Mental Health, Books, and Sons of Anarchy…oh my

The past few weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster for me.  I’ve definitely fallen into the two steps forward, two steps back routine.  As frustrating as that has been I try to look at the silver lining and realize that being at a net zero is better than being in the negative.  Also, even if I do regress I’ve had the experience to feel what those two steps forward felt like, even if for a short while.  My OCD has been improving since I’ve returned from the mountains, but my overall anxiety has increased to fill the void.

I had been taking guitar lessons to help as a form of music therapy, as well as the fact that I love music and have always wanted to learn to play the guitar.  Unfortunately, the guitar is the most anti-ergonomic thing I’ve ever had in my hands.  This wonderful instrument that has given so much to the world is a torture device to the beginner.  However, I knew going in that practice, practice, practice would be the key to removing the awkwardness and developing the natural feel of the instrument.  Well…at the end of last week, while I was practicing, I had a panic attack.  Practice wasn’t going well as I kept making errors and then BAM!  I just folded, shaking and heart racing, chest tightening, and my breath disappeared.  And this my friends is how anxiety leads to depression…while performing “therapy” I have a panic attack.  That is depressing!  I know, I know, “Woe is me”, but hey, it doesn’t make it any less sucky.  The good news is that I haven’t given up on guitar, not at all, but I’ve stopped with instructor led lessons and am now using video tutorials, apps, etc.  I believe that the accountability of having a real-life human as an instructor led me down the rabbit hole of fear that I would disappoint them.  Now, was all of this emotion driven, irrational, and not based on reality?  Absolutely!  Did this logically make sense in my mind?  Nope!  Welcome to anxiety…the land where logic is asked to wait outside while emotion runs free.

While the guitar experience hasn’t turned out as planned, I have been able to enjoy a few books and finish up my latest TV watching binge.  I had never read a David Baldacci book before but came across one that had this very intriguing story line about a detective who had suffered a brain injury and was unable to forget anything.  This book appropriately titled “Memory Man” was an easy read but had enough twists and turns to make it hard to put down.  I found out about the book from seeing its sequel that had just came out, titled “The Last Mile” which is where I first learned of the character referenced above, Amos Decker.  So, I picked up the paperback of “Memory Man” and downloaded “The Last Mile” the day after finishing the first book.  The stories are well done and I truly enjoyed the Amos Decker character.

I also read a nonfiction book, “Jesus Before The Gospels“, from one of my favorite authors Bart D. Ehrman.  Since Ehrman is a New Testament scholar, his books are fascinating because he looks at Christianity through a historical-critical perspective which provides context and intellectualism which is absent in many of the books written about this topic.  This book in particular investigates the question of how the story of Jesus was shaped and, most importantly, remembered in a mostly non-literate society and how those forces impacted what we are presented with today.  This is one of those books that doesn’t require you to be a believer or not, there is no doubt of Christianity’s role in the world, especially here in western society.  Understanding the what, why, and how we have ended up with our current stories makes for an interesting read.  Also, as stated above, Ehrman is one of my favorite authors and I highly recommend his other books as well.

I also finished the seventh, and final, season of “Sons Of Anarchy“.  I’ll have to admit, this was the third time I tried to watch this series with the first two times not making it past the first couple of episodes.  At first it seemed very cheesy to me, but after a friend guaranteed me that if I watched a few more episodes I’d be hooked, I kept on.  They were exactly right, after I made it through a couple more episodes I was sucked into the world of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club and all the action, drama, and suspense that went along with it.  I’m very glad I listened to my friend because it was well worth the ride (no pun intended).  The show does a great job at developing the core characters and continues to find ways to make you want to punch your TV and/or have your heartstrings pulled as the story progresses.  Quite often I was amazed at how angry, sad, and happy I could be…all in one episode.  While I think the show probably would have been better served by not dragging certain pieces out for a 7th season, it is still a tremendous show that I highly recommend.  Just remember, don’t give up if you’re not hooked after the first couple of episodes…give it a couple more and I think you’ll be glad you did.

One last note, you may have noticed that there is a new page on the blog, “Music“.  Though I’m still learning to play the guitar, I have been creating music electronically for a while now.  I’ve added this page to provide an avenue for me to post those songs.  You can listen to them directly from the page and I will continue adding songs as I create them.

As always, I’d love to hear your comments/feedback.  Also, I’m always looking for ideas regarding TV shows to check out as well as books that you have found to be interesting.  Your suggestions are always welcomed!

One thought on “Mental Health, Books, and Sons of Anarchy…oh my

  1. Hang in there Mark…..my bipolar son is finding great benefit from his guitar lessons and playing a lot of tennis. Even with medication, counseling, exercise, group meetings, and a ton of reading ……on occasion he still has major symptoms….in the form of anxiety and sleep issues. He is finding a lot of benefit from determining his trigger issues….he is having great benefit from just plain playing…….tennis and bike riding with his children, camping, canoeing with them, video games with them. He also adopted a German Shephard who has been a Godsend……..someone to welcome him in an empty house, to cuddle with, sleep with…..

    You are already doing a lot of these great things for yourself….counseling and reading have been a big plus for him to help recognize his triggers and deal with them…..you are younger than my son was when diagnosed……time and the future are on your side! Carole Laughlin

    Liked by 1 person

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