Friday, November 30, 2007

Good for the Soul

First, who needs a hug?

This kid gives some top notch snuggles.

Yesterday I had a chance to present one of my projects before a board of commissioners and an audience of about fifty people. I have been doing this kind of thing since before there was any gray in my beard, but I still get shaky and nervous when I do it. Luckily, I can do all this under the guise of being calm, cool and collected. Luckily still is when the project is one that I have strong feelings about, and really believe in.

Being an architect in one of the most affluent counties in the United States, my job typically entails making the lives of rich people better. That is all well and good, I have seldom begrudged anyone their money, and have only had brief episodes of jealousy about material things.

Side Note: When I DO get jealous of material things, I get REALLY jealous of them, and tend to beat myself up a lot because I do not have them. Then again, I haven't coveted much since the Lexapro kicked in, so maybe that's helping there as well.

Side Side Note: I think there is more than a bit of a placebo effect inherent in the Lexapro. I find myself thinking "Oh, that doesn't bother me, i'm on medication!", which is pretty funny.

Back on track: Anyway, the project that I was presenting was actually a WONDERFUL project that gives back to underprivelaged individuals on the small scale, and to society as a whole on the macro. I won't go into details, as since I don't have much discretionary powers, that if I feel I should be discrete about something, its usually for a good reason. Trust me on this, its a great project, decently designed, and rewarding for the community.

We were presenting to gain the support of local government to allow the use of the project in the zone we were building in. There are SO many rules and regulations governing building simple structures that they frequently make my head spin. One can get so bogged down in the numbers, the lawyers, the government and such, that at the end of the day, one could lose sight of the project itself, as it is just boiled down to base components, and there is very little groove left to it.

There was a lot of opposition to the project, which really surprised me. In the face of ALL of the evidence to the contrary, there was a lot of fear in the neighborhood about having this project "In My Backyard". This kind of attitude has always shocked me. I couldn't imagine what kind of project would have to be proposed in my neighborhood that would get me to get off my couch and rally forces to opoose it, but this project certainly was not the case.

In any event, the opposition could not refute anything that we were doing legally, that is, we hired a team of highly paid and accomplished experts to handle every aspect of the development, doing many parts of the project above and beyond the standards of practice commonly seen. Because the opposition could not attack the facts of the project, they came after the intangibles, and more specifically, the architecture.

"Its too big, it doesnt fit in the neighborhood, its ugly, its going to ruin everything!"

..and so on. Well, thank goodness I either have no ego, or ego enough to not give too much credence to these kinds of outraged attacks on my skills as an architect and as a designer. As all of the technical staff on the project, those that actually KNOW a lot more about the project than I sat uncalled upon, it was up to me to chat and talk about the aesthetics and the intangibles. Since our brilliance was understood, it was just up to our bullshit, I suppose.

We ended up getting our approvals unanimously by the commission, and afterwards there was a lot of handshaking, hugging, and maybe even a few tears. Yesterday I got to hug my daughter and play a role in bringing someone's dream of a better future into reality.

Yesterday was a good day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

There has been a LOT going on...

Hello faithful readers, and a special hello to my Father in Law, or PopPop as he may become known around the Clutterhut, as it is his steadfast refusal to let me stop writing that brings me back to y'all today.

Our daughter is over seven months old now, and here is your picture for today:

We are fresh from the tub, and feeling mellow and snuggly.

Onward to business, Christian Soldiers. In the spirit of full disclosure, or as much disclosure as I think the Goodely is comfortable with, I tell you today that I am currently on anti-depressants. For a lot of you, and now for me, you might look at a statement like that and say "Wow, good for him!" or shrug and wonder why this is significant enough for a blog post. Well, to the latter I say that I have blogged about my wang, videogames and dopey pop culture enough that pretty much anything under the Goddesses umbrella ('ella 'ella 'ella..hey hey hey) is significant enough for me to warrant a post, and to the former, I say that this was a HUGE decision on my part, and I am very proud of myself for having taken it.

I guess you could say that I have "battled" depression and anxiety all my life, but not all depression and anxiety is crippling or dramatic. Sometimes depression can be small and insidious, like having Salacious Crumb as a pet when you really wanted a kitty. My depression has always been problematic but maintainable and manageable.

I have seen many therapists throughout my life, starting in college and peppered throughout my adult life. Some have been helpful, some have been awful, but overall the experiences have been positive. The biggest problem with therapy and I guess medication is that just when you really need it is when you are least likely to seek it out, especially when you are up against scheduling, insurance companies and other red tape. If I am feeling too blue to brush my teeth or to even touch myself (wang post, for the win!), the odds of me being able to navigate a voice mail system effectively to confess my depression to a total clinical stranger over a phone and beg them to "allow" me to seek help...well, its not very helpful, now is it?

Adding to this the overwhelming lessons handed down from father to son in my tribe that "We Don't Go to Doctors", and the idea that most brain drugs are hit or miss with potential for crazy side effects, and you have mixed for me a cocktail of "No thanks, I will deal with this on my own!" , served chilled with a light garnish of denial.

Luckily, the convergence of forces lately came to the fore where I had a doctor's appointment scheduled, a wonderful nurse practitioner that I was seeing for other issues, and unluckily, had a really weird "episode" at the Clutterhut that thrust my mental problems to the fore and allowed for the addressing of them to be done fairly casually and when I was feeling good. We prescribed Lexapro for me, and sent me on my merry. I am still in the market for a therapist, remind me one day to tell you about my most recent failed attempt to see someone, but the drug seems to be working well.

If you Google Lexapro, you will see a list of VERY scary side effects. Hair loss, laziness, suicidal tendencies, weight gain, sexual side effects including the inability to achieve orgasm....wait...what the hell? Is this an antidepressant, or some kind of conspiracy to turn all men into this guy:

Sure, he seems like he is having fun, but what is that last thing? Oh can't drink alcohol when on Lexapro!


"Mr RobbyBlog? Hello? I think he's coming around."


Okay, okay, apparently its not recommended that you drink while on Lexapro, but its not going to kill you or put you into a coma. Thank goodness, as they just built a new bar down the block from my office, and the holidays are upon us.

Initial Prohibitionist shock aside, I have been on the drug for a month and a half, and it has really kicked the ass out of my lows, and has left me my highs, which is great. I find myself with more confidence, happier and thank the above mentioned all encompassing Goddess, not yet prone to any of those side effects. My desire and my wang are still performing quite well, as I am sure all y'all were primarily concerned.

So there you go PopPop, a little news from the Robbyblog, and hopefully something that might help anyone out there on a similar journey. Whatever depression or anxiety you might be feeling, please try to remember that it is a temporary thing. Maybe write down on a sticky to get help to remind you from when you have those dark periods. A very wise and hot friend of mine said that the trifecta of therapy, medication and the support of family and friends makes for a wonderful panacea for mental health problems, and I concur whole heartedly....but then again, I have always had a tough time disagreeing with hot women.