Influenced? Influencer?

Power is a tool, influence is a skill; one is a fist, the other a fingertip. Nancy Gibbs

This is not about mental health. It is not about my recovery. It is about two words, influenced and influencer.

I am not a professional marketer. In secondary school I did, however, I took marketing classes for three years. It was basic, there was not any social media. It involved print, radio, store front displays, and television.

I have been noticing something in my life that has caught my attention. I have given this much thought. What I have noticed is the fact that I have been doing certain things and then my best friend also begins doing these. It has been little things, like trying a new product from the grocery store, watching a certain program on television. I was an influencer.

I have had conversations in the past with a person a debate about name brands versus generic. His stance was, always by name brand products. I would rebut that with the fact that I found generic products are also good. Also, generic is can usually be cheaper. Saving money at the checkout line!

I am not timid about trying new products. I have just recently tried a new cereal and found that I enjoyed it. I spoke to my best friend and he tried it and now has added it to his morning breakfast.

I can sometimes be influenced by how a product is packaged, or maybe a friend or family recommends one to me. I have now been influenced.

In some cases you get what you paid for. When it comes to electronics I have gone to a name brand that I have confidence in. Generic in this matter is not always the best venue to choose.

I am sure Vee from Millennial Life Crisis could go into greater detail. She is the professional when it comes to matters of marketing.

So dear reader, I would ask you this question, Are you influenced more than being an influencer? What are your thoughts about name brand versus generic? I welcome your thoughts on this idea.

The Unseen Scars & Mental Health

“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” ― Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy


I have noticed lately all of the physical scars I have. One from the hip surgery, two from having pressure point sores, and there are those that I cannot tell you how they happened.

Then, there are those scars that cannot be seen with the human eye. Scars of mental wars, those that were caused by the lost of loved ones, some caused by betrayal, and then there are those scars that have been self-inflicted. I must admit some of those scars no longer bring about mental anguish anymore. They are just there as a reminder of things I have endured over my sixty years.

I like to think that my scars have not molded me, that they do not define me, but that would not be truthful. The death of my maternal grandfather opened a new door, one that would have me sit in front of a piano and work feverishly to make it sound like good music. The death of a second cousin, two years older than myself, caused by falling off scaffolding while working on a barn. The preacher’s open line of the eulogy, “Life Is Not Fair“!

It is because of those invisible scars that I can be thankful for every day, every moment, and every thing that comes my way.

I have that invisible scar that was created by an suicide attempt. This scar makes me want to get out of bed every morning. It is a reminder how that life can be fleeting like a whisper of smoke.

So dear reader, do scars have an impact on your life? Have they help shaped you into the person you now are? I would like to hear your replies about those invisible scars!

Decluttering My House & My Mind

As of August I have now lived in my home for twenty-four years. It is amazing how much things you can acquire.

I have lived by a policy of cleaning out things that I have not used in a year. Since my problems of mobility started I have not been able to do so.

I have been busy starting to declutter my kitchen cupboards. I was amazed of how many things I just was not using. Two large boxes of dishes, pitchers, and odd things and I was half done. I still have some to go, but feel good in what I have managed to accomplish so far.

I have also been doing the same chore, but it is with my mind. It has been over two weeks and I have not watched any cable news. Just the local evening news. I can say how I don’t even miss watching cable news. My mind feels settled, and more peaceful.

So dear reader, I may not be posting as much for the next period of time. I have lots to do and eventually it is my clothes closet that gets the hammer. Clothes that I have not worn in the past year will go into a box or bag and given to the local thrift store. I only give clothes that are in very good condition, never something that I know should be thrown into the garbage pail.

I would like to ask you, do you have a time when you declutter? If so, when and do you have a method or system while doing the task?

Challenging Myself – Mental & Physical Health

“Keep challenging yourself to think better, do better, and be better.” ~ Robin Sharma

My mother was wise in her ways with me. For her to have me do something, she would in a sly way imply that I could not possibly do something. For some reason that was a challenge I was willing to prove her wrong. The oldest of five she dealt with each of us in a different way. She had rules for us, but in many ways she was open towards us. We could express our thoughts and opinions, mind you, it had to be done in respect. As I grew into an adult the relationship changed. I could discuss any subject and she would listen. The same was true in the other direction. She would at times confide in me something that would be bothering her. It may be about one of my siblings, and other times when she would be going through divorce. I truly miss those things, talking on the phone, or maybe in a letter.

I have not posted much in the past several weeks, for I have been busy with household things. Then I have been reading and also researching. I am trying to take another challenge for myself.

I had been seeing ads about the website.”Coursera“. So, I went and searched on it and found some free courses out of the University of Alberta. I am truly giving a lot of thought about taking one or two of them. I look at it this way, it will challenge my mind, bring something new into my learnings.

Also, I have been challenging myself in regards to my walking without a cane. I am somewhat apprehensive about setting it aside. I challenge myself to walk without it only in my confines of my house. That challenges me physically.

I have always challenged myself throughout my life. In my music, studies, and even in cooking and baking. I started learning about personal computers when Windows 3.1 was the only operating system.

So dear reader I cannot speak about how others motivate themselves, but for me I need challenges. I wonder if it takes a challenge to move you forward, mentally and physically. I would love to hear your thoughts about this. I am sure other readers would also be interested in your thoughts!

Me, Myself, and I; Party of One

 In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.” Rollo May

Growing up I never had lots of friends, mostly I would have just one close friend. I didn’t hang out with others from school. I was always content to do things alone. I could spend hours tinkering with my race track set, trying to record different things on my reel-to-reel recorder.

I knew how to be cordial around others, but I was one who couldn’t wait to get away from crowds. I did not want to mingle, or even have “small talk”. Now if someone was speaking to me I would always gracefully listen and interact with them. I hope I never made them feel that I wasn’t interested in what they were saying.

Someone once mentioned to me that I had the leanings of a “recluse”, I took that as a compliment. I do enjoy my own company, love the quiet in a room with solitude. No background noise, just me, myself, and I; A Party of One.

For some, this would be maddening for they thrive on lots of people, lots of chatter, to be honest, lots of unnecessary drama. I wonder at times if they maybe afraid of their own voice, their thoughts clear and loud in their quiet times.

My mental health is dependent on having solitude, a place of quiet, free from all outside influencers. I do not always follow the crowd and sometimes that has caused some people to think I am cold, that I don’t like people. I like people a lot, but I like myself even more. Over the years I have learned quite much about who I am, where I stand with myself. There was a time I hated looking in the mirror, discontent with what I saw. No, not the outward appearance, but rather the being locked up inside. Like a caged bird, more like a canary, who lost how to sing a beautiful melody.

I still do not have lots of people around me constantly. Basically, it is just my best friend. If I am outside and a neighbor is out I will stop and say hi, ask about their wellness. But, when I come back into my house and close the door it is my place of security. It is when I close that door I then shut out all of the outside voices.

So dear reader, are you comfortable being alone with yourself? Are you at peace with your thoughts, or do you crave the many voices constantly chattering but saying nothing? I would love to hear your thoughts about, “Me, Myself, and I; A Party of One”.

Re-assessing Priorities & Mental Health

“Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.”
 Dallin H. Oaks

Yesterday I began to think about how my priorities have changed throughout my life. As a teen my focus was on school. Then I began to move away from home and my priority was putting a roof over my head. I can recall the first time I went grocery shopping. Well, I got to the till and the cashier told me the total, I cried because it did not leave me much for anything else.

The next big event was marriage and once again my priority changed. I now had to provide for myself and my wife. Two years later and we welcome our daughter into the world. She totally shifted my priorities. She developed colic and I found myself walking during the night with her trying to settle her down.

Fast forward to the two years ago and I start having trouble with my back and hip Pain has a way of causing you to lose focus on the true priorities. Then the phone call for the surgery date. My priority shifted to keeping myself well, staying as far away from anything that would cause sickness, including covid 19.

Now my focus is on getting stronger each day, striving for progress with my hip replacement. Once again, priority has changed!.

So dear reader, have you found that your priorities shift during your life? If so, how has this affected your mental health? I would love to hear from you!

Decompressing & Mental Health

I am constantly trying to figure things out, and writing and decompressing is a way for me to analyze and try and grow and understand. – Author: Erin Willett

I have been lately re-introducing something that I use to have in my life, decompressing. A time without television, radio, music, and yes, the phone. It is a time to quiet the mind, to connect with your own breathing. Some may call it meditation, but this is really a time of complete void of input or output.

I have the luxury to spend this type of time, I live alone, and really do not have any constraints or demands, like getting children ready for bed. I do not have a cell phone, so the incoming texts messages are not a distraction. Decompressing means that I have taken control of a set time period. It may be thirty, sixty minutes, whatever it takes to feel a gentle calm come over me.

Then, there are the times where I focus on just a single task. For me, it usually means reading a book without any other input around me.

I often wonder what affect happens to people who seem to want to be always connected. I have heard of teenagers sleeping with their cell phones under their pillow. Constantly waking up to check to see if there are new text messages. This most assuredly must wreak havoc with their bodies not being able to enter deep sleep. I believe it is called, “R.E.M.(Rapid Eye Movement).

I spoke with my daughter just recently and listened to what was on her schedule each and every day. She decided to go to university for a business management degree. Besides that, she works part time and also has children to take care of. I was exhausted just trying to comprehend on how she will be able to keep up with all the stress.

So dear reader, how do you decompress? Do you make time to quiet your mind and body? I would love to hear from you on this and so would other readers!

Some Thoughts Since I Last Posted

I have enjoyed my time to re-connect with friends, to spend some time finding myself. I have kept myself busy reading, listening to some of my favorite music, and also, my break from watching cable news.

I feel great and I have been adjusting to life without pain, or heavy pain killers. I still am struggling with my sleep and really do not know where to find the answer.

I had my last appointment with the therapist and I even gave her some surprises along the way. It has only been since May for the surgery, but yet, it feels like it is further away than just three months.

I have some catching up to do with reading all of the blog posts that I follow. What I found amazing was the number of people who have started to follow this blog. For that I am truly thankful!

Not really sure about what future blog posts will deal with. I realize there is much to write about concerning “mental health”. Ideas are running through my brain. Some will never see daylight, while others are piecing themselves together.

Canada is facing a federal election and politicians wasted no time making promises of what they will do if elected. I do not hold much hope in the polls. The only poll that counts is on election day. Pundits are saying Canadians may not know the results for a couple of weeks. I am sure there will be knocks at my door, candidates asking for my support. I never tell them which way I will be voting. For me that is something I keep to myself, no signs on the lawn from any party.

School here starts back on September 1 and for this guy I am thrilled. It will now be safe to shop without being over-taken by children who have found a way to break from the grips of their parents.

Soon thoughts will turn to Thanksgiving Day here in October. In America they celebrate that day in November, with the Macy’s Parade signaling the start of the Christmas season.

So dear reader, it feels good to pen some thoughts, somewhat disjointed, but nevertheless, some things that I have been contemplating during my “time out”. How has your summer been? I would like to hear from you!

COVID Reopening – Anxieties -Mental Health

Just a note about my recovery. I am doing great and the therapist believes I only need one more visit. I have put in storage my wheelchair and my walker. I am now able to walk with just a cane. I can do my own shopping and have started to do more of my own housework.

I am fully vaccinated, but I find myself becoming anxious when going out. It is my understanding that this is happening to many. After being forced to stay at home, going out into the public is causing stress for many. Help lines are seeing a steep incline in calls with people concerned about their mental health.

Here in Saskatchewan we still have to mask up in all federal and medical settings. However, I still grab a mask when going into store, like Walmart. I even have a difficult time going to medical appointments. I have grown to like being able to speak to my doctor by phone. I had my first in person appointment with him a couple of weeks ago. Yet, I was nervous about going in. I knew that there would be an empty waiting room, patients are told to arrive just before their appointment. It alleviates patients coming in contact with other patients.

I ask myself, is this my new normal. Will I always be anxious in public spaces. I look south across our border and see the numbers rising with the Delta Variant. Will this variant make it’s way north, has it already arrived? I tell my best friend many times that I think that re-opening is going too fast. Are we heading for another shutdown in the fall? I hope not!

So I ask you, dear reader, are you having moments of nervousness going back out into the public? Do you have reservations about how fast things are returning to a “normal” state? I want to hear how you are feeling, about your thoughts about this post Covid normal.

Staring At Mental Health

Lesson one: you can never please everyone. The world is as divided now as I can remember in my short 23 years. Issues that are so obvious to me at face value, like wearing a mask in a pandemic or kneeling to show support for anti-racism, are ferociously contested. I mean, wow. So, when I said I needed to miss French Open press conferences to take care of myself mentally, I should have been prepared for what unfolded. – Naomi Osaka

I was made aware of a story about an Olympic athlete, Naomi Osaka, on a newscast referring to an article found on Time, “It’s O.K. Not To Be O.K.” Osaka, a pro tennis player decided not to do a press conference after a game, instead she took time to deal with her personal mental health. This has caused a windstorm among many.

I have been spending much time alone, alone to where I am staring at my mental health. Of course, sleep issues still prevalent, makes for some very long hours. I found myself snapping back at my best friend, for the life of me I do not know what the issue was about. I apologized immediately, but I found myself staring, coming to the realization about how my body needs lots of rest. Now, on the other hand, best friend can function on about six hours.

I have come to the realization that mental health is, in my opinion, similar to a body of water. They both need a never ending supply of freshness, otherwise they become stagnant producing only stinking algae. I have found myself that I was living in a self-imposed bubble. I was becoming stagnant in my goal of great mental health.

Spending many hours in solitaire can do two things, one drive you over the edge, or two sharpen your ability to hear your inner self. Listening to the inner self causing one to stare at their mental health, that is what has been happening in the absence on this blog.

I have begun to listen, not argue, nor get angry, to other voices in a conversation. Conversations that I would normally block myself against listening. My best friend has been the driver of this, he is constantly telling me that I need to listen to both sides of an argument. I am the kind of person if I am listening to someone who is spouting, lack of a better expression, “bull puckey”” I hit the mute button.

Being absent for this short time has also allowed me to go back and re-read some of the blog posts that I was going to use for material. I am finding that I have to completely deconstruct the writing causing me to approach the subject in a more meaningful way.

Let me be totally frank and honest, many live in political, religious, and issue based bubbles. I tell my best friend I would not be a good reporter because I would probably be quite slanted in doing so. When I listen to great reporting it is something that presents all of the facts, both pro and cons, of any given issue that is being covered.

Going forward at the beginning of the fall I am going to set myself to write about mental health in a more balanced approach. I will still speak about all of my mental health challenges, but I will try to present them in a more comprehensive matter.

I wonder dear reader, are you stuck in a bubble? I call it a bubble, not a rut, because it encompasses more than just our daily routines, it is about staring at mental health and staring at it in a honest manner! Please share with me and the other readers your thoughts!

p.s. the writing is progressing and I am in a deep research phase.

Summertime Heat Wave & Little Sleep

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

Just thought I would put together a few thoughts. Western Canada and the Upper West Coast of America are experiencing scorching heat. Washington state at one point saw the temperature reach 116 degrees Fahrenheit.

The last several weeks have been somewhat productive. For the first time I was able to get into my best friend’s car and do some personal shopping. It felt great to be anywhere, but my living room. Of course we went at 7 a.m. to avoid the heat and a crowd.

I have started my work on the book I have wanted to write. And I am now just hitting sixty thousand words, just a very rough draft. I have no time limit on when I will finish. I have turned to my best source, my blog posts on my secondary blog site.

I finished Don Lemon’s book, “This Is The Fire, What I Tell My Friends About Racism”. It is a gripping first hand approach about racism, his own personal experiences, his upbringing, and covers history with a look at the movies.

I have been accomplishing those things with very little sleep. I spoke to my doctor concerning my issue with insomnia and he prescribed Trazadone, an anti-depressant medication. I am finding little help with it, in helping with the sleepless nights. So, come early Monday morning I will be putting in a phone call to him.

I am working my way slowly through two other books and have ordered President Obama’s newest writing.

I have been encouraged how people are still finding blog posts and hitting the “Like”. Lets me know that I have done something correctly. Thank you to all those who have decided to follow! Also, to those who have kept following during my time out.

So dear reader, just a brief few thoughts about what is happening in my realm of the world! Would love to hear about what is happening with you at the start of a very heated and humid summer! Stay cool!

Time Out

I find myself both mentally and physically drained. I feel the main culprit is the hip surgery because of the stress I was under and in some ways still there. It has been a long road from finding what the cause of severe pain, to the actual diagnosis that my hip needed replacing.

Another factor that is adding to the above factors is that I am weaning off opioid painkillers. For the past week I have my circadian rhythm thrown off. I am not having deep sleep and the sleep I do get is minimum, so I am exhausted during the day and barely functioning.

This leads to the reason of this post. I am going to take a time out from blogging over the summer, but will check in from time to time to catch up on some reading. During this time I will be gathering my notes and relevant posts to start work on a book that I have wanted to write since leaving active ministry.

Also, I am going to recharge by taking in some necessary reading of three new books I have. One is ” Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis: Understanding the DSM-5 by Ashley L Peterson. Another is a book that was reviewed by Ashley L. Peterson on her blog www.Mentalhealth@home.org, “Blackness Interrupted: Black Psychology Matters” by Nicól Osborne and Tamera Gittens. Then last on the list is a new book written by CNN Prime Time Host, Don Lemon, “This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism “.

So dear reader, this exhausted and drained blogger will be back near the end of August. I hope you will be there when I return!

Stability & Mental Health

“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.” Lori Deschene

I was thinking back to what my life was like before I had help. It was always in turmoil, uncertainty, and lots of fear. As I look back I can see where this affected my marriages. What I didn’t have was stability!

My life now is stable, no more roller coaster moods, hair trigger anger, and no more fear of tomorrow. Part of being stable is knowing what my finances are from month to month. It is also that I have put down roots in a neighborhood that is more like myself, senior and loves quiet nights to sleep.

I also give credit to my psychiatrist and the regiment of prescriptions that keep my moods stable. Now, I still get down in the dumps every once in awhile, but no major depression that would require hospitalization..

So dear reader, my feelings are this, for great mental a person truly needs stability!

Perspective & Mental Health

*** This post was inspired by an article written by former Mental Health Nurse, Ashley L. Peterson. The title of that post was, The Role of Values in Acceptance Commitment therapy(ACT) ***

Having surgery for hip replacement has given me some time to think about many things in life that I value. Things such as, walking, feeling the sunshine on my face, visiting with neighbors outside, and even being able to cook my meals once again.

I have been giving a fresh new look at all those things and more. There once was a time where I could walk all over the city to do shopping. I would love to be able to do that again, but putting it in perspective I first have to conquer being able to walk through Walmart to do my shopping.

I love to cook and also bake. I once entered a apple pie and a loaf of fresh bread in our local fair. When the winners of those categories were announced I could hardly believe that I one first prize in both. I would love to bake an apple pie, but putting it in perspective, I will have to wait until I am given the green light to be able to bend down to the level of my oven.

When I was told that I would need a hip replacement I accepted it. For me it couldn’t come fast enough, I kept hoping each day that the phone would ring and that it would be the operating schedule office with a date. Putting that in perspective I just had to take a deep breath and tell myself it will happen when it happens.

I always dreamed of buying a big log style home where I could enjoy sitting at a piano playing to my hearts content. Putting it in perspective I had to accept the fact that I could not have it because of finances. The best I could do was buy my current place on a rent-to-own contract. By the way, I paid it off in just over seven years.

It is easy to get through each day, step by step, moment by moment, by keeping things in perspective. As I finish this, the movie, “What About Bob“, and the quote “baby steps, baby steps” to Bob, the main character played by actor, Tom Hanks.

So dear reader, are you able to keep things in perspective when dealing with your issues in your current life? I and the other readers would love to hear your thoughts about “perspective”!

Therapist – Good Report

This morning I was at my appointment with my therapist, and she was very happy with my progress. She did some measurements to check the length of my legs, a test to see if both hips are aligning properly, and last was to see how my range of motion in my hip. Happy to see that I have full range when kicking out to my side, it was twenty-five degrees.

I now have new exercises that helps my stability, one exercise is practicing standing up from a chair without using my hands. Other ones are for me to have the ability to roll on my sides, which I find great because before the operation I slept on my side. She also encouraged me to practice getting into the tub and standup to see if I can shower that way without the tub bench.

Finally, after I came home and had some rest I took my first walk around part of my neighborhood, although using my wheeled walker. It was a feeling of satisfaction for reaching part of my goals for this summer. Also, was able to stop and visit with two of my neighbors for a good twenty minutes.

My stability using my cane today has greatly improved Getting my own coffee and other things feels so liberating.

So dear reader, once again I am reminded that if you do the hard work, you will see results!

p.s. – I cannot tell you how I feel mentally. I think I reached the clouds combining both of the days!

Good Doctor’s Report

This morning I went to see the surgeon. After waiting an hour I finally was called in only for him to send me for a x-ray.

So, away I go using nothing but my four-legged walker. Once again, more waiting. After the x-ray back to see the surgeon.

He came in and told me he looked at the x-ray and gave me a great report. I can now put as much weight, as is comfortable, on the replaced hip. So, I can go back to using my wheeled walker, but for the most time I walk around my home with just a cane.

I spoke to him about the exercises that I was given by the therapist. I mentioned about the exercise where you simulate making a snow angel. He became upset and told to stop the exercise. His reason, you wouldn’t make those type of moves even with a good hip. So, when I see the therapist tomorrow I am going to ask why the contradiction.

It feels great that I no longer have to see the surgeon and that I have gained some more freedom of movement.

So dear reader, this almost sixty year old guy has just jumped one more hurdle on my way to reaching my goal of walking around outdoors. Well, maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks…lol…chuckles!

A Brief Update

I have not written a post for several days. I have just not much to write about.

My recovery is going great and this week I will find out how well I am doing. I have appointments with the surgeon and the therapist. Also, on the vaccine front I will be having my second dose on Friday morning.

I have had a couple of battles with companies, one was about a return and the other is getting a refund. The former is solved, while the latter is ongoing.

I have been concerned lately over how many sites are starting to require a cell phone number, for which I do not have one. I wonder how many people worldwide would this affect. I have not had a need to own a cell phone and the biggest reason is the cost. For those on a fixed budget that can mean whether you pay rent or the phone company. I have three services from my phone company that cover, landline, internet, and television. For those three I pay much less than the cost of the cell phone.

So dear reader, that are some of my brief thoughts for now!

Escapism? – Mental Health

“Don’t judge me for escaping the stresses and cruelty of the world differently than you do.” ― Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

Back in 2019 I wrote a post, “Distractions Welcome“, for this post I thought I would expand on it.

To keep my mental health stable I like to escape. What I mean by that is this, I find ways to completely unplug myself from everything that resembles life, news, and drama. I disappear into things that will take me out of all stress.

Many years ago there was a story about a man who laughed his way back to health, his name, Norman Cousins.

On the website Laugh Off Life they review Cousins’ novel, “Anatomy of an Illness”, and they write the following;

   In his novel, Anatomy of an Illness, Norman Cousins describes his rigorous recovery from ankylosing spondylitis, a painful collagen illness that rendered him immobile, and at its nadir, nearly incapable of moving his jaw.

In the review they include a quote from Norman;

“Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.”
   -Norman Cousins – Anatomy of an Illness

You can download a free PDF copy of Cousins book here.

My forms of escapism includes, watching old t.v. series, such as, “Hogan’s Heroes”, “Carol Burnett”, cartoons, and even documentaries of space exploration. I also at times watch shows dealing with conspiracies, not that I believe them. My favorite are the ones surrounding the assignation the late, President JFK. Anything that takes me into a world that is indistinguishable from what I am dealing with in my life. All this allows me escape, provoke daydreams, or just a good belly laugh..

So dear reader, how do you use escapism from what you are dealing with? I would love for you to share your ways and also for others to read!

Normal? & Mental Health

A lot of people go through life trying to perform normalcy, and I think you can relate to that. – Rebecca Hall

I have been mulling this over about “normal”. We know the quote, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. My question is this, “is normal in the eye of the beholder”?

Over the past several years my “normal” has seen many variations. Now, after hip replacement it is going through another transformation.

I probably could ask all my neighbors what they think normal is and I would get multiple different answers. Some would say normal to them is a traditional family. Others might say that there family is more of an extended family.

So dear reader, I would like to hear from you about “what is normal for you”? I have a feeling I could see some variants in answers!

Guilty…Feeling Good?

For a moment he felt good about this. A moment or two later he felt bad about feeling good about it. Then he felt good about feeling bad about feeling good about it and satisfied, drove on into the night. Douglas Adams

This may sound far fetched, but lately I have had guilty feelings about feeling so good. Could it be that I forgot what “good” feels like? Did I grow accustomed to always having pain?

I have been doing well in my recovery and the pain is at a bare minimum. Weaning off the pain killers is something I am feeling great about, less addictive drugs in my body.

The therapy exercises are going great and I have been increasing each week the number of reps by ten, now at fifty reps per exercise.

I am not sure what a psychiatrist would say about this feeling of guilt about feeling good. Would they think I need to up my meds, or just push it aside?

So dear reader, do you have guilty feelings about feeling good? If so, how do you handle them? Please share with me and the other readers your thoughts!

Withdrawal Symptoms and Mental Health

“Despite what appears to be a low risk of addiction in naïve, chronic pain patients, it is reasonable to ask how much harm is actually done to patients with chronic pain by withholding opiate analgesics.” ― Howard L. Fields

About a week after I was discharged from the hospital I started having migraine headaches. Usually when they happen it means I have ate something that triggers them. For the life of me I could not think of one single thing that had changed in my diet. I am very careful about processed foods that may contain tree nuts, they are one of my triggers, the other is raw onions.

Then several days ago it dawned on me what might be the possible trigger. Before my discharge the surgeon instructed me to ask my GP to wean me off of the pain killers. The doctor started slow by reducing them by 3mg each week on renewal. This is what I believe is happening in my body.

The last time I came off of opioids it was with Oxycodone and Fentanyl. For that I asked my GP and my psychiatrist to admit me to the mental health ward while being weaned from those opioids. Withdrawals are real, whether it is from prescribed medicines or street drugs like heroin.

I am happy that I am being weaned from the pain killers, but I can sympathize with those who after coming clean fall back to the use of the drugs.

So dear reader, let me ask, have you ever gone through withdrawal symptoms, if so can you describe them for me and other readers?

Progress and Mental Health

Don’t look too far into the future, just look at tomorrow. One day at a time. Can you win tomorrow? Can you make progress? The answer is yes, you have a choice and tomorrow you’re going to win. Joe Wicks

verb/prəˈɡres/

move forward or onward in space or time .”as the century progressed, the quality of telescopes improved” Oxford Languages

I remember back to when I was teaching myself the piano. I would work hard, sometimes for hours, and what kept me going back to sit at my piano was, progress. When I would learn something new, I would keep going over it again and again, each time building my confidence.

It has been the same with my recovery. Each week I have increased the number of reps for the exercises. I have been working on walking up and down my ramp. Today was a progress day, I had walked down my ramp to where it meets the my sidewalk. I felt elated because it was great to be able to be outside and further more doing so without any crippling pain.

It is my opinion that it is progress that keeps us in a healthy frame of mind. Without progress we probably wouldn’t have all the technologies that makes our lives better. I have read that a cell phone has more computing power than that which was in the Apollo Spacecraft that took three men to the moon. There are many things that have been developed by men who kept working on scientific projects. One that comes to mind is the founder of insulin, Sir Frederick G Banting . My own daughter lives a normal life thanks to the progression in medicine.

So dear reader, does progress spur you forward? I would love to have you share with the readers and myself!

Maintaining Mental Health

“Mental health…is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.” – Noam Shpancer, PhD

To be honest I am not a super human. Lately during this recovery period I have found that I talk to myself. What do I mean? Well, sometimes the new hip is tender, maybe slow, and I tell myself, “you did this yesterday and you can do it today”. I realize that mental health needs maintaining. I cannot take my mental health for granted.

I know what should be done, things like affirmations, meditation, and getting plenty of rest. Knowing them does not help me if I do not do them. I have to remind myself every day lately that I need to push forward if I am to gain back full ability of walking.

I have heard somewhere that the mind is like a sponge, it soaks up everything, good or bad. In computer language, “garbage in, garbage out”.

Recently I wrote the post, Attitude with Gratitude and that is most of the battle. No matter I how I feel, think, or even perceive my situation, I need to find those littlest things to be thankful for. My one things is this; I have the ability to move my hip without the pain that I experienced pre-op.

So dear reader, are there things you do to maintain your mental health? I would love for you to share them with me and the other bloggers!

Benefits of Blogging

“I guess my point is, if you’re one of these people considering giving up on blogging in exchange for paying more attention to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace, or whatever they throw at us mere mortals, bear in mind you are giving up on something rather unique and wonderful.” (Hugh Macleod)

When I was in the hospital I kept wishing I could access the internet and go to my blog. I wanted to get caught up on all the great blogs that I follow. Think me strange, I felt like something was missing.

Blogging does so much for me, it is cathartic, for it has allowed me a medium to speak about those things that I care about. Things such as; mental health, healing of the mind, and also healing of the soul. I have read many times from other bloggers that it gives oneself a place where they belong, a community. This for me cannot be found in other social media platforms.

In high school I loved English, well maybe not Shakespeare, but in general. I love to read and for quite some time I did not consider myself a reader. Blogging has provided me a venue to stretch my capabilities in writing and has brought back parts of my education that I had become sloppy.

It is also a window to peak through to learn what is happening with others near and far. It also gives others a chance to read about how I am doing and also feeling. I have found that I do not stand alone in my struggles, there are many others who are, or have, faced the same type of struggles. It gives me courage to grit my teeth and power through to the other side of those struggles.

Communication, I love to engage in healthy conversations. The push and pull of talking to others and have educated debates about all the issues of life that we go through or face. It doesn’t mean that we will agree on everything because doing so would be cookie cutter humans.

Blogging brings diversity and I learned to love diversity growing up in a city of multicultural. It was the ability to learn how others live, their customs and also their beliefs. When I live in Toronto I loved going and eating foods from other cultures. My one favorite was a “Meat Patty” which I believe was from a Jamaica culture.

So dear readers, these are some, not all, of the benefits I find in blogging!

What’s Been On My Mind Lately…

“The things you think about determine the quality of your mind.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Besides working on my rehabilitation with my hip replacement, I have been thinking about some other things.

Here are some of those thoughts:

Vocabulary:

It could be my age, or maybe I am just not clueing in on tall the changes that are happening in today’s social culture. I am just having a difficult time with all the new words that have emerged. Words like, “cancel culture”, I still am clueless of what it exactly means. Does it mean that we cancel something like we would with a streaming site? When we cancel our subscription of the daily newspaper being brought to our door?

Then lately there is the term “woke”. I have no light going off in my head to let me know what they are talking about when they use this term. Woke to me is what defines us being conscious with our eyes wide open. Wikipedia defines the word as such:

Woke (/ˈwoʊk/WOHK) is a term that refers to awareness of issues that concern social justice and racial justice.[4] It is sometimes used in the African-American Vernacular English expression stay woke.

In the light of that definition it is somewhat understandable. I guess I would be considered “woke”, for I feel I am aware about social and racial justice. Those would require several new posts to deal with those issues.

Blogger Shock

When I left high school I had obtained five English credits, far more than what was required to graduate.

I heard about a certain person having a blog, so I decided to give it a look. I was shocked, it was one long rambling paragraph. There were no breaks when the thought changed. There were many grammatical errors and also wording. I thought to myself if this was to be turned in to be marked as a homework assignment it would received a failing grade. I can normally look past all those things, but this blog post was beyond the pale. I didn’t even bother to read the whole post and I cannot tell you what the writer was trying to convey.

Rebranding

After this shock I began to think about my own blog. Thoughts about how I could change things up, give it some cosmetic surgery, leading to maybe changing the structure of the blog. Thoughts about dedicating each day to a specific topic, but I am not sure I am willing to be that disciplined. Which topics would I use and on what day?

So dear reader those were some of my thoughts which was rambling around in my almost sixty year old brain!