Too Critical!

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**Please do not be angry with the following statement”

If I was a believer in the Zodiac signs I would fall into line about the first trait listed. That is Virgos are ‘critical thinkers’.  That is my one big hurdle, I tend to be very critical of myself.

When my grandfather passed away I took up being the pianist for my home church.  It was on the job training.  My mother told me years later that I have tell sign when I am frustrated, I would scratch the top of my head in an odd way.

As a teenager I would attend tent meetings of an evangelist that would come to our city every year.  He had a team of singers and great musicians.  I would often go home and laying on my bed would pray that God would allow me to travel like that with an evangelist.

Well one thing led to the other.  I would practice for hour upon hour at my piano that was given to me.  If I had any hope of my prayer coming true I would have to be perfect.  In 1980 my prayer was answered when an evangelist asked me to join his team to be an organist for his crusades.  I travelled with him across the length and breadth of North America.  During that time I would ask the other members how I did.

Being critical is a trait of mine even at fifty-seven years old.  I want things done just a certain way.  When they seem to go off the rails I start being critical that I can’t do it right.

I not sure if that is one of my triggers, but, I have to think it probably is.

There are other examples that I could write about where I am just too critical of myself!

 

Prison, Welcome To My Life

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No, I am not in a prison with bars or stripes on my clothes.  Somehow though I truly feel it wouldn’t be any worse.

Every day is scheduled around my medications.  They dictate my life from morning to sunset.

I have a feeling I am not the only one who feels this way.  So, it is a safe guess that I am not alone in this.

  • Morning – put the coffee maker on.  Start my meds, Warfarin is first, then onto the rest of them.  I do not know anymore all the names of them for there are many.
  • Visit for some time with my best friend.
  • Pour a bowl of cereal for breakfast.  Take Naproxen.
  • Watch t.v. – more than likely fall asleep while watching.
  • Depending on whether or not if I have a doctor’s appointment.  Maybe, I may have to go for blood work, comes with the fact I take Warfarin to prevent blod clots.
  • Now time for supper, eat, and again take Naproxen.
  • Visit again with best friend.
  • Watch more t.v. – spend time with my dog, Natalie
  • Start taking my night meds.
  • Go to bed.

Next morning repeat the same as the day before.

Oh, by the way, I do find time to read all of the blog posts I follow.  Even send some emails.

There you have it, welcome to my life, prison!

Listen, Just Listen

Please do not judge what this post is about.  Continue reading it may be just what someone close to you needs.

When I am going through a difficult time, I may not want you to give me answers when all I want is a sympathetic ear.

When I am crying just wrap an arm around me and pass me a tissue to wipe my eyes.

When I am venting don’t tell me to calm down.  Just let me get everything that has pent up in me, out.

When I am silent do not keep asking me ‘what’s wrong’.  Leave me be quiet and I will be alright.  Just be there!

So, please all I ask of you is, listen, just listen!

Control

Before I was in treatment, before the medications, I would find myself angry because things always seemed to be going against me. Things that there was just no way for me to control.

  • Others actions. I can control my reactions.
  • Weather.  Just dress appropriately.
  • Sudden thoughts.  I don’t have to act upon them
  • Things breaking down.  Have them fixed or buy a new one.
  • The mood of others.  I can have control my own mood.

Those are things we cannot control, when it seems like my world is out of control I do have it within my power to take back control over most things.  I do not have to be governed by situations but I can navigate them with my own control.

My world may seem to be upside down, it is in my grasp to turn it upside right!

Growing Pains

For the past couple of months I have been on a very steep learning curve.  Like most things that I jump into I go in blind.  When Windows was in it’s infancy, Windows 3.1 I decided I would learn it forward and backwards.  So, I did.  I crashed the system many, many, times.  I would start from scratch remembering not to do what I did wrong previously.

When I jumped into social media I jumped in with both feet not having any clue about how to speak to others.  Things like hashtags, I didn’t learn them for several years in.

Now it has been the same for this blog.  I started it as therapy, writing here and there without much consistency.  Knowing absolutely nothing about Categories and Tags which I am just mastering now.

My writing has taken shape as I have experimented with different styles trying to find what I am most comfortable with.

New Policy

I am having to set forth a guideline for my blog.  I enjoy reading all the different posts from all the variety of authors.  As I have followed some now for a little time it feels like I am learning who they are.  Found some from my own country of Canada. 

I am asking you the reader when making comments to keep them within the scope of the blog post.  It seems to flow much easier for others to follow.

Also, I am asking for you not to include links to other articles or blogs.  I show a list of the blogs that I am following for the reader’s benefit.  If there is an inline link I will not approve the comment.  It is time consuming to read the articles that the link sends me to before I can approve the comment.

So, be patient with me on my journey of learning what it takes to upkeep a blog!

Echoes In My Mind

I have mentioned before that my mind races, seldom shuts down, when it does it is medication that causes it to.

Sometimes my problem stems from too much down time, nightime is extremely bad.  It is when echoes from the past seem to bounce around in my brain.  I seem to remember events that even those who were there cannot remember.  My youngest memory is about when I was four years old.  It was to do with a toy truck I had, my sister placed it on the heat grate from the oil furnace and it melted.

These echoes are not grudges, I do not carry those around for they will keep you in a stalemate in life.  It is just things most humans would experience and never think about it again throughout their entire life.

Even as I write this, a popular pop song is going through my mind from my youth. “Summer breeze makes me feel fine blowing through the chasms in my mind”. Only those my age and older probably will now the song.  The artist that performed it evades my memory at the time of this writing.

So, this weekend was one of those where I had alot of down time, except for Sunday with a surprise visit from my daughter most of the afternoon and evening.

I wish I knew how to cancel the echoes in my mind!

Conflicted Still

I started this blog to approach many, so it seems, contradictions.  Things I believed but yet did not manifest in my life.

I was raised and believed that God heals, though most of my life suffered, in one way or the other, with pain.  I stood beside the bed of a Godly woman full of cancer.  Gave the eulogy at my own mother’s homecoming, died from complications of what started out to be the flu.

I always heard that a person who commits suicide cannot go to heaven.  My issue with that is many are suffering with mental health issues.  I can remember a great uncle was found under the exhaust of his’ car, committed suicide. Yet, I know that God is merciful.

This broken person admits freely that there are many questions that still go unanswered.  If you hear a preacher claim he has all the answers, I would suggest he is lying.

So I go from day to day conflicted still!

News Burnout!

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I have reached a crossroad, news burnout.  I usually follow the news for events that I can write commentary through the eyes of Biblical Prophecy.  I am burned out from hearing the same story over and over again, both in Canada and the United States.

Stories of hate, racism, overt politics, etc.,  I keep hoping that maybe, just maybe, someone will have a good news story.  I am old enough to remember Anne Murray singing a song about the world could use a little good news bad.  So, here I am trying to find more news sources other than the usual.  I am not burned out because I think that what I am hearing is fake, it’s just the constant drum beat of the never-ending drama going on in North America.

If you have a piece of good news I would ask that you share the link in the comment section.  

I certainly need some good news bad!

The Other Side Of Healthy

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It was early part of  the nineties where I found myself out of work living in a bachelor apartment where I just was totally burned out.

I was trying my level best to put on a brave face, inwardly though I was in total turmoil. Conflicted about the very things I had been taught within a Christian family, at least on my mother’s side.  My paternal grandmother was a died in the cloth Roman Catholic.

A friend I had allowed to get close to me was smothering me day and night.  I do not know what is to experience drowning, yet that is how I would describe my mental health.

It is funny, no one wakes up in the morning and places on their to-do list that they will allow depression to enter their life.  It sneaks up on you, probably for years.  Mornings when you just wake up in a bad mood, the sudden outbursts of anger without any just cause, causing hurt to family and friends.

Then one afternoon everything just boiled over.  In a moment of total anger at this friend I grabbed my prescription bottle of sleeping pills, went to the bathroom and downed the entire bottle which had basically been filled.

I woke up in the mental health ward the next morning.  My memories of it all were spotty at best.  Most of the details filled in from hospital staff and my friend.  I was told while in emergency they gave me a charcoal drink and was not combative like most are in the same situation.  So began over twenty-five years of battling depression, being dianosed as bi-polar.

That is the short version of the other side of healthy!

Procrastination My Constant Companion

You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.

— Benjamin Franklin

There is one thing I do best when I am depressed, procratinate.  It’s not that I am lazy, it’s just that I have no energy.  My energy is devoted to my depression.  It seems I just cannot help myself. Now do not mistake this for being a messy person, I try to keep up with the basic household chores, beyond them it is a big zero.

I am not sure if this is a common trait with people fighting a mental illness, but for this person it is.

During a depressed episode it even hurts to think about doing something.  So, projects that I may have started when in a high are left exactly where I left them.  They  stay like that the entire time of my depression.

Somehow I manage to find just enough energy to go to doctor’s appointments, and shopping for groceries.  Then I return home and find myself back in bed for I am totally exhausted.

My depressed state of mind feels like a loop. Procratination is my constant companion!

Friendship?

Pro 18:24 MSG
24  Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.

Lately I have replayed parts of my life in my mind.  It is funny how many little things that come to the forefront.

The one thing that stands out throughout my whole life is my friends.  I never had tons of friends, but rather, I would have one close friend. 

I am reminded of a saying “you can choose your friends but not your family”. My close friends became like family to me.  Sometimes I felt closer to my friends than I did with my own siblings.

This may sound strange coming from an individual who was a Pastor, Evangelist, and Gospel Singer and musician, I tend to be reclusive, I like my own company, it is a true effort to be outgoing.

I am sure if people were asked what is “friendship” the response would be vastly different for each person.  To me friendship is someone who knows the best and the worst of you and still shows you to be a true friend.  I have known my best friend for over twenty-five years.  It is a different type of friendship because it is more like a big brother and younger brother.  My best friend is exactly that to me, a big brother.

Maybe take some time and try to define what “friendship” truly means to you.

Just Add Water

I am not sure how this may sound, so I ask you to bear with me.

We all know the adage “you don’t miss the water till the well runs dry”.  It is amazing how we take for granted fresh water.  We go to our sink turn the tap and out comes water.  It is used for many different tasks in every household that has running water.  Drinks, showers, laundry, watering the lawn in the summer, plus other things.

Now to what I have been musing over in my mind.  I grew up watching The Jetsons and how they would just add water to a pill and have a full meal.  I sometimes think how easy life would be if we could just add water.

We till our lands, plant seed, and pray for enough water to bring a bountiful harvest come the fall.  I never paid attention to things like this until I moved into the heart of Western Canada.  Farmers need water, too little and no growth, too much and the harvest rots while still in the field.

If I could experience normalcy by just adding water it would be truly wonderful.  No more pills, mood swings, nights of sleeplessness -all could be taken care of by just adding water.

So, there you have it my minds activity on what I have been thinking.

If we could solve all our issues, just add water!

In Case Of Emergency!

About fourteen years ago I was a total wreck, suffering with extreme back pain.  It controlled everything I did.  My doctor at that time had me on Oxycontin it’s strongest dose allowed/recommended.  That turned into a nightmare for me and my best friend.  As I have written before he would come over to check on me and find me in the strangest places.  I woke up each morning looking in the kitchen sink trying to determine what I had eaten the day before.

I finally reached a point where I voiced to my doctor and psychiatrist that I wanted to be weaned off of all my pain medications.  During this time I had also used Fentanyl.  Well I had a choice stay at home or voluntarily admit myself during this process.

It was nearing the time of me being discharged.  My psychiatrist wanted an apointment with my best friend and me to have a plan in place once I left the mental health ward. The plan was I would no longer control my meds, instead my best friend would manage all of them.  That is still in place even now in 2019.

Several years later I was having difficulties with mobility.  Several times falling in my home and having to crawl to the phone to call my best friend.  There were also times I needed help just getting out of bed. I have always had a phone by my bed, at the time I could not see the dial pad in the dark.  To remedy this I went shopping – I wanted a phone that lit up in the dark, large buttons, and one with a button that I could push that would dial my best friend.  I found one, bought it, and have it by my bed.

Those two plans were part of “in case of emergency” times.

I encourage you the reader if you do not have a “in case of emergency” plan to put one in place.

Be prepared, in case of emergency!

Adrenaline!

It’s been about a month since I have discovered a whole new world, the world of WordPress.  I cannot believe how vast and deep it goes.  A world that is able to share back and forth on personal trials, personal victories.  So much rich knowledge to drill down on from a wide varying writers.

I am not sure when I started my blog, which for the most part was my voice on all things spiritual.  I was hit and miss with my writings maybe I would write on average about twice a month.  

I do not have anyone to teach me the in’s and out’s of blogging, so the learning curve has been almost extreme.  Learning how to use categories and tags, finding a writing style that was unique to me.  I have never tried to write fiction, could be I was not very capable of writing such pieces during my high school year.  I write on things that I know, lately it has been about my personal struggle as bi-polar.

Things feel different when it comes to blogging, it is the one thing I think of when I wake up in the morning.  I cannot wait to read the new blog pieces that I have followed.  There is a new sense of excitement within the depths of my being.

Maybe, it is a rush of adrenaline!

Big Boys Don’t Cry?

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I am part of the baby boomers.  Growing up was a different age when it came to men dealing with their emotions.  Men did not show any tenderness, anger was the only emotion that was displayed.  It was the age of westerns, cops and robbers, if you fell and hurt yourself you often would hear “suck it up and take it like a man”.  God forbid if you cried, if you did you were more than likely called a sissy. Among many you would also hear the phrase “keep a stiff upper lip”.

I am not sure that we have moved passed that era, I sometimes see signs that gives me hope that men are more comfortable showing their tender moments openly.  So, could it be that maybe men are not reporting when they are having a breakdown in their mental health.  It just might be that they are suffering in silence, they do not want to be thought of as weak.

For me it was my first time in treatment that I reconciled within myself to be comfortable with my emotions other than just when I was angry.

I cannot recall ever hearing my dad say to myself or my siblings that he loved us.  However, I do recall many times when he would erupt in anger.  

If you are a man reading this let me say one thing, “Big boys can cry!”

Broken, But Usable

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Today we live in a disposable world.  If something breaks we throw it in the trash, do not repair because buying new is cheaper

With most illnesses we respond with some type of therapy, operation, but, never do we throw them away.  It is my opinion that is not so with those suffering some form of mental illness.  One such mental illness that comes to mind is PTSD.  Many coming back from a tour of duty start to show signs of this within weeks, months.  Getting help seems to come slowly for those needing it.

For me when I first started showing symptons I had to leave the ministry.  At that time I was burned out and also to get away from some who tried to pin me down.  I started to feel useless, functioning in routine but felt like I was unattached in my mind.

Beginning around 2005 after several times in treatment I started my to-do list. Here is some of the things included.

  • Prioritize my goals, those that were basically pipe dreams to ones that were attainable.
  • Weed out relationships that were broken. Those were the ones that I always felt worse after being around them or talking with them on the phone.
  • Decided that I could not afford the luxury of worrying what people thought of me.

It took awhile before I started to notice a change within myself.  Eventually I found a new stride leaving me with a sense of usefullness. 

I was broken but still useable!

Mole Hills, Mountains

 

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When I was young sometimes we would go crying to our mother and her favorite statement when she believed we were making too much of a situation ‘your making a mountain out of a mole hill”.  Ninety-nine percent of the time she was right.

Sometimes even now I have to be careful not to be doing that exact same thing.  I find myself doing it when I have had tests waiting for the results.  My mind likes to take trips on all sort of outcomes.

Just recently I was scheduled for cortisone shots in my back.  While waiting for that appointment I went through a myriad of situations on whether or not it would be painful. Reality proved different, I barely felt a thing.  So, I was making a mountain out of a mole hill.

As I move forward I am going to try to limit those mountain making in my mind from such small things like mole hills.

Pamper Yourself!

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Sometimes I find myself consumed with my problems that I tend to forget that there is more to life than what ails me.  It takes all of my mental strength to push my problems to the back burner and just pamper myself.  My favorite thing is Cookies & Cream Ice Cream.

Here are some things you may want to try.

  • Go to a movie or a play
  • Order in or go have your favorite meal
  • Invite your friends in for an all out celebration.  Use moderation!
  • Relax at your local spa
  • Ladies have a manicure, have your hair styled

These are just a few that comes to mind, maybe you have your own.  The point is, take some time to enjoy life and all that is around you.  Take your focus off your challenges!  

Go ahead, pamper yourself.  You deserve it!

Movie Songs For Depression

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Photo by Lucas Pezeta on Pexels.com

I have always related to music, mostly Gospel, here are three songs that seem to help me when I am fighting depression, songs from the big screen.

1.  For when you are feeling hopeless, from the movie Annie(circa 1982), “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow”

2.  For the times when you have been hurt, “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen”

3.  When depression has lifted.  Gene Kelly, 1952, “Singing In The Rain

Maybe take some time and give listen to those above, or, you may have your own go to songs that you play when feeling blue, over whelmed, or on a manic high.

To borrow a quote “Music has charms to soothe the savage breast”

So, I recommend brew a cup of tea, start the music, sit back and enter relaxation.

One Size Dosen’t Fit All

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

In my discovery of a whole new world, was all of the different authors writing about mental health issues.

I also have written about my journey with my own mental health issues of being a bi-polar person.  Writing about such issues as journaling, diet, medications, and stays within the mental health wing of the local hospital.

Here is what I found with all my reading.  Just as each person is unique, so is the treatment for each.  All are tailor made for each individual.  Yet, there are some common things within each treatment of the issues.

So, even though I have read all of the wonderful people dealing with their own challenges – I must use discretion on trying to fit others treatments in my own handling of being bi-polar.

One size does not fit all!

Unplugged!

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It has been a couple of days since I sat down and wrote anything.  I just needed to replenish my inner being.  For the longest time now I have practised not watching news channels on the weekend.  I had already pulled the plug on other social platforms.  Now I am trying to unplug, or at least cut down on my television viewing.  It is a habit that has really taken control since I was limited on any physical motions.

Saturday was great less t.v. and more blog reading which was fantastic.  Sunday the phone rings, it is my daughter calling saying she and the grandchildren were on their way to pay a visit.  I always look forward to their visits.  So, their visit helped boister my ambition to curb the tube watching.

Their orginal visit was to be on Father’s Day but due to one of the kids being sick it was put off for a later time.  Well, I was totally surprised when I was handed a box which contained a picture of the grandchildren on a canvas backing.  I was also given a CD of a singer I enjoy because of his music reminds of some of the greats like Sinatra.  So, yesterday, Monday I put it in the CD player, sat back and played Mahjong and totally went to a relaxing time.  It set in motion my mood for the rest of the day.

I just came in from going for a longer walk with my best friend and my dog. Oh, how it felt so great to spend some time in the fresh summer air with the warm sun hitting my face.

I would invite you to try and unplug from all the outside influence from television to social media.  Take time to enjoy family, friends, and the great outdoors.  It will do your inner man a world of good.