I’m in a bad mood.
I’m not in a very good mood, though no one knows it. I’m just irritated and restless. I’m not really finding enjoyment in the usual things like music or writing, and I’m kind of forcing myself out of bed, typing this and sipping coffee.
I don’t usually want to be in moods like this, but I know I have to experience them for the better moods to be as enjoyable as they are. I wonder if that whole astrology thing has any truth to it, not that I’m going to look into it; I just wonder.
Most of the time, I’m okay, and I distract myself pretty well. But being in rehab sucks. It really does. Ask anyone who’s been in long-term residential treatment that wasn’t one of those high-end, luxury joints, and I’m sure none of them would say yes. I should definitely remind myself about how much it sucks the next time I think it’s a good idea to have a drink or a drug, because ultimately, it always leads me back to another program like this one (if I’m lucky).
If I didn’t have headphones, I’d never have made it. That’s it. I’m usually in my own world, and that’s what’s kept me away from the constant drama that unfolds when all kinds of clashing personalities have to share a place you can’t leave. I get lost in whatever I’m listening to and my thoughts, many of which end up here.
I have to think about the things I don’t like about being in a program or what stresses me out, though. It’s not like I won’t find new things to dislike and stress about in life after this. Even when I look back at times I consider some of the best, I was stressed out about this and that. I’m sure I had these kinds of irate moods too. I know I did, and the only real constant in all of it was that I was there. I wonder if years down the line, I’ll get nostalgic about the time I spent here in this program; I probably will. If I end up fucked up back on the street again, I’ll definitely miss life as it’s been while I was here.
It’ll still be so nice when it’s over. I’m really tired of writing about it. I don’t know what else to write about, though. I wish I could fire up one of those stories about my adolescence on psychedelics in my hometown that seem to get the most readers anytime I want to, but I just can’t. I don’t know how to “play the hits.”
I’m trying something new that I started this week: handwritten journaling. It’s writing with no audience, like this blog. I suspect something from it will end up here at some point. I know it seems like I dump my whole head out on this blog, but there are other contents beyond what ends up here, if you can believe that. I got really into it for hours late into the night on what I think was Wednesday night, because it felt so great.
Now, I am in a good mood.
There are people who read this blog regularly. This week, I’ve heard from three of them. Today, I heard from the one I refer to as The Mass Ave Angel, Cait. Cait was some kind of social worker in the trenches of the worst open-air drug market in Boston, which could be neck and neck with 125th and Lexington here in NYC concerning addicted human suffering. I’ve written about Boston before and my time on Methadone Mile, so if you’re curious, I suppose you could read about my experiences; I’ll supply a link:
The Program All Stars of Methadone Mile
When people ask where I’m from I always say Boston, it’s the place where I lived longer than anyone else. I really grew…
Anyway, back to Cait. She went to the other high school in my hometown, so I didn’t know her very well. Fast forward to maybe 2017 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, where I was living at the time. I was at Langosta Lounge on the boardwalk to see this funk ensemble known as Waiting on Mongo, whom I would see every week. I had this thing where I would just wildly dance as weirdly as I wanted, hardly saying a word to anyone. I’d arrive alone and leave alone, on my bike. There wasn’t usually another band opening, but one night there was this opening band that sounded great, but they were all dressed in denim, and one of them kept triggering this sampler to say something that mentioned Chicago.
I was standing next to a cute brunette, so I leaned over and asked her what the heck was going on in front of me in this bar. She said it was part of what her boyfriend’s band was doing for Halloween, which was either just coming up or had just passed. I went outside to smoke, and out she comes, asking me, “Are you Evan Penkethman, from Plymouth MA?” Being that I am, indeed, I replied, yes. She said, “I’m Cait (last name omitted), and you gave me my first psychedelic experience in high school with mushrooms.” Wow, what are the odds of that? I didn’t recognize her because she had lost a whole lot of weight, and I definitely didn’t remember giving her mushrooms. I did run around high school parties feeding psychedelics to civilian underclassmen, though, so the story checks out as plausible. We chilled all night and danced to Mongo, and that was it. I didn’t see her for a while.
Until I, myself, through some horrible misadventures that comprise what may be the worst year of my life (2019), ended up on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston, where, again, I ran into Cait, who was working at Boston Medical Center in some kind of social work capacity. My memories of that time are a bit foggy due to the fact that I was on multiple, very powerful drugs, but I do remember her pointing me in the direction of some much-needed public services that could help someone in my position. Did I take her advice? I don’t think so, because I ended up in a prison camp for drug addicts by the end of that summer, which I have also written about in great detail and will paste another link to:
The Massachusetts Prison Camp For the Mentally Ill
Fun fact: In Plymouth, Massachusetts, people are sent to prison camp for being mentally ill and put into solitary…
We didn’t talk too much after that, until I started this very blog from Brooklyn in the insanity that was the late summer of 2021. Cait was one of the most supportive early readers of this new (at the time) creative venture that I was setting out on. I still have the screenshots of her encouragement somewhere on this blog.
Since then, I spoke to her occasionally, and she even sent me a book about processing trauma that I have failed to read to this day because of my internet/smartphone addiction.
I value Cait’s opinion a great deal because it’s pretty forward-thinking and clinical. When I talk to my counselor, Sereen, I feel like I’m talking to Cait because they both say the same things.
I want to tell you what Cait said today that saved my mood from the frustration it was drowning in almost all day. Obviously, the encouragement was welcome. Being that I hadn’t heard from her in at least three months, probably longer, it was especially amazing to me that she had still been keeping up with what I was putting out here on the blog. I have dedicated followers; they’ve revealed themselves three times this week.
She said that I have developed new insight, and I’m now able to challenge my own thinking, with all its warped cognitive distortions. Wow, that’s growth that I was kind of seeing in myself as I wrote about what it was like to understand the idea of equanimity for myself. One of my cognitive distortions makes it darn near impossible for me to see any positive qualities or developments in myself, so naturally, it’s very nice to have someone point it out, and Cait did, just like Sereen does.
And now, I am feeling good, listening to my favorite Phish jams from the ’90s, typing away. I’m going to end this post here, but I can’t say that I won’t be banging out another one.
BE LIKE CAIT:
she was maybe the first reader to buy me a coffee back in my early days of writing, and i appreciated it then. not only would i appreciate it now, but i actually really need it: https://ko-fi.com/evr0ck17