Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Journey…

"8 and a half by 11"

Kurt Vonnegut (I truly love the brilliant bastard) once wrote “writers focus on an 8 and half by 11 sheet of paper to attempt to make sense out of chaos.”
Writers try contain the chaos on that one sheet, to bring some order to their world, the world. To contain the disorder.
I think therapy is the same as Vonnegut’s sheet of paper, an attempt to bring order to chaos…
A friend of mine told me a week or two ago that I was being too hard on myself, that I was beating myself up. He didn’t understand the chaos in my head. How the hell can you explain it? How can you get anyone to understand anything that is so personal, so hidden inside yourself that it only exposes its self to you and you alone. The fear, the self-doubt, the anger, the frustration, exposing it’s self from time to time in only the most inappropriate ways.
All the sessions with Erica taught me one important thing, “if behavior is inappropriate, you have to stop doing it”. She related it to drinking. The only way a person addicted to alcohol (or drugs) can begin to recover is to stop drinking. Stopping is only the first step on the long road to recovery.
If your behavior causes problems, take a long hard look at the behavior and get rid of your bullshit. Be honest, be true. Get your chaos under control, get it on that 8 and a half by 11 sheet of paper.
When you finally do, it looks pretty damn small in the complete context of your life.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

My Journey, a continuing series…

“It’s always about you!” she said. “You always have to be in the spotlight. You’re angry, you lash out. You get up and walk away.”

She’s right, 100% right. The question then is why? I can only find a few desperate parts and I can’t come up with a complete answer. Am I frustrated with my life? I know I am.  But who isn’t? Have I squandered my abilities, sure. Have I made mistakes and done really stupid things and doubled down by doing more stupid actions? Of course I have.

It’s strange, I like my job and I’m good at it. Better than I thought I would be. I like working again; on the other hand it eats me alive in so many ways. I hate getting home at 9:30 at night, never having the time to go anywhere or even have the time to turn around before I’m up and at it again. Is any of this Jan’s fault? No it isn’t.

What I need to do is start reacting to the frustration in a more, positive way. Stop letting the up and downs piss me off, stop acting like an angry little boy about things I can’t control. Stop internalizing and then stop being angry, stop expressing my anger in non-productive ways. I need to jump out of the way and let the shit roll on down the hill, because I can’t stop gravity, so why even try. The trying is what turns a decent person into a dick and believe me I can really be a dick sometimes. Funny thing is I hate being an ass, I hate being a jerk, I don’t like being mean and angry. The answer is right in front of me, I just have to stop the behavior.

How did I lose 58 pounds? I stopped eating so damn much food. I need to stop being a dick from time to time. I’d better stop it, it’s as unhealthy as being a fat guy, right?

Do I have good things in my life, you bet I do. I need to focus on the good things and let the things that suck in my life roll on down the hill.

The good things I have are really good, a loving wife, kids and grandkids, a good strong and healthy family, a bunch of close friends. I have my health, I have energy and in my new career I get to exercise my brain day in and day out.

So why do I get angry and lash out? Am I going to expend energy on the bull shit or am I going to focus on the positive? Ahh, that’s the question, isn’t it?

I like to think I’m a reality based person, time to adjust to the reality. As my wife said to me last night, “You’re not going to live forever are you? Stop wasting the time you have, be positive, be happy, be the person you used to be.”

She’s right and it hit me like a ton of bricks. If a guy who loves to eat and drink can lose 58 pounds, he sure the hell can learn how to appreciate the good things in life and stop being frustrated because he never became a race car driver or sailed around the world.

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Journey…

“How are you Robert?”

“I’m good, in fact I feel really good.”

Erica looked at me from across her office, “What do you attribute that to?”

“I’ve got my confidence back.” I said. “I believe in myself again"

This journey started with a kick in the ass from my doctor last March. Dr. F had said, “What’s happened to you?” We talked and she suggested that I get some help in understanding why I felt like I did, why I was always down in the dumps, defensive, angry and yes, mean.

The diagnosis, MDD:

Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known as simply depression, is a mental disorder. Therapists have connected depression to the lack of both meaning in the present and a vision of the future.

For a year and a half, I was in a black hole; I couldn’t stop digging myself deeper and deeper. I wasn’t involved in anything but myself, I wasn’t interested in anything but my own BS. My life had collapsed and I didn’t even notice things falling apart, I didn’t care. Occasionally I snapped out of it for a few hours, a day sometimes for a few days,. Then I’d jump back my hole and retreat into myself again. It was a terrible place, but I felt safe there.
I was trying to write, I couldn’t finish anything. I wrote almost 25,000 words of a novel and stopped. It was pretty good, I let people I know and respect read parts of it, they liked it, they were helpful, I still stopped writing.

“Why did you stop Robert?” Erica said.

“I think I was afraid to finish it.”


“Because if I couldn’t get a publisher interested in it, I’d be humiliated, hurt…”

That summed up the way I was about everything in my life, I didn’t dare take a chance on anything anymore and I’d convinced myself that I didn’t need to, I quit on everything. I talked all the time and never said anything.

I was pushing people away. Most importantly I was pushing away my wife, I was remote, angry. It go to the point that Cakes had no idea who I was. I realize now, I didn’t know who I was anymore either.

I opened up to a fiend, give him a peek into what I was going through in my head.

“Jesus Bob, I remember when we were kids, I always felt that if we came across a jet airplane and you said “Let’s take it for a ride.” I knew you probably could fly the damn thing and I’d climb in and we’d go.”

The question was, where did that kid disappear to? I had to find him again. That kid was the key to getting out of the hole I’d dug for myself.

More on that and how I found him with a lot of help and understanding from my wife, a few close friends and a couple of dedicated professionals.