You Can’t Save Everyone…

There is someone very important in my life who has been in a downward spiral for…well…for all of their life. They’ve always been…troubled, but it’s gotten worse. I’ve spent most of my life looking after this person and bailing them out when they get into trouble…which is always. And I am so messed in the head that I shouldn’t be looking after anyone. I can barely take care of Shelvin (my turtle, see the previous post).

Shelvin watching

I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m mentally exhausted, and they are only getting worse, more self-destructive, and potentially dangerous to others. We used to be so close, but now I only hear from the person if they need me to help them. Mostly I hear about them from their friends, who message me about how worried they are about the person.

And I want so bad to help the person, but they aggressively refuse all help and then blame you for not helping enough. I’ve seen, heard, and have been the recipient of it for 25 years. I’m not a babysitter.

And yet, I know that I’ll keep trying. You can’t save someone that doesn’t want to save themselves. But it’s a lesson I’ll never learn.

I suppose I don’t want to save myself either.

The Watchmage of Old New York: Only 99 cents for a short time only!

Watchmage black

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Trying to Escape Social Media

I read an article the other day, and there have been several derivatives on it now, that says that too much social media is increasing depression and mental health in teens. I wonder what it is doing to the rest of us.

I’ve become addicted to facebook. I constantly have to check it, even if it’s the same posts over and over. Why do I do this? Maybe I’m addicted to input, I need new info at all times. That’s fine, but taking in info without time to process it away from the computer is not.

I want to break away so bad, or at least cut back. So that’s my thanksgiving resolution (no need to wait till New Year’s).

I tried this in august after the car accident. I told my friends that I was cutting back, and wouldn’t be chatting as much. I needed to look after my health. And the other day, when I came back and contacted someone, I got a guilt trip for it. Suddenly I’m not allowed to take a break. People demand to hear from me. And I’m not that important.

So maybe I need to cut all the way back. For my health. For my productivity. Or maybe I’m just tired of the bullshit. I’m tired of feeling like shit, and if social media is doing it, it has to go.

cosmic-cat-tripping-balls-redux

Embracing the Dark Side

(A kinda funny, but mostly serious post…because they can’t all be doggos.)

doge-borken-inside

Ok, one doggo.

It’s very hard to admit this. I try to deny it, to rise above it or work around it, but I’m done lying to myself. I’m done lying to you.

I have succumbed to the Dark Side.

I am only productive when I am angry at something. I need something to focus my loathing, or some other negative trait, on something in order to get anything done. I wrote my first novel because I was pissed at the crap that was getting published by the major companies. I lost 140 pounds because someone said that I couldn’t. I succeed to prove others wrong.

I can’t write out of joy. I have to write out of hate. Only when my heart is full of grit and worms and hot garbage that smells like Manhattan in the middle of a mid-80’s summer can I create anything worthwhile. Otherwise I sit around and do nothing, or worse, have writer’s block.

writers-block-soap

And I hate it.

And ironically (or fortunately) that hate of my process, or just regular self-loathing, is what keeps me going. I am never be calm, because writing makes me calm, but I have to be pissed to write. It’s a cycle or hate, satisfaction, and more hate.

But maybe if I embrace it instead of fighting it, maybe that will give me the control to turn it on and off. Instead of falling into the Dark Side, I can control it (oh, and if that isn’t a recipe for disaster cake). Maybe it’s like a football player putting on their game face. I can focus all of my rage into a hat, or maybe a jaunty scarf, and put it on when I need to.

Craig at MNF

(Yes, that is actually me. I’m a Jets fan. No wonder I’m so full of rage.)

A jaunty scarf would be nice.

So I find things and people to be mad at and about. I harp on my own weaknesses and frailties (of which I have many, though I’m apparently very good at hiding them because no one believes me when I say that I’m awful) to fire myself up. I bleed all over the keyboard.

writing-hemingway-bleed

And I’m sure that I’m not the only one. No wonder so many artists are miserable.

There’s a quote that’s often attributed to Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, Mark Twain, or whoever made the meme feels like giving it to. It goes “write drunk, edit sober.”

I don’t write drunk, I write angry. As for editing, I’m usually calm when I start editing and ready to shoot myself afterwards. Or Force Choke myself.

Ah, the power of the Dark Side.

Wanna see the results of my self-loathing and rage? Check out The Watchmage of Old New York or Song of Simon, not to mention one of the many short stories anthologies or journals you’ll find me in (or old articles from back when I used to write non-fiction). But mostly, the books. Read the damn books. Or don’t, it’s okay. I know that you’re busy, and there’s a lot of great stuff on Netflix.

Look! I even made cute little ads:

The Watchmage Is Coming

SoS Practice Ad 1

 

You Are Not a Box

I hate the Myers-Briggs test. I especially hate when people try to describe themselves by their M-B profile. “I’m an ENTJ” or “I’m an INFP, and that means this that and blah blah blah.”

You are not an archetype.  You are not an alignment (alignments are a tool, not a straitjacket. It said so right the D&D 2nd Edition Handbook). You are an amorphous blob of loves, hates, repulsions, delusions, and experiences. You are not a box. You are an oil spill reflecting swirled rainbows, and you cannot be contained.

alignment futurama

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Speaking for the Silent

I am a lucky person.

I have bipolar syndrome, and while it impairs my ability to hold a steady job (it’s why I freelance) I am still able to be a productive member of society. I’m proud of this. There are so many of us with disabilities that can’t, and part of that is because they can’t get treatment.

I consider myself an advocate for them…for us. There’s such a stigma around mental illness, and there shouldn’t be. It keeps people from getting the help that they need, and they suffer in silence. No one should have to suffer when there is treatment, and not because they’re afraid of what the world will think of them.

How many people suffer from PTSD and don’t get help? How about Depression? Anxiety? Drug and Alcohol Addiction? Borderline Personality Disorder? Rage Tendencies? We can help them if we allow them to speak up.

I was once homeless, sleeping in my car and on friends’ couches, staying up at night writing at diners. If it wasn’t for the Mental Health Association of Rockland County, I don’t know where i’d be. Thankfully they exist. I was lucky, but there isn’t enough help out there for everyone that needs it.

We need help. From you. From the government. From somebody! Think about how society would change if we treated all the mentally ill. Less homelessness, less addiction, more productive members of society. A better society.

More happiness.

That’s all anyone wants. Happiness. It’s elusive, slippery, but for some, completely unattainable. We can change that.

Speak up. Be heard. Don’t let the stigma keep you from getting treatment. And if you are perpetuating the stigma, realize that you are hurting–potentially killing–others, maybe even people you know.

If you need help:

Mental Health America

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHA)

MHA of Rockland

guinea pig card

Inside Out Was the Movie of the Summer

I finally got around to seeing Inside Out last week, and I was stunned at how great it was. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie that managed to be funny, moving, and intellectually compelling. Disney continues to nail it.

Inside_Out_(2015_film)_poster

Disney always puts out excellent movies, and I think that the big reason is that they hire the best writers and directors. Pete Docter–the director and one of the writers on Inside Out–is a certified genius. He’s been nominated for 6 Oscars, and won 1 (For Up, a beautiful movie) Check out his filmography. He’s hardly had a single miss.

It doesn’t matter if it’s in a song, a book, tv show, or a movie, story must always come first. Disney gets that.

Warning: Some spoilers below

Feelings suck

What really struck me was how well they portrayed how the human brain works, and especially the function of Sadness. It’s all a metaphor of course, but it’s true. Sadness is the hero of the story. The other emotions stifling her is what causes the trouble, and her taking control at the end is what ends it. As Rosey Grier once sang: “It’s alright to cry. Crying gets the sad out of you.”

It also created a great allegory for depression. One by one, the aspects of her personality crumbled until her emotions were locked out of the controls and she felt nothing. That’s what Depression is. it’s not Sadness, it’s Apathy. You don’t feel joy, you don’t feel anger. You don’t feel. You lose your personality. As someone who has fought with depression (and mania, and anxiety) for most of my life, I understand. I hope other people understand too.

And when Bing Bong (Riley’s childhood imaginary friend) sacrificed himself…

Feelings suck

Yep

The moral of the story is that as you age, your emotions and memories become more complex. A memory can be colored (in the movie, literally) with joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust. To a child, everything is one emotion or another. To an adult, nothing is.

inside out emotion overlap

This chart only shows when two emotions combine. What do you get when three, four, or five do?

Feelings suck.

On a side note, the short in the beginning, Lava, was emotionally manipulative and made me cry. Fuck that shit. I hate crying at movies, and I hate having my buttons pushed.

Feelings suck.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, 2014, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

doge in space card redux

What It’s Like To Be Bipolar

Imagine that you’re a six year old. Out of nowhere, you get a puppy. It’s a beautiful black and white terrier that smothers you in kisses and loves nothing more than to play. He snuggles with you every night, and wakes you in the morning with a lick on the ear. For months you bond with that puppy and go on all sorts of adventures. You play Spaceman and Stardog. You play Cops and K9s. You make up your own games just to spend time with your beloved best friend.

Then your puppy gets run over by a BMW, that backs over him again and then drives away. You stand mute as your best friend lies broken in the street.

Repeat this for the rest of your life.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (you’ll probably have to order it). Of course, you can always buy an autographed one from me, just send me a message. Song of Simon currently has a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon, so people seem to like it. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!