If you need me, I’ll be down here

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players,
They have their exits and entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,

The day after Christmas.


I have my wife and my two closest friends, pictured here.

There was, as usual, a good deal of reflection on the past this Christmas. There was a time in the not too distant past when remembering the past holidays with family and friends would make me genuinely weepy and sorrowful. These breakdowns were akin to having a close member of the family die, but they were worse – I was morning and entire family and world I knew that had died many years ago. But the Ghosts of Christmas Pasts would come back to haunt me every year.

Except this year. It’s not that I didn’t think about the memories and people of the past; it’s just I can raise no emotion over it at all. I’m just numb. Nothing made me weepy and God knows, I tried. But even Greg Lake’s ‘Father Christmas, which was always a good bet to get the waterworks flowing, registered just a shrug.

I’m not sure whether this is good or bad. The holidays have become so dull and ordinary that the time I take off work becomes just another series of days to drink and smoke and watch football. Perhaps this numbness is not so ‘bad’ as it is bothersome to me. It’s completely antithetical to decades of previous experience. I’m left with the notion that something is off in my head – significant but perhaps not serious.

Are the medications? I don’t know. Is it the latest series of social disappointments? I don’t know. Is it the result of running out of the energy that is a byproduct of anxiety? Don’t know. Has it simply been enough time passing that the memories are fading, and the future is so bleak that it’s not worth the effort to expend the emotional energy to mourn? Perhaps.

There is only my wife and myself. I ran up Christmas Eve to take my sons to lunch and exchange gifts which took about six hours of the day and that was the extent of ‘family’ Christmas activities. I spent a good deal of the drive monitoring the Stock Market. How ‘Joyeaux Noel’ is that?

I’m writing in the basement where I now spend a good deal of my time. It is a place where I feel safe and unexposed (from people ringing the doorbell and snipers lining me up through the living room window). Also, the cat rarely comes down here and when I’m upstairs, she’s usually crawling all over me. It’s fine for 10-15 minutes but after an hour of her constant demanding attention, I start losing my patience. This is also why I can never have a dog.

The basement contains everything I could want – a big screen TV, a restroom, a fully stocked bar, a library (whose books I’m too bored and attention-deficit to read) and a museum made up of bits and pieces of my life and American history. Some of my collections are down here too should I ever want to look at coins and matchbooks. Old framed newspapers hang on the walls, some are my stories, some are from history. The furniture is comfy and there’s always the exit through the garage should I need some air.

I wonder what this room really means to me? Is it the adult version of the bedroom I hid myself away in while growing up? I spent most of my formative years in my bedroom because I was afraid of my father and wanted to be left alone by my sister. I had no friends I could play with after awhile and I spent most of my time reading, doodling, listening to the radio and watching TV.

As in the beginning so at the end? Possibly. If my life is to end down here it will be largely because I’ve run out of other places to be where I feel comfortable. Also, if this is my own private tomb, I have done a good job furnishing it Egyptian-style with all the toys and memories I’d like to take to the afterlife.

But it is sad to be alone down here, even as much as I need to be alone.

I mentioned earlier my books. I have around 300-400 of them down here and I never read them. I buy books and books are bought for me and then carefully shelved and never read. I simply don’t have the patience or attention span anymore to get involved in a book. That IS very sad to me and I try to force myself to read some of them. But I just can’t work up any enthusiasm. Where I sleep has traditionally been a repository for a stack of bedside books. Now I just have my smart phone and watch You Tube before bed.

In a similar vein, I don’t watch much TV except for news and sports. I pay for a subscription to Netflix that I rarely use (similar to my subscription to Planet Fitness which I will mention in a bit). I have tried watching some shows like ‘Broken Mirror,’ ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and ‘This is Us’ but the problem I have is that it’s hard for me to put eyes on for a whole hour AND, even more importantly, I find myself getting too emotionally involved in the drama which rubs off on my mood. I’ve given up completely on ‘Broken Mirror’ despite the fact I think it’s masterful storytelling. Some of the episodes have put the hook in me to such a degree it has taken an entire day to decompress from the emotional impact.

I don’t want to get involved in fictional drama. This was never a problem before, but in the last few years it has become one. So, what do I watch other then news and sports? True crime. Figure that. But even some of those are getting to me as well, so I switch over to ghost stories which I generally feel are exaggerated dramatizations containing small kernels of truth. Most of the time my eyes are on this screen, going through news source after news source until I’ve read everything and then I watch car crash videos on You Tube or some such agreeable time wasters.

As for the Planet Fitness subscription, I find no desire in me to get fit. For what purpose? To live longer? In this world? Who would I be impressing by getting fit? What would I do with all the ‘energy’ and ‘confidence’ that being in shape would bring? Spend more time working harder at a job I hate?  I no longer care about such things. I have tried many, many times in my life to get and stay in shape and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not just in me. I have given up, yes. Again, what would be the point? I should go down and cancel my membership but the whole this is embarrassing to me. I wish these things could be done by email.

This is not how I had ever envisioned my late middle ages. I was supposed to be featured on television news panels, giving my take on current events or discussing the contents of my column in The Washington Post. Instead, I can always look at my clippings from The Peoria Journal-Star or Cedar Rapids Gazette, and wonder what might have been if I had been able to master my mental demons.

My wife makes efforts to pull me out of the tomb. I’m careful to note how many times I say ‘no’, so I can throw in an occasional ‘yes’ out of a sense of obligation to a shared marriage. My wife goes out alone often. I hope she understands.

I have two trips upcoming to see Broadway shows in New York. For reasons I can’t explain, I want to do that. But I do not want to go to the local zoo or anywhere else around here. I have nothing against Pittsburgh, it’s a perfectly fine place. But too many negative things have already happened here, and I have no desire to either experience anything or get involved with anything local. The last straw was the breakup with the local mental health organization I had become so involved with. It has been almost three months since that happened and I now feel resolute in my conviction that I am done socially – with anything.

After cycling through depression, PTSD, GAD and BPD, at this age I have finally realized that I am bad company for the most part, and that interpersonal conflicts will result and be crushing to me and that, at 56, hardly anyone gives a shit what I think.

So here I am in the basement tomb, pretending I’m writing to thousands of people like I used to do at the Gazette and Journal-Star (while refraining from podcast pretending that I’m a radio host again – that would be TOO painful for me).

Which takes me back to a memory when I was around 8 or 9 and spun 45 records on a small kids turntable, pretending I was a top 40 DJ. There I was, keying up BJ Thomas or Tommy James and the Shondells and talking out loud to no one in particular save for the audience in my head.

Occasionally I would play this Statler Brothers’ 45:

It’s good to see you, I must go, I know I look a fright
Anyway my eyes are not accustomed to this light
And my shoes are not accustomed to this hard concrete
So I must go back to my room and make my day complete

Countin’ flowers on the wall
That don’t bother me at all
Playin’ solitaire till dawn with a deck of fifty-one
Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me I’ve nothin’ to do

Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Christmas, death, depression, getting old, holidays, loneliness, mental health, middle age, New York City, radio, regret, social anxiety, When we were very young, Wonder Years | Leave a comment

A Different Drummer

Trigger warnings: news, politics.

There’s a cute game people play around the holidays. Basically, the game is trying to avoid hearing any version of ‘Little Drummer Boy’ whether it be on the radio, TV, Internet or even office carolers. If you can make it to Christmas Day without hearing the song, you win.

What you win, I have no idea. It’s almost impossible to get to Christmas Day without hearing the song. Personally, I prefer the Harry Simeone Chorale version, which reminds me of Christmases of the past, especially when I was a kid. My parents had the album; now I have their album.


This album

There are other versions, of course – LOTS of versions. Many people like the tender Bing Crosby-David Bowie version. Side note: indicative of my memory issues, it took a full two minutes to remember David Bowie’s name.

There’s also Johnny Cash (the first cover, in 1959), Josh Groban, the Jackson 5, Faith Hill, Bob Dylan and so many others. But I hear a different version this year.

People my age and older will remember when Simon and Garfunkel did a version of ‘Silent Night’ retitled Silent Night/7 O’clock News (click link to listen) in 1966. The duo starts out doing a beautiful rendition of the carol but about 20 seconds into the song, something’s not quite right: a broadcaster is heard, softly at first and then progressively louder, reading a typical newscast of the day.

“Dr. Martin Luther King says he does not intend to cancel plans for an open
housing march Sunday into the Chicago suburb of Cicero.
Cook County Sheriff Richard Ogleby asked King to call off the march and the
police in Cicero said they would ask the National Guard to be called out if it is held.”

Gradually, the duo’s tender Silent Night fades out as the newscaster’s reading becomes louder, eventually overwhelming the singing:

“Former Vice-President Richard Nixon says that unless there is a substantial
increase in the present war effort in Vietnam, the U.S. should look forward
to five more years of war.

In a speech before the Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in New York,
Nixon also said opposition to the war in this country is the greatest single
weapon working against the U.S

That’s the 7 o’clock edition of the news, good night.”

Every time I hear it (and it’s rarely played nowadays) I get something in my eye, if you catch my drift.

The sixties were not all Beatles, peace, love and hippies. It was a tumultuous time in America. The country was literally ripped apart by opposition to the Vietnam War. The protests often turned violent, leading to the deaths of five Kent State University students on May 4, 1970. The discord tore apart families and nearly destroyed the Democratic Party. Two Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were assassinated. America’s simmering racial issues exploded, resulting in riots in Watts (Los Angeles) and Hough (Cleveland) among many others.

I only remember the tail end of the decade.

Now there is no shooting war to divide the American people. Oh, there’s war all right but it’s ignored: other people’s sons and daughters fight it. Oh wait, did I say there was no ‘shooting war?’ I’m wrong — there most certainly is: in the streets, homes, schools and other public places of America there is most certainly a shooting war. Almost every day we see the dead pile up from one mass shooting or another.

And our politics have become a war of all Americans against all Americans. What side are you on: Libtard? Deplorable? This war, like the one in the sixties, is also tearing American families and society apart. This time, however, there may be no reconciliation but more bloody retributions.

And so, it is


Nowadays. . .

Christmas. And the same songs are being played everywhere including my beloved ‘Little Drummer Boy.’

But I hear a different tune marked with a different drummer. This drum is not so much from a young child with a skin covered instrument that goes ‘rum-pum-pum-pum.’ I hear a more menacing, louder, martial drumbeat, like a machine gun: ‘rat-a-tat-tat.’ Like Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Silent Night,’ as the song continues, the softness fades and the drumbeat gets louder until it drowns out the singing as if marching off to war.

And a different newscast plays:


Come they told me
Pa rum pum pum pum

A new born king to see
Pa rum pum pum pum

Our finest gifts we bring
Pa rum pum pum pum

To lay before the king
Pa rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum

The jury in the first degree murder trial of twenty-one-year-old James A. Fields Jr. retired for deliberations yesterday in Charlottesville. The jury must agree on Field’s state of mind when he drove his car into a crowd of people, killing thirty-two-year-old Heather Heyer who joined hundreds in the streets protesting an ‘United the Right’ rally to defend Confederate statues in this Virginia city last year.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Nina-Alice Antony told jurors that before leaving his Ohio home for Virginia, Field’s mother told her son to be careful. He replied to her with a meme of Hitler, and a message saying, quote, “We’re not the ones who need to be careful.”

So to honor him
Pa rum pum pum pum
When we come

Pum pum pum pum
Pa rum pum pum
Pum pum pum pum

The New York Times reported Thursday that CBS paid more than $5 million in hush money to an employee who accused late 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt of repeated sexual assault and destroying her career. The new of the settlement comes on the heels of the firing of network CEO Les Moonves, who was forced out in September after being accused of receiving oral sex from multiple employees, including one woman who was ‘on-call’ to perform whenever he demanded. He has denied the claims.

Little baby
Pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too
Pa rum pum pum pum

I have no gift to bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give our king

The search continued Friday for the gunman who shot another man in the pedestrian tunnel between two busy Loop subway stations during afternoon rush hour, according to Chicago police. The victim, 27 years old, was hit twice Thursday evening and was stabilized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

One subway rider told the Tribune he had witnessed another shooting at the same station on the red line last year. He said, quote, “I was thinking what are the chances, the same stop, same time last year?” He went to say, quote, “It’s surprising in the middle of the work week in the loop… That’s crazy.”

Shall I play for you
Pa rum pum pum pum
Pa rum pum pum
Pum pum pum pum

Mary nodded
Pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time
Pa rum pum pum pum

The New York Times reported today that a 40-week pregnant woman was forced by the NYPD to deliver her baby in handcuffs last February at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Although doctors at the hospital warned police that restraints were illegal in New York and posed serious risks for a woman in labor, officers said their procedures required them to restrain her, superseding state law, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday.

The un-named woman then 27, struggled for nearly an hour in excruciating labor before the officers yielded, removing some of the restraints. She delivered the baby with her right hand still cuffed to the hospital bed.

I played my drum for him
Pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for him
Pa rum pum pum pum,

Last night in another Twitter tirade, President Trump again labeled the press ‘the enemy of the people.’ A few hours later, a bomb threat was called in to the New York offices of CNN, forcing an evacuation and interrupting a live broadcast. Although the caller said five devices had been planted, police found no explosive devices and staff were able to re-enter the building shortly before midnight.

CNN news reporter Don Lemon called the evacuation, quote, “the new normal,” and drew an explicit link to last October’s pipe bomb threat at the network, quote, “These are the times that we are living in.”

Then he smiled at me
Pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum
Me and my drum
Rum pum pum pum

(all of these news stories were taken from this morning’s editions of The NY Times, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune)

Merry Christmas.

Posted in black lives matter, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Christianity, Christmas, donald trump, holidays, mental health, New York City, radio, society | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s been real . . .

imagesI’m killing myself.

I know this. Slowly but deliberately killing myself.

I recently turned 56 and for the first time in my life I feel truly old.

And I talked to my shrink and told her that it took 40 years to figure out what the hell was wrong with me and why and how it happened but that my life was pretty much over so what was the point?

She suggested I continue to hold on to the vibrating hand cones (EMDR) and, well, just do it. She makes money that way.

No one gives a fuck about people my age or older in the US. Unless they’re rich or famous and I am not.

I used to be a journalist and in radio. When use the bathroom in my basement bar I see a front-page article I did on the Illinois State University marching band being invited to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I wrote the article and took the photo (back in the film day) for the Peoria Journal-Star.

Two weeks ago, I noticed the date on the newspaper was exactly 20 years ago that day. I looked at the writing and didn’t recognize it. I used to be that good? Really?

I’m surrounded by these memories of what I did and who I used to be. I should be proud of them but now it just seems like a room full of epitaphs and eulogies. A world lost.

It’s all over.

And no matter what I do, what I eat, what pills I take, how much I exercise, I am so. Damn. Tired. All. The. Time.

No_One_Cares_(Frank_Sinatra_album_-_cover_art)I have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Almost every night and weekends, I’m drinking, which I suppose is trying to turn my condition into alcoholic liver disease. And smoking cigars too – one a day on avehqdefaultrage.

I tell my doctors none of this. I don’t need the lectures.

I know exactly what I am doing.

One day I’ll be told I need a liver transplant.


But I am not going to get a liver transplant. Even if they didn’t figure out it was from the drinking, I wouldn’t want one anyway. Too much pain, too much money, no ROI.

What would be the point when life if pointless?

I’ve lost the ability to do much. I can’t do the work I want, I can’t find any energy and the inability to feel both mental and physical pleasure makes the rest of life seem vanilla at best.

I try to put up a good front to people but inside I think I’m alr128017-166688eady dead. Because hope died. Without hope there is nothing. And trying to replace those feelings I used to love with toys really doesn’t work.

And all the pills and therapy are not going to change that.

(OK, now It’s really going to turn dark and bitter)

They say that one of the reasons for the increased suicide rate for middle aged men is that men don’t seek help. That’s bullshit. Even if they did seek help, they find themselves sitting across from a usually much younger, more often than not, female therapist who can’t relate to them in any way. It just doesn’t matter.

I hate Donald Trump, Fox News and the GOP. I voted for Hillary. I think the mens’ rights movement is nuts. I hate Illinois Nazis – always have. I’ve been reliably pro-choice even though it meant a serious breach with my mother who was convinced I would go to Hell unless I changed my mind. It’s another reason I can never go back to Catholicism. I’ve bent over backwards to look, listen and learn.

I tried.

I went to a tolerant liberal church where I was accused of spouting white privilege by some snot-nosed punk. To this day I don’t know how.

I worked for a local mental health advocacy group where I was accused of committing a microaggression in telling the story about the SWAT raid on my house because of my illness. Frank Sinatra could do it ‘his way’ I guess I can’t.

So I am done begging to be relevant in progressive causes. It doesn’t mean shit because. . .  we’re old white men. We’re not hot, we’re not hip, we’re not intersectional, we’re not relevant and we’ve done far more harm than good, society says. We’re the bad guys. We’re supposed to disappear — do everyone a favor and die. So we will and do.

Especially those of us who have mental illness and can’t let shit roll off our backs.

So please stop with the concern-trolling articles and the statistics and the pretend caring about suicide. We’re dying for reasons no one really cares about. We’re outdated machinery, unneeded, vanguard of the Patriarchy, incredibly lonely, and even us progressive guys are shunned because: ewww — old guys!

I won’t really be missed and I no longer care.

If you need me for anything, I’ll be in my ‘man cave’ next to the no longer used podcasting mics and mixers and video production equipment; pickling my liver with Scotch, my lungs with cigars and watching You Tube videos of a world I used to know when I was much younger – one I recognize.

And waiting.


 Say a prayer for the Pretender.
Who started out so young and strong
Only to surrender.


Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, bullshit, Catholicism, death, depression, EMDR, existential dread, Frank Sinatra, mental health, middle age, self-harm, social anxiety, Social Media, society, stigma, suicide | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Unbearable Heaviness of Meeting

I’ve been busy at work lately.

I get home and I collapse.

The work is actually ‘good’ work – going out, interviewing, taking photos, getting my stuff on Facebook.

Good times, right?

Not quite.

Today we had a group of young ladies from a college in Tennessee who were here for a NCAA Division II women’s soccer tournament. What Division II teams do when they come together for these championship series is a lot of community work. Some give soccer clinics to disadvantaged youth, some visit kids in hospitals or do local clean-up work.

And some come to VA hospitals like ours to talk to the Veteran and give out ‘challenge coins’ – large, beautiful coins that signify the unit or team of the giver – something the receiver can remember them by. Some people have many, many of these coins they have collected in military or government service. I have a few.

Anyway, they arrived here and I landed up taking four of these young ladies into one of our wards where they got to meet some of our most interesting Veterans (World War II Vets – I didn’t even know they would be where we were going) and got to give them the coins and talk to them.

It was beautiful all around – the soccer players really made these guys’ day and I know the young women got a lot out it.

I did some interviews, snapped photos, got releases signed and then took the four women back to the rec hall where they met the others in their group.

I went back to the office and promptly collapsed.

Why?! This was good! The whole effort will produce a great feel-good Facebook entry.

Then I realized what was happening.

downloadI had just been surrounded by a large group of people I did not know and through sheer coincidence landed up escorting them down hallways of Veterans’ rooms helping them look for people to talk with. Which is awkward because I don’t know these Veterans and I don’t know the staff on these wards. You see, I don’t get around much.

I don’t normally like wandering the corridors anyway – the nurses tend to wonder what I’m doing there (they don’t know me until they see the badge) and in our ceramics lab where we met the World War II Vets, I was challenged by a volunteer for taking photos (and rightly so) until she saw my badge.

This. All. Makes. Me. Nervous. Yes, it’s damn weird for a public affairs specialist to step way outside his comfort zone by just doing his fucking job.

But that’s me. And I sat with my head in my hands at my desk, trying to recover so I could be useful the rest of the day. And I hated feeling this way because I didn’t used to need to decompress after meeting unfamiliar people. And, of course, I was disgusted with myself for feeling this way.

It was then I realized that, at this point, this job, this place, was all I was ever going to be able to handle. Going from here to a higher speed PR job would solve the ‘institutional bad memories’ problem I have but it would NOT solve the willies I get being around unfamiliar people, especially in groups. My worries are always the same – I’ll make an embarrassing mistake and/or say or do something that will get me in trouble or appear not to know what I’m doing and not be taken seriously.

In reality, these are the opportunities I should take to push myself out of my comfort zone. But after being here eight years, if it hasn’t happened by now, it probably isn’t going to.

The best I can do is slap on a happy face and push myself through and pray I don’t do anything stupid.

And then go home and collapse in bed by 8.

Posted in anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, self care, social anxiety, work | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

So I Changed the Name – why?


Because the whole idea of avoiding showers, while novel, seems to imply that we all would smell. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve disliked the name and what it may imply.

This might sound like I gave this a lot of thought. I didn’t. Like most decisions I make (and many people with Borderline do), the amount of time from conception to realization was about 15 minutes, tops.

But why this?

I tried writing another piece for ‘The Mighty’ and it was rejected. I have another piece that’s been sitting in the queue for months that will never see the light of day. Over at TM, which will be my shorthand for the place, they seem to be more rigidly following the orthodoxy of mental health sites that one should always offer hope and practical advice.

They also seem to be leaning less on submitted stories and more on a ‘Facebook’ type of interface that will generate more hits and conversation and less actual time spent reading.

Well, who the Hell reads anymore, right?

From now on, I’m not writing to please the publishers. I’m writing to please me. Writing is hard enough for me as it is.

Aside from TM, every single site I’ve ever joined has featured an inordinate amount of opinion policing as to what should be done by people in terms of therapy, medication, meditation and positive outlook.

And you know what? I’ve been through it all and in every case it seems to me that the object is not one of helping the person with the condition but controlling the person for the benefit of society, book sellers or drug peddlers.

I’ve been on sites, in groups, joining organizations and in therapy for over 35 years and I’m here to tell you – I’m done. I’m tired of being preached to, guilt-tripped and judged by everyone. I didn’t ask for it, don’t need it and have grown absolutely rage-y over being expected to police my thoughts, words and actions so as to make people comfortable around me.

Fuck that. From now on, I’m in the only self-help group I’ve ever needed or wanted – me.

What should you do to be a good little afflicted boy or girl, eh? Take your meds, go to therapy, practice meditation, don’t be a bother to others, and more importantly, never give up.

And if you do give up, for God’s sake’s don’t tell anyone! You’ll be accused of all kinds of crimes including allowing people with conditions to stop apologizing for wanting to be left alone and respected as human beings. How the Hell is NAMI supposed to justify it’s executive salaries if people find they don’t need all the crutches so helpfully supplied to us?

My idea is, if you need a crutch, find one comfortable for you and to Hell with what anyone else thinks.

That’s why I changed the name. I am a firm believer in the ‘whatever works for you’ school of self-help. For me, it’s avoiding people, good booze, cigars and cynicism. And Sinatra, who was probably Borderline himself judging by the public record.

95a0ad1c4b18054645c82a9b379303bcIn the end, being self-indulgent has been, literally, the only medication that I’ve ever found is an effective way of beating, at least for awhile, the monsters that took up residence in my head during late childhood.

Let me put out a few reasons I’m now preaching the gospel of self-indulgence:

  1. The list of things that will kill you is long and detailed. In essence, we all generally pick some kind of poison in the form of a vice. We’re all only human after all. And no one gets out of this world alive.
  2. Judgmentalism keeps us in line. Trying to conform to someone else’s idea of advocacy, treatment or lifestyle is a sure path to self-hatred.
  3. Looking at the latest climate assessments and the state of the world in general, we’re doomed anyway. I have no real desire to be fit, clean and sober to help rule over a wrecked world. You can have that shit. I’ve seen the future and it blows chunks, quite frankly. I always hated people who ‘lived for the day.’ Now I get it.
  4. Nobody is ever going to give a shit about you quite as much as yourself.
  5. Living well really is the best revenge.

So however you get over in this mad world, neither I nor this blog will judge you. If it feels good (and doesn’t fuck over the innocent), do it.

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m off to dye my hair purple.

Posted in advice, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Facebook, feeling good, Frank Sinatra, getting old, Social Media, stigma, The Mighty | Tagged , | Leave a comment

EMDR: The Last Frontier

Now what?

Monday at 5 p.m. I will meet psychologist number 33.

Note: I had to kick the total up after committing myself to recalling every therapist I have seen in Pittsburgh. The final number, eight, surprised me. Eight in eight years. Some for only a few weeks. Christ am I fucked up or what?

So, I had to revise the total number upwards by two. That’s 33 going back to when I was 14 in 1976.

Morning music memory: I was dreaming that I was looking up the lyrics to Meatloaf’s ‘Two out of Three ain’t Bad.’ No idea why. The song was still playing in my head when I woke up.


Pushing 60. Wonder what she looks like today?

Listening to a mix of 80s songs on You Tube at work and A Flock of Seagull’s ‘Space Age Love Song’ came on. I had never seen the video before – it seems to be set in a Target store. I reflected that the model in the video is pushing 60 and I felt old, as usual. The song also brings back bitter memories of the first girl I ever really fell hard for and the only one I dated from Cleveland State (other than my first wife). She came from a huge Irish Catholic family in Cleveland. She broke up with me because (1) her ‘other boyfriend’ knew all the priests and I only knew all the journalists (for God’s sakes I was working at The Cleveland Press at 19! Didn’t that count as a cool job?) and (2) she was seriously thinking about joining a convent. She lied on number two.

She later married and worked for the Post Office. But when she broke up with me I was crushed beyond belief. That song always brings the feels back.

“For a little while, I was falling in love. . .”


I always tell people that meeting a new therapist is like being a kid on Christmas morning and going downstairs to unwrap the presents. Your kind of anxious to see what you got or are getting.

The therapist is a woman. All but two have been. Why? I’m more comfortable revealing myself to a woman and generally I feel I can act like an ass around them when I need to without being judged too harshly. I think they find me fascinating – like an entomologist looking at a curious insect in a microscope.

The only bad thing about the first session is that nothing really gets done. You barely scratch the surface in an hour and with almost half a century of issues to unpack, a kind of desperation sets in: you want to get through all of that but concisely. I want the therapist to understand just how fucked up I am and why, when I act like an ass, I have a reason for doing so.

Not an excuse, an explanation.


In theory, this is how it’s supposed to work

In any case, therapist number 32 wants me to see her since she’s trained in EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy.

A brief definition (from Psychology Today): EMDR is a unique, nontraditional form of psychotherapy designed to diminish negative feelings associated with memories of traumatic events. Unlike most forms of talk therapy, EMDR focuses less on the traumatic event itself and more on the disturbing emotions and symptoms that result from the event. Treatment includes a hand motion technique used by the therapist to guide the client’s eye movements from side to side, similar to watching a pendulum swing. EMDR is a controversial intervention, because it is unclear exactly how it works, with some psychologists claiming it does not work. Some studies have shown, however, that EMDR is effective for treating certain mental-health conditions.

I have previously written that the current therapist would be the last as I have concluded that after 32 therapists/psychiatrists over 40 years that I am completely beyond the reach of therapy. But number 32 really wants me to try EMDR. Actually, this is kind of like a ‘Hail Mary pass’ in the last seconds of a football game. I thought that if I don’t at least try this method, I would always wonder if it would have worked. So, I’m trying to keep an open mind.

Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, counseling, EMDR, psychoanalysis, PTSD, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

The Borderline Song

I think that Borderline PD deserves it’s own song. And it should be something Sinatra would sing – from the Great American Songbook. For those of you who may be a little young, the songbook encompasses most of the music from the big band, Broadway and Hollywood musical era starting around 1936 and running through the mid-1960s. Ask your grandparents.

Anyway, it was one of those inspirations I had after another Borderline-type disaster yesterday. Without getting into the bloody details, by the end of the episode, I found myself where I started out – pretty much alone without a tribe to call my own. And I guess, after all these years, I should get it into my head that I have no ‘tribe.’ I never fit in anywhere and it’s clear now I never will.

After all, I spent most of my formative years in an 12 X 14 bedroom including long summers where I learned to entertain myself with books, doodling, radio and my black and white TV. And somehow, even though I felt lonely sometimes and exhibited shyness around people, I was fairly happy.

And it seems that in my adulthood I have finally created a replacement for my long lost bedroom in my basement. Most people when they look at it, immediately think it’s a ‘man cave.’ But it’s far more than that. The memorabilia in the room (and over the bar) are the things that have made up my life. I have a lot of old stuff – things that remind me of my youth and even before. It wanted it to have a certain rough charm – a mashup of 1960 meets the late 70s with some nifty modern sound and vision.

I like old stuff now. And now that I’m old stuff, I need to learn how to love myself and, more importantly, be friends with myself since the odds of me making any friends at this point are roughly the same as drawing to an inside straight.

So, the song.

One of my favorite Frank Sinatra albums is the Grammy-winning LP ‘The September of my Years.’ I could listen to it all day. The songs are written from the retrospective of a man heading for late middle-age who suddenly realizes it and decides to push the rat race aside and slow down to appreciate the beauty of life. The song ‘This is All I Ask’ is a perfect representation of that.

But many of the songs are wistful memories of what was (‘It Was A Very Good Year”) and hopeful ballads of the future (‘The Man in the Looking Glass.’) And I guess if one was to write a song about BPD in saloon singer style, a certain amount of honest self-reflection is needed. No need to make up excuses or explanations – just tell it like it is.

So when you sing a song in that style, it’s a confessional to the listener: this is who I am, for better or worse, and I’m OK with that.

The lyrics aren’t perfect and could use some professional polishing. And of course, I need a melody and an arranger. But many of the great songs started with lyrics first. Not that this would ever be made into an actual song. There’s certain song hooks and melody strings that I hummed as I wrote it so there’s that. After all, Jackie Gleason composed a whole storehouse of music without being able to read music.

So here it is:

I still say hello
And how are you today
But then I best be on my way
Because I know, that if I try to make a friend
I will eventually offend
It will come to a bad end
It’s better to be alone

Moodiness is one of my charms
Friendships slip right through my arms
But to be perfectly honest
I’ll drive you away, someday
And I know
Even though I hate to admit it
This world, I have no place in it
It’s better to be alone

There’s a condition I have had
That makes me rather bad
You can count on me to say
The wrong word some day
And then I’ll go away
Mad . . .

Sometimes I still pine
For the friends I left behind
But I know that all friends
Leave me
In the end
It’s not them
It’s really me
Guess I’ll leave no posterity
It’s better for me,
To be alone

I try to be civil with coworkers I can trust
So when trouble comes they don’t throw me under the bus
But being careful is no substitute (for being astute)
It’s better being alone

I’ve got to face the facts
I’m condemned for my bad acts,
My deeds are well known
So I sit and stare at the phone
Knowing, in my heart (even though it’s torn apart)
It’s better to be alone

Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, getting old, good memories, loneliness, mental health, middle age, mood swings, Poetry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment