The Truth Has Failed Me, So Now Comes The Lies.

The Undisputed Truth: I have a brain I cannot control. It thinks too much. It keeps me up at night. It thinks only in extremes – either this or that. No exceptions. My thoughts race and race and race like cars on a speedway. Sitting here trying to watch a movie all the way through is impossible because I have to stop and do something, anything, as inactivity is torturous to me. I find it hard to focus and concentrate on anything for long periods of time because I just can’t slow down. I’ve related my condition to therapists, doctors, psychiatrists and other people for years, but no one has helped. None, zero, zip. They still throw their ineffective panaceas at me. To wit: “Hey Robin, try mindfulness therapy. It works for millions.” “Hey Robin, take these pills. They work for millions.” “Hey Robin, put down the alcohol and try AA and NA. They work for millions.” “Hey Robin, if you don’t go to your Substance Use Disorder groups, I’ll relate that information to DSHS and they’ll discontinue the tiny pittance they give you every month, which means you’ll have to kiss your car goodbye. So go to your groups. They work for millions.” “Hey Robin, try these deep-breathing exercises to clear your mind. They work for millions.”

The Bold-Faced Lies: I’ve gotten blue in the face several times relating the truth to people, but I’ve failed. They don’t get how my sleepless mind works, and consequently, they try to change it. But they fail. Miserably. In the end, all they end up doing is pissing me off more, forcing me to isolate. However, since I need people because they’re a threat to the small ABD (Aged, Blind & Disabled) monthly pittance ($197) I receive, I have no choice but to resort to bold-faced lies so I can get some peace. To wit: “Robin, have you stopped your drinking?” “Yes.” “Are you taking your meds?” “Yes.” “And do they work?” “They work fine. I’m able to sleep at night, I no longer have night terrors, they have reduced my anxiety to the point where I feel normal, and I am able to sit and watch movies all the way through.” “What about the NA and AA groups? Are you going to those?” “Yes, I am.” “Are they helping?” “Yes, they are. They’ve reduced my desire to drink and drug.” “Are you working the steps?” “Of course.” “So you have a sponsor?” “Yes, I do. He understands me well.” “What about meditation and mindfulness training? Are you doing those?” “Yes.” “Are they helping you cope with life?” “Yes. I wish I had been doing those activities before.” “I take it you no longer isolate?” “Yeah, I’ve stopped that. I’ve made great friends in the wonderful groups, and my therapy is wonderful, and my psych meds are wonderful, and the world is warm and sunny and helpful and wonderful to me. I’m truly as happy as a pig in shit. Isn’t that wonderful?” “Yes, it is. Robin, I’m glad we’ve had this interview. I’m glad to see you’ve been cured.” “Sure, no problem. They pleasure was all mine.” “Wonderful.”

Autistic & Forever the Outsider

When I was growing up in Trinidad & Tobago, I moved around so much that I never made friends. The moving around didn’t matter, though, because even moments of residency I was still seen as an outsider. My vision was poor so playing sports was out of the question. And being mixed race didn’t help in neighborhoods where being black was the norm. I was once beat up by a kid for no reason, but in retrospect, it may have been my simple oddness, and aloofness, that may have set him off.

I didn’t receive glasses till I was 10, and when I did get them, they were so thick that kids said they were made from Coke bottles. I tried my best to avoid everyone by going for long walks on Mayaro beach, and that usually worked. It was just me and the wide Atlantic Ocean – pure tranquility. I could’ve done without that burning sting from a Portuguese man o’ war that had been washed up on the beach; still, it was preferable to being among my own human compatriots.

Fast forward to today, nearly 50 years later. Things haven’t changed that much. I still prefer to commune with nature than humankind. Yesterday, i went for two strolls through Magnuson Park. The first was through the sports fields and the second, around 5PM, was through the wetlands. Now that summer is upon us, the wildlife is beginning to flesh out around here. For the first time, and up close, I saw a hummingbird. It could’ve been a black-chinned hummingbird but I’m not sure. It’s back was an iridescent dark green but it’s chest was also dark, not like the white I’ve seen in pictures. I also saw a great blue heron. That was pretty cool. Close up they sure resemble dinosaurs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re one of the least changed descendants of the extinct wonders.

I think I know what my future is. I’ll be that eccentric old man (like billy barr, the snow guardian of the Rockies or Nikola Tesla, the electrical genius) who shuns society and speaks only to the animals. I won’t mind that, actually. Humans can be deceptive, corrupt, dishonest, abominable, frightful and just plain uncomfortable to be around. That’s too bad but it is what it is. Just give me wildlife anytime – just keep the big cats at bay, though. They make me nervous.

Alcohol Brings Me Around to Normal – Usually.

There’s an interviewee in a biography about Jimi Hendrix who claimed that normal people used drugs to get high, but when brother Jimi used them, it just brought him around to normal. So it is with me if I don’t drink to excess.

I was talking to my therapist today and told her my mind races so fast and furiously that focusing is nearly impossible unless I have a drink or two beneath my belt. She didn’t say I’m imagining that but she did indicate that I could benefit from mindfulness therapy. I don’t know about that. I think my problem is I can’t fully explain what my non-focusing mind feels like; you’d really have to journey through my head to understand. I’ve tried in the past to write songs, short stories, novels and screenplays sober, but in the end, just came up with uninteresting, throwaway tripe.

Bipolar, from what I’ve been reading, robs people of the ability to sit still and focus. No wonder I can’t sit through an entire movie without drinking. Sober, I usually pause the flick after 20 minutes or so to do something else, like play a video game or surf the internet. After about an hour, I may get back to the movie…may, but that usually doesn’t happen as I’d simply moved on from one activity to the next till it’s sleep time.

The medications I used to be on (really, I was nothing more than a guinea pig as far as shrinks were concerned) either turned me into a balloon, gave me vertigo, made me constantly gnash my teeth, dried my mouth or made me oversleep. Beer is like a ball and chain on my ankles when I need it to be, like writing fiction or watching a movie. It calms me down and always me to focus on the task at hand. Without it I’m just a man with a kaleidoscope for a mind, a jumbled mass of non-related ideas coursing through my skull, never slowing down, always taking flight. What would a snapshot of my manic mind look like? The picture posted above should give you an idea.

The Old Non-Social, Avoid the World Robin is Back.

Say hi to my little friend. He doesn’t want to shun the world but he has no choice. People are just too erratic, too crazy for him. They’re predictable, pretentious, and phony, and their holier-than-thou attitudes just don’t mesh well with his straightforward, no nonsense, truth-slinging, no bullshit mien. So, from now on, Robin’s going to isolate otherwise people will just drive him back to drinking and drugging. All of his days and nights will be spent in solitude, perhaps playing video games, writing stories or strolling through the park with his headphones on full blast. There will be no more AA or NA meetings or church dinners in his life. All his grocery shopping will commence at 2AM when no one’s around. Wow. Life’s beginning to improve already! Simplicity, what an underrated concept.

Publishing Startup: Publishing Hau[5]

Hi. My non-fiction book, “You Can’t Sleep Here: A Clown’s Guide to Surviving Homelessness” has been published at a new literary startup based out of Austin, TX. Here’s the link to the first few pages:

http://publishinghau5.com/You-Can-t-Sleep-Here–A-Clown-s-Guide-To-Surviving-Homelessness.php

It’s nice to see my titles getting around. As you may know, my novel “Commoner the Vagabond” is being narrated as we speak and should be available as an audiobook at ACX in the next few months. I’ve listened to the first chapter already. It’s weird to hear the words I’ve authored being read aloud. Makes my book seem…important. The narrator is Lynn Carnefix from Kentucky and it sounds good so far.

Test Subject A – The Comorbid King

KingI need a beating. It’s true. There’s a guy I hang out with from time to time which, for all intents and purposes, can be referred to as my friend. Since, in the past, I’ve had to “buy” friendship with drugs and alcohol, I now find it difficult to refer to anyone I socialize with as being a friend. That’s obviously my trust issues screaming in my ear, but that can’t be helped; years and years of being abused will do that to anybody.

Test Subject A is a 42 year old white male from these environs. Like me, he has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Like me, he never settled down or had kids, unlike his siblings and cousins which all did. Like me, he is saddled with the same mental issues of generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and autism. Where we differ is I also have PTSD and undiagnosed BPD whereas he is topped off with ADHD and anosognosia. Like me, we were both homeless for years. Like me, we ended up in the same outpatient treatment facility and, coincidences of coincidences, now live in the same transitional housing facility. Like me, he has a morbid fascination with horror films, metal bands like Iron Maiden, and the occasional video game. His interest in video games way eclipses mine, though, as his head is buried in “shoot ’em ups” on his tablet for hours on end.

Our main differences is he’s a straight God believer and I’m neither of those things. Still, we try not to let those issues get in the way of our friendship as we both attend the same AA and NA meetings regularly. In that regard, Test Subject A is important to me because he keeps me sober since I’m accountable to him in a certain way; not really, but by choice.

I’ve known my test subject, excuse me, my friend, for about a year or so. Like anyone else I encounter, I scrutinize him, take him apart, try to see what makes him tick. That’s a behaviour I can’t change since it’s based on self-preservation. He’s a cool person to chill with – most of the time. Some of his “bad” qualities, if I may be so bold, is he is quick to anger and accuse. If he says hi to someone in passing, and he doesn’t hear them return the greeting, he’s ready to tear them a new one. I’ve had to tell him a few times that the person we passed in the street did, in fact, say hi. He has also been arrested and thrown in jail about five times but he says he doesn’t know why. When pressed, he usually answers with something along the lines of, “People don’t like the homeless,” or “I guess people just like to hate on others.” One of his ongoing issues is he avoids going into a local department store in the evenings because of the security guard there. He says that the guard gives him grief but he doesn’t know why. In the same store, perhaps about a year or two ago, he got into a verbal altercation with a customer. He said the customer was following him around the store. When he went to complain to the manager, he was arrested and thrown in jail for a month. I said to Test Subject A, “People don’t get thrown in jail for a month because of a verbal altercation with strangers.” He said that he doesn’t know why he was jailed, maybe it was due to the manager lying to the cops about him. I told him that sounded absurd. He then said maybe he was jailed because of prior arrests.

When my friend told me about his frequent troubles with the law, he was so straight-faced about it that I couldn’t help but wonder if he truly didn’t know why he was being arrested. Was he so really unaware of his own malignant behaviour that it caused him jail time? That’s when I started researching anosognosia – a deficit of self awareness, a condition in which a person who suffers some disability seems unaware of the existence of their disability. To wit: 50% of schizophrenics don’t know they’re schizophrenic and 40% of bipolar folks don’t know they’re bipolar. Can you imagine how many autistic people are unaware of their own autism? If you’re severely autistic, then you won’t know. If you’re very high functioning, then you may just simply say, “I’m just quirky like that,” or some other brush-off reasoning.

Test Subject A – The Comorbid King is saddled with…himself. Dropped out of school during the 9th grade to concentrate on smoking weed. Said he preferred weed to school. I’ve no doubt it was a misdiagnosed learning disability that kept him away from the blackboard. In our current and present age, care of those cursed with multiple mental issues are centuries behind in development. Out on the street, the quick cure for someone having a psychotic break is to have the police put them down like a dog. It’s bad enough when someone has to manipulate the world with several mental illnesses plaguing their existence, but when they also have a learning disability and are incapable of explaining themselves, they will be denied the help they so desperately need.

To wit: the laughing joke that is SSI/SSDI. They send out questionnaires to mentally afflicted people who are neither doctors nor psychiatrists, asking them to explain why they can’t hold down a job to save their lives. Simple answer: THEY. DON’T. FUCKING. KNOW. And it’s true. Even psychiatrists and psychologists are hard-pressed in defining what someone’s mental condition is and how best to treat it, so the government expects the under-educated afflicted to understand when they have, with NO training or expertise in that area? What a joke. It’s what makes people like my friend slip through the cracks and end up on the street. It’s what makes people end up in jail and prisons year after year. It’s what makes folks abuse drugs and alcohol by the bucket loads continually.

ADDENDUM (3.23.17): Yesterday, at an NA meeting, as I was about to read from the “Just For Today” literature, my friend blurted out, “Don’t talk about religion.” I was immediately annoyed at his comment because, to me, it amounted to censorship, which I despise. Looking back, I have to try and understand how blunt my friend could be. In fact, his lack of comprehension in the subtleties of conventional social communication has caused him many arguments and fights over the course of his lifetime. There was one area, however, where this behavioral trait came in handy.

My friend was once arrested for public indecency. When he eventually appeared before the judge, he was ruled incompetent and promptly released. The judge realized that my friend really didn’t have an understanding of whatever he’d done was right or wrong. The Comorbid King understands right and wrong for the more obvious things – driving a car up on a crowded sidewalk is wrong, farting in a crowded elevator is wrong, stealing candy from a baby is wrong. He wouldn’t hesitate, however, to tell someone at a dinner party that their teeth is crooked and needs fixing, or the clothes they’re wearing belongs on a younger person and not someone of their age, or he needs to move his bowel right away because the milky appetizer went right through him. (Being an aspie myself I had to research what is inappropriate to say at a party because, well, I don’t really know, either!)

New Year’s Resolution: Going Out on a Limb

keep-calm-and-buy-my-books-2Well, a new year is upon us and, like previous years, started off with a bang. At least for me, anyway. After getting drunk on New Year’s Eve, busting out two windows at a bank, and getting three days in jail for it, I now vow to turn my life around. (Yeah, I know – famous last words). Seriously, though, drinking has to come to an end. It’s a waste of money and often gets me in trouble, not to mention it’s bad for my health and goes against the teachings of Jainism. That said, I promise to give up booze and eradicate anger, hatred, jealousy and ego from my system. What am I going to do now to stay asleep if I give up the likker? I don’t have a clue since one of my bipolar systems is sleepless nights. I’ve been taking the pill Latuda for bipolar and Gabapentin for sleep but neither seems to work. All they make me do is gnash my teeth continually till the muscles in my jaw hurts. I’m gnashing my teeth right now as we speak and it’s driving me nuts.

Another reason for my drinking is the cold weather. No, that’s not a cop-out perfected my the Kremlin; it’s real. The freezing cold weather, in tandem with the bipolar, forced my sleep to end after just one to two hours. I don’t go all the way and swill vodka like they do in Vladivostok just to keep warm, but the beer is better than nothing. It forces more hours of well-deserved sleep on me, and the way I look these days, I could definitely use some beauty sleep.

For the past week or so, I’ve been focused on two things while abandoning a third. The two disciplines which are currently the mirepoix for my sanity are, one, setting up a recording studio in this computer and, two, marketing my mystery novel “Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven.” Man, if I’d known that the marketing of one title was going to be this expensive and time consuming, I probably wouldn’t have deigned to write anything to begin with. Nevertheless, what’s done is done. Since I can’t afford to pay hundreds for a, hopefully positive, review in some online magazine, or afford a proper book tour, I’ll have to take the snail approach with this one. Annoying, but inevitable.