Johnny’s Mental Health

My first psychiatrist typed all of my symptoms into a Macintosh, then handed me a scantron sheet that said “You’re Crazy”, and wrote out a prescription for some type of medication that I’d already taken recreationally for years

I don’t remember much about my second psychiatrist, because I was sloshed every time I saw her, and high as fuck from triple dosing the pills my previous psyche prescribed me, but I do remember her cancelling my prescription, refusing to prescribe me new meds until I detox, and that she had big, luscious tits that I chose to stare at instead of listening to her babble about personality disorders.

My third psyche was the twelfth or thirteenth Shutterstock image you see when you type “White Doctor” into Google. He was nice, but I’m pretty sure he was an android. I spent our first appointment imagining which section of the curriculum for Clinical Psychiatry taught how to sympathetically smile and properly space out understanding nods while patients tell them how they can’t be in intimate relationships because they were molested as a kid, or how they can’t take the train anymore because it’s just a matter of time until they jump in front of one, or how cocaine and ecstasy calms them down and alcohol makes them hyper, or how they can’t sleep without having horrible nightmares so they stay up longer than they should but always crash after a week, or how some days they’re so anxious that they shake and have to blame it on too much coffee so their coworkers don’t think they’re drug addicts, which they probably are. I lasted for a few months with the white doctor. He gave me sleeping pills that actually worked, though they made me gain forty pounds in three months, without me noticing, because I never look in mirrors, and the sliver of Native American in me thinks cameras steal your soul. The other pills he prescribed for my “psychological issues” properly fucked me up and introduced me to the worst withdrawals since the Vicodin days of my late teens.

I quit doctors for a few years after Mr. White. If I was going to go through withdrawals, they might as well be the result of being under the influence of good drugs.

 



I’m afraid this will wind up buried in my drafts so I’ll just post it and get to work on pt. 2

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Failure

I just wrote 1188 words to say something that only needed this many words:

I applied for a new position at work. I’ve worked at the company for ten years. I started in production, and now I work a comfy desk job that I’m bored with.

I didn’t get the position because I don’t have a degree. I did a summer course on psychology at community college because I was convinced that I was partially braindead from drugs and alcohol. I got an A- and never went back.

I barely graduated high school. I wouldn’t have graduated without the help of two gay student aids, who thought I was cute, bumping my grade up to a C- in four classes; one teacher who didn’t want to fail anyone because it was his last year; my ability to pass tests despite sleeping in class 87% of the time; and Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy(thanks W).

I got drunk at my graduation, had to be woken up to walk the stage, and threw up as my mother tried to take “one good picture”.

I have a warrant out for my arrest for being an idiot.

I can’t drive cars because of my anxiety and inability to pay attention(which resulted in me getting into 2-3 sober accidents a year).

I have the money management skills of a twelve year old porn addict with a credit card.

I can’t have romantic relationships because they make me sad and/or evil.

 

Fuck, even that was too long.

I guess I just wanted to say that I’m a failure at adulting.

 

 

Oh, to end on a funny note: one of those gay teacher’s aids used to wake up straight guys in class and say, “I want to suck your dick dry,” with a heavy lisp.

The end.

Johnny’s Recurring Nightmares (Pt. 1)

I was friends with Johnny for three or so years before I found out how fucked in the head he was. And I know, fucked in the head sounds a bit harsh, but that’s his verbiage, not mine.


“I haven’t slept in two days,” Johnny said before inhaling a line of absurdly good coke. The type of shit that flooded highbrow clubs in the late seventies. The type of shit that shouldn’t be called shit, because the slang term shit came about when dealers started to cut their coke with laxatives…but not this coke. This coke was so pure Johnny called his Guatemalan drug dealer Freud, after Sigmund Freud, who advocated for medicinal cocaine use, until he got addicted to it…or so Johnny told me–I never touched the stuff.

“Dude,” I said with a giggle. “You can’t say shit like that after taking a line. Obviously you’re not gonna sleep.”

“Na bro, this is the first substance I’ve touched in weeks. No weed, no drink, not even coffee. I’ve been dangerously sober, but I can’t take it anymore.” Johnny fired out from pallid lips. “This is it. I’ve finally lost my shit.”

Johnny oscillated between all out addict and chaste straight edge, depending on the month, season and/or girlfriend. For a frantic fellow, he was unusually regimental when it came to drug use. Summer was filled with ecstasy and cocaine, drugs perfect for pool parties and beach bonfires. Autumn was his psychedelic season; he loved to take mushrooms, go on hikes and watch leaves fall from tired trees. In the winter, benzos, barbiturates and painkillers were mandatory to keep his SAD in check. And spring — which started a few weeks ago, on the day of his birthday, March 20th–was usually spent relatively sober; what he called his Spring Equinox Detox.

“What’s going on, man? Trouble with your lady?” I asked.

“Ah, fuck her. She went to the treasure island rave with her girls. It’s not about her, though. Well…it is…kind of. But not really. It’s more me. It’s always me. She’s just making it worse. I’m thinking about ending it. All she wants to do is party, and I can’t handle that shit right now,” Johnny said while chopping up more lines, not realizing the irony in complaining about partying while chopping up a bona fide party drug.

He met his current girlfriend, Luna, at EDC last May. What should’ve been a weekend fling, turned into a volatile, near-year whirlwind of love and lust and all types of fuckery.

“What is it then?”

“My fucking dreams…nightmares man. Every time I sleep. The same three over and over again. Nightmares from my childhood. Sometimes multiple in the same night. I can’t fucking sleep. And all fucking Luna does is complain that I keep waking her up.” he said, then inhaled a line so long he ran out of breath before reaching the end of it.

“Jesus Christ, man, you’re going to have a heart attack.”

“I have to. I feel like I’m in nightmare on fucking elm street. Gotta stay awake. Gotta stay awake.”

Johnny had never asked me for any type of support in the entire span of our friendship. He was my psychiatrist. I went to him when I had trouble with my girl or work or life in general. He was a manic madman, but he’d always seem to have this strange control over his life and emotions. He was a tempest in a snow globe that soothed friends and family with free verse lyrics of encouragement and hope while perpetually on the verge of a quiet nervous breakdown.

“Alright, calm down. Everything will be alright.”

“Everything will be alright?” he asked, perplexed at my trivial statement . “Everything will be all-fucking-right? Really!? Thank you for the pleasant platitudes, but I don’t need that shit right now!” he said in a decibel level I’d never witnessed. “Sorry man. Fuck. I’m sorry. I just–I just don’t know what to do. I don’t mean to take it out on you.”

I didn’t know what to say. All I had was platitudes. That’s what most people wanted to hear. It will be alright. We’ll get through this together. After the storm, the sun will shine. I realized there was absolutely nothing I could say to console my best friend. He’d prefer me to talk shit to him. Joke around. But even that might make things worse.

“I just need someone to talk to. Someone to keep me awake. Someone to just be there. Someone that doesn’t make everything about themselves, like Luna,” he said before I could eek out another platitude. “I don’t want to be psychoanalyzed. Don’t tell me what you think they mean. I already know. I don’t need you to be Sigmund fucking Freud. Just listen.”

“I’ll listen, bro, but only if you lay off the yay. I’m serious. I’ll smoke a J with you and listen, but I can’t pay attention if you’re bumping every ten minutes.” I softly commanded.

“Deal.”

I started breaking up some of Johnny’s top-shelf Buddha to roll up while he told me the first dream.

“This might be my oldest dream…or nightmare…or memory…or whatever the fuck it is. I’m in my childhood home picking up microscopic rocks off the floor of my room and putting them into a trashcan with a giant hole in the bottom of it. After picking up all the rocks in one spot, I pickup the trash can and move to another, oblivious to the rocks tumbling out of the hole onto the area I just spent an eternity cleaning. As I kneel down to recommence my Sisyphean task, my mother creeps in behind me with a terrifying smile. As I open my mouth to tell her I love her, or hate her, or something stupid, her mouth opens and rocks blast out like a high power pressure washer, quickly filling my room, crushing and suffocating me, until I wake up paralyzed, gasping for air as tears flow down my rolled back eyes.”

I stopped breaking up the weed, and awkwardly held a small nug for a few seconds, not knowing if Johnny wanted me to respond back.

As I opened my mouth to say something platitudinal, Johnny cut me off and began the second dream

“I started having this dream when I was around eight or nine—a few years after the other dream. I’m skipping down the sidewalk of some crowded city, likely SF, or hell, dodging lines of people coming at me like an old arcade game, while avoiding the cracks in the sidewalk. I can’t see myself smiling, but I know I am. I catch glimpses of the end of the sidewalk after dodging each line; something kind is at the end, but I don’t know what it is–I just know I have to get to it…”

Johnny stopped and looked at me struggling to roll the joint and laughed. “Ya wey, your first time rolling? Give me that shit, fool.” Johnny said, then took the notebook, his diary, I was using to break up and roll on.

“Fuck, where was I. Um, um…Oh yea…so there’s something warm and fuzzy at the end of the sidewalk; maybe it’s heaven, maybe it’s limbo, maybe it’s Oz, maybe it’s oblivion, maybe it doesn’t matter what it is. After dodging the last line, I see the end clearly. It’s beautiful…whatever it is, it’s glowing in way only possible if a million perfect rainbows converged on a perfect prismatic fractal….Hold up one sec.”

Johnny stopped speaking to apply the last coat of saliva to the joint he rolled in a dozen seconds, then resumed his dream.

“I begin to skip faster, making dangerously large strides while still trying to avoid the cracks. I feel the end pulling me. I know I’ll be safe there. I must get there. I must live there. I must die there…”

Johnny sparked up the J, took five or six micro-puffs then passed it to me.

…Right as I’m about to reach my heavenly unknown, a vantablack shadow appears, forcing me to recklessly skip off-course…the darkness lets loose a portentous cackle as my foot slams into the last crack in the sidewalk…the world shatters around me…the clouds fall like ethereal tear drops…I’m left standing on a single piece of freezing concrete, suspended in darkness.”

“Fuck,” I eek out with a puff a smoke.

“Yea,” Johnny said with a sigh. “That dream is the roughest. Every time I have it, I wake up sweating, patting at my body like I was just pickpocketed. Every time I feel like a part of my soul was stolen.”

End of Part 1



 

I’ll likely never finish this, but I wanted to post something.

 

 

 

Deny My Programming

A beautiful schizophrenic man used to come into my dad’s scuba diving shop every weekend. My dad allowed him to look around, talk to himself, use our restroom, and occasionally talk to us about the black hole in the center of our solar system. He was welcome as long as he didn’t bother any of our customers or attempt to try on new wetsuits.

I remember one time, while my father was busy assisting a customer, giggling as I watched him attempt to put on an extra small women’s wetsuit. He managed to get both his legs in, stretching the seams, essentially ruining it, before my dad caught him. My dad wasn’t mad, he also found it kind of funny, despite ruining the two hundred dollar suit. Instead of banning him from the store, he went to the backroom, and pulled out a used extra large wetsuit for him to have. The man attempted to undress right in the middle of the store, but my dad guided him to one of our changing rooms. He went in wearing ancient rags, came out in a 7mm wetsuit, and strutted out of the shop like he was rocking a tailormade Armani suit.

I was six or seven when I first met this homeless man, and around eleven when my father told me that someone killed him in the back alley behind our store. Some biker beat him to death because he’d unintentionally disrespected an Angel’s patch at the local chapter’s bar.

I wailed for hours after hearing the news—to the point my mother had to take me to the hospital. Something was seriously wrong with me, they thought.

Why was an eleven year old having a nervous breakdown over some homeless person?

Because he was my friend.

This man, who society deemed broken, was kind to me.

He wasn’t like other humans.

He never touched me or hit me or hurt me in anyway.

He made me not feel like a weirdo.

I think about my schizophrenic friend all the time.

I imagine the day he got fed up with this world and created a new one in his head.

The day he denied his programming.

I imagine the day I might do the same.

To Sleep or Not to Sleep

I had a doctor’s appointment today to check on the progress of my medication tapering. It went well. I love my doctor. She’s a saint—the only physician I’ve ever had an actual bond with.

She gave me the okay to completely discontinue the med, but she recommended I start another one, from the same class, to prevent me from falling back into my naturally shitty sleep cycle that often leaves me awake, in a state of hypomania, for days on end before crashing. Like the med I’m discontinuing, it’s notorious for weight gain—a side effect I’m not sure I want to endure again. According to the doctors and intellectuals on Reddit, this new med more often than not also causes the type of metabolic fuckery that requires nothing short of a Gandhian diet just to maintain your current weight.

To sleep and be fat, or not to sleep and be crazy, that is the question.

I know the correct answer is to take the med, but I’ve never been the type to do the right thing, so I’m going to try insomnia for a few weeks.

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say

A few years ago I decided to become a deaf person.

It was during the height of Tumbler, when people freely self identified as wolves and fairies and other erroneous things, sometimes inanimate, which made otherwise uninteresting people feel special. If someone could identify as a non-binary, cis-gender whale shark, why couldn’t I identify as a deaf person? I’m naturally oblivious, emotionally aloof and disconnected from the world in general–not saying those are the traits of a deaf person, they just make it easier for me to adjust to a hearing impaired life.

I’d always been a quiet, soft spoken person which was often interrupted as off. “She seems off,” people would tell my parents. So much so, they mistook my disinterest in conscious life for autism. I’m definitely not autistic. I’m the opposite of autistic. I’m hypersensitive and hyperemotional, I just keep it hidden behind a stoic smirk. Maybe I am autistic. But I thought autism was present at birth? Not the response to a shitty life, filled with shitty people, doing shitty things, for shitty reasons. Maybe I had the gene for autism, if there is one, and years of malicious sensory overload suddenly expressed the gene? I’m not sure if that’s possible. Though, I still am hyperemotional, but only when I’m by myself. So, I guess it’s not autism—at least in the traditional sense. Selective autism is more appropriate.

Despite my naturally, stolid demeanor, I needed a lot of practice before going full blown deaf. I practiced first at work, to the annoyance of my coworkers and bosses, by ignoring people on elevator rides up to my office spewing mundane Monday morning platitudes. “Mondays, am I right?” they’d ask, or say, or whatever the fuck that phrase is supposed to express, and I’d respond with a fake smile and nod. Yea, that’s kind of rude, I know, so once I got to my desk I’d ping the person I ignored and tell them I had bronchitis, or a migraine, or I lost my voice at a concert the previous night. Luckily, I was a graphic designer, so most of my conversations took place via email or instant messenger. The only “real” social interaction I had at work was on those elevator rides, at the espresso machine, and the occasional meeting I checked out of anyways.

I mastered not answering to my name when I was younger, so that was no problem. My father would scream at me, What are you, deaf!?, all the time, and I’d mostly ignore him, until he flicked the back of my head, or yelled long enough. I was somewhat worried that, in his senility, he would scream that at me again, despite my sister or brother telling him I’m deaf, and I’d gleefully respond with a smile, nod, and Yes Dad, I am deaf, exposing my ruse for the lolz.

The primary threat to my future life of deafness was exclamatory scenarios. Somebody screaming, fire! Someone letting loose a blood curdling scream. A family member surprising me in person with the news that a loved one had died, or was in a serious accident. This was a toughie. Buddha forbid, a loved one dies, and I’m surprised with the news. I wouldn’t be able shed a tear, though my tear ducts dried up years ago, or make the slightest facial cue, though my face was naturally fixed in a single semi-grimace for the majority of my waking hours.

I played out these types of scenarios for weeks, months, until my brain was permanently hardwired to not give a fuck, and look like I don’t give a fuck.

In hindsight, I probably spent too much time imagining scenes that would never manifest, but I didn’t want to be one of those dolts who adopt factitious disorders before fleshing out every goddamn scenario.

After nearly a year of preparation, I was finally ready to become a deaf person. A serious ear infection would be the cause. I had multiple ear infections in my youth which left me temporarily deaf in one ear, one time both, so it was in the protest-free realm of possibility, and easily digestible for family members who’d previously witnessed it. All I needed to do was get sick. I decided riding the train was the best place to acquire the cold or flu. It was Winter, and the train was filled with coughs and sneezes—a moving petri dish.

Unfortunately, in the months preceding my path to deafness, I’d been fired from my job. You can only ignore your bosses, and exude disinterest, so long before they become fed up. This made funds tight, and the train was expensive. I quickly ran through my meagre savings, spending the majority of my money on train rides that didn’t end in sickness, and the rest on rent and Costco boxes of cup-of-noodle.

One night, I came home from one of my nightly train rides to nowhere, and found my mother, two step-sisters and twin brother, Johnny, in my house crying. It was an intervention. Not the hard drug or alcohol type of intervention though, it was a collective plea for me to get back on drugs. My bipolar drugs. The drugs that kept me relatively level. The drugs I decided to stop taking shortly before I decided to become deaf.

For the past year, I’d been in a state of mixed-mania. I’d constructed an elaborate plan to become a deaf person because I thought it would relieve the anxiety social interactions produced. I wouldn’t have to talk. I would never mispronounce a word again, and fixate on it for weeks on end while maniacally cleaning my apartment. I’d never have to lie and say “I’m alright,” when someone asked me, “How I was doing.” I’d never have to feign interest, or have forced conversations when I really had nothing to say. I would be free from embarrassing social interactions and free from the guilt that acting like I cared created. I’d feel free in general. Or so I thought. Instead, my path to deafness left me locked away from friends and family for months on end. It made the people I love think I hated them.

I cried with my mother and step-sisters while Johnny convinced me to get back on my meds. He was the only person that truly understood how I felt, because he’d also gone through these self-destructive phases. Phases where I saved him from near madness. We were always there for each-other, but during this period of destructive mixed-mania, Johnny was in a deep depression. I knew this, but I selfishly isolated myself from him because I felt like I’d make it worse. Johnny felt the same. He thought his depression would make my issues worse. He decided to move in with me that night to help me out with my issues, while I helped his.

My mother and sisters left that night, and Johnny made some tea for us. From the kitchen I heard him say with a giggle, “You really took mom serious this time, yea?”

“Huh?” I responded.

“If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.”



 

I’m not sure why I created a twin sister for Johnny. She’s kind of mean :).