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Friday, July 26, 2013

One Year On, Two Years On...& the Question of the Use

I do wish for a bit better feeling than the one I have going right now. As it stands, I can look back from the end of July and see some definite steps forward, and really positive ones at that. But I still don't feel it.

Two years ago, I gave up smoking (read this as, buying $7 packs and sucking 'em down in two days...I now bum on occasion) and went back to the gym. Well, I've never really been in a gym, per se...but I went back to trying to get myself into some kind of condition, and I have to say I rather like what happened there.

I am not a weightlifter, and I have no interest in it. I primarily swim, and except for the past month as I recover from Giant Cyst Removal (you DO NOT want to know more or see pictures), I've been hitting the pool and the sauna. I meditate in the latter, and do whatever it is they say you do, when it's your body and your weight is being moved, worked, etc.

Result? I am 27 pounds lighter than when I started. I was never overweight, but the muscle is back, and I feel better than I have in about 20 years. I have not grown tired of it, though I do get pissed that I have to be very careful about this ice cream scoop sized hole in my lower back. It is healing though, so all good.

Now, about one year and a little more away from something else: Zoloft. I noted in my last blog that one of my writings, about "Post-Zoloft Psychosis" is still getting regular reads. People seem to be wanting to find out about it, and how it is going.

Well, here's where that lies: after about 14 months off the little blue pills, I find that life has returned to a semblance of "normalcy." But I am NOT normal...normal sucks, normal is boring, normal is far too mundane. Especially where I live.

I'm sorry...but you know what, Pennsylvania? With rare exceptional cases, we could lop off Pittsburgh, Philly and a portion of Harrisburg, and we could say you live in 1954. One of my old colleagues liked to gripe that the vast majority of Pennsylvania thinks, "Kennedy is still president."

No...it's Eisenhower. Hate to say that, but a lot of folks really do live in the past around here. I won't get into the political/religious/social whatever's about it, but you know what? The world has changed, beyond your door, beyond the county line, and even the state line. 

For all the people who sit glued to their iPhones, laptops, i-This and i-That (I admit, it seems my laptop and I are connected, too), there is still a non-nostalgic view of life. Instead of looking back, you still live it! The "Way it Used to Be" is OVER!

Now, that is an example of what I feel, post-Zoloft. My feelings are returning. They were always there, but I will tell you this: they are heightened once more. Not in a bad way (most of the time), but they are there, and they do again exist.

For the most part, my everyday life is all right. I do still feel the highs and lows, ecstatic and crushing respectively, and they are not always fun. I do not have delusional behavior, such as certain people do suffer when in the throes of the higher aspects--you will be relieved to know I do NOT consider myself a deity, an enlightened being or someone who lives with a view that I am a cut above. 

I am Me. Deal with it; I have to every day.

The upper and lower case emotions, feelings, etc. are 95% of the time pretty much okay. These are no different than what any person deals with; so I think for the most part what I am contending with is mild in comparison.

The darker side of it is not always so accommodating, however. There are days, were it not for the sun coming right through my bedroom window (and my cats jumping on me to alert me that the food dishes are empty), I might not get up in the a.m. Sometimes that move out of bed is near-impossible.

I write of this in my forthcoming novel, "Parasite Girls." One of the characters, Sora suffers from Bipolar Disorder, and we have talked of this here. I have a relative whom I shall not name, who is in the throes of it. 

You want to know how bad it is? In a black mood, she physically attacked her husband...she was at Maximum Rage (and I honestly don't think she realizes what she is doing)...he locked himself in a bathroom to let her run...she went THROUGH the door to get at him.  Yes, THROUGH it.

So, there's a pretty good example of the extreme side of these illnesses and disorders. My own dark side is a sight more laid back than that, but it has its moments.

When I feel the tension building inside, it does so slowly, and I've been able to kind of detect it and defuse it. Not always so easy, though; it can be black, and not fun. There are triggers, and each of us has to figure them out.

So far, I have done pretty well at it, but again there are times when I will admit I am not the person you want around when it's going down. 

I will also tell you I am not the person you want near you when you're having your own bad day. Sometimes, I just don't want to hear it. Not saying mine is worse than yours, but it feels that way.

The let-down where I begin to move in the darker direction usually comes from exhaustion, lack of sleep, lack of food, and so forth. I try to obey the law of nature when it comes to me. That sometimes does not put me on the same "clock" as the average person.

Tension again comes when I move too fast, or try to "multi-task." I have since learned that multi-tasking is the WORST FUCKING THING any of us can do!

Everybody says it's hip to be a multi-track minded person...NO. I used to be good at it; I could think on different tracks and projects, and juggle the plates well.

Not anymore. Age is part of it, but also my capacity for juggling is not there any longer.  I am not a person who has to focus 100% on one thing and one thing only, don't get me wrong. It's not OCD stuff; I just have to do things a little differently.

Story of my life right there.

What comes along with the body again making the stuff that the Big Z no longer does? Well, mine did start producing Serotonin (I think that's what it is) again after years of not having to or being able to. I am for the most part feeling okay with my body doing the things it does.

I have to add to it--my physical activity is a part of the well-being, that is for certain. It needs to be done. 

My diet is vegetarian, but believe me I'm not a flesh-of-dead-animals nut! What you eat is your own damn business. This works for me.

Ah...you know this fits into what I want to talk about next...wait for it...

SOCIAL MEDIA.

Yeah...we are connected to it aren't we? I admit as much as the next person. I am not one of those people that's against it, but I'm seeing over the years just how that can be death of you. The things you say, post, etc?

Learning that lesson, believe it.

My Facebook Newsfeed is interesting...I will tell you a lot of people that are my friends are NOT on it, because of the content and the stuff that people consider newsworthy to put up there. I admit...I confess...I put shit up there that most of you would scratch your heads and say, "Wha....?"

I'm working on it...each day I try to work on everything, I really do.

Now...one thing that may have estranged me from "friends," is the perception, and it is often incorrect, of when a person posts something...what is the intent behind it?

A joke? A deeply-held political view? An emotion that must be released, right this second? Or how about this one...ARROGANCE?

I am pretty sure that I'm wrong, but some of the things people put up make me feel like if you said that to my face, I'd be like...WTF?!?

I try not to even look anymore. So what else does this say?

Even with a bright sunny day and less humid, oppressive weather, I cannot feel that good about it. Some days I get it, and it's alright. Others, not so much.

As I write, a letdown is coming, and I try to not think too much about what it is doing to me. You don't need drugs to feel this way...some of us are to quote George Carlin, "paranoid on (our) own."

This is the world I live in. It's not a terribly depressing place on its own, but has its moments. I do my best, each day. I am not a devotional person, meaning I do not feel the need to ritualize my life. There are things I do, on my time that work when they do. I do not expect things to be handed to me; I do what I need to, in order to make those things happen, but it's nice when the universe is cool and lets you see something that says to you, you're doing it right.

Just as I've said, these blogs are not edited, hardly. I don't go back and check for grammar or any of that. You get Me, in the raw unadulterated form when I write on this blog. If anything, I am honest, heh.

NOW...a little shameless plugging:

http://www.behance.net/torygates

Again, on this page you will find a proof of Chapter 1 of "Parasite Girls." The update is thus: Mitch Bentley of Atomic Fly Studios is working on the cover, and soon I hope that we shall have something to share as we get ready for the launch. 

There are also audio tracks from my radio work (my prime income source for the moment), plus other writings, and bits. Hope you'll take the time to check them out.

Each day is a day, and you do what you can with each one. To borrow another colleague's phrase, "That's it, that's all."




Sunday, July 21, 2013

Updates, and New Steps Forward

Well, it has been a while, hasn't it? An awful lot has occurred since my last post, and I'll try to keep it concise. I'm not very good at that, as my posts are all one draft, not the edited, sculpted crafted work that is my writing.

"America Drinks and Goes Home" is going thorugh my iTunes and headset. Jean-Luc Ponty's version...my old school friend Jeremy sent me two boxes of CD's after he burned everything to computer...thank you, for turning both me and my friend Alice onto him. "King Kong," for those who don't know is Ponty's album of mostly Frank Zappa compositions. Works for what I'm doing here.

So...first a brief medical update: on the 1st, I underwent minor surgery to repair the old cyst issue in my leg which I wrote of earlier. The sebaceous cyst on my jaw is gone, and the one on my back is gone, kind of.

These things are not cancerous or dangerous, just there. The one on my back was the largest my surgeon had ever seen. The healing process is a long one, because it must heal from the inside out. So it's keep it clean, keep it bandaged, and stay outta the pool. I will not bore or gross you out further; I'm okay.

Now: it's time to shamelessly plug things!

https://www.facebook.com/ToryGatesMedia?ref=hl

The above is my new Facebook page: Tory Gates Media is a hub, which will direct you to the various places that you shall find my work. This includes the ReverbNation page of the Dharma Fools, and this:

http://www.behance.net/torygates

Behance is a site that is primarily used by graphic designers, so far as I can tell, but I fell in love with the site. Here you will find audio tracks from music projects (more as time goes on, bear with me), snippets of audio projects specifically for radio (in particular, WITF, Radio PA and others), and my writing.

Up at this point are rough cut openings for "Parasite Girls," "The Drifters" and "Time the Healer." I am very interested in what people think of these. As I say, apart from "PG" they are works in progress. I shall put up more as time goes by.

I appreciate the feedback, good or bad. I need to know. I am thankful to friends interested in the Young Adult and Anime worlds who have taken the time to check my stuff out. Their thoughts are constructive and useful.

This is a long, slow haul and an exercise in patience. I was talking with a friend recently, and at times you get a feeling that you've been braked to a stop. It's like, okay, I've done all this, but I don't feel like I'm moving at all.

Sometimes you have to take a break, stop, etc. Not much you can do at times, but you also have to know the limits, and that sort of thing.

So that is where we are: now, one last thing:

I have noticed in recent weeks, that a blog post I wrote over a year ago is getting slow, but steady traffic. It is the one I wrote about Post-Zoloft Withdrawal--the title included Psychosis, and that was partly a dark attempt at a joke. 

In my life, and my family's that took a pretty dark turn recently.

I am interested that so many people are still reading that blog about what happened to me when I went cold turkey on the Big Z. I think it's time to write the "Year After" blog, and I will do that soon. It has been a rough year at times, but in other ways it has been better.

I hope it will help.