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!

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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!