Category Archives: Classic rock

It’s snowy and slushy, so I “aint goin’ nowhere”

Confession: I am deathly afraid of ice and slush. Not a good thing when I live near Boston–and on top of a hill.

I was going to go out today, to do some work and then to see a movie with a friend. As soon as I walked out the door and saw how slippery it was, my anxiety kicked up. I tried to walk. For about three minutes, I took baby steps. I probably looked like a baby. But it didn’t take long for me to just say, “Screw it. I’m not going out today.”

I called my friend and told him I won’t be joining him for the movie. He was understanding, but he still tried to bargain with me.

“What if I picked you up at your place and dropped you off right in front of the Carpenter Center? Then I’d park, and you wouldn’t have to walk very far.”

It was tempting, but even this did not win me over. To quite Bob Dylan, I “aint goin’ nowhere.”

Unlike some other fears I have, there is some logic behind this one. I’ve lived with a mild form of vertigo for most of my life, and my balance has always been poor. So when Boston becomes a slippery mess, it makes sense that I’d want to avoid it.

But here’s the thing: I’ve lived up here for 10 years now. I know what winters are like. And it’s not like I haven’t fallen on my ass before. When that happened, I just picked myself up and went on. I might have had some aches and pains, but it’s never been anything serious. I know this. So even though there’s logic behind this fear, there is also avoidance. And avoidance can be unhealthy.

Because of my vertigo, my mother wouldn’t let me ride a bike or go ice skating when I was little. I know she was trying to protect me. But from this, I learned that avoidance can be a “safe” survival tool. I don’t think this is necessarily good. Several of my cousins also have vertigo, yet they still learned to do things like ski and ride motor cycles. That’s probably a better way to deal with vertigo than what I grew up with.

But to some extent, I can’t help but be the product of my own history and experiences. I know I’m not the only one. At the first mental illness support group I ever attended, several people talked about their fear of falling on the ice and snow. I have noticed that group attendance sometimes goes down in the winter. I wouldn’t be surprised if this fear is one of the reasons for that.

Bottom line: I’m staying inside today. I’m avoiding the ice and the slush. Whether it’s good or bad, I don’t know. As the song says, I’m planting my ass “down in the easy chair” until this storm passes.


John Lennon’s timeless Christmas message

I can’t say it better than John Lennon. I’m not even going to try. I’ll just second what he says: Have a very Merry Christmas/And a Happy New Year/Let’s hope it’s a good one/Without any fear.


RIP Joe Cocker

I was so sad to learn that Joe Cocker died today. His raw, gritty voice was one of a kind. I’ll never forget watching the Woodstock documentary, and seeing and hearing this. He sings this classic with the pain and passion of someone who really needs a little help from his friends. More than I little, actually. It may be the one time that someone covered a Beatles song–and actually topped it.

Cheers to you, Joe, for your undeniable talent. And for reminding us that, to get by, we all need a little help from our friends.

George Harrison, and some musical mindfulness on a crappy day

I feel like shit today. I blame Mother Nature.

Today in Boston, it’s cold, windy, and rainy — also known as The Worst Combination for My Depression and Anxiety. How bad is it? A guy just told me he liked my umbrella. I responded by running from him as fast as I could. At least I didn’t tell him to go fuck himself. I wanted to.

The reason I’m out at all is that I happen to have doctors appointments today — appointments that involve doctors analyzing my anxiety. The last thing I need is weather like this to make their jobs easier!

Alas, I can do nothing about the weather. So I’m trying to practice some musical mindfulness. I’m thinking about songs that mention the sun. And this song is at the top of my list. So, come on, George Harrison! Remind me that, yes, the sun will come again.


Being thankful is not always easy — even on Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Any day that involves lots of food and football is okay in my book. (Although, the more you learn about the Thanksgiving story, what we actually did to the Indians was pretty damn awful.)

History notwithstanding, it’s nice to have a day that celebrates being thankful. But just because it’s nice, that doesn’t mean it’s easy — especially for many people like myself, who manage mental illness. Sometimes, we have to force ourselves to be thankful, and it’s not just because someone is BOUND to say something stupid or insensitive to us at the dinner table. For us, the “good” neurons just don’t fire up as quickly as they do for others. Thus, being grateful often takes a lot of work.

Of course, it’s worth the effort. And right here, I’m making the effort myself. This Thanksgiving, here are 5 things I’m grateful for.

My family and friends — especially those who take me as I am, and not necessarily who they want me to be.

My doctors — I actually like them, even the one or two who are tough on me. They tell me what I need to hear, even if I don’t want to hear it.

This blog — almost more than anything, my decision to start this blog has helped me come to terms with my depression and anxiety. I hope it helps you, too.

Books — I’m a writer. How could I not be thankful for my books? I’ve read some great ones this year, including Michael Chabon’s “Telegraph Avenue” and Rachel Kushner’s “The Flamethrowers.”

ALL of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes are FINALLY out — Dylan + The Band = pure bliss.

I’m sure I could think of others, but I’m also thankful for the general knowledge that blog posts really shouldn’t be too long.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Let me know. And Happy Turkey Day!


Mental illness resources for veterans

On this Veteran’s Day, it’s good to remember that for many veterans, the wars and battles do not end when they come home. Today, I think of them and honor them not only for their service, but for their courage in realizing that they need help. If this is you, or someone you love, here are just a few valuable resources.

First, NAMI has an entire division designed especially for veterans. You can find more information here. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline also has services specifically for veterans. Dial 1-800-273-8255, then dial 1. I’m sure there are other resources. If you know of them, feel free to list them in the comment section.

To any veteran reading this, thank you. And don’t give in. You are not alone. Or, in the words of Bruce Springsteen: No Retreat! No Surrender!

A new version of Brian Wilson’s classic “God Only Knows”

Brian Wilson has lived with severe depression for much of his life. But that hasn’t stopped him from creating some of the most magical, wonderful songs that we all know by heart. Even with the classic “Pet Sounds,” I’ve always thought the Beach Boys were somewhat underrated. They were about more than surfing and getting the girl. They were about hopes, dreams, and promise. And as “God Only Knows” proves, their songs could be reflective and even melancholy, too.

Now, BBC music has honored Brian and the Beach Boys with this unbelievable new collaboration and video. Brian is here, along with so many others, including Elton John, Pharrell Williams, Stevie Wonder, and so many more. Enjoy!


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