Bite your tongue, young man!

Another nice side effect of being on meds and in counseling is that I don’t feel so compelled to “pick a fight.” Of course, I don’t mean a fist fight, for I learned long ago that a guy of my size should avoid physical confrontation whenever possible. Getting tossed through a plate-glass window will do that too you. Okay, I exaggerate — I was thrown into one of those wire-mesh re-enforced glass window. It broke, spiderwebbing but not shattering. And really it was just my shoulder that went into it — no harm done. Now that I think about it, I actually kicked some pretty serious ass in that fight, which I felt compelled to get into when three punk-asses threatened my little brother — and get this, because the girl standing next to him mouthed off:

“Oh yeah. You would hit a girl,” said mouthy girl.

“No,” said punkass “But I will hit the guy standing next you.”

I remember not even thinking — I just popped the guy in the face as soon as he laid hands on my brother. Then his two buddies jumped me, but I was punching the one in front of me and then, on the cock back of my arm, elbowed the other one behind me — rapid fire. it was very Steve MaQueen or Bruce Lee, maybe Clint  Eastwood. Someone tough like that anyway. And eventually all three of us crashed into the window. And now that I think about it, the guy that had me from behind, his hand was on my shoulder that went into the window, and it, his hand, took the brunt of the blow, cutting his knuckles and causing him to bleed. Stunned by the sight of his own blood (wuss) I clocked him a good one and then took the other one down to the floor. Which is all to say (besides bragging, I mean), I kicked ass,  but that was the best fight I’ve ever had. It was all down him from there.

Anyhoo…where was I? Oh, yeah. Picking verbal fights, usually over politics, but about any debatable subject really. There was a time when I could do this without losing my cool, but over time I transmogrified from being simply argumentative into being  the kind of dickehead that lays in wait like a cobra just itching for an opportunity to strike an unleash its venom on the poor soul that with misforutne of crossing its path. Often, I wasn’t even waiting, it was just there, roiling beneath the surface, and the tiniest thing could set me off. Instead of simply disagreeing with or refuting someone, I had to pummel them with my counter-argument. This was actually pointed out to me by someone who said that I could be pretty vicious and unrelenting in an argument, which isn’t to say that I was necessarily a good arguer just more aggressive. I had a sort of Cobra Kai, a la The Karate Kid, mentality — you know, Strike first! Strik hard! No mercy! Which served little purpose other than to convince people that I was a jerk; it’s not as if they would actually listen to me.

Anyway. Now, I don’t really feel the need to do that. Or if I do, I can contain it. Actually, I’d prefer to opt out of  most arguments all together. Don’t misunderstand. I’ve got plenty of opinions and grievances, more than I know what to do with. It’s just that now I figure it’s probably better to keep them to myself. And, if I do feel compelled to enage, I’d rather do it in a less confrontational manner.

Example: I was following a discussion about the recent talk of a GM bankruptcy, in which the federal government would have a majority stake in the company. Actually, it was less of a discussion and more of bitch fest, which included reactionary comments that labeled the move as socialism, the buzz word of the moment, and renaming GM as Government Motors. Generally there was a lot of complaining about the government’s involvement, which seemed at least somewhat misplaced. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the government running GM, but I don’t think that is what they are going to do. The government is not going to be running the company. They’re just backing it until it can get back to a paying/profitting basis. Although I doubt many of the people I saw commenting would agree with me. Not that they could prove their claim, but still…they  heard it on Fox News, so, you  know it must be true. Also, what seemed to be missing from the string of complaints was blame for the white-shirts running the company. I assumed that most of the people involved in the “discussion” either worked for GM or knew someone who did. I didn’t understand how they could give these guys (perhaps there were women too, but largely the largest automotive company in the world is run by men, and no doubt mostly white at that) a pass, but they certainly seemed to be.

And as for their gripes about the govt taking over GM: what is the alternative? Because I don’t think any of these people would be happy  if GM just disappeared all together. And if any of them had an alternate plan they weren’t sharing it. My guess is they didn’t. I don’t either, but then I’m  not bitching about the way it is being handled.

I admit it freely. I was an Obama supporter, a pretty virulent one at times. I drank the Kool Aid early and had no intention of budging. And I’m not sorry I did. I’ve been satisfied with the job Obama has done since he took office. And I’ve got no problem with the plan put forth to save GM. Because that is what it does — saves GM. The only alternative that I’ve heard prestented is the one espoused by the likes of Senator Shelby from Alabama and Mitch McConnell from Kentucky, among others, and that is to simply let GM and Chrysler fail, Ford to if it comes to that. Of course, these Republicans  have Honda and Toyota plants in their states that are non-union, which I don’t really have a problem with either, not a very popular stance to take for somone living in Metro Detroit, and failure of any or all of the Detroit Three (it seems generally agreed upon that The Big Three is no longer an appropriate monicker) would mean more business and more money for their states. You can’t blame them for that, really. Their interest is their state. They don’t give a crap about Michigan.Fair enough, because I dont’ really give a crap about Alabama or Kentucky, although I hear the derby is pretty cool. I don’t know what Alabama’s got — college football, I guess. But what do I know. I do care about Michigan, at least as long I live here. C and I are talking seriously about moving to California or perhaps  Texas, which has a very good economy right now. At this point, i don’t care which really; I’m ready to live in some other state other than Michigan, almost any other state, Albama and Kentucky not being one of them.

Back to my original intent in this post, before I really spin out of control and bore the reader to death. I’d have been inclined to jump into the argument, despite knowing that my view would be largely unpopular and not accepted no matter how I argued with it, which would only have pissed me off, and made me quiver with rage. Seriously, that kind of thing could really set me off.  And that kind of anger/rage/anxiety is just draining. No wonder I was tired all the time. Now I’ve much more energy. Of course, I did sort of particapate, and that was by simply interjecting an article that suggested that the only people who were going to benefit from the GM govt-sponsored bankruptcy were the lawyers and accountants that will charge outrageous fees for their services in making it happen.  That was it. And nothing else.

I’m feeling much better now. Aaaaah.

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Every day in every way….

… I’m feeling better and better.

I know that sounds a corny, a line usually uttered dripping with irony. But it is true for me right now.

I credit the meds, which I’ve been on for about 4 weeks now. My understanding is that they take approx. 3 to 6 weeks to kick in fully. And I got tell you, if there’s a chance I could actually feel even better than I do now, well, that makes me so happy I could just shit, you know.

It’s hard to explain, but the best we I can describe it is that the world seems less threatening to me. Pre-meds  just about everything seemed threatening, even deciding what to wear to work or what to make for dinner, whether to work on my novel or get on the treadmill for some exercise. As a result, my usual mode was to NOT do anything, just sink into my chair and not move except to raise the clicker to the TV to change the channel. No longer.

I think I thought that if I could just be still, I’d find some peace. It never happend.

Counseling ain’t hurting either, I’ll tell you that much. Not sure why I resisted it for so long.

Anyway, because the world seems less threatening I’m doing stuff, getting things done around the house, things I would have dreaded doing, like staining the deck or spreading mulch in the flower beds around the house, even mowing the lawn.  I’d fret for hours about mowing the lawn, expending so much mental energy over it that it was ridiculous. It was certainly out of proportion. I mean, really, it takes probably less than an hour to do both front and back (and we have a pretty descent sized lot) plus weed whip and blow the grass off the sidewalk and driveway. What is the big deal, right? Well, it seemed like a very big deal to me, though I couldn’t begin to tell you why.

Every decsion was a chore. And this makes me wonder if my depression hindered my writing, because writing is essentially about making endless decisions, one right after the other. And I was (am?) the kind of writer that would anguish over the smallest of details, unable to settled on whether a bit of dialogue should be followed by “he said” or not. I have rewritten the same sentence close to a hundred times. Alternately, I would get bogged down in detail at the expense of the story. The intense focus on detail helped take me out of myself, which was comforting, but I don’t think it always served my writing best.  Anyhoo… I guess I’m hoping that the meds will improve my writing process. I’m not expecting some kind of silver-bullet effect that would turn me into a writer as productive as, say, Johhn Updike, cranking out at least a book a year, although that would be damn cool. But I  already get the feeling that I’m being more productive, not getting bogged down by little things, and moving along as I write, making progress.

Of course, there is always the concern that this effect (or is it affect?) won’t last. That it is only temporary. GenXr that I am, I suppose it is typical of me, on meds or not, to be at least a tad pessimistic. But really, it doesn’t feel like pessimism. Not the grim, moody variety at any rate. It’s more the don’t let your hopes get over-inflated because that just lead to having your bubble burst kind.

For now, I’m cool. And I’m hoping to stay that way.

Peace out!

The shape of (one of) our weekends

I was going to title this post “A Typical Weekend” but we haven’t seemed to settle into anything that seems typical.  So just to give you an idea of how we’re shaping our weekends, I thought I detail this weekend.

So technically this weekend is C’s weekend, because it’s Mother’s Day weekend, and it made sense that our daughter, A, be with her Mom. But Friday night A spent the night at Nana and Papa’s, because she hadn’t done so in some time. And Mom and Dad had plans. That’s right Mom and Dad, who are currently separated and living in separate dwellings had plans. Together.

What were the plans?

I’m glad you asked. We went out to the bar with C’s mother and two of C’s friends. Of course, those plans were thrown together at pretty much the last minute. Originally, C and I’d planned to hang out and watch a movie, The Curious Case of  Benjamin Buttons, which I’d already seen but I was cool with seeing it again. It makes for kind of an odd dynamic when one guy is out with four women, especially when the guy is a) the husband of one of the women and they are separated b) the son-in-law of one of the other women and c) is not gay. I’m not saying it wasn’t fun, it was. It was just kind of weird in a way. Or so it seemed.

That’s what C said to me, anyway, as we walked from where we’d parked the car to the bar: “Is this weird?”

“Yeah. Maybe a little,” I said. “But it’s cool.”

C agreed. Neither of cared if it was weird. Neither of us are very inclined to do things in a typical manner.

So then this morning, I got up and did some laundery and mowed the grass before it rained while C went for a run. Later, I drove over to Nana and Papa’s to pick up The Girl, who had a soccer game at 1pm. On the way I dropped off and picked up drycleaning, which came to a whopping total of $118 and some change, which set me into a mini panic attack, but it was wasted anxiety, for C transferred that very amount from her account to mine. She is as generous as she is beautiful! And anyway, most of the dry cleaning was her’s. (Not exactly; I had quite a few pieces as well but she had more and I thought the line was clever) Come time for the soccer game it was pouring rain, and the league really only cancels for lightening, of which there was none. But we decided, fuck it (C and I, because A is not allowed to decide in such a potty-mouthed fashion, although I’ve no doubt she will soon enough — bad parent, bad! teaching your child such filth) and went to grab some lunch and then go shopping at Target, where I purchased three pairs of shorts because having lost almost 20 lbs since December from both stress and my new medication I went down  three waist sizes. After gassing up we headed back home, i.e. to the house not the apartment, for A had a play date coming over at 3pm.

And that is where we are now. A and her friend are playing Wii. C is napping. And I am mucking about on the computer. Later, we’ll probably do some dinner (although precisely how one does dinner is a mystery to me). Then I’ll head back to the apt to do some writing before going out to the bar, sans my lovely wife from whom I am most regrettably separated, to see a high school friend’s brother’s band play. Tomorrow morning I’ll come over to the house so that A and I can make breakfast in bed for C for Mom’s Day. Then we might spread some mulch, which we did not get to do today because of the rain. Then A and I will  head back to Nana and Papa’s to celebrate Mother’s Day. We’ll leave there  no later than 5pm to get back to the house for Mother’s Day at C’s mom’s house, to which I was invited but not yet sure if I’m going to go. It is nothing personal. It’s just that I worry that it might serve to put me in a funk and I don’t want to bring people down. We’ll see.

Sunday evening, after A goes to bed, I may or may not head back to the apt. I may or may not hang out with C. I may or may not ride a dragon off into the sunset.

Better Living Via Modern Chemistry

So I’m seeing a counselor, of course. Because this is the sort of thing one does under these cirucumstances. I suppose I could just get really drunk and punch the wall or something, but I’ve never really been that kind of guy. In fact, those kind of guys scare me. At parties, they always seemed to find me and start fucking with me. I don’t know why.

Anyhoo… my counselor wanted me to see a shrink to be evaluated for depression. I’m like, I don’t need to see a shrink for you to know that I’m depressed. I can tell you that, pal.  I’m in the pits of despair. Okay, maybe not all the time, but still…

So I actually got an appointment with a shrink pretty quickly, which surpised me.  I called a few different offices and the wait time to get in was at least several months. I see the guy and he puts me on Wellbutrin. He thinks this will work better for me than Zoloft, which I’ve actually been on before, just after I graduated from grad school but that’s another story, because, he said, where Zoloft acts as a kind of sedative Wellburtin is a stimulant, like drinking coffee.  Sounded cool to me, because I’d been so lathargic and slug-like lately.

I start with 150mg/day the first week and then switch to 300mg thereafter. The first day, I loved it. It pepped me up. I knew it was just the stimulative effect of the drug that was working, sicne it takes 3 to 6 weeks for it to really work its way into your system. Also, there was probably a placeb effect at work, but I didn’t give a shit. I was feeling pretty good.

When I started on 300mg/day, it made me a little shakey, but I think that was because it was the first day and I’d made the mistake of also drinking some coffee that morning, just out of habit.  Not cool. I was jittery like an addict jonesing at at 4am. Okay it wasn’t that bad, but I did not like. I’ve since even out. That’s what the stuff does. It evens you out. Little things that used to irritate me don’t anymore. I don’t lose my cool. I don’t rage about things for no significant reason. I feel less scared. I feel more outgoing even, and that is so not like me. In addition, I’ve pretty much stopped drinking coffee, which saves money, and I’m losing my taste for cigarette, also a money saver, not to mention a life saver. I know smoking is bad, but I still do it, especially when I write. It is part of my routine.

Another little ancillary benefit is I’m losing weight. But then I was already losing weight from stress. I’ve gone from 178 lbs just after Christmas to 157, stepping on the scale today. I’ve been hovering mainly around 163 though, so that 157 reading is probably off.

Also, I’m not content to sit still. I need to do shit. Unlike before when I could literally sit in the chair in front of the TV for fucking hours. Of course, Colleen really digs this new version of me because I’m folding clothes, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning up the yard. I don’t exactly mind it either.

I feel more focused when I’m reading, less easily distractable. I’m hoping that focus translates to my writing as well. I’m not seeing so far, although tonight I’ve been pretty focused.

I can still feel pretty down sometimes, often in fact, but it’s not freak out sad.

Anyway. I’ve only been on it for a couple of weeks. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.

too much coffee

Just got back from dinner and drink and coffee (twice) with an old college friend. Been walking around downtown Royal Oak and talking, about everything but personal stuff for the most part, which a great relief. Anyhoo…I’m not even sure what I’m writing about here. I’m just so wired on coffee that I know I’m not going to sleep right away. Not that I have to be up too early in the morning….

Shut up. No on cares about mundane shit.

I don’t know. Consider some of the crap people post on Twitter and Facebook, I’d beg to differ.

Exactly. That kind of stuff is for Twitter and Facebook. This is a blog and as such should be more substantive.

O…..k…..

I don’t know if this is substantive, but my friend and I got stopped while walking around downtown Royal Oak by a group of young girls. They looked like late teens early twenties. They said they were doing a project and wanted to know if they could ask a question and then video our response. I  of course could not resist making a comment about how I’d seen this sort of thing on the internet and it always ended up in some kind of orgy. The girls, of course, assured us that nothing like that would heppen. And pretty much lost my interst right there. But still, I was willing to hear them out. And then they asked the question: What does God mean to you? I told them that I had not desire to answer that question under normal circumstances, nevermind to a bunch of strangers on the street while being videod. The promised us that the video would NOT be posted anywhere. Then why take it? I wondered, but did not ask. I didn’t say much of anything after my refusal, becaus I kind of irritated and didn’t want to go off on these girls. And had I had a beer or two more, I might well have gone off. It’s better that I didn’t, though.

Am I the only annoyed by this kind of presumption that you can just walk up to someone on the street and ask them to discuss God?

Anyhoo…we declined politely and walked away. And got more coffee, which is why I can’t sleep now. Ugh!