I Am Not A Rockstar

So back in the day and even now I always encounter people that are like, “Man, I’m in a band, so I totally am on a mission to get laid, get wasted, and blow up as many stages as I can! Well, I just want to say right off the bat, it is not about that for me. I am not a pervert, an alcoholic, a druggie, or full of myself.  I do not and will never have that rockstar-type mentality. This is a personal mission for me. Because of my schizophrenia and all of the messed up things I have been through from it, my reasons for doing music run way deeper than the shallowness of a one-night stand, that next high, or thinking that I am entitled to look down on people because I am standing on a stage four feet above them. This is a friend –to- friend relationship. To me there are no “stars” and no “fans”. We are everyday people who share a common bond. I have a lot of inner demons I am trying to conquer and music is therapeutic for me. As I hope it is for you. As much as I appear to have things under control, it is a day- to- day struggle for me to stay sane, well and happy with myself. Music is where I focus all of that manic energy. It is my safe alternative to focusing all of that energy into drugs, alcohol, women, etc.. I am strongly trying to help myself through creating music and in the process, hopefully helping others as well. We are in this together and it is a friend –to- friend relationship. I have experienced a lot trauma in my life by repeatedly making the same mistakes, alienating people around me, not taking care of myself like I should have and it lead me to almost dying on a number of occasions. And back then before I was well, I had no one to turn to. Music was the only thing I was able to find solace in. And now in life, I want to create as much of it as I can and do for others what it has done for me throughout my journey. Music and I share a special bond. You and I share a special bond! So I want to take this moment again to sincerely thank you again for listening and being my friend. It really means the world to me.

Let me just sign off by saying this. I have done a lot of people wrong in my life when I was sick all those years ago. And there are many things I do not like about myself because of it. I am still trying to heal all of that. So, in conclusion, if I do enough good will the rest of my life through music, being a good person, resolving that bad karma, and have the world someday believe that I am a decent guy, maybe one day it will help me believe it myself. So thank you once again for helping me feel OK. I am doing my best. Like I said, it is a personal mission for me. One thing I will never have is a rocktar-type mentality. I am not a rockstar.

The Journey I Face

I used to hate everything and everybody. I was extremely angry all the time.  I spent so much time and energy hating the things about other people that I couldn’t control. Hating people that I saw doing things that seemed so against my morals and beliefs. I would then start to demonize these people for it. Looking at them as “Pure Evil”  “How could they not have a conscience?”  How could they cheat? How could they lie? How could they intentionally want to hurt me and others around us? I would always ask myself. Then one day… After years of this pent up aggression… a body covered in scars from extreme self- mutilation, and two suicide attempts. I just got so tired. So tired of fighting. Fighting against the world.  Because it wasn’t until that moment, that bittersweet moment of clarity, that I realized, the only person I was truly fighting against was the ugly part of myself. All those things I despised in others, were the negative aspects of my own personality that I was in huge denial about.  I suddenly started realizing all the hurt I caused others around me because I never wanted to help myself.  By that time the majority of my friends had deserted me and my family was just about fed up with me as well. I started to realize how much more energy it takes to hate someone rather than to forgive and want to help them if they are in trouble. I guess the point here is that most of the people that are doing messed up -evil type things to other people are so lost and messed up themselves that they don’t even realize they are doing it. I was one of those people. There are so many people in my life that I wish I had treated differently… they are the same people that have deserted me and do not even want to hear my name come up in casual conversation because it would be like “Ok what did that Crazy f**ing Nut ball do now?!?”. And… there are few people in my life that had actually given me a second chance and stuck around.  And for that I am forever grateful. And I want to thank YOU for giving me a chance and sticking around.  

Just a thought, next time you get mad at somebody for something, before you react, take a step back and know that on both ends it takes way more energy to hate somebody and cut them off, rather than try to understand and relate in some way. After all, we are all human and we all have the same fears and unanswered questions. It takes one second to react in anger. But it may take a lifetime to make up for it.  This is the journey I face.

Humble Yourself

OK, so I used to deliver pizzas when I was 17-18 years old.  And there was this heavier set lady named Bernice that always used to come in our pizzeria. She was middle-aged, very straggly looking, she didn’t shower and she smelled pretty bad. But for some reason she would always come in and just hang out and sit there for hours! And everybody that worked there including me used to make fun of her. One time after her and her equally effed up looking friend came in and left, me and one of the other delivery drivers (My good friend Jon) had to arm wrestle to see who was going to clean up their very disgusting mess that was left on the seat after they had exited the pizzeria! I will leave the contents of that mess up to your imagination. Trust me, it is normally something you do not see in a public place. This is just to give you an idea of what kind of people we were dealing with.

So anyway, every time I would walk in the pizzeria, Bernice would look at me, open her arms up and say “JOEY BABY WHEN ARE WE GOING ON A DATE?!?!”.  This was as she sat there staring at me and everyone would just egg her on, mess with her, and make things worse.  It was an ongoing joke with everybody at the pizzeria.  “JOEY BABY WHEN ARE WE GOING ON A DATE!”

So anyway, now I’m going to fast -forward a year and a half.  It is funny how things play out sometimes… Oh and trust me… this is about to get really good… So I am hooked on drugs, schizophrenic and hallucinating, almost just killed myself going over 100mph on the highway straight into basically a free fall because I thought I was Jesus and invincible. Now I am in the hospital in the bathroom stall talking to my Dad (who by the way drove 12 hours straight to come and help me). And he said to me “Now Joey, they are going to put you in a straitjacket but everything is ok… it is just for our safety and yours.”  Then I remember running out of the bathroom and lunging for my Mom screaming to her “YOU ARE SATAN AND I WILL GET YOU FOR THIS!!!” It was about that time that 5 or so security guards tackled me to the ground, shot me up with sedatives and put me in a straitjacket.  So here they are, wheeling me into the mental institution on a stretcher and I am basically talking gibberish to myself. It was then, at the lowest point in my life, that I looked up down the long hallway ahead of me leading to the rubber room they were going to put me in and who was the first person I saw??? It was Bernice!!!!!! She then proceeded to open up her arms and say “JOEY BABY WHEN ARE WE GOING ON A DATE!!!???!  I couldn’t believe it!! Her and I, amongst others with similar issues, were now going to be living in this place!!! Things had definitely taken a turn for the ridiculously ironic.

So this just goes to show you… When you are feeling high and mighty with your own life and you feel the need to mess with other people, just remember that life has a funny way of being great one minute and come crashing down the next. A very humbling but necessary type experience that everyone will go through many times in their own life.  Humble yourself.

I Was That Guy

Disclaimer- The stories in these blogs reflect the type of person I USED to be before I had started receiving treatment for my paranoid schizophrenia. I, in no way condone or approve of the type of behavior displayed in these stories I tell about my old life but rather try to simply state the idea that this is the person I used to be, and have since then learned from my mistakes and am in the process of turning my life around for the better. Part of my therapy is writing down these old stories as an attempt to take all of those negative things in my life and turn them into something positive and productive. So I want to thank you for supporting this positive cause by reading and being interested. It sincerely means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy reading the short story blogs I write about my life. -Joseph

OK so back in high school I NEVER got good grades. I was mostly a "D" and "F" type student. All I did was pretty much clown and F**k around constantly. One time I saw the principal walking down the hallway and I drew a huge 4- foot wiener on the wall as he was on his way to my classroom. As you can imagine, I had no fear of punishment from authority figures. Consequently, in light of my artistic vision, I got suspended the next day and ended up going to the beach to celebrate. I used to do drugs in the parking lot of the school. (Not a good idea let me tell you) I cut class constantly. I once took 3 pieces of yellow lined paper, vertically taped them together, and again, drew a huge wiener on them and taped it to my history teacher's pull down map that he had hanging from the blackboard. So… the next time he was teaching a lesson in geography to another class, he would pull down the map and get a huge surprise! The hall monitors were constantly chasing me but could never catch me. I made armpit fart noises in the middle of class all the time (And believe me I was really good at them). I always disrupted others in my class by asking to copy their homework, tests, asking for money, cigarettes, etc. I was pretty much always so high in school that when I think back, it is hard for me to remember certain things. I was even told by an old classmate years after high school that I one time threw a garbage can at my teacher in the middle of a lesson! This is to give you an example of how out of control I was. But one day this was about to take a huge turn on me.

So my good friend Tim and I (Who by the way won Class Clown) were walking down the "Smart Kids" hallway, to of course, naturally smoke a cigarette in the bathroom. This was an everyday ritual for us. After our smoke, we would always then proceed to walk down that whole hallway while I was beat boxing with my mouth and he was rapping. We would do this verrrrry loud. (lol) We used to do it to get a rise out of the teachers and the "Smart Kids" in all the "Smart Classes". Anyway, so one day we were following our routine of class disruption as usual and one of the teachers finally comes out furious and says, "YOU GUYS DISRUPT MY CLASS EVERYDAY! YOU DON'T BELONG IN THIS HALLWAY! THIS HALLWAY IS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING SOMWHERE IN LIFE!" I couldn't believe it! I was speechless. However, in the twisted logic in my brain at the time, I immediately celebrated that occasion by walking into the parking lot, leaving school, and smoking a joint. (LOL)

Anyways fast-forward many years later after I get out of the mental institution that I ended up in. This was after trying to kill myself (We all know that story by now lol). But anyway this was around the time that I was forced to kick drugs, and really start seriously coping with my schizophrenia. My passion for music ran as deep as my passion to become sane again. Which in retrospect was probably one of the most difficult things I ever had to do in my life. So what did I do around that period in time? I started my own record company to put out my own music (still own it to this day by the way) and tried to go back to college to learn how to run a business. Anyway, I was really serious about being in school for the first time in my life. It was weird to me. I never actually ever tried to do well before so this was going to be a huge challenge. But I figured if I could become sane again, then I can do anything. So here I am in my first day of class. Nervous as hell! This guy then walks in and sits next to me. He starts talking to me and is all like, "Hey Man, I like your tattoos." I was all like, "Thanks." And thinking that would be the extent of our conversation, this guy just kept talking to me as the teacher was teaching the lesson! I was trying to ignore him the best I could but he was relentless about dumb shit that I didn't think was funny at all. The teacher even got in on it and told him to shut up. This guy would just then make stupid comments and look around to everybody in the class like," Yeah you all think I'm hilarious right?!?" Everyone just kind of did the same thing I did. Ignored him. Eventually this guy got frustrated that nobody gave a shit about him and he walked out of the classroom.

Anyways it wasn't until that moment, years after I barely graduated high school that I suddenly realized how people must have felt about me back in those days. You know, being high in class constantly, drawing wieners on things, and throwing garbage cans at my teachers and what not. (Especially the "Smart Kids" in the "Smart Hallway") I never finished college however, but the short time I was in it I got straight "A's". Maybe I will finish one day who knows. I've always been one to want to do things my own way, which is probably why I'm not really the college type. But anyway, all I do know is that I just continued on with my college studies that day after that kid walked out of the classroom and chuckled to myself in the idea that knowing that at one time, I was that guy!

Face Your Fears

Ok so when I was about 6 years old or so, my Dad had me wrestling on the wrestling team. And me, never being much of a fighter would always get terrified and very nervous when I was about to have a match. This is usually how I react to every difficult situation I face in life where I’m put in a position where have to fight for something. (Mentally or physically) I am a very non-confrontational dude.

So anyway, I specifically remember this one time at a tournament. I absolutely did not want to fight this kid they had me up against. He was waiting in the ring for me and they had called my name over the loudspeaker. I immediately got afraid and ran away. I did not think that I could win and thought I was going to get beat up really bad. My Dad had followed me to my hiding place and had a long talk with me about having to face my fears. The whole auditorium was waiting for me to come out of that hiding place. And now looking back I realized that it is moments such as these that either make or break a person. Your true character will shine when faced with these types of decisions.  So what did I do? I slowly and reluctantly made my way up back to that ring and faced this kid toe to toe. I was shaking and I was crying the whole time I was standing up there looking at him. The referee looked at my Dad like “Are you sure you want this kid to fight?” And my Dad just told him to go! As soon as the Ref yelled, “Fight!” I exploded all over this kid! I was tossing him around like a ragdoll and beat him in less than a minute! I then shook his hand afterwards, as I was still shaking and crying from fear. This kid must have thought I was nuts! (HaHa) I didn’t realize back then but this was a precursor of what was to come later in my life.

So now I’m 20 years old, and suddenly remembered that one-day of wrestling when I was at the doctor’s office and they told me that I had paranoid schizophrenia. Most doctors did not think I was going to make it back to sanity because the majority of patients that were as sick as I was did not get better. It was at that moment that I realized how long of a road I had ahead of me to get better, not really knowing if it was ever going to be possible. This moment was going to either make or break me. I faced my fear crying and shaking the whole entire way. But I’m a stronger person for it now. Face your fears.

I Should Have Realized There Was A Problem (Pt.1)

Disclaimer- The stories in these blogs reflect the type of person I USED to be before I had started receiving treatment for my paranoid schizophrenia. I, in no way condone or approve of the type of behavior displayed in these stories I tell about my old life but rather try to simply state the idea that this is the person I used to be, and have since then learned from my mistakes and am in the process of turning my life around for the better. Part of my therapy is writing down these old stories as an attempt to take all of those negative things in my life and turn them into something positive and productive. So I want to thank you for supporting this positive cause by reading and being interested. It sincerely means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy reading the short story blogs I write about my life. -Joseph

So back in the day when I was very sick with my schizophrenia, I had many different ways of coping. This was before I knew I had a problem so as you can imagine, my ways of dealing with my illness back then were not so healthy. One of the problems with my schizophrenia was that there was always so much horror and chaos going on inside my thoughts that I had no means of escaping myself. Not even for two minutes. I was living my life in a constant and agonizing fear. It was horrible. The only escape was sleep and I never had much of that in my sick years either. I used to escape with drugs and alcohol quite often but another escape that I seemed to favor was Self-Mutilation.

Now, my theory behind all of my Self-Mutilation over the years was that, like I said, there was always so much horror and chaos in my own thoughts that I needed something else to focus my attention on to escape from it. Any escape from my own mind was bliss. Most sane people take vacations to the Bahamas to do that. Me? I used to cut myself. And trust me, focusing on the pain was way better than what was going on within the confines of my own mind. The more extreme the pain, the better and longer the escape. Weird I know. It takes a certain breed of human to be able to cross that boundary. And once you cross it, you can never be the same. It becomes a huge turning point in one’s state of mind. Looking back, it was one of the defining moments in my life. 

So besides trying to pierce my own ear in 4th grade (foreshadowing lol) I was never really into pain until I was about 15 years old. My girlfriend at the time (who was probably frightened to death of me because I was a complete nut job LOL) had finally mustered up enough courage to separate herself from me. (Smart move on her part) This was after she repeatedly told me I needed help but I refused. Anyway, this had triggered very intense and horrifying delusions in my mind.  I didn’t realize it back then but after years of therapy and looking back, I do realize it now. So I had just gotten off of the phone with her on that cold night of my adolescence. I started flipping out like I always did back then. I needed to do something because I was just so paranoid and enraged and did not know how to expel this energy! I was alone in my room at about 2:30am on this school night. I remember this like it was yesterday. It was the first time I had thought about cutting myself to calm down.  I was so desperate at this point and did not know what else to do. I had no one to turn to and no one to talk to. This was the only thing that seemed like it would help. So I took out my knife and stared at it for like an hour. Contemplating on crossing that final boundary. So many things were running through my mind at this point. I cringe just thinking about it. I then just had enough, I cracked, and in a number of quick lashes, I cut myself in the most logical place I could think of… all of my knuckles. I then proceeded to rub all of the gushing blood on the door of my room, so if anybody asked, I would just day that I got mad and punched my door. From that moment on, my life had never been the same and was about to take a huge turn for the worse. My Self-Mutilation experiences would increase and become more severe for years to come and eventually lead to my attempted suicide.  These were the early warning signs that only few people in my life at the time recognized.  And deep in denial, I pushed them away because I refused to believe that I needed help. I should have realized there was a problem.

I'm Trying To Make It Count

I used to live in a delusional world back when I was sick from my paranoid schizophrenia. I strongly used to believe that everyone in my life (friends, family, girlfriends) were all conspiring against me with the cruel intention of ending my life. As time went on, this belief got stronger and stronger as I sank further and further into this delusional plot. For a period of about five years, I woke up everyday not giving a shit whether I made it through that day alive or not. And that is exactly how I lived my life. No conscience, no remorse, fearless of the consequences and welcoming the possibility of death with open arms (always knowing that it could happen at any minute and be a blissful release from the torture of this kind of life). Now it takes a certain type of switch to be turned on in the brain to live that way. And this usually comes from being put in a position where you have no choice but to think that way. It's just instinct. And once it is turned on, you can never be the same. Then… I faced the edge of my death and stepped over.

At this point after my suicide attempt… I actually did think I was dead. For about a year. My delusional world had gotten so bad, that I actually did believe that I was successful in killing myself, and I was dead, and in hell. Eternally suffering. Now when you think you are already dead, things like money, pain, personal relationships, food, etc have no value. This is the thing about schizophrenia… whatever you strongly believe and perceive… in fact… BECOMES YOUR REALITY. Dead and in hell was my reality. Now in the real world that everybody else lived in, I was just a few screws loose, off my rocker, whatever you wanna call it. Now here is the tricky part… When I started taking medication, the real world and the imaginary world were fighting against each other in my head and did not want to co-exist with one another. It was either alive or dead. Real or imagined. Sane or crazy. My choice.

Now I have to tell you, making that "CHOICE" and climbing my way back up to the real world was probably one of the most difficult things I ever had to do in my life. It took a long time to come to terms with the fact that a huge chunk of my life that was real to me was all imagined in my head and never really happened. To this day, that chunk of time is one huge, unanswered question. But I have to tell you, the main thing that helped me come back to the real world was that tiny little seed of remorse in the back of my mind. It had always been there but was just overshadowed by my illness for a long time. Then over the years of my recovery, that tiny seed has grown into the world that I create around myself now. Compassion, understanding, empathy, forgiveness, pacifism, self- awareness, etc. Now for all I know, this new world may be imagined as well, but I will definitely tell you, it feels a whole lot better to be here now than where I was. Time changes things. A mindset, a feeling, a motivation, an idea, no matter how big or small, can completely grow and or change into who you are and the type of world you choose to live in. Schizophrenic or not, delusional or not, hallucinating or not, we create our own world and it is what we perceive it to be. I am doing my best to try and make my own world a better place. As the days go by, my time is running out. I'm trying to make it count.

I Should Have Realized There Was A Problem (Pt.2)

Disclaimer- The stories in these blogs reflect the type of person I USED to be before I had started receiving treatment for my paranoid schizophrenia. I, in no way condone or approve of the type of behavior displayed in these stories I tell about my old life but rather try to simply state the idea that this is the person I used to be, and have since then learned from my mistakes and am in the process of turning my life around for the better. Part of my therapy is writing down these old stories as an attempt to take all of those negative things in my life and turn them into something positive and productive. So I want to thank you for supporting this positive cause by reading and being interested. It sincerely means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy reading the short story blogs I write about my life. -Joseph

So another time when I was a teenager I was at this party. It was a normal typical party type atmosphere. Adults were not home and were not going to be home for a few days. There was beer and drugs everywhere and a lot of teenage drama. We all go through it. It sucks. But for reasons due to my schizophrenia, these types of situations hit me a lot harder than most people.  And a lot of times it would drive me to separate myself from everyone. I would then start cutting and hitting myself (or similar things of that nature). This was a common practice of mine that for the most part I kept to myself.  However, there was one night in particular when I was sixteen years old that sticks out in my jumbled and fragmented memory where I actually told someone the nature of the types of things I had been doing.

It was a typical Friday night and I was really sick and fed up with everything and everyone around me. I had felt (from my delusions) that everyone around me was conspiring against me, turning on me, being nice to my face, and plotting on me in my absence.  I was seriously convinced (from my delusions) that all of my friends were plotting to torture and kill me. These thoughts consumed my existence everywhere I went, so as you can imagine, I was severely stressed out and horrified. In addition, there was word that my best friend at the time was going to hook up with my ex-girlfriend who had just broken up with me three weeks earlier. Between this and my mom having cancer at the time, I did not know what to do with myself.  I needed to go outside and get some air. I was borderline about to f***ing snap. I needed to calm myself down but didn’t know how.  So I’m downstairs on the patio away from everybody else at the party and got that sudden urge to cut myself again. I was really fighting it because I didn’t want everyone to think I was weird. That was something I was really insecure about back then. The thoughts in my head however, were so overwhelmingly chaotic and horrifying that I needed to do something. I could not just sit still and take it. I needed to do something to escape that horror and chaos in my mind. Out of frustration, I started pulling my own hair down to my face slowly which then evolved into me scratching my face with my nails. I did this over and over again until the whole side of my face was covered in blood. I had officially escaped my mind and felt better. Pain had taken over and all was calm now. I then walked inside (now with the calmness and bravery to face everything) and everyone started screaming “WHAT HAPPENED?!? ARE YOU OK?!!?” I simply and calmly told them that I fell down the stairs. Everyone was pretty freaked out for a minute but then shortly continued on with their nonsensical teenage drama-like drunkenness. Completely un-phased, my mental state was pretty much an ongoing joke between all of them. Who could blame them really? No one at that age really knows how to deal with those types of things.  Hell, I didn’t know how to deal with it myself. So anyways, one of my really close friends at the time (a different one than the one who was hooking up with my ex) , who knew me better than everybody else, followed me to the bathroom where I was going to clean myself up. He shut the door, made sure no one else was around and said to me, “You really didn’t fall down the stairs did you?” And me, knowing I could trust him, said “No I didn’t. I did it myself.”  And he said in shock,” NO WAY!” And then I said,” I’ll prove it to you.” I then proceeded to take a roll of staples and continue to gash the side of my face with it.” Blood was dripping off of me at this point. He was amazed and yet intrigued all at the same time. He then asked if he could punch me in the face. I said very calmly, ”Sure go right ahead.”  He then cocked his fist back and punched me straight in the bloody part of my face. I paused for a second, and him not knowing how I would react, hesitated for a second as well. And right before he was about to apologize for what he had just done, we both then immediately started laughing hysterically. This was the true beginning of a complex, but long lasting friendship. We both didn’t see it back then. But I should have realized there was a problem.

Keep Your Ego In Check

So back in 2002 before I started seriously putting out albums, I had been in and out of bands since about 1996. And every band I was in I thought that we were about to dominate the world. We were so full of ourselves and our heads were always so big and inflated that we usually could not fit through most doorways! (LOL)

Anyways, I had received word of a music conference that was going on in my city that industry pros were attending! And I thought… wow… I can record a demo, show it to them and get discovered! This is my ticket! They are going to be so blown away by my music that they will sign me right off the bat because I am the next huge thing! Little did I know that I was in for a huge ego check.

So how did I prepare? I recorded a demo of a poem that I did on a crappy 4-track tape deck recorder and brought it to the conference with hopes of fame and fortune. So there I was, in a room full of 100 musicians all with the same idea as me.  In front of the room was a table full of industry professionals giving their critiques one by one on each demo. I thought for sure everyone was going to love it. So then they play my demo. It’s the moment of truth! And what happens? Every single industry pro said to me (in front of everybody in the room) “Dude, you really suck! Do not quit your day job because you have absolutely no future in music. I am insulted just to even hear something this poorly thought out. You have no creativity whatsoever!”

I was heartbroken. All my dreams had come crashing down before me. I was extremely close to giving up. I could have gone two ways in this situation. I could have fed my ego and said, “What the hell do they know? I’m the next multiplatinum artist!!! I’ll show them!!!” Or…. I could say, “Wait a minute… maybe they do have a point. I NEED A LOT OF IMPROVEMENT.”  Then I took a long hard look at myself and realized that I wanted all of these dreams of guts and glory without having to seriously work for it! I was an idiot! My demo was crap and poorly produced. They were absolutely right! So then I thought, “What the hell do I know? I am just some punk kid that thinks he knows everything about the music business when in reality I know absolutely NOTHING!!”

At that point for the first time in my life I actually got the drive to want to learn something. I never ever got good grades in school so this was going to be a huge challenge.  But I’ll tell you this… every year I attended again… took their criticism… and went back the following year with a new demo and got a little bit more respect. Fast forward some odd years later… I am doing much better but will NEVER stop learning how to improve.  Keep your ego in check.

I Should Have Realized There Was A Problem (Pt.3)

Disclaimer- The stories in these blogs reflect the type of person I USED to be before I had started receiving treatment for my paranoid schizophrenia. I, in no way condone or approve of the type of behavior displayed in these stories I tell about my old life but rather try to simply state the idea that this is the person I used to be, and have since then learned from my mistakes and am in the process of turning my life around for the better. Part of my therapy is writing down these old stories as an attempt to take all of those negative things in my life and turn them into something positive and productive. So I want to thank you for supporting this positive cause by reading and being interested. It sincerely means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy reading the short story blogs I write about my life. -Joseph

So another thing I used to love to do in high school was go to concerts. I was a concert junkie! I really loved the music but that was not the main reason I went. If you've read parts one and two of this series of blogs, it is no secret that I was into Self-Mutilation back in those days. Like I said, any way I could escape the horror and chaos of my own mind, I was all for it. Well, besides cutting myself like I described in "I Should Have Realized There Was A Problem Parts 1 & 2," I also used to like to go to concerts with the intent of having people beat the s**t out of me. You know… the mosh pit. It was my socially acceptable way of having people mangle me, and inflicting pain upon myself. If I were to just simply try to start a fight in a public place like that, I would get arrested. Either that or it would get broken up too quick before I would experience any serious pain. And besides, most of the time during that period of my life when I would try to start a fight, majority of the time people did not want to get involved. This was because I was never the type to attack and throw the first punch (Unless I was punching or cutting myself while anticipating fighting them right in front of their face). Most of the time I would threaten, flip out a bit, and people just seemed to not want to get involved (Most likely because they probably sensed that I was more than just angry). They probably thought to themselves, "Man, this guy is a little off, he must have a few screws loose, I am just going to walk away before something really bad happens". And knowing how I was back then, I am really glad that was how it went down most of the time because I could have gotten into some serious trouble if… 1... I messed with the wrong person who was just as mentally screwed up as me, or… 2... I could have seriously hurt someone and not even realized that I was the one in the wrong until it was too late.

So anyway, before I trailed off a bit, when I was at a concert, unlike being in a fight, when I was in the mosh pit, I would never fight back. I would simply just walk to the center, try to stand as still as I could while everyone around me was punching and kicking me in the face. While all of this was going on I would just simply look straight ahead with a cold hard focused stare in my eyes… staring right at the stage that I wish I could someday be on. I would stare through it almost. Then eventually, as you could imagine I would get knocked to the ground because I was usually the smallest guy there (HaHa) At that point, usually a big football player type dude, twice my size, would pick me up off of the ground because I would be too dazed to do it myself. They would look me straight in the eye and ask me if I was OK. Every time I would reply by staring straight ahead of them…almost right through them… not say a word…. proceed to jump right back in the center of the pit …and continue to get mangled. I should have realized there was a problem.

Listen You Will Learn More

So have you ever met somebody and all they do is talk about themselves? It is extremely annoying isn't it? It is so hard for you to even get five words in without them trying to top your story in some way or somehow trying to relate what you said back to a story about themselves. It is a general fact though. Most people like to talk about themselves. I am guilty of this as well. If you get me going on the subject of "Music" or "Schizophrenia" I can talk for hours! (LOL) There is nothing wrong with that though. I used to be the type of person that would talk about my self for hours! However this really got the best of me at one time.

So, one time I started feeling really connected to the people around me because they were just so inquisitive and wanted to know everything about me. I had opened up my entire life story to them and they knew me inside and out. I felt really loved. But there was one thing I realized after a long time of surrounding myself with these people… I knew absolutely NOTHING about them! I talked about myself so much that I never listened to what they had to say. I never knew their view on life (morals, values etc.) It wasn't until later on that I slowly started to realize that they were not really a good group of people. They did a lot of messed up manipulative type stuff to each other, as I would watch on the sidelines. You know, who's sleeping with whose girlfriend or boyfriend, and who's screwing this person over for money, and who's beating up this person for this ridiculous reason. I swear… it was like a zoo! And I was caught right up in it! After a while, I slowly started realizing that I had become one of them! It wasn't until I had a bunch of huge falling outs and damaged relationships that I separated myself from these people. Then deep in solitude, I took a long hard look at myself and suddenly realized that I should stop talking about myself so much when I'm around other people. Instead, I should be more inquisitive and want to learn and soak in as much of my surroundings as I can. That way I can evaluate other people and my surroundings better. I still might be in the heart of chaos but I will definitely know my safe zones and my limits with each new person that I meet and exactly what they are capable of. Life is safer that way.

So in conclusion, I've learned in my most recent years that the less self absorbed I am, and the more I let people talk about themselves, the more I can see how genuine or (excuse my language) full of shit they really are. Listen you will learn more.

I Should Have Realized There Was A Problem (Pt.4)

Disclaimer- The stories in these blogs reflect the type of person I USED to be before I had started receiving treatment for my paranoid schizophrenia. I, in no way condone or approve of the type of behavior displayed in these stories I tell about my old life but rather try to simply state the idea that this is the person I used to be, and have since then learned from my mistakes and am in the process of turning my life around for the better. Part of my therapy is writing down these old stories as an attempt to take all of those negative things in my life and turn them into something positive and productive. So I want to thank you for supporting this positive cause by reading and being interested. It sincerely means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy reading the short story blogs I write about my life. -Joseph

So back when I was at my sickest from my schizophrenia, around age 19, I used to live in this apartment with two roommates whom I didn't know. I was totally that creepy guy that never said a word and only came out of my room if I was leaving the apartment or going to the bathroom. I barely ever conversed with them. I kept to myself for the most part. I was very antisocial at this point in my life unless I had a good reason to speak. And usually when I did speak, the types of things would come out of my mouth were usually the product of years of built up aggression from the negative symptoms of my schizophrenia. Borderline ready for anything and on the brink of suicide, I was a time bomb waiting to go off at this point. It was about one month before my big car accident that I always refer to in most of my stories. So anyway as you can imagine, I was very on edge. And one day, my roommates were about to get a big surprise of exactly what type of dude I really was when provoked. I'm sure they'll never forget it.

It was about 4:00am in the morning and I had to be up for work in 45 minutes. Of course I didn't sleep a drop. I suddenly heard this loud scratching noise in my gravel driveway. My roommate and his three friends had been drinking and they were screeching the car back and forth in the driveway. I was extremely mad that this was keeping me awake (as if I could sleep anyway lol) So I ran outside in the middle of September in just simply a pair of shorts and punched the hood of this guy's car with both of my fists and said, "What the f**k is wrong with you!" They all paused, stopped dead in their tracks and immediately apologized up and down. They then tried to calm me down. Thinking they had diffused the situation, they all then laid down on the couches in the living room to go to sleep themselves. I walked back into my room and again, felt the horror and chaos in my mind start to scream at me. I could not silence it. I was so fired up that I had to end it right then and there! So what did I do?? I turned my stereo all the way up with the most heavy music I could find in my collection, walked into the room they were in, looked at all of them and said" Now you guys can't F***IN sleep!!!" I paced back and forth right in front of them just waiting for someone to F**k with me. As if that wasn't enough to calm down the thoughts in my head, I then walked into my room, grabbed a wire hanger and held it over the kitchen stove until it was glowing. Anticipating that one of them was going to attack me, I then stood in the middle of the living room, looked directly at all of them and started branding myself. (Still just waiting for someone to f**k with me) I was ready for anything at that point. Psyching myself up pretty much. That was the deepest cut I ever made and still have the scars on my left arm to this day. I can't even imagine what these guys must have thought at that moment. They all just sat there in complete stiffness and silence. I remember what was going through my mind and it all seemed perfectly logical to me at the time. It wasn't until years later when I look back at that morning and think to myself " Wow what the hell was wrong with me?" Talk about being on edge. I cringe when I think about these types of things that I used to do. I didn't see it back then, but I should have realized there was a problem.

I Should Have Realized There Was A Problem (Pt.5)

Disclaimer- The stories in these blogs reflect the type of person I USED to be before I had started receiving treatment for my paranoid schizophrenia. I, in no way condone or approve of the type of behavior displayed in these stories I tell about my old life but rather try to simply state the idea that this is the person I used to be, and have since then learned from my mistakes and am in the process of turning my life around for the better. Part of my therapy is writing down these old stories as an attempt to take all of those negative things in my life and turn them into something positive and productive. So I want to thank you for supporting this positive cause by reading and being interested. It sincerely means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy reading the short story blogs I write about my life. -Joseph

So Back in the sickest years of my schizophrenia, one of my main coping mechanisms was self-mutilation. Like I said in my previous blogs, there was always so much horror and chaos going on in my thoughts from all my delusions and hallucinations that physical pain was my only escape from my own torturous mind. But, after a while people would start asking me about my scars and started thinking that I was a creepy, weird dude. That was something that I was very insecure about back in those days; so another one of my socially acceptable ways of mutilating myself was getting tattooed. Which brings me to a funny yet crazy story.

So there was this one place that I used to get all my tattoos as a teenager. They knew me pretty well there because I would always come in and get the most extreme tattoos. You know, like blacking out my entire leg and things to that degree. Then after a while, I started slipping into insanity and my tattoo ideas would become more strange and unusual. So anyways, this one time I had an idea for a back tattoo. I had secluded myself to my room in my apartment and didn't sleep for about a week. In that seclusion, I came up with, what in my mind was the "code" behind the universe. It was a 13-foot long scroll on graph paper filled with my number combinations with all of the numerical patterns highlighted. This thing was a work of art let me tell you. Now me, being the nut job that I was and thinking it was my duty to save the world, I tattooed a portion of that scroll on my back. In my mind, the tattoo was going to make me the "controller" of the code, which, by the way, I ended up covering up years later. The guys at the tattoo shop thought I was nuts! But a couple of weeks later they were in for an even bigger surprise. (HaHa)

So lets fast-forward about two weeks. I sped up to the tattoo shop in my pick up truck, rip the license plate off with my one hand, grab my laundry from the passenger seat, a piece of paper that I had written number combinations on, $333 dollars, and a black pen. I then run up to the door of the shop and frantically started knocking. The owner comes out and is like," What's up Joe?" I said," The spirits are after me and they are tying to kill me because I am invincible and I know the secrets of the universe. They are trying to stop me from telling the world! Give all of these items to my tattoo artist and he'll know what to do. We are going to save the world." I then handed him my license plate, my laundry, that piece of paper, the $333 dollars, and that black pen. This guy looked at me very puzzled like," Uh, Ok dude." And then I said," And one more thing… everybody bleeds blue." He again looked at me even more puzzled and was like," Uh… What?" I then looked him straight in the eye, took that black pen out of his hand very calmly, and stabbed myself an inch deep into my arm, twisted that pen to the one side to open up the wound and make it bigger and then said very adamantly," Everybody bleeds blue." The owner, then with a very frightened look on his face, slowly walked backwards away from me and was like," OK man, I understand." I then jumped back into my truck, screeched my tires and sped off into the night. Now I did a ton of things like this in that period of my life. It really makes me cringe when I think about them. And I'm sure that the people that experienced me in that mental state will cringe at the thought as well. I didn't know it then, and was too far gone by that point to see it. Not even when I lied down in bed that night and stared at the ceiling thinking to myself," What the hell did I just do today." Did I think anything was wrong. I should have realized there was a problem.

I Just Love McDonalds Cheeseburgers

OK so you never really know when you are in a position to do a good deed for someone. And when the opportunity comes, either you do that good deed, or you selfishly walk away. It all depends on your character. Well let me tell you about a certain experience that I went through when I was at my craziest and you be the judge of my character.

OK, so back when I was really sick with my schizophrenia, I had reached a point where I really went off of my rocker. (Surprise Surprise LOL) One of the things I did was take all of the money out of my bank account (every single penny) and just started giving it away to strangers. Trust me, this is about to get good. So one of my reasons behind this was that, by that time, I was so delusional from my illness that I thought I was Jesus and it was my duty to save the world. (probably wouldn't have put a dent in solving our world's problems with the little amount of money that was in my bank account, but it was all I had, and it's the thought that counts!!!) Anyways, I thought that I could control the universe through this mathematical coded language that I invented so as you can imagine, money had no value to me at this point LOL! A typical thing I would do at this point in my life was buy someone a gift (Like a CD or something), give them a piece of paper with their corresponding "code" written on it (this was based off of my language that I invented) and I would also give them like a $100 dollar bill. I would then say to them something along the lines of, "I am Jesus, I am saving you, this is your code to every unanswered question in your life, and I am going to kill myself to save the world." Ridiculous I know. But the scary thing was that I really meant and believed it!

Anyways, so along my journeys, one of my stops was McDonalds. I had pulled up to the drive thru window and ordered one (count it) one cheeseburger. I then pulled up to the window and paid for it. Thing was, I gave the cashier a $100 dollar bill and immediately started to pull away. The cashier being astounded lunged half of his body out of the window and into my truck and said" Hey Man… Don't you want your change?!?!?" And I said," No man… You keep it!" He then said," What are you f***in crazy or something!?!?" I immediately replied "Na man I Just love McDonalds Cheese Burgers!!!"