Friday, December 26, 2008


Lately, as my ten-year high school reunion quickly approaches in 2009 ('s not 'til September, but'll be there before you know it!), I find myself very nostalgic.

I find myself thinking about the Good Ol' Days. More specifically, the years of--wait for it!!--1993 to 1999. In other words, middle school through high school. I mean, I've always been a nostalgic person anyways, trying to stay in touch with old school chums from the past. But in the last month or so, it's become sort of an obsession [BLOGGER'S NOTE: Really?!?! You obsessed?! NO!!]

Thank you, Facebook.

Seriously, it's gotten really bad!! I find myself searching for old friends all. The. Time. And when I can't find them, I "friend" other people that I may have had just the slightest tangential relationship with (if only to sort
of leap frog to see who they know). You know, the kind of person whose name and face you recognized in a school setting--passing by them in the hall or whatnot--but if they ever approached you on a dark and deserted street to say "hi" or try to shake your hand, you'd probably mace them first, ask questions later? Yeah, those are the people I've been friending. Fuck, even the teachers will do.

Thinking about it now, I'd be a damn good private detective. I've turned into a one-man

It's gotten bad. Like, I went scavenging through my old yearbooks, the other day. I went on a quest to find those too!! I actually went through Dimension X...The Abyss of Nothingness...The Bermuda Triangle...The Eighth Circle of Hell known as--DUM!! DUM!! DUMMMM!!--My Closet. Once that was accomplished with much bloodshed, I went on a hypomanic joyride down Memory Lane.

It was fun. Wish you were there. Though, all I brought back was this lousy T-shirt.

The thing is, looking back through those yearbooks, I saw all of the crushes and the school bullies and the popular people that seemed so important to me then and the only thing that goes through my mind now is this: What the fuck was I thinking???

All of the "popular" girls I thought were hot at the time, look something akin to mountain goats or worse. The "popular," hunky guys that the girls swooned over look like pimply boobs who should have been riding on the Short Bus. As for the now decidedly gawky-looking, malnourished school bullies, well, I just have images from "Bad Santa" or "Step Brothers" playing in my head. Ya know, there's just something completely invigorating about seeing grown men beating the living shit out of their tormentors, no matter what age they are.

It's so funny how 10-16 years puts things in perspective.

* sigh *

I've grown so much.

What makes me kind of blanch, too, is how I was so completely convinced that the friends I had at the time would be my "friends forever." You think I'm joking and kidding around, but going through those yearbooks, I was in shock and horrified by how I creepily scrawled in red pen "friends forever" on the actual photos of my friends.

Yeesh!! Maybe some Zoloft might have been in order for me then as well.

But yes, those were the good ol' days. In my opinion anyway. But I can say that now. The truth is, I try to remember the person I was then and I wonder to myself, was that person me at my best? Was that person happy? Who knows? I don't think a person so incomplete as who I was then could truly answer that question. I think I had to go through more experiences. There were more obstacles that needed to be hurtled over. As the High Priestess of Soul, Nina Simone, once sang...You've Got to Learn.

We all have to get from point A to point B and,
let's face it, I'm still not there yet.

Though, every step closer is something to smile about.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Running To Stand Still

It's been two weeks since I wrote my last entry.

but it's felt like Forever.

It's time to come clean a little bit here. I've been seeing a shrink again. Two, in fact (because one's never enough, right?). It's been since about September, actually...something like that. I see a psychiatrist--an MD who has been in the biz for 30 years or so to prescribe medication--and a therapist to talk through whatever issues I'm having/going through. In other words, she's trying to help me figure my shit out.

I decided to go back for many reasons,
a few of which I'm no longer at liberty to discuss on this blog. Mainly, I'm just not a happy camper. Sure, I have days where I'm content with The Way Things Are, but the space between Being Content and Being Happy is a wide one indeed. I have high highs and low lows. It's the way it has always been.

But then, that's just one of the many symptoms of my diagnosis: Bipolar II.

I'm not going into details about Bipolar Disorder II or what it feels to be diagnosed with it (relief, to be honest--it's something that I can put my finger on, something that can finally be dealt with!). What I am going to talk about here is the medication I'm on: Sertraline.

It's taken a while for it to kick in and on the way there, some of the side-effects have been downright nasty. They would include increased sweating (at first, anyway) sexual side-effects (adios orgasms! You are sorely missed) and, worst of all, Writers Block.

For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why, every time I started writing, I'd completely draw a blank and/or get drowsy. And then I's the medication.


It has taken me two days to write this. I began on Saturday night. This is how it goes: I start and I begin writing...and then I start to get drowsy. Like, really drowsy [BLOGGER'S NOTE: God, Hal!! That's usually what happens to the people who read your shit, not the other way around, man!!!!]. And then I kind of just...blank. And then I give up. I close the window and lay down or read my book.

On the plus side, it's been a while since I've actually been able to concentrate long enough to read a whole book. I've already read one ("Watchmen") and now I'm 100 pages into a new one: "Case Histories" by Kate Atkinson. Great stuff. Pick it up, but only once because, after that, you won't be able to put it down.

Needless to say, it's been a mixed bag of emotions, conflicting feelings. I'm happy that I've been able to Ya know? I just feel really mellow, chill. I'm not quite as jittery, tense. I like not worrying about everything. It's nice. But I'm frustrated and scared, too, because what if I my ability to write wasn't a talent...but a symptom? What if it was just a more subtle, functional biproduct of a hypomanic state, an inbalance?

In other words, have I lost my mojo? Did I ever really have it? Is it worth giving up in order to be at peace...or do I give up the meds and continue doing the one thing I know I'm good at, my one "discernible talent" as I've said, regardless of the the Quality of Life that I'm living? Is it ever possible to have anything both ways? Why does everything have to be so black and white? Why does everything in this goddamned life have to be a fucking tradeoff?

It's starting again.

I can feel the drowsiness washing over me. I'll have to lie down soon. But this isn't over. I won't let it win. Being a writer--good or bad, depending on your own tastes--isn't just something I do anymore. It's who I am. And I've had many different identities over the years. I've been many different variations of Hal to get to where I am, to get to this point.

This is the one I want.

And like so much that has come before, it won't come easily. I'm going to do what I've always done whenever there's conflict, whenever there are obsticles in my way that I need to overcome, whenever I'm on the verge of losing something I love.

I fight.

Tooth and nail, I fight.