Friday, September 24


For just about my whole life, I experienced some form of depression, but it would come and go quickly when I was young. Toward the end of high school, however, depression and baaddd anxiety came and stayed. I remember the exact day it started.

Five years later, I was beyond frustrated; I wanted to escape the monotony and the numbness of prescription pacification. By the end, though, I had taken countless combinations of it.

Some showed no immediate signs of improvement in me. Others made me feel plastic, made me wear a grin about nothing, and never let me cry. Some made me happy for a week and then had me slide down to the depression tank again. Some made me more anxious than I had been to begin with. One made my throat convulse and induced sporadic dry heaves all day.

First, it was Xanax alone, then Xanax with Wellbutrin, then Prozac. New Doctor: Wellbutrin again, higher dose. Absolutely no desire for the procedure, ala Dooce, so we switched to Paxil. Another New Doctor: Lexapro, and back to Wellbutrin. So at this point I’m thinking medication sucks, and I already knew that therapy wasn’t working for me. If it had been, I wouldn’t have tried so many different drug permutations in the first place.

Finally, the boy (see also, The Most Inspiring and Supportive (and hottest) Man in the World) left for a month-long film shoot. With ample time alone, I decided that I didn’t like :me: on all these drugs, and for all their purported benefits of “control,” I had never felt more out of control (although I certainly would in the near future. Never recklessly abandon your meds, people).

So I did a bad thing, and stopped cold turkey. I cancelled all future appointments with The Dr., and I pushed all the bottles to the back of my cabinet. (I didn’t have the balls to throw them all out, or maybe that was me being frugal – they were super expensive.)

Anyway, the idea was MBO. Manual Brain Override. I spent a lot of time talking to myself [not out loud!] (and feeling absolutely insane for it anyway), and after going through that every single day for hours and hours a day, at work, at school, at home, for a YEAR, I felt better. A little.

The best of it was the control, though. It was like training a dog, except I was training my brain’s receptors not to pee on the couch. Actions elicit responses, and the more you think about which ones cause which other ones, you can start to control your feelings. Ok, you obviously can’t control all of your feelings, and let me clarify that this wasn’t and still isn’t an easy fix.

I still have to do it every day, and some days are especially difficult, but I concentrate on flipping the right switches. Also, I’m still very angry, very often (like almost every day). Which is why I Punch [Eric] In The Arm.

MBO is hard. It’s just the better of two shitty options.

Thursday, September 23

Punch In The Arm

That last post was terribly morose, so let’s talk about the weather. If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then the morning is the most important part of it. And the mornings in LA are, without fail, cloudy and cool.

Before I go on, I have to tell you that I’m from New York, and I just moved here (to LA).

Now, I should explain the root of my problem with changeable weather: When it’s raining, or even overcast, my brain naturally adjusts itself to the situation. The second I wake up, look out the window, and evaluate the color of the day, I flip one of the switches on.

On grey days, I’m on comfy setting, the kind of mood in which your sole desire is to hunker down at home with a blanket, some buttery, delicious microwave popcorn, and a classic tearjerker like Sleepless in Seattle, waiting for the thunder to come. *NB, per the boy (this is the boy),

I’m not allowed to watch this movie in my house anymore.

Yellow/Orange days require a happy boost, for which you have to flip the switch to take in the most good stuff possible in a day.

Finally, white days are for suckers who don’t have migraines. I don’t like to open my eyes on a white day. It hurts too much.

I’m a little off-topic, since this post was intended to explain “PUNCH IN THE ARM”. Basically, it’s just an anger thing, manifested in friendly, frisky demeanor. I only punch the boy, because he’s big enough, strong enough, and doesn’t really mind. He does, however, want to replace his arm with an actual punching bag. And I’m looking into it, but I don’t love these, and I don’t think our landlords would appreciate our installing one of these.

The Day

So it's many, many years ago, right? I’m this high school journalism “trend whore”; I run the paper and the yearbook. Oh boy, do I have the monopoly on a certain breed of power at Curtis High School. (On this, I’m semi-serious, because it was an interesting thing to watch the behavior of those who thought I controlled the decision making process on each photo to be included in the book. Also, the security guards at the school let me wander in and out without too much harassment.)

I have to go to this huge playoff game (basketball) on Saturday night, take some pictures, and talk to some people. Sounds like fun, right?

First I have to attend my paternal grandmother’s birthday party in Bayonne (NJ). They (her children) have been planning this for months, and we’re all supposed to be really excited, “Grandma turns 75, YAY!” I think it was 75, but I know it was Saturday, February 13.

But my mom, she’s got a much different outlook on the evening. She and her favorite daughter (that’s me, because I’m the only one, and only child for that matter) go to this thing in a separate car from her husband (my father), not so much for convenience, as for the fact that she now loathes him. And she’s got a plan.

A few weeks before, I come home from my late-night journalism meeting on a Thursday, and I’m psyched because a new episode of Friends is on and I can’t wait to see if Rachel kisses Ross.. again... finally. But instead of a happy mom, I find a distraught, sobbing woman at the kitchen table. The short of it is that she’s listened to dad’s voicemail, and that bitch, Susan, is back in our lives.

She makes me listen, too. Well, shit. We’ve got to clean up this mess and replace any evidence of mom snooping in dad’s drawers before he gets home. He’s got condoms, too? Yuck. I place all his crap neatly back in right angles in his dresser. Mom’s plan: we wait. We endure, we wait, and yes, we still attend Grams’ 75th birthday party. We let him have that much (I don’t know why), and we strike after he’s asleep that night (I don’t know why).

We do the whole eating thing at the party, and then I drive mom home and run through all the lights on the way to Farrell H.S., the location of this awesome playoff game. I “enjoy” my night, not distracted at all, and when I go home, I’m dragged to the basement by mom to type a note to my father. After endless changes, we end up with:


I print it, and put a piece of tape on the top. Mom takes it, puts on some lipstick, and kisses it. I’m generally confused, and this spurs years of misery.

We all live in that house together for another two years, at which point I decide to “run away” to live in NYU’s dorms, like a normal person. Three years later, they divorce.

Knock. Knock.
Who’s there?
The end of this story.
The end of this story, who?
The end of this story is a joke with a happy ending. YAY.

Wednesday, September 22

twelve minutes

for cold milk and jon stewart. goodnight.


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