The tick tocking stopped.

I’m not sure exactly when that happened. At some point, in the last year, the Warring Blender of dog shit and crackers, the sucking whirlpool of piss that was my brain, began to slow down, and then, mostly stopped altogether.

[If you’d like to listen to me read this, click below]


That doesn’t mean that I never get negative thoughts, or that they never spin out of control. But now, I am AWARE of the process when it begins, even if I haven’t been able to stop it. But for the first time, ever, one night this January, I was not only aware of the whirlpool, I managed to slow it down, stop it, and then—the most amazing thing—turn it around 180 degrees to create a positive mindset.

And here’s what happened.

I had just had a conversation with Paysh, lying there in bed, about the fact that my brain-spin had really subsided lately, and that I was generally a much happier person.

And then things went South, or North—whichever place really sucks.

It’s funny, that just when you think you’ve turned some corner, a Balrog, or demon from the ancient world as it were, is there to meet you. Almost as soon as the words “don’t suffer from brain-spin anymore” left my lips, and I closed my eyes to go to sleep, BAM!, there I was on the Bridge of Kazad-Dum (for you Hobbit-Tolkien geeks), (or for those who aren’t,) the Abyss, all over again.

I was asleep for about an hour, when I decided to turn over, toward Paysh. That’s when I slipped into the chasm, and it started with a hissing sound. That would be the hose on my cpap machine, or as I call it…

My Darth Vader Maskdarth vader mask

I suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that—without the machine, which forces air down my throat to keep it from closing off—would kill me, one way or another. I’d either drive my car over a real chasm, bridge, or into the path of a speeding Balrog in the form of a semi-truck after falling asleep at an inappropriate moment, or, I’d blow my own brains out from the lack of real sleep. I came close to that 8 years ago right before I was officially diagnosed with the condition.

Anyway, I rolled over in the bed and the air hose on my Vader mask slid off of the mask housing-tube-thingy. This was the source of the hissing sound.

Normally, it wouldn’t bother me that much, except for the fact that it’s been doing it a lot lately. So much so that I had begun taping the hose to the mask using black electrical tape, which really didn’t work worth a fuck. Hence, the hissing that night.

So, I pulled my mask off, pushed the off button on the machine, uttered several incantations that sounded more like the banter on a pirate ship, “Fuck, #$%^&*()!,” which woke up Paysh, to inquire of my sanity and well-being. To which I uttered more curses and incantations, not so much at her, but because she had been woken up at all.

That’s when the whirlpool began to spin…

At this point, I probably could have stepped in to minimize the spin, and maybe reverse it, which is in and of itself, an amazing feat. But that night, I was unable to stop it. My frustration and anger was only just beginning.

I got out of bed, naked, with the mask in hand, and proceeded to dodge Bubble (our lab-chow mix)—who has taken to sleeping at my side on the floor, so that I have to employ my Spiderman eyesight when I step out of bed in the morning dark, in order not to step on her, which would lead to even more spinning because then she would want to go O.U.T. to pee and poop—and it’s January, in Minnesota, nuff said. That’s Duke’s job, and he can fuckin’ have it. That doesn’t mean I never do it, just that I avoid it like the Bubonic Plague, much like my brain-spin.

I miraculously managed not to step on Bubble, stumbled and swayed to the door, managed to get it open without pulling the antique door handle off of our side (something I failed to do the preceding morning). That would have ensured a whole string of F-bombs, curses, and the sucking, ammonia-smelling, spinning, mass of bodily fluid. But the handle stood firm, this time.

The door squeaked, but I knew that was gonna happen, though it did elicit a short, whispered ‘bomb’ of the F variety.

I then quietly made the three steps across the tiny upstairs hallway to the bathroom. I turned on the light, which in itself pissed me off.

Things were going really badly.

I could feel the centripetal force of the spin, as I looked at the mask, and the tightly wound electrical tape which was supposed to have secured the hose. The tape looked just fine, except there was no hose attached. That, of course, was the fuckin’ problem. So I began to try to unravel the rubbery substance from the hose-housing that protrudes from the nose-area of the mask.

As you may know, if you’ve ever employed electrical tape, it isn’t the stickiest of tapes, but once the ‘free’ end has been slicked down, it’s nearly impossible to find that end to unravel it, and that morning, in my spinning mental chaos, it wasn’t happenin’. I could not find the end of the tape, to get it off.

Then, the alarm went off…

Nope, not my alarm clock; I don’t own one. Who the fuck needs an alarm clock when you have dog shit and crackers spinning around in your brain every night? No, the alarm was outside, somewhere. Actually, I knew exactly where it was. There are some neighbors, around the corner, who must revel in ‘accidentally’ setting off their fucking car alarm, all, the fuckin’, TIME! Actually, this hadn’t happened for possibly months, until that night. I’m so lucky.

So, there I was, trying to get tape off of the Vader mask, cursing to high heaven and all the demons of the ancient world, when the alarm started honking into the winter night. Sound really fuckin carries in January, in Minnesota. And that’s when things really started to suck, downward. I couldn’t get the fuckin’ tape off. So, I reached in the cabinet and pulled out the scissors. Cussing up a storm now, I fairly quickly snipped the tape off, car horn honking through the dark, frigid air, me swearing.

Then it stopped.

Not the whirlpool of piss. Hell no. The car alarm shut off, finally. And I tossed the mask on top of the toilet paper/fine literature basket. It’s not really that fine, the literature. Mostly it’s just a couple of Southern Living Magazines that my mom gives to Paysh every Christmas—which she enjoys, thank you mom—and two volumes of the Sabine and Griffin series of books, which I’ve never read (I have a penis, and testosterone to go with it). But for the moment, they served as a resting place—if not final—for my Darth Vader mask, while I steamed, fumed, and uttered more curses, and tried to figure out how to remedy the situation so I could go back to sleep. It was only about 11:30. Too early even for ME to be up for good.

I stood there, naked, in my bathroom, breathing smoke, if not fire. The Balrog had nearly taken over at this point. So I rode the smoke back into the bedroom, yanked the hose off the back of the machine, fumbled around in the bedside table drawer for the tape, and fumed back into the bathroom to ‘fix’ the damned thing. I was feeling reeeeaaally Un-Zen at that moment, to be sure.

There was also, no Mr. Dao present, either, I assure you. Those two calm, composed gentlemen had ‘left the building.’ All that was left was a smokin’, cussin’, Balrog Blender, whirlpool of urine. Boy, this felt really familiar, and not in a good way.

So, I re-taped the hose, attached it to the housing, which then decided to pop loose from the mask altogether.

That was awesome. Really fuckin’ awesome. Do you live in outer Mongolia? Did you hear a really loud sucking sound, one night this Janurary, at about whatevertimeitisinfuckinouterMongoliawhenit’s11:30pminStPaul? Yep. That was my brain. Sorry if I woke up your horse, cattle, goats, and upset the equilibrium in your yurt. I owe you a skull full of fermented, horse-milk next time I’m visiting.

So, I’m standing there, naked still, remember. Sorry if that’s a disturbing thought. And if you’ve ever seen me naked—and I realize that’s a small percentage of you—then you know just HOW disturbing that can be. There I stood, smoke pouring out of my ears, nostrils, and other orifices, holding the hose and housing in my left hand, and the Vader mask in the other, because they decided to part ways, just as I thought I had mended the breech.

I almost opened the bathroom window at this point, and launched it all out onto the driveway. I’m sure, that if I had, it would have bounced across into Bubble’s Bathroom—which resides on the other side—and landed on top of a frozen pile of ACTUAL dog shit, sans crackers. But, I did not open the window and toss.

I not-so-calmly, managed to pop the housing back into the mask, under a slew of further curses.

That’s, when Paysh woke up.

Great! I was really happy then. Now I’ve managed to wake her up, and Bubble is soon to follow. She carefully crept up to the outside of the door—it’s best to be careful when approaching Balrogs and demons—and whispered,

“Bebe, are you okay?”

To which I responded, “Fuck no! I’m trying to fix this damned, #$%^&*()__)(*&^%$#@#$%^&*()(*&^%$# mask!”

At this point, I had mostly accomplished it, but was so pissed off that sleep wasn’t going to happen. The Balrog Blender was officially on liquify.

I opened the door, apologized, gruffly for waking her up, and then stomped back into the bedroom, reattached the mask, while slinging dark, voodooian curses in the direction of the engineer who designed my mask.

I’m pretty sure he lives on a Death Star somewhere in a galaxy far, far, away.hqdefault

Not the first Death Star, because Luke destroyed that one by flying down the trench, after having figured out how to bring down the force-field, OR the second one, which was also destroyed by Luke by flying down a trench, after Han and Leia figured out how to bring down the shields, OR the third Death Planet (totally different thing) which some Luke-like dudes destroyed, by flying down a trench, and lobbing lazer thingys down a hatch, after Han, what’shername, and the escaped, reformed, Stormtrooper, brought down the shields and Han died, facing his son/Vader/Balrog, and was tossed into the abyss of KazadDum, or where ever it was.

Sorry, I digress. That was my micro-critique of the new sans-Lucas sequel. Not sure how we got there, oh yeah, the Vader Mask…

So, Paysh went back to bed. I grabbed a robe, so as not to frighten everyone in the neighborhood, and stormtroopered myself downstairs, to try to regain control of the sucking whirlpool of piss.

Sucking Whirlpool Self Awareness

As usual, I wasn’t having much luck. The piss kept swirling, and my temperature was rising. The only difference, this time, for some reason, was that a tiny part of me—a very fucking microscopic part of me, to be sure—was aware that this was just a whirlpool of the piss variety. And that, was all the difference needed.

I slumped down in my favorite chair, in my home office; threw my right leg over the arm, and sat there, fuming. I was soooo fuckin’ pissed off at this point. But that tiny part of me—a part that has never really existed until recently—was whispering,

“This is just a sucking whirlpool of pisssss; it’s not real; it’s just dog shit and crackerssss.”

And then, slowly, my conscious mind began to listen, and respond.

“Yeah, this is only a bunch of negative bullshit! This isn’t real.”

That was just enough conscious thought to slow the downward spiral to the land of sewage. And once it began to slow down, it was easier to stop. Within a few minutes, the sucking spiral of urine had stopped.

Don’t get me wrong, or take that too far, mind ya. I was still in a really shitty mindset, somewhere at the bottom of the toilet bowl, you know, in that narrow tunnel at the bottom, where all the crap sticks to the sides and always seems just too tight for some, special loads to pass, kind of like the Bridge of Kazhad Dum, in the Land of Plumberoom, or something. Well, that’s where I was, sitting, slumped in my overstuffed chair, sprawled out, all but naked in my robe, steam coming off of my head. But at least the downward pull had stopped.

The question was what to do next.

“How can I pull myself up out of this toilet bowl?” I thought. “What will work, that has never worked, or not been tried?”

Then I remembered my lessons from the Happier App. And for that, you’ll have to wait for Part 2 of this article, which is like part twenty, or something of the Tick Tock series.

[This was day 12 of my Year Long, Daily Blog experiment]

Read Pt VII, Bud-Nippin & Dog Shit, Sans Crackers, Sans Blender


Steve Bivans is a FearLess Life & Self-Publishing Coach, the author of the Amazon #1 Best Sellers, Vikings, War and the Fall of the Carolingians,The End of Fear Itself, and the epic-length, self-help, sustainability tome, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living, If you want to learn how write and self-publish a book to best-seller status, crush your limitations and Fears, and disrupt the status quo, contact Steve for a free consultation to see how he can help you change the world! CONTACT STEVE