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

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

The Cure

©2010 Peter Diamond www.peterdiamond.ca

“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.”

“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. ” Kate Grant , Halifax

Welcome to “The Cure”

 

The Cure is the story of a love tested by the hells of mental illness.

Extracting humor and genuine love from the darkest trials of his war with anxiety, Kimber takes us on a journey as personal and hilarious as David Egger’s Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and as true to mid-twenties life as the best of Douglas Coupland. Both haunting and hilarious he takes us to the depth of terrifying insomnia, through the season of sleeping pills, into the sauna like hot yoga studio where a beautiful girl will fart in his face and spark an epiphany, into therapy where he slowly rebuilds his reason, and into the streets where he will pick fights with teenagers who reveal the end of Harry Potter.

This is a story about the end of childhood, from the death of childhood friends to the endless struggle to find a job, a love that lasts and become a grown up. The romance between Michael and his girlfriend take on magical proportions as he works on the “Flight of the Alacorn” in a time without sleep or the ability to concentrate. In the darkest places in himself he still loves her and struggles to come back to himself.

One in five suffer from mental illness. Two out of three don’t get treatment due to societal stigma.

Michael Gray Kimber was one of them.

This is the story of Michael Kimber’s panicked fall into adulthood.

Prologue:

It was a ten-minute walk to reach our friend’s apartment to find out whether or not he was still alive.  It was a long ten minutes. Sunshine reflected off of Hermit’s aviator shades on the first beautiful day of a new summer.  At five in the morning he’d been sent a text message that read…

The Cure #1: Heart and Mind

“It’s my first year of university. My body is slung over the railing that runs up and down Middle Bay, the residence building that I live in at King’s College, looking down at a spot that has been littered with vomit by very wealthy people for several generations. Breathing is difficult and not just because I’m laughing hysterically…

The Cure #2: Reassuring Myself To Utter Panic

November 3, 2009. Trying to find the date my life changed has obsessed me since things began spinning out of control. I felt if I could find the exact place and time where the balances tipped I could reach out and grab hold of that Archimedes point and shift the universe back in my favor. Unfortunately it is not that easy to pinpoint. There are seven years of ups and downs, a hundred moments where I should have, could have and absolutely wished I realized I had a problem and didn’t.

The Cure #3: So You Have Anxiety?

The room is completely empty except a very jowly woman readying her presentation. Empty chairs surround the circular table where other people should be sitting. I’m in a self-help group and I am the only one who showed up for class. Her presentation is Power Point and she makes jokes…

The Cure #4: Going nuts and buying almonds

“Where are the nuts?” I ask the clerk. He looks at me like I’m an idiot. I realize I’m not being specific enough. “The almonds.” He points to an aisle at the end of the gigantic store. “Thanks,” I say and begin my journey. There is a chemical in your brain called GABA. Consider this to be the holy grail of calm…

The Cure #5: Insomnia in the land of dreams

Go to sleep. Go to fucking sleep. A signal has been sent from my brain to my body that if I fall asleep something bad is going to happen. My bed has suddenly become a prison. My conscious mind is telling my body that there is nothing wrong. I’m lying next to my beautiful girlfriend…

The Cure #6: Nurse Betty

My girlfriend kisses me on the mouth and leaves me alone with her mother. It’s one in the afternoon and I haven’t eaten yet or slept. “Betty” is blond with a streak of silver hair with big glasses and crystal blue eyes. Put simply she is one of the nicest women in the world.

The Cure #7: An idiot’s attempt to learn to ride a bike

The little girl bike is not properly suited to my body’s weight and height. I am a grizzly bear balanced on a unicycle. Only this bear has no fucking idea of what he is doing and is a few second from falling on his ass. I have never learned how to ride a bike.

The Cure #8: A mother’s love

A plastic cartoon dog wobbles his head back and forth, attached to the dash of my mother’s car, mocking my sleepless state. His name is Frank and my mother got him at a fast food restaurant back in the days when Men In Black was first released.

The Cure #9: What I think of when I think of bowling

So what seems to be the problem?” asks the doctor. My doctor looks like an older version of my girlfriend with the same caring blue eyes and long blond hair. You can see that she takes her work home , as she has silver circles under her eyes from lack of sleep.

The Cure #10: Muggles, madness and professional help

Running away from myself is how I spend my days. Running back only happens after my daily exercise at the Hotel Atlantica gym. With the exhaustation comes a moment of lucidity, like an Alzheimer’s patient who remembers everything they forget. The excess adrenaline that torments me has been spent.

The Cure #11: Love in the Dark and Unicorns

The first thing I see when I wake up is my girlfriend in Unicorn form.  Mounted on her wall is the portrait in oil paints I commissioned for our two-month anniversary. The actual girl lies to the side of me lost in sleep. She’s gotten used to sleeping with an insomniac.

The CURE#12: DROWNING AND DREAMING

“Ocean sounds?” ask my girlfriend, looking like a princess in her polar bear sweatshirt and flannel pajama pants. Her laptop sits on her knees as her legs dangle from her bed and don’t quite touch the ground. “You don’t have to do this,” I say. “I can just go home.” “No you are sleeping over,” she says…

The CURE#13: Meditating With the Mullet Man, Money and Mental Illness

I’m uncharacteristically late so I don’t have the chance to change into my pajama pants as I had planned. As a result I stow them on the coat rack and move into the meditation room wearing tight jeans which are likely to give my balls razor burn if I sit in lotus position too long.

The Cure#14: Yoga Farts, Insomnia, the History of Music and Unicorns

Only I would realize the beauty of the world during hot yoga as an attractive contortionist farted in my face. But then that is why my story is slightly different than other people’s. The Flight of the Alacorn continues and we learn of the wonderful adventures she had with her bass playing father as they traveled through time and changed the history of music.

The Cure#15: Khyber Wednesdays and the Best Jewish Hispanic Dancing

Gangsters, backpackers and wannabes performed side by side, each taking their turn on the stage. One time a recently released prison inmate tried to fight Nerdcore rap legend Jesse Dangerously and found himself face to face with 30 dudes ready to beat the shit out of him. In a hip hop scene divided by race, genre, economic and philosophical borders we had the Khyber and on Wednesdays we were family. It’s Boxing Day and I’m off sleep pills and drinking for the first time in months. Dancing with the most beautiful woman in the world, finding joy in the place I was a boy, with the girl that made me a man.

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

I am watching Jersey Shore. I’m down to two hours of sleep a night and have to stay awake until 2:30 despite my eyes struggling to stay open. I’m trying to train my body to associate my bed with sleep, which means I’m depriving of myself to sleep to begin to build up my exhaustation so that when I get in bed I only sleep. This doesn’t work. Lying sleepless in bed with my girlfriend I realize that I need to go back to medication.

The Cure#17: My Bestfriend When I Was 12

Queen Elizabeth High School is in the process of being torn apart brick by brick. Eventually a beautiful parking lot will replace it.A tripwire fence has built to keep out intruders.There is no going back and today reinforces that.We are no longer jocks and geeks, freaks and weirdos, the in crowd or the outsiders.  We are just a bunch of strangers who are getting the first inklings of what its like to lose their childhood.I am not at a high school reunion. I’m at a funeral and anxiety medication has made me into a toy soldier Mike Kimber, offering comforting words from behind a wall of medicated numbness.

Cure#18: Sex, Drugs and Raoul

Having panic attacks over possible becoming addicted to Ativan, I go to the internet for answers. I find my best friend in first year university. The first person I know who went crazy and tried to hide it in a drug addiction. Having taken every wrong step himself, he knows exactly the right words to make me comfortable going on medication.

Cure#19: Making the Devil Dance

Feeling like a puppet to my depression I realize how to take control of the strings. In the process I make a song, write a fairytale and laugh at my girlfriend as she cries. Cameos by famous rock legends, songs about sacrificing virgins and the havoc of taking a leap where no one tells you if you’ll fly or fly. Welcome to the world of Remeron, where the sky might just stop falling for a moment.

  • Introduction to the Cure



  • Peter Diamond Gallery

  • 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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