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Yeah, no, I'm not OK is supported by shock. While the covid-19 pandemic is causing anxiety, stress and uncertainty for adults, it also can be troubling for kids. That's why Chark provides expert mental health resources and tools to help children get the support they need to learn more, visit S.H. OGT Mental Health.


I'm Diane Guerrero. Growing up, I was taught to say that I was OK when I really wasn't mental health wasn't something that anyone in my family or in my community talked about, yet pretty much everyone was affected by it.


So we're starting a podcast will be exploring issues that people face all over the world. Addiction, depression, anxiety, body image and much more.


I'm going to be talking to my friends and my colleagues, incredible activists, artists and health care professionals. Stay tuned to listen to the first episode where I speak to my older brother about our family and our own mental health struggles. To support the show and the stories we tell head over to the U.N., no, I'm not OK feed to subscribe. Just a heads up that in this episode we talk about difficult issues like addiction and depression, a reminder that we are not clinical experts, and if you need professional support, there will be some links and resources listed in the podcast description.


Yeah, no, I'm not OK. That's the name of the show, because I'm not OK and maybe you aren't either or maybe you're just curious. Either way, I'm Diane Guerrero. If you're wondering why I started a mental health podcast, it's because I and my family have been struggling with mental health since as far back as I can remember. And the truth is, I am in the process of healing and my journey to healing has been to seek the truth about myself and my community.


So that's what this is, conversations with people who are on their search for healing. We are facing a mental health crisis and may be the largest in American history, and so many people who are struggling with mental health aren't able to talk about it. Not to mention that young people of color are disproportionately affected by mental illness. And it's harder for us to get the help that we need for so many reasons. This is a place where we will be vulnerable together and the hope is that we normalize these conversations and that's what this show is all about.


Sometimes we'll talk to experts and sometimes we'll talk to people like you and me, and sometimes we'll talk about things that we're scared or ashamed of. And later in this episode. That's going to happen for me. I'm going to have a conversation with my big brother Eddie and talk about these really hard things for the very first time. But before we get into it, I'm going to give you some back story. More in a minute. Yeah, no, I'm not OK is supported by the L.A. County Department of Mental Health, acknowledging that in stressful times it's OK to feel anxious, sad or overwhelmed about things like covid-19, racial injustices, uncertain jobs and fluctuating school and child care needs.


You are not alone. The L.A. County Department of Mental Health is here to help for support. You can call their helpline 24/7 at 888 five four seven seven seven one or visit the L.A. County gov resources.


Hey, it's OK to talk about our mental health and happiness.


Humans aren't meant to keep everything inside. It makes us sick and therapy helps. There's no one right way to do therapy. It's whatever you want it to be. Maybe you're not feeling motivated right now and need some tools to help.


Or maybe you're feeling insecure in relationships or at work or not dealing well with stress. Whatever you need. It's time to stop being ashamed of normal human struggles because you deserve to be happy. And now you don't even have to worry about finding an in-person therapist near you. Better help is customize online therapy that offers video phone and even live chat sessions with your therapist so you don't have to see anyone on camera if you don't want to.


It's much more affordable than in person therapy and you can start communicating with your therapist in under 48 hours. Join the millions of people who are seeing what therapy is really about.


It may or may not be for you, but it's worth looking into because you need to take care of yourself. This podcast is sponsored by Better Help and yeah, no, I'm not. Okay, listeners get ten percent off their first month at better health outcomes. Not OK. That's better. H e l p. Com slash not OK. Let me take you back when I was 12 years old in Boston. The year is nineteen ninety eight and this is my girl, the Griselle, and I am calling the party line Griselle.


No fucking doubt. This is how. I just want to give a shout out a little bit. Cut and then this is me NKE fucking down. This is literally what's up with me Hanzi.


I just want to give a shout out to Teddy Bear an angel face and then these would come on and say, oh degli fucking God, this is Angel Face.


Then she forget what she was going to say. So anyway we would listen to other people's messages on a beeper. This was like literally a pager that we were calling into. We were calling to a number that belonged to some fucking random person's pager just to try to hear our own voices and just to try to hear our own shadows. And it was fucking magical.


We lived in Boston, we were part of this large immigrant community that was working hard day and night, trying to make a life for themselves in the US. Boston became my home, but I was actually born in New Jersey, my parents had emigrated from Colombia with my brother Eddie, I think the year was 1982.


I remember coming up in Jersey, I was like around my memory goes back to when I was like five or six. I can remember when I was five or six years old.


That's. Everything was exciting. He was back in the 80s. You know, you can imagine the scene. You know, people break dancing and and just everything was so new to me, you know what I mean? I mean, I come from basically a farm town, you know, and then to come to like the epicenter of of hip hop and watching hip hop evolve and and just, you know, being part of something that nobody can fake.


You know, if you were there, the people who were there know that you were there.


At least that money was tight. Money was always tight. But my parents always managed to make a beautiful life for our family. And as with many teens, Eddie started struggling with anxiety and depression, and my parents tried to help, but they really didn't know what to do with that kind of behavior. I mean, my parents lack the resources and the understanding. So Eddie began to cope with things that made him feel good. He began coping with drugs and looking for acceptance in the streets.


I was not receiving the help because they were too busy working. They didn't have time to analyze or, you know, they had time to their lives. They figured it was I was just another regular teenager, you know what I mean? And I was going to get past that stage.


He literally turned to anything or anyone who didn't make him feel like a loser or a criminal like our parents and our community were making him feel. He and his girlfriend at the time got pregnant, so he moved out. I think my mom pressured him into getting married and then he got divorced. All the while his mental health was deteriorating. Eventually, things got bad for me, too, when I was 14, my parents and my brother were deported and I was left alone in Boston.


I lived with friends until I graduated and I coped with my feelings and this devastation the best way that I could. Eventually, I coped with drugs and alcohol, promiscuity, cutting, and most of all, not talking about anything that I was feeling because that felt like the safest thing to do. Eventually, I couldn't hold these feelings in anymore because it became unsustainable, because I was facing real life and death situations. And so I started therapy for the first time.


And there I learned tools and language to understand what I was feeling, what I was going through. I learned that my behavior was caused by my trauma and that if I didn't heal the trauma, the behavior would continue. I also learned that when bad shit happens, we need to talk about it. I talked to Eddie after this. We're sponsored by green chef ingredients come pretty measured, perfectly portioned and mostly prepped, so you can spend less time stressing and more time chef and enjoying delicious home cooked meals that are high in plant proteins and rich in omega 3s.


I like green chef because I don't know how to cook. So Green Chef picks out all the ingredients and puts it together for me nicely so I can go home and feel like a five star restaurant chef putting all these ingredients in this amazing little brown paper bag and put it all in a pot and it tells me exactly what to do. And then guess what? I get to keep the recipes. I mean, why would you ask for any more?


And on top of that, the ingredients are fresh and the food tastes delicious. I've already made three meals and I'm hooked. It's fabulous. Go to Green Chef ARCOM 90, not OK and use code ninety. Not OK to get ninety dollars off, including free shipping. In December, I traveled to Colombia to see my family. We went up to the mountains outside of Cali, I mean, really, I just wanted my mom to make me pancakes in the morning and dad to make me rice and beans for lunch.


I wanted to feel the evening breeze and just sit with my family while we listen to salsa on the radio at night. And it was the perfect place to reconnect with my brother Eddie.


I knew he wasn't feeling too well. I knew he was going through a lot and I hadn't seen him in two years. And I was. Nervous about this conversation because it was the first conversation, the first honest conversation that we've ever had about. Addiction. And mental illness. And I was finally ready to listen and not take his illness or his decisions. Personally. And I was also willing to share some very personal things about myself so that we could find some common ground.


Anyway, I'm really happy we did. OK, so welcome to my podcast. Yeah, no, I'm not OK. I'm sitting here with my brother Eddie. What's up, buddy, how you doing? How's it going, man? It's going it's going good. Yeah, I know. What do you mean? You know, you can see things on there going great. They're good.


I'm I'm like working on. Trying to I'm working on putting myself first, and so when you were like, why, why are you guys hiding? I was in hiding. I was just like having so much anxiety today. Like I woke up. I was part of the anxiety, too. I'm sorry about that. That's not that's not true. I think it's just honestly, it's we're here. We're with our family.


We, like don't spend this much time together all the time. And I think that, you know. I don't know, I just I have a lot of feelings, but that in itself creates anxiety. You know, you feel like you have to meet expectations.


So you feel like pressure, like, yeah, I do feel pressure, which I'm trying to remind myself there's no pressure. Like, you're so good. Yeah, but what I was saying this morning, I was feeling depression from thinking about the past and I was feeling anxiety from thinking about the future. So like, why are we depressed? Because we're thinking about the past. That should already happen.


We should we wish we had known that we don't have any more now or. Oh, I wish I could have been better. I wish I could have been a better daughter, a better brother, a better father, whatever. That's the dwelling. Dwelling. Exactly.


So anyway, so that was my day today. That's what I'm coming in with today. And I'm just working on being patient and I'm happy I'm here with you.


And you seem so happy that you're here to thank you. I'm very happy about that. I keep saying, you know, it's just is like a special event, like a shooting star or something.


You know, I, like, wonder if we need to stop treating it that way. What you mean just putting so much on it, you know, letting the universe take care of us?


Well, I'm saying, like, when you don't see somebody for two years, you know, somebody you love, you want to see them again. And when you do see them again, it's like, wow, you know?


Yeah, I guess there's a lot of, like, feelings. One of the I think one of the reasons yes, you're right.


Something that gives me anxiety is your well-being in particular because one, I love you, but also. Not by it, but I love you and. It's hurt me for a long time that that you've been in a lot of pain, are you talking about my addiction? Addiction problem?


I guess. OK, OK, so let me just start all over again. I know. Look how hard it is for me to if I can say it.


So I feel like I have seen addiction throughout our family since I was a little girl like my first example's. Of addiction work at home, mom, dad, you.


You know, people around us, that's all I saw and, you know, I have I have also experience addiction issues, you know, whether it is, you know, drugs, alcohol, sex, overthinking, thinking about perfection in my body and whatever, I've been addicted in different ways.


And we all we all experience that.


But and I also have experience, drug and alcohol abuse in a way that has hurt me and that has affected me for over 10 years.


Right. So, you know, this is what I'm living. But on the other side. You have lived something that is different from my experience with addiction, and so I wanted to explore that. I want to had I wanted the opportunity to talk to you on this podcast for our first episode. Right. Because I just think it's going to be really special. And I know that you have a lot of insight on what this is. And this is something that I'm tackling.


You know, I'm working through it as a user as well, you know, so they get away my frame where I just want to say I wanted to congratulate you because I know you struggle with mental health anxiety and all of that and.


It's not his not strange that you would, you know, being you've been through a lot, too, you know, and I'm from from the all the times you come to visit, this is the less violent he's been.


This is the less violent you've been then all the time. So I see you more under control of yourself, like embracing, wanting to be wanting to feel good and not, you know, letting anger pass by because, you know, you're going to get angry, especially when you deal with these issues now. But you're letting them go fast. You're forgiven me quicker. And I love you for that.


Thank you. I'm proud of, you know, appreciate that.


Don't cry at all, and so I'm just like it's just like emotional because, yeah, because I've been working hard and and I'm just, like, really hard on myself when I'm when I'm not patient, when I yell at you, when I want to fucking break something, when I am physical with you and it doesn't just manifest with you, it's everything you know, and it's out of control and it's hurting me. So anyway, I just thank you for noticing that I have been trying.




Your blessing and your blessing because. You know, having you as a sister reminds me every day that you deserve somebody better, so so even though I have my faults, you know, like as far as I'm using.


Sooner or later, I CLECs in my head, I have to get out of that. And after to it has to stop. So it doesn't. Like trying to be better again, like trying to get up or getting up will never. Not be important or rule out, will I ever stop trying to, you know what I mean? Because I have a lot to live for. You know, I mean, you and mom and my daughter and my grandchildren, I know that's while you have you have what are they to you?


They're these great grand. Great grand. No. Well, Ariadne's is my niece. But then what are her kids? Two grand nieces.


Really? I think so. Wow. You know, look that up. I wanted to ask you, brother. What what makes it so hard? More like. To heal, to to stop. I don't know if this is a problem, you play your your mind plays a trick on you because, you know, addiction is a is a it's an illness of the mind of the psychic. And I think routine has a lot to do with it.


I think some people just when they use whatever substance it is, be it food or something, they're in a comfort zone for a short period of time. Unfortunately, the addiction to drugs itself is way more damaging than food. Yeah, and it can take you to areas where visibly, you know, you could tell them either way, this guy's hasn't, you know, really struggling. And if you're addicted to food, you look nice and plump and chubby, you know what I mean?


What have you heard about the crack? Yeah. You know, you're going to look like a. A skeleton and also it's damaging your brain so like. Like, reality is a completely different one, and not to say that your reality is worse or better than mine, but I'm saying that chemically in your brain, that shit's changing you, too. Yeah. So it's not only obviously it's this routine. It's the repetitiveness of the addiction. Like you're like what?


Like chemically. We know that when you do drugs on Friday, you're like you're going to be depressed. The next few days you're going to pump up, you're going to eat, you're going to be fuckin like, oh, hurting all this. Then all of a sudden back on Friday, you're going to feel fine again. You're going to feel ready to go. That's your brain telling you. Now, we need this. This is what this is what the drug is.


So, yes, it is.


This obviously like your addiction is because of your pain and because of your mental health issues. We can get into that. But it's also because you have we have trained our brain. You trained your brain to need this drug and now you're sick from it.


Yeah, definitely. That's how it is. Because, like, when I go and buy it there before I even do it, my stomach just starts getting really sick. Like I'm at a stage where I even vomit before just thinking about using it. I think that my body is telling me and at a subconscious level, you know, listen, man, I don't want this shit is making me nauseous, you know? Hmm.


But then there is something that, you know, Impulse's you to to just do it. And then after you do it, it's like, why did I do it right. I mean, it's so stupid.


But also you got to the point and I have to like also say this is that I totally get that that's that's totally that's science. Right. What your body is doing is completely natural. But there's also this other level of it that I have also that I have come to terms with in my own issues with addiction is the shame, the shame that is driving. This me wanting to use and not use and like when I use to punish myself in the worst ways.


To then having to build myself up to then all of a sudden my body telling me that I need drugs again and it's a fucking cycle all over again. True.


But like, what made what made you, me and so many other addicts? Right. Because this is something that happens to a lot of people. Right. And we also need we need to remove that shame. Right. We have to understand that this is an illness. That affects so many and it's not just you, it doesn't make you a fuckin sicko, it doesn't make you a bad person, this is something that is happening to a lot of people because of the way that we treat mental illness in in around the world here in Columbia and in the United States where we're from.


All right.


But I just I want to like. I want to ask you about like, when do you think that that problem started? Because in my mind and what I'm learning through my research is that.


Yes, genetically, we may be predisposed to addiction. But and maybe you have mental health issues that you haven't addressed. There's that, but there's also a component, a societal component of. Our communities, our parents, our society makes. People sick, yeah. Well, I believe that all addiction lies or derives from the inability. To accept. Things you cannot control and you see, for example, growing up in Boston, you know, back in the 90s, I mean, it was a Friday, it was Thursday, and you're thinking, OK, what am I going to wear tomorrow?


And Thursday is not even done yet. And, you know, what am I going to do tomorrow? How am I going to get the five bucks for the for the beer, for the beer, for the beer cup so I could keep drinking all night and like something had to happen on a weekend with the expectation, you know, socially you wanted to be on point and and maybe you felt like you didn't accept yourself how you were.


So you figured, you know, you experimented with drugs and like, I got into cocaine because I felt at that time that it made me a more sociable person linguistically, like, you know, speaking using the the verbal capabilities and and just being a charming person that takes a lot of work. That is, you know, it makes you feel good when a lot of people accept you, you know what I mean?


So that's addictive in itself.


So you figure if these people don't accept me, then I'm not worth shit?


Mm hmm. So you start I started off with drugs to feel better, and then I ended up taking them not to feel bad.


Basically, it's a it's a very weird situation that drugs put you in, you know, high pressure in control. And, you know, it controls you completely. It's very sad, really, because why do people take drugs? Because they feel that it makes them better people.


They don't they cannot accept having lost that person or having lost their job or or being too tall or being too short, you know.


So the lack of acceptance makes them look for something to make them feel better about that situation. Right.


Talk to me about like growing up, because when we were growing up, I'll tell you, like one of the earliest memories that I have with you all, I have so many memories with you that are so like good and also sad and.


Some of my best memories, we are going to the movies, you take me to Chuck E. Cheese, you take me to the park, you taking me to to to whatever store you were going to buy me candy.


Right. I love you making me pancakes. You made me mac and cheese. You showed me, like, all these awesome movies. You are always watching the nature channel. I fucking love that about you.


You watched all the coolest movies, fucking Goodfellas, Carlito's Way, Scarface, fuckin Willy Wonka.


Just we saw a number that we saw.


But Malcolm X you but you do the right thing like no other. But you've always been a princess.


I mean you had all the videotapes of Disney.


Mm. You know. Yeah. All the videotapes from you know, what is it. Warner Brothers, Woody Woodpecker and all that Bugs Bunny. I mean you had it all, you had it all at home.


Well that's what I'm saying. What I'm, what I'm, what I want to get to is like obviously us growing up or not obviously, but my memories of us growing up, whereas I was the princess like golden child that nobody, you know, could. Get near near or say anything about or touch, and you were this like teenager who was angsty and upset and always got in trouble, like that was sort of like the narrative.


I wonder how much that was like back in the 90s, man. It was like if you weren't getting in trouble, you were nobody like where I'm coming from, you know? So, you know, everybody everybody was trying to live that Scarface dream. And, you know, it was back in the days when it was still possible to get rich or selling crack and shit.


But how were you even going to do that? What do you mean? How are you even going to you never sold drugs ever. I know.


Well, that's you know, that's so it was like you either sell it or you do it, you know, like it's just everybody who wishes they were somebody's in their minds, you know, respected this way.


So a lot of people that come up with that dream at an adolescent time to want to be, you know, respected on the streets. And, you know, it is glorified to be a big, you know, drug dealer moving kilos and shit, you know, out of out of a million, maybe half or one would move kilos, you know what I mean?


But what I want to know is like, how is crime doesn't pay, by the way. No, crime does not pay. We know this. We notice from firsthand experience. I wanted to ask you some more about these early days, like what does he remember from our childhood, from the early 80s? You know, being partizan that nobody can fake, you know, if you were there, the people who were there know that you were there, at least that, you know, if you're not the expert or anything, to the least the duop, when it was in style, he was still he was there, you know what I mean?


Or the hype, you know what I mean? And it's just a great time to grow up as a kid, especially in Jersey and especially in Passaic, Patterson and Clifton, you know, Garfield, that that area in New York was like, right, all right, 20 minutes away. And my cousins, you know, it was always Mystikal to be around them. Yeah. That's why I love them so much. And I remember them so much.


Yeah, they even though they're ingrates, they never even call. But they're wild creatures. We cannot contain them anyways.


It was a great memory. It's a great movie to have in your head. Yes. Like from the architecture to the people to to what was important at the time, you know, like dancing. People were still battling, dancing and stuff in the subways and it was awesome, you know, graffiti.


So that graffiti art started coming in, you know what I mean? And it was beautiful to kids. It is people with kids with no nothing, you know, poverty background, people on welfare and shit, you know, roaches in the apartment and everything. Like, I have this amazing talent and they have to go to the grocery stores to steal the paint.


First of all, you know, they got to steal the cans and then just make this beautiful art piece on the side of a train. I mean, just awesome.


And I see that that you hold on to that and I hold onto it, too. But what has made it so hard to like? To be happy and present time, well, you know, and enjoy life, what's going on now, what's happened to hip hop now? What's happened to art and our family now? Like, I feel like and we talk about this because we have we have depression. We suffer from depression is.


Thinking about the past and glorifying the past and holding onto the past so much often means that you're depressed.


Well, yeah, I mean, I think in my case, like, I know I have to let go of that, like, you know, what happened to me. I got deported and everything, you know, after living all my life somewhere. Mm hmm.


And sent back to some place where you're supposed to be from. But you're not really from there either now. Mm hmm. So that's like a clash of titans right there. You know what I mean? You know, you're like you don't know what the fuck you are. And then I've been here for 20 years and I still don't feel this is my home. Mm hmm. You know. Yeah.


So, damn, would you say the problem started there?


I mean, lack of acceptance, like I said. Yeah. It just creates chaos in your life. When were you deported. But to acceptance. You're not just saying you're. And then not being at peace with it, you know what I mean? You have to really be at peace with something, if not just be true to yourself and say, I cannot accept this. Why, and find a way.


So. I of course. So do you want to tell us a little bit about that, about like when how old were you when you were deported and like kind of like what? Where did you see that the problem started, like, really started?


Well, no, I started. It started when my wife left me because of my addiction problem. Mm hmm. So the lack of accepting that just I was really young, too. I could I thought I thought I didn't deserve. I know, you know, at that age and know it's tragic. Like, I was like I said, like I stated earlier, starting to show acceptance is all to her, to a young person, a mature person, a weak person, really, because an addiction you have an addiction, an addiction that that sets you back and you keep doing it and you're weak.


You know, you're weak minded, but fortunately, but you were on you need help. Yeah, they didn't know how to handle it. They just didn't know. I mean, I get it. Mom and dad were doing their best.


But also we didn't talk about mental health. We didn't know if you were like, did mom ever say, like, Eddie's depressed? That's why.


Because doing drugs back in them days, that wasn't really people didn't consider that people thought mental health was assimilated to somebody really crazy, you know, in an asylum eating their own shit.


You know, that's what mental illness was back then. You know, an addiction problem. Yeah. Addiction and illness.


No way. Right. Well, now we know no, it's not true. It is a mental health problem and a very serious one because it can kill you. It can kill you when it is with drugs.


It can kill you in so many ways and you seem so afraid of death, which is like so interesting to me.


I'm not afraid of death, per say. I'm afraid of dying for nothing. You know what I mean? OK, no, I'm afraid of dying for nothing like them. And I wasted my death on that.


How about, like, you just want to go out peaceful and, like, not and having changed your life, maybe not in the same light cassette. Right. Or stay on the same track, you know, maybe on a different route.


But what I do know is that, you know, we don't disappear from existence after we die, which we we change form. That's how I feel. Do you blame Mom?


For anything, no, it's the best she could. She was probably brought up in a worse environment. I believe that we had a better than her and that was her job. To make sure we had a better than her, I think we had a 20 times better than she had, it was OK by any means necessary. She got it done. I feel like. Also, maybe children who suffer from mental health. Or anxiety or bipolar ism or kids who suffer from that, especially in like families that we grew up in or neighborhoods that we grew up in or like at time periods that we grew up in, like didn't know how to address a kid's mental health.


So if, like, if you result in smoking weed or, you know, going and trying to heal or medicate yourself. Right. Because that's what it is, right. We use drugs because we're medicating ourselves. We're trying to, like, feel better. We're trying to, like, reach an equilibrium. So I feel like I just remember, like, mom and dad making such a fucking big deal about you smoking weed. And it wasn't ever conversation like, hey, what you know, let's talk about this.


Like, it's OK to get like.


Like, it's not OK, it's OK to do it's OK to get high or like, hey, we rather you not do this right now while we're living with where are you living here on your own time, whatever I feel like because it wasn't talked about, because it was made you were made to seem like fucking Satan's child, that you just went the opposite direction instead of listening.


So I want I want to hear about that that shame that you I, I want to hear about growing up with mom and dad and you experimenting with drugs and them treating you like a fucking pariah. I mean, that's all I remember. Like crying with you in the living room in the dark after you had been like probably like hit with the bell or something.


You know, the family, the family dealt in those in that merchandise. So we weren't strangers to cocaine around the house where I was. And I mean, I, I knew what it was and I was really young, OK? I unfortunately that that's what happened. And imperialistic state that oppresses other countries causes by any means necessary.


People are going to try to make a better living. It's just a natural human reaction and circumstances where that's what our family had, you know. That's what our family had. So we're a product of the cocaine era in the United States. Believe it or not. Why do I feel like Michelle Pfeiffer in that, if I can say, good thing, you know, we learned quickly and we got out of that business really fast. Because a lot of people lost their lives on that, especially in the 80s, so I mean, so you're saying it wasn't it wasn't because Mom shamed you.


When you when you look around the house or something like at parties, you would see her friends doing it.


So I'm like, why is it why is she telling me? Why is she coming down so hard on me? But it's OK for her friend to do it in the bathroom. Her friend is passing. If you don't remember Carlos, he would pass me the 100 dollar bill with the Coke in it, you know, and I was 14. Oh, yes, she's OK. And we had the Gucci to back in the days. Back in the days.


It was pure quality shit.


I know we wanted to live big and I hate that materialistic fucking capitalism ingrained in I wanted to Scarface desk with the lion chained next to the same.


You know what I mean. I wasn't that was going on. Nothing.


Society really fucks us up. Well, that's what I felt like. We always chased expectations, but it was like the wrong sense of security, false sense of security and like just and like not changing the fucking narrative. It's like what I'm learning right now through therapy and through controlling my anger and all the work that I'm doing is like everything is perspective. Everything is changing the changing the narrative. If you are feeling some kind of way, if you're dwelling on something, all you got to you have the power to say, you know, you know what?


I'm grateful to be here right now. What am I focused on? What am I what are what are my intentions and start there. You have the ability to change your story, no doubt.


I mean. It's not always about removing something. Sometimes you've got to remove yourself, you know, it's not about getting that shit out the way. It's about you getting yourself out of the IRS.


It's way. And it's always going to, you know, the beautiful thing about the here and the now and the present and as one of the reasons why Narcotics Anonymous, I probably belong to that group and I don't care about the anonymity. Is that they they stress that, you know, the hearing and now is the only thing you can change.


Mm hmm. Yesterday is depression and tomorrow is anxiety. So today is right now, as a matter of fact, not even today, just the present day here in the now. And why?


Bring yourself more problems here in an hour or so, tomorrow could be less than what it should be, you know, because it's not the same thing waking up sober, then waking up fucking with a bazooka.


Hey, you know what I mean? You know what I mean. A bazooka hangover. You know what I mean?


It's like you miss opportunities when you when you miss a day and of course, when you're in your room because you feel sick, you know, you don't go out, you don't do what you do in politics. You don't make connections.


That is a less of a chance that you're going to make something. Yeah, and it's about making is about building, is about creating jobs, about, you know, exploiting life.


Sure, living life, you do say exploiting, yeah, can we change the word from exploit, you know, live to take advantage of it all?


Negative, hijack any dignity by the horns of everything. It's got all the language because it's there for me.


So can I ask you a question when you say I understand about living the here and now, and that's important. But also it's important to think about the long term as well, like and giving like understanding that you need to protect yourself along the way, because if you're just living in the here now and it's like, fuck it, I want this, I'm just going to go ahead and get it. And you fucking lose your papers and you lose all your money and.


Yeah, so, so it's like you got you got to be you know, what is here in the now mean to you.


You've got to be mentally apt to keep stuff and not abuse your resources, rather, you know, being very balanced, balanced with it and enjoying it.


What's making you not balanced and enjoy it. That's a tough question. I think the lack of acceptance I ever refer back to that.


So you think that once you say once you accept your what? Once you accept, what will you be ready to? Once I accept the fact.


But I am where I am and. It is what it is, you know, I think I can move on. What is it going to take for me to get to that to that clicking in my subconscious?


I don't know. You know, it could be probably anything, would you are you going to like it? One day I could wake up and just read in a paper and it just clicks.


So you think it's just going to click? I feel like we've sort of. You've been here 20 years. Here you go.


I'm just saying, you've been here 20 years because of something fucking super tragic and unfair that happened to our family. No family should be separated from deportation and fuckin split up like that and taken to a different country that you don't even know, especially you 18 years old. Who you've never you've never been to I mean, you haven't been to Columbia, Columbia wasn't your country, you were just dropped in and said they said, go ahead, fend for yourself.


So I understand that pain suckers. Yeah, it's not it's not right. And that's wrong. And guess what? That's fucked up. The government did that to our family and it's not OK on.


But I feel like you've been and I hear you, that experiment is a good experiment to to say, let me see what the world has to offer, what it has to tell me. Let me listen and let's see if something will click. Sure. But it's been 20 years.


Yeah. So are you going to change that approach, don't you think?


Maybe changing that approach, like I said, some is not something that I have control over when I feel sad about that. You know, when I feel when I get so down and when I get so down while I'm in thought, I'm reminiscing and I'm just hurting, you know, like, damn, I wish I could catch the orange line and shit and go to Filene's and get a pair of fucking brose, you know what I mean.


When I can't do that, I can't get back the time that I lost with mom and dad and you. We can't get that. You can't get that back.


Yeah, well, I think this therapy will work and a lot of therapy and a lot of self acceptance meditation. I've got to get back into meditating.


So you want to go to rehab, is what you're saying?


Well, I'm looking at options. You know, I don't want to I don't want to be really locked up. You know, I'm tired of doing the lockup thing.


When have you done the lock up thing? Well, you know, and for how long have you ever done it? I understand, but no, not but our audience doesn't understand. Can you tell our audience what how long have you ever done the lock up thing and how and why?


Because I've never been in rehab. It's five months after five months.


I mean, so in twenty years, the longest you've ever been in rehab is five months. And you and you don't see like a pattern or a problem by only spending five months.


You could. You could. You could. And then after that, every relapse you've only done a month or two.


But you can you could you could lock yourself up for forty years and still not. You know what I mean is I don't believe the time has anything to do.


Yeah. But I don't think your pattern of of healing has changed. I don't think you've been doing anything different. Like it's not like you've tried. I'm not even saying locked up. You just don't you haven't tried anything for more for an extended period of time with anything either locked up or in one of those group homes or even like, you know, AA or Narcotics Anonymous. You haven't done anything for a very long time. And that's why I keep you have programed your body in your brain.


I'm saying you got to look at that science, science, part of it that says, hey, maybe this pattern that you keep on attempting for twenty years isn't working. So what is what what can we do to maybe change that? Let's just just try something different. Maybe staying committed to a program for more than five months just to experiment that like if you if you're so open to experimenting with other shit, why can't you experiment with being committed to healing, not trying to, like, go out there and get a job like as soon as you're feeling better and you've had, you know, time to like detox, you want to go back and try to find a job and you do.


The thing is, you do you find a job and you hustle and but why do you want to stay in the hustle? Why can't you just heal first and then see what things can be possible out there? Because we don't have to live like that. We don't have to live like that. We can live in peace and you can get everything that you want. You don't have to keep on like struggling and fucking fighting tooth and nail to get it right.


But we've made progress.


I mean, I don't think I've ever had a conversation like this with you. No, we haven't. Well, maybe the last time I was probably like seven when I made you propose the the had a lot of hot dogs. Yeah, yeah.


I'm just saying it's interesting and it's cool to, like, hear you describe your experience, like on such a heightened level.


It takes a toll on you. And I'm kind of already and I it's like I it's like I was at the finish line and then all of a sudden I had to go right back to the start.


Yeah, that's basically what it is. I compare it as to being in a bank line, you know, like there so long and boring. Like, would you get out of line before getting to the cashier if you're in the middle of it? And that's basically what it is, man. Some people are far along and they go back and some for some get up, some fall. Never get back up. Mm hmm. But, you know, I want to become responsible with my work, with my with my salary, you know, just not being a nuisance to anybody else.


No, not my problem, especially my problem. Become somebody else's problem.


So it has to you know, I think it's a lot of logistics around the whole thing, not just do it to do it, but you have to make sure it's going to be a good experience so that you be fulfilled and you won't need it. Right.


But also, there's there's so many things that that need to come to play so that you can change that pattern and change that behavior, which is like something needs to happen. What needs to happen is you get healthy. You have a space and an outlet to share your feelings truthfully.


Yeah, I know. Like I said, I it's maturing, man. I guess because I'm I'm I'm definitely more, believe it or not, more restrained than before.


I believe you. And I believe. You know, when you. When you're a good person, you know how far you could be in. You lament when you go too far. Mm hmm. And you always are constantly, you know, seeking constantly just. Not being a birdwing, yeah. Mm hmm. And if I have to take my phone with me by myself, yeah, I'm bothering anybody else.


Know what I mean? I totally do, brother. Do. Yeah. I love you. Thank you. Thank you to. OK, so that was real, we're going to continue to have honest conversations on this show with all kinds of people and each one of them are human beings just doing their best. If you've got a story that you want to share, send it my way recorded on your phone's Voice Memo app and email it to yanno at L.A. Studios Dotcom.


Yeah, no, I'm not. OK is a production of L.A. studios. Remember to wait and review our show. It helps people to find it. If you like it, share it with your friends. The more people we can get to have conversations about mental health, the better. Jessica Pilot is her talent manager and producer. Our executive producer is Lurgy Web Webdesign by Andy Cheatwood and the digital and marketing teams at Southern California Public Radio. Thanks to the team at L.A. studios including Taylor Kaufman, Kristin Hayford, Kristin Muller, Michael Cosentino, Robert Joe, Mildred Langford and Lurgy.


This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. Additional support comes from the Angel Foundation, supporting transformational leaders and by the California Health Care Foundation, dedicated to improving the mental health care system for all Californians. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.