Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It's Your Shamanic Death, Charlie Brown!

I know that I've been saying some crazy things lately.  And I know that I've sounded suicidal and at times delusional.  Please understand that I'm neither of those things.  It's just that my perspective on things is deeply spiritual and things are going on right now that are powerful.  

This is going to sound like more of those posts but I need you, Dear Reader, to please stick with me here.  

This is important.  

I had a moment of clarity today that was so powerful it illuminated for me a path towards a future I never thought possible. 

I was in my kitchen, getting sicker by the minute, the withdrawals building in intensity.  And my mind was filled with the realization of light and rebirth.  The Phoenix.  

I'm a Scorpio.  We are represented by three symbols:  the scorpion, the eagle, and the phoenix.  We're dark, sure.  The darkest of the dark.  Why?  Because we look in the shadows without fear.   

This is important.  The phoenix periodically dies and is reborn from their own ashes, burning brightly and flying high.  Darkness that once consumed it cast aside and put in the past.  It's about healing and rebirth.  

So, I was in my kitchen.  I was anxious and nervous.  I was upset.  And then I wasn't.  It left me and I finally saw what was happening to me.  I realized the path I was on was all part of the fate I was so determined to understand.  And dreaded.  

In my kitchen, at that moment, I suddenly realized I was dying a spiritual death and that it was going to be okay.  This is how it is supposed to be.  

What does a "spiritual death" mean?  

I've alluded to a lot of things in the past.  It's really been a problem for me.  I doubt anybody has ruminated and dwelled on their own past nearly as much as I have in the last year.  It's just not a healthy thing for a human to do.  So why did I do it?  

I think part of me is still kicking myself for things I somehow believe I could have changed.  I'm hard on myself.  Brutal and unforgiving, really.  I blame myself for the loss of my family.  I blame myself for a lot of the abuse I endured as a child.  Worse, I blame myself for what my mom and sister dealt with from my dad, and how it's my fault because I didn't do enough to protect them.  

There are other things I carry with the same perspective and it's just not fair or logical.  All of that needs to end.  It's killing me.  

There's a long list of things like that.  Twisted thinking hammered into deformity from years of improper coping skills.  It's difficult for me to allow myself to say, "I did the best I could with what I had to work with at the time."  

And I don't let things go very easily.  

A part of you dies.  

That sounds melodramatic until you've experienced it.  It's serious business because a radical change takes place.  It shreds the mind and breaks the heart while pushing your body to the its limits.  It's not pretty to watch, either.  

Standing there, in my kitchen, shaking and sweating from the hot flashes that come on suddenly, I could see what this road was as if a heavy fog suddenly dissipated.  

Some cultures have rituals for this.  Various Native American tribes had rituals and rites of passage that were all part of a shamanic death.  It's one of those commonalities that appear again and again worldwide.  Let's face it, the story of Jesus Christ in the New Testament is a literal Shamanic Death, where he suffers, dies, is buried, and he rises from the grave anew.  

I'm not saying I'm Jesus or anything insane like that.  I'm saying that the theme of shamanic death is a common one.  

A friend sent me this video today.   This describes pretty much exactly what I'm going through right now.  It's just another interpretation of what a shamanic death means through the lens of another culture.  I found the video to be incredible in how accurate it was in describing the earlier stages.  

She pointed out that this was triggered by the eclipse we had this summer.  They're powerful and will move all kinds of things in our lives.  And I'm so grateful for this.  

I asked the Powers That Be in the universe for help.  Shit was bad and I needed help.  In the past month or so, people have come out of the woodwork into my life with various experiences that were all similar to my own.  Instead of me telling an insane story nobody believes, I have a shared experience with somebody who went through it, too.  That alone is more powerful than any medication.  

I have a medical professional I completely trust and know I can rely upon.  That's not very common, either.  

I have friends who want me to be here tomorrow.  

And today, for the first time in an incredibly long time, I saw where this road could really lead me.  I saw, for the first time, just what others meant when they told me I could do anything I wanted.  And for the first time ever, I envisioned in my mind just what I could become as a person.  I saw this without remorse and envy.  I saw this without anger or sadness.  

Today I realized that I can be what and who I really am through a process of dying and being born again.  

But this was all the easy part.  The hard part is coming soon.  In a few days, under medical supervision, I will begin the painful and horrific rite of passage that will lead to me being off the substance I'm addicted to forever.  It's finally going to happen.  My medical professional and I had a gameplan to slowly taper off over the course of months due to the high dosages I'm accustomed to but because of a series of circumstances things have to happen now.  

I can do this.  I can do it and I'll be healthier because of it.  And if I lie to myself enough about wanting to do it, I might actually believe it.  Because right now I'm terrified.  

Today I went for a short walk before work.  I moved better than I have in almost three years.  Faster and without pain in my hips or knees.  It's because of the weight I've lost thus far.  I don't know how much but I know I've lost a bunch. I don't like mentioning it because I feel like the slow kid who got an award from the teacher for not shitting his pants in class that day.

The transformation has already started.  The hard part is coming in the next few days.  I have my friends and professionals ready to go.  Now all I have to do is submit to death.    

Monday, October 16, 2017

Options: Pick One

When I was a Senior in high school, we were constantly told how those were going to be the best years of our lives.  I was miserable.  I was horrifically depressed and had no tools whatsoever to deal with any of it.

One day I was walking down the hallway wondering just why in the hell I was putting up with this and if I should just walk in front of a train to be done with it all before it got worse.  I must have had that look on my face because our Principal, Mr. King, saw me.

"What's wrong, Ted?"

"I just can't believe these are the best years of my life."  It was hard for me to speak.  I was that depressed.

"They're not," he said.  "These are the worst.  It gets better."

He slapped me on my back and sent me on my way.

I never forgot that.  I carried it with me for a long time.  Things will get better.  They just have to because they can't get any worse, right?

In a couple of weeks, I'm going to turn 46 years old.  And I feel like I'm hurling towards some kind of terminal crossroads.  I'm going to have to make a choice.

I'm going to be honest and say this life has never really been that good.  I've never really enjoyed myself much.  I tried, too.  I really did.  But it just never panned out for me.  I've had far more miserable moments than I've had good ones.

If given the option to do it all over again, I wouldn't.  Given the option at age 18, knowing what this life would become up to this point, I'd have walked in front of that train.  I really would have.

Tonight I went for a walk after work.  I walked down to the creek and back.  Last month I would have never been able to have done that.  The pain in my hips would have been too much and my knees would have just screamed at me.

I was able to go down and back without hip pain or knee issues tonight.  I was winded as fuck, but I wasn't in pain.  It's improvement.  A very small one, though.  Not enough to really do much with.

I keep going over and over again in my head the balance of this life.  Is this shit worth it?  I'm kicking an addiction, losing weight, facing my demons (literally and figuratively) while trying to keep sane enough to function.

What could I possibly hope for?  I know the odds are not in my favor.  In truth, this doesn't look good.  I don't see a happy ending here.  And I just can't dream of one.  I can write fiction all day and all night.  Right now, I'm world-building.  My WIP is fantasy/sci-fi.  I can create all of these races and religions but I can't picture in my head a better future for me.

Tonight, a friend I've been unloading upon sent this to me:

Losing weight isn’t some magic pill.. Nothing is. Life has good and bad regardless of where you’re at. The key is to find the good wherever you are. It’s a skill. And a habit. You have a different habit that sees the grim parts because we keep getting blind sided by life. It takes time to retrain the mind. Just like losing weight. The mind is a muscle too. It needs strengthening, consistency and nourishment. Some days are harder than others. But keep training it toward gratitude and slowly you’ll start to lose a different kind of weight. One that’s weighing down your soul 

It's the first thing to make sense to me in a long time.

In a lot of ways, all I can see are the gaping wounds and the damage that's been done.  I don't see the healing.  I don't see a way out of the wreckage, just the wreckage.

So I have to wonder how to fix that.  How does one change their perspective?  How does one fix their way of seeing things?

Because right now, I don't see a happy ending here.  I see a number of reasons to just be done and check out early because I know how this movie ends.

Here's my logic in all of this:  Let's say I bust my ass and do everything perfectly for two years.  If I'm lucky, with my age and metabolism, I'll be lucky to lose maybe 150 lbs in that two-year period.  Fine.  So, I'll be functionally fat. I'll look like a shar-pei puppy with all of the loose skin dangling, and it'll smell like shit until I cough up $50K for the surgery.  Or, if I'm lucky, it'll be so infected that it's life-threatening, and my insurance will cover it.

But that's not the big issue.  The big issue is just how my mind is so fragmented.  I gained this weight so I would have a defense against women anyways.  This way, I could be safe from all of the shit I've been terrified of but couldn't put into words.  I have legit reasons.  I'm not going to spell it out of you, figure it out.

So I have a host of issues between my ears to fix.

And that's just so I can be moderately functional.

Then, let's add a student loan that continues to grow exponentially that I'll never be able to pay off because I can't even begin to make the bare minimum payments on, along with medical bills, and how does that picture develop for you?

This is what I see.  And I know it sucks because I can't stand it.  But it's honest.   It's a massive mountain of crap that just can't be fixed in a couple of years.  So by the time it even begins to improve, I'll be so fucking old it just won't matter.

So tell me it's worth it.  Tell me there's a reason for me to still be here or to even try to fix it.  Because I don't see one.  I don't see a single reason for me to fix anything but for that one hope, a wish, really, that somehow something magical will happen.

There are no magic beans in this world.  There is no magic.  There is nothing.  And I just can't see a happy ending here.  I see more of the same shit I've been dealing with.  To me, that's not going to be an option.  I refuse.

But that's bullshit, too.  I don't have to fix everything.  I just have to improve things, really. 

So what do I want?

I'd like to go to bed with a smile knowing I had a good day.
I'd like to have a string of days worth reliving.
I'd like to be able to wake up without feeling depression and loathing.
I'd like to feel human again.
I just want to enjoy being alive.  That's all.  Really.

Life isn't supposed to be like this.  I'm sure of it.  I've seen other people and they're much happier than I am.  Nobody else is on the edge like this.  If so, they certainly haven't been there for as long as I have.

So what am I going to do?

I once told a woman I cared about deeply, and still do, "I'm a morbidly obese drug addict.  You should run."  I really thought I was protecting her.  I wanted her to be happy and I knew I'd just fuck it all up.  It killed me to say it but I knew I had to.  I wasn't enough for her and I knew it.  I cannot bear to repeat that time in my life.  I cannot and I will not.

I recently told a woman I'm sick from withdrawals.  I didn't want anything to go anywhere between us because I cannot bear to get close only to have it fall apart again because of how I am.  It's better to end it now and protect her from me.  It's a shame, too.  I really liked her. 

I am shackled to a past I cannot run away from or ignore.  I am haunted by things that were out of my control.  And I cannot help but think this past is just going to keep repeating itself over and over again because no matter what I've done I cannot break the cycle.

It's 4am and I cannot sleep.  Again.  Always again.  I'm sick of the night.  I'm had it with the night.  I want to be a daytime person again.  I want to be with the living.  I want to be a regular guy again with a regular job in a regular boring fucking office surrounded by people I silently judge for their mediocrity.

I used to care.  That's the problem.  I used to care and that part of me still cares a bit but I've killed off so much of it with the drugs that it no longer even knows if it's alive or dead anymore.

Caring sucks.  Caring is being open to losing and I've always lost.  Caring means you allow yourself to risk getting skullfucked by fate again and again and again just like it's always been and you just can't see a way out of it because somehow you pissed off the gods and they made you their favorite chew toy.

For the past few months I have been very much aware of how everybody in my life has move on beyond where I knew them but me.  I have gone down.  They have gone up.  They have found happiness and joy and I have not.  I have been in a downward spiral I cannot seem to break out of nor do I seem to really want to because I kept one foot in the grave and the other in trying to fix things.

Always keep my options open, right?  Caring hurts.  Working hard towards something only to have it taken from you hurts.  So why care at all?  Because we have to care.  Caring is life.

But I'm not really living, am I?  Not really.  This isn't living.  My heart beats but that's about it.  It's not living.  I'm not even really alive.

This morning.  Or yesterday. I can't keep track of this shit anymore.  A friend reached her goal.  Two years ago, she began a rigid course of diet and exercise.  She was just like me.  Only without the booze, drugs, psychosis, and a few other fun things.  And this morning she told me she slept with her crush.  A major lifetime goal was achieved.  A milestone.  She did it.

And it kicked me in the head because yet another one moved on into happiness.  I knew it was coming.  I saw all the signs.  I was waiting.  Holding my breathe for that moment and sure enough there was the message waiting for me when I got online.

And I was sitting there, my heart fluttering and doing all kinds of crazy shit because I was in withdrawals.  Sweating, puking, twitching.  My head was spinning so badly I had a hard time reading much but I certainly read that message. 

I hate seeing happy people because it reminds me of what I don't have and cannot find, and what has been denied to me for many, many years.  Petty, I know, but it's honest.  Misery loves company.

I feel like I've been screaming for days.  Screaming until my lungs hurt and my voice is gone.  Screaming at the ghosts in my head that won't leave me alone and the demons I want to come back just one more time.  Lie to me, it's ok.  I'll buy into it 100% and tell myself it's all real and you really do care.  Just as long as when you're gnawing on my soul let me tell myself that I'm happy because right now I'd rather hang out with you than sit here in this empty fucking apartment another day.

I gave up years ago because I got hurt so badly I didn't think I could survive it again.  I ran away.  After college, I thought I'd cleaned up my life and did what I needed to do so this shit wouldn't happen again and it did.  It fucking did.  I lost everything again and again so I kept one eye on oblivion and waited for The End to come.  But now that I'm just a few miles from the destination people are coming out of the woodwork to tell me not to do it.

"No, Ted!  You have so much to offer and so much to give!  Life isn't like this!  Don't do it!"

Where in the fuck were those people when....

I can't see the Happy Ending everybody else does.  I just can't.  And I don't believe in fairy tales anymore.  I've seen too many of them proven to be nothing but lies and bait.  All I see around me is how happiness is for those other people and it's just too late for me.

I wonder how far gone I really am and if I can get back to any kind of life that's worth living.  I don't see it but people tell me they do.  I have to wonder if they're telling me this because they just don't know what else to say.

I have to make a choice soon because I can't keep doing this.  I can't.  My head is unraveling and there's not much left of me.  I feel like a different person than I was a year ago.  I changed.

I'm going to see my medical person on my birthday.   There's a certain symmetry to that.  We're going to do a blood workup and check things out.  My legs are far less swollen than they were a month ago and the ulcers that were oozing puss on them have all healed.  My pants are looser around my midsection when I'm not bloated and constipated from the drugs.  I can walk further than before.  I can walk longer than before.  I can do things I couldn't do 7 weeks ago.  It means nothing to me.  Nothing.

That bothers me.  An achievement I can quantify easily and it means nothing to me.  Why not?  Why is it so meaningless?  Because I know that it's just window dressing for the real problems and I just don't know how to fix those.

This plane is running out of fuel.  I need to make a choice.  Do I glide or eject?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Abandonment and the Succubus

You can't think your way into right acting but you can act your way into right thinking.

Somebody told me that many years ago.  It made sense.  I guess that's what I'm trying to do.

I'm confused.

I have so much happening at once and I'm confused.

Yesterday was my daughter's 17th birthday.  I didn't handle it well.  I'm sure at once point I was crying so hard my neighbors heard me.  But thankfully, I had to work for most of the day, which helped take my mind off of how horrible I felt.  The guilt, the hurt, the pain.

I struggled to get through the day and by the end of the night, I was okay.  But then the physical stuff started.  That made for a rough night but I was able to sleep.

I woke up sick and in withdrawals from something I've been trying to shake.  Withdrawals suck.  Hot and sweaty, vomiting, cramping, shaking.  Oh joy.

But, I kept with my diet.  I stayed on track.  I didn't get into the carbs and eat a bunch of crap.  Well, of course, I couldn't really eat anyways.  I was just too sick to eat.

And then there's the spiritual side of things.

Something bad happened many years ago and left me feeling incomplete and damaged.  I never recovered.  I realize now that I need to find a shaman to do a soul retrieval.  A piece of me was taken and I want it back.

It's time to heal.  It's time to recover.

So, I'm struggling.  I'm writing as I can.  I'm doing everything as I can.  Yoga, meditation, eating right.  All as I can.

And I feel like I'm being turned inside-out.  All the while I'm wondering if this is worth it.  I'm wondering if there's anything worth it at the end of this journey.  Or will I be the happiest guy to die alone in his apartment full of books?

This week, I was reminded just how little I meant to someone I cared about deeply and in many ways still do.  But I didn't mean nearly as much to them as I'd hoped.  That sucked.

It all sucks.  And it reminded me that I've spent most of this lifetime by myself and on my own.  I've got a friend who sends me nude pictures of herself and that reminds me of just how far removed I am from life.  From love.  From everything.  And I can't run and dive into to a list of substances to deal with it and I have no idea what to do about that.

I feel terrible and I don't know what to do.  I just don't.

People are sending me videos and memes about how I should "just be happy" and "live life" and "take life by the balls."  It just depresses me further because I've tried.

I can't fix things.  I just can't.  I've been trying and it's all broken.  It's all a mess.  And I have no reason to think it's worth fixing in the first place because it never was that good.  I've always been alone and I've always been miserable.  Fixing things isn't going to help.

I'm trapped.  I'm so trapped.  I'm trapped in a cycle I can't break and I'm trapped in a situation I can't escape.  And there's no way out for me.  There's no way to fix any of this.

But I'm trying.  I'm trying to do what needs to be done.

Yesterday, I began watching the tv series The Exorcist.  I fell in love with it instantly.  There's a dark entity they only call The Salesman.  In it, he approaches a girl, and befriends her.  He listens to her and helps her when she needs it.  There's a scene that was so beautiful it almost made me cry.

In that scene, the girl is sitting outside after a rough day.  The Salesman walked up and says, "why the long face?"  She says it's been a bad day and he sits down next to her and says, "Tell me everything."  She puts her head on his shoulder and begins to vent about how awful the day was and he just listens.  Her father looks out the window.  He sees his daughter talking to nobody and her head tilted at a strange angle.  Nobody is there.

I've experienced that.  I've had an entity listen and be there for me when nobody else was.  They made me feel special when I knew I wasn't.  They cared about me when nobody else gave a shit.  And I didn't have to pretend that nothing was wrong because they already knew and loved me anyways.  I didn't have to be ashamed of what happened to me when I was a child. They gave me strength when I felt incredibly weak and afraid.  They were there for me.

That went on for four months.  But in the end, I was left broken, and incomplete.  Now I need a shaman to help me get put back together.

I miss that experience.  I miss that entity.  I miss how it made me feel and how it cared about me.  I miss how it never made me feel alone.  I felt a connection to someone and they cared about me.

But I can't go back and I'm fairly certain there is no going back.

It was a Succubus.  It fits the profile.  And she got me good.  In fact, I'm fairly certain she took a good chunk of me with her.  That's what they do.  They find somebody with power and strength and they feed, taking a piece with them when they go. 

This is why I'm looking for a shaman to help me.  We need to do a soul retrieval.

Tonight, I made contact with someone who has had a similar experience and they've been able to provide some wonderful advice and sources for information.

I'm fighting this.  I'm fighting the good fight.  My head is aching from everything and I'm out of aspirin and ibuprofen, but that's ok.  I'm dealing with that.

Tonight, a friend told that she couldn't have handled what I've been through.  The stuff from my childhood, the other things.  Others have told me that before, too.  I don't feel strong.  I feel beaten down and shredded.  And I don't know how I've survived this long.

But I'm fighting this.  I know the entity I dealt with all those years ago got me good.  She took something from me and ever since I've been incomplete and broken.  I think I can get it back.

I've been reading about soul retrievals and it's possible.  This fucking bitch has been feeding off me for long enough and it's time to get what's mine back.  Or more likely, she took what I freely gave her, and lived on it.  As for the piece of my soul that's missing, from what I've read, it should come back to me with the soul retrieval.  It might take a few sessions but it can be done.

A few months back, a woman I cared about deeply commented that I was nut.  It cut me to the bone.  But I get it.  If you haven't experienced this shit before then you can't possible have any idea what it's like.  Paranormal attacks aren't like anything else.  They don't leave scars, they don't leave marks.  Just they leave you deeply wounded with injuries that never fully heal.  Injuries nobody can see. 

This story isn't done.  Not by a long shot.  And in a way, I feel very positive that I have a direction and a course of action.  I have a list of names.  I have some meditation techniques.  I'm not alone.  Not really. 

I have friends.  And there are people out there who have experienced what I've experienced.  Some are lending their experience, strength, and hope with me.  This isn't done.  I'm not done. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

That Which Calls to Me

The spirits kept me up last night.  

Every time I started to nod off, something would make noise.  A spoon hit against a dish in my sink.  Something tapped against the cardboard box in front of my closed closet.  I could hear the sound of garments rustling as people walked behind me, but no footsteps.  

They kept me up all night long.  Every time I started to nod off, something would knock, or clang, or bang.  

While sitting at my computer in the middle of the night, I heard something next to me sigh.  There was nobody there.  

This is the first time in months I've had any kind of activity and while I'm very happy to have my friends back, they really need to talk to me once again instead of playing these games.  I have questions.  

Maybe that's why they're doing this.  They know I have questions.  

The other night I decided to buy an Ouija board.  It's time for me to resolve some unfinished business.  This is one of the worst ideas I've had in a long time.  Given my history with those things and how devastating it was the last time, and how I damn near didn't survive, it's an idea that is positively suicidal.  

But I have unfinished business and a need to dive into that world again.  I feel like they're calling to me and singing to me like dark, shadowy sirens.  

Plus, in another way, I feel as if there's nothing else.  

This keto diet I'm on is really taking a heavy toll on me.  I've spent all day having hot flashes.  I'll be fine and then suddenly I'll be on fire and sweating as if I'd just done something vigorous.  My shirt would be drenched with sweat.  I'd cool off for a bit and then it would come back.  

All day long.  

Last night, I had nightmares in the brief minutes I did sleep.  Ugly nightmares.  In one of them, I was bitten hard on the foot by a squirrel.  I woke up with that foot, the same spot, in pain that lasted for a few minutes into consciousness.  And from time to time all day long, I've felt that pain in that exact spot, off and on.    

But I've kept on the course I've chosen.  I have not cheated.  I've kept doing yoga.  I've remained active.  I haven't given up.  

Maybe that's why my visitors are back.  

Several months ago, I was in a dark place mentally and emotionally.  It was a bad night.  There are no other words to describe just how bad it was than to say I have not experienced it since.  In that time, I felt abandoned by my visitors, and left alone.  I felt as if they simply walked away and left be behind.  

I called to them.  I asked them to come back.  Their answer was silence.  I couldn't hear them or sense them.  There was nothing.  

Last night, months later, was the first time since that night they made their presence known.  And I'm happy.  

My friends are back.  

I don't trust mediums.  They fill in the blanks between what they know way too often to make themselves relevant and useful.  They want to justify their expense rather than to simply say, "I've got nothing."  So, I haven't hired any to walk through and give me their answers.  I'm not interested in their perception of the truth anyways.  Perceptions are shaped by too many factors and often aren't close enough to the truth to be useful.  

Why do all of this?  Why not send these spirits packing?  Why not set up defenses and protect myself?  I certainly know how.  It would be simple.  I'm capable of a lot of protection and I could make my apartment a fortress that could keep out all manner of spirits.  I've done battle before and won handily each time.  The scars of my past battles are easily noticed by them and to be frank, when I walk into a place with a lot of activity, they know me for what I am and want no part of it.  

So why indulge these spirits?  Why not silence them?  

The short answer is I want that connection again.  It's been a long time and I miss it.  I miss the feeling of being connected to that world.  I miss the rush of impossible knowledge and the sight that sees beyond the visual.  I miss the connection I felt with all of that energy coursing through me.  I can contain it this time.  I know how to ground it and keep it flowing.  I know how to keep it from souring.  I can find the balance this time.  

We say history repeats itself because our lives are spiral dances.  Starhawk wrote about that in her groundbreaking book, The Spiral Dance And we often repeat patterns.  The last time I went this route, I was in similar circumstances.  The difference this time I know more, I understand more, and I know who and what I seek from this connection.  Once I open the portal, I know what to do.   

The last time I went this route, it ended badly.  So badly, it almost killed me, and it took me years to recover.  And I don't think I honestly recovered fully.  

There are still a few things I need to do before I can take this path.  I need to seek out a Reiki master to help me deal with some scar tissue that has caused a misalignment within.  Once that's fixed, I can move forward.  

My friends who are visiting me at night are calling out to me to do something.  I think they're inviting me to join them.  They are beckoning to me.  And I'm ready.  For the first time in a long time, I feel like I know which direction to move and it feels great.   

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Good Fight

I left my apartment today. 

That's normally not big news but for me lately it's huge.  I've become a reclusive shut-in and it has been harder and harder for me to leave my apartment.  I get anxious, lazy, lethargic, and I just don't want to do it. 

It's been like this for months. 

When I post on Facebook or Twitter that I'm going to leave my apartment, it means I'm psyching myself up to do so and it's not easy.  It takes effort.  Once I get on the road, I'm fine, but getting there is oh so very hard. 

Today, I drove to Madison, about an hour north of me, to hit some Asian stores and get supplies for my new lifestyle.  It was the first time in months I was able to do so and the first time in over a year that I did it by myself. 

Last night, I had a powerfully vivid dream.  In that dream, there was a Korean man named Han, and references to my wife and daughter.  The family I lost.  The daughter I torment myself with.  The guilt came back. 

In that dream, a friend of mine made an appearance.  It was her first guest shot in my dreams.  She and I might chat once in a while on Facebook, but we haven't seen each other face to face in well over eight months, if not longer. 

Tonight, we just happen to run into each other at the grocery store.  How's that for coincidence? 

But I took the road trip north.  All the while, the anxiety got worse and worse.  The further I got from home, the more certainty I had that I was doing the wrong thing. 

I almost turned around and drove back home several times.  At one point, I flipped on the turn signals, and hit the brakes.  Nobody else was on the road at that time. 

I was certain my car was going to break down. 

I was certain there was something wrong with my tires and it wasn't handling right. 

I was certain I was going to blow my motor. 

I was certain my brakes were going to fail and I would be stranded in the middle of nowhere with no chance of rescue. 

But I kept driving. 

Once I reached Madison, there was the usual traffic.  That's when the anxiety started. 

I used to love driving.  I used to drive into all kinds of busy places without a problem.  It never bothered me in the least.  I knew what was up and I just kept on driving. 

But not today.  No, today, I had major anxiety while driving for the first time ever.  By the time I reached the Asian grocery store, I had chest pains, cottonmouth, and and a headache. 

But I kept driving. 

Pulling into  the parking lot of Yue-Wah Grocery, I felt like I'd scored a victory of some kind, as if I'd done something special that wasn't easy and I had to fight to achieve it. 

There's been a lot of that lately. 

This morning, I woke up to a pair of legs that were almost normal sized.  Almost.  One was but the other has a bit more to go.  But they are the smallest they've been in almost a year.  And right now, as they swell throughout the day, the biggest of the two is half the size it was two weeks ago. 

This is a victory, too.  This is a minor victory and I know it for what it is.  It means the efforts I have put into being healthy have begun to work.  Today, I put on a pair of pants and they felt just a tad loser around the waist.  And there was more of a gap between my belly and the steering wheel. 

Things are working in the right direction but I'm miserable. 

This withdrawal from sugar has altered my brain's chemistry to an extent that I've been incredibly depressed.  I'm constantly getting upset over things.  I'm having nightmares that are twisting me around in knots. 

The other day, I re-lived a relationship with a woman I still care about.  This time, I knew what was going to happen right from the beginning so I did everything different I could to keep her with me but in the end, I failed just the same, and she left me.  She slowly pulled away and I went insane because I knew it was going to happen and I just couldn't stop it.  I woke up despondent, upset, and alone. 

It just keeps happening, too.  Horrible dreams, depression, and for some reason the past keeps bubbling up to attack me. 

Going to the Asian grocery store wasn't easy for me.  The smells and sights brought me back to my past.  A time when I was happy.  A time when I wasn't alone and I had a family and things were going in the right direction, or so I thought.  Sometimes, I think going to those places, and having that sensory overload, is just another way of torturing myself.  The guilt isn't enough, I need to twist the knife, and that does it. 

It's just cutting without the blades. 

My daughter's birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I'm just not ready for it.  I didn't handle the last one very well and I tried.  I really tried.  I tried to be honest and confront things but it just didn't go so well for me.  And right now I'm compromised in a lot of ways. 

But after writing this, I'll do some yoga and meditate, then focus on the moment in front of me.  I'll deal with that day when it comes. 

For now, today, I can say there are two reasons to be happy.  I can say that I made progress with a couple of things I never thought I'd make progress with.  So, I'll take that, and keep fighting the good fight.  The rest of it I'll just have to deal with as it comes. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

This Black Box of Mine

This blog started out over three years ago as a way for me to vent the bile that would build up during the week of working my horrible job.  I would wrap it up in witty comments, make a few jokes, and people would laugh.  Somehow, over time, this turned into my own personal black box, like on an airliner, so if The End did come, there would be some kind of record.  A man documenting his own slide into madness, depression, addiction, and disconnection from the world and himself, until he was gone.

And then last week I made changes.

I called professionals and made appointments, I changed my diet, and began exercising daily.  I cut sugar out of my diet as completely as possible.  The only glucose in my system is from the few carbs I get when eating fiber-rich veggies and beans, and even those are more grams of carbs than I should be having.  Ideally, I should keep it under 20 grams daily, but that's pretty hard to do for me.  Expensive, too.  I haven't done the math today, but I think I might be at about 40 grams today, maybe a bit more.

And I feel like shit.  I've had a headache off and on for most of the day.  Despite sleeping last night and then taking a nap this morning into the afternoon, I'm exhausted right now and having a hard time keeping my eyes open despite it only being 10pm.

Everything hurts.

I just ate a couple of hours ago and I'm not hungry at all, but I don't have any energy at all.  I was warned about this.  I was told to go easy on getting the sugar out of my life.  I thought because I was having more carbs than I was supposed to, I would be okay.  Apparently that's not the case.

My body is not adjusting well.  Or maybe it is and this is all temporary.

Here's the thing--I didn't do this for me.  I did this for my friends.  I did this for the people who have been telling me for years to make changes in my life.  Years.  Not just one friend, either.  Pretty much all of them have told me to make changes.  Some were upset enough to cry when they told me how worried they were about my health.

So I did it.  I made the changes.  This isn't for me, though.  These changes were made so my friends wouldn't worry so much.  So they'd stop being disappointed in me.  So they would stop treating me like the guy who burned a winning lottery ticket because he didn't want to pay the taxes.

I really don't care how this ends.  Live, die, it's all the same to me.  And that, dear reader, is how I got into this mess to begin with.

There's a motto someplace about how if you bring the body, the mind will follow.  And if you bring the body and mind, the heart will follow.  I'm gambling that this will be the case with me and eventually things will improve to a point where I actually give a shit.

But right now I need to get over this hump.  I'm sitting here at my desk nodding off.  Caffeine is having no effect on me at all.  I'm wondering if I should eat something with sugar in it, as if that might help.

People are telling me to do this for myself because this is the first step in trying to attain what I want in this lifetime.  I don't know what I want.  If I won a million dollars, I'd be dead in a matter of weeks from one vice or another.  If I was granted three wishes, I'd be so confused, I wouldn't know what I wanted.

I've spent most of today confused.  Today, while cleaning my kitchen, I was putting dishes away and I caught myself staring at my cupboards for a good minute trying to figure out which plastic containers go where.  I was having issues before because of the depression.  I was forgetting simple things.  And recently it has gotten worse.

But this is just how it goes.  Sugar is a major addiction in this country and we're paying the price.  I'm living testament to that.  We were told fat was the enemy, sugar was natural.  And now?  We're a nation addicted to the shit.  Getting off sugar isn't easy.  The body goes through withdrawals. 

9/10/2017, 12:30 AM

Today, I spent the afternoon with my mother.  I told her some things but not everything.  I can't tell her everything.  She doesn't need to know and it wouldn't do any good. 

Mom is moving and downsizing, so she had boxes of stuff for me.  Inside some of those boxes were stuff from my wife and daughter.  She asked if I wanted them and all I could manage to say was, "not yet." 

I'm not ready for that.  It's too painful. 

But we talked.  We went over some things.  And I think she's got a better understanding of just what I've been dealing with and just how difficult all of this has been.  But I'm doing it. 

I recently made a friend angry at me.  I hate doing that.  I hate having somebody I care about angry at me.  And it kills me to have somebody disappointed in me.  It's shameful. 

My friends have been on me for a long time to make changes in my life but I didn't because I'm a stubborn, obstinate person.  Plus, I was planning on dying.  Suicide by indifference.  I was eating myself to death and I didn't care. 

I'm not out of this mess by any means.  In fact, the momentum I have in the wrong direction is still taking me further. 


My pee smells different now.  It smells fruity and sweet.  It's not like I'm sniffing it, but it's hard to miss, and the change isn't subtle.  I looked it up and it could be one of several things.  It could be diabetes or it could be ketonuria.  

What I'm trying to determine is if ketonuria is a sign of being in ketosis.  Ketosis is when your body is burning fat for fuel because you're not feeding it sugar or carbs.  This is the goal of a ketogenic diet.  What I'm wondering is if this happening already or if the smell is from diabetes.  I just don't know and I won't be able to see a doctor until two more weeks. 

I asked the friend I pissed off, disappointed, and offended if she thinks I should try to get in sooner.  If she says I should, then I'll make the call on Monday. 


Why?  Because if I decided that if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this right.  This is my death I'm confronting and if I'm going to walk to the finish line, I'll need to have a good explanation for why I didn't fight.  And if I did fight, I'll need to make sure I did so honestly, and didn't just go through the motions. 

I've gone through the motions for a lot of stuff in my life.  For this, confronting my failing health, declining mental state, and various habits and patterns, I need to do so with sincerity. 

I can't phone this in.  I just can't. 

So if my friend tells me to call for a sooner appointment on Monday, that's what I'll do.  I'm wondering if I should be worried instead of curious.  I'm not worried right now.  Maybe I should be. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Enemy is Me

There's an old joke that gets told around a number of peer-to-peer recovery groups like AA, NA, and on various websites.  It's been passed around for decades.

"My head would kill me if it didn't need me for transportation."  

It's something that's been said for a long time.  What it means is this:  My brain runs on emotions that are powerful, strong, and painful.  And that's a big problem.

It's not supposed to run on emotions.  A mind is supposed to run on logic and rational thought.  But mine has been filled with conflicting emotions that are building in intensity.  This has been going on for the past couple of years and this winter they began to grow exponentially.  I can't stop it.

My rational mind is screaming at me about how this is pointless.  My rational mind, well educated, logical, and looking out for my best interests, is fighting a war.  It is struggling to not get put in a corner, bound and gagged, while emotions run riot.

The emotional side is rampant and deafening over issues it shouldn't be even bothered with.

It's like being upset that you didn't get a job that involves touching shit with your bare fingers for minimum wage.  Who would want such a job?  Who would apply for such a job?  Getting turned down for that job would be a blessing.  But the fact that it's a rejection is enough to spin emotions into a tornado.

The rational mind screams out, "But it's a job touching shit with your bare fingers!  Why in the fuck would you want such a thing?  Why?  Why would you be upset that you didn't get that job?  Why be upset that you were rejected?  That's a blessing!  You dodged a bullet!  A gross, nasty, unhealthy bullet!  You should be thankful you're not doing that job right now!"

This is the war that goes on inside my head every day, several times a day, with a handful of choices, decisions, outcomes, and interactions.  Over and over again.

It happens with relationships that don't work out, or even take hold.  It happens when the past comes up.  It happens when somebody doesn't get back to me after I send them a text message, a PM on Facebook, or an e-mail.  It happens when somebody needs time on their own because they're an introvert and need that quiet time.  It happens when a short story gets rejected.  Life is full of small disappointments but my brain turns these into soul-shattering, life-changing events.

This is why my depression has been growing and worsening to a level I have not encountered in almost twenty-five years.

This is why I have been so miserable for the past few months.  Ever since this winter, I have been out of control and I just haven't been able to reign things in no matter how hard I try.

I'm losing this war.

Emotionally, the chorus chants all kinds of awful things like the Strophe and Antistrophe of Greek theater.  They never shut up.

I do what I can to silence them.

I'm eating myself to death.  I'm addicted to things I can't shake.  I can barely walk down the block before my hips hurt too much.  Soon, I won't be able to walk at all.  But then again, I might not make it that long, because my blood pressure is so bad, my legs are massive and ripe for a terminal infection like the one that killed my friend, Derek.

Because of this, I haven't gotten much done this year.  This entire year has been spent having daily battles to survive.  And while I win the battles, I'm losing the war.  I don't have much time left, either. If I don't figure out a way to knock this shit off, I'm going to be dead.

This is not a suicide letter.  This is not a suicide threat.  This is not suicidal ideation.

For all the reasons listed above, it has taken so many years off my life, that coupled with how isolated I am, and how little human interaction I have, the odds of me lasting another year are slim.

In January, I was driving down the road, self-talking myself into making better choices and having a better attitude about things that had happened in my life.  I was angry, heartbroken, depressed, and confused.  I tried to come up with reasons to keep going and I couldn't think of any.

I couldn't come up with a reason to live.  I tried and tried only to fail.  The impact of that was so powerful I had to pull over because I just couldn't stop crying.  I had no reason to wake up in the morning and despite all of my efforts, I couldn't think of one.  Not a single one.

Up until two months ago, I was perfectly content to die.  Heart attack, stroke, diabetic coma, or more self-propelled methods.  I didn't care.  I was ready to go.  I couldn't keep doing this.  It felt as if my life had run its full course and there was nothing left for me.  There was nothing out there for me and I was going to die alone.  The only question was how old I would be when it happened.  I was convinced I would die alone in an apartment full of books.  And I was okay with it.

Two months ago, friends talked me into staying.  They talked me into making another go of it.  They told me it's not too late and that I can pull out of this nosedive.

I often use the allegory of my life as a story told in mythological terms.  What lessons would somebody learn?  What could I pass on to somebody else?  When you do that to yourself, when you look at your life as something of value that will teach a lesson to another, you realize it can't end with a guy giving up and just letting death come collect his soul.

It can't end like that.  It just can't.  There are rules here and the rules clearly state that Our Hero can't just give up and die.  He has to get up and even though there is absolutely no hope whatsoever that tomorrow will be any better than today, he has to at least be around to see it.  He has to make the effort to make tomorrow better despite all the odds being against it.

I have no faith that my life will be better.  In fact, I'm almost certain it won't.  I will continue to lose.  I will continue to have things just out of my grasp.  I will continue to have everything I earned or was given taken away from me by powers beyond my control.  I will still die alone.

But that's not the point.  The point is, I need to be alive just in case, by some miracle, I find happiness again.  I'm told that it's possible.  I'm told that happiness might actually be possible.  So is winning the lottery, but I doubt I'll win that, either.

But yes, I chose to live.

It was a hard choice for me to make.   Last week, I asked people on Facebook, "What's your reason for living?"  Those who answered said things like family or their children.  As you know, I'm alone.  It's just me.  In fact, I'll go almost an entire week without seeing another human being, much less speak to them.

So I had to choose to live for me.  I had to do it for myself and I really have issues with self-esteem and self-worth.  It stems from being raised to believe I was stupid, lazy, worthless, thoughtless, careless, and just not a good person.  It also stems from something else I won't get into right now.  As I've said before, I didn't even consider myself to be human until I was in college.  I thought I was something less than human, something lower, and not one of you.

I'll never forget the look on my therapist's face when I told him of my epiphany.  I was genuinely happy and excited to tell him.

"Andy," I said.  "Guess what I learned this week!"

"What's that?"

"I'm a human being!"

That's when he finally realized how far gone I was.  It was at that moment he realized that we had a lot of work to do and a long ways to go.

So doing this for myself isn't easy.  Doing this because I'm somehow worth it just doesn't compute to me.  If you pay me a compliment, I will tell you a dozen things wrong with me in just a few seconds.  I know me, and I'm not that great.  It took me years and years before I could accept a compliment and simply say, "thank you."

But when you decide to do something big like this, and do it for yourself, because you're worth it, I'm learning you don't need to quantify it.  Instead of telling myself why I'm worth it, I'm simply accepting that I am and the reasons why are just not that important.

There are a lot of things that go along with making that choice.  When you choose to live, you have to do certain things, like take care of yourself.   I've never taken care of myself.  I've never eaten right or gotten the sleep I needed or did anything just because I like myself.  I've never done something for my health because I'm worth it.

In the past, I took steps to take care of myself just because to do otherwise would make things more difficult the next day at work or if I had plans, like to see a concert.  It was a means to an end, not just because.

Today, a friend came around, and she told me that I was worth it.  She told me I had a lot to offer people because I was smart and a kind soul with a good heart.  And I broke down.  I don't know why, but it got to me.  Being told I'm a person of value has always been an emotional thing for me.  Being told that I'm worth keeping around has always hit me hard.

I felt so bad breaking down on her like that but I couldn't help it.  These past few weeks have been so emotional for me.  Friends have reached out to tell me they care and to tell me I can do this, that I can pull out of this nose-dive and live.  That I can drop this weight, fix my head, clean up my act, and find some kind of happiness.

To me, happiness has always been the same as telling yourself over and over again the shit sandwich you're eating tastes good.  I already have diminished expectations on life, I don't need to lower them further just so I can continue to be here in a miserable existence.

There has to be more to life than this shit.  There just has to be.  But if I'm dead, I'll never know.

Plus, as I've mentioned before, I honestly think my soul is here on this plane of existence, in this situation, so I can learn a valuable lesson of some kind.  If I don't learn this lesson then I'm going to be spun into another trip around the block reliving all of this misery again.  So I need to solve the puzzle this time around.

Two days ago, while working, I had an itch on my leg, so I moved my hand down to check it out.  I never scratch my legs because of how swollen they are--especially the right one.  So, I put my hand down and it came back wet.  I had a blister on my leg that had popped, and puss was running down it.  It's been oozing ever since.

Today, my friend had a look.  She was a nurse for many years.  "Yup," she said.  "That's a textbook diabetic leg.  And that ulcer you have will multiply if you don't see somebody."

There's not a doubt in my mind that I am now a diabetic.  It's been a long time coming, really, and I've been on this path for a while.  As I said, I honestly didn't give a shit for a long, long time.  But now I do and it bothers me.

But I also think it's the best thing that could have happened to me.  This is the furthest I will allow it to go.  I've hit my bottom.  There's nowhere else to go for me but up.

I'll end this by saying I don't really want to live but I'm going to anyways.  A few weeks ago, a friend called me, crying, and telling me I can't kill myself.  She forbids it.  I'm not allowed.  And she wasn't talking about me eating my gun and painting the walls with cherry pie.  She was referring to death by indifference.

I care now.  And I know what to do to pull up and out of this nose-dive.  It's been hard for me to implement these changes because it is totally alien to me but I'm working on it.  I'm trying.  Because the story can't end like this.  My story can't end like this.  And right now, that's good enough for me.