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

A Re-Blog: Does Sexuality Matter? — My Mindfulness Living

This is one of the questions that we ask from ourself and yet hesitate to share our opinion with others. The bitter side is asking this question not because of the curiosity about the answer, but because of the discomfort judgements of the society. Actually, does sexuality matter? Here I’m not going to give you […]

Does Sexuality Matter? — My Mindfulness Living

Busted Spirit On The Mend

“It is a better thing by far that the lad should break his neck, than that you should break his spirit.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson


It was in the late eighties just a year or two before I tried to commit suicide the issue I wanted to end was that my spirit was totally broken, crushed.

I left the ministry, a second marriage on the rocks, worried about my daughter who was coping diabetes. All those events felt like the four walls were closing in.

At times in the past twenty-five years I feel envious of this millennial generation because they have no barriers about issues like those of my generation didn’t speak about publicly. Subjects like marijuana, gay life style, living common law, from the surface they are more at ease with the those issues.

I recognize that they still have their issues, break ups, depression, body image shaming, low esteem. As I read many of the blogs in this WordPress community I admire how many feel totally free to bare their souls without fear.

In the sixties the young were seen as rebellious, named by the those looking inward “hippies”. Love ins, men with long hair, smoking pot, loud rock concerts. It was that generation who protested the war in Vietnam. Every night on the evening news footage showing them protesting everywhere including in front of the White House.

I have found that when someone has a broken spirit they turn to self-harm, alcohol, hard drugs, the list too long to put in one post.

A broken spirit is not so easy to heal, when it does the scars can be raw and easily ripped opened. There are still some scars that if I am not careful they get ripped opened. A drama who is portraying certain subjects brings about a tidal wave of negative emotions.

I have at times have asked friends who without knowingly bring up a subject to please find something else to chat about.

So dear reader if you are one of those with a broken spirit there can be a light at the end of the tunnel. There is no shame in having one, if you have a friend who you can trust wholly reach out, start a conversation, unload to them for in so doing your broken spirit will start to mend.


A Reblog: Hatred From An Unlikely Source – Internalized Homophobia — Overcoming OCD

Did you know that gay and bisexual man are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the population? Or that LGBT+ are one and a half times more likely to develop depression and anxiety than heterosexuals? June is Pride Month and I think this is the perfect time to talk about […]

via Hatred From An Unlikely Source – Internalized Homophobia — Overcoming OCD

This Isn’t My Father’s Generation

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“Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

There is a tug-of-war happening around the world sparked by a video showing a cop with his knee on a black man’s neck.  In eight minutes, forty-six seconds George Floyd was dead.

On one end of the rope is some white people who are trying to pull the world backwards into one where they are superior.  One white man especially doesn’t want America to move forward, he would rather go back to a time where Black people didn’t have any rights, an America where Black people were considered less than a human.

Now on the other end is a new generation tugging to bring the world into a world where all men are truly equal, no more, no less.  These are the ones you see on the news channels marching in the streets all around the globe.  Signs with “Black Lives Matter”, “Defund the Police”.  In the multitudes there is a wide spectrum of people. Young, old, white, black, gay, straight, transgender, etc., are on a grass roots mission to bring the world into the twenty-one century.

So dear reader, if 2020 ends without any progress then all those voices crying for justice has been in vain!

Pride, Prejudice, Psychology!

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“Understand that sexuality is as wide as the sea. Understand that your morality is not law. Understand that we are you. Understand that if we decide to have sex whether safe, safer, or unsafe, it is our decision and you have no rights in our lovemaking.”
― Derek Jarman

Pierre Elliot Trudeau: {1967} ‘There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation’

prej·u·dice
/ˈprejədəs/
noun
      1. 1.
        preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
        “English prejudice against foreigners”

 

I have been giving this post a lot of thought over the past several days.  I wanted the best quotes I could find about the subject. The first one is new to me, but, the second one is from the Senior Prime Minister Trudeau, which I learned about in high school.

I feel safe in saying that many of us have preconceived ideas about one thing or another.  Where did we learn these things, from our parents, peers, school, reading, or television.

Imagine if our preconceived idea of seeing a man and woman holding hands was repulsive.  Maybe denied insurance coverage for being a heterosexual being, or portrayed on tv shows as some type of freak.  Now, how would you feel? Some would hide the fact of their sexuality, pretend to be gay, or just outright be proud of being heterosexual.

Now how would your mental health be doing?  Over time not so good, thoughts of depression, inferiority feelings, to the point to where there is contemplation of suicide.

I believe I have described the life of a LGBTQ person over the past forty years. Here are some facts from Homewood Health

LGBTQ+ Mental Health Facts1:

  • Members of LGBTQ+ communities face higher rates of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and phobic disorders, suicidality, self-harm and substance use
  • Members of LGBTQ are twice as likely to experience childhood maltreatment, interpersonal; violence, and personal loss
  • The risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within the LGBTQ+ community is double that of those that identify as heterosexual
  • Sexual minority individuals are two and a half times more likely to attempt suicide and are one and a half times more likely to have depression and anxiety than heterosexual peers
  • LGBTQ+ youth face approximately 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse as heterosexual peers
  • Some research suggests that abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other substances may be two to four times higher among those that identify as LGBTQ

So dear reader, when you are thinking some preconceived idea about a person, persons, gender, think about this post!

Pride Comes In All Colors…

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“When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”–Barack Obama

*** This is not a post to bash, humiliate, judge, deride. It is not a sermon to discuss right or wrong.  So, it is my hope that you will not just click to the next post on your reading list.***



June is Pride Month

Gay pride truly started way back in 1969 at Stonewall In.  The gay people grew tired of the persecution from the authorities, their raids on them which were very frequent.  This frustration boiled over and the gay community decided to fight back, this lasted for three days.  Bystanders were heard calling out “Gay Power”, someone started to sing “We Shall Overcome”.

The fight drew more people to gather to see what the commotion was about.  People were also heard shouts of “Fagot cops”, “Pigs”.  This was the beginning of the coming together of the gay people.

In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexual from the list of mental illnesses.

In 2014 the United States Supreme Court struck down all of the bans for gay marriage.  It then was legalized.

The are many lessons that can be gleaned from this movement here is what I think:

  • Anything worth having is worth fighting for
  • We are all part of the same race, the human race
  • We all have a inner desire to love and be loved
  • Name calling and shaming needs to stop
  • We may disagree with something but they may also disagree with you

So dear reader, I want to raise a salute to all those who paved the way through the years for the freedom of LGBTQ community!

Black & White & Grey?

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“Break your bad labels instead of living in them.”
― Orrin Woodward

When we are born, we are born with a very limited amount of tags.  Boy, girl, given name, and surname.  Basically we are a completely blank slate.

As we grow we are taught how to place labels on others.  Fat, skinny, tall, short, gay, straight, etc.,   We also place labels on ourselves, I’m stupid, ugly, dumb, crazy, we start believing the labels we have placed on ourselves.  Almost a self – fulfilling prophecy. 

Self-fulfilling prophecy refers to the socio-psychological phenomenon of someone “predicting” or expecting something, and this “prediction” or expectation comes true simply because one believes it will, and their resulting behaviors align to fulfil those beliefs. This suggests peoples’ beliefs influence their actions. Wikipedia

Even religion likes to place labels on people.  We place labels on others to make ourselves feel better.

I grew up being called skinny, that I would never be anything, fag, all the names that kids use on the school yard playground.  Yes, I admit I was skinny, when I entered high school I only weighed about ninety-nine pounds.

I went through school feeling inadequate, less than a human.  It wasn’t until I became proficient in my musical skills that I began to feel good about myself.

I traveled around Canada and parts of the States meeting people of all cultures, colors, shapes and sizes.  I never, not once, met two people who were the same.  Oh, they may have similiar characteristics, but as a whole totally different.

When I left active ministry I began to shed all those habits of labeling others. Why, I found that as I began to know the person, I found that maybe the label I would have placed on him or her did not fit. 

I remember a chorus I learned in Sunday School:

Jesus loves the little children,

All the children of the world,

Red and yellow, black or white,

They are all precious in His sight.

 

I found out that life is not all black & white or even grey.  It truly is all the colors of this world!