Sunday, September 15, 2013

Thoughts From Middle-Age

So here I am, botox-free, firmly intrenched in middle age

...and I'm in one of those rare 'taking stock' moods so–

I'm gonna screw up my courage and make a partial list of the little pearls of wisdom I’ve learned so far:

*Learn to trust your instincts when it comes to people, romantic relationships and making most life-changing decisions. If you initially get an inkling... a whiff that something’s rotten in Denmark, it probably is.

*Everyone won’t like you–blah,blah,blah and vice versa. Some people will meet you and take an instant dislike for no apparent reason. Not to say that you shouldn't be at least a little concerned but don’t spend too much time agonizing and analyzing over the situation, just move on.

*Domestic violence is never okay. Make it well known to your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend that if they ever raise a hand to you in anger, there are no second chances. You’re out the door, gone...bye-bye.

*Don’t get involved with workplace gossip and bitchery. Keep your nose clean and do your job correctly. Don’t lay out of work. Learn to roll with the flow and don’t freak out when change is introduced into the workplace. Try to get along with the boss. Be polite. If these things are hard to do or become impossible to do, get another job.

*Remember your close friends and family member’s birthdays. Send those cards, balloons and flowers. If they say they don’t celebrate birthdays or that it doesn’t matter, they’re lying. It matters, big time.

*Good health is a gift so don’t smoke or do drugs (do I even have to say this?) How you treat your body when you’re young has a lot to do with how you’ll feel when you’re older. Oh yeah– don’t forget to watch your salt, red meat and dairy intake. Do eat plenty of fish and foods with fiber.
*Never get into your worldly processions too much. Don’t allow yourself to get to a point where you couldn’t fathom living without your stuff. Cars, jewelry, money... ‘things’ can easily be stripped away from you.

*Different people follow different paths to God/divinity. Just because their path isn’t the same as yours doesn’t make them any less holy.

*Middle-aged men; be on the watch out for nose & ear hair. If you don’t believe you have any, take a hand mirror outside on a sunny day and look at your nostrils and ears from different angles. See.

So, there you have it. You're welcome. Anytime.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Minimal Criminal

I am without a doubt, a major colossal law-abiding nerd. In my teen years, my older brother Eric always seemed to be in trouble with the law for little, petty crimes like stealing cars, public drunkenness and driving on a suspended license. I guess seeing all the stuff my brother went through with lawyers, going to jail multiple times and seeing how it hurt my parents, I unconsciously did a 180 and became a ultra goody-goody.

Okay... well, let me back up and tell you what brought all this one. I'm proud to say that my sport of choice is power-walking. Before you groan and shake your head, let me mildly protest that power-walking is no longer just for senior citizens. I know right now you must be imagining senior citizens in windsuits power-walking at the local mall, right ? 

Don't you now it's too hot in North Carolina in the Summer for a windsuit ? Seriously, I'm gay for God's sake ! I'd never wear one of those awful windsuits. If you're not sure what a windsuit is, Google this term: Windsuit + 80's + 90's.

Even small as it is, the little town I live in North Carolina has an amazing walking trail running through the center of it made from an old, unused railroad track that they’d somehow paved over for the walkers in the mid-90's. I almost always drive into town daily (sometimes twice) and walk on the trail for an hour or so if the weathers good and I’m not ill. I don’t need to explain to you guys that exercise why I do know, the health benefits and plus it bring me peace, yadda yadda yadda. I pop my ear-buds in and off I go at a brisk pace listening to a good audiobook or one of my favorite pod-casts. And my poor tortured (addled) brain gets to relax a bit and I get some air and sunshine, win-win for me. 

Sometimes (often) I forget to transfer the contents of my pockets (wallet w/driver’s license, credit cards etc...) from my workout clothes back to my street clothes and find myself driving around town with no driver’s license. The very moment it dawns on me that I’m riding around without a driver’s license on my person, I totally freak and break out in a cold sweat.

“OMG, what if I get pulled over ?”

“Shit, what if I drive up on one of those road blocks where the police is checking for expired licenses and registrations ?”

“What if the policeman that pulls me over is a homophobic redneck and he plants crack in my trunk just so he can send this gay boy to prison?”

“Oh sweet Jesus, what if one of my friends drive by and sees me getting arrested for driving without a license and Tweets and Facebooks everyone that he just saw me pulled over beside the highway in my ratty work-out gear getting a DWI and being searched for drugs?”

So, help me put my mind to rest. If you or somebody you know is in law-enforcement, tell me what would happen if I got pulled over and discovered my driving license was in my other pants at home. Would the policeman still give me a ticket ? Would I be arrested on the spot ?  Would a police follow me to my house so I could get my license ?

You know, it just occurred to me that I could prevent this whole situation by always keeping my driver’s license in the glove box. I’m such a dense goober sometimes.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Silenced Muses

This past Winter, Spring and Summer has been difficult for me. I haven’t written in ages because, well...I’ve felt so empty and blank with no words to spare. As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I started seeing a new psychiatrist after some months of increasingly odd, manic behavior and found out that I was indeed ‘quite’ Bipolar and so began the process of trying out different psych meds (until I found one or 2 that would treat my particular brand of madness).

The goal is to find a psych medicine that treats your craziness without:

...keeping you awake all night you heart palpitations you diarrhea or making you severely constipated

...making you so mind-numbingly tired you can barely move

...making your skin crawl

...strong sexual side effects   

...making you twitch

...making you gain weight   

One of the more interesting (if I might call it that) side-effects that my daily dosage of Citalopram and Seroquel has caused is the loss of sex drive. I feel like I should be bothered by it but I’m not. It’s kind of freeing to not be a slave to my hormones anymore. Thank goodness, I’m single...this new, sexless Ken would be a boring boyfriend and...well...a fatter boyfriend, I’ve gained 25 pounds 

It’s taken time but I think I’ve finally settled into my proper meds and proper dosage. Daily, I won’t kid you, it’s not easy and I still struggle with side effects from my meds but I’m starting to feel more like myself again. My desire to write has come back and for that I'm grateful.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cray Cray

In the first several months of a each new year when you bump into old friends, the Christmas past is often most inquired about. Such was my case the other day when I ran into Bobby, an old buddy from my clubbing days. When asked what Santa brought me, I answered that I had received the best gift possible, a diagnosis. I got a very puzzled look of course.

For many years, I’ve suffered from severe depression, OCD and chaotic, shifting moods. My shrinks just put me on a strong antidepressant and sent me out the door, not really all that curious about the origins of my mood swings. Only suggesting that I get a hobby or take yoga to get my mind off my problems.



 Recently because I lost my health insurance,I started seeing a shrink at a charity clinic just down the road from my HIV doctor. My new shrink told me that I was indeed bipolar and needed to me put on a med for that, not just the antidepressant I was already taking. Suddenly it all made since to me, the years of struggles and constant mood swings. Somehow it had never occurred to me that “I” of all people might be bipolar. Heaven forbid, Bipolar people were crazy, right ?

So, since Christmas I’ve been trying to get my new meds straightened out. The first med gave me really bad heartburn, the second med affected my sleep (couldn’t sleep for more that 2 hours at a time) and gave me chronic constipation (I sound like a fun person to hang around, right?).

I can totally relate to an episode of the Golden Girls called Sick and Tired, where Dorothy is sick and extremely fatigued and none of the doctors will believe that anything is actually wrong with her, suggesting that it might all be in her mind. I’m here to tell you, that there’s nothing worse than knowing something is not right with your body and no one believes you. Well, Dorothy keeps plugging along and finally comes to a doctor that decided to run some very specific tests for things out of the norm and it comes back that Dorothy has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and it wasn’t all in her head like so many of doctors suggested.

So yes, I was thrilled to hear that I was bipolar. I finally had a name for this horrible thing that beats me up from the inside and my new shrink has offered me hope that I can me normal again with the proper meds in 2013, my year of good mental health.