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

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

Human Kindness

Posted on | September 15, 2018 | No Comments

I very rarely can find tears in pity for myself or for others. It’s not the pain we all suffer that makes me cry. It’s the idea of how much we all care about one another that immediately pushes me over the edge.

Today is a regular Saturday night in my thirties. I feel no obligation to have a plan. My body is drowned in endorphins from exercise. I might read or watch a movie. Tonight I watched BoJack “Free Churros” an episode where Bojack tries to find the perfect words to eulogize his mother.

As I watch him hilariously struggle to find something nice to say I think about how many nice things I have to say about the people in my life. How truly lucky I have been to meet them. And what’s happening today. In this insanely huge world of ours.

As I sit typing this someone is falling in love for the first time, heartbeating rapidly on a swingswet as they fly into the air, trying as hard as they can not to look over at her because they’re sure she’ll see it. There’s kids jumping into pools with fearlessness, unfamiliar with summer and the knowledge that it ends. There are missiles on the way to family dinners. There are secrets being told. Some of them are devastating and end relationships. Others getting rid of a nervous feeling in your stomach you’ve been carrying for years. People are promising their lives to one another. Two people who loved each other are politely ending their acquaintance. Imagined later lives are being created and dying. This is the moment we’re living in. It isn’t a good day. It’s the best and worst day of someone’s lives. It’s easily forgotten. It’s the memory that stay with you that you should have asked someone to explain to you. So you knew what they meant. So you could have been free.

And all that love I’ve gotten in my life hits me in the chest. And I’m disconnected in time.

I’m at one of my brother Matthew’s rap shows. At the show he’s known as Josh Martinez. Someone bumps into me, and then act like they have a problem. Matthew  jumps into the situation making it very clear that he will fucking murder the person if they have a problem. He’s on the phone with me when I’m 25 in the midst of depresion and he’s explaining the world is mine, that the things I don’t know can be learned and that this is just a moment. And it is. And he’s performing again. And my house burned down and I’m crazy on the edge of PTSD and someone bumps me and I think about how I’d break their kneecaps and kick them in the chest and I noticed my shoes. My cousin Graham bought them for me. He got me ribs after.

And Zamaan and Stephanie pat me on the shoulder after I’ve heard a fire alarm go off at work too long and my body jumped back in time and took me with it. I remember watching Zamaan get married for four days of it. And how nervous he was when he was asked me to be a part of his grooms party and the sure knowledge I would do anything for him. Because he was one of my people.

Each day I go home from elementary school and my sister makes me lunch. I watch her carefully. I want to figure out how to be funny like she is. How to be strong like she is. I watch carefully as a child. I even watch soap operas just to hang out with her.  I watch even more closely as an adult. She calls me brat for years. She stops when I get depression. She checks in on me with Facebook messages that don’t seem like she’s trying to look out for me. She’s smart enough to mask her concern and make jokes. That’s what I learn from her. To be available to say the scary things but to be funny. To make people laugh. To make things easier. I see that love can work out from seeing her with Greg. He loves her like air. I pretend to use pictures of her children as sales pitches for women I’m trying to date. But Hannah and Avery make me feel hopeful. That there are things about the future I really want to know.

I’m arriving in Toronto. I sleep on Dave’s couch. We haven’t been in touch that much since he moved to Toronto. For seven years we get closer and closer. I’m there when he gets a divorce. He’s there when my last relationship ends. I call him when I have heavy things lodged in my chest and he removes them. By showing me that he has the same faith in me that I have in him. We became friends without talking making rap records in his basement.

I’m with Jennica. Taking 20 dollars from her hands when I have no money and she tells me that I can spend it on whatever I want and she doesn’t want it back…ever. We live together twice. It works poorly both times. I’m at her wedding and I’m so happy for her and I’m in a suit for a good job and she doesn’t want to talk about the wedding just the job. We were such kids together and we were getting older and we’ll always be friends. Every year we come up with a new routine to see each other more regularly. We succeed for awhile and then begin to fall into our own busy lives. We come back. Because there is no way that we can live without seeing each other. Somethings are too precious.

I stay on Tim’s couch. On New Years. When I don’t have a house. We hang out at his place when he can’t move because he has a back injury. He contributes money to the Walk In The Park fundraiser. He hits me up every few months in case I forget to get in touch. We talk about our biggest dreams. Those moments that having big dreams hurt us. We cheer wildly during the moments the other one gets close. We’ve given each other advice. We’ve gone up and done in fortune. We’ve stayed friends, after a strange summer of living together and eating fries and company like champions.

Phil helps me edit my first novel. Charlotte says she’ll travel 1 and a half by train to be with me when I hear bad news. Steph Wu tells me to believe in my dream. OG Steph sleeps next to an insomniac until he stops waking through the night. I watch Hermit’s life break and cheer as he puts it back together again. We survive seachange year by laughing at how insane life can be and smoking huge joints while the world breaks around us. We only knew each other for two years in person but never fall out of touch. Pat Campbell tries to teach me to ride a bike and doesn’t laugh at me when I fall and scrape my knees. I fall in love with Christie over a phone after a chance meeting at a party when we were kids that compelled to assert that one day she’d break up with her boyfriend and we’d be together. She makes me happy when the sky is falling. We start dating after a second date at a bus station and the last time I see her is exiting an airplane. The last thing I saw to her face is I love you.

I think about this people. And more people than I have named. And my heart is so full. Knowing that they’re alive which means they are in pain, which means they are struggling with what could be the best and worst day of their lives.

And I think about how much love there is.

And that’s what gets me.

Every single time.

So I type as fast I can.

Hoping I can say as many nice things as I can think of so that people can read them and know how I feel.



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    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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