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Podcasts Yeah No, I'm Not OK
Let Me Explain
Yeah No hero
Episode 1
52:52
Let Me Explain
Who is Diane Guerrero and why is she talking about mental health? In this episode, we learn more about Diane’s personal experience and her commitment to making mental health a priority in communities nationwide, especially communities of color. Then for the very first time, Diane sits down with her big brother Eddie to have an honest conversation about their family history of addiction, anxiety, and depression.
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For more resources on addiction or to get help, please visit: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline.

http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/sapc/

More support (via text) can be found at: https://www.crisistextline.org/

Additional Information on depression and anxiety can be found here: https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression

This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

YEAH NO, I’M NOT OK
Episode 1 Transcript: Let Me Explain

Let me Explain

Wed, 3/17 12:55PM • 49:36

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

diane, eddie, people, addiction, feel, drugs, mental health, problem, mom, home, thinking, scarface, living, acceptance, coped, anxiety, person, conversation,

SPEAKERS

Diane Guerrero, Eddie

Diane Guerrero 00:02

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 okay. That's the name of this show. Because I'm not okay. 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 maybe 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 backstory. More in a minute. Let me take you back when I was 12 years old in Boston. The year is 1998, and this is my girl, Dee, Griselle and I calling the party line. Griselle: No diggity ****in' doubt this is Teddy Bear. I just wanna give a shout out to Little Dee, cut. And then this is me -- no diggy ****ing doubt! This is Little Dee. Wassup, wassup, wassup mi gente! I just want to give a shout out to Teddy Bear and Angel Face. And then Dee would come on and say, no diggity ****in' doubt this is Angel face. [inhale of breath] Then she would forget what she was gonna 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 would call into a number that belonged to some ****ing rando person's pager, just to try to hear our own voices, and just to try to hear our own shout outs, and it was ****ing 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.

Eddie 04:07

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 Eddie [Diane]. Everything was exciting. It was back in the 80's. 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, I mean, 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.

Diane Guerrero 04:48

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 lacked 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.

Eddie 05:27

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

Diane Guerrero 05:43

He literally turned to anything or anyone who didn't make him feel like a loser or a criminal. Like, how 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 **it happens, we need to talk about it. I talk to Eddie after this. 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 to make me rice and beans for lunch. I wanted to feel the evening breeze and just sit with my family while we listened 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. Okay, so welcome to my podcast. Yeah, No, I'm Not Okay. I'm sitting here with my brother, Eddie. What's up, Eddie?

Eddie 09:51

How you doing, Sis? How's it going?

Diane Guerrero 09:54

Man, uhm, it's going. It's going good,

Eddie 09:58

Yeah, I know.

Diane Guerrero 09:59

What do you mean?

Eddie 10:00

You can see things on here are going good.

Diane Guerrero 10:04

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,hy are you guys hiding? I wasn't hiding. I was just, like, having so much anxiety today, like I woke up.

Eddie 10:22

I was part of the anxiety, so I'm sorry about that.

Diane Guerrero 10:24

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. [Eddie} Well, that... that in itself creates

Eddie 10:42

anxiety. You know, you feel like you have to meet expectations. So, you feel like pressure like..

Diane Guerrero 10:47

Yeah, I do feel pressure, which I'm trying to remind myself, yo D, there's no pressure, like, you're so good. Uhm, but what I was saying this morning, I was feeling, uhm, 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 **it already happened.

Eddie 11:09

We... **it we wish we had that we don't have anymore?

Diane Guerrero 11:12

that, or 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, that's the thing. [Eddie] The dwelling, dwelling. [Diane] 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.

Eddie 11:35

I'm so happy that you're here too. [Diane] Thank you. [Eddie] I'm very happy about that. Like you're saying, you know, this is like a special event like a, like a shooting star or something.

Diane Guerrero 11:46

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

Eddie 11:59

No, 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 'em again, it's like, wow. Ya know. [laughter]

Diane Guerrero 12:10

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 but, but I love you. And it's hurt me for a long time that, that you've been in a lot of pain.

Eddie 12:36

Are you talking about my addicting... addiction problem?

Diane Guerrero 12:39

I guess. Okay, okay, so let me just start all over. Yeah, I know, I look how hard it is for me to ****in' say it. So, I feel like I have seen addiction throughout our family. Since I was a little girl. Like, my first examples of addiction were at home, Mom, Dad, you, you know, people around us. That's all I saw. And you know, I have, I have also experienced addiction issues. You know, whether it is, you know, drugs, alcohol, sex, overthinking, thinking about perfection, and my body and whatever. I've, I've been addicted in different ways. And we all we all experienced that. But, and I also have experienced drug and alcohol abuse in a way that has hurt me. And that has affected me for over 10 years.

Eddie 13:39

Right.

Diane Guerrero 13:40

So, you know, this is what I'm living, but in... 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 have... I wanted the opportunity to talk to you on this podcast for our first episode. Uh, 'cause I just think it's gonna be really special and I know that you have a lot of insight on what this is, and this is something that I'm, I'm tackling, you know what I mean. I'm working through it as a user as well, you know. So, take it away, my friend.

Eddie 14:16

I just want to say... I wanted to congratulate you because I know you've struggled with mental health, anxiety and all of that, and, uhm, it's not... it's not strange that you would you know, being you've been through a lot too you know. And, uh, from... from the all the times you've come to visit, this is the less violent you've been [laughter]. This is the less violent you've been than all the times. So, I see you more under control of yourself. Like embracing, wanting to be good, wanting to feel good. And not, you know, letting anger pass by because you know, you're gonna get angry, especially when you deal with these issues. No? But, you're letting them go fast. You're forgiving me quicker, and I love you for that.

Diane Guerrero 15:07

Thank you.

Eddie 15:08

I'm proud of you.

Diane Guerrero 15:09

I appreciate that.

Eddie 15:12

Don't cry though. Why you crying? [Diane] I know, I'm sorry.

Diane Guerrero 15:14

I'm just like, it's just like emotional. Because, um, yeah, because I've been working hard. 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 ****ing break something, when I like, I'm physical with you. And it doesn't just manifest with you. It's everything you know, and its... I'm out of control, and it's hurting me. So anyway, I just... thank you for noticing that. I have been trying.

Eddie 15:42

Yeah. You're a blessing, you're 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 falls, you know, like, as far as I'm using. Uhm, sooner or later, I, it clicks in my head. I have to get out of that. You know, I have to, it has to stop. So, making... it doesn't... like trying to be better again, like trying to get up or getting up will never not be important, or will I, will I ever stop trying to. You know what I mean? Because I have a lot to live for. Mainly, you and mom, and my daughter, and my grandchildren. [Diane] I know. That's wild. You have, you have... what are they to you? They're...

Diane Guerrero 16:41

Uh, great gran. Great gran... No, well, Danyce, is my niece. But then what are her kids to me?

Eddie 16:48

Your grandnieces.

Diane Guerrero 16:49

Really?

Eddie 16:50

I think so.

Diane Guerrero 16:51

Wow. I'm gonna look that up. Um, I wanted to ask you, Brother, what, what makes it so hard?

Eddie 17:01

Why?

Diane Guerrero 17:03

Like, to heal, to stop.

Eddie 17:10

I don't know. It's just that you play your, 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, uhm, 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. Uhm, unfortunately, the addiction to drugs itself, uhm, is way more damaging than food. [Diane - Yeah.] And, uhm, it can take you to areas where visibly you know, they could tell a mile away this guy has, has, you know, is really struggling. If you're addicted to food, you look nice and plump and chubby. You know what I mean? But, if you're addicted to crack? [Diane: Yeah] Ya know, you're gonna look like a, a skeleton.

Diane Guerrero 18:06

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 ***t's changing you too. [Eddie: 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 gonna pump up, you're gonna eat, you're gonna be ****in' like, oh, hurting, all this. Then all of a sudden, back on Friday, you're gonna feel fine again. You're gonna 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.

Eddie 19:08

Yeah. Definitely. That's how it is. Because, like, when I go and, buy it. Like, before I even do it, my stomach just starts getting really sick. Like, I'm at this stage where I even vomit before just thinking about using it. I think that my body is telling me at a subconscious level, you know, listen, man, I don't want this **it, it's making me nauseous. You know? But, then there is something that, you know, impulses you to just do it and then after you do it, it's like why did I do it? [Diane: Right]. You know what I mean? It's so stupid.

Diane Guerrero 19:47

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 ****ing cycle all over again. [Eddie: 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 ****ing 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 Colombia, and in the United States where we're from. Uhm, but I just... I wanna like... I want to ask you about, uhm, 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. Uhm, but and, 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.

Eddie 21:47

Yeah. Well, I believe that all addiction lies, or derives from the inability to accept things you cannot control. You see? For example, when growing up in Boston, you know, back in the 90s, I mean, it was a Friday... it was Thursday and you're thinking, okay, what am I gonna wear tomorrow? And Thursday is not even done yet, and, you know, what am I going to do tomorrow? How am I gonna 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. So, it was that expectation, you know, socially, you want it 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 **it. 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, it's a, it's a very weird situation that drugs puts you in. You know? At first you're in control, then, 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 that 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.

Diane Guerrero 24:00

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. Well, I have so many memories with you that are so, like, good and also sad. Uhm, some of my best memories, we are going to movies, you taking me to Chucky Cheese, you taking me to the park, you taking me to whatever store you were going to and buy me candy. I loved you making me pancakes. You made me mac & cheese. You showed me like all these awesome movies. You were always watching the nature channel. I ****ing love that about you. You watched all the coolest movies--****ing Goodfellas, Carlito's Way, Scarface, ****in' Willy Wonka. Just... we saw... no, but that we saw at home, but Malcolm X, Do the Right Thing like, all the Spike Lee joints.

Eddie 24:54

You were a princess. You've always been a princess. I mean, you had all videotapes of Disney. You know? [Diane: Yeah.] All the video tapes from, you know... What is it, Warner Brothers, Woody Woodpecker and all of that. Bugs Bunny. I mean, you had it all. You had it all at home.

Diane Guerrero 25:11

Well, that's what I'm saying. What I'm... what I'm... what I... what I want to get to is, like, obviously, us growing up, or not obviously, but my memories of us growing up was 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...

Eddie 25:43

That was like, back in the 90s, man. It was like, if you weren't getting in trouble, you weren't 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 **it.

Diane Guerrero 26:02

But, how are you even gonna do that?

Eddie 26:04

What do you mean?

Diane Guerrero 26:05

How were you even gonna... you never sold drugs ever. I know. Well, that's, you know, this... So, it was like you either sell it or you do it?

Eddie 26:13

No, like, it's just everybody wishes that they were somebody in their minds, you know, respected this way. So, a lot of people come up with that dream at an adolescent time. They want to be, you know, respected on the streets. And, you know, it's glorified to be a big, you know, drug dealer moving kilos and **it. You know, out of... out of a million, maybe half a one would move kilos, you know what I mean?

Diane Guerrero 26:40

But, what I want to know is like, how was...

Eddie 26:43

Crime doesn't pay. By the way.

Diane Guerrero 26:44

No, crime does not pay. We know this. We know this from first-hand experience. [Eddie: Yep]. I wanted to ask Eddie some more about these early days, like, what does he remember from our childhood? From the early 80s?

Eddie 27:06

You know, being part of something that nobody can fake, you know. You... 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, they at least did the Wop 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. And New York was like, right off... right, 20 minutes away. And my cousins. You know it was always mystical to be around them. [Diane: Yeah]. That's why I love them so much and I remember them so much. [Dian: Yeah]. Even though they're ingrates; they never even call.

Diane Guerrero 27:51

But they're wild creatures. We cannot contain them.

Eddie 27:54

Anyways. Uhm, it was a great memory. It's a great movie to have in your head. [Diane: Yeah]. 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, man. It was awesome. You know, graffiti. So that graffiti art started coming in. You know what I mean? And it was beautiful to see these these people with... kids with no... nothing, you know, poverty background, people on welfare and **it. You know, roaches in their apartment and everything. Like, have this amazing talent. They have to go to the grocery stores to steal the paint first of all. You know? They gotta steal the cans, and then just make this beautiful art piece on the side of a train. I mean, just awesome.

Diane Guerrero 28:43

And I see that that you hold on to that, and I hold on to it too. But, what what has made it so hard to, like, to be happy in present time?

Eddie 28:55

Well, you know...

Diane Guerrero 28:57

and enjoy, like, what's going on now, what's happened to hip hop now, what's happened to our... and, 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 on to the past so much often means that you're depressed.

Eddie 29:21

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 leaving all my life somewhere. [Diane: mmhmm, yeah]. And then sent back to some place where you're supposed to be from, but you're not really from there either now. So, then that's like a clash of Titans right there. You know what I mean? You know, you, you're like, you don't know where the **ck you are. And then I've been here for 20 years, and I still don't feel this is my home. You know?

Diane Guerrero 29:51

Yeah. So, **mn, would you say the problem started there? I mean...

Eddie 29:57

Lack of acceptance. Like I said. [Diane: Yeah.] It just creates chaos in your life. [Diane: When were you deported?] For true acceptance. Not just saying yeah, 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 truthful to yourself and say I cannot accept this. Why? And find a way.

Diane Guerrero 30:18

So I, of course... Oh, so do you wanna 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?

Eddie 30:32

Well, no, I... It started... It started with my wife left me [Diane: okay] because of my addiction problem. So lack of accepting that just... I was really young too, man. I couldn't... I thought, I thought I didn't deserve. You know, at that age... and I know it's tragic. Like I... like I... like I stated earlier, starting the show, acceptance is all to a, to a young person, an immature person, a weak person. Really, because an addiction... You have an addiction, an addiction that, that sets you back and you keep doing it then you're weak. You know? You're weak minded.

Diane Guerrero 31:15

But... but you were on... [Eddie: then 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 he's doing drugs?

Eddie 31:31

Nah, because 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, an asylum, eating their own **it. You know. That's what mental illness was back then. You know, an addiction problem. Yeah, addiction, an illness? No way. [Diane: right] But, 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's... when it's with drugs, it can kill you in so many ways.

Diane Guerrero 32:05

And you seem so afraid of death, which is, like, so interesting to me.

Eddie 32:11

I'm not afraid of death, per se. I'm afraid of dying for nothing. You know what I mean? [Diane: Okay], no I'm afraid of dying for nothing. Like, **mn, man, I wasted my death on that.

Diane Guerrero 32:22

How about like, you just want to go out peaceful and, like, not in having changed your life? Maybe not in the same, like, cassette. You know, or on the same track. You know, maybe on a different track.

Eddie 32:35

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

Diane Guerrero 32:47

Do you blame Mom for anything?

Eddie 32:51

No. She did the best that she could. She was probably brought up in a worse environment. I believe that we had it better than her and that was her job. To make sure we had it better than her. I think we had it 20 times better than she had it.

Diane Guerrero 33:07

Okay.

Eddie 33:09

By any means necessary, she got it done.

Diane Guerrero 33:14

I feel like also, maybe children who suffer from mental health, uhm, or anxiety, or bipolarism, 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 resulted 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 ****ing big deal about you smoking weed. Uhm, and it wasn't ever a conversation like, hey, what... you know, let's talk about this. Like, it's okay to get like... like it's not okay... it's okay to do... it's okay to get high or like, hey, we would rather you not do this right now while we're living with... while you're 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 ****ing satan's child. [Eddie: Yeah, man. True.] That you just went the opposite direction instead of listening. So, I want... I wanna hear about that, that shame that you... I want to hear about growing up with mom and dad and you experimenting with drugs and them treating you like a ****ing 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 a bell or something.

Eddie 34:56

Well, you know, the family... the family dealt in those... in, in that merchandise, so we weren't strangers to cocaine around the house, or I wasn't. I mean, I knew what it was since I was really young. [Diane: Okay.] And, unfortunately that, that's what an imperialistic state that oppresses other countries causes. By any means necessary, people are gonna try to make a better living. It's just a natural human reaction and circumstances were 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.

Diane Guerrero 35:46

Why do I feel like Michelle Pfeiffer in that ****ing scene?

Eddie 35:48

Good thing that, 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.

Diane Guerrero 35:59

So, I mean, so you're saying it wasn't... It wasn't because mom shamed you when you smoked weed or something?

Eddie 36:06

It was always around the house. 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 okay for her friend to do it in the bathroom. Her friend is passing a tiburon. Remember Carlos? [Diane: Yeah.] He would pass me the dollar... a $100 bill with the coke in it. You know, and I was 14. Whoa, and that **it was... And we had the good **it too back in the days. Back in the days it was pure quality **it. Puro!!

Diane Guerrero 36:32

We wanted to live big and I hate that materialistic ****ing capitalism ingrained in your brain.

Eddie 36:40

I wanted the Scarface desk with the lion chained next to him.

Diane Guerrero 36:44

Same.

Eddie 36:44

You know what I mean? If it wasn't that, it was going on nothing.

Diane Guerrero 36:49

Society really ***ks us up. That's what I felt like, we always chase. [Eddie: expectations.] But it was like the wrong... [Eddie: false sense of security] False sense of security and like, just... and like not changing the ****ing 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 narrative, changing the narrative. If you are feeling some kind of way, if you're dwelling on something, all you gotta... 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 are my... 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 gotta remove yourself. You know? It's not about getting that shit out the way it's about you getting yourself outta that ***t's way. And it's always gonna... you know, the beautiful thing about the here and the now in the present... and with that... that's one of the reasons why Narcotics Anonymous, I probably belong to that group and I don't care about the anonymity, uhm, is that they, they stress that. You know? The here and the now is the only thing you can change. Yesterday is depression, and tomorrow is anxiety. So, today is... right now, as a matter of fact, not even today, just the present, the here and the now, and why bring yourself more problems for the here and the now so tomorrow could be less than what it should be. You know? 'Cause it's not the same thing waking up sober than waking up, ****ing with a bazooka high. You know what I mean? You know, with a bazooka hangover. You know what I mean? It's like, you miss opportunities when you when you miss a day. [Diane: of course]. When you're in your room because you feel sick. You know, you don't go out, you don't politic, you don't make connections. Then, it's a less of a chance that you're gonna make something. [Diane: Yeah.] And it's about making, it's about building, it's about creating, it's about, you know, exploiting life. Sure. Living life. Did you just say exploiting?

Eddie 39:11

Yeah

Diane Guerrero 39:12

Can we change the word from exploit to...

Eddie 39:17

Taking advantage of it

Diane Guerrero 39:20

A whole negative [laughs]

Eddie 39:21

Hijackcking it, taking it by the horns, stripping it of everything it's got [Diane: All the language] because it's there for me!

Diane Guerrero 39:27

So, can I ask you a question? When you say... I understand about living in 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 and now and it's like **ck it I want this. I'm just gonna go ahead and get it, and you ****ing lose your papers, and you lose all your money, and... [Eddie: yeah, man] So, it's like you got, you got to be... You know, what, what is here and the now mean to you?

Eddie 39:58

You got to be mentally apt to keep stuff and not abuse, uhm, your resources. Rather, you know, being very [Diane: balanced?] balanced with it and enjoy it.

Diane Guerrero 40:14

What's making you not balanced and enjoy it?

Eddie 40:19

That's a tough question. I think the lack of acceptance. I would refer back to that.

Diane Guerrero 40:26

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

Eddie 40:32

Once I accept the fact that I am where I am, and it is what it is. You know, I think I can move on. What is it gonna take for me to get to that? To that clicking in my subconscious? I don't know. You know, it could be probably anything.

Diane Guerrero 40:55

What are you... are you gonna like...

Eddie 40:56

Like, one day I could wake up and just read something in the paper and everything just clicks.

Diane Guerrero 41:01

So, you think it's just gonna click? I feel like we've sort of... you've been here 20 years. [laughing]

Eddie 41:10

Here we go.

Diane Guerrero 41:11

I'm just saying, you've been here 20 years because of something ****ing super tragic and unfair that happened to our family. No family should be separated from deportation and ****in' 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 Colombia. I mean, you, you haven't been to Colombia. Colombia wasn't your country, you were just dropped in and said... they said, go ahead fend for yourself. So I understand that pain. [Eddie: Shockers] Yeah, it's not it's not right. And that's wrong. And guess what? That's ****ed up the government did that to our family, and it's not okay. Um, but I feel like you've been... And I hear you, that experiment is a good experiment too. 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. [Eddie: Yeah.] So, are you going to change that approach? Don't you think maybe changing that approach...

Eddie 42:11

Like I said, it's something... it's not something that I have control over when I feel sad about that. You know, when I feel... when I get so down... when I, when I get so down, while I'm in thought; I'm reminiscing, and then I'm just hurting, you know. Like, **mn, I wish I could catch the Orange Line and **it and go to Filene's and get a pair of ****ing jibreaus. You know what I mean? But I can't do that.

Diane Guerrero 42:33

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

Eddie 42:38

Yeah, well, I think this therapy would work; a lot of therapy and a lot of self-acceptance, meditation. I got to get back into meditating.

Diane Guerrero 42:48

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

Eddie 42:50

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

Diane Guerrero 42:59

When have you done the lockup thing? And for how long have you ever done it?

Eddie 43:04

I understand, but... No, no, but our audience doesn't understand. Can you tell our audience what... how long have you ever done the lockup thing? And how and, and Well, the longest I've ever been in rehab is five months. After five months, I mean...

Diane Guerrero 43:17

So in 20 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?

Eddie 43:27

Well, you could... you could...

Diane Guerrero 43:28

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

Eddie 43:32

Yeah, but you could... you could... you could lock yourself up for 40 years, and still not. You know what I mean? It's... I don't believe the time has anything to do with it.

Diane Guerrero 43:42

But I don't think your pattern of healing has changed. I don't think you've been doing anything different. Like, it's not like you've tried being... 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 programmed your body in your brain. I'm saying, you got to look at that science part of it that says, hey, maybe this pattern that you keep on attempting for 20 years isn't working. So what is... what... what can we do to maybe change that? Let's 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 **it, 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 hustling. But why do you want to stay in that 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 ****ing fighting tooth and nail to get it. [Eddie: Right.] But, we've made progress. I mean, I don't think I've ever had a conversation like this with you.

Eddie 45:15

No, we haven't.

Diane Guerrero 45:16

Well, maybe the last time I was probably like seven.

Eddie 45:20

When I made you pulpos--octuopuses out of hot dogs?

Diane Guerrero 45:24

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. [Eddie: 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 have to go right back to the start.

Eddie 45:41

Yep, that's basically what it is. I compare it as to being in a bank line, you know. Like, they're 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 fall, some get up, some fall, never get back up. 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. Not letting my problems, 'specially my problem, become somebody else's problem. So it has to... it, 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 gonna be a good experience so that you'll be fulfilled, and you won't need it.

Diane Guerrero 46:34

Right. Well, so 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.

Eddie 46:50

Yeah, no, I like I said, man. It's in maturing, man, I guess, because I'm, I'm definitely more... believe it or not, more restrained than before.

Diane Guerrero 47:00

I believe you.

Eddie 47:03

I believe, you know, when you... when you're a good person, you know how far you could be and even when you go too far. And you always in constant, you know, seeking constantly just... not being a burden. [Diane: Yeah, mmhmm] And, if I have to take my falls, it's on me by myself, not bother anybody else. Know what I mean?

Diane Guerrero 47:36

I totally do, brother. Do. I love you. Thank you for...

Eddie 47:43

I love you too.

Diane Guerrero 47:59

Okay, 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, record it on your phone's voice memo app, and email it to YeahNo@laiststudios.com. Yeah, No, I'm Not Okay is a production of Laist Studios. Remember to rate 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 our talent manager and producer. Our executive producer is Leo G. Web design by Andy Cheatwood and the digital and marketing teams at Southern California Public Radio. Thanks to the team at Laist Studios, including Taylor Coffman, Kristen Hayford, Kristen Muller, Michael Cosentino, Robert Jo, Mildred Langford and Leo G. 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.