I’ve gotta admit, I’m not even a huge fan of @DadBoner. Just not for me, I guess. But he NAILS the crippling anxiety of the Scaries in his Gawker interview. Just nails it.
Mike: COMPLETELY out of control? No. Excessive? Yes. I’m not an alcoholic. Wait, that’s what alcoholics say. But I’ve never NEEDED to drink. Problem is, I don’t get stomach-sick from booze while I drink, or in the morning. I don’t get headaches from it, either. I don’t get “hung over.” If I was partying, the only time I’d physically need to stop drinking is when I’d go to sleep. My aftereffects from booze all came from crippling anxiety—which is a thousand times worse—but that’s a whole other article.
I’ve never really needed rehab or AA. I have, however, needed to “get my shit together.” That comes with being a comedian who drinks. There are times when you have to “get your shit together,” or you might not ever have the chance to. I’m no longer the maniac drinker I once was, nor will I ever be one again. For example, on the Fourth of July, I had maybe 6 drinks and ate a bunch of mushrooms and smoked some weed. Responsibly. This is instead of having 30 to 50 drinks from 10 a.m.-3 a.m., alongside mushrooms, weed, Adderall, Molly, waking up on someone’s floor in Venice wrapped in egg-crate foam, finding any full beers that drunks opened and forgot to drink, pounding those, then going on a bender for three more days. I’m much happier.
Drew: I have to follow up and ask about your crippling anxiety. What is it? Why is there? How does it manifest itself?
Mike: It’s hard to describe well to someone who hasn’t had anxiety issues. But if you do have anxiety issues, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The closest I’ve gotten is: You know, in Seven, when Brad Pitt screams, “What’s in the box?!” Well, it feels like that, except there’s no box at all, and Gwyneth Paltrow isn’t decapitated. You just feel hyper-aware of everything going on in your body, and like you’re going to die. Like, you really believe you’re going to die. No matter what anyone tells you, you’re pretty sure death will come in the next hour or so. Then you can’t sleep. And it gets worse as you get more and more exhausted, trying to find that perfect balance of Bud Light and water that’ll put you to sleep and hit your reset button on life. It can take days for that to happen, for the chemicals in your brain to even out, so you just feel normal. As I get older, that takes longer and longer. So now, I don’t hit it as hard. But if you had seen me in public, you never would have known. I had learned to control it—physically, at least.
Some people’s brains just have chemical imbalances that make them depressed, manic, or anxious. When I was younger, I went through a period when it was much worse and took Zoloft, Ativan, etc. Those drugs turned me into a robot, and it was very difficult to be creative or productive on them. Most creative activity—music, writing, stand-up comedy—stems from periods of happiness or sadness, not feeling “even.”
I weaned myself off those drugs with beer. Now I’m weaning off alcohol with healthy shit like exercise and prayer. Yeah, I fuckin’ pray. It’s not to a god or anything. And if there is a God, one I don’t believe in—or do I? Fuck it. I believe in God now. It’s not hurting anything—then I’m still ahead of the rest of you. Have fun in hell, assholes. I guess some people call it meditation. I’m a non-practicing Catholic, so I call it “praying to myself.” Is “praying” still cool? Man, I remember when all the babes just creamed for a big-time prayer guy. Fuck, am I gonna come off as “churchy” now? Look, guys, I’m still cool! (pounds fifth of Maker’s while tuggin’ one off)