It’s the Little Things

Robot Brain

I am in a mood today, dude. I sleep a couple hours but I can’t get out of bed at 3 and start drinking coffee. Can I? I don’t know… The tinnitus was going but I’m used to that now. I don’t worry about it much. Sometimes it is so low I don’t know it’s there. The music thing was back and the tempo was too fast so my thoughts were too fast. That comes and goes. Is it going to last forever? I fucking destroyed my back. That hurts but, it will go away?

I think I might have fallen asleep or time just passed. I got out of bed. It was around 5. Close enough. The usual, coffee etc… The internet was dead. Am I the only one who can’t sleep in on the weekends? Fuck the t.v.

I looked at that gratitude page again. It didn’t sound so fantastic today. I typed in, “what to do about triggers to drink…” and Google auto-filled water as the top choice. Seriously…. I had to type alcohol fully. Nobody has searched this before? A couple rehab ads showed up, I went down and clicked the first real article. I started about evaluating your relationship with alcohol, then said, Maybe you don’t need to cut out alcohol completely and argued I should keep drinking, just not as much as before. Yeah, that should work out great for me. I’ve done the “I’m only going to have a couple…”

Click… The next article I forget how it started but it switched to referencing the Moderation Movement, and again maybe you don’t need to quit completely. I’m like didn’t that broad kill someone in a drunk driving accident? These were both health related websites.

Click… The next article I forget how it started but it switched to referencing the Moderation Movement, and again maybe you don’t need to quit completely. I’m like didn’t that broad kill someone in a drunk driving accident? These were both health related websites. Click… “Coping with triggers…”, this time substance abuse did come up but like 10th on the list. Getting closer.

This website said the way to deal with triggers is to avoid them. Then listed about 40 triggers in 3 categories. I guess I am supposed to stay home 24/7, not talk to friends on the phone or use the internet and only unlock the door for food deliveries. Isolation and loneliness were also on the list. I don’t know how you reconcile that. Those were the two I was trying to deal with all summer which led to hopelessness; which was not on the list of triggers. ???

My biggest trigger is losing my daughter. Last night it popped into my head she hadn’t texted me back since I texted her in the morning. Obviously that means she doesn’t love me anymore, right? That is half the Cognitive Distortions right there. My mind starts running in circles with reasons and arguments and counter arguments and counter reasons, over and over. I know what I’m doing… I know I should stop… I know there is nothing to worry about… I can’t stop. Now I feel like drinking to stop all these emotions I have worked up. I think, What are you stupid? (Oops! Another distortion. “Labeling” yourself.) She “usually” texts right back but plenty of times she doesn’t.

I just learned a trick that works for me. Write down the thought that is bothering you. Write down the faulty reasonings, then write down the logical reasons. For some reason putting pen to paper and writing down what I’m already repeating in my head, stops the rumination. Would not do it. Told myself it would not work this time.

Then I figured it out. I’m trying to give myself a reason or excuse to drink. I gotta put a stop to that shit. Somehow realizing that did put a stop to it. I went so long not thinking about drinking. Last week broke the dam and now I have to patch it again. It’s hard because all summer I was cruising along thinking everything is great not realizing half my thoughts weren’t grounded in reality. Then I got so depressed so quickly.

Whatever. Back to gratitude. One of the ideas on the list was keep a gratitude journal. I thought, Are you kidding me? I would feel like such an ass. I’m not one of those happy fucking people. I hate them. But that is what half my blog post was yesterday and I felt better after. I write a lot anyway and it said think of only a few things and don’t do it everyday because it will become rote and won’t mean anything. What the hell, I have to do something.

I opened a document and stared at the blank page. I couldn’t think of anything. I cheated and used one from yesterday. Then it was easy to think of two more.

(Ha! She just texted, I love you and is taking me out to lunch after school tomorrow. I’m such a freak show)

It’s not like I’m struggling materially. I have more than I need. I never had much. Even when I was making a lot of money. I blew it all on experiences. Maybe that is what I am lacking now.

I know it’s weird that I text my daughter but when she was a kid her mom would hand her the phone and every time it was, “Hi daddy, I love you daddy, Bye daddy” and she would hang up the phone. I would have to call back to finish talking to her mom. She can be a chatterbox in person.

I knew I was trying to set myself up last night. Good thing it was easy to stop. But plenty of times I have fallen for less. One of the triggers I knew I did but didn’t know I would see on the list was, “Planning to drink.” I was doing it for a while. I was doing it consciously and subconsciously. I made lots of plans. I kept stopping them but kept making more. How am I supposed to “avoid” that one?

Bounty of the County

Robot Brain

(Bear with me, this is actually a positive post) A few months ago it was no epiphany when I realized how negative my thinking has been. It has been that way for years. What was new was I thought, Why? Why can’t I have a positive thought without immediately following it up with a negative one? That is when I googled, Negative thinking and up popped the list of 10 common cognitive distortions. That was not news to me but I was surprised by how much my thinking usually falls into at least several of the categories at once. Especially when I am depressed or have high anxiety and then it turns into a feedback loop where that kind of thinking makes my anxiety and depression worse. Then I got a little pissed because I’ve had several therapists start with the thought distortions and I would say yes, I do all of that but that was the end of it. None of them ever suggested there was a way to combat the negative thinking. And my distorted brain said, oh well, I’m just fucked up and there is nothing I can do about it. To be honest I’ve had more severe issues but there has been plenty of time along the way to pick up on the subject. Anyway, I’m working on it. I’m really trying.

I didn’t sleep last night but I stayed in bed as long as possible. I made coffee pretty early and turned on the World Wide Web. I was surprised to see a lot of people had already put up their blog posts. I like when that happens because I like to read and stimulate my brain while I stimulate my brain. This morning I wasn’t in the mood to add to my own negativity so skimmed through, reading the previews and skipped a bunch. (Sorry if I didn’t give you a like today) I’m sure I get skipped a lot for the same reason.

Two blogs stood out. They were both about gratitude and they were both very short. One was a reminder to be grateful for what you have and the other I thought was really good. It was from someone who usually doesn’t post along that theme. It just said, “Things I am grateful for this week.” And listed off six or seven simple things. It made me happy.

I rant a lot here but I’m not a total Negative Nellie. Since the same realization a few months ago I’ve have been purposely thinking of things that make me happy. That’s where the problem with the automatic negative thoughts comes in. I think of one thing, “BUT”, another thought to detract from it. The more I try to stop it the more forceful it is. I was very aware of it this morning and I wanted to get it right. I started with the obvious, My daughter, my ex-wife, my mom, BUT, I fucked that all up. What kind of dad, husband, son am I? Like come on now. Shit happens in life. We all have great relationships now. Can’t I just be happy with that?

Now it was really starting to bother me and I searched something. It said try to start with something small that was good today. That was easy. I eat fruit everyday. Yesterday I went to the store for food and all the fruit was fresh and perfectly ripe and I got home and every time I looked in the fridge I thought how I couldn’t wait to start eating this in the morning. I thought of that and I was so happy while I was eating it. My favorite apples were back, Oranges so juicy, my mom talked me into buying bananas which I wasn’t sure about but yeah, that was good too. BUT remember last week you got those peaches that looked so good but the next morning they had mold and some fruit flies? What the hell? It wasn’t even a conscious thought. It just popped into my head. It wasn’t a big deal at the time. I threw the peaches in the trash and thought, oh well, I’ll have to find another fruit. I did. Bananas, and they were good. What is wrong with me?

I tried a couple more searches but the pages I found had pop up ads trying to sell you online courses before you could even finish the first sentence. At least I’m not the only one having a problem with this. I thought of one more simple search. “How to practice gratitude.” This was very helpful.

The site is trying to sell you a lot but the page I found was free, long, well written and step by step. The first step was about are you aware of how you say thank you.. Yes. I always say thank you and mean it. Even to the woman from my doctor’s office who was rude to me yesterday. I said, “thank you for calling me back.” She didn’t have to, it was late on a Friday. Whatever. That’s not what it was about. I picked up my phone and texted my daughter. I already said, I love you, this morning. I typed, “I am so happy I know you.” Then I sent a message to my ex-wife, “Thank you for putting up with me”, my phone beeped right back, “cause I love you”. that made me start to tear up. “Thank you again”. I texted my mom, “Thank you for talking to me every day.”

It worked. I was feeling better. It’s not new for me. I’ve been sending people random positive texts since I started trying to think more positively. I thought I was trying to make them feel better. I didn’t know it was making me feel better. Even the last time I was at my daughter’s house, her and her mom were busting my balls asking if I bought a book of inspirational quotes. I don’t send stuff you would find like that. Just simple messages I think will make them smile or stress less.

The list has some good ideas. Some of them are simple, some of them I couldn’t see myself trying. One was so simple I felt stupid. Use visuals of things that make you happy. I looked around my computer desk and it was covered with crap. I have a lot of pictures of my daughter in my room but none out here. I ran and got one. A school picture. It’s funny. I remember she was so happy when she got glasses and braces. What a weirdo. I think it is because it made her feel unique.

I feel better now. It didn’t solve all my problems but it helped get me through the day.

The Plot Thickens

Robot Brain

Last winter I bought a small pocket calendar to keep track of changes I was making and their effects as well as appointments, etc.. I didn’t think I needed anything big. Just something simple to write a quick note with a pen in 2 seconds instead of opening a device. Then all kinds of crazy shit started happening but I was still trying to fit it all on the few lines provided for each day. God forbid something happened on the weekend because they squeezed Saturday and Sunday into the space of one weekday.

After the important events slowed down, I looked back on it and it barely made sense. I was trying to squeeze much unnecessary information in there as possible alongside what I needed to remember. I would fill the space for one day and draw an arrow to continue in the space of the next day, only to find I needed that space the next day and would relegate myself to the margins. It was a mess. I was driving myself crazy flipping back and forth trying to figure out what happened when and what the hell my abbreviations were supposed to mean.

Luckily I did a good job of writing events as soon as they happened. I opened a word document and transferred only the facts. I was lucky to think of buying the calendar when I did because my sense of time makes no sense at all. I might remember something happened in winter if I happened to be outside standing in a foot of snow at the time. I could never tell you the month. But I did manage filter out the extraneous matters and type out dates and actions that would match dates and actions other people would have written in their notes about me.

Today I had an appointment and I noticed I had something penned in for tomorrow. It was the Seafood Festival at Hampton Beach. It is 3 days but the big day is Saturday. It has been happening for 30 years but I have never been interested in going, I don’t care for seafood. I flipped forward through the calendar and saw I had other places and times written in. I remembered. When I first joined meetup I was genuinely looking for sober activities but they were hard to find. The hiking and biking groups took place too far away but I joined them anyway. I signed up for a ton of groups I had no idea if I would be interested. Like online yoga classes or meditation groups. I’ve never done yoga and I certainly don’t see myself downloading Zoom and meditating with a group of strangers.

I realized what I had written down in my calendar were events from meetup, but groups I couldn’t or didn’t want to join but they were in my area. After last weekend’s festivities I saw what they all had in common. They were places I could go to meet people and drink. The Seafood Festival? Yeah, I don’t like seafood but I do like, “BEER TENTS!” Next week is a women’s group, brunch at Applecrest Orchard. That is 3 miles away from me. I can’t join their group but I can go to the restaurant. What was I going to do? Impress everyone with how many apple cider mimosas I can pound down before my egg’s benedict shows up at my table for one? Volleyball at Jenness Beach didn’t make sense at first. My leg is too weak after my accident to be jumping around in the sand. Then I remembered the site said they “sometimes” like to meet for cocktails at the restaurant bar across the street after the game. Yeah, “sometimes.”

I have no idea where I thought I was going to get the money for all this partying. I don’t exactly have a boatload of expendable income. I had big plans though.

I’m still on the site. I’m still looking for cheap, sober activities. I get notifications from some of the hiking clubs but I can’t get to the mountains 120 miles away. Plus some of them are overnight, bring a tent events. I’m not a fan of freezing my ass off. There are a couple bicycle groups I could reach but they do the “railtrails”, my bike is built for the street and so is my body. They haven’t sent out any notices lately. I even joined a couple book club groups. I enjoy reading but they meet at wine bars. And I do enjoy my wine. I could go and not drink but that may be wishful thinking.

I had one group left. I got the notification last week. It said, “You’re going!” Seacoast Empath Support Group. Well, I guess, I’m going! I looked at the group last night. It had a couple hundred members but only one was going. The creator of the group. She looked nice enough. She had a long ass description about her journey as an empath and she was deeply involved in anything and everything mystical. I just don’t believe in any of that shit. At the end it said she runs two podcasts. “The X-Files” and “I want to believe” Okay. Who knows what could be out there in this infinite universe but The X-files is a fictional television show.

What am I thinking? I still might go. It’s held in the crystal shop which she owns. I don’t know… I just kept thinking of my friend Marnie who said she was an empath. She always saying shit like, oh, I just got a strong feeling from my friend who lives a thousand miles away. Then she would ask me if I was afraid of what she was saying? I wanted to say, no, I’m getting pissed because you say you are an empath but you can’t pick up that I’m getting pissed you won’t shut up about this bullshit and I’m standing right next to you!

Click, “Not Attending”

Questionable Behavior

I was originally going to write a post about whether I am depressed or despondent. Technically I believe I am despondent. I did a quick search and they seem interchangeable. I still feel more despondent. (hopeless) \

I have been thinking about this a lot and I said fuck it all! My main concern since this last spring has been my mental health treatment. I developed a severe form of the side effect akathesia from 20 years of antipsychotics. I told my doctor and my case manager multiple times I was skipping doses every other day because I could not take care of myself and it was making me suicidal. My doctor tried the standard protocol, which did not work at all. After that, on July 15th he called me and said, “Your medications are making you worse, It is called the paradoxical effect.. It means..” I interrupted him and said, You mean my whole life had been one big fucking side effect?” He stopped me and asked it I want therapy. I thought, how the hell is therapy going to stop this terrible side effect? I told him, “I don’t know…” He told me to make an appointment in two weeks. I thought, What is going to happen in two weeks? He didn’t make any med changes after what he said.. I need a month to think about this. Maybe I just need some therapy to think about the last 20 years of meds making me worse.

Approximately 2 weeks later I texted my case manager and said, “Jim gave up on me, said, fuck off, find a therapist.” She said, “Seriously?” I said, “Paraphrasing” and repeated what he said. She asked what I wanted to do? New doctor? Therapist? I didn’t think a new doctor would do anything. They all work together and have drinks I imagine. I told my therapist and she said she would put in a referral. I saw her in person and I was ranting but I was asking a serious question, “Can he ethically continue to prescribe a medication he knows is making me worse? I kept repeating the question. She remained silent. That is her way of not lying to me. I changed my mind and told her I wanted to switch doctors. She asked me to talk to him one more time. I met one more time with him and told her again I want to change doctors. She didn’t respond. still don’t know why I was putting all this time and effort and stress and anxiety into forcing myself into taking a medication my doctor said was making me worse and was making me suicidal. I accidentally found magnesium which helped the side effects but not for long. I told him about it and said I think I can tolerate enough doses of the Latuda to safely taper off. He immediately told me he wanted me to double it. I told him truthfully, I am on the lowest dose I have ever been and the only thing that has gotten worse is the akathesia. He started saying he thought I would be “safer” and “More protected” at double the dose. These sounded like threats from my doctor to put me in the hospital and force me to take a medication that is making me suicidal. I agreed to increase the dose.

There is much more to this story but I don’t want to make it public. I want to call a lawyer… Should I? If my doctor wants to keep me “safe”? Why would he continue to prescribe me a med I told him is making me suicidal? I’m not lying to him. I have looked into my state’s mental health lawyers but they want all you personal information and your story before you have a case. They also say you should informally discuss it with your doctor beforehand. I thought I already did that. My best choice which I am against is a cheesy personal injury lawyer. The statute of limitations on psychiatrist malpractice is 3 years in my state. All of this is withing the time frame. There are also special circumstances which exceed the statute of limitations. I think I may fall into that category. I was never hospitalized until after I started these antipsychotics. My doctor also said to me, would you be surprised if I told you I “guessed” you had psychosis during our first appointment. He put me on powerful mind altering super addictive drugs on a guess? Would you call a lawyer?

I may call the sleazy lawyer tomorrow. It may be the only way to be forced injections or indefinite hospitalization in the future.

This is only half the story. Last year I already figured out the “Paradoxical reaction” I just didn’t know it had a name. Every time I quit a medication. I felt better.

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Robot Brain

“I’m on the outside, I’m looking in
I can see through you, see your true colors
‘Cause inside you’re ugly, you’re ugly like me
I can see through you, see to the real you”

“Outside” Staind

I texted a link to this song to my ex-wife, N____, Saturday morning. “This had me ugly crying”, It’s not like it was, “our song” or anything. I’m sure she has heard it before but I don’t know if she likes it or what. It stemmed from the text conversation we had Friday afternoon, after/during my outdoor, public panic attack.

“I’m having a meltdown” I know it’s not fair. She isn’t responsible for me after all these years apart. “What’s going on”, I told her about my freaking out after the simple job of changing the tire on my bike ended with me overfilling the tire with air at the store next door and it exploded. It’s pretty funny, but now I am still without my bike and summer is coming to a close. The bike expands my travel range 20 fold. The worst was the loud bang made like ten people at the store turn and look. I threw my hands in the air to say, “Yes, it was me” and picked up the tire to leave.

“Take a shower, it will calm you down”, “I’m in bed slowing down my breathing, my arms and hand are numb, It’s okay, I just fucked up, it was stupid.” “oh, good.” “The worst part was walking past all these people crying and hyperventilating.” “That’s okay, I’ve seen you like that before and I still love you, fuck them!” “Ha ha, Thanks.” “Listen to music, it helps me relive things.” “I haven’t been able to listen to my music, never know if it will bring up good memories or bad.” “That’s what I like about it, I’ve been listening to Pearl Jam, Ten, it came out 30 years ago today.”

Oh my fucking God! 30 fucking years. What happened? “I can’t do it, I can’t listen to anything with lyrics, I get too emotional.” “okay.” “I got Chillhop streaming on youtube no words just beats.” “….”, “How have you been doing lately?” “Pretty good, just today.” “You seemed pretty manic last week.” (I can see through you, See to the real you) “Just anxiety.” (I lied)

Saturday, I woke up and said, “Fuck this,” I hit the power button on the radio/docking unit that holds my iPod classic for the first time in months. Jesus Christ, how old is this thing? 2005? Still fucking works… No bluetooth, no wi-fi, plugs into the wall, charges the iPod but 4 D cell batteries if you want to go “wireless”. Ha ha, What the fuck?

It was okay, I don’t remember the songs that came on first. They brought back memories, but of course, they are my songs, I chose them. Then it came,

“Just last night I was reminded of just how bad
It had gotten and just how SICK I had become
But it could change with this relationship
De-de range we’ve all been through some shit…”

You know the rest. Fuck, The Violent Femmes… My first “true love” put it on my turntable the first night she spent at my house. It was new to me, I didn’t know how popular it would become. I liked it. I remember after it finished, I said, “Wow, these chicks are pretty good.” Ha ha, pretty funny. I didn’t really need to hear that, but not too bad. I think the Black Eyed Peas after. Something I downloaded the whole album cause it didn’t have any meaning to me and it was upbeat and funny. Good break. A song I got from my daughter, “Come on Over” Royal Blood. Good… First song she learned when she got really good at playing the bass. She was so excited the day she got the Big Muff distortion pedal so she could sound like him. She recorded herself playing and sent it to me through the phone. She is good. I recognized the song within the first few notes. She had it down.

Then I started thinking, this was probably a mistake. Every song I heard was hitting me harder. Then Staind came on and I hit “POWER” off when it finished. I was a wreck. I don’t know why. I mean, I like the song, I’ve heard it a million times… It never meant anything special to me. I texted the link to N_____, a while later she got back, “I can’t listen”, “Sorry”, “I can’t remember it, I just don’t want to feel sad today.” Okay, it didn’t mean anything to her either. I just wanted to give her an example of why I can’t listen anymore. Why was I so overwhelmed.

I figured it out. It wasn’t the song. It was what I was doing all last week and still thinking about. I was still planning on going to that party with the meetup group. “STICK TO THE PLAN”. I don’t understand. That wasn’t the plan. The plan wasn’t to blow up my own spot! Meet new people to go out and get shitfaced? Put it all on my credit card? The credit card is buy groceries at the end of the month if I need. Or something small I can pay off immediately. Going out drinking is not an emergency expenditure. And it would certainly overrun my budget by a large amount. I don’t skimp on partying!

The party plan was over anyway but I was still hanging onto it. Friday night I was changing my mind then I got an email from the woman I was texting about getting a ride to the bar. Okay? I’ve been downgraded to email? And it was an email sent through the website. I guess? The last I heard from her was Thursday, Her, “Great, I will text you Saturday and let you know.” The email said, “Sorry, I am going to the beach in the morning, post on the site saying you are looking for a ride.” Umm… Wasn’t that what I did Thursday? Isn’t that why she gave me her number and said, text me? I replied, “Thanks for trying Karen!” Whatever, some bullshit.

Saturday I was still hanging on the PLAN that wasn’t the plan. I was still thinking of ways to follow through. Even taking an Uber and possibly ending up wasted and stranded at Hampton Beach. Or worse, waking up a week later. “Where the fuck am I?” “How did I get here?” “Good, still got my wallet and keys, phone.” “How do I get home?”. I made up my mind after some serious debate. What debate? How was there even a question? Of course I’m not going anywhere. I’m not leaving the house this weekend!

My depression had hit just in time. It made the decision for me. I still thought I should be polite for some reason. I don’t know why? Karen wasn’t. The last I heard of the main guy, Ivan, was Tuesday when he posted, Remember, if you can’t make it be sure to let us know so someone else can take your spot. He was the first to mention carpooling to the general space. I never heard from him when I floated the idea. Maybe it was a good idea I changed my mind. I went to the website and posted, “Sorry can’t make it, really would have like to meet you all.” (I think I lied.) Doesn’t matter, a few hours later I got another email from the website, “Karen C. has cancelled tonight’s event.” That was it. No explanation. She cancelled? Still no word from Ivan, the guy who runs the group. Would he be in charge of cancelling? She is just a co-organizer. I guess that was fortuitous. Fuck that shit. I’m supposed to let them know ahead of time but they cancelled on 15 people at the last minute. I’m done.

I was lucky. After all my machinating, providence saved me again. I stayed inside for the rest of the weekend. Anxiety ate me alive. None of my techniques alleviated. Sunday I fired up the google machine and typed in “CBT for cognitive distortions” I’m no stranger to the concept. But fucked up’ed’ly, None of my therapists had ever worked on it with me. My last therapist handed me a printout early in one of our sessions about 5 years ago. It listed the cognitive distortions but said nothing about what to do. I told her, yes, I do all of that. I have a shitload of anxiety. She never mentioned it again. 5 years. Every time I talked about anxiety she said the same bullshit. “Just stay in the moment.” What the fuck? What if the moment absolutely sucks so much you will do anything to get out of it? My favorite was, look around the room and count 3 things that are yellow. Okay, That will help. My anxiety is going to triple cause there is nothing yellow in the room. Whatever, she was nice enough to talk to and I’ve had worse therapists.

(Got sidetracked) I found the “Three column layout.” I realized I have already been doing that in my head. One person said it helps him if he actually writes it out. I’ll try anything now. I got a blank page and divided it into three columns. I wrote my worst thought on the left. The middle was for cognitive distortions. I wrote, “Ha ha, all of them, no, seriously… End of the world, I’m evil, Worst person in the world, I ALWAYS do this! etc…” On the right I wrote out the logical thought. It was pretty lengthy but it made sense even if I didn’t believe it. It helped! A little… I went back and read it each time I started ruminating and it stopped. While I was doing it I thought, this will never help. Now I’m wondering why nobody ever mention this to me. Its not like an obscure technique. It was all the results that showed up on Google. It’s been used for years.

The plan in ,”STICK TO THE PLAN”, Is focus on my daughter, focus on my family, and don’t fucking blow up my spot! If I blow up my spot the plan goes out the window. If any of you reading my posts sees me making other plans, could you do me a favor? Please leave a comment saying, “STICK TO THE PLAN!” Thanks.

Best Laid Plans

Robot Brain

I read my post from yesterday morning and thought, what the fuck am I thinking? I’m fucking out of my mind. I can barely function in public spaces when I am alone. I’m out here trying to present myself as a functioning person? I have to admit, I talk a good game.

I was walking the 2 miles to the grocery store and thinking how the hell am I going to jump into a group of people and socialize? With my backstory? I have no backstory. What do you for work? Oh, shit… You stumped me… I’m on disability? For what? Oh fuck! Now what?

When I meet people and tell them I am on disability, most of them are concerned with what I do all day. Like you can’t have a meaningful life without a job… Jobs are meaningless. What do you do all day? “Whatever it takes to make it through the day”, I say. Apparently that is not an acceptable answer.

Anyway, on my way to the grocery store I’m thinking how the hell am I going to introduce myself to a group of strangers without sounding like a total freak. I fail at the most basic responses. The whole walk I was talking to myself, because that is who I talk to the most. My anxiety was sky high. Negative thinking. I can’t do this, I don’t even think I can go into the grocery store. Good thing it was so hot outside. The burning sweat disguised my tears. I don’t know how I did it

Sometime in the past couple months I took out a sheet of white paper and wrote the words, “STICK TO THE PLAN”, I taped it to my apartment door and read it every time I went out. Now I look at it and I can’t remember what the plan is…What is the plan? I remember it was a mantra to make it through my anxiety. Stick to the plan! Don’t make any decisions based on anxiety. Every time I freaked out I would try to change the plan. Every time it would be a mistake. I caught myself with my my mantra. “Stick to the Plan.”

I just can’t remember what the plan was. Today I was thinking the plan was to go out with a group of people and I should stick to the plan despite my anxiety about never being in public for years. I had it all mapped out… You read it… Maybe.

I finally got the correct tube for the tire on my bike. I wasn’t going to do it. But, Stick to plan. I was freaking out already but I had to concentrate. It was easy. I knew it would be easy, but it was easier than I thought. Or so I thought. I popped off the tire, found I needed a dull knife to remove the bead, no problem, pulled out the tube, put in the new tube. That is when I ran into a problem. The valve stem was too short to hold my air pump. The store next door has a coin operated compressor. I carried the tire over and put in the 50 cents. It was tricky and I tried several manipulations and it worked. Almost. I pinned the tire between my knee and the landscape brick. Success! BOOM! The tube exploded! I overfilled it. I fucking lost it. Instant panic attack. I was crying and hyperventilating and people all around were looking towards me wondering where the loud sound came from. It was me. I picked up the wheel and started walking quickly towards my place. Every turn I came across more people. More than ever before. This place is usually desolate. WTF?l Finally made it to my building. Someone at the front door,someone ate the stairs. Someone in my hallway. Never see so many people around my building. I’m still crying and can’t catch my breath but with every encounter I try to smile and what?…

Losing my shit inside. I give up… In bed, over breathing, my whole body tingling and numb sensations. I was ready to call the whole thing off. I was ready to text that Karen woman and say I don’t need a ride, and go online and check off , I am not attending. I started thinking, Stick to the Plan. This is just anxiety, don’t let it change you plans. I got my breathing under control. See, no change in plans. Still going to meet new people Saturday..

Somehow I fell asleep and woke up a few hours later. The first time I have had real sleep in weeks. I woke up. It was dark. No idea what time? What day? Okay, got it figured out. Stick to the plan. Wait a minute. I don’t even know what the plan is about anymore. My plan is to find people to go out and get drunk? That isn’t my plan. I don’t need drinking partners. What the fuck have I been doing? I was determined to make Saturday night work. That was the “Plan”. No,that was not the plan. The plan is to keep my shit together. Focus on my daughter, family, don’t get homeless. I’m a fucking alcoholic! How is meeting other alcoholics in a bar going to help me? I had this whole fucking construct worked out. It all made sense to me. Like No!

I don’t know how I lost track of the plan. I was holding it down tight. Then I turned into a fantasy world! My new plans were to fuck up the original plans? What am I doing here? Talk about self sabotage.

Now what the fuck am I going to do? My doctor is prescribing me meds that cause side effect that make me suicidal and he knows it and when I tell him I felt better after being on the lowest dose I’ve ever been on, he told me to double it and not so subtly threatened to put me in the hospital if I didn’t do what he said. I think you will be “safer” on 80mg. I think you will be “more protected” on 80mg. I know those euphemisms.

So fuck it. I want to meet people but I can’t function in normal social settings. What do I do? I looked up mental health support groups. Nothing. They want you to pay and for some reason they are all connected to A.A. Yeah, support group. But not my style. How is that a thing? Like, yeah, the people in A.A. are crazy but a different kind of crazy and I don’t see them as my peers. I’ve been there. I don’t relate.

I looked up mental health peer support. They want to make money off you. And they aren’t even support groups. None in my area. One result came up, what if I want to force my child into a support group if they don’t want to go? You fucking pieces of shit!!!!

I guessed, what if I look on meetup dot com what I am really looking for? They have a group for everything, right? Mental health support groups. The best they got is , Empath support, with two members. They meet in a Crystal shop and offer to raise your vibrational frequencies. And a couple other fucking I’m”highe’ ideas. Nothing. Nothing.

I said fuck this shit! I created my own group. Mental health support shit. It only cost me 70 bucks for six months. I got a credit card. I don’t know. Do you think it is a good idea? I described it as I am no professional and this is a group to get away from professionals. Talk about football or your cat, I don’t give a fuck! I don’t fucking care. Right? I don’t want to go somewhere and get diagnosed with another disorder. That’s what all these websites were doing.

I may be fucking crazy, ha ha maybe, but what the fuck. There is no group to just hang out and be yourself and not get another pill thrown in your mouth? Probably a scam, they wont’ show me to other members.

I’m a fucking total mess right now. Like I’m going to start a support group??? Yeah , well maybe it’s right. Better than my doctors and therapists isolating me and telling me even with the meds my condition is still going to get worse. OH, got a side effect that is making you suicidal, talk to a therapist. Meanwhile, no word on a therapist.

I think we could be each other’s therapists. Fuck what they think they know!

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I’m not entirely sure but I think some shit is going to happen Saturday night. But… if that shit happens, I think it is going to be happening at my place. I joined that group and checked off, I will be attending the event. (Dancing and drinking at a bar on Hampton Beach.) I left my notifications on because there are only 15 spots available. If someone posts a comment I get an email. One person said, sounds great, wish I could make it. Another apologized for changing her mind. The guy who created the group. (Last Sunday) Ivan, said, no problem, hopefully next time. A woman had questions if it was a private event. (No, bring a friend if you want and also public patrons of the bar will be there.)

Tuesday, I formulated a plan. Partly because I was worried about transportation but I had another motive. Thursday I put the plan in motion. I knew from the limited information the site gives about members that all the people attending lived at least 45 minutes away. I got devious and posted a comment this morning but it was truthful. I said, “My plan is Uber since I only live 10 minutes from the Ashworth. But they did leave me stranded once in the middle of the afternoon. I was told coverage is spotty in my area even though I live half mile from Exit 1, Rte. (…) and a mile from Rte. (…). in a well populated area. I’m not in the middle of nowhere. I really want to go, I just don’t want to be a no show because Uber texts me “no drivers available” at 6pm.”

That was around noon. I left the house for the afternoon not knowing if anyone would respond. If nobody answered my backup plan was still Uber. Ivan’s notice about the event mentioned carpooling if needed, “let me know ahead of time.” I thought he might answer me. My underhanded intention was to let everyone know I lived right down the street from the bar. A left and a right on well traveled roads and boom, you are here! My reasoning was all these people signed up immediately for a destination. They know it’s going to be 4 hours in a bar on a Saturday night. How many of them are going to want to drive an hour at midnight to get home and be alone? I wouldn’t.

I assumed if I got a reply from anyone it would be the main organizer Ivan but the last thing he posted was Monday, “make sure if you can’t make it, change your status so other people can join.” But the description mentioned carpool. I imagined he would be in charge of that. I got home later and had a few notifications. Only one pertained to me. They were from Karen…? A co-organizer. She answered the question about cost. (It’s free, you pay for you own food and drink.) She answered the public, private question. (The more the merrier.) And she answered me… “U can text me (555) 555-5555. Well… What do you know about that? Nobody else got an invitation to text.

I sent her a polite text making clear,who, what, where and when I was talking about. She texted back shortly after asking if I was looking for a ride there and back? I said, That would be great if possible. (I am worried about an Uber at midnight in suburbia). She said she is working on carpooling. I again made it clear I am centrally located. Also I can throw $ towards gas or someone going out of their way… etc… I’ve lived here all my life and know a few people are coming up from Massachusetts. That passes very close to me. The people from New Hampshire would have to take a five mile detour to pick up me, a local to guide them. Which will be useful because I know the Ashworth hooks you for $20 valet parking (not including tip) and I know where $2 an hour metered parking is located nearby.

So, I’m evil… what do you want from me? I may be delusional. But I spent half my life doing this. Hampton beach is a destination party place. People don’t just come here to have a normal night out. And it’s post-pandemic. New England has a high vaccination rate. Hospitality places just had most restrictions lifted a few months ago. It’s a recipe for disaster!

Whatever happens, Karen? Asked for my address and said she would text me Saturday. I’m pretty confident I can get an Uber to the party. I’m pretty confident I won’t need an Uber to get home. I don’t know… I’ve just been restraining myself for so long. Staying home in a self imposed lockdown. I’ve been pretty lucky with the women I have met on dating sites over the years but the bullshit you have to go through… I joined meetup 5 days ago and I’m about to go meet 15 people acting like normal people. If I said I needed a ride somewhere to a woman I talked to on a dating site, that would be the last I hear from her. It’s so refreshing. I was just thinking about one of the last interactions I had on a dating site however long ago. We talked a bit and I asked her what she likes to do when she meets someone virtually? Message for a long time or just chat and do a quick meet and greet. She said, That’s funny, I also call it a meet and greet. I like to chat a little and then meet quick. No pressure. I answered, That is funny, I also like to do that. Something simple like a coffee or drink, if you are still sitting there talking after an hour you might possibly like each other. I never got an answer. How was that offensive? That’s how it goes. One reply that isn’t perfect and you get ghosted.

I’m not saying I’m going to get laid Saturday. Maybe nobody will like me. I’m an acquired taste anyway and I have been pretty hyped up lately. I don’t want to be “in your face.” I don’t know what will happen but everyone going joined the website last weekend as I did, and joined the group last weekend as I did and committed to going to the event within days, as I did. I know I want to have a good time.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What Does it All Mean?

so here we are being analytical
spiritually lyrical
chronically cynical
you’re no longer apolitical
folded, twisted, convoluted
my mind’s polluted
shoot it
oops, I dropped a hint
let information leak out
I should think before I speak out
a victim of diametric interlocution
imagine if I wasn’t symbolically oppressed
my thoughts chemically suppressed
what then would I be thinking
were I psychically undressed
perverse aversions, disturbing techniques of avoidance
I’m symptomatically depressed

Final Straw

Robot Brain

Wednesday, August 11, 2021: I got it done! I cleaned my whole place in 3 days! It was a fucking disaster. It is very hot today and I almost didn’t start. But I had the energy and didn’t feel like being out in the sun. The bathroom started out easier than anything. It was already pretty clean. Vinegar and paper towels on the sink and toilet and walls. Then came the shower. It didn’t go as smoothly at first. There was a ton of soap scum and hard water stains. I thought I was at an impasse. I have a few other conventional cleaning products so I googled which would be the best. Guess what came up? That’s right! Vinegar! Every result on the first page. But they all said to mix it with dish detergent. No problemo! I poured some into my trusty spray bottle and douched the whole place. Set the timer for 15 minutes and ate a peach. Everything was dissolved! I did a quick scrub on all the tiles and the tub, doused it with water and it looks fantastic. I can’t believe it was better than I imagined. All I wanted was to look presentable. Cool!

I went to the store next door and got a chicken salad sandwich and potato salad. It was pretty good but now my stomach is twisted. I drank some baking soda water and got a few burps out. I’m feeling a little better. I wish everything had taken longer. It is 2:30pm and I don’t know what to do with myself. I was thinking of buying a mop but again, too hot!

I was bored so I took a career aptitude test online. I understood why they were asking seemingly unrelated personality questions but I did not understand how they came up with the results. Astronomer? Biological engineer? Playwright? Imagine. By the time I got out of school I would be dead.

I have an hour and a half left on my audio book. It is interesting but I think I will save it for tonight. My head is spinning and I’m quite agitated. Taking that test really changed my mood. It went on forever. I’m wound up.

My daughter dropped off the earbuds that are supposed to help with tinnitus but that has been getting better on it’s own somehow. Last week it was so bad I was thinking of buying into products I knew were scams. I was so desperate. Now it is just annoying. I did download a couple free apps. One is called Naturescapes, which is self explanatory and the other was MyNoise. It had nature sounds and white noise. It is interesting because it has sliders and if you want more bass, midrange or treble in your ocean waves, you got it. It is fun but it still sounds like nature sounds mixed with the ringing in my ears. Now it covers it up. I think I will give it a try. It was relaxing to be able to wander around and listen.

It is going to be huge heat tomorrow. I don’t want to just sit around here and sweat. I might go counter-intuitive and take a long bike ride but last time I tried that I made myself sick. I’ve been getting a lot of exercise the past few days and used a lot of unusual muscles. Plus walked a couple miles yesterday to buy some more fruit. Yum!

Ground Zero

Robot Brain

You won’t believe how much I got accomplished yesterday! I don’t believe how much I got accomplished yesterday! I vacuumed all the carpet in my one bedroom apartment. It may not sound like much but in my state multi-level apartment buildings are required to have 80% carpeted floor space.

Also, I have not vacuumed in a very long time. I don’t know how to measure it in months but let’s just say my cat has shed his fur twice since the last time I did it. It was pretty gross. Please don’t judge. I haven’t been depressed or lazy or lacking motivation. I have been keeping up with all my other responsibilities and obligations outside of my abode. I guess I have just been overwhelmed while inside.

I got the impetus when I woke up in the morning and looked around me. I decided if I only did one thing this day it would be to vacuum my room. Only the bedroom sounded like a realistic goal. This was at 6am and I have respect for my neighbors so I didn’t start at that moment. I did my usual morning routine, then fucked around on the internet for a bit. I think I made it to 10am and had to start!

This wasn’t going be a quick once over to make it look presentable. I had to be thorough. I took everything off the floor and went to town. My vacuum cleaner sucks (Ha ha, get it?) but what did I expect? I got it for 40 bucks at Walmart. It’s a Bissell so it’s at least serviceable. I just have to go very slowly and twice over everything. I discovered I could use the soul of my shoe to scrub the cat fur away from the walls. I was feeling really good and ready to move on to the hallway, which I was planning as a second day project. I looked behind me and thought, what the fuck have I been doing this whole time? There is a gap beneath the baseboard heater where paint chips, fur and dust have been collecting forever. Seriously? I went and got the broom and pulled all that shit out! It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t particularity difficult. I don’t know what the hell has been going on with that.

The hallway was easy but that is where the cat box closet is located. It looked extremely daunting. It is a small space but the bottom was covered with litter. Luckily my cat is very accurate with his piss and shit. Again, please don’t judge. When people are inside my place they ask where I keep the cat box and why they can’t smell it? On my behalf I do buy good litter and scoop it every day. That is one of my sanity tests. If I can feed, water and clean up after my cat every day then I am doing well. Again, this task was easier than I thought. I used a broom for the first time, which I never thought would work on carpet. It did a better job than than the vacuum ever did! What the hell has been going on with me?

The living room is the largest area in here but I was on a roll. I had to continue at my slow pace and not rush to the end. By now I remembered my old cleaning routine. I went from right to left, moving all the furniture as I went along. Running my sneaker along the walls first and wiped out another baseboard heater!

I can’t believe I did it all in one day! It looks as good as it did when I first moved in here. I also tossed a lot of shit that has just been collecting dust. Like why do I need this? I used to look forward to vacuuming and cleaning the whole place once a week. It felt so good. I’m not sure when I faded away. Today I am planning on tackling the kitchen. It looks pretty bad but I haven’t let it go for as long as the rest of the place. I can see myself doing more than I planned. I am really looking forward to it!