This is the second in a series of narratives, in which I attempt to outline the sordid details, leading up to my family forming the conclusion, that I had mental issues, that they would like to see me have addressed. Some of these details have already come to light, but I am attempting to compile a synopsis, so that I can leave it with Dr, Garratt, when I next visit his offices in Mendocino, this coming Friday.
The Right Side
As a result of the fiasco, following the wedding reception in Livermore, Annie and I renewed our efforts to find a therapist in the immediate area, with whom I could work, to try and rid myself of panic attack syndrome. This condition controlled every facet of my social and work life. Annie is the one who made the connection that Dr. Jill was at Long Valley, and that other family members were familiar with her, for some of the same reasons.
I made the initial call to the health center, and the rest is chronicled in “Six Day a Week,” the seven visits to Dr. Jill, the reading outside the office, tying it all together, and then mulling it over, during the course of the winter. A major concern for me and a galvanizing reason for beginning the therapeutic process when I did, was the upcoming wedding in Grass Valley, of another treasured niece, and I was desperate to make this social event, a successful one, as far as being able to participate in the reception afterwards, without anxiety issues.
Concurrent with the seven visits to the therapist, was the march of the San Francisco Giants to their first World Series Crown, since 1954, when I would have been two years old. I include this example of big kid pleasure, because I am attempting to address the fact that in the past eighteen months or so, it would appear that I have been doing a great deal of amping. My philosophy about pro sports has always been that it is OK to get as amped as you want, when they win, but if they lose, who cares? I have to get up and go to work either way, so I’m good with it all.
The Giants’ victory was definitely something that got me stoked; there is no denying that. Whether or not I displayed an inordinately large amount of emotion or amperage, is hard for me to call. However, my accessing of the Giants’ website, represents one of my earliest attempts to break the paradigm of not reaching out. I began to write comments on the Giants’ site, and to keep track of how others responded to my comments.
So after the Saturday wedding, on October 16th, we went back to our accommodations, and watched the Giants edge the Phillies, in an NLCS game, matching Timmy Lincecum with Roy Halliday, who had pitched a no-hitter in his previous post-season appearance. Behind Cody Ross’s two solo home runs, the Giants prevailed, on a day when I had more than successfully maneuvered my way through the wedding, and then gone on to enjoy the fruits of the Giants’ victory.
The next four months, November through February, represent a time period of industry, around the homestead, unparalleled since my pre-teaching days. I began and completed a building project that had been in the planning stages for a very long time. I had done the excavating of the site, on the north-facing side of the main part of the house, intending to extend the wall of the pool room out the twenty feet length, to a distance of ten feet, with a bay window extending that perimeter wall, out another three feet.
It was an ambitious project, for a one-man crew, but I was up for the task, including working a good deal of the time, through the harshest winter we had ever experienced, up here on the ridge. It was not only the completion of this project, but the manner in which I did it, that got me amping. For the first time in my life, I was in a position to do some serious finish work on the inside of this new addition, that allowed me to expand upon the barren terrain, which represented my right-brained capabilities.
I had never had the time nor the tools, to be able to approach a carpentry job, in any other method, but no-frills carpentry. There was always the budget constraints, the lack of appropriate tools, or the lack of experience, which made on-the-job-training an undoable proposition. Now I was working on three, four-feet archways, from the original structure to new addition, downstairs. They did not come out perfectly, but they came out perfectly for me, using my eyes to assess the work.
Even with imperfections, they are gorgeous, and together with the woodworking I did on the inside of the bay, using my new table saw to rip redwood that was salvaged from the original structure, these endeavors marked my emerging right brain, which was to go on to dominate the next year, up until the present. I had no idea, that the right side of my brain had been in hibernation, my entire life, and how important of a role, my right brain was to play.
This remains, in my mind, as one of the most emotion-laden occurrences of my re-entry into life’s current, following my release from panic attack syndrome. I had never experienced the joys of sustained creativity, especially not in the field of carpentry, where I worked on a crew, to frame structures. I rarely worked on the finish work, because I did not have the skills, so the accomplishments of the Winter of 2010, remain with me to this day, undoubtedly contributing to the emotional roller coaster, upon which I have been perched now, for longer than I care to reflect back on.