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, September 1, 2016

Praying For Continued Motivation

I have been praying off and on for a while to organize and clean my home.  It's been a serious problem for me ever since I went into psychosis.  This Monday I began the process and worked all day organizing my studio space in my living room.  I knew that if I wanted to keep up with doing artwork at home that I needed to have easy access to my supplies and books.  I succeeded in creating a work station, but the rest of my home is in disarray.  I have another work station in my dining room area where I keep my support books and journals.  Because I've been moving things that area is a mess and so far today I don't want to deal with it yet.

And then there is my library room which is overflowing with books.  I've been gradually transferring my art books to my living room work space, which is exciting because I haven't looked at them seriously in years and I have many good books, thanks in part to my mother who had great taste in giving me books as presents.  I managed to pack up three boxes of books to give to the local library.  They have a major book sale each year towards the end of September.  I might be able to give away several more boxes of books which will free up needed space.  My books are loosely organized and I'd like to change that.  I want easy access to books and to make a habit of returning books to the library room after I've looked at them.

I live with intermittent voices in my mind and generally feel the presence of them even when they don't speak.  They have moved into a darker place lately and have been trying to hurt me.  I have thought of them as my companions and friends a lot, but lately they have been more detached about sharing information about themselves and more negative about me.  I know that regardless of how they are feeling and expressing themselves that I must take care of myself, make myself the top priority especially when they want to pull me down.  I really value them and the support some of them have given me over the years, but the other ones that are sicker I need to detach from them and wait it out.

I need to appreciate how much they have changed from at times insanely abusive to generally decent and mostly kind.  It is a miracle in my life to have survived the worst of this illness and to have gotten to a place where I feel safe.  Sometimes I wish that they would be removed from my consciousness because all of their problems and issues are a bit of a burden to me.  At the same time, because of my firm belief in a higher power or presence that affects all of us, I know that there is a good reason why I am connected to these voices and that I must be patient with the process of learning and growing.

My life is good.  I feel blessed and grateful for the blessings.  Of course I feel pain and confusion along the way; that is the human condition.  Pema Chodron has called it "the fundamental insecurity of being human."  That insecurity, a sense of not being sure about the direction I'm going in, allows for an opening to the many choices available to me every minute.  I seek guidance from the powers that be several times a day.  I ask for direction and generally I find my way.

The voices have had a mixed reaction to all the art work I've been doing.  They like to toy with my ego either by overestimating my work or underestimating it.  My assessment is the more important one.  I know I have some talent and skill and I know that I have a lot to learn and a lot to study.  After this creative surge I do have to push myself to continue.  I think it is very important that I play as much as possible with the different mediums I have.  It's not good to get too serious.  Art making should be about joy.
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