Panic Time(s)

April 23, 2018

We’re at serious crunch time. My move out date is 9 days away and I don’t have a place to move into. If you read my last blog entry, you know staying really isn’t an option right now, but I need somewhere to go. It’s not that there haven’t been places, but they’ve gone to other people—lanlord’s choice, not mine. I am either between paralyzing anxiety and walking depression, neither of which helps me.

There are times when I hear myself say “I’ve never been this pannicked before.” Then I realize that it’s not true. This isn’t the first time that I’ve suddenly had to vacate a residence quickly. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to leave with no real place to go tet. It’s definitely harder with a child, but it’s not the first time dealing with that either. I’ve done it all before to one degree or another, and while it was hard, anxiety provoking, terrifying, and a breakdown of self on many levels., I made it through and got what I needed. A friend of mine told me, at a time of similar upheaval, that I am a survivor. Not that I didn’t believe him, but I was hoping to be able to do more than just survive. After getting through that time and knowing where I am now, knowing I can and will survive is a good things. I can navigate through Hell; I’ve done it before. Even if the path through is slightly unfamiliar, I’ve seen it in other forms already. I will survive this and make sure my daughter does too.

There’s a point where I need to make contingency plans and I know what they are. I have friends in my corner and that helps. Plus I am not giving up yet—I have a few places to look at and something will pan out. It’s very hard to be in the middle of this, but knowing my ability to get through all I have in the past means I will make it out of this too.


It’s one of those times when I can’t complain about things. Work is good, Sophia is doing fine in school, writing is slow but steady, I’m sticking to my meds regularly, getting sleep, and making gym a habit. Things aren’t bad. So why do I feel like my head is about to explode from stress?

For the last few days, I’ve been anxious for no obvious reason. Nothing is going wrong but I’m under this overwhelmning feeling of dread. At church, they had kids (and any willing adults) to light a candle of gratitude for something. I fought off the urge to go up and light a candle to be grateful for Ativan.

I honestly can’t think why I’m on edge. Ages ago, my therapist told me I’m always waiting for the next shoe to drop. While I’m not waiting for a shoe to drop, I still am dreading something and have no idea what or why. Maybe I’m nervous that I’m doing okay. Maybe it’s because I think I’m not doing enough—even though I’m doing plenty. Maybe it’s the nature of mental illness and how it ebbs and flows from dramatic heights to stiffling depths. Maybe it’s a lot of things. Either way, I feel off.

I hate it, I’m used to it, and I hate that the only thing I can do sometimes is ride it out. My anxiety isn’t a curse or a gift, but it’s an ever present source of annoyance. It doesn’t stop me completely, but it slows me down considerably. Still I move forward one step at a time. It feels like molasses but I’m moving.

Things in my life seem to be slipping away. Things that were at the core of my identity, things I could look to and say “this is who I am,” are becoming lost to me over the years. I had creative life goals to work for; now making it through the day is the only goal I hope to achieve. I was a nice guy for so long that it was evident; these days even saying “I’m a nice guy” rings false to my ears. I feel bitter and empty, and it’s showing more and more. I’ve been on a slow downward spiral for close to a decade, even with some financial stability I feel lost. Even though I’ve hit bottom, every time I start to climb out of it, falling back makes the hole deeper.

What’s hardest is I’ve shut a lot of people out. I don’t talk to anyone on the phone anymore, except my parents. Facebook comments to friends are common, but not always updating my status is not so much and vague.Trying to bridge that gap is a major challenge for me. I’ve abandonned them, but I’ve twisted it in my head so they’ve abandonned me. Since reaching out has never been my strongest point, I wind up stuck and alone.

My blog posts are non-existent as of late, I know that. I barely write anymore. I have so much unfinished work at various stages and they are laying dormant. And much like reaching out, it’s not that I’ve lost a gift as that I’ve abandonned those gifts. Instead of the passion I felt to start writing a project, I feel ashamed to try and start where I left off.

Things are a jumble in my hear. It’s all an endless void of suck. Thoughts and emotions get mixed up and I’m lost. I feel bad not that I’m letting myself down, but that I’m letting everyone else down. I always put myself last, so it’s okay, even though it’s not. I’m not in complete despair but, I can recognize the look and details of it as it appears closer. I knew it before sometime ago so I know what it looks like. A blog post won’t flip everything around, but it’s something.

I was never good at sales. I’m not very open by nature so the idea of pushing stuff on to people never was appealing—even if it was something people wanted. I’ve had sales jobs every so often over the years out of desperation and necessity, but I hated the task.

Political phone banking is similar, except you really are trying to get the word out about someone you believe in. I did it for Obama in 2008, as well as Democratic fundraising in 2010 (which was harder). But after all the crap I went through from the loss of a career in 2009, the spiraling decline through 2012, and dealing with single fatherhood for the last 3 years—all of which took a tool on my own mental health—I know I am no longer capable of doing any kind of telemarketing or phone banking.

The problem this time around is that the Bernie Sanders campaign needs the outreach of volunteers on the phones to help his run; not just getting the vote out but basic candidate knowledge. There has been a media blackout of his campaign since November 2015 and general dismissal of his candidacy up until now. Despite that he is a popular candidate, has a great platform, and can win if his message is heard. Sanders has been able to garner supporters by letting people hear his platform. So these phone banks become essential for his campaign. Yet I couldn’t do it. I want Sanders to get the nomination and the White House, but I can’t dial a single phone number without a panic attack.

Thankfully a friend pointed out that Sanders has a texting squad. They text get out the vote reminders, rally alerts, phone banking events, and such, to other Bernie supporters. I jumped on that in early March, but they had such a deluge of volunteers I had to wait until April so they can drastically upscale their operation so I can participate. I haven’t done a ton of shifts like others (the average is 3-4 text shifts a day, but I know one person who does 7-8 per day since their first day), but I’ve been regularly texting alerts to supporters for almost a month. I get plenty of “fuck offs”, but I get a higher amount of people thanking me for volunteering.

No it’s not cold calling numbers and trying to get support and/getting into arguments, but I believe every little bit counts. I’m better at writing anyway, and I can help a candidate I believe in. Luckily technology has allowed me to work around my mental illnesses and do necessary grunt work. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing this all the way up to the convention and beyond.

Memes That Hit Home

November 7, 2015

I saw these two memes a few days back and it messed me up a bit.12188916_895316753850335_3922937498143956587_n  10831900_135079473516939_1580206197_n

The sense of humor thing I’ve been saying for a few years now. Since 2009 with losing the job at WGBH then all the financial fallout from trying to reduce child support from a greedy angry bipolar woman, I have been on a downward spiral since then. It’s not that it ended with the death of Sophia’s mom, but it stabilized at a level I’ve never been comfortable with. Yes I do realize that I was in an abusive situation with Sophia’s mom, but it does not make being abused any easier. I’m already prone to depression and have—as a therapist once said—a high tolerance for misery, so the damage was done; but compound that with the economic upheaval I was in that I never experienced before and I’ve been a mess. That I’ve seen my sense of humor worn down to a nub has been distressing to me in general and as I used to be.

This sort of lead me to the second meme. What do you do when you can’t remember who you were before everything that happened to tamp down your spirit? My first memory of childhood was sitting on a couch listening to my parents talk to me and having the conscious thought of “Who are these people?” I’ve been in different shades of distress ever since then. I think I was three at the time; maybe younger. I honestly remember very few times when I was truly happy and content, and it was fleeting at best. Something would soon happen that threw me back into turmoil. There’s the old addage of faking it til you make it, but I think I’ve been doing that most of my life. Trying to get to a point where I am settled or content with things is a big goal, but I’m not even sure what that looks like.

There’s some truth to these memes, but getting to that point is pretty intense and painful.

I don’t know why I feel so out of it these days. I know I have goog daya snd bad days with my own particular depressive/anxiety problems, but do the lows always have to feel so sould crushing? It’s not like I can be depressed AND go to the gym or write or whatever; I have to be so depressed that I don’t wan tto go anywhere, except to work when I have to. I also haven’t written in a few weeks. It’s not even that I’m stuck in a story; I can’t muster the will needed to pick up a pen. I know what I have is a problem of chemistry, not about laziness. Mental illness is a biologic disorder, at the very least a medical one. I just feel more lost than usual.

Why is trying to take care of yourself and your own needs such a struggle? I know I need to carve out time to write, exercize and rest so I can be functional; but why, when faced with the other priorities of the day—work, shopping, cleaning, picking up Sophia, etc.—why do I always put my needs last? Or better yet, why do I see it as an all or nothing proposition? If I take care of myself, I forsake everyone and everything else; or if I want to help Sophia, everything personal gets throuwn out the window. It shouldn’t be an eithter/or situation but my head keeps turning it into one. Why? I have no clue.

What’s funny is I can’t completely blame it on mental illness. It’s a huge component of it, but putting me last is something ingrained in me since childhood. Yes it’s a learned trait that can be unlearned, but how easy had that ever been? I’m still fighting fights with myself that should have died long ago. Just add this to the list. Meanwhile I’ll petition to get a 28 hour day—that’ll be easier.

Reason to be Grateful

August 27, 2014

I’ve been posting a lot on my Facebook page about the events in Ferguson as well as talking about it on my internet radio show (Theology in Action on –check it out sometime). Of course it’s a subject that is very sensitive for some people; and yes I do have friends that are on the police force or retired police vets. But I got into a heated email exchange on FB with someone I knew in high school; Facebook has been an amazing way for us in that school graduating class to stay in touch and a a few alumni went onto the police force.

So we got into this argument over email—I kept it private even though he started by tagging me on a video in public. He was adamantly pro-cop no matter what and I was on Michael Brown’s side based on the evidence and general history about this stuff with the cops in Black neighborhoods. But I finally got tired of it and shot back my response figuring he’d do the same and defriend me or just defriend me outright. What he sent back threw me but not for what you’d expect. It was all a rant saying I was anti-cop and spreading hatred on facebook and I am a very angry man. What threw me for a loop was that he quoted me from our high school yearbook that I signed 25 years ago: “I know you will have a great life, because I know I won’t.” It came SO out of left field that I don’t know what hit me. I almost didn’t recognize me in that quote.

I will say I wrote that in jest on a lot of people’s yearbooks at the time (he however seemed to take it seriously, which is why I’m sure he’s sticking to his trusted Fox News counterpoints on the subject of Ferguson). Looking back on that quote, I kind of see the depression battles already there in that time (high school was not the best time for me, though I mended a lot of fences since the reunion) and my efforts to deal with it in humor. I know I’m a much different person now than I was back then, but didn’t realize I was such a fatalist at the age of 18. Especially after all I’ve been through this last year, I’m grateful for what I am and what I have—read my positivity blog entries if you doubt that! I am grateful I can let go of hateful people and feelings a little better now; not totally but with better results.

The saying goes people are in your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Luckily I’m getting better at saying goodbye to people once their reasons are up.

My friend on Facebook had a 5 day challenge posted on his status. You were to spend five days listing five things you are grateful for each day and tag three people to do the same. He hadn’t tagged me but seeing what he wrote for what he was grateful for, I decided to take up the same challenge, and put it in my blog. I figure I can always go back to being bitter after the fifth day, but for now I can do something to kind of change my mood for the time being. The abridged version in on my Facebook page; this is the full version 🙂

  1. Sophia, my daughter: I’m grateful she is in my life, doing well in school and life, making friends, and is happy. Sometimes it’s hard to tell she is happy but then she’ll do something to surprise me and show who she is coming through. I’m also proud of her as she thinks about what to do with her life. She told a friend that she’d like to work at her current afterschool program as a junior staff member when she gets old enough; she told me she wants to major in English or art and minor in zoology in college. Sometimes I feel she is my last admittance ticket to humanity (admittedly that’s a little dark to be considered grateful), but I am very grateful she’s here and teaching me how to be more responsible.
  2. Sense of humor: As dark as it is and as inappropriate as it can get, it’s the one thing that has kept me from suicide and/or true insanity (I have mental health issues, but I haven’t gone so far over the edge that I couldn’t return). While gallows humor helps me deal with life, being humorous has helped me start and maintain friendships, connects me with others, and helps feed a moral compass when necessary. It also gives me a decent amount of Polish and dead baby jokes, for which I am grateful.
  3. Both parents are still alive: This was hard fought, but it is important to be grateful for this. They both hurt me (sometimes intentionally, more often unintentionally), scarred me, and made mistakes in the lessons taught to me, but I am who I am in part because of who they were. My attempts to get away from them only served to realize I still need to learn things from them. Now that I’m a father, I understand some of where they were coming from (though some stuff is still a mystery to me). Ever since the 2008 recession and all the fallout thereof, they’ve both helped me with financial and emotional support, as well as making sure their granddaughter is taken care of—the depths of which sometimes surprises me. It may be selfish to be grateful for the help they’ve given me recently, but it has helped me to understand parent-child relationships better and still gives me something to aspire to when my daughter moves out on her own. I can’t take for granted that I know this while they are both still above ground to do so.
  4. Friends: When I never wanted to be at home with my family, I could always be with my friends. They’ve been with me through thick and thin and know me best even at my worst. The close friendships I’ve made in high school and college have lasted the test of time. My closest friends have always been at my side and had my back wherever they may be. I’ve been grateful for their stability and presence in my life. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without most of them.
  5. Writing ability: I’ve been writing since I was old enough to remember. Even teachers who hated me said I had writing talent. When I realized I wasn’t as good enough comic artist to make it in the business, I fell back on my writing to get me through. It’s the one common thread and the biggest strength in all my jobs and creative endeavors. Even with my recent mental troubles, I never lost those abilities; sometimes they have helped the healing process. It’s been harder to do lately, but I plug at it. I’m grateful that I can still do it well.

Mind Like a Sieve

August 9, 2013

“Did you ever find yourself standing in one of the rooms of your house and you can’t remember why you went in there? And two words float across your mind: Alzheimer’s Disease.” –George Carlin

Okay, this shouldn’t be so complicated. You have medication that you have to take a number of times during the day, which when taken correctly helps you remain focused and calm thus helping you stay productive during the day. If you don’t take the medication when you’re supposed to, you pretty much flip out, hyperventilate, panic and generally feel like you’re losing your mind. So logically you should be aware of when to take the medicine and take it accordingly. Right?

So why the hell am I so illogical? I take what I’m prescribed in the morning no problem. I take the one I need at bedtime no problem. Somewhere during the day I forget to take one or two of the doses I need to, at which point I’m reduced to worrying about why I’m wasting my time doing nothing while yelling at my computer for not getting that last level on Candy Crush and will then attempt to eat my own weight in hamburgers and bagels. I know how I am without the meds, I know when I’m supposed to take them; why is it I get so stressed out enough to forget taking them? I don’t have a death wish and when push comes to shove I would rather not be shaky and anxious and ill tempered to the nth degree by missing a dose. But has my life gotten so complicated that I can’t remember to do something that I medically need to do?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on some hardcore medication that the withdrawals can kill you. I’m lucky in that sense. And luckily there are days when I don’t miss one of those doses. I’d just like to be stable and remember things like I used to.