One thing that I used to really like….

…about my job at the library was spending my lunch breaks reading in the break room. I’d come in early, about 7:30am, and take my lunch early, about 11am, before anyone else, and I’d have the staff lounge to myself usually, and I could get in about 40 minutes of reading after wolfing down my lunch but anymore I just don’t enjoy it that much. Recently, it’s been too cold in there. Once the library got the AC working right it got so cold in the basement of the library that’s it’s difficult to stand. Of course, it is nice to read outside, as long as it is not too hot or raining or both, as it was yesterday.

But the other thing is that I just feel kind of glum being down there in that staff lounge by myself. It’s kind of dim and depressing now for some reason. I can’t really explain it. Perhaps I’m just in the process of separating myself from the place. I don’t know.

For a time I wasn’t even reading much on my lunch breaks. I’d read for maybe 10 minute and then I’d just sleep. But I think that had something to do with my meds, which I’ve since gotten off of.  The anti-depressants were good at first, they really evened my out, but after while they just seemed to make me sleepy; I had a hell of a time getting out of bed this past winter. It was rough. Another side-effect: hand tremors. I could not keep my hands from shaking. I hated it. Now that I’m off the meds I’ve got a lot more energy. I still get anxious some times but it hasn’t been bad at all. I just have to get moving and doing when that happens. And what’s wrong with that?

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alive and kicking….

….stay until your love is….

A DM on Twitter from JenX today inspired me to post. I haven’t in awhile. Not sure if I’m burned on on this blogging stuff. Or if perhaps I’m just on a hiatus.

Anyhoo… not only am I still alive and kicking, I’m doing quite well. In fact, things could not be better because C and I are reconciling. That’s right. I’m giving up the apt and moving back in. It only took a couple of months. And some little yellow pills and a whole lot of blathering to a stranger in a Dilbert-esque office can do for you. Although to my counselor’s credit, he’s done as much as can be expected to give the plain white wall box some personality and charm. In any case, it did the trick.

That’s where thing are now… for the few who might be interested.

Which of course brings me to this point: What now?

I’d intended for this blog to be about how C and A and I re-formatted our lives in the wake of the separation. But there’d have to be a separation for that happen so….

I’ve been concetrating my writing energies on my fiction, at present specifically a novel I plan to pub online. A psychological thriller of sorts. With a bit of supernatural thrown in for good measure. Along with a dash of conspiracy paranoia. But on deeper level, I suppose, it is an expression of one person’s grief and pain and sorrow. Yeah, I know — how original, right. Hey. I never claimed to be some great literary talent.

Finally. I can’t help wondering if the blogging sprung from my depression, for lack of a better word. We’ll see, I suppose.

Okay Simple Minds. Play me out….

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.

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!

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.

Hey, I’d be a booze hound if I could. But instead I’m just a movie junkie

A friend from college, who is going through his own trying times right now, although they are of a different sort than my own, his being of the lost job variety — Yikes! — were talking recently, and he said that he was glad that he didn’t have a taste for alcohol (beyond the occasional glass of wine at a social function, I’d imagine) otherwise he might be in big trouble, easily turning into a booze hound. I shared this sentiment. There have been times in my life, including my current state or disillusionment, that have made me seriously consider just the romantic, albeit destructive notion of simply drinking myself into oblivion. Problem is I just don’t have it in me to drink like that. Never did. I had friends in high school who certainly did, and at least two of them are recovering alcoholics now. It wasn’t just that I was (am) a super light weight,  able catch a buzz on less than two beer, likely to get wrecked on little more than a six pack. I’m not sure I had to stomach capacity. Hell, I can’t even finish a glass of Coke when I go out to eat.

No. Instead of booze, my friend and I both seek solace and refuge in movies. He keeps as many 10 different movies on hand at any given time so that if he is so inclined he’ll just start watching, one flick after another, and not stop until he passes out, i.e. falls asleep. My habit, on the other hands, is slightly different. I tend to latch onto certain movies and/or TV shows now that they’re on DVD and watch the same one over and over again. I’ve done this in the past too. And I can never predict which movies/TV shows I’ll latch onto. For example, this holiday season I watched the Elf and A Christmas Story, over and over again, every day. Well, I didn’t exactly watch them. I’d listen to them online while I worked. I have that kind of job, in which I sit at a computer for the better part of 8 hours each day. Although I’ve begun to think that the nature of job may have something to do with my blues these days, and in the recent past. Looking back, I’m certain that I was depressed for the better part of year, perhaps longer. And, at least in part, that lead to estrangement from my wife. [sigh]

Anyhoo…these days I seem to have developed an attachment for the movie Good Will Hunting. I’ve always liked this movie. As my friend from college described it, Good Will Hunting is an example of solid, straight forward storytelling without and self-consciously obvious tricks or cleverness. Personally, I think that has much to do with the director, Gus Van Sant. Anyway, I keep watching it over and over again. In fact, it is playing right now as I tap out this post.

A TV show that I’ve been watching a lot: SCRUBS. I’ve always found this show to be appealing. I suppose because it seems to drip with GenX ethos. But also it is refreshing and quirky, utilizing a single-camera technique, not film on a sound stage with a studio audience, and the fantsy sequences are brilliantly done. Also, whereas in most cases, a voiceover usually ruins a TV show or movie, this one seems to work somehow. For whatever reason, it works, at least for me.

Still, I worry that I watch TV too much, that I use it to anesthetize myself. I believe that is what I did for the past year or more before my separation, because I was depressed. I think a lot of people do this, to one degree or another. I believe that I saw my father do this most of his life — the man watched a lot of TV, and I believe there was something profoundly unhappy about him. But then he was from The Silent Generation, and it was characteristic for the members of this cohort to simply not talk about their problems. That was my dad all over.

My point is, I  don’t want to rot in front of the TV. And it seems that I’ve taken a step in that direction, by getting on some meds, specifically Wellburtin, which was recommended to me by a Dr, mainly because it has rather opposite effects compared to Zoloft, which I ‘ve taken before. Where the Zoloft can act as kind of a sedative, often making your sleepy, Wellbutrin acts as more of stimulant. Seems I’ve alreayd expereince said effects this weekend, after only taking the med for two days. Perhaps it is just psychological but I felt much more energetic, and I did not have but one small sample cup of coffe this weekend. Usually, it’s the first thing I do in the morning, and then again in the afternoon sometimes, and often at night too. But that was not the case this weekend. And it was a good weekend too.