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Good things continuing plus a theory

Was up until 4 talking with Mike about the change in my emotions. I had energy. Enthusiasm.

Indifference is pretty consistent right now. Granted, I haven’t taken adderall yet today and likely won’t take any.

Current operating theory is that the Zoloft is building up in my system to the point where I feel this way (indifferent, not in love) if I don’t take adderall. If I take adderall then it still tips me into love mode a bit, but I think as the Zoloft builds up further it will be able to balance out the adderall.

This is pretty promising. I’m not saying I’m 100% better or fixed or recovered but this is absolutely absolutely a step in the right direction. A huge step.

DV5

Dear Violet,

I can only imagine how annoying it must have been to have me get super upset that you were reading my stuff, especially once I made it clear that you were pretty much the only one reading it.

I’m sure you were something like: “You effing drama queen. If you don’t want me to read it and you know I’m the only one visiting, then why are you posting it, huh? Give. Me. A. Break.”

It was a bit hypocritical, wasn’t it?

Yeah. Greg on misbalanced meds + your concern for his wellbeing was, uh, gasoline and fire. Sorry about that. You toughed it out though, to your credit. And that is saying something. Honestly, I didn’t expect you to be that stubborn. Like, at all.

We both know that deep down I wanted you to read, it was a test, I was trying to drive you away and prove that you didn’t care. Apparently amphetamines also make me behave like a teenage girl.

It flattered my ego that you cared so much and unfortunately fed into some unhealthy delusions of mine that, as usual, exploded into pure, unmitigated batshit insanity upon making contact with reality. #justGregThings

The harder I cracked down, the harder you tried. I really enjoyed trying to figure out what you were up to. Way, way, way too much, as it turns out. I kind of thought it was a game where you wanted me to catch you, which meant I interpreted it as emotional investment. Whereas the reality was that you literally didn’t want me to know you were reading. Like, it wasn’t a game to you. You wanted me to forget about you and just wanted to make sure I was okay without getting in trouble. At least that’s my assumption. Curiosity played a role, I’m sure. Since I generally saw you prowling around things by yourself, rarely as a couple, I kinda figured that Joe probably didn’t know. This fed even more into my delusions.

“She must love me! When she’s done with Joe, she comes to me each night!”

Yeaaaaaahhhhhhh no. You weren’t “coming to me”. You literally have a protective order against me and are engaged to marry Joe. So… even I struggle to muster sufficient self-deception to maintain that particular delusion. Meh.

Anyway. Sorry about that. I was testing you to see if you were romantically interested in me, but you passed the test as a compassionate platonic human being. To be fair, there was a period where I legitimately feared you were trying to bust me or something, real anxiety attacks. Sometimes I still wonder if that’s the case, but it’s pretty far down on my list of concerns at this point, tbh.

When my meds were off, it was a binary scenario: either you loved me or you were playing me, there was no third option worth considering. Either you deserved to be put on a pedestal, or you deserved to be condemned with the utmost rage and a plethora of f-bombs. All or nothing.

How I approach too much of life, looking back. Definitely a drug thing there too, I suppose.

Haven’t heard back from my boss about the leave of absence. Emailed him about it on Friday and didn’t hear anything. Has me a little stressed that they decided to honor my original request to resign. That request only made sense in the context of being immediately followed by my suicide, as was the case with Vivint. Without the suicide component, the request now seems unwise. Eh. I’m sure it’ll be fine. The boss seemed sincere and I can unresign if they decided they wanted to do that.

Writing like this helps. Removing the pressure of trying to impress you helps. I feel like I don’t have to play things up and can be blunt. I want to work to a point where I don’t even bother checking my logs after each letter. To be honest, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference what I see in there when I’m essentially monologging. I would counsel you to continue covering your tracks as best you can, however, in the event that I switch drugs down the road and go searching through my logs for a reason to bitch about the cruel injustices of people accessing a public website on an internet full of people.

To be fair though, although a silly thing to get super worked up about (unless I’m loaded with amphetamines, in which case it is definitely not silly at all), it was pretty weird that you kept checking after I asked you to stop. Idk. Not like “you’re a terrrrrible person” type of thing so much as a “not what I expected at all” type of thing.

I have a lot of regrets when it comes to you (like a ton) but one of the bigger ones is how little I actually know about you. Meaning Violet the person, the human being, the soul. What makes you tick and what drives you. I guess that’s why I spent so much time reading about your Myers Briggs type and color code components. To be honest, a lot of the social media stalking that creeped you out was for the same thing, and the blog. Wanted to figure out the skeleton key for unlocking your heart, show you that I understood, help you grow. That sort of thing.

Figure if I had done a better job getting to know you, I’d have a better idea of how to talk to you in these letters. But on our date, you were really focused on me, just listening to me. You encouraged me to talk about myself when I got self-conscious. And I suppose that’s a very ENFJ thing to do. Kind of like how you’re just here checking in and reading what I have to say. It makes you happy or satisfied somehow, so.. I guess I’ll just keep talking about what’s going on with me. But for the record, I feel very self-conscious, conceited, and selfish in doing so.

The fact that I’m maintaining a fairly consistently level-headed tone over the course of several of these letters is promising to me. I showed the first three to Kara and she remarked “By the end, you finally started to sound like yourself”. And I suppose that’s the goal, right? To get me back to the real me. So I suppose that’s progress.

And progress is hard for me to measure. Both Kara and Mike insist that I’ve made significant gains over the past six months but it’s hard for me to see it that way. All I see is one really painful and stupid delusion, and my being in essentially the same life position as I was before, only six months older. Some days I feel I’ve made no progress at all.

But that’s not true. When I have anxiety attacks, I text Kara, she tries to talk me out of them, talk me through them. Most of the time she is able to succeed, but not always; for example, there were a couple times where I left Vivint early and went home to recover when she couldn’t. I bring this up because Kara has noticed that, especially on Cymbalta and now Zoloft, I seem to be able to catch myself and pull myself out of the attacks more quickly. It used to be when I had an attack, I would start sending sentence fragments over text, echoing my thoughts as they occurred, here’s a screenshot of what I mean where I’m starting to break down; these texts are sent in rapid sequence very quickly:

These meltdowns used to go on for 10 minutes or longer, I wouldn’t be rational, breaking into fragments, and Kara would have to handle me. I would just straight up nosedive and if I didn’t have anyone to catch me, I’d be suicidal. These would happen with some regularity at Vivint whenever I heard you talk about a date with someone else or if I thought there was another guy. I would just freeze up for a few seconds, cognitively would just lock down and start falling apart, anxiety would spike, heart would race, vision blur and I would start texting Kara for help. I want to point out that I don’t have anxiety attacks generally except over a broken heart and they didn’t start happening as much until Rachel (Regina).

However, on Zoloft and Cymbalta, the attacks are less frequent (used to have two or even three in one day; the one pictured above was when I found out you were engaged, I think, so it was particularly hard news for me, the first major attack in a while) and when they do occur, Kara has pointed out that I usually start talking in complete sentences again before she has a chance to step in. In her mind, that’s been one of the biggest pieces of progress I’ve made.

Heh… that’s life isn’t it. Over the past six months you’ve met the man of your dreams, fallen in love, and gotten engaged to your eternal companion, that’s been your progress. I learned to speak in complete sentences over text message. That’s my progress… just doesn’t seem quite the same. Ain’t that life, tho?

*sigh* Baby steps to becoming a semi-functional adult male that doesn’t cave under the tiniest bit of emotional stress.

I think the hardest part, Violet, for me… is knowing how effing complicated I am. How many issues I have. And how on earth I’m ever going to find someone willing to put up with them, willing to even give me a chance when these things sabotage everything right out of the gate. Why would someone ever want to be with me when I’m the emotional equivalent of a paraplegic? When there are younger, better looking, more stable, less stressful guys around every corner?

Why put up with all the baggage when you can just as easily find someone without it? It’s hard sometimes. Hard to believe in myself, I mean. And then you have all the failures and it just makes it harder, you know?

Well. No. You don’t know. Not being mean, just saying I doubt you can relate to that part on my level. Just trust me when I say it’s really, really, really hard. Suicide inducing, even.

Man. I always get depressed at the end of these letters. Let’s brighten things up a bit. Mike and his girlfriend brought me some Zupa’s last night. I don’t go out much anymore, so they bring me food and even though it was Zupa’s I appreciated it. I’m 99% sure everything they sell is injected with estrogen but beggars can’t be choosers 😉

Man… I need to sleep more. I think I stayed up all night writing. Yeah. It’s 7:50. Ah hell.

Yeah my brain’s kinda turning to mush now, so… I’m gonna sign off for now.

Peace,

-gv

More than Money: Lessons from Victoria’s Secret

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It was hilarious, really. I had never really viewed my professional skill set as being sexy; after all, anything more than a cursory description of my “distinguished career” in the high-speed world of email marketing was sure to put even the most polite date to sleep.

Yet there I was, unsexy professional skill set and all, being contacted by the head of Talent Acquisition for L Brands, the publicly-traded Fortune 500 firm that owned retail icons like Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Bodyworks. They were tapping me to fill a marketing manager position at their corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.

I was both flattered and legitimately amused by the irony that my decidedly unsexy area of expertise (email) had attracted the attention of Victoria’s Secret, a brand powered, in large measure, by sex appeal (or so I’m told, I don’t shop there much). Read more

Why I didn’t become a Lawyer

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All my life, people have told me I “should be a lawyer”.

My father was a lawyer, my grandfather was a lawyer, my uncles are lawyers. I write well, communicate well, obsess over details, have a mind for logic, enjoy being right, and can be (perhaps alarmingly) cynical… so it seemed to be a pretty natural fit. The fact that being a lawyer seemed to have some level of prestige, to my naive mind, didn’t hurt either.

Greg’s gonna be a lawyer like his old man.

– Some dude, talking to me when I was like, eight years old. Stop telling me how to live my life, dude, I’m just a kid!

My father is fond of saying that he has never regretted his decision to attend law school. To be clear, he (thankfully) never pressured me to go into law myself, however. Which is good, because looking back, I’ve made a lot of poor decisions in my life, but I will never regret my decision to steer clear of that particular institution.

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A Savior for My Darkest Days

Important Disclaimer

My remarks here are directed at those who may struggle with finding the will to live. This post assumes that you are already receiving professional treatment, medication, are doing your best to live the gospel, yet still continue to struggle at times. If you are currently wrestling with thoughts of suicide, please see the LDS church’s resources here and go through the list of 9 steps in the article here (these have helped me in the past).

These are my personal opinions and do not reflect the position of the LDS Church or its leaders in any way.

My family has a “history of mental illness”. Specifically, if you look at my family tree you’ll see people who were committed or died in insane asylums, others who literally drank themselves to death. Current members of my immediate and extended family have diagnoses ranging from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder and everything in between. A few of us have been to mental hospitals.

Each of us has a different quirk; we’re like the X-men, but more dysfunctional.

My Family
Ladies and gentlemen: my family

I mention this, because for many years, I was told not to “give up hope” in regards to my life getting better and recovering from mental illness. What these well-meaning people failed to understand is that, for many years, hope of recovery or improvement is not what motivated me to remain alive.

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Where I Stand 3: Lessons from the Quorum

I am not a “model Mormon”.

Model Mormons, I’m told, are called to leadership positions in the Church where they never make mistakes, always humbly submitting their will to Heavenly Father and saving everyone. They certainly would never offend anyone.

When I was called as Elder’s Quorum President back in 2011, I thought “how hard could it be, really?” After all, it’s not a very prominent leadership calling. Like any calling, I did my best to take it seriously though, and even so… I made some mistakes.

I offended a lot of people. Some of them went so far as to try and get me released. Others stopped coming to Church because of something I had foolishly said in a moment of pride, hurt, or anger.

I often wondered if I was the right man for the job at the time. But looking back, I know that I was–so long as I was obedient, meek, and humble.

I could talk at length on what I learned over those two years; but I will constrain myself to answering the following question based on my (admittedly limited) experience in leading a quorum through priesthood keys:

How can God reliably lead His Church through imperfect people and how do we know a leader isn’t making a mistake?

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Where I Stand 2: Repentance is Easy. Forgiveness is Harder.

I am not a ‘model Mormon’.

After all, a ‘model Mormon’, I’m told (I’ve yet to actually observe one in the real world) serves an honorable full-time mission where they learn the value of faith, hard work, obedience, testimony, and humility before returning with honor.

So… what about me?

Well… twenty-four months, two mission fields, and five mission presidents later, in 2007, I returned with honor… and anger. A whole lot of anger.

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Where I Stand, Part 1: When I Trolled Mormons

I am not a ‘model’ Mormon. At all.

Although it is true that I grew up in the church, I stopped attending a little while after I moved away from home at age 18. Why? I met with the bishop of my YSA ward to get to work on my mission papers, I admitted I had struggled with the law of chastity. He wanted to work with me on it and he dared to imply that perhaps I wasn’t ready to go on a mission quite yet.

Hoo boy.

Predictably, I got super offended that this old dude would dare judge me and dare deny me what I thought I was entitled to by virtue of my being a unique and precious son of God. My feelings got hurt. How dare he deny me the sacrament? I felt excluded and hurt. How dare he hold me accountable to the Lord’s law. What would other people think when they saw me not taking the sacrament? What will other people think when they saw that I wasn’t perfect?

In case you can’t tell, when I was 18, I didn’t understand the whole “how the Gospel works” thing.

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Journal of a Nephite General

I recently read Alma 56, where the two thousand stripling warriors are first introduced. I was struck by the faith and perseverance of Antipus. If you don’t recognize the name, that’s okay; his story is powerful, but it’s easy to miss because so much of it is told between the lines.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re at the end of your rope and God isn’t answering your prayers, this post is for you.

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