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Thirteen Symptoms of Depression:

1.  Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings

2.  Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism

3.  Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness

4.  Irritability, restlessness

5.  Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex

6.  Fatigue and decreased energy

7.  Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions

8.  Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping

9.  Overeating, or appetite loss

10.  Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

11.  Thoughts that your loved ones would be better off without you

12.  Wishing you could just “go away”, or that it could just all be over

13.  Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

Everybody feels “blue” or down once in a while.  But if you have feelings like the ones listed above, and they last longer than two weeks, or if they interfere with your daily life and normal functioning, please get help.  Depression is a real, serious disease, and it is common.  But it is also treatable;  most people who get treatment are helped by it.  Don’t stay in the darkness;  with help, you can see the sun again.

Thinking of you, my friend… thanks for finally getting help.


This week, I thought I’d list thirteen lyrics from Matchbox 20 that speak to me.  And sometimes could speak for me.

(This is a very self-indulgent post.  Forgive me?)

1.  From Real World:

“Please don’t change, please don’t break
The only thing that seems to work at all is you
Please don’t change, at all from me
To you, and you to me.”

2.  From Could I Be You?

“You show your pain like it really hurts
And I can’t even start to feel mine”

3.  From Unwell:

“All day staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something…”

4.  From Kody:

“I don’t sleep that good anyway
If you’ve never heard the silence, it’s a God awful sound”

5.  Also from Kody:

“So please hand me the bottle, I think I’m lonely now
And please give me direction, I think the hurt sets in
And I don’t feel nothing”

6.  From Mad Season:

“I need you now
Do you think you can cope
You figured me out – I’m a child and I’m hopeless
Bleeding and broken – though Ive never spoken
I come undone – in this mad season”

7.  From Angry:

“And instead of wishing that it would get better
Man you’re seeing that you just get angrier”

8.  From Bent:

“If I fall along the way
Pick me up and dust me off
And if I get too tired to make it
Be my breath so I can walk
And if I need some of your love again
Give me more than I can stand
When my smile gets old and faded
Wait around I’ll smile again”

9.  Also from Bent:

“Can you help me
I’m bent
I’m so scared that I’ll never
Get put back together”

10.  From Dizzy:

“And inside…there’s no labels
And inside, I try I try I try, try to clear my head
And outside…the rain is drying
And inside, we’re dying”

11.  From Long Day (long quote):

“I’m sorry ’bout the attitude
I need to give when I’m with you
But no one else would take this shit from me
And I’m so
Terrified of no one else but me
I’m here all the time
I won’t go away
It’s me, yeah I can’t get myself to go away
It’s me, and I can’t get myself to go away
Oh God I shouldn’t feel this way

Reach down your hand in your pocket
Pull out some hope for me
It’s been a long day, always ain’t that right”

12.  More from Could I Be You?

“Well now, you’re laughing out loud
At just the thought of being alive
And I was wondering
Could I just be you tonight?”

13.  More from Unwell (which sometimes feels like my theme song):

“But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired
I know right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be…me”

(See?  Very self-indulgent.  Next week will be more upbeat, I promise.)

Go to the hub for Thursday Thirteen!

Thirteen Symptoms:

1.  Dizzy

2.  Headache

3.  Sore chest

4.  Lightheaded

5.  Queasy

6.  Shaky

7.  Sore throat

8.  Cough

9.  Runny nose

10.  Chills

11.  Body aches

12.  Hard to focus and concentrate

13.  Don’t even want to move

I swear, if the last couple of months indicates how many bugs I’ll catch this winter, I think I’ll just hibernate.

See more Thursday Thirteens!

Thirteen Odd Things About Me

1.  I can’t go to sleep if part of my body is hanging over or off the side of the bed.

2.  I can’t fall asleep without the t.v.

3.  I am superstitious about spilling salt.  I have to throw salt over my left shoulder if I spill some.  (I have no idea why this superstition stuck with me.)

4.  I am also superstitious about knocking on wood to counteract the jinx that may happen.  (I figure that if the jinx is real, it’s gonna happen to me.  No question.)

5.  I need to drink a glass of water after I shower, because I feel dehydrated.

6.  I have to wear socks all the time, even to bed, because my feet are just that cold.

7.  I always put my left shoe on first.

8.  I drink at least four litres of water per day (about four quarts).  (I also go to the bathroom about a bajillion times per day.)

9.  I hate using bathrooms that are not at my house, even though I do.  I even dislike using the bathroom at my parents’ house, which I grew up in.

10.  If you bump into me, I will apologize.

11. I can’t climb (up or down) stairs in the dark without holding onto a handrail or someone’s arm.  I also count the stairs as I take them.

12.  Even since kindergarten (thanks, Ms. Madeleine), I have been compelled to use the washroom just before leaving the house.

13.  I love to be by, or on, the water.  But I can’t stand being in the water, whether it’s a bath, a hot-tub, swimming pool, or lake.

For more Thursday Thirteens, check out the site!

Well, it seems to be Doctor Days here at The Muse Asylum.  Appointments today and tomorrow… nothing to worry about.  Today was all about prescription renewals, updating my GP about which specialists I’ve heard from, and talking about the icky way I’ve been feeling lately (headaches every day, wheezing, tight chest, and feeling just a bit unwell).  She confirmed my suspicions of why I’ve been feeling that way.  An appointment with her takes up most of the day, because she runs far, far behind schedule.

Tomorrow is therapy day.  So it’s always fun, fun, fun.

I also did some shopping today for Halloween.  I’ve been trying to decide on a costume, and I’ve narrowed it down to two:  Queen of Darkness, or a dust bunny.  I can’t make up my mind, so I’m touring all the second-hand shops and dollar stores for supplies to make both.

Must go do my homework for therapy.  Yes, I have had two weeks to do it, and yes, I put it off until tonight.  Not technically the last minute, although I was thinking that perhaps I could do it in the waiting room before my appointment…  The Counsellor is always late, too.

My Thursday Thirteen tomorrow might not be posted until later in the day, but it’ll get up there eventually!

Here in Canada, this coming weekend is our Thanksgiving weekend.  So, instead of doing a TT about pet peeves, I decided to do one about things I am thankful for.  I can always bitch about my pet peeves next week.  🙂

1.  I am thankful for my parents, who are strong, wise, generous, and who love me so very much.

2.  I am thankful for my best buddy, Dannan, the little brown dog.  He makes it possible for me to get up every morning and smile.

3.  I am thankful for my sisters and brother (Sis1, Sis2, and Brother Bear).  They are possibly the best siblings in the world;  certainly better than I deserve sometimes!

4.  I am thankful for my best friend, Roomie.  She is a strong support, and has been instrumental in my recovery.

5.  I am thankful that I had my breakdown, because I am much better off than I would have been if it hadn’t happened.

6.  I am thankful for my counsellor, DD, who is exactly what I want and need in a therapist.

7.  I am thankful I live in Canada (sorry, non-Canadians), because I am Canadian.  (If you happen to be Canadian, I think you know what that means!)

8.  I am thankful that I have a warm, secure place to live and food to eat when I’m hungry.

9.  I am thankful for all of the wonderful people who work on behalf of animals and children, who need others to be their advocates.

10.  I am thankful that my mother instilled in me a love of reading.

11.  I am thankful that I started my blogs.  I have met wonderful people, laughed A LOT, seen some absolutely amazing photographs, and managed to write fairly consistently.

12.  I am thankful for memes like Thursday Thirteen, because they lead me to new blogs that I might never have otherwise discovered.

13.  Finally, I am thankful that I have so many wonderful friends, who make me laugh, let me know I’m loved, and keep having faith in me.  And are there to be my support when I would just fall over without them.

For more Thursday Thirteens, check out Beth’s super site!

See what other people have done for Thursday Thirteen here!

Today is World Farm Animal Day.  October 2nd was chosen to be marked as World Farm Animal Day (WFAD) as it honours the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, an outspoken advocate of non-violence towards animals.

WFAD is a time dedicated to spreading knowledge about the incredible suffering and slaughter of the more than 55 billion cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens, and other sentient land animals in the world’s factory farms and slaughterhouses.  It is a time to remind ourselves of the horrible treatment suffered by animals raised for meat, eggs, and dairy.

To mark WFAD, today’s Thursday Thirteen are Thirteen Facts about Farm Animals and WFAD.

1.  WFAD is marked in all 50 states of the United States, Canada, and approximately two dozen other countries.

2. The first World Farm Animal Day was launched in 1983.

3.  Ninety-eight percent of all animal suffering takes place at factory farms and in slaughterhouses.

4.  Farm animals are usually raised for one of four different purposes:

(i) food (e.g. meat, eggs, dairy products),

(ii) fiber (e.g. wool, fleece),

(iii) work (e.g. draft animals for traditional farming or forestry, or for recreational, ranching, or

entertainment purposes), and/or

(iv) fur / pelt / hides.

5.  An estimated 98% of Canada’s 26 million laying hens are kept in battery cages for their entire lifespan, which amounts to only about one or two years.  Battery cages are so small that they don’t allow for the hens to spread their wings, so empty that hens cannot make a nest, and so restrictive that the hens’ bones can become brittle and snap due to lack of exercise.    These cages are 16″ by 18″, and they hold from four to six hens each.  The actual living space for each hen is approximately the size of a letter size piece of paper.  For more important (but graphic) detail about the life of a laying hen, please go here.

6.  Broiler chickens are the ones bred specifically for the most meat, costing the least amount possible, in the shortest time possible.  Broiler chickens are usually bred in large industrial barns in groups of 5,000 to 50,000 birds.  They are mass-housed on the barren floor, and they are fed and watered automatically by machine.  The lights are on in the barn for 23 out of 24 hours a day.  The average lifespan of a chicken is 15 years, but most broilers are slaughtered at 42 days of age or less.  In 2003, 600 million chickens were slaughtered in Canada.  More on the life of a broiler chicken can be found here.

7.  Turkeys are bred to produce the biggest bird, in the smallest time, at the lowest cost.  Their lives are much like broiler chickens.  Birds are housed with thousands of other birds in industrial barns;  the Canadian Recommended Code of Practice calls for two square feet of space per turkey, which is less than the size of a newspaper.  The barns typically have no natural light (because it causes fighting), and they are typically very poorly ventilated.  The barn floors are covered in litter and not cleaned of waste during the turkeys’ stay.  Naturally, a turkey is a wide roamer, searching for food,  but on factory farms, they are fed and watered automatically by machine.  In 2003, 19.7 million turkeys were slaughtered in Canada.  The natural life span of a turkey is about 10 years, but on factory farms they are slaughtered from 12 to 26 weeks of age.  For more information about turkey farming, click here.

8.  Pork is produced by keeping sows in gestation crates (also known as “sow stalls”) for the majority of their lives.  A sow stall is a metal barred cage that usually measures about two feet by seven feet;  a sow cannot even turn around in the stall, and is limited to taking one step forward and one step backward.  The sows sleep, eat, urinate, and defecate in the stall, and the waste falls through slatted concrete flooring to a pool of raw sewage under the cage.  More than 1,440,000 sows are raised in Canada, the vast majority living in sow stalls.  A natural behaviour for a sow is to forage for six to eight hours per day, but in the stall there is no ability to forage at all.  More about our pork industry can be found here.

9.  The production of beef cattle is probably the least changed method of farm production over the last hundred years.  Beef cattle are born on the open range and stay grazing with their mothers for four or five months after birth.  When they reach 160 to 230 kilograms, the calves are sent to a backgrounding lot where they are begun to be fattened up for slaughter.  At 400 kilograms, they are sent to feedlots, which can house up to 40,000 animals in very cramped conditions.  Their feed becomes 90% grain;  because cattle naturally eat grass, their digestive systems are thrown into chaos, and they experience extreme discomfort, bloating, and diarrhea.  In 2003, there were approximately 13 million cattle and calves in Canada, and 3.1 million were slaughtered.  Other cruel practices are branding, dehorning, and castration;  the transportation of cattle is known to be inhumane.  Read about these and more, here.

10.  Dairy cattle are kept pregnant to keep milk production high, but the calves are taken away as young as one or two days old.  The cows are manipulated and exploited to make them produce more milk that would be possible naturally, which causes physical and emotional suffering.  In 2003, there were 1.06 million cows on Canadian dairy farms, which produced 7.5 billion litres of milk.  Over time, the number of dairy cows in Canada are decreasing each year, but the amount of milk produced remains the same.  Dairy cattle are inseminated at fifteen months of age and have a nine month gestation period.  They are inseminated again once a year for the next three to four years of their life, and are forced to provide milk for seven months of each pregnancy.  Cows have a natural lifespan of about 25 years, but after three to four years of enforced pregnancy and production of milk, they are sent to slaughter.  Other issues related to dairy cattle are housing conditions, transportation, and tail docking.  You can find out more here.

11.  Veal calves are a by-product of dairy farming, where cows have to be constantly pregnant.  The calves are taken from their mothers at one or two days of age, and they are slaughtered at 14 to 16 weeks of age.  In 2003, there were more than 300,000 calves slaughtered for veal in Canada.  The living conditions for veal calves are horrific;  read about them here.

12.  Foie gras is a “delicacy” made from the livers of ducks or geese.  It is made by force-feeding male ducks and geese to grossly enlarge their livers (up to ten times their normal size).  Up to four pounds of food per day are pumped into the birds’ stomachs using long metal tubes.  The birds live in tiny individual cages that are so small that there is no room to turn around or clean their feathers.  Their necks stick out of the cages, so that the farmers can manipulate them to force the food down the birds’ throats.  More about foie gras here.

13.  Farmed fish live completely unnatural lives crowded in pens with thousands of other fish.  In the wild, fish like salmon migrate hundreds of kilometres to spawn;  in a fish farm, they are lucky to experience water amounting to a bathtub or two.  Salmon is the most farmed fish in Canada, primarily in British Columbia and New Brunswick.  Also farmed are steelhead, trout, and shellfish.  At the end of 2003, there were 125 fish farms in BC producing about 80,000 tonnes, and in New Brunswick there were 95 farms producing 39,000 tonnes.  A fish farm is a system of cages, which contain up to 20,000 fish in each cage.  (There is no legislation in BC to limit the number of fish in these cages.)  Injuries and disease are huge issues at fish farms, and they are controlled by chemicals and antibiotics.  After one year, the fish are slaughtered, following a period of starvation of one to three days to clean out their stomachs so that they are easier to process and clean.  Much more about fish farming here and here.

Today is a two-for-one Thursday Thirteen, because I couldn’t very well tell you all of these horrors and not tell you how you can help change things.  So here are thirteen ways to improve the welfare of farm animals:

1.  Do not buy factory-farmed meat, dairy, or eggs.  If you don’t know whether the product you are looking at is factory-farmed, it probably is.

2.  Buy products that are free-range, certified organic.  These will be clearly labelled;  if not, talk to your grocery manager to ask that all products are labelled clearly.

3.  Ask your grocery stores to stock alternatives to factory-farmed meat, dairy, and eggs, and to make sure they are clearly labelled.

4.  Decrease the amount of meat, dairy, and eggs you eat each week.  You can eat other protein rich foods like tofu and beans, and drink calcium-fortified beverages and calcium-rich foods like greens.

5.  If you live in BC, buy SPCA Certified meat, dairy, and eggs.  SPCA Certified is an independent third party certification system which ensures that products bearing the program label have been produced in compliance with farm animal welfare standards developed by the BC SPCA.  Over the next three years, the BC SPCA hopes to expand this program across Canada.

6.  Many other places also have similar programs to certify production methods.  Check with your local SPCA or humane society.

7.  Don’t eat veal or foie gras.

8.  Write to retailers and restaurants to explain the cruel processes involved in producing veal and foie gras, and politely ask them not to sell these products.  Also write to store managers to ask them to refrain from stocking veal and foie gras.

9.  Educate others about factory farming and the production of veal and foie gras.  Tell your friends and family what you’ve learned.

10.  Ask retailers and restaurants if the fish they are selling is farmed or wild.  Explain why farmed fish should not be sold.

11.  Where eggs are concerned, beware of misleading labels.  Battery eggs are often labelled as “fresh” or “farm fresh”.

12.  Write to your legislators asking for stronger animal welfare laws concerning farm animals.

13.  Learn more about this issue yourself!  There is a great collection of farm animal welfare links here.


My spell-checker is apparently not working.  My apologies for any mistakes that slipped through.

I’ve been absent for a while, first visiting family from out of town, then through illness.  But I’m hoping that I’m back to my normal routine now!

I totally stole this one from Fond of Snape, who posted it last week.  Go see her answers here;  they are totally worth checking out!

1. If I were a liquid I’d be… cool, crisp, and clean water.

2. If I were a sin I’d be… sloth.  Me on the couch with my laptop in front of the t.v… any questions?  🙂

3. If I were a gem/stone I’d be… a grey stone made smooth by the river constantly flowing over it.

4. If I were a metal I’d be… copper.  Just because I really like it!

5. If I were a tree I’d be… a redwood.  Standing tall against all the storms and winds, no matter how hard they try to blow me down.

6. If I were a flower I’d be…a wildflower, one of those bright and colourful flowers you stumble upon somewhere unexpected.

7. If I were weather I’d be… a cool breeze on a hot day.

8. If I were a color I’d be…lavender;  a bit mysterious, a bit emotional, soft and cool.

9. If I were a sound I’d be…the sound of rain drops falling on the roof at night.

10. If I were a lyric I’d be… “Reach down your hand in your pocket / Pull out some hope for me / It’s been a long day, always…” Matchbox 20, Long Day. I’ve been borrowing hope for quite a while…

11. If I were a scent I’d be… vanilla.  Homey, but a little bit sexy at the same time.  😉

12. If I were a piece of clothing I’d be… a long summery floral cotton dress.

13. If I were one of the 4 seasons I’d be… spring, because I’m on my way to a personal rebirth.

More Thursday Thirteens

Thirteen Things I Like About September:

1.  It’s that border territory between summer and fall:  cooler temperatures but sunny and blue skies!

2.  New beginnings (too many new school years for me, I guess;  September always still feels that way!).

3.  My niece Banana’s birthday.  (This year 29, OMG.  Makes me O L D.)

4.  Harvest moon!  Or if you prefer, Hunter’s Moon.  Whichever, I love that orange colour!

5.  The leaves are starting to turn colour.

6.  Brand new TV season!

7.  Most people are back from holidays, so schedules can go back to normal.  (I am a creature of habit, you see.)

8.  Crisp morning air, but still no frost.

9.  Sleeping at night with the window wide open, lots of cold air in the room, covers pulled up to my chin.

10.  Lots of fresh fruit (apples and pears!) and the remaining garden harvest.

11.  Being able to walk the dog anytime in the morning or evening, should I actually venture out of the house.  (In the summer, it’s like walk him at early o’clock, or at midnight, because they’re the only times that are not brutally hot.)

12.  Sometimes having to wear a sweater at night.

13.  Back to school shopping!  (I don’t do this anymore, but I still love it!)

Check out more Thursday Thirteens!

Thirteen Jobs I Have Had:

1.  Library page

2.  McDonald’s slave

3.  Working at a laser photocopy place

4.  Working at a stationery store

5.  Track and field coach and administrative assistant

6.  Records management clerk at the Ministry of Forests

7.  Legislative Intern (really, not as exciting as it sounds)

8.  Contract researcher for the Ministry of Attorney General

9.  Records management clerk at the Cowichan Valley Regional District

10.  Legal research assistant

11.  Articled student

12.  Lawyer

13.  Assistant to the Diversity Program Coordinator, Immigrant Services

More Thursday Thirteens here!

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