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, November 30, 2008

Waking Up

I guess what's stopped me from writing these last couple of weeks is a conflict between the desire to be positive and the need to be honest. Honestly, I've been having an increase of the voices and depression. This means I spend more time lying down and doing little, either falling asleep or exploring my thoughts and psychosis. That sounds kind of negative, but actually it helps me to stay stable. It is a combination of relaxing and reflecting that seems to ease some of the general negativity. Still too much of anything is not good and so I keep waking myself up.

My brother invited four people over to my house for Thanksgiving dinner. Two days before Thanksgiving I still hadn't done much cleaning, but after a little praying and saying some affirmations ("I CAN clean my house.") I did start to clean. When I was done, it wasn't perfect, but it was much improved and I felt willing to have people into my house. Turns out only three people came, all of whom I loosely knew. The one woman was someone who I had wanted to get to know better. She was a long time friend of my brother, sort of like an older sister to him over the years. I knew she (and probably everyone in the small group) knew that I suffered from schizophrenia. I knew that she probably knew some intimate details of my life. I trusted my brother and so I trusted that she was a good person who would treat me gently.

And she did. She was kind and supportive and funny and so I liked her. Yes, there were a few awkward moments throughout the night, but nothing major. She said early on in the afternoon that she wanted to hear my music because she was also a song writer. Later she reminded me, well, really put me on the spot, but I didn't completely want to say no either. I played a couple of songs on the tape player, but then felt too self conscious. The woman asked if she could borrow my tapes to listen to and make copies for herself. I wound up giving her four partially completed tapes, including the tape that I sent to the rock star at the onset of the acute stage of my psychosis. It was a daring gesture on my part because I didn't exactly know what I was giving her. I hadn't listened to most of it in a while. But one thing I did know was that the songs were between 10 and 13 years old, nothing new and my voice was in better condition. My lyrics may be suspect, I don't know, I was just out of an abusive relationship and I was still angry, so some of the songs are angry songs.

Anyway, that was Thursday and today is Sunday and I haven't yet heard back from her, so I don't know what her response to my older work was. I feel embarrassed right now. I think I put on an attitude then that I just couldn't put on now. I've been through too much horrible stuff since then and it has changed me physically, emotionally and mentally. I am not the same person I was a decade ago. In some ways I feel defeated and in other ways I feel humbled, which is better.

This woman will be leaving to go live in Florida for the next four or five months, but maybe when she gets back in the spring I can work on some music with her. I've been working on some new songs. It would be amazing to actually work with a real live human being. Most of what I've done creatively in my life, I've done alone--sing, play guitar, dance, paint, write. Now maybe a door is opening nearby, a door I can walk through once I stir up some confidence. I used to be a solitary performer. Maybe this woman will help me and maybe somehow I can help her too.

You know what I didn't do on Thanksgiving? I didn't give thanks with my heart, I was so preoccupied with people that I forgot what the whole occasion was about. But just welcoming people into my home was a good thing all around, something I should do more of.
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