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.
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