A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Back From Spoleto Festival

We stayed at a Hampton Inn on the perimeter of the historic district in Charleston within walking distance of the various performances, though there was a bus stop conveniently just across the street. The hotel was very nice (and not too expensive) and came with a full breakfast. Various coffees and teas were available all day and night and in the afternoon they put out trays of freshly baked cookies as well as donuts. There was a courtyard with tables and chairs and a swimming pool. Despite the heat we would have our breakfast outside in the shade. Very soon after we arrived we went to a nice restaurant less than a block away. I had mussels for an appetizer and trout for a main course. The trout surprised me at first because it consisted of the entire fish. I don't know if I've ever had fish that way but it was very good and there was no need to complain. It was completely deboned and easy to eat. I conveniently forget that the meat and fish I eat come from once living creatures, so this was a gentle wake-up call. Soon after we finished our dinner we went to see a performance of Verdi's Requiem. It is an operatic performance with a bass, tenor, mezzo-soprano and soprano and a full chorus. I had gone to a performance of it several years ago at the festival. Then it made an impression on me but this time I think I was too tired. My mother has been a fan of opera since she was a girl and when I was growing up she would take me to the opera a couple of times a year but this performance was solely music without any spectacle. My brother dutifully sat through it but did not enjoy it much. His musical tastes are eclectic but don't include opera of any sort.

I won't go into all the things we went to see and hear, I'll just say we went to two chamber music concerts, a play, a musical performance by an avante-garde composer named Philip Glass (which I did not like), the aquarium and the last night my mother and I went to the ballet (Swan Lake). And, of course, we ate out at some good restaurants. Due to the stress of the first 24 hours, the voices were a bit active but as we slowed our pace down, they settled down too. So initially I was uncomfortable, I felt too hot and too overweight and I worried about getting my clothes dirty. Also, my parents didn't get me a smoking room (they want me to stop...). I've been used to that before but though I smoked less I felt more tense than usual. Still, all and all it was a good trip. I got to see my parents and spend time with them. They seemed pretty good. Very little bickering between them. And my brother, though he got annoyed a few times, was generally pleasant (he can have a sharp tongue at times when irritated).

I brought three books (I don't know why) and my notebook but did little reading or writing. Either no time for it or I was too tired. After lunch we would retire to our rooms and nap for a couple of hours and then take a walk and go to dinner and an evening performance. I find I can stay active for a week or two but then I have to go home and return to my slow rhythm and I'd say that's true for my family as well. I think initially my mother wanted us to do more but she too needed rest in the afternoon, especially since it was hot and humid walking around outside. The last full day we were there my parents got a call from their retirement community saying that their apartment had a flood because of a broken pipe, but even that news didn't bring my parents too down. So, we left on Friday morning, we all took the same plane to Atlanta Georgia, the place where we could get our connecting flights home but had to wait several hours once we got there. We had lunch at a food court and sat a talked for a while. Then my brother and I saw my parents off saying we would see them in August. Our flight was delayed due to thunderstorms but since I had left the car at the airport we were in no rush because no one was meeting us. Once we were in the air I did a lot of praying for us to have a safe trip. I'm just more nervous in planes now, not sure why. The flight was relatively short and I was relieved when we landed. Thunderstorms at home too.

Yesterday I was driving over to my brother's house to pick up Allie when my front right tire blew. I was so grateful that it hadn't blown when we were on the highway coming home which could have been very dangerous. So I hiked to my brother's house and decided then and there that I would get myself a cell phone, something I've been putting off because of the added expense. It would make me feel so much more secure on the road, especially during the winter months. It was a lucky thing this time that my brother's house was in walking distance so that I could use his phone to call triple A. It took a couple of hours before someone came to help because it was the weekend. The plan was that he would put the spare tire on but when he got part way through he said the car would have to be towed because something had actually broken. So I had him tow it to the place I usually go for car troubles and I will call early tomorrow morning to tell them about my car and ask them to try and fix it. Tomorrow I can hike into town to get some more pills and work in the library and Wednesday I can hike into town to see my therapist, but Tuesday I had a mammogram scheduled and I probably will have to reschedule that appointment which is unfortunate but not serious.

The main difference between this trip and trips taken within the last seven years is that I felt comfortable talking with my parents and brother. I could engage in the conversations because the voices are so much quieter and respectful. This is a great relief and leaves me feeling hopeful that I will continue to recover. Not much more to say for now. I'm still somewhat tired, still adjusting to being home again but the weather here has been lovely, sunny days and comfortable temperatures. It was good to get outside yesterday. I hope you all had a good week...
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