Here We Go Again, aaarrrggghhh!

“The challenge is, the end isn’t coming soon. But it’s coming, and what we need to do is try to have as few [COVID-19] cases as possible between now and the time a vaccine arrives.” CBC, Oct 24, 2020


I started to write this post several days ago, well, at least in my mind. Yet, when I thought I had it together I would sit down at my laptop and the words didn’t seem as great as what was in my thoughts. So, scrub them and hit the trash.

Earlier this week the news started looking grim. I thought to myself, “here we go again”. The number of positive cases of covid-19 started ticking upwards across Canada, America, and around the world.

Once again like earlier this year shutdowns began to take place. In and around Saskatoon, Saskatchewan the Health Minister began ordering the shutdown of bars and clubs.

My mind then turned towards south of the Canadian border. People losing more jobs, rents/mortgages coming due, and no relief coming from big brother. I think about the children once again as schools have been forced to close once more. Schools for many children is the only source to a hot meal.


In America alone the number of deaths are climbing towards five hundred thousands. I thought about the Spanish flu pandemic, about the number of dead reaching 50,000,000 (Source: CDC).

In just one decade later the world would experience the greatest depression lasting four years until 1933. It began in 1929 after the crash on Wall Street. People lost their jobs, their homes, businessmen committing suicide, and long lines outside soup kitchens.

Psychological Impact Of The Great Depression

Historian Harvey Green argues that domestic violence and child abuse increased during the Depression. Family disputes over finances, food, and other basic necessities caused tensions to increase. Men and boys often simply fled the home out of embarrassment, frustration, or the inability to cope with the new economic reality. Thousands of people, young and old, became traveling hobos, riding the rails in search of work or some form of relief.


This is a great challenge for everyone’s mental health. If history is our teacher, this writer believes it is, the number will rise in police calls of heated arguments, abuse spousal and child. I know here in my own city there is already one soup kitchen. With the onset of winter there is a greater demand for homeless shelters. The Salvation Army will probably see an increase of requests for a Christmas hamper. In previous years churches would put together a Christmas dinner for all those who were alone. This year may see a challenge how they can serve the people in the city.

I normally do not write such a long post, but, these thoughts having been weighing on my mind.

So dear reader, it looks like “here we go again”!

Choices, Which Way Turn Right?


“Every test in our life makes us bitter or better, every problem comes to break us or make us. The choice is ours whether we become victim or victor.” Anonymous


For as long as I can remember I have always made choices in haste. The results on the better part of the percentage was that it was the choice. Those wrong choices caused me to spend unnecessary time and effort working to correct them.

Try as I might I have leaned towards the pessimistic side of every equation. I could blame it on my upbringing, maybe low self-esteem, but it was a matter that being a pessimist looked to be easier, the safest bet to make. The other side being a optimist looked like it would need hard work if I chose going in that direction. I can look back and say was I wanted the easy way out.

I have been asking the question lately, could it be a part of fighting as a bi-polar mindset. Here is some of the research I found:


Pessimism

When to be concerned: With depressive pessimism, the negativity a person experiences is exaggerated compared to the reality of the situation. In fact, pessimistic thinking often precedes any specific event. A person may simply think: It’s going to be another bad day.

The negative viewpoint may not be limited to a person’s external perception of the world; it can also be turned inward onto themselves. Someone who is depressed might think thoughts like, No one likes me.

This negativity may also pervade a person’s self-concept or sense of their abilities. For instance, they may look at a Help Wanted ad and think: There’s no point in applying for that job—I would never get it.

When someone is depressed their perspective on how the world is, as well as who they are, is impaired by negative, often critical, patterns of thought. They may not be able to see (let alone feel) that they have good things in life to look forward to, that people who know them like and care about them, and that they are a capable person who has much to offer.”

https://www.verywellmind.com/difficult-moods-in-bipolar-depression-379838

It looks like I am not alone in my thinking about pessimism and bipolar are linked together. Now, not everyone who is pessimistic is bipolar. That diagnosis is for a clinician to decide.

I am writing this post for it was a subject I wanted to explore. I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, I will leave it at this.

So dear reader what are your thoughts about this issue?

Oh What Relief!

 “Since chronic pain frequently cannot be seen or measured, unlike acute pain, doctors, colleagues, friends, or family may question or doubt your pain. In effect, it doesn’t matter if anyone believes you, but it is extremely important for you to acknowledge that all pain is real.”—Pain Recovery: How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain 

Over time I have mentioned the pain in my hip. On October 19,20 I went to have an MRI exam. Today the doctor told me the results. My hip is totally wrecked, thinking that the hip at some time stopped receiving blood to it.

Oh What A Relief It is!

Yes, I did say, “what a relief it is”. I have been living with all types of fear of what might be wrong. Lately I thought it could be cancer due to the fact that this year I had two relatives die because of that wicked disease.

There was the other thought, people may think I am faking it to draw attention to myself. I heard that when it came to dealing with mental illness, so it would not have surprised me if they were saying that.

Next came the guilt. The guilt of not being able to walk my dog, make my own meals, do some housework chores, and not able to go shopping. These thoughts of guilt plagued me day and night. I was becoming my own worse enemy with beating myself up.

Now comes the referral to an orthopedic surgeon. I have seen him before because of a fracture in my knee, so, there is no problem of dealing with him. It will be the waiting that will frustrate me. This province has a severe problem with waiting lists and times. I now look forward to the plan he will present to solve this hip problem. More than likely it will be replaced. Whatever it has to be I am at peace with it.

So dear reader, for most people hearing a report about a damaged hip would think that is bad news. For this guy hearing what the problem is, finally knowing what is causing the extreme pain. Yes, for me, oh what a relief it is!

Books I’ve Read During the Pandemic of 2020

When the shutdown started back in the early spring I decided to make good use of the time during the shutdown with the pandemic. The following are the books that I have read or I am currently reading now.

To get more information about the book click on the Author’s Name. The link will take you to Amazon.ca. For those reading in other countries change the setting to your country.




Title


Author


Published
On Tyranny; Twenty Lessons from the
Twentieth Century
Timothy Snyder2020
The Elements of Style(Classic Edition)William Strunk Jr.2017
[Originally Published 1918
A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of AmericaPhilip Rucker & Carol Leoning2020
Disloyal; A Memoir, “The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney Donald J Trump”Michael Cohen2020
The Room Where It Happened; A White House MemoirJohn Bolton, Former Security Advisor of the United States2020
Too Much and Never Enough; How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous ManMary Trump2020
Currently Reading: RageBob Woodward2020
   

A Re-Blog: Keifer Sutherland’s Grandpa, Universal Health Care and the US Election — Mind You

By Marvin Ross

October 20 is the birthday (born 1904) of Keifer’s grandpa, Tommy Douglas. Tommy was a Baptist preacher who became a social democratic politician (something modern day Baptist preachers in the US would likely never do). Douglas is responsible for introducing universal health care, first in Saskatchewan in 1962, and then to the […]

Keifer Sutherland’s Grandpa, Universal Health Care and the US Election — Mind You

Sometimes You Just Have To…

“Nothing is more exhausting than the task that’s never started.”
― Gretchen Rubin, Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to Make More Room for Happiness


While growing up my mother expected us, myself and four siblings, to do chores. The first chore that was assigned to us was to make our bed before leaving for school. As we grew older there were other things for us to do. I was responsible for the yard, cutting, raking, and shoveling. My sister when they were old enough to handle the stove were to start dinner so that our mother would finish up when she arrived home from work. When I entered high school I learned how to wash my clothes.

There were many times that I would grumble, out of the range of my parents hearing, why isn’t someone else helping with these things. I look back on those times and to be truthful, I am thankful for learning those tasks. I know how to keep a house, washing clothes, cooking, and yes, baking. I learned to bake from my grandmother.

Striving to achieve great mental health there are things that I have learned that sometimes I just have to do them.

Here is a list:

  • eat properly
  • keep a hygiene regiment
  • limit the intake of negativity. This includes, television, some negative people, family and friends.
  • take time to enjoy a hobby, reading, writing, or a craft
  • make sure to take all medications at the proper time

For the last several moths I have been returning to reading, not e-books, but, actual hard cover. I forgot the joy there is in reading printed on paper, joy of turning the page manually.

So, dear reader, sometimes you just have to do it!

Some Random Thoughts

You may have noticed that my posts have been intermittent. First when I don’t have a subject I do not write. Also, I have been doing quite a bit of reading. The list of books I have read mostly deal with one subject matter, the man in the White House. I have gone back to hard cover rather than E-Books. There is something about actually feeling the pages when you turn them.

It has also been difficult for me to write at times because of pain generating from my hip. I can only sit at the lap top for a limited time. My medications at supper time usually means that I do not post much after about six at night.

I went to receive a flu shot. The pharmacist said they are expecting a high turn out for it. She also mentioned that this winter presents a troublesome worry, will people be able to distinguish between the flu and Covid-19. This could overwhelm the ERs in some cities.

Some provinces are returning to shut downs because of the numbers are on the rise with positive infections. I believed that lifting some restrictions was premature. I understand that people want to get back to their lives the way it was before the pandemic. Here in Saskatchewan there are reports of Covid-19 appearing in the school system. This leaves me with great concern about my grandchildren, but, in all children in general.

So dear reader these are just some random thoughts about what has been occupying my mind lately.

Suicide Myths, Selfishness

“Did you really want to die?”
“No one commits suicide because they want to die.”
“Then why do they do it?”
“Because they want to stop the pain.”
― Tiffanie DeBartolo, How to Kill a Rock Star


***Warning, could cause triggers! This post has taken the better part of three days to write. I had to stop many times because of how certain emotions came to the top.***


Mention the subject of “suicide” and the room grows quiet. I really do not understand why, could it be that it is part of “death” that makes people uncomfortable. Or maybe they just do not know how to approach it without sounding ill-informed.

I cannot tell you how old I was, I guess enough to understand what people were talking about in very hush tones. It was about a great uncle who had died. I gathered enough of the conversation to understand that he committed suicide. It was years before I was told how it happened. He was found in the garage, doors closed, car running, he was laying under the exhaust pipe of the car.

When I abruptly ran into my bathroom with a bottle of sleeping pills, I turned on the tap, placed the whole bottle of pills in my mouth and drank some water. I really cannot tell you what all happened after that, except I woke up in the hospital, placed in the mental health ward.

This attempt was not pre-meditated, the only way I can describe the moment was that something inside me snapped. All sanely thought left my mind. I had no thought about what would my family and friends would think. All I knew was I just wanted this battle of hell that was raging with my emotions to stop, for the screaming to stop! Just to have some silent time! Thoughts of an after life were far from my thoughts, maybe I had reached the point where I just didn’t care one way or the other.


I wrote that part of my life for a purpose, to show that people don’t always experience suicide ideation. Mine, it seemed like it. came on me without warning. Now maybe in my subconscious the thought of suicide was brewing. I really just don’t know!


Myths About Suicide

Throughout the rest of the year I would like to explore the myths about the subject of suicide.

People Who Attempt or Commit Suicide Are Selfish

Here is my answer to that myth. When I attempted suicide it was not out of selfishness, but, rather it was that I just wanted the breath taking pain to stop. I was an emotional train wreck. At that time I did not know that there were avenues that I could access to get help.

Thoughts about my family and friends that I would put them through a hellish nightmare. They would have been wondering if there was any signs about the emotional state I was in. Leaving them to question if they were failures for not seeing those signs.

So, dear reader that those who attempt or succeed in the act of suicide is selfish is just a big myth!

It Couldn’t Get Any Worse, Can It?

“I don’t believe that this infection really is being transmitted in waves. It’s more like a coronavirus forest fire where in fact, it just burns, burns and burns. But then as soon as you let up the break, then it all comes back again.”CBS News, Oct 13, 2020


As I listened to the Global National News here in Canada they reported on different provinces once again shutting down certain businesses. Here in my province a popular night club was closed due to the amount of people testing positive traced back to the club.

I went for my MRI Monday night, which I thought was strange they were doing them in the evening. They have added a second shift just to catch up from the shutdowns. I asked the technician if people are worried about going for exams. Her reply was, “everyone”. On may way I couldn’t help notice the markers on the floor with arrows to enter and those to follow to exit.

When they called to book the appointment it’s terrible to think this thought, but, my first thought was, it is because the Premier is seeking another term. I may be wrong, but, long before the virus hit us like a hammer I went for a different MRI back in the fall of 2019, I had waited nine months for it. While talking I asked why can’t there be more shifts to serve more people. Their reply was “if they give the hospitals more money”! So, what changed between then and now, simple, election.

As I hear about the new infection rate going up, places once again being shut down, workers being put on furlough. Leaders openly mocking the scientists about them telling people should be wearing masks, also adhering to physical distancing. People have been raised to believe in the science, then their leaders, but now are wondering who to believe, what to believe. Images of rallies, people in bars, swimmers in Florida and California jammed together shoulder to shoulder.

The number of cases here in Canada now has reached two hundred thousand, while the States total number of cases surpasses eight million, and nearly a quarter of a million have died in that country.

So dear reader, it couldn’t get any worse, can it?

Re-blog of My Code Of Honor

We should live, act, and say nothing to the injury of anyone. It is not only best as a matter of principle, but it is the path to peace and honor. Robert E. Lee
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/honor-quotes

***There have been many new readers since I first wrote this post. So, I decided to re-blog it.***


An article that Vee at https://millenniallifecrisis.org/2020/01/07/responding-to-weird-mean-comments-and-dms-and-emails/ gave me some inspiration for this blog post.

(clarification: It was the way people treated Vee that caused me to write this post)

My Code Of Honor

  • Treat everyone I interact with with Respect
  • When responding to a comment etc., treat them in a Dignified manner
  • Always try to Understand their point of view
  • When necessary use Sympathy and Empathy

I feel that the above list is a comprehensive way that I should act with all who visit, comment, follow, on this blog.

I Think I Can…Repeat…Repeat

“Want a reliable road to emotional and spiritual suicide? Spend your life trying to fit in.”
― Brandon Mull

For all my life I really felt that I didn’t fit in. I couldn’t hang out with the jocks, my body was too thin, no muscular definition. I really felt uncomfortable around the egg heads. Don’t get me wrong, I was smart enough, had good grades in most subjects, but somehow I just didn’t think I was brainy.

My grade eight teacher didn’t help how I looked at myself when he showed up at the door while we were eating dinner. He wanted my mother to hold me back a year for he thought I was too small to enter high school. My mother declined the idea so come fall I registered for grade nine at the school of my choosing.

During high school I basically kept to myself, well not really, during lunch breaks you could find me sitting at a table with other guys playing cards, Euchre was the favorite game. When it came time in the day for gym I was very self-conscience in the change room, I just wanted to melt into the walls, change my clothes and make an exit as fast as possible.

After the school day I would make my way home, drop my books, change clothes, then head out the door, either to baby sit my cousins, or dropping of a paper called “Penny Saver”. If it was summer I would have some type of part time work. Also, I had around the neighborhood where I would take care of their lawns.

Even to this day I have bouts where I feel inferior. I don’t socialize much with anybody, basically a home body. It’s not that I don’t like being with people, but, I find myself struggling to think of something to talk about other than the niceties of, “how are you”, that small talk.

It’s has been that all this week, feeling awkward searching for words, with my thoughts being disjointed leaving me feeling frustrated.

So dear reader my motto for this upcoming week is, “I think I can, I think I can…repeat”!

A Re-blog: Anxiety: Stop Negative Thoughts — Readers choices

I found this post written by Dr Kalpana Mishra. Give it a read, I hope you will click the “like” on her post.


Anxiety: Stop Negative Thoughts Anxiety is having too much fear and worry. Some people have what’s called generalized anxiety disorder. They feel worried and stressed about many things. Often they worry about even small things. Some people also may have panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden feeling of extreme anxiety. People who have social anxiety […]

Anxiety: Stop Negative Thoughts — Readers choices

S.A.D.

 “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” –Robert Louis Stevenson


I am going to be honest in that I am not familiar with S.A.D.{Seasonal Affective Disorder}. However, it is my understanding that it usually will show it’s head in seasons like winter. With the onset of winter coming I thought about this when I woke up this morning.


Here is how The Mayo Clinic speaks about S.A.D.:

Overview

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.

Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), medications and psychotherapy.

Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.


So dear reader I truly hope that this helps your understanding about S.A.D.{Seasonal Affective Disorder. There are plenty of sites that can give you a deeper understanding of this disorder.

A Re-Blog: Mental Illness in the Third World – More Refutation of Anti-Psychiatry — Mind You

The images in this post will shock you! I couldn’t believe the horrific way people with mental illness were treated!


By Marvin Ross A recent BBC report describes the horrific conditions for those living with serious mental illness in Nigeria. The article begins with “Some adults, said to be mentally ill, were found with iron chains around their ankles, and forced to eat, sleep and defecate within the same confined place. In one case, a […]

Mental Illness in the Third World – More Refutation of Anti-Psychiatry — Mind You

The Perfect Blog Post?

Don’t try to plan everything out to the very last detail. I’m a big believer in just getting it out there: create a minimal viable product or website, launch it, and get feedback. ~Neil Patel

I have to admit that sometimes I am envious of others blog posts. They way they are organized, for others how they have a theme for every day. Then they are those who can rant that leaves you feeling their anger.

Every once in awhile I get to thinking how I could change my blog, maybe give it some spice, but that just wouldn’t be me. My style is the result of many years, yet there are those times I feel like I am in a rut.

There must be something that is working within my blog posts, something that I am not grasping. There are those posts where when finished I think I have nailed it only to receive minimal response. The ones where I feel should have been throw in the trash are the ones that surprise me. They are the ones that seem to have something that speaks to the reader.

So the question arises, “What is the perfect blog post”?

Could it be the writing, not necessarily so. I am not the best of the writers, but, I am not surely the worst.

Is it the beautiful images that are posted? I love great pictures, I can barely point and click with a simple camera. So, images are not it.

Would it be the in depth knowledge that the writer brings to an issue? There are many who do this, I love that because I can read their post to the benefit of my learning. For me research is something I lose interest in. I never received great marks in Science class.

So dear reader let me leave you with another quote that sums up what makes a great blog post.

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.”Brian Clark

A Re-Blog: Why Excessive Hand Washing Is Not My Main “OCD Problem” During The Pandemic — Overcoming OCD

What is it like to live with OCD in times of a pandemic? Well, every person has their own answer to this question and I think it is time to share mine. The other day, I was reading through articles about OCD in the age of COVID-19 and one thing I noticed was that the […]

Why Excessive Hand Washing Is Not My Main “OCD Problem” During The Pandemic — Overcoming OCD

Thanksgiving 2020

“Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have.”Catherine Pulsifer


It’s Thanksgiving time here in Canada, Monday October 14. I cannot help but think that this Thanksgiving may be somewhat bitter. It will be about who is not at the table, rather than who is at the table. My heart grieves to all who have lost a loved one, a partner, a friend, for them it may feel more like Dickens Scrooge, “bah, humbug”.

Traveling to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving may actually be turned into a video call on platforms like Zoom, Face Time, etc., The meal may be only for those who live under the same roof. In Canada travel between Provinces is still not encouraged. One of the questions asked when you book an appointment is, “have you traveled outside of the Province”?

Thanksgiving for me will be myself and best friend, then a phone call to my aunt who lives in another Province. My daughter and grandchildren will celebrate their day at home. Maybe I will hear from them, I will be happy if they do call.

Covid-19 has placed it’s mark on Thanksgiving 2020. This blogger will be interested to hearing how the airlines, bus companies, do over this long weekend.

So dear reader now matter where you are when you are reading this, Canadians and Americans, I wish you the best for this Thanksgiving 2020.

A Re-Blog: 2020 World Mental Health Day — Women & Well Being

World Mental Health Day is celebrated every year on October 10th. It was established October 10, 1992 by Richard Hunter. Hunter was the Deputy Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health. The top 5 warning signs: Long term sadness or irritability Extreme high and low mood swings Excessive fear, worry or anxiety Social […]

2020 World Mental Health Day — Women & Well Being

The Hauntings of My Mind

“What is the present if not the graveyard of the past where, for each of our deeds we dig a grave. Everything we do today will be buried there. The good deeds rest in peace, while the bad ones rise from the graves to haunt us.”
― Mladen Đorđević, Svetioničar – Pomračenje


During an extended stay in the hospital years ago from having pneumonia I developed pressure sores. After arriving home I had home care workers come in to care for the bed sores. It was a long time before they were able to say that I was well enough not to need any more care. I still have scars where those sores were. Every time I see them I am reminded of that time of illness.

So it is with my memories in my mind, they are they ever ready to roar to life haunting me.

The Queensland Brain Institute says this about how memories are formed:

Memories occur when specific groups of neurons are reactivated. In the brain, any stimulus results in a particular pattern of neuronal activity—certain neurons become active in more or less a particular sequence. … Memories are stored by changing the connections between neurons.Jul 23, 2018


The good memories are the ones that holds back the ones that howl, moan, and haunt my mind. It’s those latter ones that I keep looking for a way to short circuit them, to cleanse them from my head, but, try as I might they are there. There when I sleep, constantly there during my wakening hours.

vintage-1418613_1280

I remember a song in a stage play South Pacific, a musical. There are these women who start singing, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair”. So it is with these crazy thoughts of mine, I wanna wash them outa my head.

I am not a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, and definitely have no clue what Sigmund Freud would say about them. I am sure I probably could go for therapy all of the remaining days of my life.

The hauntings of ‘could’ve, would’ve, should’ve” are there to remind me of my shortcomings. Those times where my words could have been chosen better so that wouldn’t have caused someone to be hurt. The times when I didn’t do that thing which I knew was the correct thing to do, I chose to do nothing, the complete opposite.

Here is what I have learned, that I know. These are just that, memories, they really have no power of their own. The only way they can negatively affect me is if I give them the power to do so. I now consider them like a bad digital picture, if they are a bad one I have the power to right click on them and hit the delete button. I also can, and have learned when they come around ignore them, replace them with a positive memory or thought.

So dear reader I have learned to be my own ghost buster of the hauntings in my mind!

Nominated For Outstanding Blogger Award Tag

Nominated by https://mentalhealth360.uk/

I would like to say thank you to Mental Health 360. I truly appreciate being nominated.

Questions:

When was the last time you had a really good belly laugh and who were you with?

It was with my best friend playing a game of Cribbage. He was joking around that he needed a certain card to turn up, it did, not once but three times in a row. Well we both busted a gut laughing about it.

If you could change one thing about people, what would it be?

If I could change this one thing about people it would be the torment that they are going through with their Mental Health challenges.

What and when was the last exciting thing that happened in your life?

Oh my, I guess that would be last Christmas while watching the grandchildren open the gifts I bought for them. It was a Fire 7 tablet.

Where would be your dream destination and why?

I think it would be to spend time in Ireland. When I was doing my family tree I learned that my paternal great grandfather was from there. I would like to try to find there area of where he lived growing up. Maybe find some relatives even if they are several times removed on the family tree.

Who would play you in a film, the story of your life, and why that person?

Good question. I am not quite sure. To be honest I cannot think of anyone. It may be to the fact I don’t follow television shows or movies that are in vogue at the moment.

What does the term mental health mean to you and is this something you talk about in general?

Mental health, I guess it would mean a stable mental condition. When I say stable I think I would mean without the help of medications.

Yes, I talk about my mental health when it is appropriate in a conversation. Talking about it helps dispel the myths that keep people from seeking help.

Why did you start blogging and what’s the main theme of your blog?

I first started my blog back in 2011 to speak about Scripture. What I believed back in time, then the journey I have taken and why I have changed my thoughts on certain issues.

Somewhere I began speaking about my challenges being manic depressive, bi-polar. It grew from there.

I now refer to it as my “Journey to Great Mental Health”.

The Journey

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” Glenn Close

One thing that I have learned about living with mental health challenges is that every day is a new test, sometimes a stress test. The only choice it leaves me is to put one foot in front of the other.

There was only so much that group therapy could equip with you. It was great for I learned so many must tools for the challenges of being bi-polar. I consider this WordPress community as one big virtual group session. It has done for me many great things. The ability to be able to talk about my journey to great mental health. Everyone has something to share, an experience that brought them some joy, one who has to vent their feelings over a challenge that they are facing at a particular moment.

This journey leads up mountains, valleys, deserts, across rivers. There are times that the path is blocked by fallen trees, overgrown vegetation, yet still I have to keep moving focusing on reaching my great mental health.

There may be times when I am going to have to ask someone to help along the path, to help keep me upright when the road gets rocky.

When the nights get cold and loneliness tries to creep up on me, I remind myself that if I just hold fast the sun will rise again in the east to warm my spirit. It is also during those nights that I must remember I have passed through others and was successful, that I can do it again.

So dear reader let me take a few moments to say, Thank you! Thank you for being patience and kind during the past few posts where I shared some of my battles, my life, the journey I have been on trying to obtain great mental health!

The Interview Moderated by Ashley L. Peterson – A Continuation

Once again I would like to say, “Thank You” to Ashley L. Peterson whose blog is Mental Health @ Home.

This is a continuation of the initial interview by Ashley , you can find it here.

As you read you will find I answer questions at great length, I truly did my best to pull back the curtain on my journey to great mental health.

After you have read the interview use the comment section to ask your own question. When I have enough I will gather them together using a post to answer them.


The Interview

Moderator: Ashley L. Peterson


Continuation

What’s the process been like of establishing views that diverged from the religious beliefs you’d been exposed to?

To put it bluntly, it’s been hell. I dropped all my relationships with fellow ministers, stopped contact with fellow musicians. There was a long time to where I wouldn’t even open the Bible.

I have, still do at times, second guess myself.  Then I read some of the comments that people have left lets me know I am basically on the correct direction.

For instance, the gay life style was preached against, it was taught as a no-no. I now view it this way, they are humans, they walk, talk, pee, poop, the same way all of us do. I started re-visiting this attitude about being against them, I started making friends with those in the LGBTQ community. I still have those friends regardless what some people believe about them.

As life has gone on, has your ability to trust others changed?  What prompted that?

In many ways my trust in people has changed. Here is how I view it, People needed to trust me, some who told me about their sexuality, yet they have not come out. I have kept that trust.

Things really did start changing when I began to change. When I started dealing with all the issues that were at the base of my depression. Feelings of inferiority, shame, loneliness, and a chest full of others. After the death of my grandmother I was fortunate to have a Psychiatrist who showed compassion, actually listened, and started me on a regimen of medications.  Now I consider her a friend, she stopped and talked with me when I had a slight scare that sent me to the hospital for four days.

How has your physical health impacted your mental health and vice versa?

My physical health has impacted my mental health severely. I face it every morning, getting out of bed is usually an exercise dealing with pain in my hip.

I have dealt with pain since my teenage years, it grew worse after a motorcycle accident. That messed up my back for life. It has only been better after two periods of have cortisone shots.

There was a time when I was on different pain killers where they became ineffective. I had to change doctors. He looked at my history, he then said we have to change your medications. He explained to me that many pain killers when taken over a long length of time actually work against the body causing pain. I have later read and heard that this is the case. I take for pain at this time Tylenol 4 and a small derivative of morphine. They basically along with a sleeping pill allow me to have a decent night of sleep.

There are days when I think I should start the process of going to an assisted living facility.  Let me explain, I now have to use a cane, or my walker. It has left me so that many things I would normally do for myself I cannot accomplish. Fear grips me every time I need to use the shower, thoughts about falling breaking a hip courses through my mind.

Also, I am truly thankful for my best friend for he is the one who has prepared my meals. I cannot move well enough to manage pots, pans, etc., I also fear I wouldn’t be able to respond if there would be a grease fire.

Some may have noticed that I read and comment on their blog posts sometimes eighteen hours or longer. It is usually because I cannot sit up at great lengths of time. I start my nighttime routine early. Most nights I am asleep before 9 p.m.

So, it is a back and forth with my physical effecting my mental health, mental health effecting my physical being.

Has your time as a preacher shaped the way you tell your own story now?

This is a great question, one I have never thought about. It probably has, and does shape how I tell my story.

There are parts of my story that at this time grapple with because it involves someone who has died, but, has living relatives. I do not want to cause them any embarrassment or pain. I just have not come to an answer about how to tell that. Even without mentioning names it would be obvious to many friends, colleagues, and relatives if they were to come across this blog.

Also, I must consider at this time my own daughter and grandchildren.

[b] I re-read the first answers of the interview where I can see that how I write seems guarded. I guess it has been a learned response from over many years.

How have your hospital stays influenced where you are now in terms of your mental health?

Before my major stay in a mental health ward I was fighting with being bi-polar without any awareness of the fact.

I am thankful for those times in treatment, the group sessions, the one on one with my Psychiatrist for it gave me tools to fight with. The recognition of the highs, lows, and all the rest that comes with being bi-polar. I also know that if needs arise that I have the ability to go back and voluntarily admit myself. There are so many ugly myths about mental health care, some I think come from the days of sanitariums, probably through the eighteenth and nineteenth century.


So dear reader more of a glimpse on what I call “a journey to great mental health”.

If you are facing battles to keep your mental health great, remember, you are not alone!

Find someone to talk to, whether it is a friend, a help line, or your doctor. Do not suffer alone, there is help available for you! I have located a website that you can access for phone numbers of helplines around the world. It is called Check Point

The Interview Moderated By Ashley L. Peterson of Mental Health At Home


Several days ago I had an idea which I thought might be interesting. The idea; flip the scenario of the interview. The questions would not be posed by me, but, it would be from someone else, the questions would be for me.

So, I needed to find someone to ask if they would help with this project. The person I turned to was Ashley L. Peterson of Mental Health At Home. I contacted her about a week ago to which she agree to help. If you have never visited her blog put it on your things to do list.

So below is the interview. I may revisit the questions to add to it more insight. I have tried to answer the questions with honesty and truthfully.

At this moment I want to say, “Thank you Ashley for Your Help”! I truly appreciate this!


The Interview Moderated By Ashley L. Peterson

Mental Health At Home

Were there things that your blog has allowed you to get out that weren’t able to express before?

There were many things that I could not express before. Some would be looked upon as weakness, short comings, others would be considered non Biblical. Things about gender, sexuality, race.

Did you ever feel it was necessary to mask what was going on inside you?  If so, how did you do that?

Yes, I did wear a mask. The first that held that mask on was a lack of trust. I held many things to myself, not even telling my wives, family, because I learned that familiarity is dangerous. It usually ends up with them turning on you by breaking trust. 

The next thing that I believe that held the mask on was ignorance. Believing what you have been told all of your life, things concerning the Faith. It wasn’t until I finally started my long journey of healing of my mental health that I started to question in earnest what I truly believed. I came to the conclusion that there were many things I felt was wrong, some that really did not have a sure foundation in the Scriptures.

Has there been any form of creative art or expression other than writing that’s been significant for you?  What role did that play if your life?

My whole life has been about the music, it still is. I am thankful that I have a small home organ within my home. It had a fantastic price attached to it, “FREE”. I couldn’t refuse it. When I am totally at whit’s end when possible I sit and will play old hymns and other songs. It usually quiets my mind. There are other times, especially when I need a bit of inspiration, I turn to my iTunes music. One artist is foremost is Michael Bublè, his music is similar to that of Frank Sinatra.

What role has religion played in the course your transition into adulthood and beyond?

I am going to be honest and frank, I have held onto my faith in God, but, I have let go many other things. As I said this journey of healing has been intense. It has caused me to look inward, question everything, search all things, to become honest of who I truly was as a human being. Notice I did not say “person”,  I could be any person, but who am I as a human.

Has your sense of who you are and how you relate to the world changed over time?

The resounding answer is, yes I have changed in relation of discovering who I really am.  I couldn’t see it while I was in the midst of it, but, looking back, even just over two years, I can see change.  I really do not have fear about how people see me. Yes, I hope they see the real me. Yet, I can understand that they may have, like me, trust issues.  That is where true acceptance comes into place. I hope people would respect where I am in my walk of healing, I also hope I can respect others on their walk of healing in obtaining great mental health.

How did mental illness enter your life, and what are some of the ways it affects you?

I look back at my life, especially my teenage years through my early adult years and I can see signs of mental illness already showing itself. My sudden outrage for even the littlest thing, comment, etc., Also, I can recognize the times of mania, and deep depression that inserted itself during those years.

It wasn’t until around 1990 when I started experiencing panic attacks. One time while grocery shopping in an almost empty store I suffered with a severe panic attack. I left the cart in the aisle and ran back to my bachelor apartment a block away. It wasn’t long after that when I attempted my first suicide.

At times it has left me mentally crippled, all my interests seemed to melt away. On the mania times it was almost nonstop activity.

There were many mornings where I would wake up with no memory of the night before. No recollection of conversations, what I ate, what I did like watching television. My best friend would find me passed out in the oddest places, once under my sewing machine. It left him terrified every time he would come into my house in the morning.

What have been some of the most difficult times or circumstances you’ve dealt with in terms of your mental health?

The hardest time of dealing with my mental health condition was the very first time, the time when I woke up in the mental health ward after the attempted suicide. 

I basically stayed to myself, did not interact with others who were also dealing with mental health issues. My memory of it is vague, basically going to the smoking room. There was the first day that they decided that we should watch the movie “Groundhog Day”. I remember, why this, what does it have to do with me getting out of here. Honestly, I still have no answer for that movie.

Has family played a major role for you?  Have there been certain family events that were particularly significant in your life?

Family meant something for me, I should clarify, my maternal family. I was very close to my grandfather and grandmother. I felt more at home there then I did at my parent’s home. I felt accepted there, yet I am glad they were not around in my worst days. I sometimes wonder how they would have reacted.

I only have one blood relative that I am close to, being my maternal aunt. She has always been a part of my life, babysitting, singing, just there. After she goes my connection to that part of family will be gone.

I am now a grandfather of three, my daughter, and those children are now my world. They love talking with me when they are here, they have their heads in the right place. The oldest, my granddaughter, just turned thirteen.

Were there things from your childhood, either positive or negative, that have really stuck with you over time?

There are two things that have stuck with me over time. How I deal with others, growing up in a multi-cultural area it wasn’t a big thing to have friends, acquaintances, from other cultures, etc, Maybe it was because of my mother and grandmother. I never heard an unkind word, slur, put down, to come from their lips. I could take any of my friend’s home or to my grandmother’s knowing they would be accepted without question.

The other would be anger. I decided as a kid that I did not want that in my life. My dad would explode at the slightest slight. It was to the point that I would make excuses when he would ask if I wanted to play a game of Chess. I always said no, I knew if he lost, it just might mean an eruption of anger. If I am around someone who shows anger of that sort I find myself looking for the exit. I can be angry at something, but never to the point where it is physical or emotionally.

Are there life choices you’ve made that you feel grateful for or regret now?

There are probably many things I regret now, only because hindsight is always twenty-twenty. Dropping out of high school, two divorces, not always being there for my daughter while she was growing up. Those are probably the ones that come to the top of my thoughts.

The biggest thing that I can be truly grateful is that I can to the acknowledgment that I needed help, that I sought help, and that I continue to work to achieve great mental health.

The other is that I have learned how a true friend acts. I write about my best friend, twenty plus years. He has been there through my worst. Days where I lashed out at him, times when I would threaten to move away from him. He has been in the room with my family doctor, Psychiatrist, and all other specialists. He also manages my medications, which came about during one of my inpatient times. While at home I was double dosing my Oxycontin medication. So there was an agreement between myself, my doctors, and at that time my Pharmacist, that was back in 2004. He still goes with me to my appointments, sometimes is because my mobility is not at its best, mostly because my short term memory is spotty.


P.S. – That is the interview. Let me say this, I am not done with my journey towards great mental health. There are issues that I am still struggling with, issues that at this time cannot disclose.

If you read this, if you are also on your journey towards great mental health, let me give you a word of encouragement.

You are not alone, there are others on a similar journey with issues all of their own. There will be others after you. Please help those who are coming up with words of encouragement, make them feel at home that they have a safe place.

So dear reader keep keeping on!

October 2, 2020 – President, First Lady Tested Positive, Now In Quarantine

Just as I was about to turn out the lights, shut off the t.v., around 11 – 11:30 p.m. the news came across with multiple news outlets announced the President and First Lady have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

Earlier today it was announced that Presidential aide, Hope Hicks, also tested positive. She was with the President in many events since last Monday. She is also in quarantine, and those who she has been in contact with are also being advised to quarantine.

It is still in the early stage on the numbers who have been in close contact with those who have received positive test results for the coronavirus.

For the President this is very serious because of so many factors. His age, seventy-four years old, he is over weight, and also his dietary routine.

So now the whole election campaign has changed on the stop of a dime, news coverage discussing that debates are probably cancel due to those positive test results of the virus. If the President has to quarantine for fourteen days, this means he will only have about fourteen days to campaign.