WARNING: Self-help-y

Surprise, decipherers of my manic dialect! I don’t partake in the ingestion of mind-altering substances, save caffeine and doctor-prescribed pharmaceuticals.

I experimented with alcohol/weed (sorry, Mom) ages 18-21, at which point, truthfully, liquor lost its “off-limits” allure. I quit drinking — not to imply I struggled with addiction; luckily, alcoholism was never a symptom in my mental case — February 24, when a fated $2 doubles night at Hokie House in Blacksburg, Va. necessitated my ambulance ride to the emergency room for stitches, after I threw up, blacked out, fainted and bashed my chin on concrete pavement. (I’m a borderline bulimic boozer.) Gnarly. And not my first hospitalization for alcohol poisoning. So/ergo, I stay sober.

But this ain’t a PSA vs. the devil’s lettuce or Long Island iced tea.

Medicaments that noodle with your neurotransmitters ’n’ neuroses can be corking! I’m psychotropic-drug-dependent — I habitually chatterbox papery pale yellow Klono-pills (generic: clonazepam) to keep my anxiety disorder out-of-order, swallow Seroquel to sleep and munch on milligrams of Abilify so my thoughts don’t downward-spiral into a toddler’s scribbly crayon art. (Again, I stress, with my psychiatrist’s say-so.)

Besides masticating my meds, I try to oil thy health-cogs — physical, mental, emotional, psychological and otherWISE — wisely.

When I’m feelin’ like feces, one may safely gamble I need to EAT/SLEEP. Potentially revelatory in a culture where caring for body basics isn’t factory-standard. Maybe I should schedule a platonic date or soothe m’soul with Tom DeLonge’s nasally whine (may ye rest in peace, blink-182! (TDeL plug: raging to Box Car Racer’s eponymous record = good exercise in exorcising ire))? I find it fulfilling to read/write daily. Some say “extracurricular/self-indulgent,” I say vital to my functionality.

… and The Pursuit of Happyness. (Lordie, I wept Amazon Video-ing that flick! Will Smith just wanted Jaden to be happy … and my parents want(ed) me to be happy … and I want my — eventual — kid to be happy … which is why I plan on wrangling him/her/them far from the autoclave/whitewashed upper-middle-class suburbs whence I was raised.)

I spent formative years justifying being unhappy with the faraway glimmer of future happiness (“… after I’m prettier/more confident/go to college/earn my degree/procure gainful employment as a Brenda Starr-y newspaper reporter,” ad delusium).

If I stuck to the societally-mandated script, I reasoned, and my life looked good on paper to aforesaid colleges/employers, lava-cracking-Earth’s-crust under the dormant volcanic pressure of junior year midterms was warranted, because ALL that snowballing strain on my psyche would be worth it one day, yay? Nay?

Despite my high school’s cutthroat academics, my future as an adult — I hath learned — was/is not foreshadowed by the mindless memorization and regurgitation of factoids about Mongols or by daily hours clocked meticulously outlining our godforsaken history textbook (AP World/U.S., respectively). I coulda circumvented S(o m)UCH stress had I known that as a young(er)ling.

Nowadays, I actively remind my mind not to pollute the present fretting about my past/future (v. challenging in practice) (I recognize this is veering into cliché/“guidance counselor” terrain — hang for a sec, marsupials), and I am not my résumé/transcript. I’m multifaceted, homie. Proof: See the baby animals/motivational adage poster on my wall?


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