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Week #3 of thankfulness blogs

This week, the purity of sound

A few summers ago I was camping with my family and one entire day was rained out. I had an infant that wasn’t entirely happy, and I was just beginning the recovery process after ECT.

Anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks just after lunch and I went to my tent to lie down and get away. And there is where I discovered something that has been an effective part of treating my anxiety ever since, the sound of a hard rain on that nylon/ polyester blended surface.

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I think people might get confused a bit when I say things like “I’m symptom free” or use the word “remission”.

The truth is those things don’t exist. I am never totally ok.

I haven’t experienced the crushing extremes of bipolar in about 10 months. But just a couple days ago I was reminded that exactly a year ago right now I was in a crippling depression and was avoiding people and drinking heavily. And, truth be told, I avoided people and felt depressed at times during this summer as well.

I still have the mood swings, even the extreme ones. I still experience anxiety, insomnia, irritability. I still find my mind racing, or find it difficult to get out of bed.

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So, it has been almost two months since I have posted anything to this website.

For a good part of my time off I was still writing some, but absolutely nothing since my son was born. I’ll get into that later.

For now, this is what you need to know: I am symptom free, including all depression and most anxiety. I am drug free, I am not taking any medication, and I’m also not drinking much. I am not seeing any doctors, not a shrink, not a therapist.

I am doing almost none of the things that I did to work on being healthy. Not eating well or exercising, not sleeping on a good schedule or even much at all, not reading or writing much, not working on anything much at all.

But, I feel perfectly fine. Normal ups and down, nothing serious, barely any anxiety, a good amount of insomnia that I have been constantly dealing with since high school.

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I very distinctly remember the first time a girl took off my pants.

At the time I wore Bullhead jeans exclusively, and Bullhead always put a little colored tag on the inside of the fly to demarcate the cut. Well when the girl in question unbuttoned my pants and unzipped my fly the first thing she said was “Oh I didn’t know there was a tag there” as a way to cut the tension mounting in the room.

She must have noticed that I was dying. My heart was pounding so hard it was making my voice quiver. I wasn’t excited, I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t any of the things I thought I would be based on my many viewings of the movies “Animal House” and “Porky’s”. All I wanted was to tell her to stop, to zip me back up and to go back to hanging out and watch a movie and make out or something.

We didn’t do any of those things. She moved forward with her plans to disrobe me and eventually I enjoyed my evening, even though I felt terrified the entire time. By the second time with her I was completely ready and willing, it was just that first encounter.

It happened like that with a few other women in my life too. In fact, I was told a number of times long after the fact that I could’ve had a much broader and more developed sex life if I hadn’t been so scared to dive in.

I guess in a lot of ways I’ve been like that with a lot of things. Too nervous to jam with some musicians, too nervous to join a softball team, too nervous to fix things around my house, too nervous to do what I really wanted with my life.

I think I’ve always wanted to preserve an image of myself as really good at whatever I try. I always wanted to be a “talented person” in many regards instead of so few. People hear that you’ve played guitar since you were 12, you must be pretty damn good, guess again. People hear you love baseball, you must be pretty good at softball, not this time. People hear you lived on honor roll and dean’s list your whole life, you should make something of yourself, keep trying.

Maybe it isn’t lack of talent that kills the masses; it’s the consumption of self by fear, just like a girl unzipped your pants for the first time.