Depression

Project:Holiday Cheer and Update on Lies, Gratitude, and Love.

My ex-wife had a few (very few) redeeming qualities. She is a teacher and I can’t tell you how many times we would run to Wal-Mart to buy school supplies, shoes, and tee shirts for a kid who was behind the 8 ball when it came to extra.

The next day the parent/guardian would get a call about the extra pair of flip flops or shorts that we had accidentally received and couldn’t return and wanted to know if the parent would mind if we sent them home with Jr. because she thought they might fit him and we didn’t want them to go to waste.

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Santa just rolled into town

It’s about helping someone knowing that someday you might be at the mercy of your fellow man. I have been there, Hell I am there! I found out there are millions of wonderful people in the world. The same ones I complain about constantly.

There is a local Facebook group that I belong to. It’s kind of a buy/sell page… plus. It’s called the Perpetual Bargain Fair. They have ran a project called Holiday Cheer for the past few years.

I get to know the Lopez family. They live in Salinas and Ms. Lopez has recently become unemployed.  She has three kids, ages 7, 12, and a special needs 17 year old. Ya know what she wants? Groceries.

Here is what we do, it’s fairly simple;

I get to know the Lopez family. They live in Salinas and Ms. Lopez has recently become unemployed.  She has three daughters, ages 7, 12, and a special needs 17 year old. Ya know what she wants? Groceries.

Rice-A-Roni

From all of us, to all of you. Merry Christmas!

So I’m going to wrap up a box of Cheerios, a can of sardines, and a box of Rice-A-Roni (the San Francisco Treat) for the 7 year old. No need to thank me kid. It’s the least I can do. And never let it be said that I didn’t do the least I could do.

OK what I’m really going to do is track down an I-Pod from someone who has one in good condition and will give it to me so that I can give it to them. I also have a page set up on Amazon.com with grocery store gift cards, Visa gift cards, Walmart gift cards. Anywhere you can get a sweater and a can of chicken noodle soup. Plus I’ll find out what a Dora is and give the kids something to open that they can’t eat. Then I’ll have somewhere to spend my Christmas.

CLICK HERE FOR THE WISHLIST Plus I’m looking for an IPod

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Yeah…I still love them.

They have teamed me up with a wonderful woman named Amy. She’s hopefully helping with clothes since my choices in girls clothes might not be the best, and I have no idea what ‘Dora’ is. Most of my choices would have the Planet of the Apes printed somewhere on it.

In the past people have donated a set of breaks and installation for the car, or a mattress so you don’t have to sleep on the floor. This is the community I live in. Just like the one I moved moved away from. Great people just being great each in their own way.

That’s it. Simple.

The Outlaw Josey Wales lives around here somewhere and so does the guy who pumps his gas. If either of them needed a ride it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal to give them one.

The Outlaw Josey Wales lives around here somewhere and so does the guy who pumps his gas. If either of them needed a ride it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal to give them one. They are both my neighbors and until I hear differently, my friends.

It reminds me of a favorite memory.

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I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

It’s the middle of winter in Illinois. It’s pissing rain and the Christmas snow is melting and turning black from wood smoke and car exhaust. It’s cold and nasty with a little fog thrown in for good measure.

I came upon a kid, probably 19 or 20 years old who was out of gas along Highway 130. I told him to hop in, and we ran about five miles to the gas station and I got him ten bucks in gas and a ride back to his truck. He put the gas in and came back to pay me and I replied “Pay it forward.” and moved on. I’m not the only person ever to do that BTW. Most folks do that.

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That’s the dude who picked me up!

Later that summer I’m opening for some country guy who I didn’t know at a good size concert venue. I finished my set and was heading to the merch table to beg people to buy our album we were promoting at the time. I hear “HEY! DUDE!” being yelled at me from a guy on the other side of the concert fencing. So I go up and say “Hey.”

It was that kid. He told me his girl friend made him come to the Famous Country Guy show and when we came on he said “Hey! That’s the dude who gave me a ride!”

Small world… But I wouldn’t want to paint it.


 

 

I don’t really celebrate Christmas. Maybe I’ll give the cat a can of tuna if I have some but usually it’s just us two.

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My Christmas buddy

If I had any kids I would hope that I could pull off Christmas like my Ma used to. We weren’t loaded but she always had the best Christmas for us. She made awesome stockings with candy and comic books. She got me an A.J. Foyt race car one year and I got a hell of a lot of good out of it. Hot Wheels and of course the obligatory Planet of the Apes toy.

If I can help facilitate even a tenth of what Ma made for us, to the Lopez girls I’m going to have one hell of a nice Christmas. Thanks Ma. Feliz Navidad.


Update on my last post.

I was overwhelmed once again by love and support, questions and caring, by people I know and love and by strangers who dropped me a line or a private message telling me that they were there for me or asking where to get help for themselves. Christ people! My cup runneth over already.

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Would you like to go to coffee? And I need a quart of Quaker State

I’m feeling great. I finished up the boat with Eric AND without falling in the ocean. Only one argument and it was small. What a great experience. I found out I suck as a sailor but I’m pretty good at making new friends and keeping old ones. I did get to drive the boat and Eric did send Sarah my message about ice cream and petting puppies… But I’ve moved on Sarah…Ya snooze ya lose.

I’m now in love with the girl at the gas station off of exit 399C. I’m going to ask her for coffee. If she doesn’t shoot me down immediately, she probably will when I ask her if she can pay.


This is the album we were promoting and this is the song I wrote for the album. This song was inspired by a picture on the wall at a now defunked bar called Daddy Rabbits. My friend Mandy was dancing on the bar in the photo. I’d like to think I helped defunk it a little.

Nobody rips off the Stones like I can. Three chords A/G/D.
“You can even play it on the saxophone”~F. Zappa

 

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Lies, Gratitude and Love

Life has been somewhat surreal since September. I have been collecting on every piece of karma I have put out into the cosmos.

It’s tough to talk about my depression in real time and not in generalities. This one was a mother fucker. Sorry but that’s really the only way to describe it.

When ever I am stressed to the max I will literally black out. I lie about the stress and the horrible feelings that come along so that I don’t scare the living shit out of friends and family. This is a double edged sword.

I lie about the stress and the horrible feelings that come along so that I don’t scare the living shit out of friends and family.

One it makes me me a liar. I lie to escape the advice of  Dr. Phil watchers. I lie to quickly get rid of the immediate stress until I can hide. Kind of a ‘Look over there” as I make an escape. I lie about how I’m feeling. That one is more like talking myself into feeling better. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I found out that the lies I use to protect myself and others, make me a “pathological liar.” I know this is true because I heard specific examples second hand by a person who wasn’t looking out for me and was doing their best to feel better about themselves by trying to hurt me. I’m a pretty easy target because I internalize my sadness instead of getting up and punching you in the nose for being cruel. But I’m not going to point fingers today or any-day. I will just know who is and who isn’t there to count on.

I blacked out in September and I tried to remove my hand by cutting it off at the wrist. I did a pretty good job except I hung on. Barely, but I did. I awoke in the hospital after bleeding out in my apartment for about three hours. My sweet neighbor Brooke found me hours later called 911 and I guess they drug me out and I came to in the hospital. I would give anything to have not put her through that. I am not her cross to bear.

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You brought this on yourself

My ‘friend’ went into panic mode and started making calls to make sure she looked 100% innocent and called around and gathered info to make sure that even though I felt bad, I didn’t feel bad enough. As they were pouring blood into me my friend called and wanted the Version account number. My ER nurse actually ripped the phone out of the wall and wouldn’t allow anymore calls after the ones that came through.  Let me repeat… SHE RIPPED THE PHONE OUT OF THE WALL! “Don’t let any one else call this guy!” The Mother Theresa’s were out in full that day making sure I knew I wasn’t feeling bad enough for them.

From there I healed and then checked into the Monterey Monkey House. I walked around in my jammies and went to Group, colored pictures and watched movies with the rest of the loons.

As the song ‘Message in a Bottle’ by the Police says, ‘I’m not alone in being alone.’ in fact I’m normal when it comes to severe depression.


In Group they finally explained the stages and severity of depression, mania, and bi-polar condition. As the counselor went through the habits of each of these conditions she would ask if any of us had these habits. EVERYONE in that group of 20 people raised their hands.

I’m going to explain it once and for all and never apologize for it again.

I’m going to call this the Fuck Dr Phil and his Bullshit Show and his Dumb-ass forty minute diagnose’s  or FDPAHDAFMD for short.

Imagine a  scale of 1-10.  1 being bad, 10 being good…kinda

scaleMost ‘normal’ people live around 5. but can fluctuate up or down a number or two. Having a bad week might make you dip to a 3 for a bit or waiting on Christmas might put you at a 7. They are short term and will pass and the median will still be right in the middle.

Bi-polar people can range from 1 to 10 depending on the day and usually stay around 3 or 7 depending on the person. Mine is depression so I stay about 3-4 daily. I’m going to only focus on depression.

The term they use for me is Dysthymia. It is long term but a person can function. You can work, be social, go places, take care of yourself and hide the pain.

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Changes in sleep habits — oversleeping or not sleeping enough
  • Changes in appetite — overeating or poor appetite

When I am under stress, I can dip down to the 1-2 area, also called Major Depressive Order

  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
  • Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day (called anhedonia, this symptom can be indicated by reports from significant others)
  • Restlessness or feeling slowed down
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
  • Significant weight loss or gain (a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month)
  • Feelings of fear
  • Memory problems
  • Suicide

And there it is. I usually hit 1-2 when under a ton of stress. I have abandonment issues that pop up and people either don’t know or worse DO KNOW and use it against me as a threat.

depression-meditation-8Some people strike out and crawl up in a tower and shoot into McDonalds. Some people like myself internalize it and their brain just shuts down. Too much stimuli and fear, and months of feeling like you can’t do anything right. It becomes a self fulfilling prophesy but all I can do is follow my doctor’s orders.

The abandonment comes from the feeling of not being worth sticking around for. Friends and family write you off and you hear from them twice a year out of some sense of dreaded duty. Like having to pay taxes. Ya do it, but you don’t want to. I can tell and I can feel the resentment and the out of sight out of mind attitude. Hell I’d probably do it myself. I put these people through a lot so I can’t really blame them, but I also can count on them to either disappear, distance themselves, or pawn you off onto a doctor. I’m not looking for happiness. I have happiness. I’m looking for peace.

I’m not looking for happiness. I have happiness. I’m looking for peace.

The funny thing is, the number one thing every doctor and counselor tells me that I must have is emotional support. I’ll say it again THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU NEED IS EMOTIONAL SUPPORT! If you can’t get it here, then find it somewhere else. I get it that you need to distance yourself but you have to also get it that I will too. The difference is  you have the choice. My part is getting over the resentment I feel when I know I can’t call and cry. I don’t blame anyone really, but I do miss them. Life goes on, just without them.


It is Thanksgiving today so I’m going to give thanks where I know it is due. In no specific order.

  • Brooke Weston. My beautiful neighbor for two years who makes the greatest lowbrow art. Thank you and I love you.
  • Jen Shipley. A surprise friend, and my angel.
  • Lily, the other angel in my life.

Lily and Jen met for the first time when they broke into my apartment and grabbed my guitars and computer. They had never met in person and I hadn’t met Lily until later. When I got out of the hospital they brought me home, put me up. Now that is a friend.

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The Mighty Dr. Wu

  • My brothers and best friends from Dr Wu’s Rock and Soul Revue. They dropped everything and gathered the money and the love and support to get me home to heal up and be around people who loved me. My Doctor, myself, and the fellas thought this was exactly what I needed. So Pat ‘Mr. Sax’ Lee, Mark ‘the Master’ Cornell, Dr. Shane Pitsch DMA, and his ex-wife Jamey, Kent “Sweet’ Aberle, George Ozier, Doug Evans, Chris ‘H.C.’ Taylor, J.B. and Michelle Faires, Bugsy Eagleson, and Doug Evans.
  • My brother’s in the Matt Poss Band, Matt Poss, Tim Alverson (I want that Tele back someday!) and Mac McDevitt.
  • My brother’s in Poprocks Jon Clarkson, Wally Hooker, and Brendan Gamble.
  • The loves of my life Kelly Guerrettaz, Brandi Yagow, Beth Kintner, Karen VanBlaircum, Jenny Green, Michelle Robertson,  Joi Green, Marna Neese. If I ever get married again, it will be to one of these women. Don’t worry ladies I’m never going to get married again, the last wife cured that and the last girlfriend cured me of relationships. Rest easy.
  • Tommy Dunn, Ike Edwards, Damian Light. Corey Neidigh, I have more love for you guys than I can ever express.
  • Rich Matlock, I never had a bad time at a Rhythm Pigz show, or with you.
  • Aaron Cox my oldest friend.
  • And who ever I missed. I got out of the hospital and found hundreds of ‘I love you’ messages.
  • My sister Mo for talking me through a lot of this.

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

A special thanks to J.B. and Michelle Faires. You put me up, took no shit, gave your love your time, your advice, and your studio to a guy and his cat who had no place to go. I have been thinking everyday how to tell you what that meant to me. I have never found the words that even come close to the the appreciation I feel. Thank you.

Dr. J.B. Faires

Dr. J.B. Faires DMA

Jon invited me to lunch and to hang regularly. Pat did too.

Michelle Faires said something as she was walking out the door one day. I told her I was overwhelmed by the out pouring of love from so many people and she replied “And the common denominator is you”

So I can look at these scars and know these people cared enough to get up and help me when I was sicker than I have ever been in my life. You don’t get in the paper for helping with an invisible illness. You did it anyway. I can’t express my gratitude enough.


So I’m back in California, I’m feeling better than I have in a really long time. It’s a shame some of the people in my past couldn’t hold out a little longer because the best has yet to come. I am actively searching for work in San Francisco doing Graphics. I sold my guitars, even my beloved Telecaster that I have had for 25 years, to get back but what the hell I don’t feel like making music anyway. Now I have no choice LOL.

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A Ketch, not THE Ketch

In the interim I just spent the week at the Breakwater Marina in Monterey working on my new friend’s boat. I spent seven days 8-14 hours a day in the sun, climbing ladders (the boat was in dry dock) cutting wood for bulkheads, painting the boat, smelling salt air and listening to the sea lions bark. I have a farmer’s tan and a new friend in Eric.

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Eric is a character. He fits right in with the rest of my friends perfectly. He laughs a lot, He looks like Ritchie Havens, he listens to 80’s Rush, He hates Trump, and he’s famous. For real famous, not infamous. Award winning film star, scuba instructor, lives on a boat in the Caribbean. I’m sure many of you have enjoyed his work and I have put the pressure on him to hook me up with his friend-ish Sarah, who is also famous.

I want to take her to Dairy Queen for ice cream and then to the ASPCA to pet kittens and puppy dogs.  Eric seems to think she’ll expect a nicer date but ya know what? That seems like a great date. If she wants to dress up and go to dinner and dancing, we’ll just crash a wedding. If Sarah doesn’t want to go screw her, He knows plenty of people that I’m a fan of. I bet one of them would love ice cream.

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Ice cream and petting puppies with Sarah

I watched a beautiful Ketch (it’s a boat) being lifted up and put into the Pacific yesterday. We smoked cigarettes and sat on the boat he restored. The two masts looked a mile high. It never felt so good to be so tired. Thank you Eric for giving me the opportunity and for not getting too pissed because I can’t remember anything. Call Sarah…

I have too much to be thankful for. I hope you all do too.

S.

 

Depression. Yeah it’s personal.

I don’t owe anyone any more money. All my cavities are filled.
If I pull my hand outside my pocket too fast, I might drop a couple of fifty-dollar bills.
I got more dope than I can smoke. I got more chicks than I can use.
Somehow when I woke up the morning, I guess I had somebody else’s blues.
I swear I don’t know why. I don’t know why I feel this way.
You know I got someone else’s blues in the midst of an almost perfect day.
~SOMEONE ELSE’S BLUES (David Bromberg)


Why so blue Sammy?

I don’t know.
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