It all came in After the filter broke. Overload.
– Marco, Null Morpheme
My Mind Playing Tricks on Me
by The Geto Boys
by Christian Marc, Complaining is an Art Form
I remember my first panic attack vividly. It was 2001 and I was living in Seattle when I started feeling a little anxious after taking a bong rip. My hearing became acutely sensitive, and my balance and composure were thrown off. I started feeling as if I was going to die, while my heart was racing fast. I called my friend and had her drive me to the hospital because I didn’t know what this feeling was, but I felt as if I couldn’t stop the rapid fall of negative energy. My mind had vertigo. It was one of the worst car rides I’ve ever barely lived through, but nothing could have prepared me for what was going to happen next.
I get out of the car, make my way to the Emergency room with the help of my friend and I looked the nurse directly in her eyes and told her to help me because I think I was having a heart attack.
She took one look at me, told me to calm down and said there was no way I was having a heart attack, because 1., I wasn’t on the ground writhing in pain, and 2., I walked in there under my own strength.
“You’re just having a panic attack, sweetheart.” She said
I was having a panic attack? Ok, so make it stop! She then asked me if I had health insurance, which I did not. She explained this meant just the cost of admitting me to the hospital would be somewhere between five hundred and a thousand dollars. Immediately after hearing that, I thought to myself “I can’t afford a thousand bucks” and instantly, I was knocked back down to earth, my panic attack subsided, and I started feeling a little bit better.
Bottom line? I was stressed the fuck out.
I didn’t have another panic attack until years later when I was living in L.A. Los Angeles would be the backdrop to some of the worst panic attacks my body has ever gone through. They have happened whether I’ve been alone, driving, sitting on the couch, watching TV, or taking a walk. They have happened when I was with someone else, or in large crowds, and every single time they happened, I had just smoked some pot right before it came on.
Now, I know the easiest way to solve these panic attacks would probably be to just not smoke pot, right? But I’m not addressing the real underlying issue. Plus, I like to smoke pot. I don’t ALWAYS have a panic attack each time I do, but at this point in my life I had to understand all the stress I was under living in Hollywood, dealing with the struggles artists go through of trying to make a living writing a script, or acting and producing or just getting stability in the industry. Sure, you could say that marijuana was having a negative affect on my body, but it wasn’t the marijuana that was “causing” the panic attacks. Pot was just the catalyst.
The real problem here was my lifestyle and the stress that I was under for so many years, and how that stress was taking it’s toll on my body. In addition to panic attacks I started going grey on the sides of my head, but thanks to the people at Just for Men, you don’t see them. However if I grow out my beard, I think you would see one white chin hair for every panic attack I have had over the years. I have since lost count of both my grey beard and my panic attacks since 2005.
I have never gone to the doctor for it, because still to this day, I can not afford medical insurance, and even though I knew I should probably have stopped smoking pot which brought on these attacks, something in my brain wouldn’t let me. I think ultimately I wanted to figure out why I was having them, plus I believed that there was a way to make them stop once they came on.
The last few times I started getting that uneasy feeling, I was able to kick it to the curb it from going any further by saying positive affirmations to myself, deep breaths and basically talking myself out of allowing that feeling to take over my body. It became a challenge for me that I accepted and I almost feel now like I wanted to have them happen so I could get stronger. Then one day recently, they just stopped happening.
Sometime around October of last year I had finally decided I was going to leave Los Angeles and move back to Seattle. October was also the last time I had a panic attack. That world of worrying about projects and people and Hollywood shit and making enough money to pay the bills definitely made me kind of crazy. Since I left, I haven’t had one in almost six months, however I’d be lying if I said the idea of them doesn’t still linger around in my head.
Twenty One Pilots said it best:
When our momma sang us to sleep, but now we’re stressed out.”
Those lyrics are true. I can attest to the fact that stress is a real thing and it is caused by the choices we make in life and the style of living that we choose for ourselves. It can change the color of your hair, wrinkle your skin, cause you to suddenly not know where you are, or in my case, it could make you to feel like you are in the Matrix living out the events shortly before your inevitable death while you are on you way to the Walgreens to get some toilet paper one random afternoon in September.
Stress sucks and no one likes it, but I think I was economically forced to trigger the panic attacks to teach myself to make them stop without taking anti-anxiety medication like xanax which I feel only suppresses those feelings and doesn’t deal with the root cause. Although xanax is great for falling asleep and I wouldn’t mind having some around if I needed it.
Until we have free universal health care I guess my treatment for getting my stress level down and stopping the panic attacks meant not putting myself though a world of mental and spiritual torture anymore. I just stopped caring about Hollywood shit and I chose to focus on being a writer and tending bar to make money to live. And all I had to do was move 1100 miles away to accomplish that. Come to think of it, I probably could have gotten a health care plan for two years for what it cost to move to Seattle, but I’m in a much better and less stressful place right now, and that’s what matters most.
“We must be able to trust our loved ones with our innermost workings and allow
them to help when they can. We can’t be afraid to ask and/or seek help when
needed, professional help if applicable.” – Michael Mele, The Insane Asylum
You are not alone
by Mavis Staples
by Rebecca Lemke,
A lot of people think anorexia develops out of a desire to be thin. They think that the quest to become skinny overtakes the mind and self-control is lost. For some people, that is true. But for others, anorexia digs deep into the mind and plants roots for reasons you would never think of, eventually growing to the surface and taking hold.
For me, it is the latter.
The details of the disorder of my mind are fussy to many, the whens and whys have escaped the knowledge of friends and family for a long time. My mother would tell you that it all began during a conversation at a summer camp I attended. She would say that the girls comparing height and weight upset me, because I weighed the same as a much thinner and taller girl. This isn’t true.
I never worried about my weight as a child, I was naturally pretty thin up until junior high. It is a bit surprising to me because I always heard comments about weight, they were usually self-deprecating comments made by friends or family. Perhaps my subconscious picked up on them, but I never actively paid any attention to my weight, or conversations about weight, at that age.
My best friend might tell you when she began to suspect something was wrong, and my cousins would tell you they knew by the time I lost a few pounds. No matter how many people noticed, not one could tell you the exact moment anorexia took over, or why.
But I can.
I had no privacy when it came to my body, what I wore was dictated to me in the form of “don’ts” and when I said “no” it held no weight. The weight of things like whether or not I had sex and when being public information and what I wore potentially making or breaking a man’s spiritual walk were heavy burdens for me to bear.
I couldn’t expect respect or privacy, I couldn’t control my clothing, and I certainly couldn’t control who did and didn’t touch me.
There was one thing I could control: food.
Anorexia, at least in the beginning, was not about being thin or skinny. It was a desperate lunge for control over my life and my body. It was a plea for space, for someone to listen to me and to make the madness that surrounded me cease. It was safe, something I could do without fear of being used, manipulated, or hurting others.
At first, it wasn’t so bad. I lost a few pounds and felt a rush of freedom. Finally, I had control. Even if no one else would listen to me, my body would. I kept going, losing more and more weight until I found myself growing white fuzzy hair all over my body and chilling constantly.
I learned that you can simultaneously have both too much and not enough self-control. I began experiencing shortness of breath and strange heartbeats, but that didn’t stop me.
I didn’t stop until my body physically stopped me. I began passing out and was no longer able to hide the fact that my bones were showing in places they shouldn’t. I gained just enough weight back to be uncomfortable, but safe from prying eyes.
The symptoms eventually subsided after I removed myself from being taught that my body was there for everyone else to use and dictate things to. My husband nursed me back to health one raisin at a time and I began counseling as well. The journey to recovery has been difficult because of how many things influenced my anorexia, but the choice to get well is my own, along with the loving support of my husband.
“I just let the pain take over,
allowing it to numb the pain
of being left behind.” – Jessica Sorensen,
The Coincidence of Callie & Katie
If I Die Young
by The Band Perry
CUTTING by Erin Farris
edited by Rebecca Lemke
So, not a lot of people know this about me. In fact, probably only like 3. And if any family sees this, I hope they understand it’s in my past and I have moved on. But I used to self harm. I was always pretty discreet, of course you don’t want people to know you do something like that. I had several friends who also cut themselves. For me it wasn’t a, “my friends do it so I want to” kind of thing. I was a very moody/depressed teen. I didn’t see the few friends I had very often, and I had a brother who made it his mission to tell me how ugly I was, how fat I was, that no one liked me, and be as rude as possible without my mom seeing/hearing him.
Hearing things like that from a family member, especially being a young girl, that really messes with your self worth and respect. We were also homeschooled, so I had no escape. Music, writing poetry, a few best friends, and eventually cutting myself, became my escape. There are multiple reasons people self harm, for me, I felt so bad on the inside, I wanted to feel something on the outside too. I never went deep enough to leave scars, but there was definitely pain. I stopped when I saw a friend that I cared for and loved deeply, really hurting his body and leaving big scars. The pain I thought I needed to feel wasn’t worth making someone I loved, and who loved me, feel like I felt when I saw my friend’s arms.
There are so many better ways to deal with emotions than hurting yourself!
Write a song or a poem.
Start working out.
Go for walks.
Read a book, or write one!
Build something, like a birdhouse, or a Lego castle full of unicorns!
Find something. Make it yours. Do whatever you need to do (within limits) to make yourself happy and get yourself out of that hole. Talk to someone. Go to therapy if you think that would help. Do something. But don’t let yourself become a statistic.
You are not alone!
You are important!
You are loved!
You have a purpose!
And you are wanted!
Also, IT DOES GET BETTER!!!
Fast forward several years and here I am, 22, married to my absolute best friend in the world, where I get to be a stay at home mom and raise our 2 year old daughter. Back then, I never would have pictured my life as it is now, I just couldn’t see it getting better. But I promise you, it does! (Oh, and things with my brother are great now, we live 3 blocks from each other and he’s a great uncle!)
I saw a quote once and it has stuck with me ever since.
“Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse, suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better.”
this is…. The Neighborhood
created by Kendall F. Person
“Let me photograph you in this
light in case this is the last time.”
– Adele, When We Were Young
from 1969 (when I was about 4)
Didn’t You Know (You’d Have to Cry Sometime)
by Gladys Knight & the Pips
WHEN WE WERE ABOUT 4 OR 5…
by Kendall F. Person
I do not remember the moment I was born, but I know when I arrived only my mother was there to meet me, my father changed his mind. But I also know with equal amounts of certainty and emotion, that a half century later, had I felt a self-righteous indignation to hold a grudge, than only months before he died, we would have missed our only chance to bond. “When you were about 4 or 5….” Although, the story he shared never happened, it created a father and son moment, that did and it shared happy around.
There is such a thing as insurmountable odds, and no matter how much we believe or think we can, the impossible does exist. There is a limit to how fast Usain Bolt can run. Jeanne Calment of France who died at the age of 122. set the stage for how long we can live. And although Brian Shaw dead-lifted an astounding 985 pounds, 986 may have proved one pound too many. There are limits to what we can do, and even though there is no way for us to know what those limits are, we cannot allow what we cannot change to set those limits for us.
I was not there, but in 1941 from a small town in Oklahoma, John E. Walker Sr. took his wife and 4 kids and headed north. A better paying job, in a company he trusted in a city a mile high. By 1965, John Walker had purchased a home, grew his family to 5 girls and 3 boys, became an Assistant pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, and when I was about 4 or 5, I remember seeing the photo for the first time, of my Grandfather sitting just left of Dr. Martin Luther King in Denver and I was so proud. We still are. But during the month of December 1965, John E. Walker suffered a heart attack and died. I was born in Denver 8 months later in 1966, my mother was his 3rd child.
By then there were only two kids still at home and Etta – his wife – continued to live strong for another 30 years, for a matriarch she would become of 31 grandkids. She would never remarry for John was her only, and for old fashion sake, the only time she worked outside their home, was when she chose to, for John E. Walker Sr. made sure he took care of all that he could, long before he was gone. Chivalry lived on.
We do not remind ourselves of our beautiful past and every day stories of kinsfolk who lifted or carried or simply touched the baton enough. Or of opportunities, no matter how fleeting or seemingly insignifigant, we grabbed hold of, allowing once irreversible voids to be replaced with nodding smiles. And that’s too bad, because some memories persists to fill the small crevices where we cannot seem to scratch. It re-energizes the butterfly, and sets ugly back.
Children are born with an inquisitive nature and at about 4 or 5, they start to believe they can fly. But more than their curiosity, kids are a resilient lot They fall down and get right back up. If things did not work out so well in little league, they move on to basketball. Masters of the reinvention, one day its Transformers and the next it’s Angry Birds.
But something happens to the adventurous self, as we move into adulthood. An accumulative waive of resistance moves into our subconscious, At first it begins to slow us down, before turning happy upside down. But once it turns toward our peace of mind, the fight becomes a struggle, affecting our mental health.
The world does not owe us a thing. But we owe it and one another in it believe it or not. Sometimes we hit jackpot and sometimes we roll craps, but by and large, life gives us back, what we put in. New challenges arise nearly every day, and bad dreams cannot be completely held at bay, and sad memories goes with loss, but life is meant to be enjoyed, at least more than not. So whatever our burden that tramples our smile and makes us cry does not deserve the ability to run rickshaw, over each new day of our lives. that we have been building…. since we were about 4 or 5.
this is The Neighborhood.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
“To us, family means putting your arms
around each other and being there. – Barbara Bush
2014 The Neighborhood
Song of the Year Nominee
new music by Jeremy Harrell
Dancing with a Broken Heart
Like Son, Like Mother
by Kendall F. Person
When my Grandmother died, whom I had a very close relationship with, it broke my heart. To me, she was the sweetest little lady I had ever did meet. She was from the old school if there ever was, for when her husband died 26 years before her, she would never remarry, for my Grandfather would be her only love. She would sit in church on Sundays, and listening to the word of God, would move her to tears every single time. But while I cannot imagine, I am certain that somehow and somewhere, she made a comment, that someone not only took offense to, but would judge her life for those words. And that is too bad, because the matriarch of the Walker Clan of the Rocky Mountains – a mother of 8 and grandmother of 31 – was a precious, dear sweet woman indeed, in which the legacy of her life should be aimed and measured.
“But why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it’s gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it’s, it’s not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? And watch him suffer.” – Barbara Bush, pre Iraq War
It is almost as unfortunate as it is unexpected, our trip back down memory lane, when we are watching or listening to former President George W. Bush as out of office, he is a very likeable man. In a hours long interview with former President Bill Clinton, his forever smile and jovial demeanor conjure up false memories of the good ole days. It is not the bitterness once felt, when he ordered our soldiers in a march to overthrow the sovereign nation of Iraq, but rather the solemn wonder if he simply never gave it much thought, or if he screams in his sleep from all that blood on his hands. But there is no doubt, that his mother stood by his side (To us… family means being there); making her unfortunate beautiful mind statement, more about him.
Barbara Bush was the matriarch of an American political dynasty – only outranked by the Kennedy Clan. When her husband – George H.W. Bush – occupied the Oval Office, two of her sons were the governors of Florida and Texas. She was the First Lady during the successful beat back of Iraq from their invasion of Kuwait. And she too was left dangling by hanging chads, but she had a son in the race. Years before, she remained stoic, as she suffered under the idignity, when her husband lost a 3-way thriller in his bid for a 2nd term. And when the towers came down, that would forever change America, the pressure mounted, as it was her son that was President.
Through the highs and lows, however, First Lady Barbara Bush was a sign of class and remained beloved by most. With her hair seemingly always a ghost white, the affection was akin to love of our own grandmothers. But with only minor damage, her reputation survived the blowback from her 2003 comments during the lead up to the Iraq War, where in her mind she may have been simply protecting her son. But like son, like mother in 2005, Hurricane Katrina would finish the job and devour the reputations of both.
“And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them.” – Barbara Bush, referring to the Katrina victims of their living conditions in the Houston Astrodome.
But when Mrs. Bush took ill, and ultimately passed away, it reminded me of my own grandmother’s passing, and I thought how unfair; to base the entirety of her life on two missteps in which – while she never said it – was only trying to protect her kid, who was vilified for his performance, after katrina and due to the Iraq War.
Ninety-two when she died, living a long and happy life. She raised a very successful, close knit family and was loved in her role as a traditional first lady, which will forever define her legacy. Was she racist? No, she was not. Was she an elitist? Yes, most likely she was. But the only thing that matters now, is she served her country through her unyielding support of two Presidents during two wars.
RIP First Lady Barbara Bush