Colony of Losers- Fuck Stigma and Mental Illness, I'm like 25

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

Cure#16: Jersey Shore, Sleep Deprivation Diet and Spinning

Posted on | August 24, 2010 | 3 Comments

My eyes can’t focus.

They keep blinking me in and out of consciousness.

A lot of stupid people are talking and I have trouble paying attention.

They all have New Jersey accents but their dialogue is nowhere near as clever as the Sopranos.

“What is this show called again?” I ask.

Jersey Shore,” Paddy replies.

Paddy passes me the joint. I scientifically take tiny tokes, enjoying that familiar feeling entering my lungs once more. According to the Internet, smoking weed increases the quantity of melatonin released in your brain by 4,000 times. As such I’m used it as my newest form of sleeping pill.

“What’s that crazy loud bitches name?” I ask. “The one that looks like Meadow Soprano if she was a hot air balloon.”

“Snookie,” he answers. “She’s the second best character.”

“Who’s the best?”

“The Situation.”

“His name is the Situation?” I ask.

“It’s what he calls his abs.”

“So when he flexes he asks girls if they are getting a correct read of the situation?” I ask.

He sees that I’ve paused waiting to see if he will laugh. Since he doesn’t, I give him a verbal nudge.

“Huh…huh….get it?”

“You said that you couldn’t be funny on two hours sleep, now look at ya?” says Paddy, taking the joint back, taking a couple hulls before taking a sip of his rum and coke which glows like a coca cola storm as the last remnants of smoke go into his drink.  “How much longer do you have to go?”

“An hour,” I reply, trying to keep my eyes open.

“I don’t think you are going to make it,” he says.

“I love Italians,” I say. “Guidos and Guidettes as they describe themselves. By the way this might just be the best show ever.”

“Might be?” asks Paddy.

“Is the greatest show of all time.”

Jersey Shore is the crème de la crème of trashy TV.  Disgustingly ripped Italian men from the Jersey Shore go to night clubs with hooched up Italian women to dance the night away.

The boys are about to get into a fight. Someone didn’t show them the proper respect and as a result will be smashed in the teeth.

“They going to experience ‘The Situation?’” I ask.

“Oh yeah.”

Paddy nods solemnly, yawns and takes a drink from his rum and coke.  Outwardly Paddy is the most relaxed guy in the world.  Like the rest of us he worries about his future, medicates his worries with booze and weed and treads water until he learns to swim. Like many of the people I know he is going to do better in life then he presently imagines. Learning to swim often means almost drowning.  He grew up in a family that helped him when he needed it and like me he forgot that he could help himself.

I check the clock for the five hundredth time. Only 1:35.  Paddy has agreed to stay up with me to 2 o’clock after much pestering. I’ll have to stay up a half hour by myself when I get home.

Being a good sport Paddy carries the conversation knowing that I don’t really have much to say outside of, “Fuck I want to go to sleep.”

He talks about his hometown and the epidemic of ADD that had everyone in his high school doing Dexis prescribed or not.  I think this story started when he realized I wasn’t paying attention. After a few drinks, Paddy gets a case of the mumbles and even if I was on Ritalin I might struggle to understand what he was saying.

“You fell asleep,” says Paddy.

“No I didn’t.”

“This is the second time,” says Paddy. “What is the point of this again?”

“I’m trying Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for sleep problems. Apparently this works for 70% of people who try it.”

“And so why do you have to stay up till 2:30?” asks Paddy.

“You train your body to associate going to bed with wakefulness,” I mumble. “So cut down the amount of time you are in bed to the amount that you sleep. Last week I slept on average little less than four hours. But that less than the absolute minimum you need for sleep.  Five and a half hours is the bottom level of a healthy sleep. And I wake up at 8 everyday no matter what. So I have to go to bed at 2:30.”

“Does it work?” he asks.

“Not yet.”

“How long?” he asks.

“Four days.”

“How much sleep?”

“Getting less every night,” I say.

“That’s not good.”

“They say it works,” I say.

“That’d be nice.”

Snookie is wearing a particularly low cut shirt.  My mind temporarily climbs out of the black hole it lives in.

“Nice tits,” I say.

“Very nice.”

“You’ll figure it out,” he says.


Sometimes being a good friend means staying up until 2 o’clock, watching shitty TV and carrying the conversation when your nutcase best friend needs you to.  Paddy is just about the best friend a person could have.

“That’s the situation,” says Paddy pointing to a muscle bound guy revealing his abs.


She lies in my arms, exhausted with a big smile, as we catch our breath.

The best thing about being off medication is the sex.

“I love you,” she says, chest rising and falling, words stretched out like she can feel every syllable in every part of her perfect body.

According to legend there as many different ways of saying “I love you” as there are words for snow in the Inuit tongue. From thank you to your welcome to holding hands while we walk through hell.

Depression creates whole new languages out of one simple phrase. It can mean I’m sorry I’m so fucked up. Or thank you for making me laugh about something that makes me sad. Or a request to ignore my most recent behavior. Or this is the only cogent thought that remains in my brain when lack of sleep has erased everything else.  In a brain fuelled by electricity that is slowly turning to ash I can still see the pulses in the darkness.

My exhausted mind sometimes lacks the ability to provide the conversation that has been the most direct and real way of making love in our relationship. The words that dance around the definition and never comment on the mystery that moves it. When I lack the ability to make words “I love you” slips out of my mouth over and over.  The first time I said “I love you” it was a sincere and honest thank you for escaping what I thought I was and making me something more. Then there are the more common “I love yous” such as the one that ends a phone conversation. The “I love you” after an argument that acknowledges the right of the person you love to dig into your chest, tear out your heart and make it beat again. When you take the first bite of a meal they made you. Leaving the house to go get candy. The shocking sight of their body when they remove their clothes and reveal their super powers.

That phrase is used as a religion to bind the most common actions to the holiest of feelings, that lives and dies without a God to protect it. Prayers for the sun to come out tomorrow and this feeling to last forever.

My favorite “I love you” comes after great sex that is as automatic as laughter and unnecessary to say as “I love you” always is when the words don’t need to be stated when they are so obviously felt.

Contrary to legend there are few words for snow in the Inuit tongue and there are no words for love in any language despite the thousands of pretenders to the throne.  Those four letters describe the absolute and complete failure of language to translate the things that mean the most to us. The reason why religions make it a sin to speak the name of their God.

How often have people lost God by saying the words and lost that feeling in their chest by trying to make into it something concrete?

Making love is infinitely different than saying I love you. People have said I love you with their bodies before there was language to express it. Possibly the reason they created words at all was to express that feeling, of something that is within us, that is so generous we cannot contain our desire to give it a life outside of our bodies and the moments when we feel it. The words that words can’t capture that make it necessary to speak at all.

Knowing that the feeling is expressed automatically, inarticulately in the shudder of a lower lip, grit teeth and held hands. In the silence that follows the moaning, the race through the tensions that create a relationship and the catharsis where all sense of sense collapses.

Different medications affect your sex drive differently. Elavil left me too dead to look for life. Trazadone offered the risks of priaprism, which basically means a painful boner that won’t go away.  While I was man of steel hard during sex, afterwards I would always anxiously wait for it to go down.  Sweating out the chemicals with Hot Yoga brought my body back to its wiry Jewish horny peak.

The problem is that I’m sleeping less and less.

The problem is that the sex is great and I don’t want to go back to medication. Only the less I sleep the more I rely on those last sensible feelings that emerge from my fear stricken mind. I love you and your beautiful slowly become all I can think or say.

But that’s for later.

For now I relax in the silence.

“I love you,” I say.

I don’t need to say it but I do. In case you haven’t noticed I talk too much.



I wonder if I should ask her to.

I’m being ridiculous.

Yet I can’t stop thinking about it.

“I was wondering,” I begin.

“Wondering what?” she asks.

She took me out to an expensive dinner at an Italian restaurant. Wine, dinner, dessert, the whole nine yards.  We went to a movie and I spent the whole time trying to watch it. I don’t quite know what got me feeling scared but then my feelings aren’t exactly in proportion to the events occurring in my life. I’m down to two hours a night and have been for the last three days.

“What were you wondering?” she asks.

“It’s stupid.”

“Tell me.”

“Could you check to see who called?”

Someone called at midnight. She didn’t pick it up.

I have a terrible feeling and worry that something bad has happened.  When you live with a sense of impending doom the smallest thing can trigger it.

She checks the phone.

Her dad called.

Most likely looking for advice on some issue concerning the Internet.

The sleep deprivation diet isn’t working.

I’m spinning and I can’t get my mind to stand still.

Spinning is most akin to a nausea you feel in your head rather than your stomach. While I’ve gotten used to the downward trend of my thinking, this feeling is different. My doctor told me that depression and anxiety could permanently damage your brain. A cycle impossible to break hardwired into your cerebrum. The more you spiral the more difficult it is to break the pattern.

My brain is becoming addicted to this agony and I need to break the cycle.

I want to get back to her.

Whatever it takes, I will.

Welcome to the Colony of Losers, a world of quarter life crises, anxiety, depression and the friends and the failures on the way to finding your future. This is the story of Michael Kimber’s panicked fall into adulthood.



3 Responses to “Cure#16: Jersey Shore, Sleep Deprivation Diet and Spinning”

  1. Shandi
    August 24th, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

    Re. The Cure
    This is fearless writing. Heart wide open. Cut to the bone. A powerful, aching voice–but ah the light, the love, the want…
    You are offering us a rare insight and I think you will find that you are speaking to and for many.
    All the best,

  2. Karen Currie
    September 2nd, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

    Ahhh, Young Kimber.

    Still as eloquent as the days you worked at JWD’s when I was there. Well written, I would have expected nothing.

    You made me smile and reminded me of what is important in my own life.

    Thank you.


  3. Karen Currie
    September 2nd, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

    Ahhh, Young Kimber.

    Still as eloquent as the days you worked at JWD’s when I was there. Well written, I would have expected nothing less.

    You made me smile and reminded me of what is important in my own life.

    Thank you.


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  • About

    Michael Kimber is a 26-year-old journalist who suffered a nervous breakdown on November 3rd, 2009. On March 28th, 2010 when he recovered from mental illness, he began writing a blog called Colony-of-losers. About falling on your face to figure out who you are and the hilarious antics of a blond jew. What began with a few friends and his mother reading has become a cult phenomenon, averaging 10,000 views a week, receiving praise from Commonwealth Award Winner Shandi Mitchell and many others. On, November 3rd, 2010, the one year anniversary of his mental breakdown he signed with Anne McDermid and Associates, the largest literary agency in Canada. In a year he went from wearing pajamas, making his couch depression HQ to leaving his hometown for the Toronto, where he exclusively wears business suits and the armor of ancient Greeks. Don't worry, he's still choking on the feet he contently sticks in his mouth and making moments awkward just by being part of them. During these struggles he met other talented bastards and drew them into his circle. Peter Diamond became his illustrator. Patrick Campbell his video editor and part time photographer. He recently added the incredibly talented John Packman as Colony of Losers Toronto photographer. Without the support of the Colony of Losers, Michael Kimber would be nothing. Welcome to the losers and the success that comes from utter and complete failure. You aren’t alone. Follow him on If you’d like to hire him for a public speaking engagement for mental health events in Toronto, like to arrange an interview, offer millions to publish his book or for another reason contact Michael please email him. And join his facebook Colony of Losers.

    Really obvious disclaimer:
    I’m not a trained psychologist. Just a fellow traveler. If you need help seek it from the professionals. The Canadian Mental Health Association provides a help locator. You can find crisis resources provided by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. If you are in the states check here. It will give you services by zip code. I’d also recommend checking out I think they do great work and have been a help to me personally.

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