Category Archives: Drugs

ZEN PODCAST 30 – Matthew Haynes


Matthew Haynes is the founder of The Design Conference.

What happens when you have 2 “woke” guys on mics over a couple of hours? This! DMT, polyamory, fakers, purpose, Indigenous rights and of-course, design!

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Update: Depression and Bipolar – Off the meds for 3 months


ZEN PODCAST #25.

In the beginning of 2019 I lost the will to live and was diagnosed with depression and bipolar 1. I was prescribed an antidepressant (Efexor) and Quetiapine for my manic episodes and went through 6 months of therapy (both a psychiatrist and a psychologist) to get back on my feet.

Despite doctors orders I stopped both medications 3 months ago and I’m feeling more alive than I have in a very long time.

This raw unedited recording is hosted by Matthew Schneeman, a New York based journalist and radio producer as part of his “A Year from Now” project where he interviews people who are currently going through major events, then re-interviews them a year later.

Matthew and I go deep into my case; How I got depression, how I’ve been dealing with depression and bipolar disorder, getting off the meds, how I’m feeling now and where I’d like to be a year from now.

You can find out more about Matthews “A Year from Now” project on his web site: https://matthewschneeman.com/a-year-from-now

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And I fucked it all up just to do it again

I’m not scared of anything, and after some thought… that’s really not a good thing. So many people in life lie about not being scared of anything, and the sooner they realise they’re full of shit, the sooner they succeed. 

Resistance in life is an awesome thing, it’s the negative that helps you define the positive. I feel like I’ve succeeded in life. I’ve done the hard work and I’ve shown up more than a few times (despite every fibre of my being telling me to back out).

A few years back I got to a stage where I just wanted to hop off the ride, there was no resistance left. I was done. It wasn’t until the night where I actually tried to end my life that I realised I couldn’t do it. I walked out of my house, no shoes on and headed for the cliffs by the beach. I only managed to get a few houses down the street before breaking down in tears. I felt like the biggest wimp in the world. I was scared. 

It’s been some time since then. I’ve gone through medication, therapy, gotten off the weed (I was smoking an ounce a week for a few years) and I’m now off the medication and back to square one. 

I was in a 3-piece grunge rock band in high school and we had a song called F.I.A.U.J.T.D.I.A, which was short for Fucked It All Up Just To Do It Again. At the time I wrote it because I was chasing after girls who might have liked me, but before too long I’d lose my shit, get too full on and scare them away. I was stuck between learning a lesson, and just trying hard to accept myself for being a fuck up, so just keep on fucking up. 

Right now I’m conscious of fucking it all up. I’m staring at a blank canvas. I want to go forwards not backwards, but I feel like in order to go forwards I need to redefine what I’m scared of in life. I need to find resistance in order to overcome it. I need to work hard to create opportunities that require me to show up.

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I was roofied in Vegas

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas… but fuck it. Ima share my Vegas story anyways as it’s something I’ll never forget and also a story that could act as a cautionary tale for those visiting Vegas in future.

A few years back I was in Vegas to cover the SEMA auto show for Toyo Tyres. On the night we landed we decided to go to a strip club. We were in a big enough group to get a private room (which seemed pretty cool but in retrospect was probably a trap!). At some stage I let one of the girls know that I was a photographer and that I’d shot with Miss CJ Miles when she visited Australia, turns out CJ was in the house that night and nek minnit CJ was on my lap.

Everything was a haze from then onwards. I vaguely remember walking around the club on my own like a zombie and I vaguely remember being on a couch with 2 girls who were taking $50 notes out of my pockets whilst I was trying to explain that heeeey, this is what Aussie money looks like!

I woke up the next morning on the floor just inside the door in my hotel room, naked, with the neck of my T-Shirt stretched around my waist, leaving the rest of my T-Shirt looking like a skirt. My passport was sitting on the bedside table next to the bed and I had lost my phone and ALL of my travel money (I didn’t have time to figure out how to use the hotel safe as we’d quite literally just landed and headed out!).

I had no idea how I got back to the hotel. I had no memory of the night before. I didn’t have a hangover, but felt fuzzy AF. It didn’t take me too long to realise that I’d been drugged.

I was pissed about losing all my cash, but I was super upset about losing my phone as I didn’t synch it with the cloud and that meant that I’d lost all of my cheeky private phone pics I’d snapped over the years. Fuck. To be honest I’m still really gutted about this today. I spent the entire day trying so hard to remember the night before but no matter how hard I tried to remember shit nothing came back. The boys let me know that the last time they saw me I was having a good time. I was with CJ and a couple of girls, my hands on ass, boobs, hands everywhere… but fuck it I couldn’t remember a fucking thing!

I spent that afternoon filing a report at a local cop shop. The lady at the station laughed out loud when I told her what had happened. “Happens all the time!” she said, “Every night!”.

The guys did mention that we were split up at some point and I’m pretty sure that’s by design so if you’re reading this, and planning to visit Vegas strip clubs at some point in your life, take heed. Make sure all your cash is in the hotel safe, leave your phone in the safe too. Stick together as a group and in case you do get roofied, bring a hotel card so they know where to dump your body.

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Getting off the meds

I’ve been on bi-polar meds (Quetiapine) for a year and a half now. Initially on a dose of 300mg/night, and over time I managed to reduce the dosage to 25mg/night on my own, mostly because I’ve never been into the idea of taking medication, if anything I’ve always seen it as a sign of weakness. 

When I was 18 my Dad was dying from cancer and I saw a transformation. He was a strong man. I’d even say I was scared of him when I was younger. He was a buddhist, but at the end of his days at St Vincent’s Hospital he had priests pressure him to convert to God. And that he did. As cancer ate him alive he grew weaker, and I took that weakness in a bad way. I was disappointed in him for giving up. When he died I took his strength and vowed never to be weak. 

I gave myself a deadline. Dad passed away at age 47, so in my mind I’ve had until 47 to do everything in life. I’m now 45 and it’s only recently that the hard reality of not being able to choose when it all ends has well and truly fucked me up. 

The meds knock me out about 30 minutes from when I take them and I’ve had solid 6–8hr blocks of sleep since, well, since a few weeks ago where I’m finding that one little pill isn’t enough anymore. I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that the pills do nothing more than get me to sleep, and the lack of sleep was what send me insane in the first place. A few weeks ago I tried herbal sleeping pills subscribed by a specialist (who was made aware of my situation), but they did jack shit. My local doctor has now put me onto a sleeping pill which he says that he would much rather me take than Quetiapine, and it’s been a rough transition over the past week, but I’m getting there, and have had a couple of nights of solid sleep on the new medication. 

I did a podcast recently with some friends and I didn’t entirely like some of the things I said, or sounded like, when I listened to it back. Listening to it back was like looking into a mirror for me. I sounded like someone who had given up. Someone with a lack of drive, someone who didn’t care anymore. I’ve lost respect for myself, and thus respect for others. I’m biting my tongue instead of speaking out. I’ve been choosing to do and be nothing. 

Being on meds has helped me to avoid hitting the low lows, but I’m realising that it’s also stopping me from getting the high highs… I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle now. Numb, flatline. Everything I’ve ever done of any worth (to me) in life has come from embracing the low lows and the high highs. 

So I’m now on a mission right to get off the meds in hope that I’ll find my drive again. Whether it works, or not, I’ll have to see. Either way it feels good to even be on a mission once more!

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Fat Me

51kg

fatme_justinfox

51kgs in January, now 67kgs. Thanks to all who brought me back to life (you know who you are!) X.

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Sydney Creative Network

scn

Join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SydneyCreativeNetwork/

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Kimble Chan

nsfw

Earlier in the year I was in a pretty dark place. I saw 2 psychotherapists at that time, both of them didn’t help much. Those who know me know that I’m an open book and I was sharing my journey back out of the hole in public. I had a guy from the car scene, Kimble Chan, reach out with offers to help (he’s a trained hypnotherapist), but at that time I discounted the fact that the guy was much younger than me, and thus wouldn’t be able to help.

Over time I had a few more friends suggest I see Kimble as he had successfully helped them get through some shit. In my Facebook post earlier in the week I mentioned that I wanted to try and give meditation a go. Kimble reached out once more and this time I took him up on his offer.

Yesterday Kimble dropped past. There was a lot going on in the studio. All 3 of my business partners were in, so too a male model and a client for a studio shoot. Kimble and I had a good chat whilst the rest of the team got busy. It turns out he also uses hypnotherapy to help people quit smoking (I really want to quit smoking), and he helped my mechanic Indy to quit. This is pretty epic news to me as Indy smokes like a chimney. If Indy can quit then so can I!

Once the studio shoot was done Kimble kindly offered to teach us all a few skills (team building!). We sat out on my deck, in the sun, and had a little meditation session and it was awesome. There’s always been a lot of noise in my head, and I’ve always been pessimistic about meditation. After yesterday’s session I realise I’ve perhaps overcomplicated it all. I thought that meditation was full of fluff and sold as this miracle thing, but in reality, it is what it is. A time out, eyes shut, breathing and learning how to focus.

Kimble hung out for most of the day and at the end of the day his relationship counselling came to the front as my business partner Dianne and I clashed heads. He loved the dynamic between us, and suggested it was a good thing. I agree! I’ve run a few businesses with like minded people and often felt like there were too many chefs in the kitchen, but Dianne and I are completely different people, we butt heads often and I feel that’s exactly what’s going to help this business succeed.

Last April, on my Dad’s death anniversary, I bought myself an eBay tattoo kit (something I’ve wanted to do for a long time). It’s been sitting on my coffee table ever since. Dianne often says that I’m full of shit, and she’s brought up the tattoo kit more than a few times, suggesting that I tend to say I want to do things, but often don’t follow through. That’s not me, at all.

Where I once loved proving people wrong, now I don’t care much for whether someone thinks what I do is right, or wrong. Where I once thought I was going to die in my 40’s (my father was 47 when he passed, I was 18) I now realise it’s not my choice to die at 47. In retrospect; it makes sense why I’ve gone so hard since I was 18. I always had it in my mind that I had to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do before 47, and I went fucking hard. I’ve made a lot of marks in the wall, and I can now perhaps attribute all of my achievements to the fact that I set a deadline for myself.

But today is a different day. I’ve got time, and knowing so has me lifting off the accelerator pedal, a lot.

Rather that sit there, arguing with Dianne with Kimble in the middle, I decided to tattoo myself with the eBay tattoo gun. Not to prove her wrong, as proving her wrong wasn’t going to benefit either her, or me, but more just because the time felt right.

I’m not sure what Kimble made of our first meeting, but I’m looking forward to seeing him again, and hopefully (I’m positive!), he can help me to quit smoking.

Visit: https://www.kaizenhypnotherapy.com.au

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Update on my mental state

Just an update on my mental state. 3 weeks ago I ran out of meds (I’m on Quetiapine) and decided not to catch up with my psychiatrist as I’d really like to get off them. I instantly had issues getting to sleep, which I knew would happen as these little pills knock me the fuck out 30 minutes after I take one, but I thought I’d keep at it, and keep track of my patterns.

Initially I was getting really tired at around 8pm. I’d crash out, have broken sleep and get up at all sorts of hours. 2am, 3am but most of the time 4am. Sometimes I’ll nap during the day, but the napping doesn’t seem to help me catch up on sleep lost. I basically feel like I haven’t slept right for 3 weeks, and in the last week or so I’ve started to feel a little down again; down on energy, motivation, lack of direction… just generally feeling a bit heavy.

I’ve been keeping busy, but the days feel so long. I’m doing more work as a graphic designer than I have in years, and I’m also getting out of the house more often too. I’m still smoking tobacco though (I’d really like to quit), and when I drink I drink to get drunk. I re-downloaded a dating app recently, and got a few matches, but I feel that I’m a little too transparent to start the chase with anyone just yet, if anything I still think that I’d rather save these women from myself, as no-one out there would truly want to be with a guy like me.

3 days ago I got back on the meds and I’ve had 3 nights of solid sleep. I caught up with the fam last weekend and had a cousin tell me that I seemed better, more lively and chatty than the week before. I don’t remember being any different a week ago, but who knows? Right now I feel a little defeated for getting back on these little pink pills. I also feel especially shitty about smoking tobacco and would really like to quit.

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Family United

I caught up with my sister yesterday (it’s been 3 years since I’ve seen her) and I’m honestly so happy right now.

I’ve changed (a lot) since getting off the weed. I’ve been smoking weed since I was a teenager, an ounce a week in recent years and I never had any intention to ever quit. The weed smoking me was the only me I knew, so when my sister refused to see me ever again unless I got sober I fought against it, hard. In my mind I was right, and she was wrong. I just never understood how she could do this to mum, as the stress of us 3 being split apart as a family unit was killing her.

I now clearly see that I was putting mum first, and not my sister first. I desperately tried every angle I could to convince my sister to keep it civil with me for mum’s sake, but this was wrong, and in retrospect I’m so proud of my sister for standing strong (it sure as hell wouldn’t have been easy for her).

We had a great heart to heart yesterday, lots of hugs. Mum is SO happy we’re talking again.

I have a strong desire to help others who are addicted to weed. To help them stop, but I know what a weed smoker thinks like. Denial is a weed smokers strong card, their ace of spades. I don’t think I can do much more other than sharing my story, and accepting that no one can help a smoker to quit but themselves.

In my case I had to hit rock bottom to stop. I truly wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

So if you’re a pot head reading this, just know you can stop. To all friends and family that have heavy pot smokers in their circles; I’m sorry, all I can suggest is you stay strong and continue to be as accepting as you can.

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