Category Archives: Drugs

Fat Me

51kg

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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

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

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Kimble Chan

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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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Almost Sober

Tool’s ‘Sober’ is a song about a friend of the band whose artistic expression only comes out when he is under the influence. “A lot of people give him shit for that, if you become addicted and a junkie, well, that’s your fault.”

I put hammer (significantly I used my Dad’s hammer which I’ve managed to keep with me ever since I was 18) to bong on January the 9th. I’ve not smoked a cone since. 

Does this make me sober? 

The dictionary says: To be sober is to not be affected by alcohol; not drunk. Does that mean ‘in the moment’? Or does that mean forever? I’m so confused. 

I still smoke rollies, but only at home. IE: If I venture out of the house I do not bring tobacco and rolling papers with me, but sometimes when I’m out for the day I do get cravings. Last week I visited a friend’s tattoo store and immediately felt like smoking a cigarette. I ended up going down the road to buy some, but for whatever reason I didn’t even open the pack to smoke one, and that packet is still on my kitchen bench unopened. 

In the past, if I quit smoking bongs I’d drink like a fish, but that hasn’t happened this time around. By myself I’ll have a glass, 2 at most, but add a friend into the mix and I end up smashing bottles and smoking cigarettes like a chimney. 

Then there’s the medication. I’m still on Quetiapine (200mg/night), on top of that I have a bunch of herbal stuff from my Naturopath to help me sleep and to work on my insides. I also take a CBD oil capsule a day to manage body aches. Taking this stuff consistently, every single day blows my mind as for years there I could never dream of doing anything consistently at all, period. 

In the past I’d often research ways to get off drugs and often I’d read “ditch the friends you do drugs with”. I always thought that was impossible, and a ridiculous ask, but when I was trying to neck myself I managed to push all my friends away, and right now, if I look at my current circle of friends I can’t help but notice all of them are straight AF. 

So what’s it like to be sober? 

I think I’m just as expressive creatively as ever, if not more so as I’m not gaming 10hrs a day. I’m sleeping better than I ever have. I weigh more than I ever have and life’s far from short. IE: The days feel so fucking long I have to watch TV at night to wind down and pass the time. Balance is at play in that I take breaks from designing. I play only 1–2hrs gaming/session (often I go for days without gaming too). All of this normality and consistency felt impossible when I was abusing (smoking bongs from 4.20AM - midnight), but now it’s a harsh reality. 

What confuses me the most is that I’ve given up weed. I always planned to smoke weed forever, but I’ve well and truly broken up with Mary Jane. A close friend suggested that I’m no longer in denial about smoking weed… that blows my mind as I still don’t exactly understand how I managed to stop smoking bongs. But I have and I have to say life feels pretty good on the rails. 

My next step is to get off the medication and start exercising. Dropping the dosage from 2 pills a night to 1 to none is a priority, so too getting back on the bike. I’m also going to start driving again, and have started the hunt for a daily driver (which in itself has been super fun as I’m planning to build a stripped out rally car for the streets). 

Life’s pretty straight without a bong, but being straight is pretty hardcore in itself, and where I used to look at straight people as being un-trustable, I now admire straight people for being able to deal with life head on. 

More updates as they come!

This is also on Medium for an easier read: https://medium.com/@justinfox_30083/almost-sober-6cc469eebbcb

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JivanHealth

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Mum drives me everywhere. Time for me to get a car and start driving again me thinks.

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David Jivan has moved!

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Loving his new office. It’s a house, but has been converted SO well. Heaps of natural light and above all, great vibes!

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He’s kept the hole in the wall from his last office!

Mum took me to see David Jivan today. Naturopath Extraordinaire. I had to tell him all about my adventure down to the depths, and my current climb out of the hole. He was shocked, of-course, and sympathetic. He also bolstered me up with extra time to just talk shit, and tell stories. Felt more like a well being spa than an office. Loved every minute of it!

Oh, and I got a few takeaways too. Stuff to help me sleep, stuff to help bring out the good energy, stuff to make my insides better!

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/davidjivannaturopath/

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Brett Whiteley Studio

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Revisited The Brett Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills with Dianne this weekend. It’s the workplace and home of one of my favourite Australian Artist’s Brett Whiteley (1939–1992).

He is represented in the collections of all the large Australian galleries, and was twice winner of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes.

“Difficult pleasure” is how he described painting, or creating art stating; “Painting is an argument between what it looks like and what it means.”

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Brett Whiteley – Art, life and the other thing 1978

Whiteley became addicted to heroin, this shows in quite a lot of his work and is what drew me to study the Artist when I was a kid in high school. It was his 1978 Archibald Prize-winning painting ‘Art, Life, and the other thing’ which I chose to do a major on, specifically ‘the other thing’ depicting a baboon injecting himself with needles. The tormented baboon is the symbolisation of his battle with heroin.

On 15 June 1992, aged 53, Whiteley was found dead from an overdose in a motel room in Thirroul, North of Wollongong.

Proving that 90’s mindset that Artists only make it when they’re dead, in 1999 Whiteley’s painting The Jacaranda tree (1977), sold for A$1,982,000, a record for a modern Australian painter at that time. In 2007 his painting The Olgas for Ernest Giles was sold for an Australian record of A$3.5 million. 

There are no photos allowed in the studio (respect to Wendy Whiteley his ex-wife and muse), but as a visitor you’re offered the unique opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the space; the studio full of unfinished paintings, his inspirational graffiti wall covered with quotes and images and a living area full of memorabilia such as photographs, objects, postcards, furniture, his music collection and sketchbooks.

Entry is free and the exhibit changes 3 times a year. It’s open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. If you’ve never been I highly recommend you go check it out!

All photos by Diana Panuccio, Photographer at The Art Gallery of New South Wales.

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EGO


I love this.

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Cars For Hope, Cars For Dope, Cars With No Hope

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Say Nope to Dope!

This feature will be broken down into the following parts:

– My Story.
– How I have supported Cars For Hope since 2011.
– Where were Cars For Hope when I needed them most?
– Building a better bridge.

My Story.

I’m 44 years old this year and I’ve just survived my darkest days to date. Last year I smoked an ounce of chronic marijuana a week (wake and bake 4.20AM-Midnight every day). I didn’t sleep in my bed. I pissed in empty soft drink bottles instead of using my toilet. I turned off social media and turned away friends who rang my doorbell. I spent a lot of time gaming and researching ways to kill myself. I attempted suicide towards the end of last year but I bailed out hard on the night I tried to actually go through with it. Call it a mid-life-crisis, but it was a hell of a lot more hardcore than any depression I’d ever felt in my younger years.

I’m a “rehab is for quitters” kinda guy. Seeing a therapist was something I never wanted to do as my preconception of them was rather pessimistic. My mother had to pick me up and make sure I attended the sessions, if anything therapy got me out of the house and closer to my mum, but it wasn’t enough.

Being told to go out and get some sun, or hop back on your bike and start riding, these were extremely logical tips on how to get better, but when you’re down in a hole you just can’t act on logic. Even if you wanted to save yourself you can’t. Absolutely nothing can help you get out.

I was advised by my therapist to see my GP. My GP freaked out when he saw how skinny I was (51kgs down from 60kgs), he then freaked out when I said I’d been having suicidal thoughts and have felt really down for the last 6–12 months. He had no option but to get me on antidepressants as 6–12 months of being down in his opinion was way too long left untreated. I’ve never wanted to be on meds, but I realised that I didn’t have any more power to help myself, and meds were the only way forward.

I’ve spent 6 months in therapy which I found more helpful than the psychologist I was recommended. I’m now only seeing my psychiatrist every 4 weeks or so to hone in my medicine (which is treating me for bipolar more than depression, though I have been diagnosed with having both). I’m not completely sober, but I’ve broken the bong and I’m now more sober than I’ve ever been in my entire adult life. Being straight is way more hardcore than being stoned, but I’m loving the clarity and my productivity so I intend to keep it up.

How I have supported Cars For Hope since 2011.

I first heard of Cars For Hope (CFH) in 2011 when I was setting up ZEN Garage Leichhardt. I checked out the CFH web site and felt that all of what I read was a bit vague so I called Berty out on it and the rest is history.

ZEN Garage was the only physical bricks and mortar shop you could buy CFH stickers from. We were also the only online shop selling them. Over the years we’ve proudly displayed banners and advertisements on our sites, forums and cars. We’ve sold tens of thousands of CFH stickers with all profits going to CFH. Some weeks we sold more CFH stickers than our own!

In 2013 Berty took a full time job with Motor Culture who shared an office space with us at ZEN Garage Leichhardt. We had a few years there working side by side in the same office where we didn’t spend any quality time talking CFH. An opportunity wasted in retrospect as I believe CFH could do with a lot more discussion and development.

Where were Cars For Hope when I needed them most?

When I was down in the hole I wondered why CFH hadn’t reached out to me. I wondered why my friend Berty from CFH didn’t reach out to me. My last memory of Berty was being a referee, talking to a recruitment agency on the phone for half an hour waxing lyrical about how amazing Berty was as he was going for a job with the NRMA (he got that job too!).

When I spoke to Berty recently to question him about his absence, he let me know that he got messages from people in the automotive community who were concerned for me. I’m like; “why the fuck didn’t you pass those messages on to me Berty?!”. At one stage I finally did go to the CFH web site looking for help. I saw the “FIND HELP” button and clicked it, it loads a wall of text suggesting CFH aims to provide a bridge, but CFH rinses it’s hands of any legal responsibility, so instead, please call the recommended hotlines below, but keep in mind CFH also clears itself from any responsibility the hotlines may provide.

I just shut the browser window. Calling my mother was impossible when I was down in a hole, let alone calling some random on a hotline.

Building a better bridge.

There’s a story section on the CFH web site and from what I’ve read, it’s great except I’m a bit iffy on stories being written by anonymous people, some of which have hidden their age too. I’ve noticed hardly any comments on any of the stories, that’s a bit worrying considering engagement could be life saving on the topic of depression.

If CFH intends to be a bridge, where was my bridge? Can there be a better bridge?

Nothing worse than wrapping up a feature on the topic of depression with “well that’s a wrap, be safe kids!”. I’ve reached out to Berty to organise a real life meeting with the CFH team. I’m hopeful that will happen soon. More importantly I’m hoping that by publishing this we can generate some legitimate ideas and solutions to form a better bridge. Perhaps a Twitch CFH Channel where there could be a real human being on chat for a few hours/week or month, just to… well, chat! Personally I’d love to contribute my time and energy into chatting in some sort of open discussion/open forum with the CFH community.

On a small/er note; I believe CFH should be careful with corporate language; “Trust us, it’s worth it.”, “limited edition kit” and “We’re going to show the world that carsforhope is louder than self-injury.” reek of corp. talk. We spend so much time and energy navigating words which try to get the better of us, when looking for help it would be nice to land somewhere soft but real.

Visit: https://carsforhope.com.au
Also on Medium: http://bit.ly/carsforhope

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