What’s Wrong With My Life (and What Am I Going to Do About It) ?

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So less than a week into this year to save my life I stop to consider what exactly is wrong with my life. What could lead a man who has been so richly blessed, who has so much to live for, who is so often inundated with expressions of love and support from such a large number of incredible people, what leads a guy like that to a place where he (I) would wonder whether it’s even worth it to go forward at all? Of course one possible (and possibly reductive) answer is that I’m depressed. There’s probably not a mental healthcare professional in These United States who, if I sat down and answered some simple questionnaire honestly would not whip out the prescription pad and suggest we start experiment with dumping any of hundreds of FDA approved chemicals into my body to see if we can’t get me to “feeling better.” I’m not going to do that. No judgments if that’s something that works for you but trust me, I have tried that route many times before. Not to mention I have worked in two different psychiatric hospitals and quite frankly, I just don’t trust that industry. I chose the word “industry” judiciously and purposefully. I won’t go further into that whole bit right now but suffice it to say that when it comes to psychotropic drugs, a lot of it sounds like the pharmacological version of throwing pasta against the wall to see if it sticks. I’ve run quite enough chemicals through this body thank you and I’m determined to find a better way to resolve this emotional and psychological pain. I don’t want to just “feel better.” I’ve been feeling pretty bad lately. And I feel fine. Or rather I feel as I am supposed to feel based on the situation in which I find myself. I’ve been suicidal many times in my life. Once was for several months when I got back from Iraq. I felt so hurt and so angry and so betrayed that I felt sure I would never feel good again. In fact, in my experience, that is one of the great hallmarks of depression. When I feel that low, it always seems impossible that I’ll ever feel better, no matter what I tell myself. It was from that place of extreme discomfort that I finally got into action. Took steps (through unfathomable amounts of fear) to get out of the dark place I was in. In the immediate post-war period of my life, the “action” was developing (with the tough-as-nails and loving help of director Yuval Hadadi) my Iraq War journals into The Eyes of Babylon and if I never accomplish another thing artistically or professionally, I will die believing that, in my own small way, I made a difference in the world with that play and with the subsequent movie about it. It’s time for me to get into action again. It’s time for my next Eyes of Babylon. I have half a dozen “almost” finished plays and movies in this laptop. I get near the end and I start to work on something else. The afore-mentioned fear grips me and I refrain from finishing and launching the next project. Instead I get busy acting out on a myriad of self-medicating behaviors and “dealing” with life’s problems with the same limiting patterns (“character defects” in the twelve-step language) that have kept me miserable for years. That has to stop. It has to stop now. If nothing else, it’s selfish. There are others suffering in this world, many suffering in much more horrible ways than I am. Not to diminish my own suffering but to honoring it in a different way. Here’s one of life’s great paradoxes for me: the best way I have ever found to alleviate my own suffering is to help others with theirs. The best way I have at my disposal to help others (and myself) is through my art. It’s my connection to The Divine even at its most debased.

I’ve got to get busy churning out the art. For that to happen, some other shit has got to go.
Tomorrow I’ll wrap it up with what happened with Sonny.


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