Bless me bloggers for I have sinned. It's been many months since my last entry.
I know, it's been quiet both on the website, the HEAL and all things on the music front lately. Let's just say that coming into the first half of 2016, there's been a lot of things going on with me that have been um...interesting and it's taken me awhile to think about how to approach some topics.
At the beginning of the year things were going well. The album came out late September and did "OK". It's an album that I'm extremely proud of and the response on both the music and my path to healthier living was very positive. The band had played a gig or two, we were all having a great time and things seemed to be moving along great. In one year I lost over 70lbs, went down 2 pant sizes, lost an "X" or two on my shirts and not only was I fronting a great band doing my own music, I have been feeling the healthiest I've felt in years!
Then the new year started and things started to change..:.
It's a weird thing, sometimes when you focus on something and things tend to "fix themselves" other things start to come out and rear its ugly head. Seems like everytime something in your life starts going well, other things in your life so south. It's very hard especially when you get older, become a husband/wife, parent, etc. to get that "balance" where everything is running smoothly and on auto pilot.
Anyone that first meets me or knows me a little bit gets the impression that I'm a pretty laid back dude. When chaos happens I'm the type that tends to "roll with the punches" do what's necessary and try to keep a calm demeanor. Sure I get mad and upset everyone does but on the outside it looks like I'm doing just fine.
Truth is, I tend to keep it all inside in order to avoid confrontation, keep the peace and in reality my mind is constantly going and my insides churn about everything.
I've pretty much been like that most of my life. If there's an issue at home, work or just in everyday life that I don't have control over, is unknown or could cause conflict inside I'm a mess. I have to sleep with some sort of white noise in the room like a tv or radio because if I don't I would think about allllll of the things I have to do or fix and I couldn't sleep. Any quiet I'm in wether it was a car, office, etc. my mind would be racing thinking of every scenario and problem.
9 times out of 10 when it finally happened and I had to face the situation or "conflict" it was no big deal and was fine but ohhhhh man the build up was the worst.
In the past it never really got physical until maybe a few years ago and would normally happen around work situations mostly. I would walk in and be completely prepared, know my stuff and be ready to tackle a meeting or presentation but the second I would get in there......sweat.
And I'm not talking a bead or two I'm talking profusely sweating to the point where I looked like I had a cup of water thrown at my face. I didn't feel nervous, have always been confident in my work but for some reason the build up before, chain smoking, slugging coffee outside saying "ok it's not gonna happen this time Greg you'll be fine you got this" sure enough it would start and it was extremely embarrassing, frustrating and I think it's prevented me from a lot of opportunities in my life career wise. I would have to douse myself with powders, keep a hand cloth in my pocket and have been known to rub sweat block all over my face and head to try and prevent it and I could still feel it want to come out.
But you start to convince yourself "that's just the way you are" and if you are not hurting anyone but yourself what's the problem? That's the biggest problem it's hurting YOU. Plus you don't think that you are hurting anyone, but suffering inside and not expressing your real emotions about a situation is not helping them either. They think what they are doing is fine, then you melt down and let it erupt and they look at you like "where the fuck is this coming from?"
But finaly after years and years in early February it finally got scary.
It was a warmer than usual weekend and after another grueling week of commuting 3 hours a day, hustling at work trying to get things going and the normal long days that come even before and after the work day ends, you finally get to the weekend.
But as everyone knows being a parent especially when your kids get older weekends are not a time to relax. Most of the times it's running around to activities like softball, dance lessons, gymnastics or like most times you throw in a birthday party too. Sure you want to sit on your ass, stare at a phone or tv and just unwind but that's the reason both me and my wife work so hard. We want to give our children the best that we can provide and give them an awesome life. I would rather sit in a crowded room at a dance studio or to a "jumpy house" with their friends being social then have them sitting around all day on an Xbox, eating Cheetos and getting lazy. Come on who wouldn't want to sit on a field in spring with an iced coffee watching your child hit the ball?
But it just so happened the week before for me was hell at the office. Sometimes things get busy and stressful and you have to keep telling yourself "dude, you're not curing cancer here" but still the dude who wants to make everything good and not deal with conflict sometimes it gets to you. Pile on everything else in your life going on its hard to leave it at the desk.
Especially now with technology the days of leaving and not being found is impossible. We are constantly being barraged with info and texts and emails sometimes you just want to unplug. I miss the days sometimes of walking out the door and not being able to be found and available 24/7. I would spend Sundays most times at night thinking about all of the things I have to do or how am I gonna handle this or that on Monday and it would never shut off.
So this particular Saturday I was sent to a birthday party with Violet at a place she's been to a billon times before. I'll be honest, most birthday parties I can't stand. You have to interact and be social with other parents you really don't know most of the time, you sit in a corner, stare at your phone, maybe get a slice or two of pizza but whatever it's quick, painless and it's fine. Sometimes if you are lucky you can just drop off, kill time for a few hours and come back but a lot of times, you want to be there just in case something happens.
So we are there, but technically I'm not there. She is running around in the party room, but I'm frantically on my phone emailing back and forth about a work issue. It's really messing me up I want to help, but it's an issue that can't be fixed on a weekend and this asshole is giving me a hard time about it...on a Satuday no less. I'm thinking to myself "I'm fucked, I'm so fucked she's gonna complain about me to my client, they'll get upset, my partners will get upset, fuck I'm gonna get fired" Violet is trying to interact with me but I'm just distant.
So Violet is lining up with her friends to start their activity. I'm not gonna go out there, I'm just gonna try to find a quiet spot in this place which is literally black light, music pumping, video game machines beeping and ringing and try to resolve this shit if I can...
Violet turns around, doesn't see me for a second, looks at all of the commotion and starts bawling...uncontrollably.
Now I'm onto fire #2. I run over, be consoling, all of the parents and other kids are staring at us saying " what's wrong? Is she ok?" and I'm trying to calm her down but she is NOT having it and here comes the sweat.
The other kids proceed, I take her into the party room again and literally cradle her rocking her back and forth holding tight going "it's fine, it's ok, you've been here before what's the problem?" But she is donnnnne. Don't know if it was the over stimulation, the fear of not seeing me, all of the monsters and characters around, or just being tired but she will not stop crying.
Finally I just snapped. I'm usually at the mindset of if you are physically sick, in pain, genually upset over a legitimate issue, I will take a bullet for you to help you, especially my children. But if it makes no sense why you are acting out over something? Most times I won't coddle that. For some reason I felt at the time that this outburst was completely unwarranted.
"Fine, you wanna go? Fuck it let's go whatever I can't deal with this" I can't tell the parents we are leaving cause she will not step foot on the course so I just pick her up, carry her and we walk out the door. We get in the car and we head for home. Once out she immediately stops crying and just sits in the back seat of the car while I call my wife on the Bluetooth....
"hey, we had to leave since Violet had an issue...AGAIN. Can you call or email the parents and tell them we left since she wouldn't let me? We're coming home now"
the whole ride home she's silent but I'm loosing it both internally and externally now "I can't believe this, you drag me out to this party and you do this? We are NEVER going to this place again you hear me?"
As I'm driving my mind is racing with everything I can fit in there. I seriously contemplated pulling up to the driveway, letting her out and just leaving. Just drive anywhere a bar, the city, Florida anywhere and not come back. But something made me turn off the car and walk in with her and once we walked in she was fine, but I walked straight into my bedroom, shut the door and crouched nto the fetal position.
I know in the past I've gotten anxious about something whether it was a flight, an appointment, an issue or situation where I would think "hmmm is this what they call a panic attack?" but this was wayyyy beyond that. I felt like someone was sitting on my chest holding me down. I was counting and trying to take deep breaths to calm down but it wasn't working. I crossed my arms as tight as I could and all I could do was rub my legs together like I was trying to start a fire. I thought "it'll pass, it always does, calm down and come back out" but I couldn't move.
finally, my wife walks in and looks at me concerned
"what's wrong are you having a heart attack? We need to take you to the ER"
"I'm fine, I'm fine, it's not a heart attack I'll be fine" I just kept mumbling. "I'm not going to the fucking ER the kids can't see me like this"
I knew what it was, but thank god for my stubborn wife she got someone to watch the kids, she dragged me out of bed and into the car saying "ok let's just go to urgent care then to make sure" which I agreed to and once the door was shut and the kids were fine she says
"ok let's go I'm taking you to the ER now"
"you motherfucker...." I mumbled but I was glad she did.
an hour or so in the ER strapped onto probes, blood drawn, heart checked and people walking in and out I got the diagnosis I knew it was "Mr Gilroy you're fine you had a panic attack. I'm going to give you a Xanax now and a few to take home but you need to make an appointment with a psychologist" I nodded quietly, took the pill (which I've never taken before or anything of that kind) and proceeded to wait to be dismissed.
And holy fuck Xanax is awesome
I left not a care in the world. Numb, stoned and finally relaxed. I understand why just like Vicodin or any oxy people are addicted to this stuff. Just like any narcotic or alcohol things just melt away but also like any drug it's a quick fix. Plus I know my addictive behavior I'd be popping these things like Altoids: I knew this was a temporary solution to a bigger problem.
After a week of popping Xanax I finally got an appointment with a therapist and had a brief consultation with a psychopharmacologist. I explained my symptoms and she looked at me and I'll never forget it she said "it's gonna take a few weeks Greg, but you are gonna get better I promise you" and she was right.
Sure enough as the weeks passed it did get better and it has been a game changer for me. I started on 50mg of Zoloft and after a month they bumped it to 100mg and once that happened I started feeling better and better. A dear friend explained it to me the best way who was also taking the same meds as me "what I like about it is you still have the feels and all that but it doesn't ruin your day"
That is exactly how it is you are not waking around numb like the walking dead and when things arise like they have before you just kind of deal with it and it's no big deal. Sure a Xanax is needed if things really get to me, but I literally have had the same prescription for three months or so and barely made a dent.
I also started seeing a therapist weekly which has been great as well. It's funny every week I walk in going "oh man, what am I gonna say to this person tonight? I got nothing" but all she has to say is "so how are you?" And I don't shut up for 90 minutes. To have someone in your life that's not a parent, loved one or friend that can be complely unbiased, call you out on your shit and help is so refreshing in my opinion.
So why am I putting this out for the world to read?
Because, just like the battle I had with my weight last year if you own it, talk about it and put it in front street maybe, just maybe someone will read it and think "man I'm not alone" and they will seek help too.
We all look on Facebook, see pictures of people happy and smiling and think "wow look how great and happy they are, I suck" but you never know what the real deal is. Everyone has to deal with problems and you are not weak or stupid if you need something to help make everything ok.
If you read the music news section of this site you can read all about what's going on music wise and how I plan to bury the elephants in the room that have plagued me for decades. Just like last year, I hope you will follow me on this new journey moving forward.