Monday, August 31, 2009

A few words for the heart and soul

A couple quotes that have always helped me and may be of some comfort to others...

"The ocean of suffering is immense, but if you turn around, you can see the land."

"The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but do not wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy."

"When one tree in the garden is sick, you have to care for it. But do not overlook all the healthy trees."

"Even while you have pain in your heart, you can enjoy the many wonders of life - the beautiful sunset, the smile of a child, the many flowers and trees. To suffer is not enough. Please do not be imprisoned by your suffering."

-Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk

For anyone who has not read this man's work I highly recommend it. A zen master, poet, teacher, mystic, scholar and activist. His words can be very soothing to the soul. He had once been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Did I mention that I am reading about Buddhism? I think this might be a good time to read some more. The book I have now is excellent and contains a lot of great ideas for dealing with suffering and soothing the mind. Now if I can only find it.

Addictive personality

Today is not going well. I am really feeling sluggish but my brain is doing ok. I think I will just have to force myself to get going on some of my chores. They really need to be done by today since we are having a major trash run done tomorrow. I may have to take a nap first. I don't know what I am going to do when I get another job. Hopefully I will be so excited that my energy problem won't be a problem.

I remember being like this when I was a kid. My parents believed in whipping me into work, quite literally, constantly yelling that I am lazy. Well I guess I am lazy but my energy has been a lifelong problem obviously tied into my constant lows and being bipolar. I also have an addictive personality which leads into anything having to do with computers. Simple things like farmtown on facebook will get me occupied for hours. Forget about it when I am playing a real game on the computer. I refuse to allow myself to play world of warcraft for this very reason. When I was younger, before home computers, it was any game. Chess, monopoly, checkers, tic tac toe. I would want to go for hours. But, if you have been actually reading this you will know by now that I never had anyone to play with. I knew better than to even ask the parents after the first few tries. When we got an atari I was hooked. Super mario bros. Forget it. I used to skip school and hide outside until the parents left and then go in and play video games all day.

I only got caught once. I still wince when I think about that beating. Afterwards I didn't stop skipping, i just stopped getting caught. I became real good at not getting caught at things. I was very sneaky. A side effect of growing up in an abusive household. Well, abusive towards me. My sisters never got it, just the step kid. I still kind of hold a grudge about that even though I am close to my sisters. They keep trying to get me involved with my parents again but no dice. I deserve the right to cut them out of my life after everything they put me through. F*ck 'em.
Well Sunday wasn't productive but it was a good day. My wife and I went out for lunch and afterwards she wanted to go to the mall for a few things. By the time we got home it was pretty late and we were burnt out. But I felt energetic all day and that was good. Today will be another test. If I remember to take my adderall in the afternoon like a good little boy I may do okay. I don't know where this upswing came from or what brought it on but I hope it sticks around for at least another day or two. With the mood I have been in trying to find a job and sending out all of these resumes with so little feedback from interested companies. Plus the stress of being cooped up at home all day. I could definitely use this break.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Butterfly on crack...

I think the best way I can explain my anger at times is that as I get more energy and am able to accomplish things I get on myself really hard about how inactive and such a lazy shit I had just been. My wife and I had a talk today about me helping out more around the house, especially since I am laid off and at home all day anyways. The thing is that I know I need to do more but my mind races so damn fast and goes from thought to thought and subject to subject that I never accomplish anything. My mind is like a damn butterfly on crack. All over the place at 90 mph. So come the end of the day I am on myself about being so fricking lazy and it puts me even lower. And I just cycle further and further down.

One of my longest times in the trench was when I was first living with my wife. I had never shared an apartment before and I was seeing how my depression was affecting her. I wasn't diagnosed yet and had no idea why my life was the way it was. The problem was that I could see first hand how my depression was affecting her and it only put me deeper in. It just went on and on in a deathspin like that forever. Well, it seemed like forever.

I guess a lot of it comes down to the fact that I hate myself so much. I really just want out more often than not. I simply refuse to give in though. I can be a stubborn SOB like that. Maybe I can keep moving forward tomorrow, keep the momentum going, and accomplish some more chores. It would lead into a good start for the week. I think I just need more short term goals. Things I can accomplish before the butterfly comes back.


I am so tense right now. One of the side effects of an upswing, for me at least, I don't know if others are the same way, is I get real confrontational at first. I'm just begging for a fight. The wife and I already got into it a little bit. Thankfully it did not go too far. I used to go to bars on days like this and beg for someone to look at me cross eyed. Arrrggghhhhh, I am so angry! Mostly at myself but the rest of the world will do in a pinch. Something about going from motionless to in full motion just gets me going. Adrenaline rush or something.
Made a few changes to the blog. It was a bit dark for me. I think the new one is much better. Anyways, I am happy to report that I am a bit motivated today. Already got some work done and I am off to do more.

I wish more days could be like this.
I am hoping to be able to get myself motivated tomorrow. Lots that needs to be done around the house that I have been putting off. My wife is a trooper for putting up with it. I mean I sit around all day in one of my emotional trenches, pissed at myself and able to do nothing productive. Meanwhile she comes home from work, does chores, dinner and all kinds of crap. Of course this makes me feel worse, the guilt, and I get even lower than I was. Its a screwed up vicious cycle. I need to figure out something to help. Rolling the dice and hoping I wake up in an upswing or slightly manic mode is just not paying off.


Here is a common thread I have been reading in other people's blogs. Relationships getting screwed up. Look, I am not trying to be a Dr. Phil here by no means. And lord knows I have screwed up more than my fair share of relationships. Hey, if you are bipolar it is gonna happen. One key element that has made my marriage work. It actually brought us from the edge of divorce back to happy, happy, happy (most of the time). TALK IT OUT!

Communication is so key that I could not even begin to describe it. Now there is no way I am open about everything but I used to be completely closed. Kept it all inside. My wife finally got me to open up, little by little, until I could freely tell her things. If she had not been so persistent we would not be together today. But she got me to talk. About all of it (well, almost) what I was thinking about, how I felt about certain people like my in-laws. I now know I can come to her and tell her anything. I choose to keep some secrets but that is for my own sanity. I am selfish and enjoy having something for myself.

She taught me to be open. Not to everyone, just her. And it makes us work. This has been my only relationship to go more than 8 months and it has been roughly 5 years. I would not try this with anyone but if you think he/she is the one then try it. Little by little. No need to scare the shit out of them with what is in your head all at once.

If you doubt me then fine, but feel free to ask me more also.

Switching meds

So I was just reading another blog (which you can see under my blog follower) and this girl was talking about her meds and how the insurance company switched her to a generic. Nothing is worse than having to switch a med. I spent a lot of time trying out different meds before I go the cocktail I have now. Holy crap that sucked. Manic then depressed, high then low, sometimes so friggin quick that my head was spinning. Trying to wait it out past the initial phase that the doc told me might be rough nearly put me over the edge. I almost had a third attempt at one point it was so bad. Well if you have been there you know what I am talking about. If not then you have no idea, try to and I gaurantee you are not even close. For the girl who got switched....good luck, kid. I am rooting for ya.

Friday, August 28, 2009

On a side note I never got a damn phone call from my last interview. Don't tell me you will call next week and never call, f*ckers! In all honesty what kind of boss would I have if he can't even get that right. Still I need a job to get out of here and make some money again. In this market I guess I will take what I can get, within reason.

I think if I don't hear from them by next wednesday I will call to see what is going on. Too soon, too late? The wife doesn't think I should call at all but I eventually need to know what the story is. Her option would kill me over time. I need to know.
Well, the wifey is coming home so off to the gym I go. So this means probably no more blogging tonight and possibly not this weekend but I will try to get something out there. This is kind of addicting and since I have no conversation with anyone from 8 - 530 all day monday - friday I kinda enjoy having a way to express my thoughts.
I am bored like you could not believe. I refuse to turn the tv on for fear of where that will lead. Instead I am sitting here doing nothing. I have a book I would like to read but I know this is not the day for it. No way my head will stay focused long enough to keep track of a single paragraph.

Maybe I will try some meditation. I have been reading a lot about Buddhism lately and it really intrigues me. It might just be the spiritual path I have been looking for. I have read about how meditating can be beneficial to the mind and help with my focus. Problem is trying to slow my mind down to less than a thousand thoughts per minute. I guess I will probably just chalk this up to a bad day and let it pass. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Meanwhile I may try some Bukowski. Poems are nice and short, allows me to focus for a few seconds and then wander while I build up the mental strength to tackle another.
I truly hate not working. I feel like such a useless sh*t sitting around the house all day. And of course, due to new budget restraints, I can't do anything outside of the house because there is no money! Needless to say this does not do much for me emotionally or physically. No amount of meds is gonna keep me from being lower than usual while this goes on.

Bipolar and ADHD

So I have hinted at it and now is a good time to talk about it I guess. I am bipolar and adhd. I never use to really believe in these things. I grew up in a time where it was a common band aid to say someone was bipolar or adhd like it was a cure all for being "f"ed up. My whole life was crap and I figured that was just how it was. Eventually I got married and after a while hit a very bad cycle of depression. After nearly a year my wife finally convinced me to try and get help. The therapist I saw tested me on several things and said I was right off the chart for bp and adhd. Said she couldn't understand how I got this far without being diagnosed and helped. I figured she was full of it and told her so. She then sat down and spent the next ten minutes describing my life. And I mean she hit every little point. Read me like a book!

I then believed her enough to try some of the meds she wanted to give me. Well that was a roller coaster ride from hell. I found myself hoping beyond anything that there was a miracle drug out there that could fix me. About a year later I finally got on a cocktail of drugs that has helped me out. A bit. No "wonder cure" or "miracle drug". But they make a difference.

Mental disorder runs in the family (every other generation or so) yet no one thought to have me checked out. I suppose if I had lived in a nice home where things were not so bad it may have been more easy to spot. But in my home, where no one gave a damn about anyone but themselves, it didn't happen. As for myself, life sucked right from day one. I figured that was life. My own mood swings or dark thoughts were nothing that seemed out of the ordinary to me. And forget trying to tell someone about how you feel like shit or that you can't stop thinking about death. Who gives a shit?

"in a lady's bedroom" -bukowski

trying to write a poem

in a lady's bedroom

(onions on my breath)

while she cuts a dress out of freshly bought material.

I suppose, as material

I'm not so fresh,

especially with onions

on my breath.

Well, let's see -

there's a lady in Echo Park,

one in Pasedena, one in Sacramento, on on Harvard Ave.

perhaps one of them would be more interested

in me

than in a dress ( for a while, anyhow).

meanwhile I sit in this lady's bedroom

by a hot window

while she sits at her

sewing machine.

here, she said, here's a

paper and pen,

write something.

all right, Ill be kind:

some ladies fuck like mink

and dance like nymphs

and some create

nice dresses and lonely poets

on hot July afternoons .

I am feeling talkative today. And by that I mean I will be putting a few posts up. I don't really care for talking to most people. The banal crap that comes from their mouths, completely bypassing any brain functions to edit it whatsoever, is extremely annoying.

I have a poem for you from Bukowski. It is titled "in a lady's bedroom". I will put it in a separate post for those who wish to read it.

This guy just wrote right from his own reality and gut. He threw everything out there and this is a fine example I believe. The man was a lifelong drunk (until much later in life at least where he still drank wine) and a real ornery cuss. Definitely not someone you wanted to piss off at the end of a three day bender. But man oh man, could he write.
So I am off to breakfast. It is one of the highlights of my day. Nothing better than some french toast with melted butter and syrup. Or eggs over easy so you can dip your toast in the yolk. And bacon. I love my bacon soft, not crispy. Sometimes they have these pancakes with cinnamon apples in them. I love food. Something about an excellent meal that makes everything feel less urgent, less daunting. But I really love breakfast. I used to love orange juice. It was a staple at my table but I can't drink it now because vitamin c will mess with one of my meds. Life can really bite you in the ass sometimes.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Virgin

So there I was driving to work down a rather busy highway. Life was not well. Among many things I had been trying to build a relationship with my father. Even through the years of abuse and neglect I still felt I needed something from him, some kind of approval. So after moving cross country to be near him and several months of trying to get reacquainted, things were not happening. Many of our "planned" visits resulted in my finding him in a bar and his asking me what the hell I was doing there. His girlfriends always took first priority and what was worse is that the girl's kids would become his for the time being. That ass would dote on them like they were the greatest thing ever.

Add in another failed relationship, this time with a girl I was truly in love with. Yet again my inability to talk about myself, my messed up brain and my closed off feelings screwed things up. Before you think these are minor things you must understand all the other bull that was piled on top of this. Anyone who has actually been through a severe depression could tell you how bad things can be.

So in general life sucked. I hated work, I hated home and most important I hated myself. I was (am) such a loser. No one liked me. No one cared about me. And I was top of both lists.

I realized life held nothing for me and I wanted no more of it. A lifetime of pain and hate and suffering came crashing down on me. I had enough.

I looked up to see a red light and a semi truck with trailer pulling into the road. I was about a half mile away and the pedal was all the way down. I wanted out right now. This was it. Any other option would take too long. At about 85 mph I hit the side of the trailer head on. Looking back it may have been more effective had I thought to take my seat belt off. Later I awoke to a fireman cutting the side of my car off. I passed out. Then I awoke to an EMT in a helicopter asking my name. A brief answer and I passed out. Later I finally awoke for good, strapped to a backboard, lying on a gurney. I could feel no pain. Everything moved like it should, where it could. No pain.

I later found out that my sister had been called and told to come down with my father. Come and say goodbye they said. We don't expect to see him make it through the night. I woke up at one point to see my father standing over me, a look of disappointment on his face. I bawled like a baby. I still don't know why. But I shook I was crying so hard.

Several weeks later I was released in a wheelchair. Stayed in the wheelchair for almost three months. Another month or so on crutches. I remember doing rehab and I had to do curls with a can of soup. First try I did three.

I came away from it all with a sense of purpose. My father was barely around as I healed. I no longer cared. I faced death and was still around. I gave it all up and was still here. I was going to find a reason to move on. I realized all my pain and suffering truly came from my parents. Because of my parents I almost took my own life. F*ck them! My life was finally mine. It would be better that theirs ever was. And in the end I would be the only one responsible for all of it.

Well, life doesn't go to plan, now does it.


My wife knows nothing of this blog and I plan to keep it that way. You will notice that I won't post at certain times, being when she is home. As open as I am to her I do not want her to see this side of me. It can be a bit dark sometimes, although I have tried to be lighthearted so far. Expect it. You may see why in my next post.


Every now and then you may catch me posting something about one of Bukowski's poems. The title of this blog is from one of his collections. He is a personal favorite of mine, a bit of a hero. If you haven't read any of his stuff, either poems or stories, you should at least check it out. Especially if you are here for the reasons I think you are...
Having a so-so day today. Sometimes I really have to struggle to get moving. It is like wearing a lead suit. They say depression is the reason. It just sucks to have so few good days scattered throughout the year. In case you have been wondering, yes, I am medicated. I take 4 separate meds if you count the purple one for my stomach. I never believed in them before recently. I had gone to see a therapist about my depression. It had been pretty severe and was going on its 7th month without a single upward swing. Anyways the doc had said a few things which turned me around and I must say they really do help. The world is not all daises and rainbows and neither is my head. But I have more good days than I used to.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reflecting on suicide

Fact is I never told anyone about my attempt at suicide. Everyone believes it to be an accident. I guess I do not want the attention it would bring, or the pity. It was my choice at the time and I have managed to come away from it with something. A sort of inner peace. I reflect on it from time to time, it helps me in my travels. I do not think I will share it, ever, except to ponder on it here. Something about the anonymity of blogging that lets me speak yet feel like I am completely protected. A private journal of sorts, except that people can read it. I guess my reason for that is that someone may be able to take something from this someday. That it may help someone in their own struggles be it past or present....
There is something about music that tends to really pick me up and motivate me. I am sure most everyone else feels the same way. I am curious to know what others prefer for a song or band. Maybe I will learn something new. Of course I would need a reader for this thing, though I must say it feels better to put things out here regardless of readership or not.

Belief in myself

So here is something that is a little screwed up for ya. I know my parents are assholes. I know that they are now cut from my life and I no longer have to deal with them. I know I am better than them. But yet...everything I do I hear their voices in the back of my head telling me it was not good enough, that I am not good enough. Everything I do.

I am waiting to hear on a job that I have worked hard towards. For ten years I have worked up the ladder and constantly increased my knowledge and responsibilities in my profession. Yet I still think to myself that I do not deserve it. That I will fail if I get it. And I wonder, is this a burden that I will carry with me for the rest of my life?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A question

That last post made me think about something. Self-worth. I was always a big kid growing up, "husky" they called us back then. I remember my step father telling me how embarrassed he was to be seen in public with me because of my weight. I was not truly obese, just chunky. My strength over others matched my larger weight. The question to you is "where does self-worth, the true inner belief that you are worth the air you breathe, come from when you have always been told otherwise"? I still wrestle with this one.
I am job hunting. I was laid off several months ago and the scraps left out there are slim. I have one golden possibility still coming. An interview that went very well. I should hear from them any day now. I just hope they offer enough money to make it really worth it. I want off of unemployment but I refuse to take a job working 40 hours just to make 50 bucks more than I get now from the state. My mother always said (says) I would never amount to anything. My solace comes from the fact that I make more and work higher up the chain than she ever has or will.

So here I stand.

Welcome. I will not bother with introductions. Over time you will get to know me as you sift through my rantings, searching, as I am, for some semblance of reality, peace or wisdom. My profile shall serve as my intro for now. It is all true.

My parents were extremely self absorbed. My being the result of a failed shotgun wedding. Both sides divorced, remarried and with their own families. I was shuttled back and forth between the two towns, from one family to another, dropped off like a burden finally being relieved. I was an outsider. An interloper. Neither parent took an interest in my childhood, expecting the other to have provided the instruction, the quality time, the nurturing that a 4 year old boy needs. Both sides were quick to punish though. They almost relished the thought of disciplining me for what they blamed the other for having (or not having) taught me. Then of course the constant lectures about how my every quality must have come from the other family because I was so horrible. I never understood why there was a divorce when both sides were so much alike in everything they did.

The abuse, physical and mental, was non stop. Over time I learned how to look out for myself, avoiding the situations that were laden with catastrophe. I learned how to insert myself among the other children without leaving any hint of my true life. Time marched on. I was a child raising a child. Alone in a combined family of 7 people.

Fast forward 20 years. My first suicide attempt. I was damn near successful. Being how on the spot and sudden my decision was, things almost worked out. 10 years later I found myself there again. The difference now was I had a reason to go on. One that hadn't existed earlier.

This blog will serve as a sounding board for me. Anonymously I will post my thoughts and recollections. My insights and lessons. Hopefully the outcome will be that I have learned something more of myself and those around me. Maybe I will even have gained some peace that is well overdue.

I welcome responses and thoughts. I hope that for those of you out there who may share some of this, either past or present, some peace may come to you as well.