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.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring, A Time For Work

A little over a week ago we had a snow storm but this week the temperatures have risen and nearly all of the snow is gone. Today it's reached 70 degrees. I haven't opened a window or stepped outside. There's a hawk in the area and most of the birds have gone even though I continue to feed them. I miss the raucous bluejays. So Spring may be here and it's time to switch from hibernation mode into awake and motivated mode. My depression still lingers even though I've gone out several times this week. I have to give myself a few days to readjust to warmer weather and then I have to get myself to sit outside. All this makes me think of the bear I saw at the end of last summer. I wonder where she is now and if she's fully awake after months of resting. Or is it still too soon? Is there another snow storm on the way? I'll enjoy the warm weather while remaining skeptical for another couple of weeks but really Spring is just about here. The hundreds of daffodils my brother planted a couple of years ago are pushing up from the earth and I feel hopeful. Time for new beginnings. Will I have the courage to rise above my circumstances this year?

I've begun my Spring cleaning in the kitchen. Washed and scrubbed the counters and dishes but there's a lot more to do. I start and stop and start again. It's hard for me to put in continuous effort towards anything. I resist labelling myself as lazy and know this is the result of a low level depression. It's up to me to have the courage to change myself a little at a time. I know there is nothing really holding me back from housework and creative work and yet I fall into a kind of inertia, a numb state. I get overwhelmed by how much there is to do and how little there is of my desire to do it. I'm still caught in a childish pursuit of instant gratification when in my heart I know that hard work is much more satisfying. I think the core of the problem is low self esteem. I don't yet have the confidence I need to succeed. I look back on my life and see so many opportunities dismissed. Instead of having the courage to face life, I've usually withdrawn.

After college, I didn't get a job, instead I took art classes. Then I moved to the country and got involved with an abusive alcoholic, still no job, no external focus, little responsibility. Then I returned to taking art classes. Then psychosis. I got my art degree but still no work experience. I've always been ashamed that I haven't worked. This shame has held me back. I need to be part of a program for the mentally ill that can prepare me for work but there is no program near me. And so, what I think I will do in the next month is find some volunteer work. If I can successfully fullfill that responsibility maybe I will be ready for part time work. God, I hope so. You have no idea what it would mean to me to earn a paycheck. Right now I feel foolish and impotent because I'm unable to do what most people take for granted. But if I can commit to a volunteer work schedule I might be able to strengthen my confidence in myself, so that I can push on.

I have so much and so little at the same time. My family's money has saved me from an abusive relationship and allowed me to live independently through my psychosis and I will always be grateful but it has robbed me of a sense of true independence and personal purpose. I am a spoiled individual but not irretrievably so. I still believe I can change. In fact, I know I have to change or I will be forever stuck in immobility and depression.
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