Episode 02: All At Once, All At Once
Posted October 15, 2019
Suzie Sherman 0:00
This is And The Next Thing You Know, it’s a podcast about how our lives go exactly not as we planned them. I’m Suzie Sherman. Today I’m talking with my guest, Keith, about a time in his life not so long ago, when shit went totally off the rails. He had a psychotic break and a set of experiences that blew up his marriage, his relationship with his kid, his job. Basically, nothing’s the same for him since that experience. I’m so glad he’s still here with us. and he’s developed a lot of resources in his life since then, and I’m honored that he’s sharing some of his experience with us. You’ll definitely hear a bit of my former psychotherapy intern self coming through in this conversation. Bear in mind, I am not a licensed psychotherapist, and this is just a conversation about Keith’s personal experiences and how he’s trying to make sense of it all. We do talk some about his symptoms and diagnoses. And I’ve included links for those references in the show notes. Also in the show notes are links on drug and alcohol treatment, particularly the harm reduction based programs that we discuss in the show. And there are also resources in the show notes for finding some mental health support, if you feel like you need it. Keith asks me at one point what inspired me to start a podcast, so you’ll hear some of that origin story in this episode. And we also relate with each other about the perils of being human and fucking up and working on trying to forgive ourselves. A quick note: Keith changed the names in this story to protect people’s confidentiality. This is my conversation with Keith.
Got yourself a good smoke?
Half a smoke.
Does half a smoke feel half as satisfying?
No, I think it feels just as satisfying. I think there’s a good argument for doing half smokes.
Right. I’ve heard some…I’ve heard that. There is research somewhere about…it’s about, it’s about experiential events and that the beginnings of events and the ends of events are actually what register in our brains the most and…
…everything in the middle is kind of just…
interesting and kind of could go on for a long time or a short time. It wouldn’t matter.
We we numb out in the middle, we, actually, the memories that…make more of an imprint on us or the beginnings of experiences and the ends of experiences.
Interesting. That sounds like it could apply to a lot of things.
Indeed, it could apply to cigarette or a bowl of ice cream or, yea,
Or a relationship.
…or, perhaps, a relationship. Yes, exactly.
Exactly. So something struck me about some notes that you gave me before we started talking, which was that, you know, and you had mentioned this earlier, like you’d spent two years basically not leaving your house and never talking to anyone about your experience. So…
I’m curious, why–and the next thing you know–you’re on a podcast talking to everyone about this experience?
That’s a really good question. I don’t know. I guess I’d like to dive in feet first.
No, it’s actually, it’s not even about the podcast. It’s a little bit coincidence. Like, coincidentally, I’ve also started talking to co-workers about the stuff I went through a few years ago, for the first time in a long time, opening up to friends about it. I’m just sort of ready to just face it head on. I guess. I just, I’m coming out of a period where I really felt, I think we had probably all go through waves like this, but uh, where I felt like I’m a little bit of a weirdo and an alien and no one could possibly understand this stuff, and now I’m more in a place of everybody feels that way. We all feel that way. And the more we can talk about, you know, whatever it is we’re going through in the moment or in the past, the more it enables other people to talk about what they’re going through in the moment or in the past.
Yeah, I absolutely agree. Yeah. Does it feel…what does it feel like when you when you open up to someone about this experience?
This elusive experience that we will talk more about.
Yeah, I guess it I guess it depends a lot on how the person reacts. But I’m always surprised by how many people come back at you and say, Oh, yeah, I actually had something just like that. And I never talk about it either. And the fact that you’re so open and frank about it is comforting and emboldens me.
Yeah, it’s helpful, empowering for everyone.
Or, at least most people, you know, I’m sure there’s some people who might not have very easy reactions, and that’s fine too.
For sure. And you’ve got to be at the right place. I mean, I, this, I never could have figured out exactly at what point will I be ready to, you know, talk about some of these things. If you…I actually thought I was ready in the very beginning, but while I was still kind of in the middle of a mental breakdown, still having some serious manic issues, psychotic issues, and yet at the same time was like, I’ve figured out the world, I want to tell everybody my philosophy on life, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
And then, you know, after doing that for a long time, and then suddenly just waking up and being like, I’m sitting in my broken down car that I don’t have keys to where all the stuff I owned was, and now it’s not there and I don’t know where I’m gonna sleep tonight. And maybe I should shut my motherfucking mouth about what I think I figured out about the world because obviously I haven’t figured anything out. And it’s like, it’s just kinda hit, it hit hard. And I don’t know, I had to come back at it from a healthy place, where I’ve actually got a life and friends and purpose and things.
Yeah. Well, it takes I mean, I’m sure maybe at the time it felt like too little too late. But I recognize that at a certain point, when you realize you should sort of shut the fuck up and not kind of externalize every thought you’re having or every theory you’re having or every life philosophy that you feel like you’ve mastered.
When you realize that you’re not, that you probably shouldn’t externalize all those thoughts, that demonstrates quite a lot of presence and self awareness.
And a kind of a, an acceptance that, you know, you’re still recovering from what was a really significant break with reality.
Yep. Yep. And it took a long time to recognize that. It’s really amazing to me how much I wanted to play the, I don’t know, the the profit in front of a bunch of other people going through very similar difficult things, and not realizing that they were all like, you know, dude, we got our own problems. And if you know so much, what the hell are you doing here in this mental hospital, in this rehab, in this 12 step group
So maybe it took some outside observations to help you reflect
Maybe, except that, um, when I wasn’t in the right space to notice other people’s reactions, I did not notice them.
I wouldn’t say that external reactions smacked me out of it. It was really just, at some point, the dust settled and I looked around and said, holy shit.
Yeah. So what are we even talking about?
Okay. So let’s see, in the theme of the title of “next thing you know,” about four years ago, I’d say, I had a wife, a son, a good job, a lot of friends. The job paid well, and I had a lot of fun doing it. A Nice little apartment. A dog who I miss terribly. And next thing I know, I don’t think any of the things that happened to me, or I shouldn’t say that passively, but I don’t think any of the things I went through are terribly unique. It’s just in my case, they kind of all came at once. It was like within the span of a few months, I had a couple of mental breakdowns, went to a mental hospital. Um, then went to rehab then went back to the mental hospital. Then was homeless for a little while, but I pretty much just lost all of those things all at once. And…
It was like, even more than a trifecta of breaks that basically happened. Right? So
You had a break in your mental health multiple times, you broke up with your wife of, how many years was it?
Yeah, it’s complicated because we got married after having a child. So but we were we lived together for 14 years, I think.
Suzie Sherman 9:31
Yeah. Really, really long term partner, significant other, mother of your child.
So, mental break. Relationship breakup, significant break in your relationship with your kid.
Job. All of the breaks all at once.
In a very dramatic way.
I mean, in a sense, the job one was the most trivial. That’s not you know, that’s the one I had the least emotional attachment to. But then again, I was suddenly like, shit, what am I gonna eat today? Where am I going to get money from? Yeah. Yeah. All at once. All at once.
You were telling me that. Sort of the start of all this, in a sense, was realizing that you had to come clean…
…to Kate about, about some cheating stuff about some drug stuff about some behaviors.
…that you weren’t feeling proud of and you had to…you had to come clean about it. I’m curious…
What those were?
Well, do you have a sense of like, what fomented inside you to make you need to start being honest? And do you have a sense of, do you have a sense of when your…when your mental health stability was really starting to erode relative to that feeling of having to come clean to her?
That’s a really good question. I think in my case, there wasn’t like any event, it was just things built up where I’d gotten to the point where I was like, not just even leading a double life leading a triple life. So I was lying to her about where I was, at the same time that I was lying to my boss about where I was, at the same time that I was lying to my shrink to get Adderall from him that I could trade for other drugs. But just basically, I was playing a game with everybody all at once. And for a while, I was kind of like, getting off on how devious I was. But it just it built up where I just couldn’t stand myself anymore. And I didn’t know how to break out of that pattern. I just knew I had to break out of it. And I broke out of it. You know, she’s the person I wronged the most. And the worst thing about it is that just when she needed that human being who she depended on for so long to, like, help her through the shock of learning these things, and that her life wasn’t what she thought it was. I went crazy and wasn’t able to be like the support person that I should have been at that moment. And I just, I can’t imagine what that was like for her, like I became the problem at exactly the moment when she needed attention and support.
Can you say a little bit more about why, why was that the exact moment that she needed elevated support, as opposed to sort of, you know, you had a very long history together with I’m sure a lot of ebbs and flows as relationships go, and your kid was already was it 4 years old or so?
No, Ethan was 11 when…
When this all this all went down.
Suzie Sherman 12:56
Y’all did a lot of living. And a lot of I’m sure, had a lot of
Problems to navigate together.
Why was this, why does this moment feel like such an elevated moment for how you so completely disappointed her?
Well, it’s just that. So we’d been fighting more and more, we’d been having more and more problems. She was definitely already suspicious of like the various sneaking around things I was doing, but I always lied my way out of it. And the when things changed in this very, like flipping a switch way for me. Suddenly, I was telling her everything. And I don’t think she was shocked to find out. But she was shocked to hear it come out of my mouth. And she kind of had I don’t know, I think I think maybe when when one partner in a relationship is deceiving the other. They’re both aware of it. But when it becomes, you know, spoken out, then neither one of them can pretend anymore. So it was she got this rude shock of Yep, you were right all along. And here’s exactly how deep it goes and how bad it gets. And it was definitely like, you know, overnight. Wow, are we even gonna make it? Are we gonna have to break up? And that seemed very likely at that point.
You definitely speak to your speaking to how huge and sudden the shift was,
You were partners, and you were, you know, generally a reliable person and keeping things together. And suddenly the floor came out from under you both.
And she had to have the reaction that she had.
Yeah. Yeah. And I’m sure she’s…well, I don’t know, I shouldn’t speak for anybody else. But I would imagine in her shoes that I’d have all kinds of second thoughts about the timing of my reaction, like, she didn’t get as mad at me and didn’t get as you know, she to this day now doesn’t really have a lot of faith in me as a person. Like, I haven’t even come close to earning her trust back. And I don’t know if I ever can. But the first few months after I came out about everything, she was actually very supportive and seeming to want to work things out. And I wouldn’t be surprised if she looks back on and says, Oh, you know, why don’t I just tell him to get the fuck out of my life that day? Why did I waste my time with him for another few months?
Yeah. Long-standing relationships take a long time to unravel.
Yeah.Yeah. And you never know if you’re in the middle of an unraveling or not.
Yeah, it sounds like everything was very shocking to you both. And very, and I’m sure to Ethan as well. And, of course, why wouldn’t it be?
Yeah. No, he, I’m sure he had no idea what was going on.
So how crazy did it get?
The day that I…
…an example. Give me an example of how deep it got how deep the crazy got. And I’m using “crazy” colloquially here and
I’ll just do a mea culpa, in general, I really don’t. I try not to use the word “crazy,” but I don’t. And I’m not saying you, Crazy with a capital C or anyone else for that matter. But kind of like how how, how massive did the meshugaas get?
Hee hee hee…
Yeah, I got no problem with the C word.
I really mean how messy did it get? Give give us an example.
Well, okay, so the day that I had the first psychotic break and landed in the mental hospitals, it started with me thinking that some combination of my wife, the police, my psychiatrist, my boss, I don’t know who else. Maybe all my friends had been conspiring for a while tracking my text messages together, my phone calls together. And, this this one, it’s hard to explain the motivation. But I was I became convinced that I had to go on a mission to save my psychiatrist from getting in trouble. And one part of it involved me thinking the police were kind of setting me up on the side of the freeway by having some guy who looked like his car was broken down. So I stopped and went out to help him with his car, I have the all these very vivid memories. But you know, now when I look back on it, of course, nothing was actually happening. And I had nothing to do with the police. That I was driving through downtown San Francisco making crazy left turns and right turns and thinking every siren I could hear anywhere was they were coming after me. Ditch the car, jumped into a cab, like kind of crouched down so that I couldn’t be seen through the windows of the cab went to meet up with her and then we ended up at my psychiatrists place at his office, and he decided this would be a good day for you to try this nice little anti psychotic, cold, Seroquel, Keith, I think you should get to sleep and chill out. And we’ll see how you’re doing the next day. So we went home with those and I took one. And that’s always going to stick in my mind because I have a feeling if I’d taken two, it would have been an entirely different journey. But I took one and it didn’t do anything for me. So then at home that night…
So you’re still in all your restless, like unsettled…
And paranoid and psychotic and delusional. Like it was. It was a psychotic break, which I don’t know if everybody experiences the same. But for me, it’s very much like having a really bad dream or maybe a bad acid trip. But maybe more like a bad acid trip because you’re actually doing things out loud in front of people. And you’re doing them based on a skewed view of what reality is. But you’re 100% there and you’re 100% lucid, but ya, no, so that entire day, I was bad shit crazy. And I was changing my mind constantly about what the reality around me was and what I need to do about it, how I, you know, could fix the current problem. And I was obsessing at that time more than anything about the prospect of losing Ethan. I knew that that was, you know, something that one of the ways things could turn out is that I might lose custody and and lose him in my life. And so my brain was just panicking, but in a really nonsensical way, trying to figure out how do I fix this? How do I fix this? ended that night, just before the cops took me away, I was hopping up and down on one foot, pointing at a piece of paper where I’d written down all kinds of scribbled notes with circles and arrows, and pointing at it in front of my wife trying to get her to like, tell me, you know, is this does this make sense to you? Does this make sense to you? And it’s kind of funny that I know that the last thing I wrote down was “I must die for Ethan or I must sleep.”
Yeah. As if,
as if I boiled it down to this. Yeah.
And that’s the as if that’s a rational. Yeah, you know, choice to give yourself
Yeah. Well, the second part of it was a good idea.
Going to sleep was definitely the…
Always choose sleep.
What was that, that was the agreed upon clinical plan for you.
…was just to get some damn sleep that night. And of course you couldn’t.
Yep. Yep. And so, to wrap up that particular one that night ended with me calling 911 on myself. The police coming to the apartment, some guy with a knee on my back out in the hallway. I can’t remember if I was actually naked at that point or not. And, and at some point after just speaking gibberish, and somethin’ they call “word salad” for quite a while with them. I said to one of them, “For example, I know you’re a police officer. And if I reach for your gun here…” and I reached my hand very, very slowly. Like this wasn’t attempt at like suicide by cop, which is, you know, a common thing this was, I bet I know how I can make this whole thing stop, and get myself taken away to where I can get help. And as soon as I even started to reach for it, it was cuffs on, walkie talkies going off all around me. And they took me straight to what’s it, uh, SF General.
Even in your completely mentally agitated state, you knew that white privilege would kick in and you wouldn’t end up dead in that scenario.
Well, if you want to talk about the white privilege side of it, the whole point of white privilege is you’re not aware you have it most of the time. So I wasn’t actually thinking that.
Not consciously. On some level, you knew it.
Not consciously. Ever since then, I’m always thinking like yeah, damn, I got lucky on that one.
You made a strategic decision to essentially get 5150’ed.
Yep. Yep. And yeah, reaching for a cop’s gun. That’s a pretty good one.
Can I ask you a question?
What, what motivated you to do this podcast?
A lot of things, a lot of things, a lifelong desire to actualize my creative energies in some way. And that’s very tied into expression and communication for me. And so when the podcasting medium arose, it was really like a natural thing that I gravitated toward.
And, and as you could see, in the lead up to this conversation that we’re having, I’m not a technical person, really, at all,
And I’m really just learning it all from scratch. So the technical side of it is more interesting than I thought it would be, but it’s not what drove me, to it. What drove me to it, for sure was connections with people, having good, juicy emotional conversation with people.
And recording them. Because, you know, like you, I feel like sharing our stories is a really powerful, empowering thing to do. But specifically, you know, I was, I had come up with some core ideas of what I wanted to cover in a podcast. And, you know, existential terror and death anxiety, and creative actualization, and being middle aged, and still trying to figure out what the fuck I’m doing with my life. Those were all themes that were coming through for me. And I brainstormed for a couple of months before I arrived at And The Next Thing You Know, and the main impetus on that was something that’s happening with my family. My niece Jenessa has stage four colon cancer, and she is…
…only 36 years old. And there was a point at which just this last couple of years, my life really has been more about being with my family, being with good friends, paring down my life outside of kind of that tighter realm of like, of attention, doing self care, staying home, drinking less…
…just taking better care of myself. And, and, and just being more attuned to what’s going on, you know, with my family, and it very much felt like, god, you know, like, our lives can turn on a dime. And the next thing you know…
Yeah. Yeah. No.
…you’re diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, or, and the next thing you know, you know, you have a psychotic break, and you lose custody of your kid. All of these types of experiences we have, I mean, as we get older and older, you know, as we have more experience, we, we experience more of these crisis points or, or even subtle points in our lives that kind of, you know, serendipitously point us in a different direction. And so I’m really interested in those, those stories.
Thanks for asking!
There are many, many flavors of the next thing, you know. Yeah, I like to think that one of the things I got out of the hard times I had the last few years is just sort of a renewed sense of empathy. And, you know, it took a while for my brain to calm down, because part of my particular mental breakdown was a speeding up of the brain.
And you know, manic fits and such. But when it finally slowed down, it’s like, wow, I can actually listen to other people and turn off that thing in my head that’s thinking of the next thing I’m gonna say in response to someone else. It just, even in the last six months, I’ve been able to like, be there for friends, listen to people, cancel all my plans and say, You need to be around somebody tonight, I’m gonna come over and we’re just gonna hang out. Things that I was just not even in a space to do a few years ago. And I think it I think it just it came from the humiliation of having had my life fall apart to where now I’m like, I have absolutely no judgments of any of my friends. So many people I know are like, “I know, I’m screwed up. Why do you put up with me?” And it’s like, Are you kidding me? We are all screwed up. I’m happy anybody gives me the time of day in this world. I’m grateful.
Yeah. It’s a major life changer. Do you have a sense of like, where you know, where your stability is at these days? Like, have you had…have you had more episodes? Have you, has that just completely like not reared its head Again?
It’s funny you should say that, because it for the most part hasn’t. But actually, just a couple of weeks ago, I noticed myself going into a hypomanic phase. It was it’s hard to describe because it’s so different from the crazy bat shit stuff I was thinking and doing in the past. But this time around was just basically, hey, things are going well. I just got a promotion and a raise at work. I’m going out a lot more. I got a lot of friends. I’m having some fun, I’m playin’ in a pool league. I’m taking on new responsibilities, I’m there for friends. Gosh, darn, I’m clever, I’m coming up with funny things to say, I’m staying up late at night writing a lot, and just, it started to snowball, and I’m like, uh-oh, wait a minute. This is that thing I got to watch out for when I’m just being a little too damn awesome. Because I know the next step after that is I start making stupid decisions, losing all judgment, losing more and more sleep. That’s a big part of it. But I feel like I recognized it really early. And it’s the closest I’ve come to, you know how I was a few years ago. And actually, with the help of a friend on the phone, I figured out like okay, yep, time to call the psychiatrist. Time to figure out the best way to put this, you have to nip it in the bud, and basically just got some medication that forced me to get some sleep the next couple of nights, and kind of calm down a little bit. And it’s been fine. And you know, there was no fallout from that.
So the language you’re using with with mania and hypomania and stuff. Do you have a bipolar diagnosis? Is that like…
Funny you should ask! I was at one p(oint)…
You were talking…you’ve been talking about the experience a few years ago with everything crashing down as a psychotic break. And…
It sounds so. So is it bipolar with psychotic features or?
Well, it definitely…
…do you feel like you haven’t nailed it down? Is it even meaningful for you to talk about it in those terms?
Yeah, no, it totally is. But it’s just strange. I think I might be in atypical case, because I had no sign of it before a few years ago, that I was ever aware of.
And mostly no sign of it since…
…and that’s really not typical for someone who’s in their late 40s.
…when they’re first experiencing symptoms of that.
Yeah, absolutely. Most, most people who deal with bipolar deal with it in their teens and 20s, and from then on. It’s possible that I had signs of it all along and just never knew it. Maybe because I was just a really high functioning bipolar person. I was diagnosed by one doctor in one hospital as bipolar. A few years back, but then I’ve been talking with my current and past psychiatrist about it for the last couple of years. And we’re all sort of wondering if maybe that was just a special situation. And not a, you know, a lifelong condition. I don’t really, I’m not fighting it. I don’t care whether I actually am or not. But I think it’s I think it’s confusing. I think I’m definitely on the edges.
It sounds like you’re kind of treating it as, as you go, sort of as needed.
Yeah. I mean, I don’t know. Everybody in the world gets so hung up on like, seeing everything as binary. You know, you’re bipolar, or you aren’t, you’re an alcoholic, or you aren’t. You’re codependent or you aren’t, you know, it’s we’re all shades of gray on those things. I’m obviously, you know, a darker shade of gray on the whole bipolar spectrum.
And it’s something I’ll have to watch out for for the rest of my life. But I’m actually kind of proud that I, you know, recognized it a few weeks ago and did something about it.
Yeah. Totally. Your self care game is good.
Yeah. So it sounds like you like to reach out to a good friend or two, to help to help you like, see stuff or kind of…
What’s your, what are your go-to strategies for keeping yourself grounded and present your life?
I don’t, you know, that’s a funny thing. Because actually, specially the last few months, as I’ve been on a relative high, I’ve been much more focused on being there for other people in my life. And sometimes when you’re trying to play the hero for somebody else, you discover that they’re actually playing the hero for you when you didn’t expect it. It was more like that. It’s not like I was reaching out to anybody saying, help friend, I need some help. I mean, I’ve got one or two dear, dear friends that I can always call when I need it. But left to my own devices. I don’t like to be the one who’s in crisis. I guess nobody does.
Indeed, yeah. It’s hard to reach out. What other stuff? What other stuff do you do? Do you like, do you still use drugs? Do you still drink? Like, what’s your relationship with booze and substances these days?
Yeah,well, I drink. I drink, but nowhere near as much as before. I do some very, you know, mild drugs. I smoke weed whenever somebody’s passing it around. But it’s just there’s no comparison between that and the stuff I was doing in the past.
Yeah. So it feels like things are mostly in balance.
Like you can trust your judgment more?
Yeah. No, I was way the hell out of control. I mean, back then, at one point, I was going through like, a fifth of scotch a day, and maybe an…half an eight ball of coke a day. Various other things at other times. I think at one point, my wife went through my car and found like, all these different bottles of pills, I couldn’t tell you how many different things I had just saved up for whatever I wanted it, you know, maybe Tuesday, I’ll take a bunch of Vicodin. Maybe Wednesday, I’ll take some molly, that sort of thing.
Were you able to get through that part of your experience, like did you have…did you go to a program? Did you…
…get like peer support, 12 Step type stuff or harm reduction? Or…
Did you do a lot of kind of willing yourself through it?
Yeah. I mean, I think I mentioned that, you know, the main thing going through my head during this whole period of time was how do I not lose my son? How do I not lose my son? And as soon as it became apparent that, you know, there might be a custody battle looming, then I felt like okay, I’ve got to go along with whatever the court…whatever all the professionals suggest.
So that was the that was the motivation for me going from the mental hospital straight into rehab for a month. And that was really helpful. I also did, months and months of AA and NA and another thing called SMART Recovery, that’s a much more mellow and less dogmatic recovery program for addicts of various kinds.
That’s interesting. I have never come across it.
Yeah, it’s an acronym. I can’t remember what it’s what it stands for.
Got it. sounds like it might be more in line with harm reduction principles, as opposed to…
Yes. That’s that’s a big part of it.
So but smart is an acronym?
I’ll look that up and put it in the show notes as a resource for folks.
Yeah, absolutely. You should there. There. It’s a lot harder to find those meetings than AA or NA, but my opinion, they kind of take all the obnoxious things out of the 12 Step groups, including the 12 Steps.
There’s also an organization, or a loose ad hoc, but but you know, but organized organization called Moderation Management. It sounds maybe similar. I’m not sure. It might be that SMART Recovery is a little more structured, perhaps. Moderation Management is a peer-led support group for folks, mostly, mostly for alcohol, but not exclusively, and people…
…have their different substance of choice. But it’s definitely like a more self accountability, kind of talking about how much you use and like, there’s no shaming about use.
There’s no pressure to be totally abstinent.
That actually sounds very similar. One of the things I liked about SMART Recovery is like you could go to a meeting and somebody would come in there and say, Yeah, I binge drank again, this weekend. I went through a couple of gallons of vodka on Saturday. And then you know, and then they’d come back the next week, and I’d be welcomed back the next week.
That’s right. And there isn’t, yeah, that that sense of, I’m failing at this. And and that, that sense of shame that wells up.
I had 117 days…yeah, yeah.
You know. And for some people, I think they recognize about themselves that totally abstaining is the only way that they can exert control…
Yeah. Yeah, it’s good. It’s good. I mean, and I don’t knock abstinence for people that that works for as well. I think there’s a lot of people, you know, in the world who have, you know, we all have, as you said, there’s a lot of gray areas, many, many of us, including me, you know, we have complicated, slippery slope relationships with our substances of choice mine is whiskey.
…over that substance. And that makes a lot of sense. And because AA such a well known, well-resourced organization, you can find a meeting anywhere you go, literally anywhere you go, probably Antarctica, there’s probably a damn AA meeting in Antarctica, I have a friend who lives there part of the year, so I’ll have to ping her and see…
Check on that one? Yeah.
Yes. Yeah, she can verify that for me.
I know that on a given day, there’s probably 50 here in San Francisco at like, yeah, on any given day. SMART Recovery. It’s more like there’s three a week that you can find in various places, but…
And probably only big cities or something.
I’ve got such a love-hate relationship with AA. For the most part. It’s a very dogmatic, almost really, it’s, it’s apart from the fact that they push religions, it’s also a religion all to its own. But at the same time, thank god, it exists.
Yeah, it seems to have helped a lot of people. I’m not going to comment on whether there are actually peer reviewed studies that show that it’s efficacious. But it seems to help a lot of people.
And there’s a lot of you know, I was actually just talking to my sweetie, Em, about this not long ago, but but there’s definitely a salubrious effect to, you know, kind of a placebo or, or what’s referred to as a Hawthorne effect, where just sitting with a clinician or just talking to someone about your issues, your problems is helpful. And, and statistically significantly helpful. You know, whether any action plan is taken or where any any follow up is done, or any medications or prescribed or whatever, just the fact of telling your story to someone is helpful.
And that’s true in therapy professions and the medical field, and everything else.
I can definitely say there’s been some AA meetings have been to where, when they get to the going around and sharing part, it’s so somber, that it’s almost spooky. And you can just hear people getting some kind of healing just by having everyone shut up and listen to them for a few minutes. That they don’t get anywhere else. Like there’s there is a power…
Yep. Yeah. Yeah. Even even skeptics like us can be moved. This is kind of how I feel about the institution of marriage.
I have a lot of, a lot of critique about the institution of marriage, being a queer person, even though Yay, it’s legal for us now. But, you know, it’s an institution that, of course, is built on misogyny, and it’s an exclusive institution,
you know, I would never have been accepted into until very, very recently, etc. I’ve got lots of critique, but dammit, if I don’t cry when I go to my friend’s weddings…
I’m just it. I’m a I’m a mess of emotion. Because it is it’s a powerful, meaningful ritual. And I can’t knock that.
Yeah, and. Yes, and let’s say, yes, and.
Save that for the next podcast.
So tell me, so tell me Keith, you know, if we, if we think again, to the basic construct of our conversation, And The Next Thing You Know…so you had that moment where, and the next thing you know, your life completely shattered, and it was unrecognizable, and you had to put it back together.
What about now, the person that you are now. What, what are the next things for Keith now?
Yeah, it’s, it’s funny, because a lot of the more tangible things that I lost, like, I really felt at one point, like I had just lost everything. You know, like, I couldn’t get any lower, I couldn’t have lost more people, more things, more achievements in my life that I had worked so hard for my whole adult life, just all wiped away, just reset button. And I haven’t gotten that many of those more tangible things back. But I have new friends, and they’re really good friends. And I have a way to walk the world. where, you know, I think I have a deeper sense of integrity than I ever had before. Where I know exactly how, how I want to walk this earth, and I want to treat other people and what I want to, you know, contribute to the world. And I’m pretty much acting on that every day, as best I can. And I’ll take that. I’ll totally take that.
That’s beautiful. How do you act on it? I think this is a, this is a larger, you know, ethical question for all of us. How do we act on…
…to be more kind, more ethical, more compassionate? How do we how do we do that every day? How do you do it?
Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, there’s, there’s definitely the times when you’re you have to step up, when you know, somebody needs you. And you need to just Oh, sure, you’ve got to take your dog to the hospital, I’ll go with you. I’ll drop what I’m doing. But a lot of the time for me it’s not, it’s it’s more just kind of how I interact with other people. I’m not. I used to get really frustrated and angry all the time. And I used to see 90% of the people around me as annoying. And I kind of don’t know, like, it’s just the whole experience smacked the the hubris out of me, to where now, I don’t know, I will give anybody the time of day who needs it. And I will give anybody compassion, and I will try to make everyone feel included. And I’d usually it’s not that I didn’t want to do those things in the past. I just couldn’t get past my own problems enough. And I don’t know, it’s it feels a little bit like a Zen thing where I’m like, calm enough that I’m able to just hang out and observe and be kind and compassionate wherever I can.
There’s a way in which that experience, all of those things crashing down at the same time, kinda exorcised you.
In a sense, it wiped the demons out, it…kind of gave you a clean, scrub.
A clean washing of the soul. Yeah.
So as someone also who’s had crisis points where I define my life as before that moment, and after that moment, now that you are after that moment in your life, do you have a clear sense, do you think, of who you were before that crisis moment? When you’re talking about who you are now…
Are you reflecting back toward kind of the person that you sort of always were building up to that crisis point?
Yeah, I mean, I think I’m closer now to the person I always wanted to be than I than ever had been before. Just my my general attitude is one that I always wanted to have. But things like fear, social anxiety, for sure, feeling like I had something I needed to prove, would like prevent me from being that and, you know, that’s the great thing about being knocked down real hard, is you’re like, Well, what do I have to be afraid of anymore? I’ve already lost it all and gotten through it. Yeah, I just and I sure as hell don’t have anything to prove to anybody at this point in my life. So.
Not a lot of people. I mean, you know, I hope for a lot of us to have that. That feeling, you know, maybe to come to it less dramatically. I don’t wish that…
…kind of crisis on anyone. But I’m really happy to hear that you feel like you’re closer to the person that you always wanted to be. Now. What a wonderful perspective to have on your experience and your time moving forward. Right? It reminds me also what you just said, It reminds me of a time in my life when, you know, of course, I’ve had some crisis points. And I’ve had those moments where it felt like everything was going wrong all at the same time. I had a really epic, I’m sure I’m going to talk about this on the podcast a lot. And my listeners are going to get really bored of this story. But, and I’m not going to go into detail about it now. But what you were just saying reminds me of a time in my life, between 2010 and 2011, where my mom died, my mom got diagnosed with cancer and died within six weeks of her diagnosis.
Oh my god.
At the same time, my partner of, at that time, five, six years, and I were going through a major upheaval, that’ll keep private for now. Maybe I’ll talk about it on the podcast at some point. Maybe I’ll get in here. (Laughs.) Get her get her on record, and we can process it for everyone in the public…
Stay tuned for Episode 17.
Yes, exactly. Well, yeah, I think that’ll probably be more like Episode 78.
But my partner and I were going through a major crisis that, you know, in our relationship, we ended up that ended up…I won’t say that ended up breaking us up. Well, ultimately, we broke up, you know, after kind of in the aftermath of that. So my mom died, my partner and I were, you know, in the thick of it and then broke up. And then I also got got my hand mauled by a dog at the dog park. (Laughs.)
I actually had my hand almost entirely ripped open. You can see this awesome scar.
Yes. That’s what I wanted to see next. Oh my god! Yeah, that’s pretty awesome.
I’ll probably put up you know, maybe I’ll post the photo on the podcast feed at some point about my ripped open hand when I could, you know, I could see the I could see my tendons and
Yeah, you’re, like, knuckle bones.
Like not not my knuckles didn’t go all the way up to my knuckles. But my, what are these, metacarpals, I think is what they are. I could see them just see inside…
…the cavity of my hand. So anyways, my mom died, dog bite, broke up with Amber. I’m sure there were other things. Oh, I stopped my, I stopped my private therapy internship at that point as well. So all, kind of all the realms of my life blew up all within, you know, within a year and a half in 2010-11. When was your upheaval? Was it right around then?
Uh, naw, 20…2015.
That’s right. So it, you know, it reminds me of that, where it’s like these, these massive change points that happen where you have to, you have to look at you have to look at your life in a different way. And really appreciate that. Once you’ve gotten past that point. you’ve survived it. You’ve survived all of that. Yeah.
Yeah. I mean, definitely when it rains it pours. You never know when all those waves are just gonna line up together. Yeah. You know, was it “stronger at the broken places?” What’s that quote by Hemingway, I think?
Oh, yeah. I don’t know the exact quote. I’m not gonna look it up now. Maybe I’ll put it in the show notes.
I don’t even need to know it. Just, “stronger at the broken places,” damn it.
There’s also I think, a similar quote that’s attributed to Leonard Cohen, about “the cracks are where the light comes in.”
Yeah. That is essential humanness. Right? So what’s, uh, how are you feeling right now?
I don’t know. I feel like, I feel like maybe I’ve been kind of stiff and vague through the whole conversation, because it just feels like, there’s so much more story in my head about what went down. And yet, I’m just sort of talking in the abstract. So I don’t know. How you feeling about our conversation?
I’m feeling great. I don’t think you’ve been stiff or vague. I’m, I definitely sense that, and I know that there’s so much more to the story about that moment in your life. But I have sort of more curiosity about what that means for you now. What, you know, what’s the fallout now? And one thing that we haven’t talked about, and I’ll check in with you, we can, we can edit as well. You know, what’s your relationship with Ethan like? Do you have a relationship with Ethan? Can you talk about it?
Uh, yeah. I can talk about it. Usually not for very long without crying.
I don’t have…
He’s like 15 now?
Yeah. He’s 14 right now. Yeah, he was really traumatized by some of the things that happened, especially during those few months, I think maybe during the period of time leading up to it. But it was still kind of a shock to me. And I still don’t quite understand, that he’s basically afraid of me doesn’t want to see me at all. The topic of me makes him freak out and get really upset. And it’s, it’s really hard to wrap my head around because it was so all of a sudden, and before that, I always viewed us as very close, we spent a lot of time together, it felt like a total camaraderie, us against the world, let’s make up our own games, let’s fool around and joke with our own special secret private jokes. And, and then just overnight, it was like, he’s just gone. And the only connection I have to him is talking to his mom, my ex wife, who kind of hates me with good reason and doesn’t really want to talk to me very much. So it’s like I have, I have to get any information or connection to him through this, like cocktail straw. Sort of recent development is that I’ve started talking to his therapist. And that’s been good, because she’s giving me some insight, and working with me on some, you know, things I could write to him that he might want to immediately tear up and throw in the garbage can, but you know…
You might just be able to make a little overture, or effort.
Did she solicit your participation in that way? Was that her idea? Or…
No, you know, I think I actually brought it up with his mom a few times before that, and could never actually get in touch with a therapist. And then this was a relatively new therapist who he’s got a good relationship with. And I think she turned around and brought it up with me, his mom. So it was it was more like something I’d been trying to do for a while. And then it was all the pieces fell into the right place. So I’ve only been talking to her for a few months.
That’s a good development.
Yeah. Yeah, and, oh, god, one of the worst things is, um. So Kate doesn’t want to speak to me on the telephone even. Haven’t seen her physically since the whole thing went down pretty much. But occasionally, she’ll decide that it has to be all text messages. And that’s like the most frustrating way to communicate with somebody about anything of any emotional import. And, and she did that to me a few months ago, and I got really upset and bitter, I’d really wanted to talk to her on the phone about my last conversation with this therapist about what the plan was going to be from here. And I felt cut off, and I let it freeze me into inaction. So the ball was in my court at that point, where I was supposed to come back with another draft of a letter to him, to my son, and, and I let that just sit for about three months. Then recently, I got back on the horse, but everyone’s a little upset that I did that, including me. I have a tendency to avoid things that are difficult, you know. And if I have a choice between sitting at home and writing this very difficult letter to somebody or going out and singing karaoke, I’ll tend to do the latter over and over. I guess we all have that tendency. But I’m starting now to get a letter, a better balance of things that are fun and nurture me but also things that have to be done. And they’re difficult. And I don’t want to face getting back in touch with people that I haven’t been in touch with for a long time, with, you know, ready to walk up to them and say, “Okay, you want to punch me in the face right now, go ahead, I’m here to take that punch.
Right. It’s probably a useful exercise for you to evoke some punches in the face, even some metaphorical punches of the face.
From adults, people who were in your life, who you’d like maybe to make amends with and get back in your life, or just, sort of, you know, it might be good practice for when Ethan’s more ready to have you back in his life.
You know, we don’t have obviously any control over the outcome there. I don’t know why I said “we,” but I think…
No, I know what you mean.
I don’t know, I’m thinking generally, because we all have those situations in our lives. We don’t have the ability to control the outcome, but you do have the intention, and you can make the effort. And you can be patient.
And, and maybe he will want to be back in your life. It sounds like you’re doing a lot of the right things. Sometimes. I get it, you know, avoiding frustrating situations might be better than acting out the frustration.
Right? Especially for the ex.
No, for sure. Yeah, it’s just, it’s the situation with him is really tough too because I have so few options, you know, it’s not like there’s a variety of ways I could talk to him see him, find out anything about him. It’s all got to go through her. And, and she has plenty good reason to not like me, not trust me. She hasn’t seen my journey of the last few years. So how does she know that I’m a different person than the person who screwed over so bad in the past?
Um-hm. Right? If you don’t have, if she doesn’t have interest in accessing what your life is like now…
…there’s that possibility she’ll always have that skewed perception of who you are. Right? She does also know, she knew you for, you know, a decade and a half before everything came crumbling down as well. So…
Maybe she can reach into that empathy about who you are.
Yeah, I think I’ve tried a few times to tell her over the last few years, like I resemble the person, you know, you first met and fell in love with a lot more than that other person. But that’s just words.
Right. Right. And if she doesn’t want to see it, and for good reason, then she’s not going to. But it makes the situation kind of continue to have that… that calcified…you know, it has that calcified quality of being just frozen in time, where the break happened…
…in a certain way.
Yeah, and it’s like, the the only way she could get a better, you know, sense of whether I’m back to being that good hearted person that my, you know, my heart is true, would be to have more exposure to me. And I’ve got no right to ask that of her. She has every right to say, “I don’t ever want to hear your name spoken, see your face again.” Unfortunately, she did the stupid thing of having a kid with me. So she’s stuck with me in her life a little bit.
Uh-huh. Scrambling your DNA with someone is a really good way to be stuck with them.
Do you have any expectations, not expectations, but I don’t know, like, fantasies, hopes, about what the future might look like. Even to have a, you know, a more a more trusting, you know, even keel relationship with Kate?
Oh, gosh, with her? I don’t know. I thought you’re going towards having a relationship with my son again.
Obviously, you want that.
Yeah. I mean, no, I think she and I got to a pretty poisoned place a long time ago. And honestly, I try to stay humble and contrite in how I relate to her. But I, no, I don’t have any expectations of her, like coming around. You know, I’d like us to be more civil. I’d like well, okay. In the recent conversation that I forced her to have with me on the phone. One of the things she said that stuck in my head was, “why is it important to you that I trust you?” And I think that maybe what she meant by that is more like “why is it you have to put the burden on me of telling you that I trust you, so you can feel better about yourself, jackass?”
Maybe. Maybe. That’s one of many ways to interpret it.
That’s probably that’s got, you know, that’s demonstrating some insight, I think.
That might be that might be closer to what she meant, but like, just on face value, like why is it important that you trust me? You’re my son’s mother! How am I ever gonna have any hope of…Of course, it’s important, and yet, you know, how do you make someone trust you, especially when you burned them with your words? You know?
Do you have a sense of like the percentage of time you spend living in regret about how things went?
A lot less lately. And I think that’s why I’m I’m doing better. Because it was just overwhelming. To just like, constantly be kicking myself, constantly going over things in my head. (Frustrated sound) why did I do it that way? But there’s probably a good solid half an hour of every day, where I’m just in my head. In the past, it was wallowing in self pity. But now it’s more just like, yep, yep, you screwed up. That’s why you still don’t have these things that you want. I just miss him every fucking day. Every time I see a boy about his age, or I see a like a father and a son have an interaction with each other. It’ll just immediately kick me into remembering what I’ve lost. And why I lost it. But half an hour a day. That’s not too much. (Laughs.) There’s definitely moments where I have to walk out of crowded places, or I’m going to start going to pieces.
Yeah. I have a lot of, um, I’ve made some critical mistakes in my life. They haven’t involved scrambling my DNA with anyone.
(Laughs.) Good move!
It’s hard to compare. Well, but, you know, and not compare, but one of the things, and I, and I do beat myself up a lot. And I and it’s hard for me, I would ask myself the same question, what’s my percentage of time that I spend on a daily basis beating myself to a pulp because of mistakes I’ve made or harm I’ve caused other people. And I do a lot of beating myself up, let’s just say…
I don’t know about the percentage, but I do a lot of it. And one of the things that I’ve been noodling around with lately, you know, for myself is remembering that no amount of beating myself up is actually going to right the wrong that I did or…
…or help the people that I’ve harmed. It’s not helpful or useful to the people I’ve harmed, to beat myself up and continue to be in regret and shame.
…because it holds us back from actually acting with more intention and kindness in the now and in the future. Right.
To stay in the shame of it, or to stay in the regret.
Yeah, I think I think there’s definitely a point where you think if I can, like, make it obvious how guilty and miserable and ashamed I am, that that will give them some satisfaction, but it doesn’t. How could it?
That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, time, time is what’s gonna do it, you know, time and reliable interactions and patience and treating everyone with care.
With the care that you can, being the person you are now. I know this is not supposed to be like, ameliorative or prescriptive or anything like that, but I’m relating with your story. You know, in the way, in the way that I am, you know, you know, as as a self-flagellating person who feels like, every mistake I like, I like I wear every mistake I’ve made in my life, like on the insides of my eyelids.
Yeah. Do you? Do you feel like it affects the way you go out in the world in terms of how brave or timid you are? Or like how, how much space you feel you have a right to take up in this world?
For sure. Which is, which is interesting, given this new hobby of mine of podcasting, and putting my putting, putting my thoughts and my feelings in a fairly vulnerable way, with with people with guests or without just, you know, putting myself out there in this way.
In such a public way. It’s a very weird paradoxical desire I have because as I said earlier, it’s like a lot of my creative ambitions have to do with expression and putting myself out there. And even thinking that I have the right or the entitlement to take up space in this way, or to opine about my own experiences. It takes a lot of effort.
And that’s, you know, mitigated also by socioeconomic factors, the fact that I’m a woman putting myself out there, and maybe I’m going to be opening myself up to all kinds of, you know, red pill incel nastiness…
Oh, good god, uh-huh.
You know, I’m a queer women, I’m a queer, fat woman, I’m a queer, fat Jewish woman, all of those factors play into it. I’m also white and privileged and have a, you know, have a certain level of, you know, comfort and resources in my life to be able to put this together and to even have kind of built up the audacity to put myself out there in this way. So it’s, we’re all a mixed bag of our trauma and personal experiences and all the socioeconomic factors that go into giving us the confidence or making us feel like we have to shrink. (Laughs.)
Yeah. Yeah, I, I’d say that’s probably the thing I’ve swung out of balance the most on throughout my life is the sense of, it’s, it’s either, I’ve got it all figured out. I’m clever and witty and brilliant, and everybody should listen to what I have to say, or who the hell cares what I have to say, and I’m just gonna stay here in the corner and keep my mouth shut, I tend to swing between those extremes a lot.
Right. And I can see how if you are given to that possibility of like, having a sort of self, you know, a grandiose sense of self, and that feels like it might trigger, it might be part of the triggering into mania.
Right. Right feeling…
That’s also something that I, that I imagine mitigates your sense of being able to be in your confidence and be and take up space. And…
…to be able to, to be kind to yourself about how you are a good person and brilliant and witty and have things to say and have things to contribute.
Right. Yeah. All those things were always half true.
But I never seem to half-believe them, I either completely believe them or don’t at all.
Yeah, I don’t know. Actually, maybe I’m rambling on this now. But I was just talking to a friend of mine who’s got a cousin who is bipolar. He’s like, 22. And, you know, I was telling her like, the hard thing about it is you have to watch out for when you’re doing well. Most, you know, when when people are in the depths of severe depression, and I’ve got a lot of that in my family. I know a lot about it, they pretty much know they’re not doing well. You know, they want to stand up and scream from the rooftops how horrible they’re feeling. And, you know, when I’m doing well, it’s like, this is supposed to be okay, right? I’m doing well at my job, I’m making new friends, I’m having fun, I’m joking around. But no, you gotta, you got to keep an eye out for…
You have to second guess yourself…
You have to second guess any little bit of a buzz you get from life.
What are the things that you do that make you lose that self consciousness? Are there moments that you can let go of that worry that just because you’re in a state of joy…you know, that it’s okay to be in a state of joy?
Yeah. You know, I guess, I guess a lot of it’s always just about like social support structure, it’s, you know, are most of the human beings that I interact with on a daily basis, good to me, and on my side, am I on their side, am I good to them? There was a long time where I didn’t feel that way. And over the last year or so it’s just been snowballing to where I’m surrounding myself with people that I feel comfortable with. I know they’ve got my back through, you know, the really hard times, and I could call them up in any kind of crisis. But at the same time, we love to joke around together on a Saturday afternoon shooting pool, and just the more of that, it’s it’s social contact, human contact. That’s really where I, you know, I think I get my strength from, I think it’s what everybody gets their strength from. But there’s no like prescription for how to get it in your life.
It seems like you’ve done quite a bit of work to be able to get community back into your life.
Yeah, well, maybe, maybe, haha, or just had enough patience, and enough time without it to appreciate how important it is. I certainly appreciate my friends a lot more than I used to. You know, I’m always thinking of, okay, you know, I got pulled up into the lifeboat after the, the ship wrecked. And now I’m looking out for who else to help up into the lifeboat after me. I don’t know how to express it. But I always want to encourage anybody who’s just, you know, in the depths to realize that there is something very worthy in them. And if they don’t feel like they have a lot of people around them in their life, that that’s just a temporary situation. And that as they start to get that it will snowball, and they’ll get their confidence back, and they can, you know, realize the best version of themselves that they always imagined they could be. Not that I’m the best version of myself, haha, that I could be right now. But, a better one than I have been in the past. Yeah, I don’t know.
Yeah, I mean, having that realization that, like you have, even if you have some devastating things that happen in your life, that we all have an inherent capacity for and a striving toward being better, you know, reaching equilibrium again, you know, finding things in life that feel meaningful to us, finding the connections with people in our life, that feel, you know, that feel supportive and loving. And…
…you know, we’re all striving for those, those pieces of our our life to fall back into place, and generally speaking, we are very resilient when our lives get decimated.
Yeah, for sure. But other people are crucial. And because they’re other people you don’t always have control over…how to get them in your life again, or how to you know how they’re going to react to you.
Nay, you probably have no control. (Laughs)
All you can do is…
Wisdom to know the difference, motherfucker.
Yeah. (Laughs) Cycling back to 12 step.
Yeah, I mean, knowing, knowing that we have no control is paradoxically, I think can be paradoxically a really grounding…
you know, concept to hold. You know, it’s it’s deeply destabilizing, and, and, and terrifying to know that we have no control over outcomes. But also, if you remind yourself that, you can stay in, you know, stay in your sense of presence, and your sense of kindness and your sense of like, doing your life a little bit better each day, if you can, and giving yourself a break. If you can’t, on a particular day, too.
Because we’re all we’re all in this soup of terror together. But we all are, you know,
(Laughs) None of us really has control. I think a lot of people have the illusion that they have control.
But sometimes really hard times and losing a lot gives you a kind of boldness that’s special and unique, like the bravery to just, you know, take more risks and get out there. That was definitely, you know, part of getting my ship righted again, was just saying, oh, fff…what the hell else do I have to lose?
And just stepping outside your house!
Taking that first step outside of your house, after self-sequestering for a couple of years. Took some fortitude.
Yeah, and some patience. And, you know, you can’t will yourself to have a different outlook on life overnight. I see so many people in my life right now who are just kind of fundamentally unhappy because they externalize their view of themselves and all of their insecurities on other people are constantly thinking what other people think of them, and taking every comment the wrong way and viewing every potential antagonist as an antagonist. You know, it’s just so much easier to say, I got no control over what they think of me. None whatsoever, and just let it all go like water off a duck’s back and assume the best of people, even when, you know, some people are jerks. Some people are malicious motherfuckers. But if you can act, if you can presume they’re not, and presume that they didn’t mean this thing in the worst way possible. Who wins, you do? I don’t know. Blah, blah, blah.
Thanks for listening to my conversation with Keith. And thanks again, Keith, for sharing just a little bit of your story. I want to emphasize that if you need help handling emotional health challenges, that there are resources in your community. I’ve linked to some resources for finding mental health care and the show notes, which you can find in the episode description, or at our website, nextthingpodcast dot com. We are And The Next Thing You Know. Subscribe at Apple podcasts, Google Play or wherever you do that thing. If you’re liking the show so far, one of the most helpful things you can do is tell your friends! Share it on your social media with the hashtag #nextthingpod. Remember, next thing pod has two “t’s” in the middle there. It’s “next thing pod.” You can also rate or review us at iTunes, or throw us a few bucks at patreon dot com slash nextthingpod. Join the conversation at nextthingpod on Facebook, and find me at soozenextthing on Instagram and Twitter. That’s s-o-o-z-enextthing. If you have an And The Next Thing You Know story, why don’t you send it to us? Maybe it was a subtle thing that happened in your life that pointed you in a new direction. Or maybe it was a smack in the gut of a change that you didn’t see coming. If you’d like to share your story, email us or record a short voice memo on your phone and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We might feature it on a future episode. The banana peel is by Max Ronnersjö, music is by Jon Schwartz. Thanks everybody. We’ll talk soon. Unless, you know, my entire life implodes before I post the next episode.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai, edited by me.