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ive been vegetarian for just over a year now and over the past 3-4 months ive noticed ive started to become severely depressed. I think about the horrors these animals have to go through every single day and it makes me so angry and i find myself in floods of tears nearly every other day, is this normal? im also starting to distance myself from my meat eater friends and family, i keep telling myself "its okay,you used to be like them, they just havent been educated yet" but it doesnt help! Whenever i have dinner with my family i can feel the anger building up inside me! having to sit and watch my young neice and nephew eat murdered animal bodies infront of me makes me want to puke! whenever i see meat on the TV and in adverts it makes me SO ANGRY. i work in retail so i have to scan through packets of cold meat and bacon every day and i always find myself judging the customer that im serving. IS THIS NORMAL? I dont think it is but i have no one in real life to talk to about this so i would really appriciate any sort of input you may have x
 

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I went through a similar thing for about the first month or so after becoming vegan. Most of my sadness stemmed from the realization that I had been contributing to this suffering my whole life, and the guilt was overwhelming. On top of that there is an immediate feeling of separation from yourself to the rest of the world - you suddenly feel like you're the only one who can see the truth; it's almost like taking the red pill in the Matrix! LOL

However, once I got into the groove of my new lifestyle and figuring out where I fit in once again, as well as coming to terms with the fact that I cannot change what is past - only my choices going forward, I found a peace with it all. Since you've been veg*n for a year now and this is a fairly recent occurrence I'd wonder if it might have something to do with other changes that might be going on in your life right now. Hormonal changes, life events, sometimes even just changes in our own personal growth/spirituality can all affect the way we perceive things and our emotional reaction to them.

If you are finding it unbearable to be around your family, or perform normally in the workplace, it might be wise to consider speaking with a counsellor. It doesn't help the animals (or anyone else, including you!) if you lose your job and alienate yourself from your family and friends; you have to take care of yourself first before you can care for others :)
 

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Thank you so much for replying. I agree with you 100 percent. I've been thinking about going to see a counsellor as I have no one else to talk to about this because all my friends and family eat meat, only problem is, the counsellor would need to be vegan! I wouldnt feel comfortable opening up to a meat eater about my problems, but i dont think you can request a vegan counsellor?
 

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I thought about that; I imagine it's a bit of a tall order, but nowadays you can find ANYTHING on the internet! ^_^ Perhaps you can find online counselling with a vegan counsellor? :)
 

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Thank you so much for replying. I agree with you 100 percent. I've been thinking about going to see a counsellor as I have no one else to talk to about this because all my friends and family eat meat, only problem is, the counsellor would need to be vegan! I wouldnt feel comfortable opening up to a meat eater about my problems, but i dont think you can request a vegan counsellor?

The counselor wouldn't necessarily need to be vegan. Anger and depression over the state of the world is common. A truly professional counselor will be focused on helping you understanding your feelings, and how to direct your feelings in a positive way.

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ive been vegetarian for just over a year now and over the past 3-4 months ive noticed ive started to become severely depressed. I think about the horrors these animals have to go through every single day and it makes me so angry and i find myself in floods of tears nearly every other day, is this normal? im also starting to distance myself from my meat eater friends and family, i keep telling myself "its okay,you used to be like them, they just havent been educated yet" but it doesnt help! Whenever i have dinner with my family i can feel the anger building up inside me! having to sit and watch my young neice and nephew eat murdered animal bodies infront of me makes me want to puke! whenever i see meat on the TV and in adverts it makes me SO ANGRY. i work in retail so i have to scan through packets of cold meat and bacon every day and i always find myself judging the customer that im serving. IS THIS NORMAL? I dont think it is but i have no one in real life to talk to about this so i would really appriciate any sort of input you may have x
I've gone to see therapists off and on for quite some time. They were almost always able to help me, even though only one of them was vegetarian.

Even though you're not feeling good right now, it's very important that you continue to eat plenty and get some exercise. It's easy to accidentally forget to eat if you're feeling sad, but not eating can make things so much worse. Eat some things that you like, and take a brisk walk (or better yet, ride your bike). Let us know how you're doing.

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I can certainly remember experiencing something similar to you in my first year of veganism. Like you, I found it difficult to think of my friends and family in the same way. Unpleasant and frustrated conversations became more and more frequent. However, after a number of years, this feeling of confrontation has really dissipated. I've noticed that by continuing to live a vegan lifestyle and still doing normal things with friends and family I've had quite an impact on them. In my opinion, the best way to convince someone of something is to lead by example. Eat delicious vegan food with them, be healthy, have fun and perhaps you'll have more of an impact than you would have initially thought. You could even try cooking them a delicious dinner or dessert, they might enjoy it!

With regards to your job, it's ok to stop working somewhere which isn't in line with your ethics. If you're in a financial position to leave the retail store and look for another job which doesn't involve selling meat, go for it. If you have to keep working there while you find yourself another job that's ok too, you'll figure it out.
 

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It is important to remember that you can control your actions and not other's. Also, there could be a small proactive approach you could have with family meals - cook for them! Cook veggie friendly dishes.
Plus, it's not strange to distance from old friends and make new friends throughout your lifetime. Say this was over a different issue like partying. Your old friends party every day until 3 am. You have a nice new job with a start time of 5 am. You might not hang out with your old friends as much unless they shift to working in the mornings as well. You make new friends with other people who work first thing in the morning. Friends unfortunately do come and go.
Seeking professional help is never a bad idea. :)
 

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no thats not normal, maybe get your blood tested to make sure you're getting enough nutrients, remember to eat enough, and get professional help:)
 

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no thats not normal, maybe get your blood tested to make sure you're getting enough nutrients, remember to eat enough, and get professional help:)
Hi grace-sis!
Have you always been veg?
 

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In my opinion you are looking at things in the completely wrong way, it is not surprising that you start feeling depressed this way.

If you look at everyone around you as horribly immoral people, no wonder you are not going to be happy in life.
Here is how I look at things, it makes for a much better life:
Living in and of itself causes unnecessary suffering to other sentient beings. Vegans and non vegans are both guilty of this moral crime. Non vegans in the obvious ways we all know about. Vegans in more subtle ways.
We switch between eating rice, pasta and potatoes as we choose, while one of these staple foods is overall more efficient to cultivate and therefor results in less animal suffering because less agriculture has to be done to meet our caloric needs.
We buy computers, phones, ipads, mp3players, clothing, etc, all things that have an impact, drain resources, contribute to pollution, even exploitation of animals and humans alike.

Veganism is defined as avoiding causing suffering and exploiting animals as far as is possible and practicable. It is an ideal that can never be fully attained by anyone.
We could all go and live in self-sustaining communes, eating only the most efficiently cultivatable foods, using a lot less resources than we do now and we would cause a lot less animal suffering. Is it possible? Yes, because some people do so. Is it practicable? To some people it is.

What I am saying is, you would do better to see veganism for the ideal it is and appreciate whatever effort people around you are willing to make, because we as vegans are far from perfect ourselves.
Appreciate that one friend who comes with you to a vegan restaurant and forgoes that one meat meal he wouldve otherwise had.
Appreciate that one family member who because he felt inspired by you decided to incorporate a "meatless saturday".
Etc.
Stop looking at the things people do wrong, and start looking at the things people do right and you will be a lot happier I think :)
 

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One more piece of advice while Im apparently on a roll :D
You said you work in retail and feel bad about scanning through meats and bacon every day. Depending on where you live, if its somewhere liberal, you could maybe talk to your boss and propose a monthly "green day" for the store or something, where you set up signs inviting people to try something in your vegan/vegetarian section. Think some green decorations and some signs "Join us in our green day, try 1 of our vegan/vegetarian items and save x amount of carbon emissions and x amount of water"

However if you do decide to do that, it would be best to approach it from a climate change angle, and not mention anything about animal suffering. It has to be positive and uplifting for it to be attractive for your boss to actually go along with it :)

Talk to your boss and tell him about how people nowadays care about the environment and suggest it might be beneficial for the stores reputation to show that the store cares too.
And not only is it potentially good for animals and the environment, but such showing initiative if you come up with and organize the whole thing is good from a career point of view aswell :)
 

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I would say "don't do that to yourself." You are training your brain to get angry at seeing people do things, and that will never do. I mean when that target is gone, what will be the next target? It is the young person's version of the angry old man screaming at the kids on his lawn. Don't scream at the kids on your lawn. They will think you are weird and scary. Try to channel that emotion to good deeds. It is energy and can be used for good things or bad things. Do volunteer work. Show people that vegans are not crazy hipsters out on the latest fad diet.

That's the only sane advice I can give.
 

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Robobo, I liked your post and it is probably very good advice for the OP. But I have a question.

Suppose you were living in a slave-holding community and were indoctrinated since birth in rascist thought patterns. Then suppose you began to have a change of heart. You started thinking that it was not right for a human to own another as property. Perhaps you still clung on to some rascist thoughts, but at the least you were sure that slavery was abominable and it pained your heart every time you saw a slave get whipped. Suppose that the vast majority of the people around you reacted to your beliefs with mockery if not open hostility, as they certainly would have.

Would the very few friends who respected your beliefs to the extent of not whipping their slaves while you were standing directly beside them be enough to keep a smile on your face as you went about your daily routine? Would you--and the slaves--be better off if you stopped looking at the things they were doing wrong and instead looked at what they were doing right? Maybe your neighbor gave his slaves 6 lashings today instead of the usual 7. Would that have been enough to make you happy?

Perhaps more importantly, and this may be getting a bit off-topic, would the institution of slavery have ever come to an end (or come to an end as early as it did) through happiness and smiles? If my reading of history is not in error, the global slave trade was forcibly ended through, in essence, a moral change of heart and outrage originating from citizens of the only naval power with enough might to do something about it--the same naval power who had been for years the greatest offenders in this injustice. Without a doubt the citizens of Britain as well as proponents of abolition everywhere fell far short of perfection themselves and reveal themselves in their writings to have been what we consider today to be grossly rascist. Yet they were able to identify at least one big injustice in the world and extend the necessary judgement across the board. They said THIS at least is wrong, and if it's wrong for us to be doing it it is wrong for others to be doing it. And the world became a better place because of it.

Do we lose the ability to affect change by avoiding looking at the minor things people do right instead of the major things they do wrong that should justifiably make us angry in spite of our own failure to perfectly live up to the ideal?
 

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Robobo, I liked your post and it is probably very good advice for the OP. But I have a question.

Suppose you were living in a slave-holding community and were indoctrinated since birth in rascist thought patterns. Then suppose you began to have a change of heart. You started thinking that it was not right for a human to own another as property. Perhaps you still clung on to some rascist thoughts, but at the least you were sure that slavery was abominable and it pained your heart every time you saw a slave get whipped. Suppose that the vast majority of the people around you reacted to your beliefs with mockery if not open hostility, as they certainly would have.

Would the very few friends who respected your beliefs to the extent of not whipping their slaves while you were standing directly beside them be enough to keep a smile on your face as you went about your daily routine? Would you--and the slaves--be better off if you stopped looking at the things they were doing wrong and instead looked at what they were doing right? Maybe your neighbor gave his slaves 6 lashings today instead of the usual 7. Would that have been enough to make you happy?

Perhaps more importantly, and this may be getting a bit off-topic, would the institution of slavery have ever come to an end (or come to an end as early as it did) through happiness and smiles? If my reading of history is not in error, the global slave trade was forcibly ended through, in essence, a moral change of heart and outrage originating from citizens of the only naval power with enough might to do something about it--the same naval power who had been for years the greatest offenders in this injustice. Without a doubt the citizens of Britain as well as proponents of abolition everywhere fell far short of perfection themselves and reveal themselves in their writings to have been what we consider today to be grossly rascist. Yet they were able to identify at least one big injustice in the world and extend the necessary judgement across the board. They said THIS at least is wrong, and if it's wrong for us to be doing it it is wrong for others to be doing it. And the world became a better place because of it.

Do we lose the ability to affect change by avoiding looking at the minor things people do right instead of the major things they do wrong that should justifiably make us angry in spite of our own failure to perfectly live up to the ideal?
Theres a huge variance in justifiable anger. Frankly, many of the people involved in freeing slaves were slave holders themselves. Abolition took many, many years, and even today racial inequality rears its ugly head everywhere. And that's within specism. So yeah, I don't see any benefit in hating people who do what they see as being ethical. Not everyone has the views of animals.
I stay away from a local animal rights group due to peoples inability to get along with others.
Most people are very much against cruelty towards animals, it's there belief in what's cruel that differs.
Getting across the practical reality of not needing to use animals is a far easier way to affect change in how they perceive animals.
 

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Robobo, I liked your post and it is probably very good advice for the OP. But I have a question.

Suppose you were living in a slave-holding community and were indoctrinated since birth in rascist thought patterns. Then suppose you began to have a change of heart. You started thinking that it was not right for a human to own another as property. Perhaps you still clung on to some rascist thoughts, but at the least you were sure that slavery was abominable and it pained your heart every time you saw a slave get whipped. Suppose that the vast majority of the people around you reacted to your beliefs with mockery if not open hostility, as they certainly would have.

Would the very few friends who respected your beliefs to the extent of not whipping their slaves while you were standing directly beside them be enough to keep a smile on your face as you went about your daily routine? Would you--and the slaves--be better off if you stopped looking at the things they were doing wrong and instead looked at what they were doing right? Maybe your neighbor gave his slaves 6 lashings today instead of the usual 7. Would that have been enough to make you happy?
The analogy doesn't really work, because as I said, if we just give up animal products and don't go any further, we are guilty of the same moral crime, just to a smaller extent.
For your analogy to work I would in that case still have to have slaves and whip them every now and then.

Perhaps more importantly, and this may be getting a bit off-topic, would the institution of slavery have ever come to an end (or come to an end as early as it did) through happiness and smiles? If my reading of history is not in error, the global slave trade was forcibly ended through, in essence, a moral change of heart and outrage originating from citizens of the only naval power with enough might to do something about it--the same naval power who had been for years the greatest offenders in this injustice. Without a doubt the citizens of Britain as well as proponents of abolition everywhere fell far short of perfection themselves and reveal themselves in their writings to have been what we consider today to be grossly rascist. Yet they were able to identify at least one big injustice in the world and extend the necessary judgement across the board. They said THIS at least is wrong, and if it's wrong for us to be doing it it is wrong for others to be doing it. And the world became a better place because of it.
Again, we are talking about something completely different, it is quite absurd to compare the two.

IF, and that is a big IF, there is a road to worldwide veganism, Im convinced it will not happen with that kind of mentality you are describing.
It must happen with understanding and uniting people by common goals that each and every one of us would be willing to do.

7 billion people incorporating 'meatless monday' has larger economic and environmental consequences than 350 million people going completely vegan.
If all vegans/vegetarians stopped their judgemental attitudes and turned their efforts to uniting people in achieving that first goal, not only would the demand for meat (and therefor the amount of animal suffering) reduce drastically, but the demand for vegan alternatives would rise enormously, leading to lower prices for those alternatives, and a much greater variety of them. (basic economics 101)
That would then in turn make it easier and more attractive for people to also incorporate a 'meatless tuesday', which would again have similar significant effects which keeps making it easier and easier and more attractive for more people to go completely vegan.


Do we lose the ability to affect change by avoiding looking at the minor things people do right instead of the major things they do wrong that should justifiably make us angry in spite of our own failure to perfectly live up to the ideal?
So no. And I don't even agree that anger is in fact justifiable.

Consuming animal products is a personal choice, and so is giving them up. The day you move to a self-sustaining commune where everyone uses the least amount of resources possible and eats only the most efficiently cultivated foods (all possible and practicable) is the day where you are (at least in theory) allowed to start pointing fingers.
(and even on that day it would be counter-productive and self-serving to do so)
 

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Moving forward

Your sensitivity is terrific. You have to move forward now as you are starting a new commitment to not including animals in your diet. Congratulations on your successes. Perhaps you can look at blogs like Dr. McDougall's on health benefits of being Vegan or look into new recipes to make - since eating boring food will make you want to stop. I agree with the others that you may want to seek counseling to help you get through this.
 

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The analogy doesn't really work, because as I said, if we just give up animal products and don't go any further, we are guilty of the same moral crime, just to a smaller extent.
For your analogy to work I would in that case still have to have slaves and whip them every now and then.
Only if the degree of culpability is comparable. And maybe we should talk about that.

But many abolitionists had been slave-holders, and even the ones who weren't did not ever in their lifetime believe all races should be treated equally. They were guilty of the same moral crime of rascism that slavery was founded on but to a lesser extent.
There were also the likes of Thomas Jefferson whose words inspired those fighting for liberty for generations...and who was a hardcore slave-holder. We appreciate and revere the moral positions he penned despite his utter failure to live up to those ideals himself.

Basically what I am having trouble accepting is the notion that one must be completely devoid of blame before making a moral judgement. Why?

I get how the closer you are living up to the ideal yourself the more persuasive power you're gonna have with others. If that is all you are trying to say then we are in agreement.

But why is it necessary to be a paragon of virtue before one is allowed to point at the more obvious moral errors? Paragons of virtue are, well, hard to come by to say the least. Pretty much everyone is mostly living according to the morals of the time, while some make baby steps forward which, when pointed out to others, can result in progress.

I mean, if you make the statement "X is bad", how much X you are doing yourself is irrelevant to the validity of the statement, is it not? (it is relevant to your capacity to persuade others, certainly)

Again, we are talking about something completely different, it is quite absurd to compare the two.

IF, and that is a big IF, there is a road to worldwide veganism, Im convinced it will not happen with that kind of mentality you are describing.
It must happen with understanding and uniting people by common goals that each and every one of us would be willing to do.

7 billion people incorporating 'meatless monday' has larger economic and environmental consequences than 350 million people going completely vegan.
If all vegans/vegetarians stopped their judgemental attitudes and turned their efforts to uniting people in achieving that first goal, not only would the demand for meat (and therefor the amount of animal suffering) reduce drastically, but the demand for vegan alternatives would rise enormously, leading to lower prices for those alternatives, and a much greater variety of them. (basic economics 101)
That would then in turn make it easier and more attractive for people to also incorporate a 'meatless tuesday', which would again have similar significant effects which keeps making it easier and easier and more attractive for more people to go completely vegan.
I don't think it's absurd. We are talking about two big moral injustices with movements against them headed by people who are guilty themselves to a lesser extent. I am not the first person to compare animal liberation to the historical struggle for abolition.

But that said, you may be right for all I know about which mentality would best lead to the desired outcome, speaking practically. I can't say I know.

So no. And I don't even agree that anger is in fact justifiable.

Consuming animal products is a personal choice, and so is giving them up. The day you move to a self-sustaining commune where everyone uses the least amount of resources possible and eats only the most efficiently cultivated foods (all possible and practicable) is the day where you are (at least in theory) allowed to start pointing fingers.
(and even on that day it would be counter-productive and self-serving to do so)
Where is the line where a personal choice begins?

Pretty much all of us are guilty of telling a lie from time to time. But not all to the same degree. There are people who rarely lie. There are occasional liars. There are habitual liars. There are people who have built such a career out of dishonesty that they make Pinochio look like the Buddha. Are we not allowed to pass a moral judgement about the latter types because dishonesty is a personal choice?
 

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Only if the degree of culpability is comparable. And maybe we should talk about that.

But many abolitionists had been slave-holders, and even the ones who weren't did not ever in their lifetime believe all races should be treated equally. They were guilty of the same moral crime of rascism that slavery was founded on but to a lesser extent.
There were also the likes of Thomas Jefferson whose words inspired those fighting for liberty for generations...and who was a hardcore slave-holder. We appreciate and revere the moral positions he penned despite his utter failure to live up to those ideals himself.

Basically what I am having trouble accepting is the notion that one must be completely devoid of blame before making a moral judgement. Why?

I get how the closer you are living up to the ideal yourself the more persuasive power you're gonna have with others. If that is all you are trying to say then we are in agreement.

But why is it necessary to be a paragon of virtue before one is allowed to point at the more obvious moral errors? Paragons of virtue are, well, hard to come by to say the least. Pretty much everyone is mostly living according to the morals of the time, while some make baby steps forward which, when pointed out to others, can result in progress.

I mean, if you make the statement "X is bad", how much X you are doing yourself is irrelevant to the validity of the statement, is it not? (it is relevant to your capacity to persuade others, certainly)
The original reason why I posted this was because you asked:
"Would the very few friends who respected your beliefs to the extent of not whipping their slaves while you were standing directly beside them be enough to keep a smile on your face as you went about your daily routine? Would you--and the slaves--be better off if you stopped looking at the things they were doing wrong and instead looked at what they were doing right? Maybe your neighbor gave his slaves 6 lashings today instead of the usual 7. Would that have been enough to make you happy?"

The intention of that comment was solely to point at the absurdity of your heart feeling pain when your friend whips his 50 slaves 10 times a day, while you whip your 3 slaves 2 times a day.
I agree fully that you don't need to be completely morally virtuous in order to be able to point out moral errors, and indeed your level of persuasive power will most likely rise with your level of moral virtuousness.

I don't think it's absurd. We are talking about two big moral injustices with movements against them headed by people who are guilty themselves to a lesser extent. I am not the first person to compare animal liberation to the historical struggle for abolition.

But that said, you may be right for all I know about which mentality would best lead to the desired outcome, speaking practically. I can't say I know.
It is definitely not absurd to draw parallels between the two, but that was not what you were doing.
You asked: "Perhaps more importantly, and this may be getting a bit off-topic, would the institution of slavery have ever come to an end (or come to an end as early as it did) through happiness and smiles? "
As if to imply only the same strategy used by abolitionists could end animal exploitation/cruelty. That however, as I showed, is a critical error in logic, regardless that there exist parallels between the two.

If that implication wasnt your intention, but solely my assumption, then my apologies :)


Where is the line where a personal choice begins?
Im not even sure there is such a line. If there is one though, Im pretty sure it's not gonna be based on a quantitative difference, it will more than likely be based on a qualitative difference.

What I mean by this is, now vegans and non vegans both indirectly kill animals in brutal ways for no reason other than personal pleasure/luxuries. Lets say a vegan contributes to about 50 animal deaths per year due to the extra normal agriculture done to support the large variety of plantfoods he/she wants to eat. Lets say a meat eater contributes to 1000 animal deaths per year. This quantitative difference consuming animal products vs not consuming animal products isn't where the line of personal choice should be drawn, because its arbitrary.
It's not even correct in all cases: someone who eats meat once a week and never has any children will probably even have a lower animal bodycount than a vegan with 4 children.

If such a line were to exist, I would argue it should be drawn as to distuingish a qualitative difference, such as animal deaths vs NO animal deaths for the sole reason of personal pleasure/luxuries/comfort of living.
Just like you wouldn't ever argue drawing that line based on a quantitative difference for matters such as slavery.

Pretty much all of us are guilty of telling a lie from time to time. But not all to the same degree. There are people who rarely lie. There are occasional liars. There are habitual liars. There are people who have built such a career out of dishonesty that they make Pinochio look like the Buddha. Are we not allowed to pass a moral judgement about the latter types because dishonesty is a personal choice?
What kind of moral judgement would you be passing? "You're a liar!"? Claiming he/she is a bad person because he/she lies that often?

I refer you back to my:
"(and even on that day it would be counter-productive and self-serving to do so)"
 
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