A biography should not just be a chronology of noteworthy events in your life, it should tell people who you are and, more importantly, what made you that way. This is my biography. Anything significant you need to know about me, you will find it here.





I was born in 1948, the eldest son of what, at the time, I thought was three children. I was later to learn that I was not the eldest child, that I had an older sister who was given up for adoption. I was the first one of a line my parents decided to keep.

My father was a wife-beating drunk. My mother was a cold fish. I was fostered out three times, the first time before I was one year of age. In fact, I ‘celebrated’ my first birthday away from home. The third time I was fostered out, I came back damaged. I don’t know what happened, I only know what my mother told me: when they came to pick me up, they found me in a bathtub, wearing clothes that were so filthy my mother burned them. I had also stopped talking.

Why was I fostered out? Because drinking cost money, especially when you do it in a bar, which my father always did. He never drank at home. This boozy siphoning of funds helps to explain why it was necessary for my mother to occasionally work in order to support the life style my father had grown accustomed to. Obviously, my mother was an enabler. As a consequence, I was shipped off to  strangers, torn away from my mother repeatedly, just so my father could continue drinking. 

After the third time I was fostered out I came back needy. Although I can’t remember, I’m pretty sure of this because of something that happened when I was about six or seven years of age. It occurred when I was getting ready to go to school one day. I was feeling sick but I went down to the kitchen anyway where my mother was making breakfast. No sooner had I sat down at the kitchen table, looked at my food, then I felt really sick. I attempted to go back to my room but instead collapsed on the floor. When I regained consciousness, I saw my mother blithely continuing to cook breakfast, completely ignoring me. I got up off the floor wondering “What the fuck?”, or words to that effect. I spent years trying to figure out how my mother could ignore me in my distress. How could any mother?

It wasn’t until I was in my sixties that I finally realized what had happened. It was this: my mother had trained herself to ignore my distress. Trained herself, you ask? Why would she need to?

I can only speculate, but I believe that what happened to me during the third time I was fostered out sowed the seeds of my neediness. By the evidence, I was so neglected and abused that my clothes had to be burned, and that I had stopped talking. I was clearly traumatized. As a result, I became needy for attention, attention my parents refused to give me. They believed that I didn’t need the attention that I so obviously craved. I didn’t like being left alone, which was typically at bedtime, and made my feelings known by crying about it. Desperate, they had trained themselves to ignore my crying. Eventually, I cried myself to sleep from exhaustion. The actions of my parents succeeded in exacerbating the abuse and neglect that I had been subjected to during my third fostering out.

Attention is fundamental to love. You cannot love someone and not want to pay them attention. Without this love-attention, particularly in the early stages of life, babies can literally die. They just give up, they will not look at you. It’s as if living in this unwelcoming world is something they no longer want. Fortunately, my situation never got so bad where I could give up and die, although plenty of times I wanted to. It is an unsatisfied need that has nagged me even to this day.

As a result of this unsatisfied need I became depressed. That depression lasted about 40 years.

Depression is a funny thing. Most people don’t understand it. They think it’s just being sad. It’s not. They think that you can just snap out of it. You can’t. It’s got to run its course. I’m so familiar with it that I recognize its various stages. First there is a kind of numbness, like you have no feeling. It feels like you’ve experienced a mild shock. Then it feels like you are falling, like the bottom of your world just fell out. These feelings are not altogether unpleasant, I should mention. It’s like you’re emotionless, which is comforting in a way. You suddenly feel insulated from the world. You are no longer ambivalent. You have made a definite decision about how you are going to feel.

Unfortunately, that initial stage doesn’t last long. Before you know it you are feeling something: tremendous sadness, tears, the whole bit. You sink and sink some more; sinking into an emotional black hole. You wish you were dead, not feeling anything. You wish you didn’t exist, that you never were. Then you sleep. That’s stage two.

You wake up. Sometimes you wake up feeling okay, almost as if your depression never happened. Usually, however, you don’t wake up that way because you just want to keep sleeping and never wake up. Unfortunately, you can only sleep so long and then your body literally kicks you out of bed. It can’t take the sleeping anymore. The body says it is time to get going, face yet another day. The body’s cruel that way. That is stage three.

The last stage before you become somewhat human again is where your eyes feel like they have been crying for a week, your forehead is numb and you have trouble thinking. You have no energy and your to-do list seems enormous. You have trouble confronting the littlest things. So, more than likely you stay in bed, reading or something, maybe watch TV. Waiting for the depression to be over. Sometimes that can take a while.

It wasn’t until I began taking antidepressants that I was able to overcome it. For the first time that I could remember I was excited when I awoke in the morning. Life suddenly had promise. And I morphed into an unstoppable force. Whenever I was faced with an obstacle, a furious determination took over and the obstacle was overcome. I was determined never to give up like I had when I was depressed. I was beginning a new existence, one of hope and enlightenment. I could think again.a 

It was not always so, that I could think. I recall in junior high school having so much trouble with my subjects, particularly mathematics, that my geometry teacher told me that if I passed this subject, everyone in the class would pass. What a putdown. As it turned out, on the last question for that half of the course (the other half was devoted to algebra), I suddenly got it. I had misunderstood a basic concept of the course. Once I saw that, I flew through the geometry book, doing every question and enjoying it tremendously. From that time on, mathematics has been my joy. By the way, I did pass the course.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents were not that bad. They provided me with all the basics: food, clothing, housing. And I supposed they loved me, as they did my siblings, in their own way. As evidence of their failure at parenting, however, all three children had problems. Of course, I had my depression, but my sister had debilitating anxiety, while my brother had drug addiction. Eventually, my parents passed from our lives. My father committed suicide, no longer able to control his drinking. My mother died a paranoid schizophrenic. Unfortunately, my brother also passed away.  He died from hepatitis, a disease he contracted from an infected needle.

Marion, my wife, did something that indirectly led to the writing of my book An Innocent World. Our daughter was being bullied in high school. Marion and I decided to confront someone about it at an upcoming Parent-Teacher Conference. Fortunately, we were able to meet with the Principal of the school. However, when we broached the subject, the principal became upset and very defensive. It was obviously a subject that was emotionally charged for him. The thing I noticed was Marion’s reaction: the more defensive and angry the principal got, the colder and more logical Marion became. It was like watching a wild animal on one end of the conversation and a cool, calm, collected trainer on the other. I was quite impressed and I told her so later. I was so impressed by her behaviour that I have adopted it as my go-to behaviour when dealing with people, particularly when I find myself in an argument. It has worked quite well. I find that people tend to calm down when I don’t buy in to their emotionality., my wife

Life on antidepressants was not all rosy. When I first began taking them, I was told that they were to be thought of as something to “prime the pump”, that once that was done, one could come off them and continue living a normal life. It never ceases to amaze me how we humans can get it so wrong and yet think we are so right. As a species, I think we have a tendency to be slightly self-delusional.

I tried getting off antidepressants three times only to find myself in the hospital each time. In fact, my last attempt to withdraw from antidepressants was so bad, I’ve taken to calling it “My year in hell.” So, now I have resigned myself to being on them for rest of my life. One good thing though, on one of my attempts to stay off antidepressants, I met Jesus. That meeting was the single most satisfying encounter in my entire life. It was better than sex. Eventually, Jesus gave me a peace of mind that I still have today.

During one time when I was unemployed, I went back to college and got a degree in computer systems. I loved computing. I was on antidepressants at the time and was finding learning a very satisfying experience. I knew from the first day at college that I was going to ace this, I was that confident. This is a far cry from my pre-antidepressant days at high school, where every day was an ordeal in just making it through.

I recall one time during a college course I was taking where we were exploring some computing issue. I found myself asking a lot of questions that the teacher was dutifully trying to answer, when one of the other students piped up and said “He asks a lot of questions”, to which the teacher replied “Well, that’s Douglas”. Up to that point, I never realized that I had a reputation. Now, reputations can be good or bad, so to learn which mine was, I decided to take an IQ test. I scored an IQ of 152. Though unemployed, I felt I was on top of the world; I was in my element.

Unfortunately, life has a way of getting in the way. As a family man with five mouths to feed, I couldn’t be spending all my time at school; I had to get a job. After graduating, I did get a job, in computing, no less. It didn’t last long though, only about three years. And considering that I was living in the Kootenays at the time, a somewhat depressed region economically, the prospects of a computer-whiz, 20 years past his prime, were few and far between. I did get other jobs that eventually brought me to retirement. It was then that I accomplished something else that I am proud of.

I wrote a book called An Innocent World. It is a non-fictionalized imagining of a world inhabited by only innocent people, no guilty people allowed. What I mean by guilty and innocent are, in biblical terms, those who sin and those that don’t. Though I occasionally refer to the bible, I do so only as part of a logical argument.

I got my inspiration for the book from working with dogs in my daughter’s dog-daycare business. I noticed that dogs display a certain innocence in their dealings with humans and each other; they don’t seem to have an evil thought in their heads. I wondered what the world would be like if we humans displayed the same characteristic. Using logic, I envisioned such a world. It is a world based on the principle “Do no harm to another”. And it is a world significantly different from our own, where humans look more like space aliens, but immortal. It is a world we should all aspire to.  

Finally, I don’t mean for this narrative to advocate the use of antidepressants. It is a drug that fortunately works for me. It doesn’t for about 40% of the people who try it. In a way, I think it represents a failure of the psychiatric community to solve our mental and emotional issues through talk therapy alone.