This is a public service announcement, this is only a test, emergency evacuation protest-Green Day

When I can’t think of a title for article, I just write the song lyric I just heard.That came from Warning by green day.

It was that line that gave me an idea. For the last however long I’ve been trying to convince my counterparts to move across country from New Hampshire and Toledo to live with me in Seattle. This is easy for me to say, because I’ve moved so many times in the last three years. To give example of this, I’ve lived on the East Coast the West Coast and the Midwest this year alone. 

I’ve made a habit of staying in one place for about three months, moving somewhere else, going back to that first place moving somewhere else after three months again, and so on and so forth. 

This lifestyle was great for the first two years. I had spent the first 20 years of my life living in Michigan, the house I grew up in was my fathers childhood home, and subsequently my grandparents house before I moved in when I was seven. so essentially I live in the same place my entire life.

This lifestyle can also get very old, very quickly. It’s lonely living on the road. It’s a simple as that. When you’re only somewhere for three months you can’t cultivate friendships, you can’t get into a routine, you can’t really do anything because it’s only short-term. 

At this point I’ve been here for four months. I work two jobs in my field starting my career I have business plans I’m working out

I know I’m going to be in Seattle for a couple years. My parents just moved to the Pacific Northwest my sister lives down the hall from me I have a good job that’s in my field. I have no reason to go anywhere, and the feeling is amazing.

It’s strange though, since moving here my life is changed drastically. And I’m not as upset or angry at everything anymore. If you were to ask Ted how to describe me he would say the angriest person alive, I can’t really blame him. 

I have a perfect example of this. A week or so ago I run article about how much I hate Christmas. I still don’t love Christmas but in that time I’ve met some people, now have some friends, I’m going out little bit and actually having a life and now I’m hosting a Christmas party. 

And no, I’m not doing this because of a girl. The girl who is organizing this party I’m hosting is married.

So, all my friends, I have to say, move. If you’re not happy with your life, then leave. Keep moving until it all feels right.

Red Flag: FATIGUE

I don’t know how anybody does it. I just got done with my third week of work at this call center. It’s still going well. I survived Thanksgiving! I hope you did too. I’ve literally been just sleeping and working and sleeping and working. For real though, working full time with depression is exhausting. I don’t know what’s harder to do with depression, full time work or taking on a full course in school. Good or bad or ugly, I can sleep through pretty much anything whether I want to or not.

I’m starting to notice a pattern with basically everything I do: after about two weeks, I hit the wall and all I want to do is sleep. This is a red flag. This is not a good sign. Never getting out of bed and shutting yourself away from the world for extended and worrisome periods of time is a textbook sign of depression.

In the past, I’ve tried to fight it off and fight through it and that’s been a terrible idea. This time around (this past weekend) I just decided to lay down and give into the dreaded sleepies. It wasn’t bad! I hate being tired but trying to pound coffee by the gallon and wake up when you just can’t is awful. That’s been my approach in the past. This time, I just gave in and didn’t fight it. It wasn’t a way of giving up but the way I’d like to think about it is that I listened to my body.

Sleeping it off is one way to manage. I feel tired all of the time and it doesn’t seem to matter what I do but sleeping feels good. I definitely gotta address this chronic fatigue because this is most likely a bad sign.

 

I apologize for my absence 

As we all know, the three of us are battle depression or some kind of mental issue.

My colleagues are better about opening up than I am. I’ll open up to them, but they’ve also seen me at my worse, on multiple occasions. 

The past week or so I’ve been in my head a lot and I’ve been battling a question, something that I assume most people don’t about, or don’t think about often.

I don’t like the holidays. October 31st-January 2nd, don’t be near me. I’ll be the first one to admit I’m a Grinch. (Side note: I also hate that someone who doesn’t like the Holiday season is nick named a Christmas character) Halloween was ruined by a traumatic experience a few years back and don’t get me started on thanksgiving and Christmas. Both holidays revolve around family, something that I’ve struggled with my entire life.

During this time of year my normal ritual is simple. Be so high that I don’t know what my name is. Usually that works, but as I get older the less effective that method becomes, And this year….nope not working.

So this is what changed.  

Jeff Lark is my father, Donna Lark-Weiner is my mother

 
For the first time in my life my family headquarters isn’t going to be in the small town in rural Michigan that I hated with a passion. I’m not going to be sent back to negative temperatures and a house full of negative and traumatic memories.

In other words I’m happy. Or I think I am. Or I’m on my way to being happy. I don’t know what’s going on or how I feel.

To make a long story short I’ve had a hard life. School and I never worked, family wasn’t a thing, I’ve always been really sick and my heart is an idiot, to say the least. There’s a hole in trying to fill, but that’s for another time. 

I’m going through a change and I think it’ll be for the best.

Suffering from Depression in the U.S.A. is Terrifying.

Working blows. But so does school. And if you’re a regular schmuck in your early 20’s like myself, then these are two pretty shitty options that you find yourself faced with. Outside of the psychological clusterfuck that defines my own internal reality, there is this incredibly disappointing external reality in which it seems that one’s mental and physical health are not priorities and are seldom considered more important than money or “prestige”. The most important lesson that I learned in rehab was that I can only speak from my own experience. In rehab, when sharing my own story about my history of drug and alcohol addiction, I was instructed to only speak in “I statements” and avoid giving advice. This made a lot of sense to me because in rehab you really don’t wanna be taking ANYBODY’S advice and you really should not be giving out any advice either. Respecting others’ experiences while keeping your own in perspective is pretty much how I would define “thoughtfulness”. I think it’s really that simple in the same way that Nietzsche said that all morality really was is simply having good manners. I don’t think that it needs to be any more complicated than this because it seems like very few people can accomplish on a daily basis NOT talking at you and giving you shitty and stupid advice and also it’s painfully embarrassing how rude people can be. Pleases and thank you’s, people. It’s not difficult.

I don’t know what the situation is around the world. Here in America, it feels like all that I hear is this empty talk about how “the system must be changed!” and, “they got it right over there in the EU and Canada!” And yes. I 100% agree with that. Our education system is butt and our health care system is somehow even fucking worse. Our military is fucking AWESOME but our government is about as useless as middle school career counselor. If you want to live in America, you gotta pay up. Or GTFO! If you get hurt? Welp, sorry, bro…yer fucked! I was talking to a new friend that I met at work and all day long his contact lens was killing him because it was busted. I asked him if he had glasses. He said no; he couldn’t afford glasses. That’s what it’s like to live in America. If you need glasses, you need to pay a shit ton of money. Got poor eyesight that could easily be fixed by seeing an optometrist? That’ll cost you a full month’s pay. How is that not a human rights violation? We’re supposedly the most powerful country in the world. We’re supposed to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world. But if you’re an American citizen with vision problems and you need glasses? Go fuck yourself and come back when you’ve got $400.

Is that why we’re “powerful”? Because we exploit the basic health needs of our citizens? If our government took care of us and didn’t squeeze us for every penny then would we be nearly as “powerful”? If it didn’t cost money just to stay alive would we be a “weak” nation? If our government care about us would they become “weak”? Would our government lose “power”?

I’m an American citizen who suffers from depression. I’ve spent too much time thinking about death and suicide. I don’t think the statistics of staying alive and managing my depression are that good because I live in America. If I didn’t have the money? If my parents didn’t have good insurance? Then I couldn’t go to therapy. I couldn’t see a psychiatrist. I couldn’t see a doctor. I couldn’t afford antidepressants and other medications. Am I only alive because my parents are upper-middle class? If I wasn’t born into an upper-middle class family would I be fucked? Would I be dead? Would have committed suicide by now? The truth is that health is expensive in America. Depression is expensive. Anxiety is expensive. Staying alive on the most basic level of physical health is expensive.

Our government is weak. GMO’s and pesticides give us cancer and the FDA says that they don’t give us cancer. Why does the FDA tell us that GMO’s are fine? When other countries and other super powers like China warn their citizens about the dangers of GMO’s and pesticides? Because there is money to be made off of sick Americans. You want to survive cancer? Pay up or die. You don’t want to commit suicide? Pay up or die. You want to quit heroin? Pay up or die. You want glasses? You better get a second full time job and save up because your blind ass is gonna have to pay up or stay blind. This is the most depressing country in the world. If you wake up feeling “ok” and less depressed than the day before and then go out on a walk around the neighborhood you might get shot by a cop or some other psycho with a gun. Going to high school today? Better wear a bullet proof vest because you’re likely to catch a stray. I’m terrified of high school and I hate going anywhere near a fucking American high school. I’ve been around drug deals that have felt safer than strollin’ past a high school.

This is what it’s like to live in America. This is the basic shit. If you’ve never been to America and you’re wondering what it’s all about? Broadway to Hollywood this is the horseshit in between. This is the fuckery going on in the shadow of Beverly Hills and the back alleys of Manhattan. And what do we hear? We’ve got an election coming up. And is anybody promising our human rights? I don’t know. I can’t watch the race because it’s just pathetic and upsetting.

There are a lot distractions. I’m not one of these “fuck the media” types because it doesn’t affect my sobriety as long as I don’t let it. But it seems to me that the problem with the American media is the blind-spot that it creates. I think that we should only worry about our basic human rights in this country but a lot of us choose to focus on issues that distract from what is really important. This is what I mean by the “blind-spot”: we’re all butthurt about illegal immigration and gun rights when that time and energy should be spent on human rights issues. The “blind-spot” is created when we waste valuable time an energy on issues that really should not be a primary concern. The gun issues is horseshit compared to the heroin epidemic. And if you think otherwise, you’re an idiot and you should kill yourself. I don’t care about being objective about this. If you care more about gun rights than human rights then go fuck yourself. I think that this is a crass way to put how the majority of Americans (and the world) feels but more people are talking about guns than heroin. Or food. Or healthcare. This is a problem. We know this is a problem. We’ve all got guns and no healthcare. That seems fucked up. So why does it seem that we’re so reluctant to solve it?

“The right to work” is the promise that is made to American citizens. The government is supposedly sworn to protect our “Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.” This seems contrary to how it actually feels. Maybe it’s just me. Suffering from depression makes everything extremely difficult. And it’s upsetting to think that I have to pay to live when I have not a whole lot of will to live. It’s scary as fuck to be on anti-depressants. I don’t have a fucking clue what these drugs are doing to me and it’s fucked up to have to quit drugs only to get prescribed “ok” drugs. It’s awful. It feels like my government isn’t even propping me up so that I can be a useful, working, tax paying citizen. It’s illegal to commit suicide but it costs money to fight depression. Heroin is illegal but it costs money to quit heroin. This does not make sense. This is insane. We’ve got a mental health crisis in the United States but we refuse to address it. We’ve got a heroin epidemic but we refuse to address it.

The most fucked up part about depression is that everything in my brain is telling me that I shouldn’t be alive. It feels “unnatural” to be alive and if I should shut down my respiratory system, I would. It feels like I’m disconnected from my survival instincts. That’s really as close as I can get to explaining it in the most condensed and precise way. I don’t like to think about it or dwell on it because I’m trying my best to just manage my own situation. I’m doing well for what I’m working with. There’s others out there far worse off than myself. I’m lucky. Especially as an American citizen with mental illness issues. If nothing else, I feel that this is what keeps me going. I have the “luxury” to get help. If I wasn’t born in this socio-economic class then I’d be fucked. I can’t do it for myself every day. When shit gets real tough I have to stop and think about other people. It could be so much worse and I am grateful for what I have. I’m grateful that I do have access to healthcare. I can get help. Too many other people aren’t as lucky as I am. This isn’t to say I’M DOING IT FOR THEM I AM JESUS — fuck no. There’s no fucking martyrdom here; to me it’s just a science experiment and I find some solace in accepting my role in it.

This is NOT a very happy post. However, I feel like I can address these things because I’m starting to feel strong enough to. I’m starting to feel strong enough to discuss the things that upset me. Having the energy to BITCH is a sign that things are going well! I got a dope job working as a temp in an office and so far (day 3 today!) it’s going well! I’d like to wrap this up by sharing that I do believe that there is hope and that I’ve found that my only responsibility is to find those little things that fuel my battered optimism. I can only speak from my own experience. This situation above is how I perceive what is going on in my country. It blows but all I can do is EMBRACE THE SUCK. I feel like once I address the dreaded suck then I can move on and find what’s good or at least what doesn’t suck so bad. I look for the little things. The stupid things. The funny things. Whatever works and whatever it takes. I hope that everybody who’s in this boat with my can also find those stupid little things that give them some shred of hope. At the very least, I hope that we can have a laugh.

Wait this dude had a problem…

Yeah who would have ever guessed that the guy in the joker/Bowie make-up years after the fact would have a drinking problem. Shocker.

But all joking aside, I couldn’t be prouder of the man to whom I call my brother. 

Ted has had a hard few years, but his life is on the up and up. Today starts a new chapter for him.

Like I’ve said before here, he’s my partner in crime, creativity and lyphe.

  
Here’s to a new life, new beginnings and dreams becoming goals. You can do anything you put your mind too. This man is proof. 

Peace and love to everyone. 

I Had My First Panic Attack

Having a panic disorder sucks more than you think. Especially when you aren’t exactly sure what is happening to you. It is an indescribable feeling truly, yet here I am attempting to spell it out for you. Because it is a condition that isn’t something you can see, some people (myself included at one point) didn’t think it existed. It’s more than nerves, it’s more than being stressed, it’s more than being scared. It’s a creeping, physical feeling where you think something absolutely awful is going to happen. Either someone or something dreadful will “get” you in some manner. It’s painful, terrifying, and extremely real. I remember it so vividly.

Starting when I was about seven years old, my summers were spent in the Fort Greene area of Brooklyn, New York where my father had a rather large upper-part of a brownstone. He worked nights at the famous Village Vanguard jazz club so his days were, of course, deemed for sleeping. When you’re seven years old, that shit don’t fly. Luckily, next door was a wonderful black woman and her two daughters, one around nine and one in her late teens at the time. The mother, who we will call “Miss Viv” was a teacher, so her summers were free. Her youngest daughter (who we’ll call “Kenya”) and I were thick as thieves from the get-go.

Eventually, I ended up practically living there, sleeping on a pullout mattress in Kenya’s room. Since Kenya was a bit older, that meant of course she was contractually obligated to torture me a little bit. Scare the shit out of me at every opportunity. And, I was a fucking scaredy-cat in every sense of the word. One night when I was 11, and she was maybe 14 or 15 , the trailer for the 2005 Rob Zombie movie “The Devil’s Rejects” came on the TV. The operative word was “trailer”. That shit scared me to my fucking bones. I had never, ever been so disturbed in my life, and I didn’t even know why. Horror movies still to this day petrify me but this did something to my psyche. Since I slept in her room, it was her domain and she wasn’t scared of the dark. I WAS. (Side note: before you call me a pussy, yes, I agree in retrospect as a 22-year-old but I was a naïve child with naïve child-like thoughts. So bugger off) And I think the combined stress of being away from home, being in the dark, harboring a deep-seated fear of my father, and the loneliness I felt very often culminated that night and I had a panic attack. I could not breathe. I could not even cry. I shook in the fetal position so violently; Kenya called her mom into the room. I couldn’t even explain how afraid I was or what was wrong. It must have been intense because my dad had to come from Manhattan to Brooklyn and back at past midnight. Oh, the perks of being a parent.

In retrospect, it wasn’t that bad but I was still really terrified. Panic disorders are extremely real and opened a door to a mental illness I didn’t want to accept I had. I got addicted to the medication prescribed to manage it and now I’m struggling to live a clean life while managing everyday stresses that make life possible. So Godspeed to everyone out there who has this condition. We’ll chill out eventually.