that you rarely see in political blogging, what you rarely see in politics period: a human face.

I'm not suggesting that politics is the realm of deeply cynical, inhuman people -- although I'm sure that helps. What I mean by it is that those of us follow the path of politics, by whatever means they choose to follow it, face certain stark realities. Certain facts of life.

Perhaps the top amongst them is that there are many of us who convince ourselves that we cannot afford to show any ounce of common human frailty. To do so is to provide an opportunistic opponent with the chance to attack them with it. And so it is with us.

I'm as frail and human as the next person. The particular frailty I've suffered from for at least the past five years... but likely for even longer than that. Is one that strikes 1 in 5 Canadians. How common is that?

It should make it remarkably easy to admit to in the public eye. But I can speak to this out of experience: it isn't.

In our vocation, it can take lives. It's already taken lives. It took the life of Dave Batters. His wonderful wife, Denise, is taking up a fight that has become bigger than all of us now, although it really encompasses us all.

Sure, a blessed 80% of Canadians can hope to live their lives without ever experiencing depression. But considering the statistics, we can all know this: none of us will live without being untouched by it.

It might be your friends. It might be your family. But someone you know will experience depression.

Is that scary to you? It's scary to me.

But what's even more scary to me is how easy it is to hide -- especially from yourself. Kenny Powers said it, on the very night I decided to come clean about my depression, on an episode of East Bound and Down. Paraphrased thusly: "you pretend that everything's OK, but deep down, you really know how fucked up you are."

Say what you will about the fictional Mr Powers. I can tell you for a fact this is true.

So do we need a national suicide prevention plan? Absolutely. But what we need every bit as much is to do away with this social taboo on showing our human faces. To show people that we are, indeed human. That we have our frailties. That we have our -- * gasp!* weaknesses.

Even as I write this there are small fish, who fancy themselves sharks, circling. They think they smell blood. They think they have a meal on their hands.

These people don't need to be named. Some of them are so bereft of shame that they've found the nerve to bare their teeth on a post about depression and suicide.

But I promise you this: whatever they may think, they won't be eating. I still have plenty of two things in me: life, and fight. I may be only human, but the least I can do is live like being human is worth the trouble.

Last, but not least, to my detractors: this isn't over. Expect me.


  1. Yes ... good going - but I still want to hear that you are getting help, professional help.

    1. Yes, Maria. I'm getting help. I have a doctor's appointment coming up to deal with this very issue.

    2. Good - I am glad you have taken the first step Patrick. The rest will be a cake walk. (hope, that's the right expression, English is not my mother tongue)


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