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

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

Praise for C.O.L

©2010 Peter Diamond www.peterdiamond.ca

Averaging five thousand views  a week and climbing on Opensalon.com and Colony-of-losers.com, Michael has received hundreds of comments from fans worldwide. Here is a small sampling of what people are saying.

“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.” -Shandi Mitchell, Commonwealth Prize Award Winner for Canada and the Caribbean for Best First Novel and finalist for the Commonwealth Book Award in New Delhi

“Michael Kimber’s Colony of Losers is a compellingly honest take on twenty-something life in a style reminiscent of the best of Douglas Coupland,” says Trevor Adams, Editor of Halifax Magazine. “The topics covered in the blog are varied – from the mental health epidemic to trying to find a job to first love – and the writing is raw and unapologetic. Kimber allows readers to draw their own conclusions and to find something of themselves in his struggles.”

“Michael Kimber knows we’re all losers. Instead of being ashamed, he wants us readers to revel in it. Colony of Losers is a first person narrative of hope and desperation, fuelled by mental illness and the effects of an undefined generation. He’ll have you in stitches and tug at your heart strings all in a single sentence. Kimber’s the kind of writer who unabashedly tells it like it is. I dare you stop reading.”- Shannon Webb-Campbell, an award-winning writer, journalist and photographer published in Bitch Magazine, The Coast, Chart, Broken Pencil, Xtra!, Penguin Eggs, Room Magazine and She’s Shameless: Women Write About Growing Up, Rocking Out and Fighting Back.

“Hey Mike. Funny you should send that message out today. I went as far as starting to write you yesterday. I’ve been following everything you do for a while. The cure is probably the most precious literature I’ve come across thus far. It has meant so much to me. I can’t justly express how much it comforts me. I feel so much less alienated by my own experiences because of what you’ve written. You are one of the most inspirational people in my life. Sorry if it comes across too strong but your writing means a lot to me. I have shared it with all my friends who I know need to read itand I will share it with everyone of my journalist friends in the hopes that it can reach many more people who will not only enjoy it, but who deserve to know their turmoil is shared. You are the most poignant and hysterical writer I have yet to come accross. I wish you all the best. And thank you for putting it into words. It has helped me more than anything else.  Best, Kate” Kate , Halifax
“Michael Kimber’s website The Colony of Losers is an unflinchingly honest, surprisingly touching look at what life is like for the current generation of university graduates who face a tough time getting a job in light of the global economic crash. Kimber examines his generation’s destroyed hopes and bleak futures in his whip-smart blog about what life is really like once school ends and “real” life begins. No matter where you are in life, whether it be the corner office or your parent’s basement, you will be moved by Kimber’s persistent hope that everyone, no matter who they are or what they do, will find their way out of the colony of losers.”- Qatar Happening…..yeah I’m not shitting you……I’ve made it to the Middle East!

From the Cure#9: A Mother’s Love

“This piece is amazing and chock full of humanity, pathos, angst, love, waiting and more…personal history yes, but it shines. I wish you everything you most need. …and I don’t think you (or me, or my daughter) are ever too large to fit in your mother’s arms…wonderful powerful work!”

- Persistent Muse, Heart of the Midwest.

“It is difficult for me to comment because every line of this resonates with me so deeply and personally — viscerally. I spent 33 years of my life, starting back when no one really knew what they were doing, with this problem, trying to put myself across as functional (which I suppose I managed, but not without the constant awareness that something was terribly wrong), before finally having something happen that led me to the right doctor and the right medication. It shook the foundations of my world, mostly for the better. The monster was slain, which was a huge plus. What I’m saying, I guess, is that I can relate. It helps that this is so very painfully well-written. The EP is richly deserved. So is relief from the curse. I’ll be looking forward to updates. Meanwhile, know you are far from alone. I’ve rarely been more glad I read something here. Thank you.”

- AJ Calhoun, Washington DC

“This made me so sad. I cried and cried because (narcissist that I am) it brought me so close to my own struggle with my shit. Your writing is so beautiful and so painfully honest. You don’t make any attempt to spresent yourself as anything but who you are or to hide that you’re in pain and are searching for help, that you’re not perfect, you suffer from doubts, and fear. I don’t think most people can do that. I think you’re possibly the most courageous writer I’ve come across. I hope writing helps.”

- Notes from Joblessville, New Jersey, USA

“What an inspiring story of a family healing itself from generation to generation. You and your mother were lucky to have each other. Your conversation as written here is a healing resource for those of us who have walked similar rocky uphill paths. And your presence on OS suggests you have found a least some of the answers you were looking for.”

- Hawley Riddick, Orcas Island, California, USA

“It is often said, “that strength is all about numbers.” You are not alone…and very lucky to have the love of your Mom.
I enjoy your candor and find your writing cathartic as it is brave. Thank you.”

-Eric Lawrence, New York

Cure 12: Muggles, Madness and Professional Help

“Wow, Michael, you sure know how to paint yourelf in a negative light–and eloquently. lol Love the first vignette. It’s a terrific depiction of the transition from adolescence to adulthood that twenty-somethings go through. Either you have studied psychology or you have been listening very well (or read up on CBT), because you really understand it. Keep writing, please.”

-L in the Southwest, Atlanta, Georgia

” I like 1) that you put the little prick in his place with the “yo Mama” type response – good for you; 2) Mel! He sounds very competent; 3) that you are sharing this journey with us. I wonder if you have any idea how much your writing is helping others?”

- The Real Me, Massachusetts, U.S.

“I will admit that my initial response to seeing the length of this post was to save it for the Later that may never have happened. But being a little self-defeating myself today, I decided I was going to be succeed at at least one thing – procrastination. And you served my purposes. I had no idea what a treat I was in for – your writing made time stop and even got me laughing. Not a word was wasted – casually tight, you paint such a clear picture, convey inner experience vividly, are incredibly insightful and self aware (I’m 46 and still just learning), and introduced CBT in the most concise, personal, intelligent manner to me. I’ve never been to a psychiatrist so never had an opportunity to dispel the vague notion that they’re wanks, but your anecdote has. I’d be willing to find a problem to talk about just so I could go see ‘Mel’ too. Very glad you found your way to this side, or learning from you and Mel, that you’ve learned to live with the side you are on.”

- Mary Heng, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA

“CL: what everyone else says here. You know you’re hitting responsive chords, by the length of everyone’s comments — none of the usual “Great! -R” here.No one has mentioned how well this post works formally. The vignette with the kid (and by the way, you go boy), then the shrink’s office, and the introduction to CBT — which you came back out of with this: “What makes you feel like you don’t deserve her?” he asks.  “What?” I may have missed something as I’m half asleep. …perfect. The writer conveys time having passed, when in fact for the reader, other time has passed. This is really nicely done.”

- Divorce Bard

Cure#4: Bullshit Answers and Almonds for the Insane

“A depressive trip to the store for almonds and vitamins? Dude, I’m reading your work for the first time and I’m pretty sure you can write about anything in the world and make it great writing.”

- Mahlia, Karachi, Pakistan

“I find that I love to read your work . . . and that sometimes, I don’t know how to comment on it. That’s often a mark of good writing, though, in my mind. And this is really good.”

-Owl Says Who

Cure#3: The Insanity of the Mental Health Epidemic:

“Wow. Excellent writing and post. As one who works in the mental health field, I feel as crazy about it as you do. I left a practice with therapist colleagues because I couldn’t stand their trite, clinical comments. Now, when I enter my office, I try to take off my therapy hat before a session begins – works better. I could really picture you there with this stranger doing her therapy thing. When you talked about the intimate moment with your girlfriend, it was so powerful to me. You need more of that in your life!”

-James P Krehbiel, Scottsdale, Arizona

“Deeply evocative and poignant.”

- Cognitive Dissonance, Pacific Northwest, Washington, USA

Cure#11: Love in the Dark and the Birth of Unicorns

“Reading you never fails to remind me that one never really suffers alone.”

- Bethybug, North Carolina

“It’s been said here before, but I honestly “feel” you. That’s quite an accomplishment for a writer.”

- Bluestocking Babe, Virginia, USA

Prologue: The Long Irritating Walk to Save A Friend’s Life

“I have rarely laughed during recounts of suicide attempts. Thank you for the conflicting emotions. Very well done.”

- Kate Easley, Los Angeles California

“This is fantastic, exquisite, wrenching and hilarious! It’s really hard to do dialogue – you nailed it. (Really, most here do not attempt it!) I’m really glad I found this today.”

- Aim

“Wow, that was really good. Reminded me a little bit of that DeLillo story in the New Yorker this year, only it wasn’t as pretentious.”

- Mark Pritchard, San Fransico, California.

“This was great!! And spot on– if a person is really trying to commit suicide, they need help, not coddling. And if they’re trying to get attention rather than genuinely trying to hurt themselves — they need help and not coddling.”

-Antoinette Errante

Cure#10: What I think of When I think of bowling

“This is really beautiful, made me cry, no better compliment I can offer.”

-Risa Denenberg, Seattle, Washington

Cure#2: Slowly Reassuring Myself to Panic

“Outstanding writing. Great pacing, as mentioned before, and a harrowing story being built.”

- Geraint Isitt,  Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia

“I feel like I am hanging on the edge of a cliff along with you.”

-Gigabiting, Philadelphia, US

Cure# 5: Insomnia in the land of dreams

“Oh man I couldn’t sit still reading this. My insomnia just tears me apart. There were so many similarities here that I just twisted and squirmed in my seat. Damn good writing.”

- micalpeace, Lima, Ohio, USA

“I’m an insomniac since early childhood so I know there aren’t any quick fixes. It’s easier for me now that I don’t have a job to go to or children to raise. You’ve written an excellent description of insomnia. I think it has the honest power to open the eyes of the non-insomniacs who read it.”

-Vonnia

“As always, Michael, your writing both inspires me and blows me away. There is a wonderful series in the NY Times on line that you might enjoy reading. Insomnia. It’s a battle for so many.”

-RaRrobertsJr, Davenport, Iowa

Cure#15 Meditation  with the Mulllet Man:

“Very, very enjoyable little visit with the meditation class. The humor in this is fantastic. You captured Mullet Man, and I know a few, perfectly. I liked your promises to get the bell ringing. HA!”

- Dr Spudman 44, Washington USA

I Quit Faking Sick and Quitting to Get Better:

“This is so raw and real. In some ways better than barbara Ehrenreich’s NICKLE & DIMED”

-Jonathan Wolfman

“You are my idea of a @#%$*#% writer! “People stared at me wondering if Macauly Culkin had finally taken that fatal line of coke.” I am still laughing and probably will be intermittently for the rest of the day. You also show a keen insight into life when you break down the bar business and telemarketing. Dude you were giving me flashbacks.”

-Jack Heart

“Sometimes you have to act like a child to become an adult.”  Colony, this was awesome and real. Thanks for telling it like it is. My daughter worked at a call center. I think she is right when she called them the “new sweat shops.”

-Scarlett Sumac, Canada

Acid Makes You Time Travel: The End of the Band

“Great pace, barely had time to catch my breath. Your descriptions of these weird goings on seem so grounded in experience.”

- Yalebno, New York

Call Center: First Day

“Your writing reads what tightroping walking must feel like. And then you have to throw in a line like, “The girl closest to me is digging her fingers so far up her nostrils I think she is trying to commit suicide.” and I find myself laughing alone out loud like the village idiot. This made me want to wash my hands after sitting in that room with you.”

-Cartouche, Florida

The Meek Get Killed:

“Great, because this was a terrific insight and revelation; being dissatisfied will push you to find what is relevant. Amnesty Int’l should hire you as the “tyrant slapper”, that would be one cool job. I think you’d be happy there.”

-Rainee 174, Newhall, California

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  • Introduction to the Cure



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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 twitter.com/colonyoflosersand twitter.com/quimbo. 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 Mindyourmind.ca. I think they do great work and have been a help to me personally.

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