Tag Archives: depression

Medication and Self-Medication

24 May

I know a little something about medicating yourself. Life can be difficult to handle, and with the variety of legal and illegal substances to play with, why would you want to stay unaltered? Well, as I like to say, there are no solutions, only trade-offs.

I happened to be scanning my blogs and ran across an interesting set of links on Struggle Street‘s page, including one of about the use of psychedelics in therapy in Texas. Now this is using medications that are “unusual” (and usually illegal) to effective use against patients with PTSD. These are what I consider “real problems” and I’m in favor of anyone using anything that works. My father-in-law had Parkinson’s and there was serious evidence for using medical marijuana to help with the shaking. Unfortunately, he never got a chance to try it out because of… well, things got too bad before they had to admit him.

I think it’s interesting trying to use MDMA (molly or ecstasy) to treat folks with serious psychological conditions. I can believe that different drugs can have different effects on different people; Ecstasy for most people usually ends up with bad results–but when your normal life has bad results, you might as well try some serious uppers.

Now in my life, I have “minor problems.” Dealing with ADHD is part of that, but that doesn’t make me different than 5-10% of Americans. You have to try different concoctions to see what works best. I went to a psychiatrist to get a prescription to help with that–he ended up giving me an anti-depressant that made me angrier and more twitchy. So much for that. Then I discovered supplements which are much cheaper. A combination of GABA (for concentration), 5-HTP (for calming), and Omega-3 pills (for emotional stability) works for me… but probably wouldn’t work on a different person with ADHD.

However, I don’t take those on a regular basis–not anymore–because a) my job has stopped being so stressful and detail intensive that I need it, and b) because it makes you feel emotionally numb and sexually deficient. So I only take it when I need to be at my top game at work… or when I know I’m walking into a stressful situation at home.

Plus I discovered bar culture. I’ve talked about how bar lives matter, but thanks to my ADHD, I’ve generally avoided most bars because they’re too noisy. Then I discovered several dive bars and day drinking where the crowds are small and I can actually hold a conversation with someone. Alcohol reduces the effect of my supplements and gives me a temporary high. But just like meds, different liquors have different effects. Whiskey and gin make me angrier, rum makes me happier, beer makes me gassy… but it’s different with different people.

At the moment, I’d rather have the temporary high then the emotional numbness, but because my wife is on the “high health” kick, she had made her displeasure with my drinking at the house clear. So I vowed only to drink at the bar… which means I find more reasons to sneak to the bar. That was strangely more difficult when I worked from home, but substantially easier now that I’m working in an office.

Of course, now that my life’s improved, I’m going a lot less, because there’s less need for self-medication. There’s no guarantee that will be good in the end. But what do you do to get through life’s hard places? Let me know in the comments below! Then check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 is cutting into your beer money, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. Then have a drink on me.

I Like Round Numbers and I Cannot Lie

6 Mar

I knew this was coming–my blog hit 1,000 followers! (blank stare) I should be happier about this, but I hit a happy equilibrium / burn out between me and my social media a month ago, so I wonder what all those numbers I collect actually mean.

I started this blog back last summer as a way to build a community and get people interested in my books. As I remind myself, I have sold more books than I ever have before I started reaching out on social media. However, I have to remind myself of that multiple times a month, because the number is still not very high.

Now that is my own fault–promoting yourself does not come easily or naturally–I’ve had many people comment on this blog that “I didn’t know you wrote books!” So that means I’ve either designed my website wrong that you can’t see the “Books” tab, or I need to curate the mobile function that it’s a lot more obvious that I’d like you to read my books. I also don’t plug my books with every post; because I’d like to think I would lose my readers than I would gain if I did that.

So I have to ask myself–what do I gain from building my social media community? For the record, I’m close to my 5,000 follower limit on Facebook, over 4,300 on Twitter, approaching 7,000 on LinkedIn, and around 550 on GoodReads. I think I’ve actually gotten more sales from Twitter than my blog, but I put daily love into my blog, and little elsewhere. So what I’ve realized is:

Twitter: people want bite-sized morsels of fun… they don’t want to read a blog. However, you’re more likely to grab their attention with a blurb about your book, that will attract them to go read it.

Facebook: people want slightly larger morsels, but this is the home of the meme, and occasionally seeing what your friend’s kids are doing. I’m finding it less effective in getting the word out.

LinkedIn: Mostly an online resume, but there’s a significant number of folk who actually use the social media function. I’ve gotten a lot of interest and some traffic to my blog, but whether that actually translates into purchases is beyond me.

GoodReads: Here’s actually book readers who are excited about reading books! My exact audience! However, it is the hardest to attract new followers, and hardest to get traction.

So what does the future hold for my online presence? Well, if you’ve read my whiny post up to this point, don’t worry–I’m still going to write my blog. I get great personal satisfaction from writing 300-500 words a day, I have a dedicated group of 100-150 readers who actually care enough to look at my daily extreme moderate rants. I’ve also found some great readers who have excellent comments. I treasure you all.

For the rest, I’m planning on cutting off most of my Facebook friends (or the ones that I don’t have a shred of connection with), and just using that as a repeater for the blog. Continue plugging away at GoodReads, tread water with my LinkedIn, but plug my book more on Twitter. But what do you think? Am I whining too much? Should I get on Instagram? What possibilities have I not explored? Let me know in the comments below!

Inspiration in the Midst of Darkness

25 Jan

There’s an old Japanese proverb: death is as light as a feather, duty as heavy as a mountain. I’ve been having trouble lately and several times I thought, “wouldn’t it be just easier if I just ended it all?” Well… not for anybody I love.

This is not a call for help – after all, you don’t read my blog to learn how depressed I am – and to be honest, most of the time I’m not. However, this is just where I am at the moment, and when you’re in the darkness, it’s hard to write about anything else. So forgive me if I go down a dark rabbit hole.

I’m having trouble at work – frankly, I’m close to getting fired – and although I wouldn’t mind leaving my job, I do mind not having a paycheck for a while. When I started my present gig 2 1/2 years ago, it was a godsend. I was a travelling consultant that hadn’t gotten a new contract in three months. Because of the nature of my work, I had saved up enough to pay for the times I was between gigs, but three months was near the end of my savings. Then to find out I could work from home, instead of moving to Dallas, was a huge benefit.

I had worked from home before, but I’d still have to go into the office occasionally–now it was everyday. It’s easy to get bored, and after the honeymoon period, I started screwing up. Although I had places to go to work out of the house, I quickly exhausted them… not that I got kicked out, but the appeal really drained out of it.

I used to be able to ride my bike to places to get some exercise, but then some *@($*#& stole my nice bike out of my backyard. I tried getting two cheaper bikes, but they broke down spectacularly, once the brake failing and causing me to fly over the handlebars and braking my clavicle. I’ve been walking around the neighborhood, but it’s not the same, and certainly not as enjoyable.

Then COVID happened and suddenly the benefits of working from home suddenly ended. Now everyone was home–I didn’t get even the illusion of being at work. Or rather, I was always at work. I couldn’t even do my normal escapes. I used to go to Panera Bread and start work at 6:30, so that I would be out of the house while the morning rush, but even though I could do that again now, it doesn’t open until 7. Even now, when my wife can go back to her office, she doesn’t want to. My son does go to school two days a week, but it’s still online, so he’s even more miserable. And then I can’t seem to do anything right at work.

So I’m stuck and have been stuck for months. This work situation happened back in April too, so I guess it was inevitable. But I’m back to that dark space. My brother committed suicide when I was 21, so I know that’s not an option, because I saw what happened to my family. Besides, all that means is that my wife and kids don’t have a parent and a paycheck, and I don’t want to do that to them.

So I cannot die, I can’t work, and I’m not sure what to do. It’s temporary, I’m sure, and things will change… but man, it sucks now. When have you contemplated suicide? Where were you in your life when that happened? Was there a gradual improvement out of that dark spot or was there a singular event? If you’re willing, share in the comments below.

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