Such A Twit

twitterI’ve recently fallen pray to a new addiction.  It’s called Twitter and it’s more fun than one person is entitled to have.

I “follow” 52 people, most of whom are famous celebrities.  I have 13 followers following me.  Many of whom, again, are famous celebrities.  I interact with these people every day.  I read their messages, I laugh at their jokes, I click on their links.  We have a good old time.  ‘Course none of them are talking directly to me, and with one notable exception, I’ve never received a reply to anything I’ve directed at anyone specific.  Yes, that’s right!  @therealnph (to use proper Twitter lingo) has tweeted at me… ‘Course the jury is still out on whether he’s really the real NPH, (That’s Neil Patrick Harris, for those not in the know) but I guess I can now say “I’m friends with ‘therealnph’.”

I’ve really enjoyed being on Twitter.  It’s open on my computer all the time, whether I’m at home or at work.  I’ve got two separate apps on my iPhone for accessing the Twitter platform.  I’m always on Twitter and it’s great fun.  However, I can’t help wonder what Twitter feels like to someone who is like I was most of my life; easily discouraged, insecure, feeling unloved and unwanted.

You see, being on Twitter tests my ability to handle rejection and judge my own self worth.  Having been clinically depressed most of my life, having based a lot of my self worth on whether or not other people wanted me around (or how I perceived whether they wanted me around), I could understand how someone who experiences these things would quickly be discouraged, possibly even hurt, by being a Twit.  It would be easy to develop a false sense of popularity, or cool…ness.  I don’t have five real friends so 52 twitter friends seems pretty impressive, ‘course most of them don’t know I’m following them. (Doesn’t that make me more like a Twitter stalker?) I’m just one of a legion.  And those that follow me, probably follow everyone who follows them.  Let’s see…

hal-sparks-autographHal Sparks is being followed by 656 people and  following 327 people.  I’m one of those 327.  OK.  I guess I’m special.

hayden-panettiereHayden Panettiere is being followed by 341 people and is following 81.  Not only am I one of them but she added me as someone she’s following within minutes of me adding her as someone I’d follow.  I guess that’s kinda special!

gavinnewsomNow, Gavin Newsom is being followed by 1351 people and is following 1262 people.  I’m one of those people, but that’s 93% of the people following him.  More importantly, Gavin Newsom is the Mayor of San Francisco and running for Governor of California.  I’m sure his following me is politically motivated…  More importantly, I’m certain Gavin Newsom himself rarely, if ever, sees his own Twitter timeline and the person/people really seeing my tweets are interns working on his campaign.  Me?  Not so special.

livestrong3I follow the LIVESTRONG foundation.  Livestrong has 5905 people following them and they’re following 6182 people.  This would imply that they’re following 100% of the people following them and then some.  Once again, me not special.

scharzenegger_narrowweb__300x3790Arnold Schwarzenegger is being followed by 16,760 people and is following 16,487 people.  I’m one of those people, but that’s 98% of his followers.  Among the masses, am I.  (Who let Yoda in here?)  Arnold is our current Governor so obviously his Twitter activity is politically motivated.

maria-shriverMaria Shriver (mostly just ’cause I can) is being followed by 6708 people and is following 5515.  Well, that’s only 82% and she started following me pretty much immediately too.  I guess that would be kinda special but she’s the Governor’s wife.  She has her own political function.  Again, pretty sure it’s an intern of some sort running her show.  Besides which, nothing has been posted in her name since I signed up.

barack-obama-for-presidentOh, and then, of course, there’s Barack Obama.  Followed by 298,345 people and following 287,407.  That’s 96%.  I’m one of them, added on the same day.  I’d feel special but I’ve never been more sure of anything than I am that The President of the United States is not running his own Twitter account.

I seem to have gotten a little lost in my point making.  Oh yes.

While I could be wrong and one or two of the people I listed up there might have found something interesting in the very slight bit of information they might find about me, I doubt it very much and can only assume that adding me as someone they follow was somehow a political/career move on their parts.  If what they thought of me mattered, or if I was counting on Twitter Popularity to make me feel good about myself that would probably hurt me.  If I had some real hope of becoming friends with famous people because I Tweet (and if you’re reading this, I do want to be your friend.  Let’s do lunch!), I’d certainly be setting myself up for a fall.  But I don’t expect that’s going to happen. I take Twitter for what it is and I do not expect anything more than what I’m getting.

Clinical Depression is not something that just goes away.  For me, it’s under control now.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and about life and I have, at least some, of the tools necessary to deal with it.  So while I admit that I get pangs of unwarranted negative feelings about what happens on Twitter, I am quick to remember that this is not where my value lies and not what my self worth is based on.  It’s just a fun thing to do!

Oh!  And Hal, Hayden, Mayor Newsom, LIVESTRONG dudes, Governor Schwarzenegger, Maria or President Obama (or any of your Interns), if you’re reading this, thanks for following me on Twitter and for stopping by my blog!  You’re my favorite Comedian, Actress, Mayor, Charitable Organization, Governor, State First Lady, or President (or any of their Interns) reading this at this moment!

Getting “In The Game”

I was a painfully lonely child.  Even while most kids with siblings have built in best friends, my sibs hardly wanted anything to do with me as a child.  I desperately needed for someone to love me and want me around.  Ex Con Older Brother and CPA Sis are only two years apart and always had more in common with each other than either had with me.  For reasons I may never be able to understand, I wasn’t really ever able to make friends with people my own age, and so I spent a lot of time after school and on the week-ends being alone.

“Mommy,” I used to say to Vengeful Mother, “I’m bored.”

“So find yourself something to do,” she would respond.  “It’s not my responsibility to entertain you.”  Even Vengeful Mother didn’t want to spend time with me.

I rarely ever considered the idea of having a little brother or sister.  I couldn’t remember when my parents were married and so for me to have a little brother or sister would require someone to have sex outside of marriage and, well, that of course was out of the question!  So while, from time to time, I wished for a built in best friend like my siblings had in each other, I never really seriously considered the desire.  So I was painfully lonely.

I used to overhear ECOB And CPA Sis talk about “The Game”, and I had no idea what they were talking about.  Finally one day I learned that they had an imaginary world, known simply as “The Game”, wherein they pretended to be other people, with other lives.  Generally older than they really were, with spouses and families and friends that didn’t really exist.  And I wanted in.  They, of course wouldn’t allow it, so as usual I was out in the cold to play my own game.  So, play my game I did.

richardsimmonsI used to have great fun playing my game.  As a very young child I was completely enamored with Wonder Woman, but of course I was a boy and I knew I was not permitted to want to be a girl.  (In truth, I didn’t really want to be a girl, I just didn’t have a lot of imagination.)  So I pretended I was Wonder Man.  (I never knew there really was a Wonder Man character.) I imagined I had the little red boots with the white stripe and the slight heel.  As to the rest of my costume, well, as I just said, I didn’t have much of an imagination but I had to “masculinize” Wonder Woman’s costume for myself…  So imagine, Richard Simmons… feeling very patriotic…  That’s pretty much what my imaginary Wonder Man costume looked like, complete with the golden lasso, bullet proof cuffs and boomerang crown naturally!  Of course if I’d known then, what I know now…  I might’ve imagined myself looking a little more like this:

wondermanI used to run around the yard outside our after school care ladies house kicking my heels into my butt cheeks (because that was how Wonder Woman ran so fast, dontchaknow) and making the ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch sound whenever I’d “jump great distances.”  This, by the way was the same sound I made while “performing great feats of strength”, when I pretended I was The Six Million Dollar Man.  ECOB and CPA Sis pretended not to know me.

I used to love MacGyver.  I hadn’t taken any significant science classes at that point (and come to find out I’d suck big harry nuts at science) but I thought he was the shiz.  Plus, he was blond.  Something I always wanted to be but never was… Not naturally anyway.  He was attractive.  I could tell because CPA Sis and Vengeful Mother both really liked him.  I always got a happy feeling when I’d see him on the screen.  So at one point I wanted to be MacGyver.  (As a side bar:  With the resurgence of “old time” TV shows lately (Bionic Woman, Knight Rider, 90210) they should totally make a new MacGyver.  I’m thinking Ryan Reynolds or maybe that guy from Brittney Spears’ “Womanizer” video (shirtless at all times of course.) I’d do ‘im– er, watch him.)

I always liked The Facts of Life, and, go figure, Jo Polniaczek was my favorite girl.  I knew I was supposed to like girls and of the options, she was the least girlie, black or fat.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I always liked Jo, for real, but if I was supposed to like a girl, she was the one.  And at the time I thought I was sincere.

So for a while there, “in the game” I was MacGyver and I was married to Jo Polniaczek, living in Mrs. G’s house and sharing the household responsibilities with the other girls and their husbands (Yes.  The four of them all still lived in the house.)

For a brief period of time in 1988 I even pretended I was Mario Van Peebles, a la “Sonny Spoon” and I was married to Olympic Figure Skater Debi Thomas.  I know they say that “Once you go black, you never go back”, but this phase didn’t last very long and when it was over, it was all white guys from then on, for me.

Eventually, Ex Con Older Brother outgrew “The Game”, and CPA Sis wasn’t ready to call it quits, so suddenly, I was old enough to play.  I still remember, from time to time, whenever one of us would learn something new about someone, or find a new celebrity or character we liked, we’d change “The Game”.  At one point CPA Sis and I were both infatuated with MacGyver at the same time.

“In the game, I’m MacGyver,” I said.

“You can’t be.  I want to be married to him,” was her reply.

“Hmmm.  Ok.  Then….  I’m his twin brother GyMacver.”  I replied.  (I don’t think I really fucked with the name like that, but who knows.

On other occasions:

“In the game, MacGyver is sitting right here next to me with his arm around me helping me with my homework.”  Guess which of us said that.

The worst was when I was spending the night at my friends house (we’ll call him the Pickle) once and I thought it would be cool to let him in on the fun.  I told him about the game and that in the game I was MacGyver and I was married to The Bionic Woman, and then pretended to kiss her.  The Pickle and I were lying on the floor in his parents room playing a board game, (Life, I think) and when I finished kissing Jamie Sommers and looked back at him, he looked at me like I had three heads.  Fortunately, about three seconds later, he forgot all about my game.

He’d been playing with an electrical cord with his toes while we were playing the board game and suddenly his mother’s iron came crashing down on his head, point first.  As the blood gushed forth and down over his forehead, no longer was the stupidity of my imaginary game at hand, and never was it mentioned again!

There was a point in the late 80s where I also fantasized that I was Officer Tom Hansen as played by Johnny Depp.  This one worked particularly well, because I could go to my school and learn my lessons while pretending to be this cool, older, sexier guy that girls swooned over.  There’s one episode of 21 Jump Street that has always stood out for me.  Tom decided to become a Big Brother as in Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, but he was ultimately rejected.  It turned out that Doug Penhall had discouraged the BBBS from accepting Tom, for one reason or another…  Hey!  I was 12.  I can’t be expected to remember ALL of the details.

In late 1988 or early 1989, I had become enamored of the “Patch and Kayla” story on Days of our Lives (which I’d been introduced to by CPA Sis.)  I didn’t especially think much of Steve, but I thought Kayla (Mary Beth Evans) was awesome.  Since I had no imagination, I decided I wanted to be Steve so I could be with Kayla.  I knew CPA Sis wouldn’t be impressed with that so I didn’t tell her.  I continued to pretend I was pretending to be MacGyver because that was acceptable to her, but really I was pretending I was Patch.  (I guess this was the beginning of my career pretending to be something acceptable to my family.)  I remember the day in the late ’80s when I realized that something was not right.  CPA Sis was 16 or 17 years old and her heart hadn’t really seemed into it when I’d talk about “The Game.”  One day I said, “You don’t really want to play ‘The Game’ anymore, do you?”

“Not really,” she said.  “I’m kinda too old for it.”

And that was the end of “The Game”…  Or was it?

I’m a little ashamed to admit that I continued to play “The Game” alone, well into my 20s.  When Party of Five came out, I was head over heals for Scott Wolf/Bailey Salinger.  I wanted to be him.  God only knows why he was the preferred character for me.  I was certainly closer in age to Charlie Salinger, but it was all about Bailey.  I had a whole fantasy worked out.  I was Bailey Salinger, and (as was often the case in those days) I had an infant child which was the product of a one night stand with a girl I met at a party.  She had died during child birth (as they always did, ’cause who needs the girl around) and I was raising my child on my own (the only way I’d want to.)

When I moved to California, and had my first job with The Soul Crushing Telecom Company for whom Green M&M still works, I met a guy.  His name was Scott and he was beautiful.  I wanted him, but mostly I just wanted to be friends with him.  My fantasy  was that Scott and I (Bailey Salinger) were such good friends that we hung out together all of the time.

One day Scott didn’t come to work.  I found out that he had always wanted to ride his motor cycle to LA and back and so he took a Friday off to do this.  In my imagination, I came home from work to find him in my apartment.  He’d gotten halfway to LA and realized he wasn’t having any fun ’cause I wasn’t there, and he turned around and came back.  He couldn’t wait to tell me all this and how much he wanted to be with me.  That was the first night I allowed myself to unabashedly fantasize about having sex with a man.

To this day, when I’m feeling particularly lonely, or when I’ve got something on my mind that I need to hash out with someone, or when I’m horny and I need a boyfriend…  I find myself leaning toward “The Game.”  I’ve found it to be like an addiction.  I have a physical need for it.  Honestly!  Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m the only person in the house and that I can talk to myself all I want, I’m just talking to myself.  No one is going to answer me.  It’s not that I have to pretend I’ve got this whole alternate life going on anymore.  But sometimes I imagine both sides of the conversation/encounter and play it out.  It’s not that there’s anything wrong with this, it’s just that it’d be real easy for me to slip back into “The Game” if I let myself and I don’t want to do that.  I want real relationships.

So, yeah.  I was lonely a lot growing up, and despite my knowledge that getting a little brother would mean “unacceptable” behavior on my mother’s part I always wanted someone I could be close with.  I finally got my “little brother in 2000, when CPA Sis married Mr. Fixit who is three years my junior.  Unfortunately, my “little brother” was going to be living 1800 miles away (3000 miles now) and is nearly six inches taller than I.  Very funny God!  You’ve finally answered my prayers and my “little brother” is bigger than I.

—————————————————————————————-

About a year ago, I grew very tired of being lonely and set about looking for ways to find and make new friends.  The ancestral version of this blog was part of that plan, but that didn’t come until later and when it did, it didn’t work out the way I had intended.  I decided that I could make an effort toward meeting people, and perhaps make myself feel a little bit better by finding some sort of volunteer work I could do.  I looked into Habitat for Humanity.  I really enjoy things that have tangible results to show and what better way to have tangible results than to build something, but their needs and my availability didn’t really seem to match up.

I found myself low on further ideas for additional opportunities so I did an internet search and came across a website called Volunteer Match and I found a number of listings for mentoring.  Nothing sounded familiar to me and I felt like that was too big of a deal to enter into lightly, but it reminded me of the episode of 21 Jump Street.  I remember watching that episode in silence while secretly being tremendously affected by it.  Of course part of it was, how could I not want Johnny Depp to pay attention to me?  But mostly it was just my secret longing for anyone to really care about and pay attention to me.  To make me the center of their universe, even if it was only for a few hours a week.  I was hurting while I watched it because I was thinking, I could really use someone like that in my life.  But I couldn’t ask for it.

And while I was remembering that it hit me.  I could be a Big Brother.  I could do for some kid or kids what no one ever did for me.  I could be a positive influence in their lives.  So I went to their website and I applied.  It wasn’t meant to be at that time.  There was an obstacle that I had to over come before I could be a Big Brother, but it was a blessing in disguise.  It gave me a year to think it over and make sure, was this really something I wanted to do?  Yes!  Am I really ready to handle this?  Fuck if I know, but I imagine it’s a little like parenthood.  You’re never ready, you just do it.

Today, I had my first interview with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Bay Area.  It was nerve racking, though not as much so as I thought it would be.  The match specialist was fabulous and made me feel very much at ease.  She seemed very non-judgmental and more than once expressed her appreciation of my candor.  It was actually easier than I thought it would be to tell her I’m gay, but I thought it was important to establish that up front.

Now begins the arduous wait while they go through their process.  Tomorrow, she’ll send her reference checks to CPA Sis, Green M&M, Eve and Douche Bag.  I would have just as soon not included him, but as I recall the application asks for your immediate supervisor as one of the references.  The good thing is that DB doesn’t do confrontation, so I can rest relatively assured that he’ll say good things about me and not hurt my chances.  I don’t know what he would possibly have based this statement on but when I told him I would be leaving early today for the interview he said, “That’s great!  You’d make a great Big Brother.”  While it’s nice to hear, I don’t feel particularly like that’s praise worth it’s salt coming from him.  Anyway, while they wait for the references to be sent back, they’ll run my background check.  The only thing they’ll find is the DUI I received on January 18, 2003 and they’re already aware of that.  (This is the obstacle from a year ago.)  They can’t officially match me with a “Little” until after it’s been five years, so I have a couple months to wait.  I was informed that being gay, it will take longer to match me, anyway.  Apparently, there are a lot of parent/guardians out there who are ignorant and fearful of homosexuality and have specified that they do not want their children paired up with a homosexual.  It’s unfortunate, as it’s the “Little” that they’re hurting, but it is their prerogative.  I can’t say I’m surprised by the likely delay, but it’s still sad to hear.  Meanwhile, if I’m accepted (God, I hope I’m accepted.  What would it say about me if I’m not ‘good enough’ to work with underprivileged children) they do offer some training for me to take which will help prepare me to be a “Big”.

I’ll be honest.  I’m terrified.  My stomach is in knots and my heart is in my throat, just writing about it.  But it is important to me.  I can’t wait to be able to have a positive impact on some boy’s life.  To teach him that there are people out there who want nothing more than his health, safety and happiness.  To teach him that no matter what shit he’s going through there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel.  And, God forbid, if he’s been through some serious problems (i.e. molestation, physical abuse) to teach him that not everyone wants to treat him like that.  That there is good in the world and that he deserves to experience it.

I can hardly wait!

Cold Turkey

Yesterday, I confessed to an addiction.  Today, I’ll tell you about another.

I’ve been a drug addict for six years.  It’s true.  Every single day for the last six years, I have taken mood altering substances that my body very quickly became dependent upon and without which I turned into an unrecognizable monster oddly reminiscent of an enormous ass, but one that would sooner kill you then feel like you’ve let him down or disappointed him in anyway.

I’m not talking about anything you’d snort or inject, in fact, I’d have to check with Ex Con Older Brother to be sure, but I don’t think you could even buy these drugs on the street.  The internet?  Sure.  But not the street.  No, the drugs I’m talking about are the Doctor sanctioned, Government approved, Pharmaceutical Company foisted kind.  Yes, that’s right.  I’ve been taking Anti-Depressants for the last six years.

Today, however, marks the last day of this addictive behavior.  No longer will I assault my synaptic pathways with artificial fortification.  No longer will I ingest these foreign substances to do what they will with my psyche.

[ Gosh, I feel a little like I should be standing barefoot on a couch after an overnight drinking party shouting at my friends about our flaccid penises (peni?) and making deals about losing our virginity by prom night.  And if you don’t get that reference – American Pie – then I don’t want to be your friend anyway.]

Today I am taking back control of my emotional well being.  It isn’t actually, really cold turkey  I made this decision back in April when I was taking 300 Milligrams of Welbutrin and 40 milligrams of Celexa on a daily basis.  I felt like I was in a haze all the time.  I felt like I wasn’t able to access my feelings.  Like I wasn’t having a genuine experience.  And I felt like this ride was never going to end unless I stepped on the breaks and got out of the car.  So I did.

This whole ordeal started a little over six years ago–  Well, really it started 33 years ago with my childhood and my genetics and my divorced parents and my general state of misery, but I don’t have all day to write and you don’t have all day to read and if I tried to put it all in here, WordPress very well might explode, but not before you found me boring and hit that nifty little arrow in the upper right corner to take you to the next random post!  So with that being said…

We’ll pick up this ordeal six years ago.  I had been working for about four months for The Company that Created the HMO and wasn’t really loving it (I was an Administrative Assistant for fuck’s sake) but it followed a nine month period of unemployment where I could barely pay for my car with the unemployment checks I received ever other week, let alone rent and utilities, or assisting Green M&M, who graciously allowed me to move in with her, with expenses.  I had been drinking a lot, and feeling really dejected because I wasn’t able to find another job and I was at a really low point in my emotional cycle.  So when the opportunity with The Company came along, I really had not choice but to take it.

One day I had had a blow up with a co-worker and I didn’t know what to do about it so I made an appointment with the Employee Assistance Program Counselor, ostensibly to talk about work relations and how I could deal with this person.  I sat for an hour with this Counselor who talked to me for five minutes about my coworker problem and then asked me all kinds of questions about my life, my childhood, how I live now, etc., etc., etc.  Then she said, “You sound depressed to me.  Here.  The Company that Created the HMO offers all these classes and they’re bound to fix you.”

OK, so that last part may not have come out quite like that, but all these years later, that’s how I feel about it.  The counselor referred me to the Oakland Adult Psychiatry department of The Company that Created the HMO where I was pared up with a Psychologist that I would get to see once every six weeks (whether I needed it or not, I guess.)  They never did offer me any assistance with the coworker and we continued to have conflict until the day she went on maternity leave and then decided not to come back.

Once every six weeks, I’d go to this appointment with this woman who looked strangely like a Yahoo Messenger avatar making the “angry” face and who always made me feel inferior and pathetic.  She kept urging me to go to this Depression Overview Class that was offered.  It was supposed to give me a better understanding of what I’m dealing with and was a precursor to the eight week Depression Management Class she also wanted me to take.  I resisted it for some time but it was obvious to me that I was not going to get what I needed from attending these sessions with Avatar Face and something had to give so I went.

Up to that point, I had been determined that I was not going to take medication and I did not want anyone else to know what I was going through.  I resisted the class because then people would know.  I gave in and attended the class and one of the things they focused on in this class (not even 2 hours) was the idea of medication, how it works, and why I should take it.  I will acknowledge that it has been six years.  I will acknowledge that I was uncomfortable in the situation and wanted to go home.  And I will acknowledge that I was desperate for someone, somehow to make me better and take all this pain away.

All those acknowledgments being put out there, do not change the fact that what I remember the instructor of this overview class saying was that I’d take meds for two to three years and that while I was taking them, not only would the stabilize my neurotransmitters but it would correct the problem in my brain that causes the imbalance in the first place.  So, OK.  Two or three years…  I can accept that.  Especially if I’ll be all better after.

I set an appointment with a Psychiatrist at The Company and got a prescription from her for Paxil.  The prescription was, take 10 milligrams a day for the first week and then bump it up to 20.  About this time I inquired with Ex Con Older Brother who I knew was also taking Paxil and he informed me that it worked, for him, like flipping a switch.  That he started taking it and almost instantly things changed.  I really wanted that for myself so within six weeks, with the Psychiatrist’s approval I increased my dosage twice, first to 30 milligrams and then to 40.

It took a little while for it to completely kick in but once it did, I felt great.  Best I’ve ever felt.  I had confidence, I enjoyed people, I was in great emotional shape.  It was around this time that Green M&M and I decided that neither of us had anything to lose and so we decided to give a “friends with benefits” scenario a try.  This was when I found out that some of those side effects they tell you about were going to be a problem.  I was having serious sexual side effects and couldn’t’ get past them.

I asked my doctor to help me out with this problem and her solution was to take me off the Paxil and put me on Welbutrin.  Her instructions were to taper off the Paxil over the course of 10 days.  Which I did.  Which is when the aforementioned unrecognizable, enormous ass, monster appeared.

I crack jokes and be obnoxious about this because it’s easier to face, but the truth is, it was an emotionally excruciating, hold on for dear life, MY GOD HE’S GONNA BLOW, volatile two weeks and I really didn’t think I was going to make it.  It’s easier to laugh now.  I’m reminded of a Saturday Night Live commercial parody not too long ago about a Birth Control Pill that would make a woman have her period only once a year.  In the fast talking, fine print they talk about how during that one week-end out of the year you better hold on to your hat ’cause your gonna lose your shit, etc., etc., etc.  It says that you should alert your law enforcement officials as they may wish to lock you up as a preemptive measure.  That’s how I felt.

When I think about these times I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude toward Green as well as some shame over the way I acted.  In truth her actions set me off on more than one occasion but my reactions were out of control excessive and she put up with a lot of vitriol from me during that period of time.  It would probably have been easier for her to just walk away, but she didn’t.  She stood by me and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.

Anyway, once the psychotic episode passed and I was back to “normal” whatever that is, I was on just the 300 Miligrams of Welbutrin.  It’s the only Anti-Depressant with little or now sexual side effects.  What I’ve learned in the recent past is that it’s also commonly know to increase anxiety in those who are prone to it (I am.)

I took Welbutrin by itself for nearly four years, never really feeling like it was doing me any good, but afraid to say anything for fear of what they’d recommend next.  But when the time came that I couldn’t stand it anymore, this image approximates what I was feeling.  I felt like I was standing right down there at the bottom of this mammoth wall of rock, knowing that on the other side of this structure was millions of gallons of water just waiting to burst through and destroy me.  I felt like I was standing at the bottom of that wall looking up at the top, and just watching as the wall slowly crumbled knowing that at any moment the water could break through and all would be lost.

At that point my Psychiatrist recommended adding the Celexa to the mix, and while I’ll admit that it did seem to help for a time, it really just put me on top of the dam.  No longer was the wall crumbling.  No longer did I fear that it would all come crashing down on me.  Instead, I was standing on the road, looking out at all the water, all the feelings and emotions, knowing that disaster lay before me, but then again so did the potential for good.  But either way, I couldn’t get to it.  It was inaccessible.  And if I tried, I just might drown.

It’s strange, but knowing that all that was there, and that I couldn’t get to it had a two fold effect on me.  First it sent me into a deep despair.  On the advice of my therapist I took a leave of absence from work and went into an outpatient treatment program that is offered by The Company that Created the HMO.  I don’t particularly feel like the program itself offered me anything of value, other than time away from work to regroup and collect my thoughts.  But six weeks later when I was back at work full time and I was more in control again, I realized something else.

In a very real way, the meds have been that dam for six long years.  The only reason those millions of gallons of water are back there waiting to crush me, is because I built the dam and backed it up, rather than making an effort to tread it as it flowed through.

I never wanted the drugs.  I never should have taken the drugs.  I will never again take the drugs.  What I needed was therapy.  I needed steady care from someone who could help me to come to terms with my issues and help me to find that I’d be OK all the same.  I needed a life vest and a kayak, and an oar (am I over-doing the metaphor?)

I took the drugs because I heard “You’ll take them for two years and you’ll be fixed.”  I took the drugs because The Company that Created the HMO isn’t interested in dealing with life long problems, they want to send you to a class that amounts to them saying “Suck it up.  You’ll be fine.”  I took the drugs because once I started them, I was afraid to stop, lest I end up in that puddle of anger and tears and desperation on the floor in my closet that I had been during the Paxil/Welbutrin transition.  I took the drugs because I didn’t know how not to.

But I finally made a decision.  The best decision I’ve made for myself in a long time.  I will not take the drugs anymore.  I started this process in April.  I was taking two tablets of each medication.  So starting on May 1st, I took one and three quarters.  On June 1st, I reduced it to one and one half, etc., until today, Friday, October 31, 2008.  THE last day, I will take my drugs.  Starting tomorrow, I will be drug free.  Starting tomorrow the last brick will have been removed from that dam.  The waters will flow freely and I will wade through them until I’ve learned to swim peacefully from shore to shore.  It may be a struggle sometimes.  Some days will surely be worse than others, but so far I’m strong and steady.  The current isn’t that bad.

I Am Still a Heba Hate-a

I have a problem.  An addiction actually.  I’ve tried to deny it for a long time, but it seems clear that I can’t pretend any more…

Hello, my name is Kevin and I’m a TV-aholic.  I’ve tried to cut back.  I’ve tried to stop watching, but they just keep making new and better shows that grab my attention and that I have to check out and then they turn out to be good and I keep watching them.  Every Summer, I swear that I’m not going to take on any new programs.  I’m not going to add to my number of hours of programming.  And every year I fail.

Four years ago, Green M&M and I moved into a new apartment that didn’t get standard cable service.  The company that did provide service, was only selling DirecTV though a cable connection and for a lot more money.  So we decided to sign up directly with DirecTV and cut out the middleman.  At the time that I was setting up our service they were running a special.  Receivers and dish for up to four rooms absolutely free with a two year contract.  But even more importantly to me, I could upgrade one of those receivers to a Tivo receiver for only $99.00.

I had heard about but had never experienced the wonder that is the Tivo.  Pause and rewind live TV?  Digitally record hours of television without having to worry about tapes and timer settings?  Listening to the b-doop, B-doop, B-DOOP, as I fast forward over the commercials I’d NEVER have to watch again?  What’s not to love!?!  Oh and did I mention that this receiver could record two separate shows at the same time?  My television viewing opportunities were endless! Heaven really is a place on earth!  Thank you Belinda Carlisle!

It is because of this perfection in a box that I never watch TV shows while they’re airing.  First, I always have a backlog of TV shows to watch, not a huge backlog, but I’m usually watching yesterday’s programming today, and today’s programming tomorrow.  Second, if I watched TV shows while they were on, I couldn’t enjoy the b-doop, B-doop, B-DOOP, because I’d have no choice but to watch the fucking commercials!  As a result, I know that I am a day behind on the Heba hating bandwagon but I couldn’t not join in on the Heba hate!

Unsvelt Girl who Runs is a member on the forums on the Runner’s World Website and apparently her gaggle of friends there had all kinds of venom to spew about Heba yesterday after Tuesday nights broadcast of The Biggest Loser.  Yesterday afternoon a chat window popped up on my computer screen and it was she, asking, “What’s up with Heba?”  I of course had no idea of what she spoke.  But I told her what I knew and sent her the link to my previous Heba hating blog post.  After that, I was jonesing to get home and turn on my beloved DVR and find out what kind of evil, beastly shit she pulled this week.

I wasn’t disappointed.  Well, I was disappointed.  I’m always disappointed to see people make idiots of themselves on National Television…  Or Local Television…  Or one on one for that matter.  But I got the information I was seeking and I don’t guess I can ask for much more than that.

So, if you even care about such things, I’m sure you can imagine how sad it was for Phil to come back to his room on The Biggest Loser Campus last week to find that Amy P., his wife, had in fact been eliminated and sent home.  There he was, along with the rest of the black team, having a quiet, somber dinner, when in marches the Blue Team (read: Gang) to intrude on their solace and make a scene about the perceived evil deeds of one Phil P.

“I hear you’re still saying hateful things about me.  I want to know why?”  Said the Evil War Lord, Heba.

But as if that weren’t bad enough, the other three Blue Team roughians– er, members, Brady, Vicky and Amy C. all joined in.  On a side note.  I thought there was hope for Amy C.  I thought how unfortunate that she got stuck with this bad crowd.  Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if one by one the evil three got sent home and here was Amy C., left behind to make something of herself and her experience.  Alas, ’twas not to be.

So Phil freely admitted that he approached Brady about forming an alliance to send Heba home.  He also pointed out that it was purely game play and that’s what the show is about.  He has never been shown saying anything derogatory about her.

Heba was on a rant about how he’s always been hateful to her and treated her so badly and she just can’t understand why (Gee, I wonder) and how she had never done anything to him.

But here’s the best part.  She sat there, looked Phil in the eyes and said, “I just want you to know that I forgive you.  I’m the bigger person and I forgive you.  You have to live with what you’ve done.”  Um…  Earth to Heba…  the moment you say, “I’m the bigger person” you lost all hope of being the bigger person.

The most pathetic part of this whole thing, to me, is this.  Heba and her husband came on the show this season because they’re newly weds and they want to start a family in a couple years and she wants to make sure she’s healthy enough to have a baby.  I can only feel sorry for any unfortunate child, cursed enough to have such a horrible person for a mother.  This is going to sound bad, but I hope she’s barren and I hope she can’t ever afford – or is never approved for – adoption.  People like her should not be allowed to procreate.

Last night, I reached a conclusion.  No matter who ultimately loses the highest percentage of their body weight and wins the show, Heba is now and will always THE BIGGEST LOSER.