Synchronized Living

“Let’s be heroes, let’s be martyrs, let’s be radical thinkers
Who never have to test drive the least of their dreams”

“Love Ire and Song” Frank Turner

Y’all ain’t gonna believe this shit… I don’t believe any of it. I’m not into anything mystical. I wanted to be way back when I was in single digit years. I remember it was 2nd grade, I never slept. I had an AM radio but all I listened to was static between stations. I thought it was aliens communicating with me. I don’t believe that anymore.

I do believe in synchronicity; not minor coincidences that happen all the time; major shit that is just undeniable for me when I am on the right path (in the flow). I only believe it because it is the strangest thing I have ever experienced. I don’t go around looking for it. I’ve only been overwhelmed by it a few times in my life. This whole summer has been one of those times. After I set the intention to make positive changes in my life. The coincidence was a negative choice but it led to a positive. I want to write all of it at once but the biggest one culminated last night.

I didn’t realize at the time I started planning my relapse a few months ago. I was conscious of it, I was taking deliberate actions, I wrote about it in several posts. Sometimes I was saved by dumb luck and others I caught myself by thinking it through and knowing there was no way this could end well. I knew what I was doing/ I didn’t know what I was doing. It was cognitive dissonance.

Back the point. It started while I was still trying to find people, places and things that didn’t revolve around drinking. I did a search and couldn’t find anything but I did see Frank Turner was playing at the Casino in Hampton and bought tickets on impulse. But what is he doing there? He’s from England and I don’t know anyone who has heard of him. I only like 3 of his songs but I really like them. They would be on my deserted island list. Only because when I first heard them I thought, if I had any talent I would have written these songs. I was wondered if I wanted to go because I they serve booze. But, no, I thought I was still sticking to the plan. I wasn’t having any thoughts about drinking. I told myself I can go to a concert and not drink. (Yeah, right) Still, he got straight, he even has a song called “Recovery”. But I don’t like that song. The songs I like are from when he was still using. I mostly forgot about it. But now I realize I lit a slow burning fuse that led to a huge explosion months later.

Another small coincidence was it wasn’t until after I finished the post about the chick I started texting while she was at an atheist retreat. (still don’t get that) She was the one who turned me on to Frank Turner. That’s no big deal, I was probably subconsciously reminded of her. That’s not the fucked up part.

Last night was the fucked up part. I never thought about attending an online meeting. It wasn’t until I was wondering why I couldn’t commit to the idea of a lifetime of abstinence. I came across the paper I had read a hundred times this summer and it was one of the major coincidences. I had always glossed over it because, I’m not a perfectionist. Come to my apartment and you will see. I don’t need to have everything, “Just right”. But it was the fear of failure part that never clicked. The parts of my life that are important to me are the ones I need to go according to plan. If they don’t, I failed. I put a lot of effort into it and I failed. I didn’t live up to the standards I set and then I start kicking the living shit out of myself.

I got sidetracked. A lot of the coincidences were the quick internet searches I would do when I noticed patterns I wanted to change. I would look up how do I change (whatever) and find out I am already doing the right things. (Still off track) The biggest one was “dealing with perfectionism.” I wasn’t thinking about addiction but the article I found talked about it. It said a high percentage of addicts are perfectionists. That made sense to me; no big revelation. Then it said it is the most dangerous combination because they are the most likely to believe they can solve their problem themselves. That is exactly my problem. I still wasn’t going to try the meeting! I’m thinking, I got this wrapped like a mummy. You know the story.

Oh yeah, the fucked up part. I’ve been thinking about the Frank Turner concert and how it probably was an excuse to get drunk. I figured I would have to tear up the tickets if they ever get here in the mail. It would be a waste of $80 but it could turn into a waste of a lot more if I go. (Again) Yesterday, I was depressing and casting a negative light on everything. I knew I have a lot of positives in my life. I’ve been writing them down and keeping them specific and believable. Sometimes I read through it to remind myself. Yesterday I tried and I had a counter-argument for all of it. I disqualified everything. I knew I was doing it so I tried all day to contest it. I started feeling better as the day went on. I was practicing all my healthy coping skills and trying new ones.

(Still in suspense?) Last night I was writing my blog and looked at the clock and thought, cool, I’ll be finished around 10pm, I’ll head over to the store and pick up some beer. Wait a minute! Back the truck up. How did that become the plan? That’s not what I’ve been doing. It’s not a new habit. It still sounded perfectly reasonable. I can’t do that. I was right, I finished at 9:40, time to walk to the store. Seriously? I did everything right today and now I’m going to reward myself by fucking shit up. Cancel that plan. If there is one of those meetings tonight, I’ll log on. I checked the schedule and the next one started at ten. Cool, I’ll just log in and wait. The first 2 times I logged in early, there was a graphic saying they would start soon. Last night, I clicked “join” 20 minutes early and a video was playing and it was blasting. (Do you know where I’m going with this?) It was Frank Turner, “Recovery”! No fucking way! It makes sense because the songs and other clips they were playing were based on that theme. But this song? By this guy who is not very popular? Still makes sense, but that’s where it turned for me months ago. Buy tickets was a deliberate action and I knew I was going to get fucked up if I went and the show isn’t until October 10th! Am I supposed to go and stay sober? Probably not a good idea.

More fucked up shit. They started the meeting asking you to click on the poll if it was your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd meeting. I was one of 11 people out of 200 and something. He asked if anyone wanted to briefly say why they are here. I certainly didn’t! So why did I start the meeting with my camera on even though I’m paranoid about being facially recognized and why did I just unmute myself and rattle off a quick spiel? That is not me. At the beginning the let the people suggest topics and one was what to do after a relapse. That applied to me, I did it again and talked about my problem being afraid to commit because if I drink, I beat myself up for being failure but if I do what most people say, “everyone makes mistakes, get back on track and learn from it” aren’t I giving myself permission to fuck up? He said it sounded like I had a problem with unconditional self acceptance. I started thinking, I don’t know anything about this program other than the basics. Maybe I should have read some of their website. I did “what to do before your first meeting.” The answer? Read about what they call “Tools”. Okay, the first one was, “Unconditional self acceptance”, Still making sense. But the whole fucking thing is what I have been tossing around for the past month. Dealing with feelings of hopelessness and making myself feel worthless. Basic shit, no revelations but I know exactly where they are going with this… “Perfectionism”. Maybe I stumbled onto something here. Some of the major coincidences this summer were I’ve been getting really fucking lucky. Something else I don’t believe in. But I’ve been dodging bullets I’ve intentionally been trying to shoot at myself.

Are you ready for more? I am. I have been relieved because my mania has settled down during the past week and I haven’t crashed into any deep depression. I slept for a few hours last night and when I woke up I was “Top Fuel” again. I turned on the tap to start the coffee and the power went out. Good! I don’t need any coffee. It’s another perfect day, I should get the fuck out of here. I can ride my bike again. Where? Nowhere…

Sit down. No power, no computer, no television. Cool, I charged my tablet last night. No wifi! I can still text and I did. I even texted, N____, not out of the ordinary but I figured she was still sleeping. She wasn’t, she had an appt. I asked her what she was doing later. Then I realized why I wanted to get out of the house so fast. I wanted to race over there and tell her all this fucked up shit going on all summer. I luckily I thought twice. I can’t do that. I’ll be trying to get it all out in 5 minutes, talking so fast I’m foaming at the mouth. All summer long she is the only one who knows I’m manic. I’ve only seen her in person a few times, I’m no over texting her. She keeps telling me I’m manic.

I’m getting to it. In the beginning of July, I blasted out 3 pages in the early hours and waited for her to wake up. I texted and asked who she sees. Why? She wants to know… Since the akathisia shit started I’ve been taking notes and I went through them and typed them all up and I need a professional who doesn’t know me to give me an opinion. She told me that is something I would have to do on my own. Then she said, This is what you do when you are manic. You take notes, you write everything down. When I would do your laundry I would find scraps of paper with scribbles all over them in your pockets. Read what you typed, I bet it doesn’t make any sense. She was right.

That’s not the fucked up part. The scraps of paper. Those were the poems I’ve been posting lately. I don’t write poetry anymore. It’s all from 20 years ago. I would be somewhere, I put it all together in my head. I have to find a pen and something to write on. I don’t read poetry, why am I writing it? I typed them up, put them in a folder. I read them once in a while, only a few people have seen them. They made sense to me. Now, 20 years later, some of them are cheesy but others hit me hard.

What else? That empath woman. Why was I going to spend cash on an Uber to travel all that way to meet her. She wrote 3 paragraphs of shit I don’t believe in. When I wrote a comment saying sorry it will be too expensive to get there, I didn’t hear back and forgot about it. A couple weeks ago she sent me an email saying she also does a group online. That was when I was still against Zoom. I said I don’t know maybe next month, I’ll be able to make it in person. Why did I say that? If I went last time it would have been just the two of us. What would we talk about? I guess synchronicity. She didn’t mention it but it seems right up her alley. Am I supposed to meet her? I don’t believe in fate.

After she wrote the email I checked her page and noticed only a few people had left comments. One of them was M____, my empath friend. Of course she was there 2 years ago! She used to piss me off so much talking about that shit. And the numbers. She would sit there and watch the clock until it hit 2:22 and say that’s strange, I’ve been seeing that a lot lately. She pumped $22.22 worth of gas into her car and made a big deal out of that. I’m just like , will you please shut up. I know how many times a day numbers repeat on a clock. It’s not that unusual. I kept it to myself because I liked her and didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

Last month, I thought it was funny, I jumped up and just had to leave the house, I glance at the clock and it was 2:22. I laughed to myself thinking how she would like that and it was the first time I had thought about her for a while. But when I walked back in the door the first thing I saw was the clock on the stove telling me it was 3:33. I still don’t believe in it but something is going on in my brain.

There is a lot more but I can’t remember most of it. I wanted to go on about the last time I had it this strong when I was in my twenties but this is getting pretty long and I think it would add another 2,000 words and I imagine I’ve lost everyone by now.

Oh, No! It’s Devo-(lution)

Robot Brain

My mind wasn’t blown to find out my brain seeks out foods that are good for me. My mind is blown that it could be so specific. I know all life on earth evolved to seek out the nutrients they need to stay alive or else they would not be here today. But humans can survive eating any foods available anywhere on the planet. Aleutians thrive on a diet of almost exclusively blubber. So out of the 10, 000 food items available in the grocery store, how the fuck did I unintentionally end up eating a shitload of foods that years later are good for bipolar. Like, was mania so prevalent it was was going to kill off the human race?

Most of the foods I eat make sense. But I eat an abnormally large amount of foods that are good for the brain. Fruits and vegetables, no surprise. But, yeah, I like apples, okay, not my favorite. But once I started eating them regulatory, I’m waking up in the morning and making coffee and before I can finish my first cup, I’m getting all worked up thinking about that apple! And after that the orange. Oranges are okay but I always thought they were a pain in the ass to peel and then your fingers get all sticky. But now I’m thinking, Yeah! Let that juice drip!

Whatever… Reading about that makes sense. What surprised me was lentils. I started eating them because I found they were the most efficient source of protein and fiber. All I’m thinking is protein for muscle. I would never guess they did anything for the brain. I mean, I’ve been fucking eating them every day for years. I can eat anything I want for breakfast. I can walk 1 minute to the store next door and get a big tasty sausage egg sandwich for 2 bucks and love it. But everyday, first thing I do is put on a pot of lentils. I can’t wait for them to get cooked. Let me let you in on a little secret, lentils are pretty fucking gross.

Since I found out about these foods I’ve been eating, I didn’t want to go down the Google rabbit hole. So I’ve been restraining myself from searches. But the few searches I did, lentlis kept popping up. Like what the fuck? Okay, that’s unusual. I never would have guessed. But, you want to hear something really fucked up? I didn’t type anything in for foods or shit or anything. My mind was flying and I did a search, “slow down brain activity”. Up comes GABA. Okay, heard of it. I don’t know much about it. I read about it, it makes sense. I’m not going to buy every supplement on the shelf when I don’t know what is in it or what it does. Obviously, given recent discoveries, I was curious. I typed in, “natural ways to increase GABA”. Fucking lentils!

You think that’s fucked up? That’s not even the fucked up part. A few months ago when I started getting super manic, I don’t remember making a conscious decision, but I thought I’ll put some red lentils in my chili. A fucking pound! I know I don’t need more protein. I know I don’t need more fiber. I’ve been cooking chili for years. I never thought it needed lentils. I’ve never heard of anyone else putting lentils in their chili. Never saw a recipe.

I still have no idea why I did it. I didn’t think twice about it until now. Yeah, I like to cook but part of my cooking philosophy is to make it as easy as possible. So why did I go from putting the chili on the burner, setting the timer and sitting down until it was done. Now I have to get up, Add water, add lentils, stand there and stir it so they don’t stick to the bottom. Doesn’t change the flavor. But I’m all excited, this is the best chili I’ve ever had! I’m eating 5 pounds of fucking lentils a month! What the fuck is going on? That’s not even close to normal!

Another way to increase GABA in your brain is diaphragm breathing. I accidentally found out about it but I’ve been doing it for about the same amount of time. I’m telling you it works! I’ve had all these fucking therapists talk about mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness, What the fuck are they talking about? I don’t know what that word means. My last therapist; any problem I had, she said, “Just stay in the moment”. I’d say, What if the moment sucks so much you would do anything to get out of the moment? Crickets.

I used to do the meditation like they said but it only worked while I was doing it. As soon as I stopped, my anxiety came back. I’m doing meditations for an hour, like wtf? I’m here on the floor. Half the fucking time, I’m thinking, all this mystical shit is bullshit. After fucking years, I find diaphragm breathing and it works! I look into it. It’s no fucking secret. It’s no fucking mysticism . It’s fucking science! It’s fucking evolution. When it is safe to lie down and breathe deeply it turns on your para sympathetic nervous system and it is time to relax and go to sleep. It’s not fucking fairy tale shit. It’s measurable. You start doing it, your heart rate slows down (measurable) blood pressure drops (measurable) brain slows down (measurable).

I’m fucking pissed! Nobody fucking clued me in? This fucking simple fucking thing? Like right now, I’m super fucking manic but I know all I gotta do it go lie down and belly breathe for ten minutes and I’ll be sleeping. All my fucking life I can’t fucking sleep, I’m fucking running around 24/7 for weeks, they giving me more and more meds. Fucking ambien? I’ll be caught dead before I try that again!

Oh shit, this guy has to lie down and breathe 4 times a day. Let’s put him in the hospital!

Right on Schedule

It’s the rhythm of the words and
the reason of the rhyme
lit up, split up, getting ahead of time
luck, an artificial construct
like freedom and religion and astrology
biology, overgrown libidos in worn out
tuxedos and premature fecundity
will we ever find what’s under me?
will we find me? what drives me
and ties me and binds me to
spiritual symbolism and superstition
my life’s in repetition
thank GOD, indecent and obsolete
my life’s in repetition
thank GOD, indolent and incomplete
my life’s in repetition
thank GOD
I’m in remission

Family Vacation

When I was 4 years old I hitchhiked to Florida with my mom. We started at the north end of Rte. 1 and headed for the Keys to meet my aunt, cousins and brother who had driven down in a van beforehand. I don’t remember much of the trip. One thing that sticks out was we had to walk extra far in the woods to sleep in Georgia so we wouldn’t be seen by the police.

We didn’t meet up with my aunt and them because J____ turned tight and hit the curb and flipped the van on it’s side. None of the adults in my family talked about this unless we overheard pieces when they were drunk. Us kids pieced it together ourselves. When the van rolled my brother was tossed around in the back unhurt. A_____ got glass in her head from the driver’s side window. My cousin was 7; old enough to take the weed and stuff it in his pillow.

Someone got arrested down there but nobody can figure out who. I think it was my mom because I spent a year in foster homes. I remember I lived with a black family and the white kids would throw muck over the chain link fence and say it was shit. I knew it wasn’t shit. They were just standing in a swamp.

I lived with another family. I think they were rich. They had 3 kids of their own and me. They had a single level house with a good size yard. Right on the inlet. We could step outside the back door and walk in the water. We had to be careful for rays. That’s what they were always telling me. I could always see them. The water was clear. The older brothers caught a sand shark. Pulled it right up onto the lawn. Nobody knew how to process shark so they had a freezer full of chunks.

I got my wisdom teeth taken out. All four of them. I don’t remember; gas. They did a funny thing. Instead of putting the teeth under the pillow to get money from the tooth fairy. They set up a mason jar on the floor and a chair. I was to kneel on the chair and for each tooth I dropped in the mason jar I got a quarter.

They did another strange ritual. We sat around the coffee table in the living room; candles burning and had a seance. Looking back, I don’t know if they actually believed in it but at the time I believed they believed in it. I saw the devil’s face in a candle flame that night. I don’t think I slept for nights afterward.

I believe I was frightened that night because of a family I lived with for a short time before that. I don’t remember much of them. What I remember is their Southern Babtist Fire and Brimstone Church. Where I was a sinner just for the act of being born. And I had to repent or I was sure to spend an eternity in hell. Even with that, many are called but few are chosen. Even if you spend your entire life doing it all true. You may still burn in hell. It took me 20 years to get over that shit.

I know they couldn’t afford bail or a lawyer so I have no idea how everyone got home. I remember being so happy when my mom showed up after so long.

We don’t have time for this shit!

Coffee Talk

I can’t get off the fucking clock. The night before I was going to see my daughter my eyes popped open and I thought it was time to wake up. I pushed the button to illuminate my watch and it was midnight. I had only slept an hour. I was wide awake but it would be trouble if I got up. I wasn’t worried. I thought I would get back to sleep easily. I didn’t turn on the tv. I forced myself to lie there. Finally I gave up and looked at the time again. 4:45am.

Close enough. I said I would prove to myself this was all my imagination. It’s the coffee making me hyper. I made some and took my first sip at 5. I also started making lentils. Cooking and eating lentils takes about an hour. It is mostly setting the timer on the stove to cook and setting it again to let them cool off. I wanted to time it so I could eat before I took my meds at 6. It all went according to schedule . I sat down and said, See, it’s the fucking coffee! I picked up my cup which was almost full and took a sip. It was cold! It was 6:20am. I should have easily had 2 cups by then. What the fuck was I doing for the past hour and a half? And why was my mind racing when I haven’t had any caffeine in at least 20 hours?

It started working about an hour before she got here. That was good. I still had to chew on my tongue for a couple hours. She is a great driver for the short time she’s been doing it. She got lucky with that car. It’s a 2005 BMW but it looks and drives like new. She really likes to drive. I will probably never see her again after she gets her license. She still hasn’t been on an interstate highway. I don’t think I want to be in the car the first time she does.

Last night I was back to thinking I don’t need all these medications. Until I was still awake at 4am. I gave up and took a trazadone for sleep. I woke up at 8am and started the lentils and took my anti manic at 9. (Still on the clock) Yesterday was not a typical day. Today is more like it. I wake up feeling fine and decompensate later.

I only remember all these exact times because I wrote everything down as I did it. I’ve been using my day planner to keep notes. I know I’m being hyper-vigilant about this but it has been a few weeks since my mind has intensified. I feel confident I will have a better day. I haven’t had a day where I was afraid I couldn’t handle this myself since a week ago Saturday.

I’m only getting granular about this because every day is different and usually by now I would be going 24/7. I figured out when I last had a panic attack. It was 8 years ago when I last told someone about it. I remember because it was when I first moved down here and they gave me a nurse practitioner. I told him I was having 6 hour panic attacks. He said, Panic attacks don’t last that long and dismissed it. What should I call it? Panic 2.0? SuperAnxiety?

This is stupid. I keep hearing a voice telling me I don’t need the medications. That makes no sense at all but I still want to listen. At least I’m not drinking or taking street drugs. That usually gets me off my medications. That would make everything a total mess. I can binge for about 4 days with no food or sleep before I fuck up somewhere.

It’s 10 am and I still feel good. I don’t know if taking the med in the morning is making a difference. This is only the second day. Like the magic 8 ball says,”Too early to tell.”

“You’re not as messed up as you think you are

Your self absorption makes you messier

Just settle down and you would feel a whole lot better

Deep down your just like everybody else”

“Reasons not to be an idiot” Frank Turner

Flurries

Monday

No. It did not snow this weekend. Thank god! It has actually been unseasonably warm. Senator Inhofe would be hard pressed to find a snowball to make fun of global warming today.

My temperature has been going up as well. The good news is I think I’ve figured out what has caused all my morning rages the past couple months. The bad news is I can’t do anything about it. It started when my hours of sleep cut down. Why don’t I just sleep more, you ask? Good question. I think we all know the answer. When I take my night meds like a good boy, they work fine at putting me to sleep but I only stay asleep 3 hours. That means I have to wait 3 more hours for the meds to wear off. Apparently, these are not good meds to stay awake while they are in effect.

I discovered this after too many times missing my meds. I realized I felt much better on those mornings but I functioned less in the afternoon and evening. I can’t really stop taking my meds so I’m trying to change my morning routine. Believe it or not, drinking more caffeine helps. I guess it makes the meds wear off quicker. I’ve also started drinking coffee while lying in bed. (not this morning, I’m writing to you) But, if I spill even a drop on my blanket, rage ensues. I can’t figure it out any further than that. I’ll have to ask my doctor. He won’t know what to do either. I will tell him I’ve been on this combo for so long, I don’t want to change it.

Oh well, back to my medication experiments. The only reason I miss them at night is I fall asleep unexpectedly. I still only get 3 hours but no med hangover. I can’t do that too often. With the aforementioned, I just started foaming at the mouth because I clicked the wrong link with my overly sensitive new mouse. Okay, back to bed with my coffee.

Tuesday

I’ve been trying to find a book to listen to and write about but it is proving difficult. The first two had interesting titles and blurbs written about them but it was like being read to from a textbook. I couldn’t follow along. Now I am listening to The Smart Swarm by Peter Miller. It is related to the collective consciousness of ants, bees and birds; something I’ve always been interested in. Just my luck it is another book about how to be more productive in your job and make the bosses more money. But the guy is beating dead horses with example after example of the point he is making. I am not going to make it through 6 more hours of this. He is also killing me with the acronyms. He mentions it once and I am supposed remember what the acronym stands for throughout the rest of the chapter. And it’s not a paper book so I can’t go back for reference.

I am trying to write a fun post for Sunday so I can get back to at least 2 a week. But I spent a week thinking about it and I will probably spend another week writing it. My ability to concentrate is at an all time low. I’m not promising anything here on a Tuesday.

I think I was right yesterday. I slept 5 hours last night and it was enough for the side effects to wear off and no raging this morning. I’m feeling very calm!


I just saw something about moderation drinking. A man should limit himself to 4 servings of alcohol in a session. I could never do that. If I have 4 shots of whiskey I’m crawling the rest of the way into the bottle.

Thursday

I’m not as nervous about the president. He is trying his best to dismantle the country in his last 2 months but I was really afraid he would deny the election with all the party behind him. Now I remember when the guy on tv called Pennsylvania, he said anything the president does now is just “Flailing and failing.” Right now his personal “lawyer”, Ghouliani, is in court making a fool of himself and pissing off the judge. I just can’t wait until January.


Since I quit trying to quit coffee I’ve been drinking a lot more of it. Ironically, I am getting more sleep now than I was before. I think it’s because the later I stay awake the more hours I get in the morning. I went for a stretch of fading around midnight and waking up at 3 or 4 not knowing if I should go back to sleep or wake up. I’ve only gotten 2 nights of good sleep in a row so I’m not celebrating yet.


My mom quit drinking when she was 50. Now she acts like she’s never taken a sip in her life. She gets offended when I say fuck. I call bullshit! She was trashed all the time and every profanity or debased joke I know I heard from her when I was a kid.

Saturday

I don’t really have a good way to wrap this up. It’s 4am and I just woke up. I chose coffee instead of nighttime meds. I can’t risk taking it and feeling terrible while I stay awake all day.

I will probably run through two pots of coffee before it is time to go to my daughter’s house. I will be wide awake when I am with her. I never get tired. I just find myself in bed late at night and bored so I fall asleep for a couple hours. I hate waking up. My brain feels distorted.

Suicide Solution

Trigger Warning: See title above. Did anyone else have a problem with National Suicide Awareness day? I did. I even wrote a negative comment on someone’s blog which I never do. I apologize if it was you. One of the problems I had was it is only one day. It wasn’t thought about the day before and it would be forgotten about the next day. And where was it when I was suicidal almost every day last winter? Not that a “How are you feeling” text would have cured me. The other problem I had was seeing the word suicide in all caps and large font everywhere I looked. And I wasn’t looking for it.

My last attempt was a huge mess. I got kicked out of the homeless shelter for something stupid and I only had enough on my credit card for two nights in a hotel. I had been having mixed episodes and delusions all summer. Being suddenly real homeless with no plan did not help.

The first night in the hotel my brain started making plans for me to kill myself. It devised a mathematical formula that dictated the date and time, how many beers I would have to drink and which pills and how many to take with each beer.

My first call for help was to my case manager, “Hello Sharon, this is me, can you call me when you get a chance?” I didn’t exactly sound stressed but that is me. I hide everything. During the next two days I called everyone I knew and I was crying and saying, “I don’t know what to do.” But I never mentioned I might be planning my own death.

The night before I started my plan. I had to buy the beer early because I had to start drinking at 4am and the stores were closed at that time. All the math made perfect sense to me in my sleepless delusional state. I started washing down the pills; some of them deadly and others benign. Whatever, I had a lot of everything. An overdose of Latuda is irreversible. I’m not sure but I think not having food in my stomach let it wash through my body. You are supposed to take it with a certain number of calories. So I guess I got “lucky.”

Sharon finally called me back. It woke me up. She waited so long because I didn’t sound stressed on the phone and she thought I was calling about housing and she had no news for me. I didn’t tell her what I had done but I was freaking out. She told me to come to the office. (She didn’t know I was drinking) She saved my life because after the call I started puking a lot. Strangely I tidied up the hotel room before I left.

Trying to get to the office I realized I could not operate a car. Me, being the super intelligent guy I am thought I needed some caffeine to sober me up. I pulled into the store and went inside. When I came out there was a cruiser behind my car. The cop was out and pulled his gun on me and started dropping F bombs. Somebody had called them. I was standing frozen holding two Pepsi’s. Nothing sobers you up more than having a gun pointed at you. The cop was screaming at me but he wasn’t telling me what to do besides yelling that I was going to blow the fucking breathalyzer. I had already told him I was trying to get to the mental hospital.

The backup cruise pulled in and the first officer holstered his gun and started talking in a normal voice. He calmly cuffed me and stuck me in the back of his cruiser. I told him I was trying to kill myself and all the drugs I had taken that day. (Funny the only one that made it into the police report was the controlled substance.) They brought me into the station and threw me in the cell. I was really wishing I would die so they would get in trouble and I would be dead.

It turns out they left me in the cell for so long because the gun wielding cop was at the courthouse for several hours trying to get a warrant to draw my blood for an alcohol test. I have talked to many people who worked in the legal/ drunk driving system since and they were all shocked when they heard he got a warrant. Not one of them had seen that before. The officer was turning my mental health problem into a legal problem. The protocol is to bring me to the state mental hospital for an evaluation. I could have and should have still gotten a driving under the influence charge but they were supposed to make sure I wasn’t dying first.

Would things have been different if they had suicide awareness day back then?

Special Effects

Overflowing pill container

I was up to 260lbs. My MD had me on cholesterol medication, blood pressure meds and was talking about treating me for diabetes if my blood sugar got any higher. That last one did it for me. I could barely take care of my mental health meds. Never mind checking my blood and injecting myself with insulin however many times per day. I knew from the black box warning that my Zyprexa was causing all these health problems but I wanted to stay with it because it was the most effective drug for my mental health at the time.

Instead I tried going to the gym. I was very disciplined and went 5 days a week for at least 2 hours at a time. My MD even sent me to a nutritionist to see if it was my diet. When I told her what I eat each day, she said, “Wow! You’re hardcore.” She didn’t have any suggestions on how to change my diet because I was already more strict than recommended.

After 6 months of the gym and dieting (still not losing weight), my MD said I was one visit away from insulin. I went to my psychiatrist and asked to switch medications. His response was, “Well, you don’t have diabetes yet.” He was an asshole. So I decided to stop all my medications at once. That would show him. I ended up in the hospital a month later. That got him to switch me to Latuda. In the first month I lost 30lbs even though I went back to my normal diet and no longer went to the gym. I quickly got down to 200lbs without really trying. Still overweight at 5’10” but manageable.

My first experience with major side effects was when they put me on Risperidone. It was a great drug. I could think what used to be disturbing thoughts but now I was disconnected from them and didn’t get the fear and paranoia that went with them. After a few months I got an unmentionable side effect but I’ll mention it here. It made me impotent. There was no way I was 28 and going to spend the rest of my life not having sex. So I immediately stopped and again ended up in the hospital. (I really need to stop doing that). But I’d rather be crazy and have sex than the other way around.

Geodon was the worst but I was too messed up to realize it at the time. It was when I first went on disability. I kept telling my psychiatrist it wasn’t working so he kept upping the dosage. Eventually I was way over the recommended maximum. He didn’t understand it was the medication that wasn’t working, it wasn’t the dosage. I moved to a new doctor and got off the Geodon. That is when I realized I was also experiencing symptoms of Tardive dyskinesia. I found out when I went to the local convenience store and the woman behind the counter asked me if I was feeling better. I asked her what she meant and she told me I used to shake so bad when she saw me. I was a little embarrassed that I hadn’t noticed. That drug also came with impotence so never again.

I’m surprised I haven’t had more side effects in my lifetime. At one point I was taking over 20 pills a day. I would tell people I had to shut up because every time I opened my mouth my doctor threw another pill in it. It was true.

Over the years I’ve gotten the amount of meds down to the minimum. I’m still on Latuda. It comes with the same weight gain, diabetes warning as Zyprexa but I have actually lost more weight. It doesn’t get rid of my symptoms but it makes it so I can do at least the minimum to take care of myself. I still have days where I can’t even function as a human but I am afraid of making any med changes. I don’t want to be a guinea pig for the latest and greatest. Maybe if I hear from another person of something that works better I will try it but I’m just happy to have my symptoms mellowed out some and no side effects. If they made a medication like Risperidone without the impotence, I would be right on it in a heartbeat. Has anyone taken a schizophrenia medication like that?