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.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Reaching Out


I woke up three hours late today and when I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror I saw that my left eyelid was swollen. I looked lopsided and unattractive, not an auspicious start to my day. I wrapped some presents for my uncle because his birthday is early next week and went to the post office to mail them off. When I got home I made a decision to call my phone company to see if I could get high speed internet service as well. Using the telephone became hard for me sometime after I became ill. I have a fear of talking to strangers and appearing awkward, but I’ve been wanting to get high speed internet service for the past 6 months and my desire for it outweighed my discomfort, at least temporarily. So I called and went through a rather uncomfortable 20 minutes talking to the sales representative.

Her named was Anna and she was very serious and businesslike, a little curt, but ultimately patient. I felt like an idiot. I couldn’t even give directions to my house. I didn’t know what kind of long distance service I had. She wanted me to send her either a fax or an email of my current internet provider’s bill, so that I could take advantage of a special promotion that would save me money. I had no idea how to email the bill or how to fax it. She remained silent while I fumbled for words. Eventually we got through the call. She set up an all day appointment for the service people to come and set me up this Friday.

After the call, I continued to feel very foolish and restless. Depression set in and I lay down to take a nap. The nap lasted about 3 hours and when I woke up I still felt down. I knew I had to change my attitude, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I would reach for a book, then put it down, or get up and go to the kitchen to get some food and then stop and head back for the couch, sit down, stand up, feel befuddled. This is a sign of depression for me, when I can’t make up my mind. I feel as if each choice I make will somehow hurt me. Eventually I sat down in front of the computer and started writing this blog entry.

I am a few steps closer to doing a podcast, but it’s not going to be easy. Well, setting it up might be easy enough, but actually speaking for 20 to 30 minutes will be harder. I can understand why people interview other people on their podcasts; it’s hard to be interesting all by your lonesome. I thought it would be easier because I’ve been talking into a tape recorder for over 6 months now and I can do that pretty well without boring myself. Now I’m talking into a microphone and recording it on GarageBand, a Mac audio program for making podcasts and/or your own music. It’s a very different experience than talking into a little tape recorder. For one thing, my voice is amplified when I put on the headphones and that makes me feel very self-conscious. For another thing, without a topic and some notes to follow I get lost and then stop talking and then there’s this gap in the recording. But basically I need to have something worthwhile to say.

Making the first podcast is the hardest part because I feel the need to introduce myself and tell some personal things about myself. I’m going to call the podcasts--Yin And Yang Radio, but I feel silly saying that too. I’m going to say it anyway because I want to keep the podcast connected to my blog Yin And Yang and I need to call it something. I went online and did some research on how to do a successful podcast. The advice I got was, don’t use music and/or video as filler (though I would like to include a couple of my songs here and there sometime) and that people downloaded the podcast to listen to you say something, so stick to saying something interesting. Also when you stop having something to say, end the podcast, don’t try to stretch it out for another 10 minutes. The advice was also to include your friends because one person talking can get dull. Me, I’m going to have to fly solo in the beginning. Once I get used to it I might coax my brother into letting me interview him.

But before all that I would like to have high speed internet access, so I’m praying that whoever comes tomorrow with be able to hook me up. I would like to listen to more podcasts and learn from them. My podcast will be a rank amateur recording, but that’s okay. I just want to gradually break out of my self-imposed isolation and this seems like an interesting way to try and do that. I want to share my story and try to reassure people that the stigma of mental illness doesn’t have to stick and that people can and do start to recover usually after acknowledging their illness, seeking help and becoming med compliant. In some ways I want to follow Christina Bruni’s lead in sending out a message of hope. I particularly want to support those who are suffering from acute psychosis, to let them know that I have been where they are and that I believe in their ability to get through the worst of their illness.

I’m not sure why I’m so determined to do a podcast. When I was acutely ill I lived in such isolation, stumbling upon a podcast by someone who suffers from schizophrenia could have opened up my perspective and given me a lot of comfort. Actually hearing someone say: take the meds, might have gotten me to take the meds sooner. I’ve talked about starting a support group, but I never got the courage up to do it. I’ve been afraid to talk to people, but here alone in my house, I might be able to finally reach out to others. Even if I fall flat on my face, I need to give this a try. There’s something magical about talking, it has the power to heal when treated practically and positively. It will be good for me and maybe good for others and that’s the best reason I can think of to do it.








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