When my crew and I finally got to Atlantic City, via some of the most bizarre sights to be seen in the US (you can see this on the first half of the show), we hunted him down at the beauty contest in Atlantic City. There we watched him charm his people telling them dirty jokes. One is about someone who went to the toilet and didn't wash his hands. I forget the punch line. I spent a lot of time with Roger Stone discussing how he gets his hair that way.
I was always curious what the effects of a long silent retreat would be? Would I be enlightened? Would I have a nervous breakdown? You have both experiences but they alternate minute by minute. Just when you think you've reached Buddhahood because your mind is clear, the familiar negative thoughts smash in and shoot you down; reminding you what a jerk you are.
Part of my illness (a trigger) is when I hear I'm going to meet someone like Matt and I immediately want to look up which one of us sold more books. I have learned to hold back because if it's him, I know I'm going to get that jolt in the stomach that signifies envy and if I accumulate a lot of them, I can tip into the foothills of madness.
I had the first walk-in session last week at the Arts Theatre and it was a hit - if a walk-in session can be a hit. People came in in all sizes; young, old, straight, gay, all nations represented. It's pretty clear everyone wants and needs to talk, just to feel heard and understood by compassionate people who feel the same.
An enormous benefit of mindfulness is that you get a free ticket to that rare destination: the present. Okay, I hear you say, 'What's so great about being in the present moment? What if I don't want to stare at a butterfly wing or hear the single ting of a windchime? I have places to go, people to meet.'
At New Year's Eve I'm already writing my epitaph. While everyone around me is popping balloons, I'm thinking I'm one year closer to my end and at that point usually start looking for a handy Xanax. If someone says they don't think about it, they're lying - otherwise we'd have no fear and all fear stems from the sense that our survival is threatened.
I would love to be able to write how joyous I am that Christmas is around the corner but I'd be lying. I feel like I'm falling down the rabbit hole. I had this depression exactly at this time of year last year (after a gap of seven years). I think my mind is recalling what happened a year ago which triggered me into a mental whirlwind of despair...
The research into Alzheimer's and dementia is one of the most prevalent problems of this decade and these are brain diseases so why should depression or bi-polar be any different? If the government don't put funds for mental health in this budget at the end of November, it won't happen for a long time and the suffering and lack of help will continue.