ANOTHER NORTHWEST DEPRESSEE
TO MEGAN SELING: I have religiously read The Stranger for the past 10 years. For the most part, I agree and respect the opinions, facts, and reviews from every writer involved, and some even more than others. Until today, though, I never thought of the paper in a human way. This paper has never failed to entertain me, although some issues have been better than others. While things like Strangercrombie promote kindness, etc., it's still hard to see a personal touch from people at your paper. If The Stranger had its guard up, you broke it down with your article "The Long Winter" [Nov 22], and you will forever be my hero because of it.
Your article touched my soul. It was heartfelt, heartbreaking, and full of life in the saddest way. It's so nice to relate to another Pacific Northwest depressee. I laughed, I cried, I respect. I can only imagine how difficult that was to write. The most honest articles are the hardest to put onto paper. I don't think I could ever be brave enough to do that—to expose myself. But because of people like you, who aren't afraid to share their trauma from life, it helps people like me feel better, and even be more willing to do something about it. You will forever have my gratitude and respect.
P.S. Also, way to go on the cookie project! That's impressive that you made 80 different cookies in two months' time. You deserve a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. Making the most amount of cookies while being depressed—ha ha—is that a category?
A LITTLE LESS CRAZY
MEGAN: I've only been checking out the Stranger website for about a month now, from the frozen confines of Chicago, but let me say:
1. Thank you so much for writing that.
2. Fucking brilliant.
I needed to read that right now, worse than you could know. I, too, get the yearly downtrodden times full of depression, very little eating and sleeping, and that general sense of purposelessness combined with the always-present pit in the stomach.
I was loving reading it, and then you mentioned that once you took on a bunch of freelance writing work to try to get through it—you are absolutely writing my story of this winter. It's been awful for a few weeks now, so I've taken to writing more music and taking on a shitload of extra freelance work. It doesn't help as much as I thought it would.
You just wrote my story, with the caveat that my story contains no cookies, just piles and piles of Popeyes fried chicken. It sounds crazy—I'm never hungry these days, but when I am, it has to be Popeyes. Seriously. Greasy fried fucking chicken from Popeyes is all that seems to get me through.
Reading that made me feel a little bit less crazy and a little bit less alone. So, thanks.
Brian W. Spencer
A PERFECT STRANGER
TO MEGAN SELING: I'm reading your piece right now. Again. It's real, honest, and sublime. It's sadly beautiful and I've never wanted to hug a perfect stranger so much in my life.
JUST LIKE MOM
MEGAN: Your article "The Long Winter" is truly one of the best stories I have ever read in The Stranger. Heartbreaking, funny as shit, and so honest. I'm bringing it to my mom's house today for her to read, as she struggles with depression and makes those amazing brown butter iced pumpkin cookies.
Thanks for sharing your story.
FROM NOVA SCOTIA
MEGAN SELING: I am 25, live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and read Slog, which is where I found the link to your article on the cookies. I have suffered from undiagnosed (by anyone but me) on/off depression since my late teens. I've never been to any doctors or therapists or taken any medication for it. I guess I am just too embarrassed, as well as faithful in my own ability to cure myself, to get help. However, it's been a long time trying. I recognized a lot about myself in your article. I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your experience. It was really helpful.
WE READ IT ALOUD
MEGAN: Thank you for writing this story. My wife and I were very touched by it. She started reading it aloud to me, because it was a great funny concept. As she got further, we both realized it was much more.
I have suffered from depression for many years (currently medicated again and doing well) and have endured multiple suicide attempts by friends/family and one successful(?) suicide. Also, my wife's best friend was killed in a car crash while she was in college. As such, your experiences pushed buttons in both of us.
The holidays can be a tough time of year for many, resulting in many suicides in December. Though that has never been a risk with me, your article will leave me a little happier knowing that it could potentially help someone who is truly struggling.