My Amazing Fiancé: Julia Baxter

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My lovely Julia!

 

In honor of Women’s History Month, I would like to blog about some of the very special and incredible ladies in my life. They inspire me, guide me, get me through the rough times and most incredibly of all, put up with me and all the nonsense that comes with that!

For this first post, I will focus on my fiancé, Julia Baxter. What an incredible stroke of luck it was to have met her! Those of you who have followed my blog from the beginning know my story. I was thoroughly convinced no woman would ever want to be involved with me. The rest of my life would be spent in solitude. I was too unattractive, too neurotic. Guys like me only get the girl in the movies. Turns out, I was wrong.

Sometimes, it does happen in real life. The funny, anxiety ridden artist can end up with a wonderful lady. (One of the first things I noticed when I saw a photo of Julia, was her resemblance to Diane Keaton. Maybe that had something to do with it.) I decided to take a shot at a dating site. Yes, there are all kinds of crazies out there. I interacted with a few. Went on a couple of dates, none of which worked out. Then, I clicked on one of the site’s suggestions, you know, here’s someone you might like. I was intrigued.

The story gets interesting here. Julia had no photos on her profile. But it was well written, funny and sincere and she seemed like the type of woman I am attracted to. Neurotic and complex! Unbeknownst to me, Julia listed herself as living in a different part of the State of New York, which put her geographically close enough to where I was living in Connecticut at the time. Quite fortunate as it is unlikely our paths would have ever crossed otherwise.

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Summer fun in Cooperstown.

 

Julia, as it turns out, was on a very bad date that day. She came home lamenting the inability to find a smart, funny guy. Logging on to the dating site she saw that she had been visited by a guy whose profile title was, “Smart, Funny”. The rest, as they say is history! We dated for two years and I requested her hand, and the rest of her beautiful self, in marriage on a horse carriage in Central Park. We are happily engaged and enjoying our lives together.

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She said yes!

 

Julia is an absolutely remarkable person. She works at SUNY Oneonta, placing student teachers and teaching education classes. She also teaches Sunday school and does counseling and is a Reiki master! Acting in community theater musicals, planning vacations and always ready to help family and friends. I get tired just thinking about everything she does. She a terrific mother, sister, friend and truly, the love of my life. She supports and inspires me. I would not be accomplishing the things that I have been lately, were it not for her.

As an empath, Julia reads me like a book, always knowing what I need, whether that be a pat on the back or a kick in the ass. (It’s generally the latter.) Therapy and medication certainly were the major factors in helping me deal with my depression and anxiety issues, but Julia has also been vital in that regard. She understands because she has the same issues! What a perfect match!

We enjoy our life, cars parked together in the driveway, shoes side by side on the porch, my Zoloft next to her Prozac in the medicine cabinet. A match made in the DSM. I love you, Honey. I don’t know how I ever survived without you, but I’m so glad I don’t face that now.

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I’m Crazy about Mental Health

Despite the tongue-in-cheek title, this is a serious subject about which I care deeply. Sadly, there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues which prevents many people from seeking the help that is available. The world is not an easy place to navigate and there are very few individuals who could not benefit from some type of therapy and/or medication.

I know this first hand. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I suffer with dysthymia, a mild form of depression. I have had to deal with it since childhood, although it was not correctly diagnosed until about ten years ago.

Although mild, dysthymia is debilitating. It’s often connected to social anxiety, as it is in my case and causes a lack of enthusiasm and anhedonia, an inability to experience pleasure. When I’m in the throes of it, I have no ambition and become lackadaisical. Accomplishing any task becomes extremely difficult. Because it so mild, it very often goes unnoticed and can last for months or even years.

zoloft

I am happy to say that it can be controlled. I spent about ten years in therapy with an excellent counselor and I’ve been taking Zoloft (pictured above) for about three years. I have an occasional downturn, but not nearly as frequently or as drastically as in the past.

I am now able to be the best version of myself. I’m more productive in my chosen craft of filmmaking and in all other aspects of my life. I can recognize the onset of a bout of depression and curtail it before it sets in.

The point of this post is: if you have any type of problem with depression, anxiety, phobias, any type of mental illness, don’t be ashamed of it. It’s your brain chemistry, not who you are as a person. Diabetics take insulin, people take pills for their hearts. The help is out there and if you need it, seek it. Be proud that you are dealing with a problem that is not of your making. Be your best self. Live the life you want. I did it. You can too.

Since I am a filmmaker, I will throw in a bit of trivia. I used the obscure word, “anhedonia”. This was the original title of the film, “Annie Hall”. United Artists insisted on a title change because of the fact that very few people are familiar with the word. They tried ads that included a definition, but who wants to get a vocabulary lesson in an advertisement?