Thursday, April 9, 2009

The highs and the lows

About five years ago I watched "Hero" and thought "hmph. Whatever." It did not move me. I didn't get the point. My friend Michele was stunned by my reaction.

I was on ten milligrams of Lexipro at the time and it controlled my panic attacks. It also dulled all of my emotions.

This is going to ramble a bit...(a lot) but bear with me, there is a point... I think.

Weeks ago.

I have just given a sigh of relief, watching TV on the couch with Wendy.
Wendy turns to me "You look content."
"I feel normal. And it is wonderful."

I know what normal is. I used to feel it all the time before my massive brain altering panic attack about five years ago. Then I was put on medication, which saved me. It was great. Miracle drug. But with side effects. Like ballooning up 40 lbs and no longer enjoying anything beyond a superficial emotion.

I rewatched "Hero" recently and cried.

I've cried a lot this week and I'm not sad. I'm glad. Movies move me. Experiences with Wendy move me. Life moves me.

This is the effect of not being on drugs.

The highs of my brain these days are incredible. I can't stop writing. Everything I watch is amazing. Life is more full. I can't sleep because I lie in bed composing notes like this or translating everything I think into Spanish. This is why I am writing this now. I cannot keep my eyes open but I MUST write this. Typing takes all my effort but I have to continue. I cannot rest until I get this out.

I used to smoke a lot of marijuana in college. Food tasted amazing. Crappy movies were brilliant. I think my friends and I watched the same crappy 80's musical like 97 times and each and every time it was a masterpiece. I don't smoke anymore and haven't for decades. Movies are like that all the time now and it is wonderful. No drugs.

We are watching "Before Sunrise" last night and I say to Wendy - "Did you see that?"

"No. What?"

"They were just talking about how he was walking with his girlfriend and two guys said "nice ass" and he let it go. But his girlfriend responded with "Fuck you asshole." And as he said, she's not going to get her ass kicked, now it's on his shoulders."

"Watch the two guys on the bench."

So, the next scene he is walking and talking with her and two guys are sitting on a park bench and watch them go by. They keep looking at her. I keep waiting for something to happen from them, but it doesn't.

Fantastic directing that makes you think you see foreshadowing, but it is an illusion.

There is another scene where she is talking about a sad time in her life and he raises his hand to touch her hair, to comfort her, but her hand comes up at the same time to brush her hair back and he stops. Removes his hand. You can see the hesitation/frustration/regret/fuck I don't even know the right word to describe the emotion on his face.

How do you direct a scene like that? How do you explain to the actors you want him to comfort her and at the exact same moment she has to raise her hand and look away and not realize he was reaching to her?

I notice all of those things in every movie we watch and I love it.

Every night Wendy and I will pause a movie and just sit and talk for thirty minutes to an hour. I explain this to my mom.

My mom : "Do you realize how lucky you are?"
Me : "I do. I realize it every day."

There is more. All of them highs. My life is amazing, but my eyes are closing and I need to finish this or I won't be able to sleep.

The lows -

I fell asleep in the street last week. Twice. Not in the park, not on a bench, but walking home. I fell asleep on the sidewalk. Twice. Not in a corner, not on a bench, the sidewalk. The middle of the sidewalk.

This post has since been modified to remove embarrassing things. I found out my lack of sleep was causing dementia. I found a wonderful doctor who prescribed some meds (not sleeping pills) that allowed me to have deep, crazy REM sleep and it solved the problem.


  1. Do you think you might have sleep apnea? I have similar symptoms and have thought about doing a sleep study. When you stop breathing you wake up, that happens to me a lot too :(

  2. Does Spain have free medical care? Have you had a CAT scan lately? This does not sound good man, I hope you can get this fixed. I have had my share of medical issues and I know the truth of the saying "if you don't have your health, you don't have anything".

  3. well, alcohol is full of calories so your caloric intake is probably higher than you think.....

  4. James, please see a doctor. I don't believe this is anxiety alone--I just don't. I agree with the person who suggested a CT scan--and they should give you blood tests too. A sleep study is a great idea. I think they've always missed something like they did with John. It's just easier for them to call everything "anxiety". Please just go get checked. Please.

  5. Yeah, what they said. Seriously, my friend, get this checked out. This is not normal.

  6. Jamie,

    You do sound like a bit of a mess. Get a doctor to check you out. I don't want you to coughing up a hairball.