Wednesday, October 31, 2018

L.A.'s Day of the Dead


It's Halloween and all the ghouls and goblins will be on the prowl for sweets tonight. In Los Angeles, with it's large Hispanic population, it's also time for Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Day. It's a day for families to get together and remember family members who have passed on.


This holiday has been gaining traction over the last couple of decades and you can now visit some very beautiful and complex altars that are built to honor the dead. 


Over the last 20 years or so, I use to walk daily in Downtown Los Angeles. Each year at this time, I'd wander over to Grand Park or Olvera Street and take in some of these displays.


Here is a gallery of some of them that I've come across on my walks.


Grand Park


Olvera Street


Olvera Street (Old Plaza)


Olvera Street


The Music Center


The Music Center


Grand Park


Grand Park


The Music Center

Grand Park is located on the west side of City Hall and runs three blocks to the Music Center on Grand Avenue. Accessible subway transportation is available via the Red and Purple Metro Lines, exit Grand Park/Civic Center station.  Olvera Street is located directly across the street from Union Station on its west side main entrance. Many accessible rail lines, the Gold, Red, Purple, and Metrolink trains, all serve this station.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

CEREBRAL PALSY STORIES: Tim's Mental Health Mayhem of 2015 to 2018 Part 3: The Long and Winding Road to Recovery-Taking Control of My Anxiety and Depression


In the first part part of this story I went on the record and finally opened up about my three year battle with anxiety and depression that started in 2015. In part two I discussed what led up to my three years of experiences with anxiety and depression. In this third and final part of this story, I will take you inside my journey during which I had various instances of anxiety and depression the issues that I have had to deal with mentally and how I have successfully managed to deal with and overcome them to be what is hopefully a better version of the person that I was some three years ago.

The main physical component causing my sickness was lack of sleep. I went to see a sleep specialist for help. The visits with this doctor consisted of an introductory one where I was with my mom and we described to the doctor what had been going on and what my symptoms were. During this visit, they also took my vital signs such as my blood pressure to see how I was doing physically. Other than the fact that my blood pressure was a little high and the troubles I was having with getting enough sleep, I think everything else was considered to be normal and good.

After the conclusion of that first visit with the sleep doctor I came back for what would be my second and most interesting visit to see the sleep doctor a few weeks later. That's because I had to actually spend the night at the office and sleep there so I could undergo a series of tests to see if I possibly had a sleeping disorder known as sleep apnea. For those that may not know what sleep apnea is, it is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.


In order to figure out whether or not I did have sleep apnea, I had to wear a sleeping mask that was connected to a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. To make a long story short, it was found out that I did indeed have sleep apnea and I have now been using a CPAP machine to help me sleep better for almost the last three years or so.

As for getting the mental health issues that I had with anxiety and depression that caused me to have various incidents of panic attacks and hallucinations, I ended up having to go see a psychologist/therapist to help me feel better and deal with the various issues that I started having. 

The first time that I went to see a therapist, I ended up going there for about a period of about only one month after which the doctor said that I had been suffering from insomnia but that I was slowly but surely getting better.

Dad: After the nights of crisis, emergency room visits, and the visit from the county mental health team, we took Tim to his primary care doctor. Because of how our insurance is structured, he basically told us he could do nothing for mental health issues and we’d have to take it up with our insurance carrier to find help.

We had to call our insurance carrier to get approval for mental health treatment for Tim. They referred us to a contractor who provided us a list of approved psychologists and psychiatrists. It was up to us to contact someone on that list a make an appointment with them.

The first psychologist saw Tim for a couple of months of weekly visits then said he didn’t need him anymore.

After seeing the first psychologist however, there were times when I was still experiencing periods of both anxiety and depression. For me, it took a little over a year to realize that I needed to go see another psychologist since I was still struggling mentally with some unresolved issues. 



The good thing for me though was that compared to the first time I went to see a psychologist when my anxiety and depression first started, I felt that I was better prepared to see a psychologist the second time around since I had a better idea of what the whole experience was going to be like. During this time before I went back to see a therapist, I also had a better idea of what the issues were that I was having which had an effect on the mental health aspect of my life.

Dad: The second psychologist saw Tim for almost two years on a biweekly basis. She recently retired and Tim is no longer seeing a psychologist at this time.

In addition to those visits with the psychologist my dad and I also started implementing some meditation and pow wow sessions into my daily and or weekly routine. The meditation sessions consisted of focusing on my breathing and trying my best to not do the snorting tick habit that I had started to do. These sessions would last for about five minutes on most days and they were very helpful for me the more times that I did them.

The pow wow sessions were done on a weekly basis most of the time and my dad and I would usually talk about what issues I may have had or did have throughout a given week. These were also very helpful for me.

Dad – The pow wow sessions are also helpful to me to help me understand what’s going on with Tim and to try to avoid getting angry when I don’t know why he sometimes behaves the way he does.

Fast forwarding to some three years later to now, the good news is that for now I am no longer seeing a psychologist after spending the last two years or so doing just that. As a result, my overall anxiety and depression levels are a lot lower than what they were when this whole journey started. I feel like I have definitely learned some very valuable life lessons for myself along the way and hopefully anyone out there dealing with similar issues like I did can see that they are not alone and that there is hope. Lastly, I would like to say thank you all of my family, friends and doctors who provided help and guidance to me along and supported me throughout the tough times during the last few years. I could not have done without all of you. I am truly appreciative and very grateful for it.

Tim Musick-with contributions from Darryl Musick.
Copyright 2018.
All Rights Reserved.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

CEREBRAL PALSY STORIES: Tim's Mental Health Mayhem of 2015 to 2018 Part 2-What Led Up To It?


Note - We're running this series in conjunction with World Health Day, which was October 10. Tim recalls his issues and fervently hopes this will inspire you to get any help you need.

In part one of this latest editionof Cerebral Palsy Stories, I went on record and finally started to open up about my 3-year mental health struggles and battles with anxiety and depression that started in 2015.

In the second part of this story I will focus on what led up to it and most likely caused those issues to begin with. Looking back on all of what has happened, the answer to that question is that there was not just one single thing that caused me to have extended periods of anxiety of depression at various times over the last few years. It was actually a combination of a few things here and there that unfortunately led me down to what was a very scary and dark time in my life back then.

While it is somewhat hard for me to pinpoint one particular experience or incident that served as the tipping point, there are a few that I can think of looking back at it now that I can definitely say had an impact on me and my overall health back then. The first incident was of course the very first time that I realized that I was starting to feel a little depressed and lonely while my parents and I went out to dinner during a particular weekend in Seal Beach, California.


Before this time there were certain instances throughout my life when I was a little depressed and lonely such as when I had a surgery on my legs when I was a kid. In those instances, though, I was able to get over whatever I was going through and or feeling fairly quickly. That dinner excursion in Seal Beach from approximately three years ago was a different story though. After we finished our dinner and left the restaurant we decided to take a walk over to where the Seal Beach pier is over the ocean.

From what I can remember, it was not until we started heading over to where the pier was that I started to have the first feelings of depression and loneliness. Since I was starting to have these different kinds of feelings that I had never really experienced before in my life for the most part, I didn't really enjoy being out on the pier that day. I also remember that since there were quite a few couples walking on the pier that day that that probably also contributed to the depression and loneliness that I was feeling at the time since I was and still am single.

After we left and went back home, I don't think I said anything about how I felt to my parents because at the time I just thought it was one of those experiences where the feelings would hopefully go away after a while and they did for a little while. The tough times were not over for my family and I however when a few days to a couple of weeks after spending the day at Seal Beach, I started having panic attacks throughout the day and having a very hard time getting a good night's sleep.

One of the biggest reasons why I was having such a hard time getting a good night's sleep was that around that time I had become so sleep deprived that I had started to have some very weird and or strange hallucinations and dreams which made it even more difficult for me to fall asleep. The hallucinations and weird dreams got scary enough for me that at one point my mom had to start sleeping with me in my room for a period of time to make sure that I was trying my best to go to sleep.


So what were some of the things that caused me to feel anxious, depressed and sleep deprived in the first place? While I can't really pinpoint one particular situation or incident as a cause or effect, there are a few that stand out.

The first one was the personal life coming out story of  former MLB umpire Dale Scott. In December of 2014 Mr. Scott made history as he became the very first umpire or any other pro sports official for that matter who was still working at the time to publicly come out publicly as gay with regards to that aspect of their personal life.

Looking back, of all the things that did trigger my anxiety and depression or had an effect on me in one way or another, this was probably the one piece of the puzzle that had the biggest impact on me at the time. I even wrote a couple of blog posts for my Tim's Sports World blog at the time in which I discussed my own thoughts and reaction to the story.

That's because as time went on after I first heard the news about Dale Scott, I started to become a little obsessed and worried about my own personal life. Even though I already knew that I was straight in terms of my personal life, I had started having questions and or doubts about my own sexual orientation and who I was.

Picture courtesy of
https://www.flickr.com/people/foreverfaeryboots under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The interesting thing for me was that before I heard the news about Dale Scott, there really were not any other times before when another public figure or celebrity would come out publicly about who they were in their personal lives that had a big impact on me up to that point. Since I was and still am a big baseball and sports fan to this day, maybe that's why I felt and reacted differently to the news about Dale Scott. 

Another thing that also contributed to this whole situation in some way or another was that I was beginning to become a little nervous/anxious and or obsessed about some things that I definitely should not have been worried or obsessed about to begin with.

If I remember correctly, I think I also started to wonder what people might have thought about the blog posts I wrote about Dale Scott that I mentioned up above which also added to my anxiety and depression. Overall though, I would like to think that Mr. Scott's story has made me be even more tolerant and accepting of those individuals who consider themselves part of the LGBT community than I already was.

Throughout this whole experience that I have had of living with anxiety and depression at various times over the last three years approximately, I also started to develop some funny habits or rituals along the way to help me cope. One of those was feeling like I had to check and see where Dale Scott and his umpiring crew were assigned to work a game or series on any given day. Now that he is retired, I no longer feel like I have to know where he is or what he is doing other than hopefully enjoying his retirement.

Dad: Tim would be worrying about everything…whether I’d be dead in the morning, whether he’d be dead, obsessing about traveling by airplane, worrying about routine doctor appointments, simple illnesses would have him worrying it was life threatening…it was quite a struggle to try to work with him to release those worries and stresses.

The second thing that also contributed to my anxiety and depression during this time was that I had also started to have a crush on one of the female reporters of MLB Network (MLBN).

One of the reasons why this new celebrity crush was a contributing factor to the mental health issues that I was going through at the time was because, among other things, one of the hallucinations that I had been experiencing involved this woman. Until I actually had those kinds of hallucinations I really had no idea what kind of effect a lack of sleep could really have on a person's own mind and body. 

The funny thing for me though however was that even though those kinds of hallucinations were somewhat scary for me to go through after they happened, that was probably the first time that I could remember finally feeling a sense of comfort and peace throughout the tough times that I was having.

Besides that particular hallucination episode mentioned above, once I realized that I had started to have a crush on her, I had also started trying to see if I could find out if there was any information about the reporter's personal life online and whether or not she was single. Once I felt like I was able to stop thinking about it and finally move on to thinking about something else, that eventually became one more thing for me to not worry about or become obsessed over

We also travel a lot and for a little while there were times when I was more nervous than I would normally be whenever my family and I would go away for an extended vacation or trip for one reason or another.

Dad – Tim would start to have panic attacks on airplanes, even though he’s flown hundreds of times without problems. He would start gagging and sometimes even go into dry heaves.


One such trip that comes to mind was the one that we took to Texas and Florida last year. During this particular trip we went to see games at both major league ballparks in Texas as well as visiting the Florida Keys.

I don't necessarily know what happened but somewhere along the way while we were in Houston, to me it started to feel like someone was following us and somehow keeping track of what we were doing during that part of the trip. As for what caused this particular instance of anxiety the only thing that I could think of that might have had an impact was a couple of tweets that I sent to MLB Network (MLBN) with a picture of me at both ballparks in Texas.

One of those tweets from Minute Maid Park in Houston even ended up being put on the air during an episode of the Quick Pitch show. As a result, I think my mind got a little carried away mentally afterwards as I most likely started to wonder if maybe people would recognize me from that picture that was broadcast on the show.

Fortunately for me, those new feelings that I started having started to go away a few days after I saw my picture on the show and the rest of the trip was more relaxing and uneventful in terms of no weird or strange feelings for the most part. Unfortunately, I decided to not tell my parents about what I thought was happening until we got back home.

While I know now that I probably should have said something about it right away or very soon thereafter, I felt like I could wait until we came back home because up to that point I felt like I had been getting better at dealing with whatever instances of anxiety and depression that I may have had or did have as a result of seeing a therapist on a more frequent basis the second time around.

The experiences from that trip also played a part in how I started to feel before we went on our next trip at that time to Jasper National Park and the city of Calgary in Canada. Since we had wrapped up the previous trip to Texas and Florida fairly recently, the events of what happened during that trip were still somewhat fresh in my mind and I started to worry about, as silly as it may have seemed and now does, the possibility of something similar happening during the trip to Canada.

Thankfully though, other than those pre-traveling jitters, there was nothing that I had to be worried about because I did not have any episodes of anxiety during our time in Canada and I have also not had any other episodes since then when we have gone away somewhere for a trip.

During this time my parents did their best to try to help me feel better and reassure me that whatever I was thinking in my mind at the time was not real and that I just needed to get a good few nights of sleep to feel better. As has always been the case, my parents were right with the advice they had given me because once I started getting a few good nights of sleep in a row, I started to feel better about myself both physically and mentally.

While I did start to feel better overall after a few good nights of sleep, my road to a full recovery so to speak was just beginning as the next thing I had to do for myself was to go out and actually look for someone who could provide me with some professional help to deal with all of the mental health issues that I encountered along the way as a result of my anxiety and depression from not getting enough sleep.

So now that you know what my mental health struggles were like the next question that you probably want the answer to was how I was able to finally overcome them and take control of my anxiety and depression? You'll just have to wait until the third and final part of this story is published to find out! As they say sometimes on your favorite TV show or series, this story is to be continued.

Don't wait, if you don't feel right, get help with your mental health issues today. In the U.S.A., contact your local county health department to find mental health resources near you or visit MentalHealth.gov for more information.

In Los Angeles County, we call (800)854-7771 - there are also mental health urgent care centers that you can go to on a walk in basis, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Urgent Care Centers

Tim Musick.
Copyright 2018.
All Rights Reserved.



Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CEREBRAL PALSY STORIES: Tim's Mental Health Mayhem of 2015 to 2018 Part 1-Here's What Happened and How It All Started



Note - Today is World Mental Health Day. Tim recalls his issues and fervently hopes this will inspire you to get any help you need.

April 3rd of 2015. That is a date which I will most likely never forget what happened on that day and what I felt like at the end of it. The events of that day and the result of it are also something that I have not been very comfortable in sharing with all of you in great detail until now.

Up to this point, I think there was only one other time in which I wrote a post about the troubles that I having trying to sleep back then and having to undergo a sleep study exam. Little did I know however that the events of that particular day would end up being the first breaking point in my 3-year battle with anxiety and depression.


The long and winding road for my mental health issues which caused me to have periods of severe anxiety and depression over the last three years or so had gotten so bad during that time that my parents had to call 911 on that night to take me to the hospital for only the third or fourth time ever in my life! Truthfully though and now being able to look back at what I was going through and what I was dealing with emotionally back then, my overall mental health had actually started to go downhill and take a turn for the worst a few weeks before I ended up in the hospital for observation on that fateful night in April some three years ago.

The problem was that back then was that even though I sort of knew that I was not feeling one hundred percent health wise both physically and mentally, my family and I didn't really think that what I was going through at the time was something to be too concerned or worried about. From what I can remember during that time was that we just thought that I might have been having trouble sleeping at night and that I just needed to have a good night's sleep or two to give both my mind and my body some much needed rest.

Dad: At first we didn’t know what it was, all we knew was that Tim was not himself. It took a few days to realize that he hadn’t been sleeping. We estimate that he went for about two weeks without sleep before he reached crisis point.

Things started to get worse for me and my family however when, as a result of me still having trouble sleeping and not being able to get a full night's rest, I started having severe panic attacks while we were out in public somewhere in addition to experiencing what would end up being some very scary, unpredictable and nerve-racking delusional feelings and hallucinations while lying in bed. I also told my parents back then when all of this was happening that I was starting to hear voices in my head as well.

At that point we finally knew that something had to be done to address what was wrong with me at the time and do everything that we could to get me back on the road to feeling better overall with regards to the mental health aspect of my life. Up to that point my parents had taken me to the hospital maybe once or twice during that time because I had started to have chest pains and my heart was beating very rapidly at time in an effort to try and figure out what was going on since I thought that I was possibly having a heart attack. The only thing that the doctors could figure out though after doing some tests was that I had been having trouble sleeping and that I was a little dehydrated from not drinking enough fluids. Other than that, it appeared that I was doing fine physically. This was not the last time that I ended up going to the hospital during that time unfortunately.

The final time that I ended up having my most recent hospital visit was on that night of April 3rd in 2015 when as I was trying to fall asleep I had started to scream very loudly and shout a string of curse words and a lot of other things that didn't make sense. From what I can remember, it felt like I was having a fight with my dad even though he was not in my room at the time because he was in the other bedroom and was trying his best to sleep as well. Luckily I was somehow able to snap out of whatever fantasies and delusions that I was going through then before the paramedics came inside our house and into my bedroom so that I could realize what was really going on and they could transport me and my family to the hospital without incident.


Dad: One thing we didn’t realize was that when you call 911 for someone having anxiety outbursts in the middle of the night is that the first thing that happens is four deputies come in first with their hands on their guns.

It’s for everyone’s protection but it is still unsettling. On the good side, it snapped Tim back to reality for awhile.

The good thing about having to go to the hospital on that night for observation was that after my parents told the doctors at the hospital what was going on and what I was experiencing, mostly everybody involved in the situation had a pretty good idea of what was wrong with me which was that I was not getting enough sleep during that time which was making me act out in some very strange and weird ways. The only person who didn't quite know about everything that was going on at certain times back then was me! 

Fortunately all of the doctors that we saw back then and even my parents to a certain degree were very patient and understanding with me in helping to provide some much needed guidance and reassurance for me. 

Unfortunately though there was a point during that time in the hospital where the doctors and nurses told us that they weren't really equipped and prepared to help me deal with whatever mental health issues I was going through at the time and they let my parents take me home once we knew what the actual problem was.

Dad: The normal emergency room (at Arcadia Methodist Hospital…one of the best in the area) was not equipped to deal with mental health issues. All they could do was give Tim some Valium and observe. We called an emergency team from the county’s mental health system (because it was a weekend and most facilities were closed), who would come over and evaluate Tim to see if he needed to be admitted to a facility for help. That team is overwhelmed with calls and it took them about 36 hours to show up…at around 2 in the morning.

(In Los Angeles County, we call (800)854-7771 - there are also mental health urgent care centers that you can go to on a walk in basis, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Urgent Care Centers)

The good news is though that not too long after that my primary doctor was able to refer me to a sleep specialist to see what they could do to help me sleep better at night.

Dad: Once we figured out the sleep issue and got Tim some over-the-counter sleeping pills, and he got a good night sleep, the worst symptoms started to dissipate.

While the sleep specialist was eventually able to help my family and I resolve my overall sleeping issues that were caused by sleep apnea with the help of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, we also had to find a psychologist or therapist for me to help me with the mental health issues that came about as a result of my many sleepless nights. That part of my 3-year mental health journey will be the focus of part 2 next time on Cerebral Palsy Stories.

Don't wait, if you don't feel right, get help with your mental health issues today. In the U.S.A., contact your local county health department to find mental health resources near you or visit MentalHealth.gov for more information.

Tim Musick.
Copyright 2018.
All Rights Reserved.