depression, mood disorder, depressive episodes, suicidality, suicide attempt.
During my visit to Prince George I took a trip up toward Chetwynd to pick up my kid. On that drive, I saw a lot of scary and silly things, one of them being a driver going north-east toward Chetwynd. How some truck drivers behave blows my mind.
This time I had my partner with me for the drive, one of his first drives to the Peace region in fact, and he hated the acts of idiocy we witnessed in a single hour: like one ford truck that went passing two long-haul trucks in a blind corner, forcing multiple oncoming vehicles to swerve into a field (no shoulder in some spots) to narrowly avoid said truck.
There are a lot of opportunities to see in the negative if we let our mind do so, and I cannot let that happen. As a chronic depressive I have to be careful what thoughts I allow into my mind. If I allow negative after negative, if I continuously let in glass-half-empty thoughts, I will again fall into a depression. And if I do, it’s bad.
I have chronic depressive episodes and I treat them now with medication. If I did not, I would not be here. I have already attempted suicide and failed but I do not talk about it because I am ashamed.
When I was little, there was a show that taught me about how to be positive and bring glass-half-full possibilities back into my life when I felt down. When I felt alone and scared, I turned to that television show as a child. When little, I tried to communicate my needs and feelings, but my attempts came out wrong and my parents couldn’t seem to understand me.
So I watched Mr. Rodgers. You know, Mr. Rodgers’ Neighbourhood? I always felt like he was talking directly to me and the puppets often asked really intelligent questions that I wanted to know as a child too. I was always up early and it was the only thing on that early in the 80’s.
Mr. Rodgers said “Look for the helpers,” and Oprah agreed so she’s been using that quote on television ever since the movie with Tom Hanks came out.
Mr. Rodgers is right. The morning I wrote this, I was a ho-humbug human who hadn’t eaten or taken meds and as I went outside to medicate for my chronic pain, I saw a grandma and a young child. The child is probably a small 6 or 7 years old. They are walking up the far side of the street, I sit in the cool grass on a hot morning. As they approach, they’re assessing the garbage bins on the street.
I take a drag on my medicine.
“What’s this one?” says the gran.
“Medium” says the kid.
“Yeah, you can do it,” says the gran.
“I got it,” says the kid, shorter than the bin, who kicks out the underside and rolls it back up toward the house. I met the lady who lives there yesterday, this granny ain’t her.
The wheels get hooked on the curb of the driveway; the wheels stuck in the round spot that a bike can accidentally trip itself on.
“Hm,” says the kid.
“Do you need to put it down while you think?” Gran says with a smile.
“Sure.” The kid lowers his end of the trash canister on wheels, and the flat portion sits itself on the driveway and lifts the wheels out of the gutter dip. He smiles, tilts it back and within 30 seconds has the canister back up by the house.
This little exchange to me looks like different ways of knowing. Without even trying, the grandmother has shown her grandchild what mechanics and simple leverage can do. By relaxing and not wrestling the cannister, he found a solution – use the canisters’ own weight to lift it.
They walk to the next house.
“What size is this one?”
“Small,” the kid laughs. He rolls that one away too.
They walk to the next house.
They only do one side of the street and as they walk back the way they came; the kid looks perturbed by the canisters on our side and the smell of my smoke.
“The truck has not done that side yet. They are all full of garbage still.” She looks at me.
I smile. I blow out some smoke.
She does not smile but she doesn’t slap me with her resting-bitch-face either. Her face is just pleasant as she is speaking with this cute, inquisitive kid.
That afternoon/evening, when these people came home, their garbage bins were rolled up for them. The houses they helped had something in common. They were all older or getting elderly. They were people whose energy and capacity to lift and roll heavy things is already limited.
The grandmother, already appreciating the youth and vitality of her grandson was able to appreciate that not everyone has a grandson coming by to help with garbage bins in the summer, or otherwise. She walked him down the street and he was happy to do it for her neighbours.
Those two are helpers.
Those two are changing the world even if they and I are the only ones who witnessed.
Yes, there are idiots in trucks on the highways. But there are also grannies and children helping their neighbours.
Isn’t this a beautiful world?
Okay, I had officially had enough of Prince George though, I need my mountains and the moisture-filled coastal air.
Thanks for the visit PG,
(Kiss, kiss!) See You Later!
À bientôt! (Bisous.)
Mr Rodger’s Neighbourhood Organization & Website offers the following online about:
- The Puppets
- The Neighbourhood of Make-Believe
- The Cast
- The Guests
- The Music
PBS.org’s website for parents:
One of the articles/resources on this website is called “Picture Books to Celebrate Disability Pride Month” and it is fabulous! Check it out here as an example of their content for parents:
You can also follow Fred Rodger’s Productions on Instagram:
An article on “Indigenous Ways of Knowing.”
Never heard of “Other ways of knowing?” You’re in for a treat then. First start with “Indigenous Ways of Knowing” and just keep going, it will blow your mind! This isn’t the best authority, and there are many.
How is this relevant? Although Western Society have often assumed that schooling and education look and operate a certain way, there are many ways to “educate” or “teach” people, especially children.
This grandmother in my story taught her grandson about leverage in an interesting way and allowed him room to experiment. He also worked on his relative nouns in size and measurements. (Large, medium, huge.) These are Different Ways of Knowing: this is a growing study that will explode once cultures and nations of all kinds begin comparing their ways of knowing to one another in open sharing. Funding is currently primarily aimed at labour force management but this should also trickle down to education, primary care, preschool, post-secondary, healthcare, and other ways of social and professional interaction.
The thing to keep in mind is that people have lived their lives and when I think of the social impact of a Nation I know that a cumulative gathering of wisdom is natural and powerful. I trust people to know their own lives and truths, so I naturally know and assume that nations can speak for themselves.
If we are lucky, settler descendants can learn so much by just shutting up and watching what happens as our Indigenous neighbours and nations change the world, teaching us through leadership how to build a more equitable world, (fingers crossed, I’m rooting for the empowerment of all BIPOC, but especially my Indigenous neighbours who went through colonization most recently and whom are often still hurting from those attempts.) Thankfully, colonizers failed (thank goodness!) because my neighbours are powerful, strong, and resilient. And they are still here. Let’s sit and listen.
My Ally Bill of Responsibilities (2 pages):
This is an amazing resource written by Dr. Lynn Gehl, Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe woman who also wrote the article on Indigenous Ways of Knowing listed above (#4). I enjoyed her writing and she helped me better understand the way to support Indigenous voices as a settler/white descendent. I’m not perfect but this Bill of Responsibilities is a great place for new-comers to Indigenous Allyship. She is a helper in many ways. (Merci Dr. Gehl!)