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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Mixed Bag

I started smoking again a couple of months ago, off and on, but last week I began getting a pain in my upper right arm when I breathed deeply. This was right around the time that I was about to go off to the Grassroots Music Festival for three and a half days. I began to worry about having a heart attack or a stroke, but didn't tell anyone. Instead I went to the music festival. I worried a bit, but the voices reassured me that I would not have a heart attack or stroke. They also told me to quit smoking on Monday and call my doctor's office to make an appointment.

Richard and his son Aaron took care of the kittens and Rob and I had a really good time at the festival. The pain in my arm went away by Sunday. I finished the last of my cigarettes and set my quit date for the next day. On Monday afternoon I called the doctor's office and made an appointment for Thursday (tomorrow). I told Richard, who is a nurse, about the pain in my arm and calling the doctor's office. He said I really shouldn't have waited and I know he's right, but at least I'm committed again to not smoking and I will see the doctor tomorrow.

I was surprised at how smoothly things went at the festival. I even felt confident driving at night when we headed back to the motel each night. The music was good, the food was good, most of the people were friendly and there was very little pressure.
Rob did complain that there was not enough African and Latin music and that the festival seemed to be getting progressively more "whitebread", but the last night we were there we got to see a female African singer, Oumou Sangare, and her band backed by a well known American banjo player named Bela Fleck. Bela Fleck had spent about five months exploring parts of Africa and playing music and learning music with other African musicians. After that performance, we got to see and listen to a very good Latin band called Novalima, from Peru I think. That wrapped up the night and the next day we went back home. I had been calling Richard at least once a day and when I got home, I saw that the cats and kittens were all very fine and I was grateful.

My parents arrive from Florida in a week. I have been cleaning only minimally, but I have to step it up. If all goes well, my father will be staying with my brother and my mother will be staying with me. All of the downstairs will not be finished, but the bedroom and the bathroom should be. This week, with Richard's help, I picked out some linoleum to cover the floors and that should be installed next Monday, just a couple of days before my mother settles into her room. It will be good to see my parents. I haven't since them since Christmas six months ago, but they will want to stay busy, which means I'll be doing a lot of driving my family around, since there's not a whole lot to do around where my brother and I live.

That's the thing about suffering from schizophrenia, at least for me, I'm not used to going out a lot or entertaining or cleaning, so I'll have to appear perhaps more together than I am, at least for a week. I think I can do it, mainly because going to the festival went so smoothly. I'm hoping that my doctor won't find anything really wrong with me tomorrow. I don't want to go in for tests at the hospital and all that. In fact, I've been very fortunate that I haven't had to be inside a hospital much ever, not even for my mental illness. I got through the worst of my psychosis mostly on my own with some help from my therapist.
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