Photo of the Day

Tom Petty performs on stage during a 1981 Irvine, California concert. George Rose/Getty Images

Tom Petty

?Free Fallin?

From his stage presence to his fashion, Tom Petty electrified audiences for decades. Celebrated rocker Tom Petty died at age 66 after suffering cardiac arrest at his California home on Monday. Although the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is now gone, his music, his charisma, and his one-of-a-kind presence will live on.

After 40 years in the music industry, Tom Petty consistently stayed at the top of the charts.

But while his success never faltered, the ?Free Fallin’? singer?s personal life wasn?t quite as smooth sailing. From suffering abuse as a child to going through a difficult divorce and subsequent addiction to heroin, Petty, fought through intense personal troubles to find ultimate happiness with his second wife Dana York.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers recently completed a summer tour with three nights at the Hollywood Bowl. The trek marked the band’s 40th anniversary and found him playing rarely played deep cuts like their first album’s opener, “Rockin’ Around (With You),” and a selection of Wildflowers cuts. It was intended to be his “last trip around the country.” He said though, that it wasn’t his intention to quit playing. “I need something to do, or I tend to be a nuisance around the house.”

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Depression – Why bother carrying on?

I can’t say I ever got to the point of seriously thinking about taking my life. ?But I did get to the point of weighing up if living was still worth it. ?Luckily, the answer for me was an emphatic YES. ? Others that struggle with depression get to a point where they are in a much worse place. ?Instead of wondering if they should kill themselves, they have a constant fight against the impulse of wanting to commit suicide.

Sinda Ruzio-Saban bares her soul in her book, the story of her journey through a life of depression and ?almost constant suicidal thoughts and desires.? As a first-person account, it is heart-wrenchingly sad and even frightening. Those who have been in her position?or know someone else who has?are more likely to approach the topic openly and even take comfort from what Sinda has to say. Simply knowing what this woman has faced may help others suffering similar difficulties. Read more »


Depression – If I have mental health problems, does that mean I’m crazy?

The next?part of a series of reader-requested posts on depression.

I remember being told I was depressed. ?I had no idea what it meant. ?Something about being in fight/flight for too long due to too much ongoing stress, and the brain’s chemicals being out of whack.

I would have to go on medication.

The immediate visceral reaction to that was “I AM NOT MAD!”. ?My mental (ha!) image of people with “mental illness” came from movies and the media. ?It involved asylums, padded rooms, rocking in a corner and other such stereotypical images.

Once I figured out that “mental health” was a large field and depression wasn’t something that meant I was going to permanently be locked up wearing pyjamas, I still had a huge problem with people knowing about it.

I didn’t want to be judged, labelled or forever stigmatised as a “crazy” person. ?(well, in a medical sense, anyway).

John Kirwan is credited with bringing Depression out in the open and making it something people understand and accept. ?At least to the point where there is no real stigma to it. ? I still wouldn’t go around and wear it on my sleeve, but when the topic comes up these days, I have no problem sharing what it has meant for me.

But yeah. ?What a about job applications? ?Are you supposed to disclose it? ?Will they not hire “crazy people”? ?Will I be judged as a less than ideal parent? ?Once known, will I be shunned and not be asked to parent help or go on camp? ?Will the guys and gals at the club look at me sideways? ?How will it affect medical insurance? ?Life insurance?

All these things were real concerns to me. ?And I still didn’t want to have a “mental illness” because of it. Read more »


Depression – the basics

A reader pointed out that Whaleoil used to regularly feature some articles on clinical depression. ?Frequently these were drawn from our own experiences.

The major reasons we stopped sharing our struggles is because we have been under pressure and under surveillance by people that wish us harm for a number of years. ? The last thing you want someone like Colin Craig to know is that you are struggling with your health. ?This would embolden our opponents, whoever they are.

As part of strategy we therefore always act cheery and totally in control when in public. ? Cam kind of messed that up early January when he got -whatever he got- that ruined his face, gave him lots of pain and knocked him out for a good month.

People who have observed Cam and Whaleoil in general will know by now that the harder we get pushed, the harder we push back. ?Nothing can break us, especially with your support.

But we had fallen out of the habit of showing you our more vulnerable side. ?People have remarked frequently that they just don’t understand how we could do all this. ?Well, it does take its toll, especially when you also have to fight what are, in my lay opinion, vexatious court cases. Read more »


Photo of the Day

There was a long period of time, almost a year, during which I never looked in a mirror. It wasn?t easy, for I?d never suspected just how omnipresent are our own images. I began by merely avoiding mirrors, but by the end of the year I found myself with an acute knowledge of the reflected image, its numerous tricks and wiles, how it can spring up at any moment: a glass tabletop, a well-polished door handle, a darkened window, a pair of sunglasses, a restaurant?s otherwise magnificent brass-plated coffee machine sitting innocently by the cash register.

Lucy Grealy: There was a long period of time, almost a year, during which I never looked in a mirror. It wasn?t easy, for I?d never suspected just how omnipresent are our own images. I began by merely avoiding mirrors, but by the end of the year I found myself with an acute knowledge of the reflected image, its numerous tricks and wiles, how it can spring up at any moment: a glass tabletop, a well-polished door handle, a darkened window, a pair of sunglasses, a restaurant?s otherwise magnificent brass-plated coffee machine sitting innocently by the cash register.

The Face of Pain

Lucy Grealy, whose 1994 memoir, “Autobiography of a Face,” was a fearless account of growing up with a disfigurement caused by cancer, died Dec. 18, 2002, in New York City. She was 39. She had accidentally taken an overdose of heroin. Her life had been hard, but she had also experienced more joy than many.

Her fiercely honest account of this tortured existence and what it was like for her to be “ugly” in a society obsessed with physical beauty captured national attention. For a time she was the toast of talk shows and literary circles. However, she suffered from depression. She had been staying at the home of friends at the time of her death.

Born Lucinda Margaret Grealy (pronounced GRAY-lee) in Dublin, Ireland, she was one of five children. Her father, Desmond, helped found RTE, the Irish national broadcasting network, before he moved the family to Spring Valley, N.Y., when Lucy was 4.

Grealy was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare and often lethal form of cancer that began as a dental cyst. Starting when she was 9, Grealy had chemotherapy and radiation treatments as often as five times each week for five years. It dissolved nearly half of her jaw bone.

Grealy wrote of her nine-year-old self facing cancer, ?Every day I?d have some test, and it never occurred to me to ask what was going on, what the tests were for, what the results were.? We all get caught up in systematic processes, like medical diagnoses or job searches, and neglect to stop to think about what?s really going on and what the results will mean in the long run. We?re swept along by a lot of life?s goings-on.

Over the next 15 years she had 30 surgeries, hoping each time to restore her once-pretty face. Most of the operations were failures.

Grealy’s memoir about the long years leading up to her imperfect face launched a book tour and a spate of articles about her. Interviewers invariably described her large, bright eyes as expressing a type of wisdom formed by pain.

In the book, Lucy detailed her quest to reclaim her jaw, disfigured by cancer. Suddenly, she was the toast of literary New York, beloved for her quick wit and wild streak, saluted for her grit. But her endless surgeries left her so weak, impoverished, and dependent on drugs that even her dearest friends couldn?t save her.

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Life tough today? Compare it with the Industrial Revolution


Being constantly overworked and tired may seem like a modern condition, but actually you might be suffering from a 19th-century malaise.

Doctors in the Victorian times diagnosed patients with ?Neurasthenia?, which bears all the hallmarks of our hyper-connected age.

According to a new book, patients with the condition suffered from depression, a ?lack of ambition?, insomnia and headaches.

Ha. ?Lack of ambition, as a medical condition. ?Does that mean that half the people on the dole are depressed? Read more »

Mike King sabotaged?

www.nzonair.govt.nz1200 ? 720Search The Nutters Club is a weekly nationwide radio show on Newstalk ZB hosted by entertainer Mike King. It is helping lead an important national conversation on ...

www.nzonair.govt.nz1200 ? 720Search

After reading something on The Nutters Club Facebook page yesterday I felt compelled to share the story. I met Mike King, whom Cameron knows well, when he and Cameron were on a panel together on Maori TV. He is a genuine bloke who cares passionately about helping people with depression. Since I have experienced depression up close and personal myself, I have a lot of time for Mike and The Nutters Club.

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Face of the day

Embed from Getty Images


Today’s face of the day is?Wentworth Miller,?a talented actor whom I watched recently in the series Prison Break on Netflix.

Today I found myself the subject of an Internet meme. Not for the first time.

This one, however, stands out from the rest.

In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, I was suicidal.

This is a subject I’ve since written about, spoken about, shared about.

But at the time I suffered in silence. As so many do. The extent of my struggle known to very, very few.

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The perils of anti-depressants: Increased suicide risk


It is no secret that I have suffered, and still do suffer, from major depressive illnesses. Many people do and they either hide it, talk about it or plaster over the cracks.

You usually don’t realise someone you love is suffering from depression until they tip over somehow.

The problem is the medical fraternity almost always prescribe medications in various forms. I know, I’ve been on most of them, sometimes in a chemical cocktail. The very worst time of my life was when I was on anti-depressants.

Now there is another worry…it appears they increase the risk of suicide.

Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, the biggest ever review of its kind has found, as pharmaceutical companies were accused of failing to report side effects and even deaths linked to the drugs.

The review of 70 trials of the most common antidepressants, involving more than 18,000 people, found they doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behaviour in under-18s.

Although a similarly stark link was not seen in adults, the authors said misreporting of trial data could have led to a “serious underestimation of the harms”. ? Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Christine Chubbuck.

Christine Chubbuck.


Even if a person might look all right in the outside, we might never know what they may be dealing with on the inside.

29-year-old Christine Chubbuck didn?t leave behind a note. Instead, she staged a grand and memorable performance. Looking healthy, well-groomed, and in good spirits the morning of July 15, 1974, the newswoman geared up for a special presentation. ?She was in a much better than normal mood. To this day, her enthusiasm puzzles me,? news director Gordan Galbraith said of her demeanor that morning.

Christine asked to change things up a bit for that morning?s broadcast of Sarasota, FL?s WXLT-TV?s?Suncoast Digest. She wanted to start the normally unscripted talk show with some news reports, and spent the few minutes before air-time typing up what she was going to say on-air.

She started off with some standard news item, but when it came time to roll footage of a local shoot-out from the night before, a shot she specifically requested, the film stalled. The person operating the camera panicked a bit, but this was all a part of Christine?s plan. She looked into the camera with a determined eye.

?In keeping with Channel 40?s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts and in living colour, you are going to see another first ? attempted suicide,? she read, inflicting a little sarcasm into her tone.

Then she pulled a gun out of a bag of puppets she had at her feet and shot herself on live television.

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