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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sanity

"When you think of yourself as 'restored to sanity,' what picture of yourself comes to mind?"
                            Stephanie S. Covington, Ph.D.  A Woman's Way Through The 12 Steps


Sometime in the last twelve months I downloaded an e-book to my Kindle.  The title is Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.  I thought I would try doing some visualization techniques to imagine what positive changes I would like to happen in my life.  I quickly felt myself resisting trying this.  It seemed wrong for me to imagine my desires being fulfilled.  Now I think that this must be some kind of residual sickness within me.  Imagination is a tricky thing.  It can work towards the negative or the positive.  It seems to me that knowing what I want that is healthy and reaching for it is a worthy goal.

Living life with a strong sense of sanity is what I want always.  Sanity is balance, clarity and harmony even amidst outer turmoil.  I literally know what it is like to be insane and now I have been partially restored to sanity.  This is the clarity of contrasts and it makes me very grateful to be alive.  Part of my sanity comes from living in the present moment.  Before I went insane I was a fantasy addict.  I imagined being in a relationship with one person or another, but never approached the person I was fixating on.  I lived inside my head a lot.  Then I crashed into out and out delusions.  My sense of isolation from humanity reached a peak even when I went to support groups or talked to my therapist.  I knew that no one could really understand what I was going through.  I sat with that for years and in some ways I still sit with it.

My life is a lesson about needing to learn how to take care of myself.  My therapist told me last week that I was spiritually advanced and was just now learning to reconnect to my body and other people.  Reconnecting to my body lately has been changing my diet to mostly vegan and getting daily exercise for nearly two weeks now along with stretching off and on throughout the day.  I have also been connecting with a few people by going to my first Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous meeting and to three Al-Anon meetings.  And I keep in touch with a dear old friend every week.  And there are a few others that I am developing a friendship with.  But, of course, there is more work to be done.  I still smoke, though I tried quitting a couple of times this year.  My home is disorganized and dirty.  I have not been using the studio space I leased.  I am going through the twelve steps very slowly.  Compared to being in a love addicted relationship and in acute psychosis these are relatively minor problems.  But still, becoming fully restored to sanity means living a deeply healthy life in body and mind.

To become very healthy I must work, plug away every day.  Eat right, exercise, try to quit smoking again, commit to creative work and spiritual work, clean and organize my home.  I am relieved and happy that there are now two Al-Anon meetings fairly close to my home that I can go to each week.  And there are always many telephone meetings available as well.  My therapist is great and I look forward to meeting with her each week.  The friends that I have are great too.  I am making progress. I have all that I need to be happy.  So I see my future self as slim and healthy living in a clean and organized home with plenty of friends focused on creative and spiritual work.  That is the creative visualization I am going to try to manifest in my life; that is sanity.
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