Radical Self Improvement is the Most Punk Rock Shit I’ve Ever Done
Before there was Black Flag, there was nothing. I knew nothing about the outside world beyond the shitty little town I grew up in with the shitty people that surrounded me in the shitty household I lived in. I was angry, but didn’t know how to properly express the rage at everything I saw. Effectively, I existed as a 14 year old mass of hate and anger without words to put on everything in my head. The moment I discovered “Nervous Breakdown,” I wanted to hit something. “They fucking get it!” I screamed internally. the lyrics “If I don’t find a way out of here, I’m gonna go berserk” were immediately burned in to my head, bouncing around like this little super ball of anger and frustration. For the first time in my young life, I wasn’t alone.
So began my dig in to all things punk rock, and the beginning of my absolute self annihilation.
The funny thing about being a kid with unaddressed anger issues and a tendency for rebellion against all things even remotely resembling an “authority” figure is you don’t really know where the anger towards the world ends and where the mental-disorder induced anger begins. You don’t really have a reason to learn. It wasn’t until I was put in a mental hospital at the age of 14 where I was forced in to a position of having to answer questions based on my thought processes to a higher authority. It was here I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder and also learned I had a deep distrust for psychology. “I’m not sick. I’m pissed” was my mantra for more than a decade, as I watched my mental health slowly, but surely, take a nose dive toward delusions, fear, and uncontrollable mania. 3 hospital stays and countless numbers of assigned therapists really do something in terms of forcing you to analyze your position in the world. Maybe something is wrong? It would take me about 32 years to come to terms with the fact that the world wasn’t my problem, but it was me. I was my enemy.
All my life, I saw my parents, teachers, bosses, cops, and all things governmental as being one in the same; tyrants out for their own interests. While my views on those things haven’t changed entirely, I feel I’m able to differentiate these things from one-another in a more mature fashion. But being a person who has lived by the “No Gods, No masters” mantra for so long, it’s ironic to me that I, the governing body of my own being, has been so entirely cruel to myself. I picked up smoking at 16, and found myself smoking about a pack and a half to a full pack a day. I spent 4 years being anorexic and almost literally dying from that shit. When I was able to recover, I ended up obese and battling blood pressure that would sky rocket at the mere mention of stress. I can be a 32 year old still yelling at the internet at overthrowing an entire corrupt government and never actually succeeding at doing a single thing, or I can overthrow my own personal government residing in my head, overcome my own corruption, and rebuild from the rubble. Yeah… let’s do the one that brings results.
The first step was in quitting smoking. This one was a difficult one, as I’m a highly anxious person and would smoke as a means of having something to do with my hands that didn’t leave me looking more socially awkward than I already was. So I got over myself and got myself on some medication to help me quit. It definitely helped, but I suddenly had trouble sleeping. So I was given another pill to help keep me asleep. After a couple of weeks, I’m feeling pretty good, minus the sudden realization that the world smells like an absolute sewer now that my nose actually works. It’s from this experience that I realize not all medication is bad. Maybe I should start focusing on the real problem; my bipolar disorder? Yeah… It’s time.
I am currently on 3 pills; one for depression, one for mood stabilization, and one for sleep. It’s because of these pills I’m able to better focus on bettering myself. Cutting the cigarettes out of my life was a massive leap forward, leading me in to losing weight. I’m currently 1 year clean of cigarettes, and i’m down almost 50 lbs as of this post.
I am my own governing body, and I had to overthrow myself in order to better myself. I control my life now, and that’s the absolute most rebellious thing i could have possibly ever done.
A massive thanks goes to Mac Seigel for the suggestion of this post. I’ve never written anything like this before, and I know it’s not necessarily a great read. I appreciate any kind words you could offer. Thank you for reading!