I don't want to drag this out for a series of extended posts; there's no need to go into the minute details. So I'll wrap up my ongoing mental health journey with this post. After I basically quit writing, I began the work on myself. From 2017 to the middle of 2019, the only things I wrote were 10 minute dramas for our church, and let me tell you, even those were a challenge. But when God gives you a deadline, you don't mess around. There was a real depression that came with the relief of not writing or worrying about writing scripts. Again, if I wasn't writing, what was I doing? I really struggled with this question because we had moved from Ohio to Los Angeles so I could pursue a career in film. Even though I'd written and directed a movie, and sold a script, in my mind that wasn't good enough. I couldn't appreciate all of the great things in my life, and the solid career that I had forged in animation over 18 years. It took some real work: a lot of therapy sessions to learn how to take it easy on myself, to find strength in my successes and forgive myself for past mistakes. Besides the theraputic work and finding the right medicine that worked for me, I found so much strength from the love of Julie and the kids, and the great friends we had made over the past decade. I began going to concerts of bands that didn't have the name Springsteen in them, and I took up the drums again. I joke that I was strongarmed into joining the church praise band, but the day I began playing the drums for the church was the day I felt a part of me that was dormant for nearly 30 years reawaken. Something about the rhythm and having to use all of my limbs and my brain and draw on muscle memory gave me so much joy. It still does. The drums fed the creative part of my soul and gave me an outlet for working out my problems. The drums were a tool I used when I was a young man. When my heart was broken or I was feeling lonely, I could sit down behind my 6 piece white Rogers set and clear my head and heart and work out the shit. Having that outlet again as a middle aged man has done as much for me as the therapy and medicine. The drums also gave me courage to try writing again, which I did back in 2019. That summer I revisited an old idea about 1970s and 80s FM radio and was struck with an idea that I've been working on ever since. The pandameic gave me a lot of free time to start writing, and I feel more driven than I have in many years. I'm so grateful to be able to get out of the deep valley I was in back in 2017. There were some very dark times back in '17 and '18. The anxiety and physical effects of my mental struggles gave me pause and really scared me. I could understand why someone living in this type of pain day in and day out would do anything to escape it. I was blessed, and I mean that, blessed, that I had supprt, because many do not. We all have challenges. I hope that all of you have people who can surround you with love and help you through the dark times. I'm happy to be back writing on thunderbolt. It's good to be home. Aloha PS Thanks to all of you who've send me kind words.
When I dropped off of the Internet, it wasn't meant to be a years long sabbatical. I thought I just needed a break; that I was getting burned out from writing Basement Songs and movie reviews for Popdose.com. Something cracked, though, and I couldn't consider writing even in a journal for a very long time. Things changed in the winter of 2017. While driving to pick up Jacob at theater rehearsal, I experienced my first panic attack. It started immediately after he got in the car at the theater and it slowly took over my body for the fifteen minute drive home. My skin became clammy and I felt myself removed from my body. My brain was empty and I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I gutted it out until we walked through the front door. Without saying a word, I went upstairs, crawled into bed and got in the fetal position. I just wanted to close my eyes and shut out the world. The next morning I awoke exhausted, as if I'd exercised the previous day. That was the first time