Slow and Steady

I am in a very fortunate position to have a safety net to fall back on in times of crisis. My family has always been there for me throughout the years, despite all my crash and burn events. It makes me wonder what life will be like when they are gone. What would I do if it all fell apart again? Hopefully I would be able to work something out, but the thought is worrisome. I still think that having a support structure is really important to recovery, since its not always an easy road. That is why I am getting back to volunteering, but also just good common sense. I know from experience that if left unchecked, I will slowly deteriorate into dust. Monitored, poked and occasionally questioned is best, since it keeps me in the present and also forces me to come face-to-face with my actions.

Right now, in this uncomfortable interval, I am homeless but not hopeless. I am pursuing justice as well as exerting my energy towards a MH career. I also have come to realize these things are not going to move at a speed that I feel normal about, nor are things going to be in my control very often. I am finding that the more little things I push into motion, the less control over the outcomes I have. I then find myself in this limbo between events, where I am unsure how to occupy myself without guilt. I have made with the fun for the most part with these past days, admittedly. Now I feel like I need to “get serious” or something and stop allowing myself to have largely unregulated fun. I feel guilty about doing things that are not productive, yet keep me distracted while the wheels are turning somewhere in the background. Maybe this type of conjecture is not resolvable, since there are great arguments to be made on both sides.

So I’m in a type of sullen paralysis where I do what feels good but, subsequently, feel rotten about it. It’s not like I have demonstrated a desire to not work, or an eagerness to loaf. I do not prefer these as default states, as I have mentioned before, but vastly prefer ordered time be justified and valid. Work allots play, and so on. Now, however, things are different. I am not coping effectively with the feelings I am having and I feel like it is only a matter of time before I wear out my “welcome” and generate animosity in my environment. I fear this outcome though do not overly expect it will be true. These are things I fear. Hence the purpose of this place: to vent my feelings idly into cyberspace to avoid their residency in my brain. Ideas don’t stay in and not do anything.

So Blog, I am thinking that I will try to post daily, and start documenting the feeling I am having through this process. I have decided not to go back to doing therapy with Margaret as she has proven to be a bit out of touch now that we see each other so infrequently. I’m not in a regular therapy kinda place. I have the fundamentals down pretty well, but need real hands-on experiences dealing with all sorts of issues as they arise. Whether my interpretation of something internally or an observation about something outside myself, I need to know I have the tools and can use them. I find my parents and their dysfunctional system of communication is a good place to start.

I will keep posting as the days go on, and new emotions come up. We are all going through these things together at different times in our lives. This is my time to struggle,  and soon it will be yours.

Conflicted

Here I am doing a check-in experiencing some emotional turbulence. I am thinking about my past relationships longingly, aching in the way that love feels once it has gone from a place. I still remember the feeling of being in love with incredible longing. It is a place I most enjoyed when I was there, but realize the intrinsic cost involved. Experience love = lose stability. I have a feeling this is still true, despite my evolved state. I could probably make a relationship work if things continued in this way, but will I? Probably not. Even in an ideal circumstance, it adds a new and unattractive variable to a life that is becoming well managed on its own. I do believe we all have a different way of being wired into our perceptions of reality. Mine have been wired differently than yours, and where you might need a relationship to feel complete, I realize that will never be my fate. I have tried to walk that path and nearly destroyed myself over and over again. I think back on love and still miss it, yes. Does that necessitate changing my life direction? Is it so overwhelming that I must bend to its will in order to survive?

I am back on PsychCentral too and posting on the forums. There are potentially dozens of people out there who could use help. I need to polish my profile, get out there and comment. I can be a resource for many more people than are locally available. More impact. More change. More listening. All of these aspects of MH care I am embracing and pursuing. The future looks bright. I know I have been on about this, but MH should excite you too, when you think about the positive future good care leads to.

#1333

I’m capping off a good evening by myself with a little mental health check in.

Emotionally, I’m very stable and consistently happy. Ever since I moved in with my parents, I have been doing much better in terms of my mood being more up than down. I do have moments of lethargy and anxiety, but I find that I remain confident. I know I’m continually adding more to my schedule, not stagnating. I’m turning the volume up slowly, patiently. As my new career path begins to unfold. My emotions have been good, and steady.

Anxiety has been a bit of a challenge, and has made going out a little harder. I find that because my dad is handicapped, his need to go out and do things is more important than my anxiety about not going. I know he needs my help and I will always be there for him. So I kind of have a cheap escape from a lot of the agoraphobia in my righteous task. Its empowering to be a caregiver, and be so integral to the success of the mission.

That is the actual number of total posts on my blog: 1,333 including this one. Most of those posts are complete bullshit crap festival. Some of it is processing, but oh my the venting. I’ve done more yelling at this blog than any person in my whole life. If you could run away blog, I bet you would have by now.

I have gone through a lot of “learning,” or stepping on an explosive and being blasted through the air like a floppy rag doll. Lessons are hard earned, but I have the trauma to prove I’ve gained something from it all. The fact that I can come out and share my story is a part of why I am having success with coping. Everyone should share and draw the venom from the wound. We spend so much time burying things we don’t want to deal with when the truth is coping, exposing, understanding. This is what I have come to see clearly.

I hope tonight finds you being introspective, and looking inward for truth and meaning. We are so frivolous sometimes. We take our stability for granted, and are ill prepared when it is ripped away. I don’t sit around calculating contingencies or anything, but instead, I have loosened my grip on the reins. I don’t want to try to control things outside myself anymore. I have a hard enough time handling my own monkey fuck zoo. To manage anything outside of that has proven itself to be impossible.

So I isolate myself from partnership and pursue good mental health for the remainder of my eroded life. I’ve fucked up pretty bad, but now I have a real shot to change something that matters. This brings me a new level of profound worth that is stronger and more meaningful than any accomplishment I have yet achieved. To save someone from darkness. To offer that hand right before they slide over the edge. I want to help now. I don’t want to go on a slave to the machine. Even after my parents are gone and my resources are all used up, I will still work for the poorest and most disadvantaged. I have nothing of worth in this world but the life I have lived and the memories I can make with others to help inspire happiness in their lives. Hopefully more people in this world will think of me as a good man than as a complete fuck up.

The Icon

This was something I was working on as my first marriage fell apart. I wanted the stigma to be faced with the ever-evolving perseverance of hope. There are lots of poorly illustrated labels going on here, but mainly, that even something as atrocious and repugnant as I can still be full of life. I am going to overcome this bio-hazard symbol and turn it in to something beautiful and alive. I am not my illness, and I refuse to be defined as such. I am a fantastic person, full of the complex intricacies of a well developed organism. I am proud of who I am and the plant continues to grow out in all directions. I am making this symbol, forgotten for the past 10 years, my future. It will represent the new direction I am headed; a place fueled by the promise of a better tomorrow. Whether I can make it happen for myself, or anyone else, I will try my hardest to make that happen. We all deserve a chance to thrive. I have been there, and it felt very good to be stable. I felt so proud. I want others to feel the same about the accomplishments they achieve. This symbol is me, and it always will be.

Learn By Eating Shit

Hello there bloggy place. I was thinking about my run-ins with relationships, as I still have a lot of feelings attached to this aspect of my adult past. It is not an area I have totally abandoned, but my military occupational presence there has been reduced to a bare minimum. I have fought many battles while suffering horrifying sums of casualties in this war. I have the scarred landscape to prove it, along with a turbulent past whose narrative is saddening. I have always had this deluded and incomplete idea for what it means to be with someone, which perpetuated an unrealistic reality. Was I a great communicator, friend or listener? I feel like I blew a lot of my own people up in the process of being defeated because I didn’t have the right state of mind to understand the nature of the dilemma. Love that is built on a foundation which starts with self-acceptance. I don’t even pretend to have fully grasped the concept, hence my current independent status.

I feel love in my heart still, old fondness for things that are long gone. Faces I once knew. You know how those things just sort of flutter back? I’ll be thinking idly here in my space and then I will think of her. I’ll remember something I had forgotten. This is an interesting problem for me, because I tend to have a variety of responses to these feelings coming back into my active mind. I often am triggered by music, but regardless, I have ways of spinning these potentially troublesome moments into something positive. I often feel the ache of the hurt associated with my exes, but then I think too of how they had each taught me something about myself and how beautiful they were.

I have been vocal about my downfall, which is part of the process of healing. For me, there is only one way out of the dark place, and that is the light of the truth. There is no escape with a self-gratifying delusion. There will be no light without acceptance, and recognition. I could never have come to realize the things I have about my personality and my flaws if I hadn’t come to accept just how badly I had fucked up. When things go wrong, the investigators are called in to figure out how the thing got fucked up and what made it break. Then we study, and learn EVERYTHING there is to know about “why.” Embrace where your own people fucked up, or where something wicked was intentionally done to you. There’s only so much we can control, right? Everything on the inside of me I can do something about, since that’s my domain. Or, I can try to exert as much control over that are as is possible. However, things on the outside I can’t do shit about, and I accept that some bad things are going to happen. How I respond to that is the true test of my skills. If I can respond articulately, I might be able to diffuse. I have often failed miserably at this task. This is another of the things I still have to learn as I go through my life.

Even after all the pain, there is still love. For me, that is beautiful, in a way. Each of them has a part of me that is only theirs, and always will be. It was a wonderful thing, when it was good and the love was strong. It was a thing that had a life of its own and grew between us, and with our love for each other we helped it thrive. The act is wonderful, and I feel very fulfilled having made beautiful memories in my life. I can go forward with enough goodness in me to last the rest of my days. I have those thoughts to go back to and remember that there was a time when being with someone was wonderful. There is also the lesson of failure there, which is why remembering is harmless versus reproduction. I don’t wish to re-create new memories of love, but only revisit the times that there was love. Though, I find I am, more or less, responding to these feelings of loneliness since declaring my independence. Knowing the path I have chosen is one I will probably walk alone has been humbling, but also invigorating and empowering. I have such confidence in my strength to be able to call back upon emotionally heavy times and not sink or rise in any unhealthy way. A sign of progress to be sure.

I bring this stuff up mostly as a way to process my emotions as I move through my life. I have decided not to send any more energy into the aspect of my journey that hopes to bind itself to another. I have resigned to the fact that I might be alone, or I might find someone out there who is the right fit. I am not going to force anything, and divert my energy towards rebuilding myself. I want to be strong and independent again. I remember feeling like an empowered intellectual, and I had a radiance that drew people to me. I want to get back to that point, where I felt good about who I was. A charismatic ambiance I want to capture again. It’s out there somewhere, and I am looking to rise back to that point once more. Getting involved in the mental health community is a big step in helping me to establish worth as I build towards that glowy place.

Thanks for being a part of my thought vomit session. I feel a lot more relaxed and confident in my direction. I know a lot of mentally ill people who really want to be with someone, and that’s not the way for me, and it might not be for some of them either.

Companions

On Thursday, I’m going to meet my Side by Side companion and see if I can help him. I’m pretty fucking awesome, so my hopes are high. I like meeting on the winter solstice too. Literally, the darkest day of the year and here I am holding tightly to the light of hope. To me, it’s an interesting coincidence, since every day can feel like the darkest day of the year to someone who is depressed. This captures the importance of tomorrow in both a literal and metaphorical significance. I am pleased by the nature of such oddities.

I have been visiting the San Diego NAMI office a lot lately and everyone there has been really great. They have turned me on to resources and may have even got my name moved up in the PET waiting list. I was expecting to be on hold until some time next year, after speaking with some savvy individuals. I feel very fortunate that I have been given this opportunity and I won’t miss out. Overall, I feel like I am taking patient, measured steps forward advancing my career and causes.

I live bound to my honesty. It is the backbone of my pride, and helps fend off depression and negative thoughts. I hope to illuminate the strength that can be found within, once one is willing to accept the truth. However foul or unforgiving, the basis of all recovery is to have ones feet in the real world, and work on the rest over time.

I don’t give advice anymore, especially since my in-depth education on mindfulness. I am learning more and more the two aspects of effective communication. Hopefully this peer to peer experience helps me build on my skills. I feel genuinely optimistic about this new direction in my life and know I am already starting to make a difference.

I am proud of who I am to my parents. They see me not only as their son, but a voice of moderation and reason in their sometimes turbulent relationship. I have always been called an “old soul,” despite my insistence that such descriptions are in accurate to my core beliefs. Nevertheless, I have this shamanistic sagelyness to my demeanor that generally appeals. All of these aspects help me be as friendly as lukewarm bathwater. These “medium” qualities help me keep my mother lassoed to the Earth as she rockets away from the surface at mach 8 and scoot the boulder of reason that is my father close to her. He’s just barely holding on to the balloon string most of the time. Now, there is a big piece of elastic underwear holding them together. I’ll let you imagine your way out of that one.

I do hope you all have a happy holiday season. Celebrate however you want, with those you hold dear. Cherish each other. We only have a widow of time together in this world.

Enrolled

I have been busy forwarding my career of mental health advocacy in recent days. I have also begun the process of building my mental health resume with my WRAP certificate. I am taking a Peer/Support training class, enrolled in Peer Employment Training in January and also volunteering with NAMI’s Side by Side program. I just went to the orientation for Side by Side the other day, and Alice already has someone she’d like me to be a companion for. As soon as my background check goes through, I’m likely to start meeting with a mentally ill peer and providing friendship, insight and guidance.

After accomplishments like that, I’m feeling quite good about my progress. I realize things are not going to rapidly unpack themselves towards goals, but steady incremental motions towards my horizon is all I’m hoping to pursue. I know what working 40 hours a week is like, and even in my advanced state of functionality, it’s a hard life to maintain without constant assistance. I support helping individuals find meaning through their workplace contributions, whatever environment they find themselves in. All of us need help finding the meaning and worth in things, especially when the news is negative. I do believe we have to think about progress in order to prevail. I hope to instill a sort of passion or vitality into my companions to help them see that life is still full of possibilities.

My MH career is just getting started, and I already feel the burden of stress lifted far from me. I don’t have to go to a place where I suffer for 8.5 hours in an environment where I am not wanted. I do not have to face the abuse and harassment of my coworkers who I am supposed to coach. I do not have to deal with supervisors who don’t understand my illness and do not sympathize with the way that I suffer with symptoms. Instead, I get to help people the same way I would have hoped to have been helped by those who could have helped me. I see where my boss and my peers went wrong in responding to my pain, and I learn from their mistakes for my own purposes. I know what it looks like to do things the wrong way, which makes me all the more capable of identifying how to do things a “better” way. Learn not only from yourself, but those who you see in the world.

I don’t mean to sound pedantic, but I am very energized about helping. This new career path is along the trajectory of progress towards better health. I know also that this is just the beginning and that many increasingly happy days are ahead. I hope my progress and enthusiasm helps inspire you to pursue mental health awareness. All of us are a community, and we should be looking out for each other. No one else is going to know what we’re going through, and it’s hard fucking work to help people see us. We should defend each other, and help the other percentage of the population understand. I want to start helping. I am helping. I will keep doing so for as long as I can.