Pod People

“Your experiment today is called Pod People. It has nothing to do with pods, it has nothing to do with people. It has everything to do with hurting.”

— Dr. Forrester introduces the experiment

Most people can hear a song and have memories of where they were or what they were doing at a certain time in their lives. I too have countless songs that do that for me. I even have a few movies that made such a nostalgic impact upon me too. No song or movie has captured 3 separate moments in my life as a weird movie called ‘Pod People’. It’s a strange little film that came out of France back in 1983. It was dubbed to English in 1985. And during the summer of 1986 I seen this movie for the first time.

I can remember watching this late at night in the living room during a hot summer night back in ‘86. This night the TV was turned down low so it wouldn’t wake up my parents. My sister and I often did this for Night Tracks on TBS or movies past bedtime. Pod People came on that night. I was so shocked on how bad the show was I couldn’t stop watching it. I can’t remember if I riffed on this show but it wouldn’t surprise me if I did.

A few years later when I was in High School, I saw this movie the second time. It was a summer Saturday afternoon in 1991. I had the window open, with the fan and TV on in my room. Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episode 303 ‘Pod People’ came on for the first time and fell in love with it. Back then, MST3k was cutting edge TV for me. I loved to riff on movies too, so this low budget show instantly caught my attention. I always felt a close connection to the cast and humor of the series. Maybe because I grew up in the same region as these guys from Minnesota. I still can understand and relate to all the jokes and punchlines said during that time period. For me this is the peak era of MST3k and I watched this show every chance I got as a teen.

The third time was in the fall of ‘95, back when MST3K was briefly on syndication. I had just gotten married a few weeks ago. I was still in the service and it was one of the days I got released early because I had the best shine on my boots and knew all my general orders. It was the start of fall in Georgia, the leaves were starting to turn. I had a beer in my hand and was sitting on the couch watching TV. I knew MST3k was coming on so I flipped over to it. I saw the start of the show and laughed. I couldn’t believe it, this show again! I only watched it again because I dared myself to do it a third time.

It’s still a kick today as it was back then when I get on Twitch and watch the old MST3K episodes. The other day Pod People came on, it brought back these memories of those happier times in my life. Back when I was happy, young, and feeling alive. It’s not to often I hear or see something that vividly brings back those periods in my life. I cherish each time those moments happen. I find it funny that I have this painfully stupid funny movie called Pod People to tie all these 3 unique moments together. When I was a kid, a teenager and as a young adult. I love that nostalgic feeling. I’m so glad I can still have memories of those moments. I look forward to similar moments in my future.


I am a Liar

Integrity is an often-overlooked causality of mental illness. It covers a pretty broad spectrum in my opinion so I want to narrow down this article on one thing, honesty.

First, I want to state that people with mental illness are often forced to use deception to protect themselves from harmful situations or ignorant people. Being honest and open about one’s illness can be great and liberating but all too often it opens those who suffer from mental illness to a lot of criticism, rejection, and hurt.

This article is in no way judgment on anyone but myself. I want this to be a cautionary tale of the potential destructive power of lies, not only to one’s self but the effect it can have on others. This is something I wanted to get off my chest for a while now, to help release some of the anguish and pain I hold inside from the lies I’ve told over the years. I never meant to be a liar but I allowed mental illness to slowly make one out of me. It starts with the lie you tell yourself about depression, the self-denial. This is often the seed planted within yourself. If left unchecked, it can grow to eventually consume your mental health. Often it doesn’t just stay there either, it spreads.

this was the starting point for my downward spiral in life

The first time I lied to myself that had long term harmful effects was during one of the darkest moments of my life, the day someone else’s life ended. I was a Sergeant at the time and the Battalion required an NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) to be present at the enlisted barracks 24/7 during peacetime training periods back in the late ’90s.

It was just another 24 hours shift that day. I was a pretty responsible NCO at the time, I took my duty seriously. I followed my instructions to the letter, I did my hourly checks, I talked to soldiers who came and went. But still, a soldier died of a drug overdose on my watch. I remember seeing him clearly today as I did back then, both before and afterward. He was so happy and friendly that day, I just thought at the time he had a little to drink.

Later after he was found and the flurry of trying to save his life passed, I started to tell myself that his death was my fault. If only I had done or said something different. If only I had walked the hallway one extra time, I would have heard something, If only….. But they were all lies I whispered to myself, and lies I still hear whispered to this day.

I know I did everything I should of before, during, and after the event. I didn’t buy those drugs nor did I put them in his body. When he was found early the next morning, I took charge, did what I could, told everyone what to do and who to call, I put myself in the best position to lead and guide personnel during the crisis. Even though he was already dead when he was found, I still tell myself it’s my fault that boy never grew old, never met and married someone, and never saw his family again. It shook my confidence and created doubt in who I was. This was the starting point for my downward spiral in life.

decades later, I try everyday to show her that I still love her every chance I can

I want to tell you the first time my lies hurt my wife. It was within a few years of us getting out of the service and deciding to move on with our lives. We had a grand plan, build up some money for college, find a job, buy a house and possibly have kids. Through it all I thought I had hid my depression from everyone, even my wife.

I failed to see the few serious indicators I was getting ill the last few years. I would randomly disappear for hours, sometimes leaving my wife alone with the car in the middle of the city and just walk home. I would spend hours and hours alone in my back yard shed. Secretly I tired to hang myself there. I grew emotional detached. My wife knew I was getting depressed, just not how bad the problem actually was.

Then one day I had this personal schism. I just broke inside somehow. I told my wife I didn’t love her anymore. I knew I still loved my wife but part of me thought this would make it easier to commit suicide. I seemed like it was all planned out. She would start to hate me, I would hate myself and then I could do it without any qualms.

I moved out to a friend place where access to the firearms that were just sitting there on the table. I drank heavily, building up the nerve to take the next step. But that step didn’t happen. I was very fortunate that I had a moment of clarity a few weeks later and I told her I made a mistake. Even though she took me back, it took her a long time to heal and forgive me. Since then, decades later, I try everyday to show her that I still love her every chance I can.

I vowed never again to let anyone know I had mental health issues

The first time I lied that hurt us financially was when I had my first panic attack. I was going back to start my 4th year of college. Out of the blue, I had my first panic attack in the parking lot of the school. I was so shaken by it I drove back home. The next day I tried again to go to school but I freaked out a block away from the college. This left me in tears for the entire day. I skipped the rest of the week and tried the next Monday, again the same thing. I never went back.

Unfortunately, I never told my wife and I lied about it for a whole semester. I failed to drop out of school and just hid from the problem. It cost us dearly, not only did I waste a whole semester of college, we lost a lot of money over that.

I started counseling pretty regularly after that. I had a counselor tell me to be honest and open, to let people know that I had depression and a panic disorder. I did, and within a year I received so much criticism, ignorant remarks, and cold shoulders I was devastated. The worst was my best friend at the time, a grown man, literally ignored me, He would act like I wasn’t there, wouldn’t talk to me, wouldn’t look at me. I was shocked and deeply hurt. I had lost 3 jobs and most of my friends because I didn’t know how to handle my worsening depression. Shortly afterward, I went through the darkest years of my life.

For years I mistakenly blamed that counselor for my misfortune. After that, I vowed never again to let anyone know I had mental health issues. I know now that it was my depression and anxiety that created most of my job issues and had shallow and ignorant friends I had gained through where I worked not because they really liked me.

hindsight is 20/20 and ironically that’s when it would end

Years later, after another series of failed jobs, well after our life fell apart, I started the next harmful lie of my life. It was the early 2010’s by then. As I started to feel more and more isolated in my ever-shrinking life I, by chance, met up with some old online friends I met before college. They were a small but friendly online gaming clan. I instantly clicked with them again, it was a great feeling to have friends again.

Soon the talk of what I did for a living arose. I lied. My prior disappointment over losing friends that knew I suffered from mental illness still stung my feelings and self-worth. I told them I was disabled from a vehicle accident. Everything seemed fine, to me it was an innocent lie to shield me. I felt it all made sense, that was the reason why I was online nearly 12-16 hours a day, 7 days a week, not because I had been so lonely for years and craved having outside friendship again.

Then my service career came up in discussion. I doubled down, again, I lied. I told them I was a Desert Storm vet and hinted at having PTSD. I thought it would explain away any irrational behavior I may exhibit or strange things I may have said. Most importantly, it could explain why I couldn’t hold a job. I was terrified of losing my friends because of those past experiences. So, I justified all these lies to myself. Honestly, at the time I felt this was the right thing to do. I had a solid wall of deceit to hide behind from any ‘judgment’. Who would question a physically disabled veteran? After 9-11, Iraq, and Afghanistan, no one would.

But by protecting myself from reproach from others, I inadvertently created another issue within myself. Who I said I was, is who I became. Sadly, years later did I realize that it probably wouldn’t have mattered to most of those guys, they are a great group of people. Hindsight is 20/20 and ironically that’s when it would end. Things seemed fine for quite a few years, I relished the time spent with these guys. But slowly I grew to hate myself over such deceit. I thought if I came clean, I would blow it so I just kept going with my story. It slowly poisoned what little self-worth I had.

By spring of 2020, I was morally exhausted from my lie, along with everything else going on in my life and the world. I gradually stopped hanging out with them. Early November, I finally broke from them in shame. I told them I wasn’t doing well mentally and physically and I wasn’t planning on coming back. I finally felt that weight released, and the last thing I told them wasn’t a lie. By November, I was suffering badly from rheumatoid arthritis since its start in March and had severe depression as a result. Within a week of all this, my medical cannabis license was approved, and shortly afterward both conditions improved greatly. I wonder if I had held on a bit more if I would of still broken ties? I’m glad I did, I can’t carry that lie anymore.

I have a problem with the desire to emotional hurt myself

Now for my final confession. This ties somewhat into lying to friends. The first time I realized I lied because of my emotional pain addiction. This one hurts a lot for me. In late 2019 I met a few guys from a different online gaming group and met some great people there. I thought for sure I could make a fresh start there. But that old defensive habit of protecting who I was surfaced quickly. I just couldn’t stop those words leaving my mouth, by then it was part of my online persona. I decided to just leave it at that. I vowed I wouldn’t talk about it anymore and I would stop the lies. For a while I was successful.

Like I stated before, by mid-2020, my onset of rheumatoid arthritis, the state of the country, the pandemic, and my declining mental health made me feel that I had lost a lot of the progress I made over the last 10-12 years. It was the day I had just finished talking to my doctor about my grandfather’s illness, polymyositis, a deadly muscular degenerative disease. I was concerned I may have it due to all the physical symptoms I had at the time.

That day I had something planned with these new friends so I got online to join them. I had a panic attack the very instant I started talking to someone. What came out of my mouth next created such turmoil within me. I wish I had just not shown up that day, I wish I could take it all back. The first thing that came out of my mouth when my panic attack started was, I had polymyositis. I lied, again. It was the first thing to flash through my head, I told a few friends that to cover my shaky voice and the tears coming out of my eyes. I used that excuse to skip out on the group raid we regularly did. For the life of me, I don’t know why those words left my lips. I should have gotten offline, tore off my headset, said I was sick, something…anything but that. But I didn’t. I got offline afterward and cried my eyes dry. Soon I felt this strange but familiar sensation of relief.

Over the next few months, as my arthritic pain rose and fell, I occasionally mentioned the lie to these new friends as an excuse to skip out on stuff or as a reason I didn’t want to play. Afterward, I always cried and often felt that strange relief. However, by November the shame from all my lies to all my friends built up to point, I finally had enough of it. The last I told any of the new guys, I was done going online, it was getting difficult to play anymore.

What hurts me is I just threw away a group of new friends, a new start, over a panic attack and a lie. Its worse that I continued to feed this strange new lie to get that relief I wanted. Only after I gave it a lot of thought did I start to see the pattern of years of emotionally painful self-abuse to make myself cry. I have a problem with the desire to emotional hurt myself. It finally manifested itself outside of my thoughts into a lie that I used to hurt myself and unknowingly, others. But what I consider my emotional pain addiction is another topic for another day.

I am tired of the lies, tired of being someone I’m not

At the time, during the last half of 2020, I didn’t take into account what my actions did to others, to people who might actually care about me. Only after a close friend texted me, to ask if I was okay, did I start to realize that by distancing myself from friends I created a lot of anxiety, worry, and hurt in other people.

So here I am now, opening myself to you. I am tired of the lies, tired of being someone I’m not. I’m tired of the harm I’ve inflicted upon myself. And now I’m sick to my stomach to what I’ve done to my friends. All done because I felt I had to hide my depression and anxiety panic disorder from online strangers who became great friends. I don’t know what to do. I’m scared to tell these guys the truth, but I feel they should know. Maybe I will someday. For now, I’ve cut all ties to my online friends till I get to a better place, one where I don’t have to worry about covering my illness to avoid pain and rejection. But I am alone again and that hurts. But I need to learn how to live without the lies.

Becoming a liar is what some people who struggle with mental illness have to do sometimes. The lie is a seed we plant and one we keep harvesting. At first, we use lies to ignorantly blind ourselves from the truth of illness. We lie to cope with pain and loss. We chose to lie to shield ourselves from criticism, hurt, and rejection. Some of us use lies as a misguided tool to bring temporary comfort and relief. But it’s dangerous. Not only can we end up hurting ourselves more because of it, but we can also end up hurting others along the way too.

Honesty is just one other causality of mental illness.

I would like to apologize to myself, my wife, and my friends for all the harm I’ve done. I’m sorry.

Goals and Depression

If I were to give an analogy about where I’m at in my life, it would be that I’m just learning how to stand again. But to get anywhere in life I need to be able to ‘walk’. To do that you have to set goals to work towards. That’s what has gotten me to where I am today. At first, your goals can be very vague and simple, getting out of bed, taking that shower once in and awhile, making something to eat once a day.

If you don’t meet your goal, it not a big deal, just try again another day. But when you do complete a goal, give yourself a “good job” and a pat on the back. I did this for years, physically patting my shoulder when I did something productive. Positive reinforcement is important.

After each task complete don’t forget to give yourself that “good job”.

After a few years of medication and some counseling, I started the goal of taking care of small things in life, groceries when I could, laundry and folding when I had the energy. And when I got ambitious, I could clean and vacuum. All small and all easy in a retaliative sort of way. After each task complete don’t forget to give yourself that “good job”. Say it out loud, it makes it more impactful than just thinking it.

A few more years later I started the goal of working on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques. These techniques, or tools as I call them, are simple in idea, hard to master in reality. Not all worked for me at first but I found one that I could wrap my head around and I started using it, for me it was Catch it, Check it, Change it. If you find one that doesn’t work for you, don’t worry. Try another one. If you feel none of the CBT tools work, pick the simplest one and stick with it. It may seem ‘dumb’ or ‘silly’ but what do you have to lose if you just try it daily for a few months?

It was not easy but after an erratic but steady application of that single techniques, it soon turned into a habit for me. After a while, once I had worked several months on it, I started seeing some benefits. That was a big motivator in trying other techniques to add to my small but growing tool box of self-help life style changes.

After years and years of work on routine building and CBT, I started to feel that I had finally had a foundation and the tools I could use to start rebuilding my life. The next step for me was going outside and working on Exposure Therapy for my Agoraphobia (fear of people or places that cause anxiety or panic attacks). Which in my case is a group of 3 or more people, family members included. When it comes to strangers, my anxiety gets even worse. The size of space available is also a triggering factor. When you combine the number of people, the room available with the amount of time spent in that situation, it makes the problem exponentially worse for me.

What I do know is I want to live again, to move forward in life with my wife, to grow, and be able to be a productive person once more.

Exposure Therapy is supposed to help desensitize you to crowded areas, however this is still a struggle I work on every time I go out into a public setting. I still keep it short and to the point but it is slowly getting better, this is where I found medical cannabis has helped me a lot.

Now I’m starting work on the next step of my life, the next level. It’s kind of ironic, I hid in a basement for a decade and this is where I built the foundation for the rebuilding of my life. I want to literally move up in the world of my new life and I’m ready for the next step, setting the next goal. Where do I go from here? This website is part of it. I view it as a ‘multi-tool’, it’s therapeutic for me to tell my story to give others hope, to tell myself I’m still here and a tool I can use to help me in setting new goals.

So, I talked briefly about balance in life in my Pressing Pause post. After reflecting on that question, I’ve decided that one article/project a week would be a good start. I feel, at this moment, that 1 article per week and maintaining my current routine is a good balance. Of course, I may change it once I get settled into things but it’s a starting point. I know from time to time; I will miss a weekly self-set deadline, that too is part of the plan. Relearning how to keep committed to something outside personal needs while also relearning how to deal with the disappointment when those goals aren’t met.

I don’t know how long I will do this for but a year or two doesn’t seem too unrealistic, I don’t know.
What I do know is I want to live again, to move forward in life with my wife, to grow, and be able to be a productive person once more. This is where I’m making that start.

Pressing Pause

I’m experience something most people go through daily.  Mind fatigue.  I had forgotten that using your mind can be so tiring.  Isn’t there a saying to that effect, ‘the brain is a muscle and needs to be exercised’?  Mine is very soft and tired and I did not expect this to be honest.

However, I’ve opened my ‘Jeanie Bottle’, I have so many ideas I want to explore.  I have a photo art project I want to create; I want to write a few topics on depression (this is one of them) for that one person who needs hope or guidance.  There is a bloated but exciting passion project on an entire album I’m writing.  The list seems very long at the moment, it’s all exciting for me and I want to do it right NOW!  But I can’t do all of it now.  I have to press pause.

The problem is how to balance my life at the moment. I cannot toss aside the routine I’ve grown into in the last 8 years.  My soul wants to run ahead in life but I can’t.  I have to safeguard my wife and I for any possible relapse.  I’ve nosedived our life to many times to risk it again.  I have to press pause on my new found ambition.  Routine first, my new hobby second.  One step at a time.

Establishing a routine was important to us.  It gave some structure in my life and a purpose.  Small things like the laundry, taking out the garbage, vacuuming and cleaning.  None of these things will stop our lives if it isn’t done.  It’s a safety net learned the hard way of too many failed restarts.  It’s all a small but important roll for me.  Similar to building the wooden framework of a house.  Little by little I put one board and beam up at a time.  Still not finished but it’s something I feel comfortable with and I don’t’ want to burn it down.

“Recovery can’t be rushed, those who are ill have to learn to take the steps themselves if they are going to succeed in the long term”

I’ve also decided to cut back on my cannabis use.  When I started, I had no clue on proper cannabis use, I did a lot of reading but like anything, you have to learn how to use it. Too little, too much, not enough time in between uses, too much time. I’ve settled upon once every other day. But I think over time the THC build up in my brain is causing my mind to go on overdrive.  I’m getting a bit too emotional, a bit too excited on all this.  I need to press pause.

This is normal, pressing pause on things. It’s what you have to do when you have a mental illness. Some things get overwhelming, sometimes every is overwhelming.  How long a person has to pause is up to them.  Recovery can’t be rushed, those who are ill have to learn to take the steps themselves if they are going to succeed in the long term

Sometimes I felt like never pushing the play button of life again. A lot of the time when I did, it felt as if I was still on pause.  I was very fortunate to have a person in my life who wanted to see the rest of the movie of life with me.  Some people don’t, my heart goes out to them.  I hope that these few words I have put out there can be found by someone in need someday.  

It’s okay to press pause in your life but have the courage to hit play once in a while.  One step at a time, you can do this.

Defining Moments

January 12th was a defining day for me. Early morning, around 1 a.m. I was listening to music, working on what I thought would be my first creative idea. ‘The Arsonist’ came through my headset and all thought stopped. I had a flashback to a similar night years ago. The night I discovered my personal version of the ‘The Arsonist’.

I dropped what I was doing, knowing I had to make ‘The Arsonist’ my first project. Within 6 hours it was complete and posted. I threw out a tweet to Andre Obin just to say thank you, never expecting anything in return. It was a exciting morning for me. This was the first time in years I did something imaginative on any format.

I was finally tired and on my way to find some sleep, when I heard my phone chime. After I looked at it, my head was swimming. Andre Obin responded back to me. It was a defining moment for me. His few words of acknowledgement gave me something I lost long ago. It brought on tears I could not contain. He unknowingly gave me something I haven’t felt in a long time. Self-Worth.

One of the first bricks I needed for my new road in life. Again, I have to thank Andre for that building block. I plan on putting this little message in a frame, so I can look to it when times are tough. After my flood of tears was spent, so was I, I instantly feel asleep.

Later in the day shortly after I got up, a wave of exhaustion rolled over me. It stopped me in my tracks. It was a good reminder of something I had forgotten, concentrating is mentally tiring work. I happy that I was tired, it’s been to long since I felt this way.

I felt this was the time to let a few close family members know of my website. This was the another defining moment for me. My wife and I hid a lot of my illness from friends and family. We both lost friendships over my illness. The two of us agreed we didn’t want to scare or worry our family so we never talked much about it. Mostly it because people don’t understand mental illness.

“Just get over it”

“Isn’t there a pill for that”

“He’s just lazy”

“You’re weak”

Opening up to people is difficult, anyone with mental illness can tell you this. You lose trust in others because of what they ignorantly say. “Just get over it”, “Isn’t there a pill for that”. “He’s just lazy”, “You’re weak”. Worse is when they ignore you or treat you differently. It wears a person down; it helps reinforce the lies you tell yourself. Those were defining moments too.

But, I have to do this, I have to open myself to potential hurt again. It’s terrifying. Its inevitable but I have to trust in the the skills and coping tools I’ve developed over the last decade to deal with those situations. I have to focus on the positive moments, learn to let go of the negative. I choose to do this now. I have to, It’s part of life and I want to live again.

The Arsonist

Andre Obin was a musician I discovered in 2015. Ways of Escape was the first album of his I bought. I find his music somehow clicks with me. I can read into the whole story of each song he sings. I know from the composition of his layering what he is trying to make me feel. I know from the way he writes his lyrics what secret he is telling me. I know from the way he sings what that song looks like if it were on film or art on the wall. I see all this in my mind as clear as day.

Shortly after listening to that album, I spent what little of the money I had for my private use to buy more of his albums; Endorphin, Premonition, and The Arsonist. You may ask, why to spend the money when I can just stream it on Spotify or Bandcamp. I want to reward Andre Obin for the gift he gave me, his beautiful music.

Over the next few years, as I’m working my way through my mental illness, his music gave me so much insight into some of my thoughts and feelings. Some of it’s dark, some sad, but always insightful and enjoyable. I want to share with you one of his songs, The Arsonist, and what story Andre is telling me.

The Arsonist

The song begins with the bright and airy sounds of synth, it brings you into a world that is happy and upbeat. But the low dark bassy tempo underlines everything in the song, it’s a forecast of what’s to come.

You should see yourself
You look like no one else
You caught my eye in a dark room
Dance the night away
Forget all the pain

The song starts from the perspective of the ‘demon of depression’ called ‘The Arsonist’. It’s sulking around looking for another soul to feed on. It happens to come across you at a moment of painful self-doubt, the “in a dark room” reflected in the echoing of Andre’s voice. The demon hungers, it seduces you, that is the enticing disco beat that just kicks in. Just follow and listen to ‘The Arsonist’ and dance to its tune, hide from everything and all will be fine, you’ll “Forget the pain”.

had to ask myself the question
Are you the arsonist
Come to burn my soul
Never asked if you were the right one

The song flashes to the unknowing soul years later…as you look into the mirror. You think back to see if you ever noticed you were getting depressed, knowing it could “burn your soul”. You start to question why ‘The Arsonist’ has led you down this path in life. You never asked him if it “were the right one”.

You are an arsonist
You burn my heart and soul
You take every chance to erase me

Andre drops the upbeat cymbals, with only the pulsing dark rhythm, it gives you the emptiness of the realization that things are getting dangerous.

Another flash and a few years later. Trapped and without hope you lifelessly confront ‘The Arsonist’, rebuking him for what he is doing to you, burning up everything you believe, enjoy or love, destroying your life. The lack of the will to fight back is perfectly carried in Andre’s tone.

The next pattern of music you hear the mournful cries of a person trapped in their private hell.

You hear Obin sing the chorus “It’s the way, the way that you talk to me”. The echoing repeat of the lies you heard, the lies ‘The Arsonist’ is telling you inside your head.

At this point, you hear a subtle abstruse whisper in the background of the music. ‘The Arsonist’ telling you the lies he wants you to believe.

When you speak to me
With your mentality
I never had the soul of a rich man

Another flash, a few more years later down the road. Empty of emotion, empty of life, tired of the non-stop lies you’ve heard repeating in your head, you’re stunned by how much of yourself you have lost. “The soul of a rich man” is the climatic and most important line in the whole song. The symbolism of these words stays with me since my first personal understanding of the meaning of Andre’s song. The ‘soul of a rich‘ man is everything that makes you a person. Your esteem, your self-value, passion, pride, motivation, desire, dreams, your beliefs, your morality, compassion. Everything that makes you, you.

Mix your destiny
With my velocity
Trying to make it perfect

Flashing a few months forward, you and ‘The Arsonist’ are making a deal, the “mixing of destiny”. With the ever-increasing “velocity” of your fall into the darkness of despair, you contemplate suicide. You tell ‘The Arsonist’ you’re “trying to make it perfect”, referring to the mindset that death is the perfect state for your life.

Again, the echoing cries as ‘The Arsonist’ continues his torture and the repeating of the lies you accept as truth, Its the way, the way that you talk to me

moved across the line
That you had designed
Trying to make it perfect

Flashing yet again to a few years later, you know ‘The Arsonist’ has won, its drained and taken everything from you. You’ve “moved across the line” your going to commit suicide. Realizing it was ‘The Arsonist’ plan that he had designed from the beginning as you make his plan ‘perfect’.

You are an arsonist
come to burn my soul
Had to ask myself the question

As the music fades away with just the deep bassy tempo echoing your falling into the blackness of death, you ask yourself one last question of how you got here. It dawns on you that there never was ‘The Arsonist’, it was you along. It was you who did this to yourself, who lied to yourself, who willingly walked down this road as the final blackness takes you.

First, I would like to apologize to Andre Obin if I made any mistakes with his lyrics. From what I searched, I only found lyrics I felt sounded wrong. If the commonly posted lyrics from the various sites are the ones that actually represent your song, I am sorry.

In closing, I know this is a very dark and tragic take on this song but it’s what I hear. This story and the moral of it has made a huge impact on me. It was one of the catalysts that gave me energy to keep fighting to avoid ‘The Arsonist’ inside me.

Thank you, Andre Obin.

What does a reawakened, emotionally detached adult do when creating their first website?

Yeah, I cried, yep sure did. Do you know how hard it is to cry while smiling? Seriously, try it. You get the strangest feeling and sobs. Then if you’re lucky you’ll get a good belly laugh going while tears stream down your face.

Smiling while crying is a coping tool I started using in the last few weeks to stop these sudden emotional showers that have been overcoming me out of the blue. Emotions are new to me, to be honest. Joy, desire, excitement are foreign to me now. But I’m glad they are there, it a strange niceness to feel again.

I guess I can thank medical cannabis for that. I’ve gone through so many meds in the last 2 decades for depression and anxiety. None of them have helped as much as marijuana to my surprise. My only experience before this was my ex-brother in law convincing me to give it a try around the time of my 40th birthday. I guess he thought it was funny to let me smoke 3 big puffs my first time. It was not a pleasant experience, crushing rainbow waterfalls, and extreme paranoia. Not for me. However, over time, my views on cannabis changed the more I read about it. My first few uses of cannabis in a more responsible manner was quite the mind opener.

Depression slowly strips a lot from a person. It whispers to you to take your self-esteem, self-worth. It sands down your pride to dust. Depression slowly encases your emotions in a tomb. It silently strangles your religious beliefs. Depression abruptly takes your employment from you. It embarrasses and angers friends and family to abandon you. It takes and takes and all you can do is barely keep your head above the tide of despair. I will not use this site to dwell on my past. But I want to give readers the perspective of how low I was in life.

2008 was a year of endless darkness. I cried and hid from the world day after day. Unable to work, unable to think from nonstop music in my head, I started a period of irrational psychotic behavior that terrified my wife. Punching holes indoors, staying in closets during the day while she was at work. Hiding in a blanket in the corner of the garage. Sitting outside for hours during winter without a jacket in hopes of freezing to death. I walked 8 miles down a train track in the middle of the night in hope that a train would come along. I put a gun in my mouth daily hoping, praying, begging for the strength to just pull the trigger once. That was only a small blip of over twenty years of innumerous psychotic breaks, 3 suicide attempts, 8 lost jobs, 3 years of college wasted, bankruptcy, and the loss of a house.

Finally, a couple of wonderful women at my local VA got through my mind fog and convinced me to go for inpatient treatment at a VA facility. Around the same time, my wife went to NAMI meetings at the urging of my counselors to learn how to deal with a loved one who has a mental illness. Those 2 things saved my life. My wife stayed at my side through a seemingly endless nightmare, I put her through hell. I’m so fortunate to have married one of the most amazing human beings on this earth. I want to live again with her at my side.

So we currently reside in my generous and kind in-laws’ basement. My world is only a small corner of it, an 8×10 room, a bathroom, and a kitchenette. I have existed in this small bubble for the last 8 years, rarely going outside and deathly afraid of people. But I want that to change, I want to live again.

This is where I stay 22 hours a day, majority of the stuff on the walls belongs to my in-laws

I want to use my website as inspiration and hope that people with mental illness can recover. Getting out of bed and making toast is recovery. Taking a shower, that’s recovery. Learning how to stop cutting yourself down is recovery. Every step you make is a form of recovery, just keep walking step by step. It’s all a journey you can make with counseling, medication, forgiveness, and a lot of painful work. You can get better, you can.

I won’t bombard people post after post with my depressing past. I don’t want to live there anymore, I want to live in the present again. Only I don’t know how anymore. I want to create, to work, to stress about things other than depression. I want to throw off my shackles. But I need to relearn how to function as a responsible person again. This is the next step in my journey, for good or bad I need to take this step.

I want to learn how to cook. I want to take piano lessons. I want to explore photography. I want to learn a work ethic again. I want to build back my self-esteem, my pride, my motivation. I want to dream of a future with my wife. I want to be heard. I want to be seen. I’m tired of hiding.

I want to live again.