Warrior “Monk”

Anyone remember this show? Tony Shalhoub played this dude named Adrian Monk who suffers from severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and an endless list of phobias. He was afraid of everything. Even milk for some reason. Don’t know if they covered the reason why. Maybe it was just a running gag. Despite all this he was a genius detective. He had this attention to detail all the other cops on the show lacked. He was always able to find the clues, piece them together, and finally catch the bad guys. He managed to do all of this despite of the OCD or whatever phobia of the week he had to face head on. He was always being forced into situation that challenged him and he had to seriously nut up and endure.

When my anxiety and depression act up I keep thinking that I’ve suddenly turned into Monk. And I mean that in a negative light. Monk was always driving people up the wall with his fears and obsessive compulsion. Even his therapists had trouble dealing with him sometimes and could only handle him in small doses. I feel like Monk in situations where I feel like I get triggered by stupid shit like the ones I’ve mentioned before, I have difficulties doing what normal people have no problems with at all, and sometimes driving people insane with my issues, be it family or friends.

I shared this with my counselor in a previous session. I vented out my frustrations about it and he was understanding. But then he asked me this, “Why exactly would that be a bad thing?” I thought I had already answered that while I was ranting about it.

Just like when he brought up the analogy on the mind as a muscle something about the Monk analogy I made with him is sticking with me. This was last week and now I’m beginning to seriously think about it and I have all these thoughts about it.

Even though Monk had numerous phobias that would obstruct him he accomplished so many things that I would’ve considered impossible if I were him. He did have friends, good friends. Yeah, he drove them crazy sometimes but they accepted him as he was. Monk’s OCD allowed him to pay better attention to things and made him an excellent detective, it didn’t have to be a bad thing for him. Monk had a wonderful wife in Trudy who loved him just as he was. Monk worked tirelessly for years searching for clues to solve Trudy’s murder and when he did Monk still had his happy ending. He found out that Trudy had a daughter before marrying him and was able to meet her in the very last episode.

Here’s a crazy theory. What if instead of fighting my “Monk-ish” side, I embrace it? I bitch and moan about how I feel like a freak sometimes and unable to be normal like everybody else. But then there’s a part of me that says, “Fuck normal”. BTW I totally have a t-shirt that reads, “Normal People Scare Me”. I saw it on the first episode of American Horror Story and I thought, “Oh yes! It will be mine!” I even got it in purple. Trying to fit in with the mundane crowd is so exhausting and utterly pointless. Nothing about me has ever been “normal”. There are days where I don’t even feel like I live a “quasi-normal” existence.

I come from a Venezuelan family and I grew up as the pet gringo. I refused to speak the language and I barely ate any of the food. I’m still not a fan of some of the food. It’s only interesting and exotic for people who never had to grow up in a Spanish-speaking household and be forced to smell and eat it at every occasion; holidays, birthdays, family gatherings, baby showers, etc. I’m the least tanned in my family too and I see no point in it. I don’t see the appeal in sizzling in the sun and getting cooked like a rotisserie chicken. I mean look at Trump’s complexion. It’s not doing him favors. But then again his skin tone is more what I call “Dorito Raped”.

I’m gay and I am willing embrace only so many cliches. I’m probably the only gay guy who doesn’t give a single, solitary fuck about Rupaul’s Drag Race, quote “Mean Girls”, or own a single Madonna album. Oh I am not gifted with song and dance either. Take one good look at me and you can clearly see that I’m not a gym rat either.

I live in my own world. I find more comfort in the story worlds and characters I create, in WWE, video games, anime, films, cooking, and imagination. I cope with reality through the use of my imagination. I see myself as a warrior, I see my skills as powers that I naturally possess, I see my challenges as monsters that I have to fight and take down. It’s an unorthodox way to deal with stuff, but we all have our ways to cope. I could be coping in ways that are self-destructive with drug habits or self-mutilation or God knows what else. I see what people don’t see or never want to see out of fear, conformity, or sheer laziness. That’s a quote from the movie Patch Adams by the way, when Patch spoke with Arthur Mendelson at the mental institution.

I suffer from depression and anxiety. But there has been some good that comes from it. It’s attributed to my imagination and wicked sense of humor. God only knows that if my entire life was nothing but sugar and rainbows then I’d have absolutely nothing to write about. It’s made me stronger, a lot stronger than I was eight years ago when I wanted to kill myself. It’s made me realize how much I want certain things. And when I say “I want” I mean it in the same way people feel intense hunger. Its helped make me into the person that I am today. Its always made me have to take a good look at myself in the most honest way possible. Whenever I get lost I always take a trip back to me. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s always been instrumental in getting back to the right path.

I’m a warrior in my own right. I fight one battle after another within my mind. I’m a neurotic mess. I’m not normal and I’m tired of trying to be when it’s never been in the cards for me. I feel things more intensely than others, I know things they don’t have any clue of, I can do things that other can’t, and get labeled a “freak” for all of it when I find that to be a lot more preferable than being boring and fake.

If being a “freak” is what separates me from everybody else then I will proudly wave my freak flag. I will happily accept who I am and live with whatever consequences come with it. Because if I act otherwise then I’ll never be able to make peace with myself and not have the true happiness that I’ve been seeking. So I embrace my identity as a Warrior “Monk”.

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The Mind as a Muscle

So let’s recap on my last few days. I was feeling good about the exams I took last week. I got my results on the math exam the next day. I did good! I did really good! After that exam day I felt so good. My entire weekend was a huge happy high. I treated myself to a Wild Bill Burger at Macado’s. It was my first time eating there. Not a bad place, my only complaint is that the table I sat at was sticky. I went back to the apartment and cooked up something real nice and tasty. I binged the new season of Orange is the New Black (loved this new season btw!) and played the hell out of more Persona 5 (turns out it’s not completely out my system). It was the first time I felt happiness with no strings attached. And I was able to sleep in till 9:00 and it was fucking amazing!

But then….

Monday came. I woke up way too early. I woke up at maybe 4 or 5:00 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. I felt very meh. I had this feeling of impending doom hanging over my head. At first I figured it was just the usual blahs that you get from Mondays being Mondays. But then I got the exam score for my other class. It wasn’t so good. I forgot my math homework for that day too. Mercifully the law professor was very understanding on why people didn’t do so good on the first test. He even offered to “discount” that low grade. The catch is that I have to do better the next time. The same is true for everybody else in that class. I have a good feeling of where I went wrong. I know what to expect for next time. My math teacher is very cool. She said it was okay to turn in everything a day late. And I did. One of the assignments was to take the picture of someone who we find to be beautiful and take measurements to see if it’s close to Phi.

I chose Finn Balor’s face btw. My favorite superstar in the WWE. He has the face of a Hollywood movie star, the body of an underwear model, and he has a nerdy side…

Celebrity Sightings in New York City - August 22, 2016

I mean look at this gorgeous man! Look at him!! He’s this good looking, he’s nice, he’s strong, and he loves playing with legos on top of other nerdy stuff! Do you realize how fucking rare that is?! He’s a fucking unicorn!!

I even added “My Future Husband” on the assignment. I had to show some restraint from saying, “My Irish Unicorn.” “My Finnamon Bun”. “My Little Sweet Ass.” I held back…*pats himself on back* And the teacher liked him. Of course she didn’t know what the WWE is. This was earlier today. Back to what happened on Monday.

I felt bothered by the low score on the other exam. I had to stop myself from getting lost in depressing thought. That feeling of impending doom kept hanging over me the whole day. So when I got back from classes I hit the kitchen and spent two hours cooking and making a bento lunch and dinner for the night. I treated myself to my favorite sorbet too.

Then I opened up my student email. Remember that one entry where I had to deal with crap like opening up my student email, re-register for classes, and deal with the early intervention team? Fighting my personal Babadook? Yeah, the same thing happened again. I saw that I had outstanding requirements for my financial aid. I knew it was because of how bad I did in the spring semester. At this point that impending doom was trying to take over. I’m fighting the negativity in me. I’m doing the best I can to neutralize thoughts and feelings before I get dragged down to the dark place that I’ve been trying to get out from. I felt like I was playing mental dodgeball. My mind was racing a million miles a second. Everything in my mind felt it was becoming warped and sounded like gibberish. I wrote things down. I listed out what was going through my mind. I wanted to make sense of it.

As I wrote it all down, I kept feeling this sort of impact. The feeling of letting things out, purging it on paper actually hurt. Then I remembered cognitive behavior therapy. I was able to identify the cognitive distortions. I was able to calm myself down. I was bothered by all of it. So I opted to talk about it in today’s session.

Something that my counselor said is sticking with me. I explained to him everything that happened. I elaborated that impending doom feeling is the same feelingI would get during the spring semester. Feeling like everything was beginning to fall apart, can’t be made better again, and how I felt like dying every time. And then he said something like this…

“The part of your brain that thinks about suicide is like a muscle. Even though you haven’t been using that muscle for a while it’s not usual to feel it act up. Feel like it has power over you. Think of it like a bad habit that’s hard to quit, like smoking. You will have your slips.”

And now that I’ve had time to fully process what he said I realize that the other part of myself, the other me that wants to fight this and make everything better again, that old self that I keep wanting to return to must also be like a muscle as well. The only difference is that it’s been atrophied. It’s out of shape. Even though things are in a positive direction I feel like that ‘mind muscle’ isn’t at full strength. Plus that negative mantra, “I’m not allowed to be happy”, wasn’t doing me favors either. But now that I see things in this way I have a very good idea of what to do next and how to think. Now that I know this I feel like I have the upper hand. And plus this does coincide with a previous revelation, I never lost my power. I never lost my old self. It’s just waiting to be tapped into and be released. Now I’m back in control. I’m ready to do whatever is necessary.

Oh yeah and that financial aid thing. I worked up the nerve after the session. I told my counselor that I’d jump right into it and quipped, “If some creature bursts out from the screen and eats my face off then oh well.” I did it. I have some extra paper work to fill out and give to the office. I’ve already got it printed out. So that ends that nightmare.

Now I need to get back to studying. Wish me luck dearest readers because nothing is going to stand in my way again. So I’m gonna conclude with this…

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