You can’t see the forest for the trees

This saying is used to describe someone who is too involved in the details of a problem to view a situation as a whole. Sometimes, recognizing you have a problem is difficult. You need someone else to point it out, or through the passage of time, you see a pattern of behavior develop.

When I was a kid growing up in the 1980’s, children weren’t being diagnosed with behavioral problems like they are today. It was just viewed as a personality or discipline issue. I was a “hyper imaginative” kid. I had “too much energy”. I would develop an interest in something and it would become my sole focus. At an age when toys and cartoons were a child’s world, I found my first fixation. While I had an interest in all the popular toys of the day, Star Wars, GI Joe, Transformers..,one thing topped all that. Wrestling. Not the bright lights and big production of The WWF, that was ok, I was interested in the lesser promotions. The ones where it was held in a bingo hall. AWA and WCCW were my favorites. And I had to have every action figure I could get

I would go to flea markets and garage sales with my parents and search for them. When I had most of the ones made, I started using He-Man toys as new characters. I eventually had around 30-40 figures in my collection. But they didn’t sit on a shelf to be admired. I had my own promotion. I made title belts and custom entrance gear for them. I made a mix tape of entrance music. I kept a log of wins and losses and title reigns. I concocted grand plot lines and developed them over weeks and months like the TV shows. I lived to read wrestling magazines, to learn about the history and discover new characters. Yup, hyper imaginative indeed.

Then in my teens a new fixation was developed. Music. I became hooked on listening, and then playing music. At 14 I got my first drum set. A 1960’s Kent set in champagne sparkle

It was in the top of my friends garage for 20 years when I got it. Beat to hell and faded, but it was mine, and I had a creative outlet. Soon the history of music fascinated me. I would look at my favorite bands

Then figure out who their influences were

And who THEIR influences were

Working backwards through history. Then I discovered punk rock and it gave a name to the disassociation I felt with my peers. This lasted through my 20’s and 30’s when a large chunk of my free time was spent playing in local bands. To this day, discovering new music is one of my favorite things.

Another discovery I made in my early 20’s was the proper term for how my brain works. After realizing that my interests would over take me, and I had trouble focusing on many other more important issues. I was referred to a councilor to get help sorting things out. She told me it wasn’t hyper imagination, it’s called OCD. While I was told it was on the mild side, it was something they suggested I treat with medicine. But I didn’t see this as a problem. I saw it that I simply needed to be aware of my obsession and harness that energy into useful things. I became a lyric writer for the band, designed the gig posters and album art. I also discovered a crutch to help me stay focused on the task at hand and not get lost in thought about all the endless possibilities in any situation. This was marijuana. It regulates my brain. So I took to self medicating daily.

Now years later, the band is done and I needed a new creative outlet.

And here we are. I have put my time and energy into TGO. I found my new obsession. When I was invited to be an author, I sat down and brainstormed ideas. In two days, I had a rough script of what would become three months of blogs. I wake up in the middle of the night with ideas. I have insomnia some nights because my brain won’t stop firing. There is no off switch. I will do my best not to over-do this TGO thing. I want to play a long game here. Not burn myself and the readers out on me by going overboard.

We all need help sometimes. As they say, recognizing it is the hardest step. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. As a man, it feels weak, or like you’re a failure to admit to needing help. But that’s just foolish pride getting in the way. I try hard to let marijuana help me and not become a drug addiction. I also use alcohol to enhance my mood, but also as a mask to hide issues I don’t want to deal with. That’s not healthy. Walking the line between recreational use and substance abuse is a tightrope walk. Easy to slip if you lose focus.

Do you self medicate? What personality disorders do you struggle with? No need to answer, just look inside yourself. Can you see the forest for the trees?