Trying My Best to Stay Positive

“No matter what you’re going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you’ll find the positive side of things.” Demi Lovato


My best friend made a comment to me , “I am amazed at how well you are handling things”, that made me feel good.

I picture my brain as several filing cabinet drawers. Being someone who in high school took mainly business oriented subjects, filing seems natural to me. I organize my files on the computer into large and mini files. Even how I keep important papers, such as Tax Returns, etc., they are arranged in files in a filing cabinet.

I do my utmost best to keep my life in a filing system, that way I can concentrate on the task I am doing at that moment. I wasn’t always this way, I was the world’s best worrier on the planet. There were times that I would be such a scatter brain, always running full tilt trying to get things done. The one thing I could manage was arriving at appointments early, never late.

Maybe there is a name for a person who treats his mind as a filing cabinet, it wouldn’t surprise me…lol. When I am working on writing a post I can tune out the background noise, although I work best in the quiet of the evening. It assures me there will be few interruptions, like the phone.

My situation of my hip I am trying not to constantly dwelling on it. For some strange reason I am not overly concerned about the actual surgery, even though I have never had any surgery in my life. Yes, the pain stops me from doing many things, but lately meds are keeping the pain at a lower level. I get my sleep thanks to a sleeping pill, a pain killer, and two Tylenol 4’s.

Then I like to watch different shows with my best friend. We both like baseball and curling. At the moment he is teaching me about hockey. I don’t understand much about the game, but it is a distraction from everything happening around me.

Of course there is my dog, Natalie, and she can make me laugh with some of her crazy antics. I love it when she hops up onto the couch while I sit at the other end watching tv or reading a book.

So dear reader, do you have ways handling situations of stress, pain, and mental health issues? I would love to hear them!

Routine Blahs

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When you have a system, you kind of get in a routine of what’s important. And then you spend a lot more time on thinking of things that would make it better.

Nick Saban
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/routine-quotes

When in treatment they stressed that you followed a daily regiment.  Breakfast, meditation, shower, get dressed, and many other things for the day.

I would cope quite well while there, and would do well for a lengthy period of time when back at home.  Eventually I would fall back into old habits.  Since I live alone I do not have someone to do for.  I basically follow my feelings from day to day with the exception of taking all of my medications for each day.

As of this writing I am having routine blahs, nothing seems to motivate me, nothing except lethargy which is terrible as a person that leans towards depression.  Going for walks with my dog is fine but I just cannot spark any real enthusiasm.

So here I am sitting in front of my laptop suffering with a bad case of routine blahs!

Advocate, The Best Person For The Job

Webster’s defines an advocate as a person who pleads another’s cause, or who speaks or writes in support of something. A lawyer is an advocate when he represents his client in a courtroom. … A good advocate does his or her homework, and follows through on what they say they’re going to do.Jul 31, 2010

Have you ever listened to a child who is going through cancer treatment?  I have and it breaks my heart.  That child when he/she talks speaks as what an adult would say.  Their knowledge about the cancer and treatment is deep.  The disease demands for a child to grow up too fast.

When I attemted suicide with a bottle of sleeping pills caused me to have to learn about depression, being bipolar and a myriad of other things.  I still am learning about the issue of being bi-polar, the medications that my psychiatrist prescribes.  I quickly learned that I could not be passive about the issue I was dealing with.

I learned that I am my own best advocate!

My Pendulum

I have sat down at my laptop many times since my last post.  Each time I start one I find myself hitting the delete button.   When I write I want it to mean something, something worth saying!

It started last Monday when I received a phone call bright and early with a family member in distress.  What I found out later disturbed me greatly.  It brought back scenes of my own days of an abusive father.

So, I have been on the downward swing ever since.  I jump every time the phone rings, my heart begins to race.  Just like the adage declares, ‘sitting on pins and needles’.

Oh, I know deep down this is a setback, though minor.  I will find my way back to the other side of this.

All I can do is work to have my pendulum swing back to the happy side!

Comfortable?

 

man wearing green printed crew neck shirt while sleeping
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.

Ellen DeGeneres
When I entered high school I was a fish out of water.  I stood 6’1″ and weighed only ninety-nine pounds.  I was teased endlessly for being so skinny.  I felt initimidated by other guys my own age.  They were bigger, weighed much more, and some had full beards.  During gymn class I just wanted to climb into a locker and hide.  I just wasn’t comfortable in my own skin.
This feeling followed me for most of my life.  I did not follow in my father’s foot steps and he liked to make me feel small for it.  I chose to go to a high school that was pure academic, no trade classes.  I also worked on my piano skills so that I could follow a calling of singing and playing Gospel music.
Finally, after going through stays in the mental health ward I began to see myself differently.  My body had not changed much, I was still tall and skinny but I began to shed the taunts and teasing about my body.  I was learning to be comfortable in my own skin causing me to feel more relaxed around others.  I was no longer trying to gain acceptance by my peers.
It is amazing how my brain began to change of how I looked when I saw my reflection in a mirror.  My outlook took a dramatic turn.  I am no longer tall and skinny, but I have lost some height, just part of aging, and also have gain much weight due to a year of inmobility.
My acceptance of being bi-polar has also helped my comfortability of myself.
I am now comfortable in my own skin!

Old Habits

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Have you ever had a pair of jeans that you just hate to put in the trash bin.  I mean you have them broke in, comfortable, soft, and yes, almost down to nothing but white thread.  Holes in the knees and other places that your mom says is disgraceful.  Habits are like those pair of jeans.

I remember hearing someone talk about you can tell how an adult was raised by watching what they do after a meal.  If they are full of energy, it probably means after a meal their mother more than likely sent them outside to play.  The other scenario is after a meal the adult wants to lay down and take a nap.  It goes without saying that their mother probably had them take a nap after their meal.

With my dealing of being bi-polar I have had to deal with some of my old habits.  Negative thinking, procrastination, thinking about what it is like to be dead, all those and a multitude of more.  I am the first to admit I am a fifty-seven year old man who is set in his ways and I do not like change.

To deal with those old nasty, musty smelling habits you must commit yourself to change.  Change should mean progression, new attitude and outlook on life around you.  Not holding onto the pass, but trying to look ahead with the effort of moving forward.

The best place to start with old habits is taking those old pair of jeans and placing them in the trash can!

Too Critical!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Prison, Welcome To My Life

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

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

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

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

Next morning repeat the same as the day before.

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

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

Control

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

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

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

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

Echoes In My Mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conflicted Still

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

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

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

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

So I go from day to day conflicted still!

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!

Mole Hills, Mountains

 

daylight environment forest idyllic

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

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

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

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

Pamper Yourself!

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

Here are some things you may want to try.

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

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

Go ahead, pamper yourself.  You deserve it!

Movie Songs For Depression

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Photo by Lucas Pezeta on Pexels.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Size Dosen’t Fit All

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

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

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

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

One size does not fit all!

Unplugged!

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

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

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

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

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

What’s In A Name?

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“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”  William Shakespeare

I have been thinking about this post for several days.  I hope I can put it in writing like I am hearing it in my mind.

There are names that when they are mentioned you have a distinct definition of what they are.  Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, Blindness, all these we at least have a general knowledge about them.  All of them can be shown in x-rays, bloodwork, and other detection methods.

However, mention the term ‘bi-polar’ most are not sure exactly what it is.  For others they seem to have an image that is totally wrong.  Bi-polar is a distinct as the person who is suffering with it.  It is a disease that as of this moment does not show on a x-ray, or under a microscope in a blood test.

Bi-polar does not define who I am.  I am more than the disease, I am male, fifty-seven years old, and has various interests ranging from Gospel Music to Sherlock Holmes.  I am a father of a daughter, a grandfather to three grandchildren.

It does not determine my future, nor keep me trapped in the past, for I determine my day by placing my feet on the floor each and every morning when I awake.

I would like to challenge every reader to define yourself, do not let the disease difine you!

Same Dull Routine

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My life is pretty vanilla in that I don’t have much excitement each day.  My day to day life is predictable.

While in treatment you soon learned a daily routine.  Meals were at set times, you were expected to be out of bed have breakfast.  Somewhere between breakfast and the first group take a shower then get dressed. 

Groups were at set times in the schedule.  The only thing that would change from day to day was the subject matter.

The scheduled events of the day were to give you a sense of direction.  Planning was the key.  

At home in my day to day routine I try to stay on track.  Take medications roughly at the same time, going to bed takes on a definite pattern.  All of this keeps me from acting eracticly.  Even shopping, doctor appointments, I plan them carefully.  One reason is so that I do not over due causing tiredness which triggers panic attacks.

I cannot say whether this method would work for others, but, for me keeps me on track.  It gives me a feeling of normalacy.

It is the same dull routine, but I guess I love it.

Sense Of Purpose

I feel most people would agree that we all need a purpose to be able every morning to get up out of bed and place our feet on the floor every day of our life.

Depression in my situation took away my purpose, I felt so empty.  At one time I started planning a suicide by giving away my groceries to my best friend.  I just did not have a reason to go on any longer.  Once again I find myself back in treatment for my bout of depression.

I have moved past those days finding myself on the road to recovery.  I have a purpose to get out of bed.  That being my daughter and my grandchildren.  I love hearing all about their lives and always wait for news that they are coming for a visit.  The grandchildren are growing into fine young adults.  I enjoy my conversations with them they keep me laughing and feeling young again.

However, I have found a new purpose to put my feet on the floor.  That being writing posts for my blog.  I wrote about a new perception, but this is a new energy that I am experiencing.  Oh, I know that it may be that I am on a manic high, no matter what it is I love how I am feeling.

Maybe, you are one who is looking for a purpose, mine came so unexpectling all from starting to write about my struggles as a man who is bi-polar.  Al I can say to encourage you is this, keep trying to move forward.  You may take two steps forward, one step back but at least you are in motion.

My purpose found new excitement so yours maybe just around the next corner, the next day. Just keep moving!

Educate Yourself

I can remember my first stay in treatment I would attend groups and it all sounded like Greek to me.  I had no understanding whatsoever was being discussed. Terms like; ‘manic depression’, ‘bi-polar’, plus many others.  I can remember after a discussion on being bi-polar I asked for the definition of manic depression only to learn the terms were inter-changeable.

My pyschiatrist would talk about different medications that she was going to prescribe and I was totally lost.  My problem was multi-fold, I didn’t know how to ask her about side effects, what the medication was targeting, etc., etc.,

My second stay went much smoother.  I knew what to expect like meal times, group sessions, follow up questions both in groups and with my doctor.  I was more comfortable opening up during the groups and also with my pyschiatrist.

It has been close to fifteen years since that first stay in treatment and I am still trying to educate myself on myriad of issues.

By educating myself was also arming myself for others who would ask me questions.

Moral of the post, never stop learning!

A Practical Gospel

Mar 12:29-31 MSG
29  Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one;
30  so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’
31  And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

I have always known that the Gospel has to be practical.  People on the whole need help in all manner of things on what to do where the rubber meets the road.

Lesson Learned

These past several days have confirmed to me that people want preachers, pastors, teachers are like them.  No, they want to believe those leaders are not mired in the same sins as those who are listening.

When I was in the ministry I was never open about what was happening in my personal life.  I kept it shielded, compartmentalized, only let it out when I was by myself or with a close confidant.  I found that many Pastors are in the same boat.  They feel constrained, the burden of ministry weighs on them 24/7.  Some don’t even confide to their wives which starts to cause major problems within the marriage.  Pastors and those involved in the ministry are some of the lonliest people in the world.

Since I have started writing about my problems with depression, bi-polar, etc., the readers have shown me that I made the right step.  It has opened a whole new world to me causing some of my lonliness to disappear.

It now it is my fervent prayer that I can share more of my battles in life, yet at the same time share the Gospel of the Cross to the readers of my blog.

Keeping Concentration

During the worst times of my depression I could not seem to concentrate for very long times.  Doctor appointments required having my best friend with me so that if I asked what my doctor said he could refresh my memory.  There were times also that I thought I was showing the early signs of dementia.  My doctor put that to rest for me.  Silly how our minds try to spin all sorts of problems that do not exist.

Reading a book, working on the computer, plus other activities I enjoyed were put to the curb.  I just couldn’t hold my thoughts together.

I am improving in this area but I still have times of trouble with it.  What I have started doing is activities like Mahjong, Sudoku, and  reading short articles trying to make mental notes of what I had read.

I am not sure how many suffer the same effects of depression, but, I surely would like to know.  There is one area that I suspect might also be the cause, the medications I take.  I plan on asking for a complete list from my pharmacy so that I can research them on the internet.

Now, for something that has turned into something great.  Since writing about my journey I have heard from many of you.  I have found I am not alone, reading many of your blogs.  Again, thank you!

Every Day Is A Battle

conceptual-cover-covering-2224835I have found that to keep from sinking back into the dark abyss called depression I have to do maintenance every day.  Mornings start the battle, it would be easy to just pull the covers over your head and not put your feet on the floor.

Managing simple tasks seem to be overwhelming at times, you make something to eat, not really feeling that I want to, but, it is a matter of survival.

There are times when I see my doctor and ask if there are some meds that can be stopped, his answer is not that he can see.  Well, the blood pressure is good, but, I leave his office feeling slightly defeated.

Getting the energy to do grocery shopping seems like a big battle field that I have to navigate.  I ask myself, can I survive today without a panic attack.  I get through the cashier’s line without any minor or major developments.

When I arrive home it feels as if I have worked a double shift at a factory.  I grab a coffee and plop down on the couch to get a bit of rest.

Alcoholic Anonymous has the twelve step program, attending their meetings is a maor key in keeping their sobriety.  

The out patient group at the Mental Health Wing in the Hospital is available, the battle is getting there.  The bus service is so lacking.  It was so helpful while there as a patient and having a safe place where you can unload your fears and anxiety is so great.

It is the same with a Christian’s spiritual life, it has to be maintain.  Cannot allow the cares of life to overcome you.  It is essential to always have the armour of God on.

Eph 6:10-18 KJV
10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Yes, every day is a battle, but it also is a opportunity to win and move forward on the battle field!