I've been in Florida for just about a week. The weather has been lovely, far from the snow laden north/northwest and I have gone to the beach with my family twice. No problems on this end, though I have been worrying somewhat about my mother who, at age 80, is definitely starting to slow down. My father told me sometime this year that my mother has been diagnosed as having congestive heart failure, but it seems that the vast quantities of pills that she takes each day are doing much to extend her life. She has not talked about all this with Rob or me and so we have not talked about it with her. She seems happy and well adjusted and hopeful. I'm just happy to be spending some quality time with her. I have been recording my family's conversations, some of which have been quite interesting and will listen to them when I return home.
I know mortality is not much of a holiday topic, but it has been on my mind. My father, who is 82, gave me a long memo on what to do in case someone in the family dies. Morbid, yes, but necessary and I appreciate him taking the time to spell the procedure out for me, though I confess I have not read it through yet and probably won't till I'm settled back home. I don't really want to read it, but I know I must. My father has a rare form of leukemia that is very fortunately treatable, but still we don't know how long he will be around either. I guess it's normal to think of the death of one's parents once they've reached the age of 80. Also I don't get to see them very often, so that when I do, I wonder-will this be the last time?
My brother takes after my mother in that they are both talkative people. If my mother were to pass away, there would be a serious gap in our family. This is really the first time that I've considered the possibility and yet it is just a fact of life. None of us live forever. Of course, I do not want either of my parents to ever die, but I know, on a certain level, that I need to psychologically prepare for the eventuality. Having said that, I also know that I should not dwell on it and should make the most of the present moments of relative health and wellness.
Right now, we are all alive and well and enjoying each other's company. My parent's apartment is not quite big enough for me to have a room of my own, so I have been sleeping in the living room at night. For the most part this has been fine, but now I am beginning to get restless. I will be ready to leave on Friday and head back to my home, though I will miss the warm and sunny weather of my parent's home as I will miss my parent's company. I need to make a point of staying in touch with them, something I have not been doing so much these last 6 months.
The voices have been mostly quiet this trip. For some reason when I am in someone else's environment and living with their structure for a week or so, the voices recede only to return when I resume my solitude. That should tell me something about the need for human contact and for some structure in my life. And it does, but I still have a lot of trouble with both. I told my mother that I was going to try and volunteer where Bev works, a Catholic charities organization. She thought it was a good idea, but only if I enjoyed it and she suggested that I volunteer for a month to start with to see if I can handle it. I'm hoping that I can and that I do enjoy it, it would be a godsend if I did, giving my life some usefulness and purpose and curbing my reclusive tendencies. I will have to be interviewed by Bev's boss and checked out to make sure I'm not some kind of felon. I will be open about my schizophrenia.
So that's a New Year's resolution. Another resolution is to communicate with a local minister to discuss my situation and my need (and other's need) for some kind of support group. I have her email address and will just have to take the plunge and reveal my story to her. My therapist has met the minister several times and says she is very approachable. I've gone to church once or twice and listened to her sermons and also got a good impression of her. I really should be happy that there is someone to go to in my town with my request, I just wish I knew more about what starting a support group entails.
Anyway, happy and safe holidays to all and hopefully I will pick up the pace with writing in this blog when I get home again.
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.