Episode 144: Dad Was My Meth Dealer: Listener Seth
Raised by parents who talked about God a lot, the 29 year-old opens up about his self-hatred and the hypocrisy he saw in a mom who couldn’t parent him and a trucker dad who was either disappearing for months or dealing meth in their small Wyoming town.
Welcome to episode 144 with my guest listener Seth. I’m Paul Gilmartin, this is the Mental Illness Happy Hour, an hour or two of honesty about all the battles in our heads from medically diagnosed conditions, past traumas and sexual dysfunction to every day compulsive negative thinking. This show is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical counseling. It’s not a doctor’s office. It’s more like a waiting room that doesn’t suck. The website for the show is Mentalpod.com. That’s also the twitter name you can follow me at. Please go check out the website, all kinds of good stuff there. You can read blogs, you can take surveys and see how other people filled out surveys. You can support the show with a donation, you can join the forum or you can just bring that web page up and just stare at it. Just stare at it and just let your mind wander. Let a good four-five hours go by and then take a nap. I find that that is a great substitute for going to the gym and working out. There is nothing to be said—I’m bailing on this bit, I’m bailing on it. I want to read a letter that I got from a listener named Tiffany and she writes, “Hi Paul.” This is in regards to the Erica Rhodes episode and she writes, “Hi Paul, I have bipolar two as well and had hair issues with all the meds like Erica. I finally got good advice and stopped losing hair. Please let Erica know that daily Zinc and Selenium supplements negate that side effect. I take each every day with my meds and it works great. It’s the only thing that makes me be able to take meds. As bad as it is, I rather be crazy than bald.” And I forwarded that to Erica and she said that the supplements that she takes are doing the trick too. This is a struggle in a sentence survey filled out by a guy named Crow and about his PTSD he writes: “If I scream hard enough and long enough then someone will eventually save me.” Same survey filled out by Ruth Ann. About her depression she says: “Feels like a negative filibuster in my head, exhausting.” About her anxiety: “Primal, wordless, instinctual fear manifesting today by being unable to get out of the car.” She should listen to the Erica Rhodes interview. Erica also experienced that. Mine is much more convenient. Mine is just unable to get out of bed. I don’t have to waste any running around to where I’m going to be struck still. And then about grief, which we’ve never had anybody really describe before Ruth Ann says: “Pure grief over time is like being homesick but never getting picked up at the end of the day.” Same survey filled out by a woman who calls herself Lost in Herself, about being a sex crime victim she writes: “I feel like a child staring at an image of her adult self without knowing who it is and terrified to find out.” And then from Kyle, same survey he writes about his depression: “Longing for excitement but a passion for melting into the couch with self-loathing.” Oh my god did that ring my fucking bell. I relate to that so, so much. About his sex addiction: “An orgasm makes me feel like I’m in control” and about his co-dependency: “Your face reminds me of when you made me feel worthy to be alive. Take what you need in exchange for that reminder. I don’t want to be alone and dead.” And then I want to end it with a happy moment survey filled out by Mike G, and he writes: “My six-year-old son just walked out of a birthday party with a balloon. The balloon got away from him and floated away. His friend that was walking with him, without a thought, handed him her balloon saying you can have mine. My son said ‘thank you’ and she responded with ‘I just want you to be happy.’ The purity of that melted my heart.
P: I’m here with Seth who literally just walked in the door. He’s a listener who I’ve communicated with via twitter and a couple of emails back and forth. Where do we begin? We’ve talked about music before. You’re a musician. Is that a hobby or is a professional thing?
S: It’s getting professional.
P: That’s awesome.
S: It started out as, you know, I’ve been playing guitar for 19 years now.
P: And you’re how old?
P: Wow! so--
S: Yeah, I started when I was 10.
P: And what – I love that you have a Never Not Funny t-shirt on.
S: I have nothing but podcast t-shirts.
P: That’s awesome. We’re here at LA podfest. It’s the first night of it and where would be a good place to start with your story and what’s going on with you and what you struggle with. Give me some broad strokes of the things you struggle with.
S: Well, addiction. I got a horribly addictive personality inherited from the parents. Alcoholism, heart problems from smoking and drinking, doing drugs.
P: And where are you in those things right now?
S: Just got to my five years of no meth September 15.
S: And forgot which made it like an even better day. I was like, ‘Oh! I just--my sober day just went by.’ My sober—I shouldn’t say sober, that’s not the right word.
P: Why is that?
S: Well, ‘cuz I still, I drink.
P: Oh, OK.
S: You know, socially.
P: Really?! So that’s not an issue. Cuz it’s pretty rare that I meet somebody who puts down one addiction and is able to handle another substance non-addictively.
S: Yeah. Well, I started getting bad with the drinking for about a month. It was about a month of every day, having a drink every single day by myself. And then I went from that to finally saying ‘cut it out’ and then I quit drinking for three months. Then went to party and had some fun--It’s all casual. We just played Cards Against Humanity with drinks and everything like that. There’s five of us in one room. It’s already been a blast here.
P: Oh, you mean the pod-fest.
S: Yeah. We all got in last night.
P: Oh cool!
S: Yeah. We all meet up—we’re all fans of Walking the Room. We’re all (can’t decipher).
P: An awesome podcast and probably the tightest community of listeners that I’ve ever seen.
S: We literally make this our calling to see each other once a year.
P: It’s not unlike Deadheads or Fish fans.
S: I know. And I had a friend of mine say ‘You guys are like fucking Juggalos. You go fuck yourself.’
P: By the way, if I can plug a great book by a former guest on this show. His name is Nathan Rabin. He was a former head writer for the Onion AV Club. And he has a great book and the fucking name escapes me right now but I read it and it’s great! He follows Fish and Juggalos for an entire summer.
S: Oh, what is that called? I just heard about that too.
P: I know, I know. I apologize, Nathan, if you’re listening. But if you just google Nathan Rabin Juggalos Fish it’ll come up. But it’s a great book and he approached the thing with such an open mind and an open heart it’s—I think if you’re a listener to this podcast or just, you know, somebody who’s interested in music and fans you’ll find it to be an interesting read. And it all kind of coincides too with him having like a meltdown in the middle of all of it. But it’s a great book. So you’re a Walking The Room fan which I am as well.
S: Yeah, I’ve heard you on there. You’re always fantastic.
P: Oh, thanks. I just love what those guys do. They’re so funny and they’re so honest. It’s great. So can I ask you, have you ever been to a support group for your meth addiction?
S: No. It was basically me moving away from my dealers; I was living with my dealer. We’ll get --
P: Awesome and horrifying at the same time.
S: It gets worse, we’ll get to it.
P: Well let’s get to it right now.
S: Let’s see. I’m trying to think of where to start, trying to be chronologically—I talk a lot. I have a horr—I wanted to start with one quick fear, I’m afraid I’m going to talk way too much, get off track because my brain, it’s like there’s a dead hamster in there and that fucking wheel is spinning way too fast.
P: That’s addiction, man. That’s the gasoline—
S: It really is. I smoke cigarettes and I drink and cigarettes has been the hardest to stop. I stopped for three days and was vomiting and crying and like I can’t—but when I quit meth it was easy because I wanted to.
P: But what—you know the first thought that strikes me is, what are you doing to deal with the anxiety and the fear and the discomfort in your skin that is what drives the addictions. You know, that’s the gasoline in my opinion--
S: It is, it is--
P: That’s the gasoline that the addictions run on. So what are doing, are you doing anything other than just white-knuckling it?
S: Just listening to a podcast, music. I’ve always had head phones, most of my life now and I work, I work two jobs. I work 14 days and then get two off.
P: And what’s the job?
S: One is a night clerk at a hotel five days a week. I’ve been doing that for six years.
P: That’s some awesome time for your mind to spin.
S: 11:00pm to 7:00am. But like I said, I can bring—I bring my play station Vita and I have head phones and my laptop. Like I’ve got--
P: How do you know when a guest comes in?
S: Oh, I keep it low.
P: Oh, OK--
S: And I keep my eyes out all the time. They’ve scared me many times. I’ve had people sneak up and tap me on the back of the shoulder. And that was the one time I swore at a guest, Jesus Christ!
P: And what’s the other job?
S: The other job is, I am a bar back at the world famous Jake’s tavern in Gillette, Wyoming.
P: You live in Wyoming?
S: Gillette, Wyoming. Yes.
P: I didn’t know that. For some reason I was thinking you were just outside the LA area. So, let’s talk about your childhood. What was it like growing up in Wyoming? What was your family life like?
S: Well, it started out idyllic. My first memories were just sitting underneath the kitchen table with my cat watching moms get perms, dads drinking beers. Just—it was perfect. It seemed like it was always sunny, just nice.
P: Were you kind of a loner?
S: No. My cousins and my aunt and uncle lived down the street so we just had family get-togethers every day.
P: And how far apart in Wyoming, rural Wyoming— was it rural Wyoming?
S: It was about 16,000 people when I was a kid. It’s up to 36,000 now.
P: So how far apart are houses in there? Can you walk to other people’s houses?
S: Oh yeah, yeah. It’s easy. I used to walk everywhere in that town.
P: I always picture Wyoming, I always picture people living 30 miles apart and 100 bears in between.
S: There is a town called Rosette not far out which has the strip club, Bryan’s Place. It is fucking gross. But that town is ranch houses where everybody is long distance apart. But no, there’s lots and lots of houses and apartments.
P: And by the way, I love that you said that it was gross because I don’t think there’s a single listener that didn’t picture it and think ‘that place is probably gross’--
S: That’s Bryan’s Place, that place is probably gross—and the worst part was when it first opened. A friend of mine is like, “Oh, you remember Holly?” I’m like ‘yeah’, he’s like “she works there!” I’m like ‘oh god.’ How can you not bump into those girls that you knew growing up? It’s, you know, they’re not gonna commute two hours. I suppose some do. Yeah, that was the weirdest thing. I got drugged there once and it was awful. I hate strip clubs. I’ve been to two in my life and I hate them. I get that feeling like feeling sad, like suddenly I’m like ‘that’s someone’s daughter.’ Like, that’s all I can think about.
P: That, and the other thing that bums me out, I mean clearly, you know, I enjoy the naked female body, but the other thing that bothers me in strip clubs is that they talk to you like you’re a little boy. And sometime I’ve said, ‘you know, look, I’m not one of these guys that think that you’re into me. I know this is a gig for you. There’s so many things that are—and that’s the thing that’s weird when you find yourself in a strip club and turned on by somebody stripping is, there’re so many things in your brain that are shouting ‘this is, you know’—and I’m not shitting on strippers. I know there are strippers that enjoy what they do and are proud of their body and it’s empowering.
S: Yeah, I still have a friend who does it.
P: But there are so many it’s-- It’s sad.
S: It’s financial desperation and there was some type of abuse and it’s such a weird mix of pleasure and sadness at the same time.
P: That is the worst feeling in the world, probably even more than masturbating.
S: Oh yeah, yeah.
P: Although I’m getting to the point where I don’t feel shame about masturbation.
S: It’s just a release. I had to teach myself—I was raised—childhood—I have to not get off point. My brain is horrible.
P: Please don’t apologize and I know that’s ironic coming from me. But go ahead. You were raised—were you raised in a conservative--
S: Yeah but I didn’t know about politics at all until I was like 22.
P: But I mean--
S: But yeah, they’re all voting Republican, very staunch Christians except for my dad. My dad is just mean. He was drinking a lot back then and this—when my mom and dad got together my mom found god through my dad’s—my grandma and she’s the sweetest woman in the world, one of the real Christians I still really appreciate cuz she’s so nice--
P: She walks the walk--
S: She’s giving, constantly giving. Like that’s all she’s done. And she saved my mom from drug addiction, (cant’ decipher) nowhere and my mom and him met and my mom stopped and went to church every day and my dad did not. He continued to do drugs behind the family’s back and drink and--
P: Does he still?
S: He’s been sober from booze for about 25 years or so--
P: What is he not sober from?
S: Meth. Meth and weed.
P: Wow! He sounds like he picked the wrong one to--
P: Well, weed no. I don’t think weed is necessarily--
S: Yeah. He said when he was a teenager that “I’ll never stop smoking weed” kind of thing.
P: But why—meth seems like the most unmanageable of the addictions--
S: That’s the weird thing. When I was a kid my dad was a trucker so he would--
S: Right. There’s where the meth comes in, right? He’s the stereotypical trucker that smokes meth.
P: I can imagine for a trucker meth is in many ways a curse and a godsend.
S: Right. You can get anywhere anytime and never sleep, and rarely eat and…
P: I always think about when a big truck passes me, especially the ones that are the two part ones, where one swaying a little bit. And I always think ‘Is that guy on meth?’
S: 80% chance.
P: Oh my G-d that terrifies me.
S: He had—all his friends were truckers that did it too. This is all oblivious to me. I was an oblivious happy-go-lucky kid that just loved playing x-men in the backyard with my friends.
P: So when did things begin to change for you? When did it begin to get less than idyllic? And was there a feeling--
S: Oh, and I was in Christian school and my mom was one of the teachers as well.
P: Oh wow! So what was your relationship like with your parents outwardly and kind of inwardly and emotionally for you?
S: When I was little, my dad was the greatest and my mom was the greatest. Just loved them to death, they loved me right back. My brothers are both half brothers and they gave me a lot—one’s six years older the other is eight years older so I got picked on a lot. Also (can’t decipher) the baby, he can run to his mom and mom will protect him, kinda, you know. I remember all that and being, and then stop running to mom and all that stuff. I learned a lot of stuff really fast and was doing good but my dad, when he’d leave for trucking, he’d come back the same day every time. He’d leave for a week and he’d be back for a week and the day he’d come back I’d sit on the stairs out front, on the porch and he’d show up and I’d run up to his truck on my bike and say hello. When I’d--
P: And how would he react when you would--
S: Oh, big smile, he’d catch me, ‘hey bud’, gimme big hug. He was very nice, good dad at the time.
P: Is he not a good dad now?
S: No. See, when I turned eight I went out there to see him come home and he didn’t show up. And then he didn’t show up for nine months.
S: And during those nine months, for about three of those months I was that sad little boy sitting on the porch every day.
P: Oh no--
S: Just saying, and not mad or thinking he’s-- he’s going to be here today. Today’s the day. Like, I never lost hope. Which makes it-it hurts now. It didn’t hurt then for some reason. I just-he’s going to come back guys. My brother’s like, ‘no he’s a piece of shit, he’s never coming back’. And my mom’s just, she’s like yeah, sure he’s coming back and she’s holding back tears. And then after those three months I’m like, I guess he’s not coming back. Oh well, then just kind of moved on. Like, I didn’t let it affect me for some reason. But then after nine months I started being like, he just doesn’t love us anymore. And then he showed back up.
P: What was the reason he gave, or you mom gave for him not coming back?
S: She didn’t know. She’s like, he just stopped showing up.
P: Did he—was he talking?
S: No. He cut contact, just disappeared. Completely disappeared. And turned out he was in town, like, still in Gillette with another woman, doing drugs. He’d been off his drugs for a little while and he just, kinda was like, I’ve gotta get away. And, he did that, came back, apologized. We had our big prayer, devotion in the room, talked to god, everything is going to work out. And I was so happy when he came back to us. Like, ‘See I told you he’d come back.’ He was back for a couple of weeks and those two weeks he drank like a monster. Just Jack Daniels a full bottle every night and he’s scream at my mom. I remember running up there when I was nine years old and just telling them both to shut up. That sad little scene of the little boy saying stop fucking fighting. You know, you’re making me sad kind of thing. And they stopped. When my mom told me later he’s like yeah, he was slapping me so thank you for coming up. It’s like a switch went off in him. He’s always been—it’s a life he’s always had and I didn’t know.
P: He just hid it well--
S: And mom never told us either. Like it was all—cuz it’s a Christianity, nobody tells about their feelings. It’s just as bad as—like it’s like Irish Catholics how they don’t talk anything out they get it out with fists. He never said mean things to me or my brothers really. He was really mean to my mom.
P: What did that feel like?
S: Awful, because my mom was my fucking hero, basically, because she stuck through this. She was my teacher at school and just seemed like a rock. But my mom was dying inside. She’s now on lots of medication for depression and things like that.
P: Was there a fantasy in your head about how the situation can be resolved, something you would do? Would you fantasize about being big enough to beat up your dad or--
S: See no, I didn’t know he was hurting her. I just heard him yell-- all I could hear was screaming. One night I finally got sick of it, I told them to shut up and they stopped. And my mom said ‘you saved me, he was hurting me.’
P: And how old were you when that happened?
S: About nine, yeah. This was after he came back so I was nine. And also, as a kid my mom was like ‘pray, talk to god’ and I would every night and tell her ‘no one’s talking back. I don’t know why you keep telling me to talk to somebody.’ She’s like ‘no, he’ll talk, it’s in your heart.’ And I’m like, Okay. I go to my room, try again. I’m like, no, there’s nobody here, just talking to myself again. Like I just never felt it, ever. Even though I was believing in everything, like all that stuff was true. It was fairytales. All of it’s a great fairytale for a little boy is school. It was during all this drinking, and the yelling and the fighting my brother- my oldest brother Matt—he’ll get talked about a lot too, he’s got rage issues, massive rage issues and has about 16 guns--
S: And he had a fully loaded 50 caliber desert eagle ‘cuz my dad was coming drunk every night and fighting.
P: Desert eagle, by the way, is the most powerful handgun available. I mean, a 50 caliber handgun--
S: He had a 50 caliber and a 45 caliber. I shot that one and it broke my nose.
P: 50 caliber is normally what you would use for long range sniping. Like when you see a machine gun mounted on top of a light armored vehicle, that’s a 50 caliber machine gun. So that and a handgun is like--
S: And hollow point bullets that he makes. He has his own little reloading station. He taught me how to do it. That was our one bonding session when I was a kid. He taught me how to make shotgun shells and bullets and stuff ‘cuz he had his little reloading station. But he sat there one night, I came upstairs to the living room and he’s sitting there just cleaning his gun quietly. I say ‘Matt, you alright?’ He’s like ‘yeah, yeah, I’m alright dude.’ It was like the middle of the night. I’m like ‘is dad home yet?’ He’s like ‘no. you just go on to bed.’ I was like ‘OK.’ He told me later, as soon as he was done cleaning, he had one bullet in the chamber and he just sat there pointed at the front door waiting. He’s like ‘if he would have came in the door, I would have killed him.’ He was 15, something like that.
P: And is it because he knew he was hurting your mom?
S: Yeah, and I think he knew more than us ‘cuz he was the oldest. I think he knew more of what was really happening.
P: He probably also knew how much your dad was failing you--
S: He was failing him when he first came in.
S: And Matt felt like he never—these days he’s become a rage monster and went from never drinking to full bottles of Wild Turkey. Literally full jump, no gradual buildup. And he just screamed at people. I remember he called me once and said ‘mom fucking loves you more than anyone else. She doesn’t love me. She doesn’t love anybody more than you.’ He’s fucking just crying. And I’m like ‘Matt, that’s not true. She loves all of us.’ He’s like ‘fuck you! No she— just losing his mind. He tried to choke me out of my 26th birthday. We were having drinks at my birthday party and he got to talking how G-d’s fixed his life again. And I laughed ‘cuz this is like the fifth or sixth time he’s had to go to G-d. And I was like ‘Matt, this is the sixth fucking time. You need to go elsewhere and go to like a support group or something like that ‘cuz there ain’t no fucking G-d. And that argument started going and I got real mean. So I was being just as mean back but then finally hands are on my throat.
P: Was he reminding you of your dad?
S: Yeah, a little bit. And his dad too. His dad’s not even a drinker he’s just a sociopath kind of guy.
P: Like how so?
S: He’s a marriage counselor that’s been divorced six times. Six fucking times. Still does it to this day. And he’s just the weirdest dude. Like he feels nothing. Isn’t that the sociopath?
P: Sociopath, from what I understand, is somebody who lacks empathy for most people but there are a few people that they have empathy for, sometimes family, whereas a psychopath feels no empathy towards anybody, even family.
S: My two brothers finally confronted him about—‘cuz he left too. That’s why I think that my other brothers took that really hard. They lost two dads. And when he came back and my brothers talked to him, had the big talk they’re like ‘you know you broke our hearts and we’re hurting’ he just said ‘OK’ like ‘I had to do what I had to do’ Just big smile. I hate you Jim. You’re a fucking dick. Both of our dads, all my friend’s dads, they all fucking failed their fucking kids. We all had good moms. It was weird that we grew up around that. Everybody had one mom and an awful dad that was rarely there. So everybody had a way to bond that way. But, like I said, after that night he left again. He disappeared for another like six months and then came back. Disappeared for three months and came back. He would just come back for a week or two with a new job and another forgiveness circle.
P: Was there an arc to how you felt about his happening?
S: I stopped being—my dad’s awesome and started to get to the point where I’m like starting to see a pattern here. I know I’m little and—I’m starting to see something here. He’s missed the last three birthdays and Christmases. He was gone for the big ones and then he’d show up for a week or two, gone for all the big stuff again. Then he was gone for two years. And when I turned 12 or 13, showed up in his truck, wouldn’t come inside, called my mom to his semi and said “I want a divorce.” My mom said “OK” and I was hiding by the truck so they didn’t know I was there. And he just said ‘I want a divorce and my mom said “OK. I thought so. It’s for the best. When do you want to do it?” And he says “As soon as possible.” “OK.” He’s like “Ok, well, get out!” I was leaning against the truck and she cried and ran off and I just stared at him as he sat there and then just drove away. And I felt like my heart just died and I was angry. I wasn’t sad, I was fucking mad. It stopped being like crying every night because dad’s not coming home. It’s like fuck him, I hope he dies. And it stayed that way until I turned 16. I was at a church rally, my mom finally convinced me to get baptized. I got dunked in water in clothes. I’m changed. But that night I had the big huge breakthrough, because those kind of church groups, there’s good sometimes. They got me to, like, forgive him and stop—I lost the hate in my heart and felt so good.
P: That’s awesome.
S: I was like Oh, I’m fucking free. Thankfully I was like, if I see him again I won’t want to—I love him, I love my dad. And I’m crying and I’m crying. That night we go to the Burger King drive-through and there’s his Cadillac in front of us. My mom was like ‘It’s god, it’s god.’ I’m like, I don’t care what it is, I’m going to go say hi. Went and said hi, got his phone number and then spend almost every day over at his house smoking weed, smoking cigarettes, just doing all those things I can’t do at home: swearing, listening to the music I want to listen to. See, he was basically a buddy that had the good stuff so we just hung and out and smoked weed and, you know, acted like teenagers. And he took me to a Metallica concert for my 16th birthday. Best thing he’s ever done for me, because Metallica is probably still my favorite band.
P: So what did it feel like then when you became, you know, getting high buddies with your dad?
S: It started out as weird because I was kind of hiding it from him in his house, smoking weed downstairs. He’s like ‘Hey why don’t you join me, I got some too.’ This is when I found out. That’s when I’m like that’s why—he does drugs. I didn’t know! We just never talked about any of this. Nothing ever got serious. I showed him Metallica, he got into—it was that kind of—we were just bonding all over again but with the worst possible way. He quit drinking, he had been sober for a while, we were connected but then I kinda moved into his house instead of living with my mom. My mom was getting very sad and knew that I was smoking and was very upset and then just kind of lost me. I just kind of lived with my dad for a year. His grandmother owns the house that we all grew up in. It’s one of the biggest houses in town, it’s very nice. One of the first ones too. It’s an old place. He was getting thrown out of the house that he was at and my grandma—he begged to his mother again to let him take the house back from my mom. He’s like ‘you guys can still stay here and live with me.’ And my mom, ‘no, no, we’ll just go.’ And we moved all our stuff out and went to live with my brother but then I went and moved in there. And the house I grew up in became the druggiest of drug dens. Because I went as a little boy being-- during all of this, when he was gone and stuff before he even left I was afraid of everything. I thought everything was going to kill me, which was weird. I had nightmares every night about drowning and I don’t know where that came from. Still kind of scared of water because of that. Spiders scare the shit out of me. I thought balloons-- I was scared of balloons as a little boy because people popped them. I was like ‘it’ll pop! It will get in your eye and it will kill you.’ But I went from that to a fearless teenager, never gonna die. And that teenager became—at 17 years old I discovered my dad is a meth dealer, from a friend of mine who’s been doing—we were smoking meth together and my friend’s like, “by the way, I’ve been getting this from your dad. Did you know?” “No, I didn’t know.” Again, revelation again.
P: What did that feel like? Or what did you think when you heard that?
S: Surprisingly it was mix of, oh cool! I don’t gotta go anywhere to find it, and, not surprised. I was like, oh, that makes sense again.
P: Was there any part of you that was kind of sad that your dad was a meth dealer?
S: Somehow I was just numb—that teenage year right there was when I got so numb. I felt nothing. I was in neutral. I was—no sad, no happy, just a death wish. That’s all I knew I had. I wanted to die really bad.
P: How would you express that? How would your—the way you went about your daily life express itself with that death wish? Would you put yourself in danger?
S: Every chance I got.
P: Give me some examples.
S: When it snowed and the roads got icy I would sit outside the window of a car, hold on and skate on the snow. They drove at 40 miles an hour at one point and then he slowed down because I saw a dry patch and I tumbled and tumbled and tumbled. And just got right back and ‘Yeah! Fucking that was awesome!’ I was invincible and at the same time really—and when I was 14 I tried to kill myself. I jumped off the highest playground I could do, head first and just kinda going straight downs and somehow got to my back and just ‘ooph!’ on the sand, and was mad that I was still alive.
P: That’s so sad.
S: Yeah, that was the first try.
P: What was the second try?
S: The second try was, I had a lot of meth and I had a bottle of Vikidin, which I didn’t like. I still don’t like pills. That was never my thing. It was going faster! Going faster! Staying up all fucking night, going faster. I took about 15 of those Vikadins, smoked all of my meth as fast as I could and just said, ‘don’t wake up tomorrow, please don’t wake up tomorrow.’ Woke up tomorrow fucking furious. And then that little period in between the drugs from 13 to 16, as soon as I hit puberty, the girl that I loved from fifth grade on, I just was in love with her, moved and I was crushed. But I never told her I loved her and then I told her—we’d talk on the phone, we wrote letters constantly. I told her on the phone I loved her. She said, “I live too far away it’s not gonna work.” And I snapped after I got off the phone and built these rules. I just walked into the bathroom, saw myself in the mirror – this is why I still have trouble with mirrors – I would look myself in the mirror and say ‘OK, here’s the rules for today.’ It hurts to talk about it… I would say, ‘If you look at a girl with any sexual ideas in your head I will beat the fuck out of you. If you look at girl’s ass, I will beat the fuck out of you. If you talk out of line and disrespect women, I will fucking beat you.’ Like I just kept threatening that I would beat myself. And I would, every day. I would punch myself in the chest, in the—I was too scared to cut myself, which ‘fucking pussy! You can’t even fucking cut yourself.’ And just punch as hard as I could. All over, my legs and my arms and I would just wear longs sweaters and stuff.
P: Had anybody instilled sexual shame and repression in you?
S: Yes, because I didn’t even know what it was. My mom was devastated and didn’t give me any of the birds and bees talks. I learned about all that when I was about 19.
P: She was devastated about what?
S: My dad.
P: Oh, ok.
S: She just kind of hid. She just hid in her room. I used to just sit in her room with her and would just sleep after school. And would just sit in her room, watch Kung Foo, sit with her every night, or every afternoon.
P: So did you pick it up at church, this idea that sexual longing was a bad thing?
S: Everything was a bad thing because of church. I thought everything I was doing was wrong. My love of Metal that I was—I heard Metallica for the first time when I was nine years old. Because I was raised on Country and Christian. And then when I heard real music for the first time my fucking mind was blown away. And Metal is like, ‘Oh this is what I’m feeling inside. Because I was starting to play drums at the time. I played drums when I was eight until I was about 15. And I’m like this is real. I’m finally feeling—I’m feeling things now. It was so good but, you know, I couldn’t listen to any of that kind of stuff so… It was lots of—everything was just wrong. It was all a sin.
P: What was your favorite Metallic song? Was there one that just made you feel alive? Made you feel like you were heard and understood?
S: Orion, an instrumental on Master of Puppets.
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S: It felt so good and as soon as I learned the weird chords that are in it and everything- cuz I knew how to play the songs. I played One, the song One every day. It’s a great song. I can still play it. And I knew how to play almost every one of their songs. Big fan.
P: So you’re 15 or 16 when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror?
S: 13-16, those three years of puberty. Like I just starting hitting puberty and it was lots of calling myself the worst things I can think of and just hurting myself, hating myself more than anything in the world. Everybody’s awesome and you are fucking—I’d just say it every day. Like, ‘You know your friend Saber? She’s fucking wonderful. I know she’s fucking wond’—like schizophrenically talking back and forth to myself, having a slow, gradual nervous breakdown, basically. And it culminated in, I got a girlfriend and she found out that I was doing it finally. Because we were yelling and fighting about something and I just started punching myself. She’s says “what the fuck is this?” I started calling myself a fucking piece of shit. And I grabbed—we had a chain link fence that was just kind of gratey, and just rubbed my face across it as hard as I could. So I was covered in cuts and blood. And she said, “I thought you were going to kill yourself in front of me.”
P: What would you feel? What would you get out of beating yourself up?
S: It felt—it was so weird how viscerally good it felt.
P: Did it feel like a release?
S: Yeah, cuz it went from no feeling at all to just vicious rage. I’m kind of glad I took it out on myself and not my friends and family. Everything was inward. I ended up slowly getting to be a bit of a jerk to people. As soon as I turned 16, 17 and got done with that, I was just like, I just hate myself and want to die. I gotta stop doing that, though. Then when I got into high school, then the Christian school shut down when I was in 10th grade--
P: It became the strip club…
S: Well done. Oh my god, you got me on that one. It shut down after—it was so easy to work—I learned nothing. Like when I got to public school, suddenly I’m learning things I never knew. The Christian school had its own curriculum so they taught you—what is that, housekeeping?
P: It is.
S: Why would they come in at-
P: They’ve been doing it all day.
S: -3:30 in the afternoon? Anyways, the same year that I went to high school the first time was the same year my dad took the house and everything else. So everything changed for me. Lost all my routines, lost everything and went into regular high school with all the real kids and hated it so much. I was already angry and hated everyone there, thought they were all fucking posers and this and that. I would wear pajamas every day.
P: To school?
S: Yeah, my pajama pants and a hoodie with hidden head phones listening to fucking Nothingface and Pentara and Morbid Angels, just metal. And I just looked like the kid that was going to shoot up the fucking school ‘cuz I was mad. I hated everybody and everything. Because it’s when I discovered all those weird clichés about high school movies were kind of true. A girl would talk to me in this class and she was so fucking cute. And I’m like ‘wow, why is she talking to me, this gorgeous little blond girl.’ And then I saw her at lunch and came over to say hi and she said “I don’t know you.” I was like, does that fucking really happen?? Wow. Like she’s around friends, she can’t know you. And then when she got back to the class she tried to talk to me and I was like “fuck you!” And the teacher’s like “Seth-“ fucking like ‘fuck you too!’ and just walked home. And then I just stopped going and dropped out. As soon as I dropped out that’s when it was like—I was with a group of friends that were just drugs – all we did was drugs.
P: And what drugs were you doing?
S: At the time I was taking mushrooms, ecstasy, snorting cocaine, weed, cigarettes, acid – acid a couple of times.
P: I don’t even want to know how stepped on the coke is--
S: It was so bad. It was so bad. I hated it. I kept hearing how great cocaine is, oh it was bad! Literally, it was just, give me something and I’ll do it. I did ketamine a couple of times. The only thing I didn’t do then was heroine because I was afraid of needles and I thought that was the only way you can do it. And I didn’t like pills and downers and stuff like that. I just liked tripping and going fast. And I had some good times. That’s the one upside. I remember going to a friend’s house and he had every type of ecstasy that was—ecstasy with meth, ecstasy with mushrooms like, laced in it. Ecstasy mixed with this, and they’re all half and half so I had one of each and stayed up for like three days just happy as a (can’t decipher) and then coming down and being sadder than I’ve ever been and this is breakdown number two. I was back home and I sat upside down in one of those video game tilting chairs. I just laid upside down in it and stared at the wall for a while and then just started screaming at myself again and beating the shit out of myself. It all came rushing back. And I wrote on a piece of paper in weird schizophrenic big ass letters, some little letters, some cursive, some print, like I don’t want to see your ugly face today. I don’t want to deal with you ever again, you are the demon that attacks me in my sleep. Then the voice in my head screams ‘you don’t deserve anything!’ And just kept writing and writing. And it was getting out and I was screaming at my room. And it became lyrics to one of my songs later.
P: Were you screaming it at yourself or the darkness inside you?
S: Yeah, it was all coming back. I’m like this fucking demon inside of me is back. This fucking self-hating—and I’m still somewhat trying to believe in a god, trying to but just losing grip quicker and quicker and just starting to perceive rationality. Nothing against you folks. You’re all lovely but I find it to be a very big load of bullshit.
P: So then what happened?
S: Well, after that nervous breakdown I sat in my room and cried and screamed and cried and screamed. People were there, nobody came down. Nobody. My dad didn’t come down, his girlfriend didn’t come down, his other roommates. No, they just left me in my room to scream and freak out. And I came upstairs and I’m like ‘why isn’t anyone fucking helping me?!’ He’s like “oh buddy, you’ll be alright. Want to smoke bull?” And then we’d just get high and it would all go away for a little while. That night I stayed most of the night screaming in my room and just hating myself all over again, just wanting to die so bad. That was the night I took all the pills and…
P: Do you still feel like you want to die?
S: No. I don’t at all. Actually, I think I’m pretty good.
P: What changed?
S: After doing 17-24 for a good five years of straight meth addiction almost every day, not going to high school--
P: How long were your runs? Would you sleep at night or…?
S: I’d do about three days when I got it and I’d eat--
P: After the run or--
S: No, during it.
P: What made a run stop? Because I know people who would go on 10 days--
S: See, my dad would do those too. The longest I went was about 12 days and I started seeing things and it was getting scary. I kept seeing people coming into my room and talking to me and then they’d disappear when I blinked.
P: And that’s 12 days without sleep?
P: That is just fascinating.
S: It’s just your mind fucking breaking down. I was seeing people I had never seen before. And a friend of mine that died walked in the room, I was like ‘Oh god!’ Like, ‘Brian, you fucking died when I was 10. You’re not supposed to be here.’ Like, losing my mind. It was a contest to myself to say ‘how long can I stay awake?’ I was acting like all this was fun to my friends. Like, this is all fun.
P: Did you consider contacting the Guinness Book of World Records to see if you placed anywhere near the top?
S: Oh I bet I didn’t even come close. I’m sure there’s a guy who did about 30 days and he’s missing lots of pieces of his face.
P: From picking?
S: Picking. See I didn’t do that. I chewed my fingers. I still do. I’ve done that since I was a little kid. But I’d do it way worse and start bleeding. There was the night I talked so long and my teeth were fucked. I had to have eight of them pulled recently. It’s all in my back, got the presenters still. I only have two back teeth left and one of them is in pieces still. But they’re sharp on the sides so when I’d talk my tongue would scrape and scrape. So I was talking to my friend for hours and hours and hours and then my mouth just starts bleeding. So I talked until my tongue bled.
S: Oh yeah. And as you can see, I still talk a lot.
P: Well, this is a good thing for a guest. You’re not talking too much. If you leave here and feel, oh I talked too much, no. You haven’t because you’re answering all the questions that I have so I don’t want you to feel when you leave here like ‘oh my god! I talked too much.’ No, this is all stuff I want to know.
S: Alright, good.
P: So, you’re in this five year meth addiction. Any other snapshots from it that you want to share with us that were seminal, or compelling?
S: Yeah, there’s one very big one. One day I worked at a bar and grill that was a block away from me so I’d walk to work every day. So I’m sitting there smoking a bowl of meth with my dad, which we didn’t do very often; we didn’t hang out much even though I lived with my dealer. We didn’t hang out a lot. I hated him. Still. I knew I did. That whole ‘I forgive him and stuff’ was just a horrible coincidence. I wish it never happened. Because I never would have moved in and gotten involved with all these people, meeting his weird biker meth dudes that were fucking scary shit with butterfly knives. Just the stereotypical fucking crazy dudes, all with mustaches. My dad has a handlebar red mustache and red hair. Me and my dad are upstairs smoking a bowl of meth, getting really, really high, and talking, for once. And now—sorry. (crying)
P: What happened?
S: We talked about it. We talked about what—just kind of weirdly, organically. We weren’t talking about anything in particular ‘cuz we’re high as fuck, just going around in circles. Like ‘let’s build a rocket.’ Like we can do anything. And suddenly I’m like, “so why’d you fucking leave?” and it just went from there. And he defended himself instead of saying sorry. He sat there and called my mom a liar and said, “How are you making me the bad guy?” And I’m like, “You were the fucking bad guy, you dumbass!” Like, ‘you fucking left and never came back and you ruined my life.’ I was like, ‘what am I doing right now? I’m fucking sitting here getting high with my dad.’ That, and just escalating. And I’m way too high. I’m seeing spots ‘cuz I’m getting so mad and I’m starting to see red which I’ve only seen once before. And it’s scary.
P: Have you…?
S: I have. It’s scary. And I was so—I’m still trembling thinking about it. I was like, “you fucking told me not to tell mom that you were taking the house. You told me six months before and you said you would tell her and you didn’t tell her until a week before you took it” which is what he did. And he said, “no, I told your mom.” I was like, “no, mom just found out. I was there.” He said, “no, your mom’s a liar.” I was like, “you’re calling me a liar too? And mom’s—fuck you! You call her a liar again, I’ll kill you.” And he’s like, “I’m sorry bud, but your mom’s a liar--” and before he can get it out I had my hands so clasped around his throat so tight, I could feel them touching each other. I’m staring at him just gritting my teeth. I could hear my gritting and I asked him, “can you breathe dad? Can you breathe?” And he wouldn’t answer me because he couldn’t. So I scream, “can you fucking breathe?!” Got really close to his face and he said, “no.” And I said, “that’s how you made me feel when you fucking left me.” Shoved him under the couch and said, “I’m going to work” and walked out the door. Got to work like ‘Hey guys! How’s is going?’ And they’re like ‘Hey Seth, are you OK?’ And I’m like, I lied. Like ‘yeah, I’m fine.’ And they’re like, ‘dude, your shirt’s covered in tears and you’re crying.’ I didn’t even realize. They were flowing and I couldn’t even feel it. Like, ‘dude, you’re crying. Are you alright?’ I’m like, ‘no, not really actually. Things went really really bad.’ I’m just all chipper. They’re like, ‘alright let’s talk about it’ and I’m like, ‘yeah, I’m going to have to take the day off. Guys, why don’t I go back and take the day off.’ And told them that I just tried to kill my father.
P: I kind of would have liked to have seen you sing happy birthday to a table.
S: Just streaming tears. I don’t know, I felt so strange. The whole rest of the day I just walked.
P: Did you regret doing that to your dad?
S: Oh, yes. It’s strange, I kind of love that’s what I said to him.
P: I do too. You know, you sharing that with me, I feel so sorry for your dad--
S: See that’s the thing- I’ve grown too. I’m finally just like—I just feel—he hates everything in his life and he’s miserable.
P: And he’s clearly so empty and has no tools.
S: And just won’t accept help from anybody and it’s everyone else’s fault kind of guy and still smokes meth to this day. I haven’t seen him in about three years.
P: What are his teeth like?
S: Uh, orange.
P: That could match his hair.
S: His mustache. His mustache and teeth look a lot alike. Except—and he’s pale, like really creepy pale. I haven’t seen him now in—actually, I haven’t seen him since the day I left. I saw him once at Walmart and he didn’t notice me. I just walked right past him.
P: When did you leave? How old were you?
P: At what age did that happen, that you choked him?
S: It might have been that year. This was me building up to finally stopping.
P: So you haven’t seen him in about five years.
S: Just that once and I didn’t acknowledge him, he didn’t recognize me.
P: Was that choking him the last time that you--
S: No, see I came back. After walking around the town and trying to figure out ‘what did I do? Why did I do that? I’m really fucking high, I’m scared.’ And smoked a pack of cigarettes walking around and one after the other after the other just shaking and freaked out. I went back home and he’s there, getting high with my other roommate. I went upstairs and said, “do you have anything to say?” He’s like, “oh no, I’m alright, bud. How are you?” And I’m like—and I just stomped back down to my room. And after that I just kind of stopped talking to him altogether, acknowledging him at all. He just acted like it didn’t happen.
P: And so then what led to you leaving?
S: I got a girlfriend. Again, girlfriends have been the thing that got me out of all this thankfully. Thank G-d for women. I met her at the restaurant of course. I was doing it behind her back for a good year and a half of our relationship.
P: Doing the meth.
S: Yeah. I told her I was an addict and everything before we got together and she’s like ‘well I can fix you.’ Oh no, bad idea.
P: Oh my god.
S: She was 18, she was young – way younger than me. She was optimistic and had hope in her eyes and her heart and I took it all away. That’s a whole other story. I won’t get into it, it’s too sad. We fought constantly.
P: Who drained who? Did you drain--
S: We drained each other. Just totally drained each other.
P: Marriage made in heaven.
S: Oh yeah, we were a married couple. Just a married couple that hated each other so much, eventually. When the girlfriend found out, finally, I told her ‘I’d been doing meth behind your back for a year and a half’ that was a big blow. That was September 13. I went to work that night at the hotel, cried all night, came back the next day, brought up a few things and went straight to my mom’s after work and said, “Mom, I going to live with you from now on.” And then told her everything. I’ve been doing drugs constantly. She’s like “I knew that’s why. Because you were borrowing money. I’d call you the next day and it would be gone.” I’m like “I’m sorry I did that. I’m sorry I just abandoned you for five years, didn’t barely see you. I’m sorry for everything I ever did.” We cried and we hugged and I was like, I’m not going back. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to sit and fucking waste my life, my teeth, my health. And I stopped playing guitar for like six months during that too and it scared me ‘cuz I fucking loved to play guitar but I didn’t love it anymore. I didn’t love anything. I didn’t love video games which is another big one for me. I lost everything… sorry. (crying)
P: Don’t apologize.
S: And it was good. It felt so good to tell her everything. And (I) told all my family, everyone in my family and all my friends that didn’t know. I apologized to everybody. Kind of did one of the steps type of thing. Went and told everybody. And the girlfriend was going to break up with me but she saw me there crying and said I’ll stick with you and help you get through this. And then when she went to college she broke up with me, which was OK; we fought too much. But it was like a clean break. She was like ‘I’m going to take you to rehab’ and I’m like ‘I just need to stay here mom. We’ll go to rehab in a couple of weeks but I’m taking a week off from work. I’m just going to stay here with you and sleep for a while.’ It felt good. It never felt hard, not once. I wanted to stop so bad and all it took was leaving my dealer and just saying good bye. I didn’t tell him that I was leaving.
P: Your dealer being your dad?
S: My father. He contacted me three weeks after I had left. Called me. ‘Hey buddy, you coming back home?’ I was like, ‘have you not been downstairs? Everything is gone. I left.’ He’s like, ‘Oh, alright. Well that’s pretty good for you.’ I was like ‘yeah, it’s a lot better that way.’ And we just had a casual conversation.
P: Wow, your dad is so numb.
S: He’s really numb. It’s scary. And then—I have so much to talk about. I hope we’re not going too long.
P: It’s OK.
S: I’ve never even cried about this. It’s weird, to think about. Two years ago—I hadn’t seen him in about two years at the time, he had a huge massive heart attack – obviously. He was smoking cigarettes, smoking meth and weed. Smoking, smoking. And I didn’t cry, I didn’t feel bad. I was like, he got what he deserved kind of attitude which is not a good attitude to have. It brings up that resentment and that rage that I know I have. He got out of the hospital, I didn’t contact him at all. He quit smoking cigarettes but he still smokes a lot of meth. My friend that still visits him told me that and stopped visiting him because ‘he’s becoming an even bigger dick than usual, dude. He’s getting meaner and meaner and he knows he’s going to die.’ And instead of making amends he’s just become meaner. He married the girl he’s been living with for so long--
P: That must have a beautiful ceremony.
S: When I heard they’re getting married I’m like what’s their angle? What’s their catch? Are they getting like a tax break or something?
P: That was my first thought too.
S: Because he’s in big trouble with the IRS. He’s been getting paid under the table for his entire adult life. The IRS came to the door a couple of times when he wasn’t there. I was like, oh, ladies in nice suits. What are they International Revenue—I don’t know what it’s called, damn it.
P: Internal Revenue Service.
S: Thank you. My brain is not doing--
P: Did they look at his teeth and say ‘I’m sorry, you’re eating cheetos, we can come back later?’
S: Those are some really weird cheetos, man. No, he wasn’t there. I was there, I answered the door. I was like oh no. That’s how I found out. I asked him. He’s like ‘don’t ever let them in, no.’ That was the first time I saw some emotion out of him. That and how much he hates Canadians. I know. Racist to Canadian. He thinks that they are all fucking awful people. Because he used to truck up to Alaska and he’s like ‘yeah, these fucking people. They fucking think they’re fucking nice’ and like hates Canadians. He’s good with everyone else.
P: That is awesome.
S: That’s a strange man. Oh my god! After his heart attack I didn’t talk to him still for a little while longer and then a month after the heart attack and everything like that, and now I moved away from my mom’s and wasn’t visiting her often or texting her much. I always feel bad. She would text me every now and then ‘I miss you, haven’t talked to you in a while.’ I was like oh sorry mom. Hi, how are you. Been busy, been working, hanging out with friends, playing open mikes, having fun. In March I got a phone call from my brother in the morning that my mom took all of her pill and tried to kill herself. I’m so sorry. The thing that makes me kind of happy is wanting to cry about it now but I cried. I didn’t feel numb, I cried. This is the first time I’ve cried about it since then.
S: I don’t cry very much. That’s why you see me holding it in. If I let it out I don’t know if I’ll stop.
P: It’s OK.
S: It felt like a surprise but also knew my mom was getting so depressed and I felt like a dick for not ever going and visiting her enough because I could have at least done something. It was after my brother had finally-- because my middle brother lived with her his—he never moved out for a very long time, until he was about 33. And she lost that and she was living alone and just getting really sad and losing her faith in god and all that and I’m just seeing the signs. ‘You got to do something about that. Oh wait, there’s video games. Oh wait, I got work. Oh wait...’ and just putting it off and I felt like such a jerk. When I went to the hospital to see her she was—the fifth floor at our hospital is the locked up ward because you get your laces taken away and all that stuff. The attendants are all jerks; none of them are nice. It’s so sad. It’s not a nice place to be; they’re so mean to those people. So many people have killed themselves in that place. It’s scary to be in there. It’s got that vibe of death in there. I came in, I got mad at her. Instead of being supportive I just ‘why did you do that? Why’d you do this to me?’ Such a jerk. I had to ask friends, is it OK for me to feel that way? That she tried to take her away from me? Like she’s my possession type of thing. Is it OK to feel that way? My oldest brother was furious. He was like, ‘why you fucking mad at her? And I just left crying and I apologized for days after that of course and sat with her and said ‘I’m so sorry I was—‘ we all need to spend time with my mom. Don’t leave her alone. She’s so sad. My family, it started out so fucking good and it’s just evolved to nothing. My oldest brother, after beating me up he beat my brother up and he would scream at my mom every sin—because she lived with him for a while because she lost another house and got thrown out. Lived with him and he just screamed at her every day. He would drink a whole bottle of whiskey and just ‘you were never there for me, you never did anything for me.’ And that’s all she does for us, is give kind of things. She’s a giving woman. She doesn’t like herself either, though. She’s—it’s probably where I got some of that.
P: You know my thought Seth, is when you yelled at her is, your mom did abandon you. You know, she didn’t do it consciously but she didn’t have any tools to parent you. She didn’t have any tools to protect you, to talk to you about what was happening, to get out of the marriage which was clearly toxic and hurting you guys. I feel like you have a right to be angry about that. I don’t think your mom is like somebody that needs to have blame heaped on her because she sounds like a really well-meaning person that just doesn’t know.
S: Oh yeah, she’s a sweetheart.
P: But that rage that you feel is completely human and completely understandable. Because here is an example again of her being like a child, like your dad was. You were raised by two children.
S: I really was. Like, I’d really like to go to therapy proper because I don’t know how to get any of this out.
P: Have you ever tried calling 211 from landline? Because sometime you can find out what local services are available.
S: Oh OK. I might have to do that.
P: Try doing that. Also try googling low fee therapy and the name of your town or the nearest large town and see what happens. But most people I know, when they reach out for help the universe has this weird way of meeting you half way and… I don’t know. It seems like when we change our energy, sounds corny but like, pathways in the universe seem to open up. So I’d encourage you to just give it a shot. Thank you for sharing all that stuff. I know that must have been difficult to share some of that stuff.
S: It felt really good. It felt really really good.
P: You would be such an awesome addition to a support group, Seth, because you’re open and you’re sweet and you’re just a nice guy. You got a really big heart, you know. It’s been stepped on a lot but it seems to have not killed your spirit.
P: Yeah, and I think that’s beautiful so thanks for coming on the podcast and opening up.
S: There go the tears again. Sorry.
P: That’s alright. I’m just going to walk over and ironically choke you now.
S: Thanks man.
P: Thanks buddy.
Many thanks to Seth for coming on. You know, a lot of time I get emails from people that feel like too many of the people that I interview have things all figured out and they want someone who’s kind of more in the middle of it and I think Seth’s episode is a good one of those. Mike Corrano’s was another episode where there’s still some struggle kind of going on and what they’re dealing with. I really appreciate those people who come on in the middle of their stuff because I know—what am I talking about? I’m in the middle of shit all the time. Before we get to some of the surveys I want to remind you guys there’s a couple of different ways to support the show especially this time of year if you would please, if you’re going to shop at Amazon enter it through the search portal on our homepage. It’s the on the right hand side about half way down, not to be mistaken with the search box for our site itself. The Amazon one is different than that. That way Amazon gives us a couple of nickels from everything you buy and it doesn’t cost you anything. You can also support the show by becoming a monthly donor or making a one-time paypal donation. Monthly donors, I love you so much. It is the financial foundation that allows this show to keep functioning and you can sign up for as little as five bucks and month and it really, truly means the world to me. It may not seem like a lot of money but it does add up and it helps give me some sense of stability that this is something that I can do maybe for a long time and that I don’t have to look for another job. That’s the hope – that I can get this to that point that I’m supporting myself from this. I think that’s it. Oh, you can also support the show non-financially by going to itunes, writing something nice. That gives us a good rating. You could support the show through spreading the word through social media. That really does bring more listeners and I appreciate that very much. We are going to kick it off with an email but before I do that I want to mention, the surveys—I’ve got a big stack of surveys that I’m going to go through and they are in increasing order of darkness. I’ve got happy moments peppered throughout them but it’s a pretty dark collection of surveys. But something in me was just like, I want to read these tonight, and I’m not apologizing for choosing these to read. I guess sometimes I feel like, because I read like 90% of the surveys that get filled out I read and sometimes I want to—I don’t want to take that, feel that weight all on my own and I want to put it out there because then it doesn’t feel like I’m the only one listening to these people’s stuff. And while I appreciate their honesty sometimes I just need to put it out there and get feedback from you guys too. And nothing buoys me like when I read a survey that’s dark and somebody writes me back and says that it helped them, whether it be the person that filled it out and it was powerful for them to hear their words read back to them or it’s somebody who had a similar experience. That’s where I’m coming from. How do you like that? So to kick it off is an email from- I don’t know if this person left a name but he says: “I’m an uncontrolled type 1 diabetic and due to that I have some erectile dysfunction issues and my wife yells at me about it. How can I get her to be a bit more understanding?” And there was other stuff that he shared that he’s really having problems in his marriage and I basically wrote back to him and said you can’t make somebody more understanding. All you can do is control how you react to how that person makes you feel, either by expressing your feelings to them or limiting your contact or cutting contact with that person. Anything less than that is crazy-making, trying to change other people. This was a happy moment- how do I not read this? – filled out by Butt Queen and she writes, “After I had been having bad luck with boys and dating in general I met this really nice guy who seems to be taking his time with me. I don’t know what it is about him or why him taking his time with me is such a surprise but things seem like they’re supposed to be, at least when I picture the beginning of a relationship anyway. A few weeks ago we went on a huge date. We went all over uptown New Orleans then we ended up on a street I’d never been on before and it had a cute café, a bunch of head shops, three pizza restaurants and a comic shop on the corner. While I was taking in my surroundings he grabbed my hand and said excitedly, referring to the comic shop, “Holy shit, this store is finally open let’s fucking go.” He ran across the street with my hand in his. For some reason, at that moment I was the happiest I’ve ever been. He was so elated and so was I. We were on a mission to nerd the fuck out and that’s what we did. We oohed and aahed at old action figures, made out and held hands freely, cracked jokes with the shop owner, sat down in a corner back to back reading comics and bought a few things when we finally had to leave. It sounds so simple and girly and if I wake up tomorrow and hate his guts I don’t think I’d care. I’d never had an experience like that with someone that I had feelings for. Buried in our interests and appreciating them together. I felt like I was in a Scott Pilgrim spinoff or something. No matter how simple it may sound it was truly one of the happiest moments I experienced in my short life.” Ah, love that. This is from the shame and secrets survey filled out by a woman who calls herself Bren. She is bi-sexual in her thirties, was raised in a totally chaotic environment, mentally ill parents. Never been sexually abused. Deepest darkest thoughts: “ I’m ashamed that I think as much as I do about a man I briefly dated who did not wish to pursue a relationship with me. I never imagined I could be so obsessed with someone that rejected me.” Deepest darkest secrets:” I’m ashamed at how much I eat. I’m ashamed how often I have internet-stalked a man who rejected me.” Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “Performing oral sex on an attractive woman who is wearing lingerie.” Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend: “Yes.” Do these secrets and thoughts generate any particular feelings toward yourself: “I’m not ashamed of any sexual thoughts or feelings but I am ashamed that I still obsess over a guy who rejected me.” That’s a really common one that I get in the surveys. And I’m told- I’ve got to read it one of these days- but Pia Mellody has a book out called- I believe it’s called Love Addiction, something like that and everybody I know that’s read it raves about it so maybe pick that up and read it and then let me know what you think. Same survey filled out by a woman who calls herself Jane. She’s straight, in her 30s, was raised in pretty dysfunctional environment, never been sexually abused. Deepest darkest thoughts: “There have been times where I just nearly trip or drop something and just think of all the worst things that could have happened. Falling down the stairs and breaking my neck at the bottom, or getting stabbed by a tool and after my death they somehow accidentally blame my husband. Then I start really imagining how my husband and family would react to my unpleasant and untimely death and it brings me almost to tears, all because I tripped on a shoe or something. I catastrophize a lot. I also think about what would happen if my husband died in one of those ways. Tears there too. I also worry about something terrible happening in our relationship that would bring us to divorce. I don’t voice these things as we have a wonderful relationship and bringing divorce to the table on such a happy relationship seems absurd.” Boy a therapist would be great to talk to this about. Deepest darkest secrets: “There’s something that I’ve been doing for years and I only recently discovered that there’s a word for it, trichotillomania. I can’t stop picking at my skin. I’ve done this at lease since I was 10 or 11. Those are my earliest memories of it. Now, 31, I realize how much of a problem it is. I realize that even in 100 degree weather I will probably still wear pants. I prefer long sleeves, no plunging necklines. People ask what happened? when they see the scabs or scars. It’s hard to explain. I usually tell them about skin allergies and sensitive skin, no entirely a lie, because I do break in hives with some laundry detergents. I’ve gotten a little better with these past two or three years but I think of all the wounds that I’ve had for several months because I just won’t let them heal. Many of them have been infected but I don’t go to the doctor for it. I didn’t think it was a problem when I was younger. A lot of teenagers had skin problems and no one asked. I would tell myself it’s not that bad because I’m not cutting myself. Those are the people in bad shape. I’ve been reading on different ways to stop. It’s hard. It’s an addiction now. Apparently, you become addicted to the chemicals that your body produces when you cut. I’ve not even told my therapist about my self-diagnosis.” Oh, she is going to therapy. “I’m afraid to admit it to others. Judgment. I try to stick more to just my scalp as my hair covers it.” Please share this with your therapist. Please, that’s what your paying them for. Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “I find it difficult to have sexual fantasies. I feel that birth control helps control my mood swings and the pain and duration of my period, however it also lowers my sex drive. I honestly can’t remember the last sexual fantasy that I’ve had.” Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend: “Being that I haven’t had them, that is a secret in itself, to say my sex drive has lowered significantly.” Do these secrets and thoughts generate any particular feelings toward yourself? “I feel bad that my husband can just rip off his pants and be ready to go and I just can’t work that way. I enjoy the end of it, but during is always more work. So I feel terrible that I’m not a good wife, that he will lose interest in me, not find me attractive, seek elsewhere for these things. I know he won’t but it doesn’t prevent me from worrying. He always tells me how beautiful he thinks I am. Best husband ever.” Thank you for sharing that Jane. And I bet there’s a lot people who feel the same way. This is filled out by a woman who calls herself Confused Oreo. She is straight, in her 40s, was raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment, never been sexually abused. Deepest darkest thought: “I’m ashamed to admit, even to myself, that I don’t like being black. I try to be proud and I can’t, or don’t deny it, but I do make every effort to act the opposite of how, ‘the typical black person acts.’ Deepest darkest secrets: “When I am alone I secretly imagine my life as a white person. I even kept a journal as my alter ego when I was younger.” Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “I never fantasize about someone having sex with me but have many fantasies about having sex as my alter ego. In most she is submissive and willing.” Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend: “I’ve never been in a real relationship so I don’t know if it would get to a point where I would feel comfortable telling my secrets.” Do these generate any particular feelings: “I’m ashamed and sad and frustrated. I feel lonely and disconnected from my family and friends. I feel I never developed my own personality because I was too busy trying not be like the people around me. I mimicked what I saw on TV but because that changed so much, that part of me isn’t even consistent.” Thank you so much for sharing that. That must be a hard thing to look at and to talk about but sending some love your way. This is shame and secrets filled out by a woman who calls herself Steph. She is straight, in her 30s, was raised in a stable and safe environment, never been abused. Deepest darkest thoughts: “I’ve wanted to kill myself for as long as I can remember. Not that I will. ‘Suicide splatters grief on everyone around you’ is what I have to remind myself often.” Deepest darkest secrets: “I often shoplift. Little things, magazines, lip gloss, pencils, stupid stuff. I lie a lot, or I used to. I’m getting better or maybe just more self-aware of it. I’ve never had a relationship with a man and I’m 37.” Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “My biggest sexual fantasy involves breast feeding a man and being in an adult nursing relationship. I think it is all about the intimacy of the act. It is not a mommy-baby thing but a true adult breast feeding relationship. I also have a lot of fantasies about pregnancy. It is all similar as it relates back to the intimacy/nurturing/love.” Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend: “I’ve told people on-line that I have this. There are men that want this as well. I hope that one day and hopefully if I do get pregnant by someone it will be a part of that time in our relationship.” There’s a couple of typos in there. I think you understood what I was reading. Do these secrets and thoughts generate any particular feelings toward yourself: “I used to be disgusted by myself. Now I know that I am obviously so craving intimacy and love that it is manifesting itself in this way and I’m really craving touch and nurturing someone that I love. I feel sad for myself, actually, sad that I just crave human touch in any capacity. That I would give anything to have someone just want to have someone spend time touching me because they love me and want to be with me. This, of course, leads to the spiral of negative thoughts of disgust and why don’t I have someone that wants that. But that is the pleasure and joy of mental illness. At least mine.” Oh, thank you so much for that and you shouldn’t feel any shame. I think that shows that you really have a beautiful spirit that wants to connect with people. Wear it proudly. This is from a rarely taken survey called the vacation arguments survey and filled out by Pendleton who is in her 60s, or she’s 60. She writes: “My best friend and I-“ this is called the vacation arguments. I said that already. Oh, my dog got pissed that I said that twice. She writes, “My best friend and I drove her daughter from Houston to Boulder. It had been a stressful trip because her daughter’s car wasn’t great and loaded with all her stuff. We had to drive up through Kansas and over instead of the faster way through Raton Pass. By the time we got to Boulder we were all on edge. We went to the grocery store and as her daughter walked off to get other things my friend and I got into the biggest fight of my life over mayonnaise or miracle whip. I’d put a little jar of mayonnaise in the cart and she took it out and replaced it with a jar of miracle whip. Then I took that out and put the mayonnaise back. We started yelling at each other. We must have gotten pretty loud because her daughter came back and said she could hear us on the other side of the Safeway. It was ridiculous. And now we laugh about it but at the time we were furious.” I love that. Love a good vacation argument. This is from- oh can you hear my stomach? This is from the shame and secrets survey filled out by a woman who calls herself Ayo. She is bi-sexual, in her 20s, was raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment. Ever been the victim of sexual abuse: Some stuff happened but I don’t know if it counts.”Men have taken advantage of me when I was drunk and blacked out.” Yeah, that’s rape. That’s not a grey area. When you’re blacked out and somebody- or you’re unable to make on clear decision on your own and somebody has sex with you, that is rape. And I hope you go talk to somebody about that. Deepest darkest thoughts: “I wish I was 90 lbs. and just bones. I think about food constantly but yet I let myself eat. I am always hungry and feel like a horrible pig. I hate my personality and think I am a bland waste of space. I hate myself daily.” Deepest darkest secrets: “I binge and purge four to five times and week and no one knows. I waste a lot of money on it, I do it whenever I can, and I can’t seem to stop. My partner wonders why I don’t ever have money and buys me food when he goes out of town and yet I continue to do this.” Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “I wish my partner would fuck me harder but he doesn’t. I wish he would take control and hold my wrists. This is a fantasy. I would also like to have a threesome but wouldn’t want my male partner to fuck the women, just me.” Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend: “I have when I’ve been drinking.” Do these secrets and thoughts generate any particular feelings: “I think they are relatively normal.” Thank you for sharing that. And I really encourage you to give weight to that stuff that happened to you when you were blacked out. Sending you a big hug. This is shame and secrets survey filled out by a woman who calls herself- we have a lot of women in this survey – filled out by a woman who calls herself CC. She is straight, in her 20s, was raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment, was the victim of sexual abuse but never reported it. Deepest darkest thoughts: “Leaving my husband, going crazy and having lots of sex with both men and women. Going on a drinking and drug binge even though I don’t use drugs and never really have.” Deepest darkest secrets: “I cheated on my husband with an old friend before I got pregnant last year. We were going through infertility treatments at the time and eventually had to do in-vitro so I know the babies are his. However it is so awful and disgusting that I did that to him when we were trying to make a family. I guess I knew he would be an amazing father and he is but I am often bored in the relationship.” Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “Having sex with a woman- this one’s a little graphic but I’m going to read it anyway – having sex with a woman, eating her out and having her eat me out, having her stick things in my butt and perhaps using a strap-on to fuck me until I come so hard I scream.” Ah, wasn’t that graphic. Don’t know why I’m apologizing, it’s fucking podcasting; I could say whatever I want. Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend your fantasies- you know what I think, I think it’s because you guys are going to think I’m a perv when I read some of this stuff. That’s really the deep down underneath, is I’m afraid of being judged. Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend: “No, I’m typically very vanilla and straight and I think people would be shocked and disgusted.” Do these secrets and thoughts generate any particular feelings toward yourself: “Shame and embarrassment. I can’t believe I’ve cheated on the man who loves me and who I love because I’m a nympho, apparently. I can’t believe I am such a sex fiend. I am ashamed.” Well, just know that the victims of sexual abuse often act out sexually and I think a mental health professional can help guide you on that difficult course of healing. This is shame and secrets survey filled out by a guy who calls himself Canyonero. He is straight, in his 30s, was raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment. Ever been the victim of sexual abuse: some stuff happened but I don’t know if it counts. “When I was seven or eight a girl my age asked me to touch her vagina and butt hole, then said it was my turn to get naked and when I said I didn’t want to she threatened to tell my parents. She then grabbed and kissed my penis and then took her shorts off and rubbed her pussy on my penis. Seems like kind of kid’s stuff but gave me a lot of anxiety about sex stuff since I didn’t know what the hell was going on at the time.” Deepest darkest thoughts: “I hate myself and often wish I was just dead. I even think of becoming a drug using gay escort so I could really really hate myself. Not that gay is bad, just forcing myself to have sex I don’t even want just so I could feel like, I don’t know, ultimate hatred of myself.” Deepest darkest secrets: “I let a dog lick my ass hole while I jerked off. It felt awesome.” By the way, if this guy ever disappeared without a trace, there’s a pretty good chance that dog would be able to find him. You don’t get a stronger scent than licking a person’s butt hold directly. Sexual fantasies most powerful to- Oh, that was it. He didn’t fill out the rest of the survey. Sending you a big hug buddy. This is shame and secrets survey filled out by a guy who calls himself BN Frank. He is- Oh, I get it! Be-en Frank. I didn’t get it the first time. He is straight, in his 30s, raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment, never been sexually abused and then he writes, “I don’t know if anything happened but I think maybe it did. Deepest darkest thoughts: “Cheating on my wife.” Deepest darkest secrets: “When I was young, like 9, I made my sister suck my dick. I don’t know why, it was not a sexual thing. I also tried to fuck my cousin in his ass when we were young teens. Makes me think something happened to me.” Does sound to me- as you know I’m a mental health professional because I cooked chicken on PBS. I wish I would have resisted that urge to put myself down. And now I wish I would have resisted the urge to call attention to it. Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “They wax and wane. Sometimes it’s just scenarios with my wife, other times I want to watch a woman get fucked by an animal. Twisted, I know. Other time I would like to double team (?) a woman and fuck her ass while someone else fucks her in the cunt.” Would you ever consider telling a partner: “No, I would hate to be looked at differently, would not want to scare them.”Does that generate any feelings: “Shame and guilt.” Sending you a big, big hug, buddy. And talking with a therapist might help. Getting into a support group might help some of those memories surface. Although I’ve been warned sometimes too by people. I interviewed Emily Gordon a second time and she said that there is a certain danger with certain types of therapist that can kind of create false memories in people. But I kind of hate the idea of that because anything that feels like a hurdle to people processing real memories- I don’t know. Anyway, this next survey was filled out by a guy named Paul. He straight, in his 40s, was raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment. Ever been the victim of sexual abuse: some stuff happened but I don’t know if it counts. But he doesn’t specify. Deepest darkest thoughts: “I have fantasies of violence and death. Not just my own, but the people around me. I’m sure that if I were a little bit smarter with the right education and resources, I would be the person who creates a deadly virus that kills 90% of the people on earth. Since I’m not that guy I wonder if maybe I’ll be the other guy who drives his car into a crowd or buys a gun just to shoot up a mall. Basically, I want to kill myself and take out as many people as I can, including my friends and family.” And I’m warning you guys, some of these are pretty dark and I think there’s about four or five left. Deepest darkest secrets: “My relationship with my daughter is a disaster. I’m pretty sure she hates me and wants no contact with me and I deserve it.” Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “Not only do I need to be in control I want to humiliate and hurt a woman to the point of sexual torture. I know that deep down inside I’ve been hurt by too many women so I want to make them feel my pain. This makes me afraid to have relationships because I know I will only harm my partner because of what people have done to me in the past and end up hurting myself more.” Would you consider telling a partner: “Some of my more harmless fantasies such as humiliation can be carried out in a safe way with the right partner but I am genuinely afraid of my more violent ones. I have to keep these to myself to help protect anyone I care about who might actually be willing to explore them.”Does this generate any feelings toward yourself: “I know that I am a sick person and need help but either too proud or too ashamed to seek it out.” Well, my hope for you is that you canput your pride or your fear aside and go get help because you deserve it, you deserve to feel better. This is shame and secrets survey filled out by a woman who calls herself- well she writes female but she says, “I don’t really identify with gender in the traditional sense, though physically I am female.” She is asexual and she is 18 years old. About her asexuality she writes, “I may be a romantic asexual. I’m very confused about my sexuality. Physically touching a man below the belt feels sick. I can’t tell if I’m just not ready or if I will always feel this way. I have physical and emotional attraction to girls but I’ve never been in a romantic relationship with one.” If touching a man below the belt makes you feel sick I think that’s a really really big red flag that you should talk to somebody about and don’t do it if it’s making you feel sick. Don’t let anybody make you feel like you should be feeling anything else. Have you ever been the victim of sexual abuse: some stuff happened but I don’t know if it counts. “Many things have happened while I’ve been drunk, the majority of my sexual experience. I don’t know whether I actually wanted to do these things or I only did because I was drunk.” Deepest darkest thoughts: “Sometimes I think I don’t have any empathy for anyone at all, that my emotions don’t really exist. That they are just behaviors I’ve picked up through monkey see monkey do. Sometimes I feel nothing at all and sometimes I feel too much but my emotions, at times completely shut off and I couldn’t give a shit about any of my ‘close’ friends or family members.” And by the way, this strikes me as just straight up, text-book sexual abuse coping skills, you know. Feeling numb, blaming yourself, trying to be something that doesn’t feel right to you. Deepest darkest secrets: “One of the only people that knew the extent of my eating disorder committed suicide recently. I see her death as an omen because, although her problems were much more extreme than mine are - eating disorders, heroin addiction, sexual abuse, extreme self-harming - she identified a lot with the way I told her I felt and what I was struggling with. I feel like she’s the symbol for my future if I do not change my ways.” Oh, and she qualified about being raised in a somewhat dysfunctional environment: “My parents got divorced when I was 11. Before my dad moved out I’d hear them fighting verbally but I don’t know of any physical abuse. Going back and forth between my parents’ houses made me feel very unstable. I got into fights with my father a lot in my youth due to his over-protectiveness. My mother always let me do what I want. Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “I’m very masochistic and submissive. I like being choked, hit, bruised, bitten, blood being drawn, completely man-handled and overpowered. But sex itself is not interesting to me, just this play.” Did you ever consider telling a partner: “Pretty much everyone knows. I’m open about these things because it’s very simple to say I’m masochistic. My friends either find it funny or quirky or they have similar fantasies themselves.” Do these generate any feelings: “It’s very difficult to have these fantasies as someone who self-harms as well because I fear that subconsciously I’m trying to hurt myself but it’s validated in my mind since another person but I’m not ashamed of it at all. When people get uncomfortable on the topic, I just find it funny to give them that shock value.” Well coffee bird, I’m sending you a big hug. This is filled out by a guy who calls himself- I don’t know how to pronounce it – Liderc. This is the shame and secrets survey. He is asexual. He writes “I’m not interested in sex with anyone anymore.”He’s in his 30s, raised in a slightly dysfunctional environment, was the victim of sexual abuse but never reported it. Deepest darkest thoughts: “I’m a monster. I’m evil incarnate. If people knew the real me they’d spit on me, they would go out of their way to hurt me. I never will have, or deserve a normal life.”Deepest darkest secrets: “I was introduced to sex at five or six years old. At age nine, I started inappropriately touching other kids. A few years later my mom discovered I was inappropriately touching my younger sister. When I saw the expression of horror and revulsion on my mom’s face, I realized for the first time the full impact of what I had done, that I had crossed a line that could never be uncrossed. I will never forgive myself for what I have done.” Oh buddy, please forgive yourself. Please forgive yourself. You’re putting yourself into unnecessary prison, for not forgiving yourself for something you had done as a child. Even people who had done stuff as adults, in addition to making amends for what they’ve done, they need to forgive themselves eventually. There’s a difference between self-reflection and just beating yourself up. Beating ourselves up is in many ways selfish because it’s just a way to obsess about ourselves and still cut (?) the world, keep them at bay. But I know it’s so tempting when we hate ourselves to get out of that mindset. Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “I don’t ever remember having powerful sex fantasies. I just wanted sex.” Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend: “See above.” Oh yeah, I guess because he doesn’t have any. Do these secrets and thoughts generate any feelings toward yourself: “Nothing matters, life, death, getting fucked up, friends, family, I just don’t care about anything anymore. I am dead on the inside and someday the outside will match. The world will go on with one less evil in it.” Buddy, you are so hard on yourself. I encourage you to join the forum and feel some love there because you will be greeted with open arms in the forum. You are loveable. You are loveable. You are not evil. And we don’t have to feel numb for the rest of our lives. This is from the shame and secrets survey filled out by a guy who calls himself Another Ex Kid. He is Bisexual, 18, was raised in a stable and safe environment, was the victim of sexual abuse and reported it. Deepest darkest thoughts: “If I ever get the chance to, I’m going to kill the men who raped me, and their deaths won’t be quick either. They need to suffer for ruing my life. On a related note, I feel I should have been born a woman. I don’t know if I’ve always felt this way or being raped has something to do with it. Now though, I really wish I didn’t have a penis or vagina so no one would make sexual advances towards me. Basically I’m a fucking basket case.” Deepest darkest secrets: “I sexually assaulted my younger siblings the same time I was being sexually assaulted by my uncle. This all happened at the time I was 11 to 13. I molested them, kissed them and I absolutely hate myself so much for doing this to them. My brother and sister both show signs of depression so I’m scared that I really fucked them up. As a result of that hatred I starve myself. When I eat I feel like a failure because I always said I was going to kill myself by the time I was 18 and I haven’t done it yet. I couldn’t even get that right.” Well, that’s not right, killing yourself. That’s not an accomplishment. Now I know I’m getting a little soap-boxy here but go talk to somebody, man. And you deserve it. You should not be hating yourself. Did you hurt people? Yeah, you probably did, but we’ve all hurt people in some way or another and part of life is trying to make amends, if possible, getting up and dusting ourselves off, forgiving ourselves and trying to be a better person from any insight we may have gained from that. Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “I have two main fantasies and both involve me being a woman. In one I am being gang-raped by a group of strangers. Not just a few men but 50 or 100. I want to be abused and mutilated. I want these men to completely destroy my body and to toss me off to the side to die. In the other, I’m a happy woman who never was assaulted and who is capable of loving other people. In this dream, my lover, male or female makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. They actually love me.” That almost brings tears to my eyes. That’s so- you clearly have such a beautiful spirit. Inside it is fighting. It is fighting to not let the darkness take you down. Find some light in the world to connect to, please. Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend: “I would never tell anyone these dreams. They make seem like a weak, fucking freak. Can’t let anyone in my head. Besides, I’m from the deep south where everyone expects the man to be a gruff macho man so I can never admit that I want to be a woman.” Well, you can in the forum. Go there. There’s lots of places you can. Maybe not in the town that you live in but- go sign up for the forum and get some love there. Do these feelings and thoughts generate any particular feelings towards yourself: “Complete and total self hatred and self-loathing. I’m the absolute worst person to have ever walked the face of the earth so I might as well ruin myself while I’m here.” Gosh that just- and then he writes, any comments to make the podcast better: “I wouldn’t change anything. Paul, don’t be afraid to fuck up.” Well, right back at you, you know. Why can we accept other people’s mistakes but we can’t- that’s the $64,000 question. Or an older reference, if there is one. This if filled out by a- these last two are pretty dark. This if filled out by Mary who is bisexual, in her 20s, was raised in a totally chaotic environment, was sexually abused but never reported it. Deepest darkest thoughts: “When I see people on the street who look really nice I just want them to hug me and hold me and tell me that everything will be alright.” Oh my god, I want to hug you. I just want to fucking hug you. And I know that feeling. I know that feeling. Especially when I see a woman who like, she would have been the mom that I wish I’d had… Deepest darkest secrets: “Deepest and darkest that had happened to me was, that as a child I became a victim in a child pornography network that my father ran.” I don’t think English is her first language so I’m just going to read it how she wrote it. “They make pictures and movies of me and distributed that material world wide while I had sex and pleasured man and woman. I had sex with dozen of man from when I was little and I was prostituted as a child by my father. It happened from when I was a baby until I was 14. I eventually managed to get away from it. Then my perspective of man and intimacy were so messed up that I thought that violence and sex were almost the same. So I ended up in a lot of violent, BDSM relationships where I was abused again. My most dark secret is that I got pregnant at the age of 11 because of the ongoing abuse and prostitution and I had a miscarriage without anyone knowing about it. I never told that to anyone.” Oh boy, this one, it just takes my breath away. It just takes my fucking breath away. Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “My most powerful sexual fantasy is about me laying in a huge bed while being surrounded by other, older men. They don’t touch me or each other. They just look each other in the eye while masturbating and telling me how good I look. Then I choose the one I like the best while penetrating him while there is another man behind me and another one in front of me so I feel hugged and nurtured.” Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend: “If I have a partner who I feel emotionally intimately with I would share it with my partner.” Do these secrets and thoughts generate any particular feelings: “My deepest secrets generate the feeling that I have no right to be, to have thoughts or emotions. I feel there is no place for me on earth. I always feel different than others and disconnected. I feel like a slut often, and damaged good so I have sex with random man who want nothing more than just good sex.” Whatever the biggest hug is- we’ve kept one in a separate room, the seal hasn’t been broken on this special hug and we’re breaking it out for you. There’s got to be a survivor’s group for- you know what, there isn’t one yet for- I know there are sexual abuse survivor’s group and you should to rainn.org and check that out. I’m sure they have stuff specifically for people who have been sexually abused but especially for people who have experienced things as intense as what you went through. This last one is- and we’ve got a couple of happy moments to end it with after this- filled out by a woman who calls herself Lost in California. She is straight, in her 40s, was raised in a pretty dysfunctional environment, was the victim of sexual abuse and reported it. Deepest darkest thoughts: “I wish I was not broken. I wish my life hadn’t been shattered by a rapist with a gun who decided I was the one to take on a journey and to his insanity and terror. My life was shattered to the core by a madman who has left me a shell of a person. On the outside I appear fine and strong but on the inside I am a shattered, lost soul.” Deepest darkest secrets: “After I was kidnapped by a gunman I was taken on a journey into hell, raped and watched him dig a hole to bury me in. When you think of the act of rape, someone has entered your body and deposited themselves in you like a human toilet. I felt like it then was inside me, flowing through my body traveling in my bloodstream into every piece of my insides which was supposed to be just mine.” Oh that breaks my fucking heart. “I felt like it had reached my brain and even my thoughts were invaded by him. He knew what I was thinking and I no longer even had private thoughts. I felt like the only way to get rid of him was to cut myself open and bleed out. I was traumatized beyond belief but I still had enough of my soul left to know that was not the right thing. Yet that sick twisted feeling of bleeding out just to rid myself of him seemed to be the only way to get rid of him, to get him out of me. Here I sit 25 years later and still feel like not even my thoughts and feelings are mine alone and this is why I am lost and shattered and no one truly knows how hard it is to live and every day is a struggle to try to appear normal. P.S. Your podcast helps me so much to know I am not alone in my struggles and that someone understands. It’s sad to say but your listeners and you are the only people in my life that help me make sense of the issues I have and even have the ability to laugh at the way things are. The last time I drove by the place that I was abducted I looked at my friend who knew we were at that location and had worried look on her face thinking that I would be upset and instead of me getting panicked, I pointed to the place and said, ‘Hey! You want to go get laid?’ Your podcast helps me to find the humor and all the crap that has shattered me so I can begin to accept it and continue struggling just to try to appear ‘normal’.” Sexual fantasies most powerful to you: “As strange as it sounds because of being raped, the only sexual fantasies that I would probably like would be rough sex. The thought of sensual loving sex leaves me numb and bored.” Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend: “No because it would make me sound like a mental case. No one knows how numb I am to any normal sex because of my experience. And to say that you have weird sexual things is not something I want to tell anyone.” Does that generate any feelings towards yourself: “It makes me feel like a fucked up mess.” I know you know I’m going to say this but you’re not a fucked up mess. You have a beautiful resilient soul and I’m really touched to have listeners who fill out these surveys as deeply and as honestly as you guys do. It brings so much meaning to my life to connect to you on such a deep level. It’s- I don’t know, I just run out of words sometimes. This is a happy moment filled out by- those last two really got to me. Wow. This was filled out by a guy who calls himself- I don’t know how to pronounce it. I’m going to spell it – Jonaskizi- it looks like. The print’s very small and I’m 100 years old. Share a happy moment. “About a month ago I told my wife my deepest shameful secrets. She told me it wasn’t surprising considering my childhood. She told me that she would love me no matter what and it was the first time in my life I felt unconditional love.” That’s so beautiful. I didn’t expect to get this- it’s funny, I’d read these already but for some reason reading these… This is a happy moment filled out by Jess and she writes: “My best friend is year older than me so she was also always a grade ahead of me. We are extremely close. Even now we talk every day. On my last day of my junior year of high school, after our last class I walked her to her car. We held hands while we walked and we cried a little. I remember being scared because it felt like everything is changing but at the same time I felt so close to her. I think it was at that moment I knew we’d always be together so even through the tears I was euphoric. Turns out she felt the same way. Even now, four years later, we’ve managed to talk daily even though we have a time zone difference between us, time zone of between 3 and 14 hours at any given time.” That’s beautiful. Well I hope if you’re listening I hope I didn’t scare you away with the darkness of the surveys but I know for many of you, myself included, when you’re in a dark place that darkness can kind of be a light almost and I hope you’ve been reminded that you’re not alone. And I hope you get help, those of you that are feeling stuck, I really do. Don’t be afraid, take that jump. Not the bridge jump, the good jump, the jump into the therapist’s office. Hang in there, I know this is a tough time of the year. And if you want to take a nap, take a fucking nap, take care of yourselves and just remember you are not alone and thanks for listening. “Everybody I know is bizarrely, beautifully fucked up in some weird way…”