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, August 15, 2007

Off To Florida

Thursday morning my brother and I will go to the airport and begin our journey down to Fort Myers. I’ll be there for eight days and my brother for eleven days. I really like to see my parents but I no longer enjoy traveling. Perhaps this is a temporary thing but for now I need a couple of days of preparation before I’m ready to go. I think I need to change my attitude from fearful to confident. Instead of thinking what might go wrong I should think of what will go right. Or at least have some faith that it will go right. I don’t want to be ruled by fear. It ruled me some of the time with Brendan and it ruled me with the voices before I began to recover. I do want to be cautious and responsible as far as I’m able but I also have to be willing to let go of control and accept wherever I’m at. One of the 12 step slogans is “Let go and let God”. It can be hard to let go when you want to grasp more tightly but it is possible if you cultivate a faith that something greater than you is intimately involved in your life. All I know is that these voices are with me always and if they can be, then so could a Higher Power. It’s an extraordinary idea, beyond the scope of our understanding but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. I feel this with the I Ching, this strong feeling that my life and all lives are important and witnessed. What you think does matter and so does what you say and do. You matter. I also now believe in some kind of afterlife, perhaps reincarnation, maybe even heaven/nirvana. I pray that if there is hell, it is only here on earth and not waiting for souls when they die. And I also pray that someday there will be no more hell on earth. Life is fraught with difficulties as is, there is no need to add to them.

(Next day)
Got some things done today. I finally mailed of the presents to J.P. Sorry they are so late! Then I went to the bank and deposited $110 in rolled quarters. I didn’t purposely collect so many quarters, I just happen to hoard things and I had a lot of change. Over the years I kept telling myself to deposit the change but never did it. I was motivated to do it because I’m a little tight on money and there happens to be a sale on for audiobooks. As a treat for trying to quit smoking when I get back home I decided to go ahead and place an order. The catalogue is called Sounds True and I’ve gotten several recordings of Pema Chodron from them. I’m getting a little over $60 worth of stuff. One is an audiobook by Ken Wilbur (I think) on Taoism. I have not been writing about Taoism and I thought it was high time to start some learning about it. After I deposited the quarters I dropped off a whole storage containers worth of videos at the library. I decided to switch over to DVDs and thought the library could really use the movies I’ve collected. Some might go in their permanent collection and the rest can be sold at their annual book sale in September. It was a little difficult letting them go but I have become enamoured with DVDs that I can watch on my computer and I just haven’t been watching the videos. Such a waste and that is true for books I have and clothes that I don’t use. When I get back I’m going to go through my books and clothes and give a bunch of stuff away to the library and to the Salvation Army. Actually it did feel good giving away those videos. I’ve been thinking lately that I just have too many possessions. Sometimes I imagine that if I live to be sixty five that I’ll become a Buddhist nun like Pema Chodron and live a simple communal life. Maybe some day I’ll be strong enough to do that.

About twelve hours till we head to the airport. I’m almost packed. Tomorrow morning I’ll bring Allie over to my brother’s house because Ozzie does not get along with her. A mutual friend will look out for her while I’m away. The other two, Ozzie and Moocher, I think will be fine with just a lot of dry food and water. I don’t like leaving the cats alone but I have to see my parents several times a year and this is the only way I can swing it. The worst is around Christmas time when I have to leave them alone for two weeks. I know cats are pretty independent but they rely on people for routine and comfort. But, again, that’s the way it has to be. I’m always so relieved when I get home and find them okay. So tomorrow as I leave I will let go and let God. My voices often reassure me too and that is a comfort.

As my Nana used to say, “I’m not the kid I used to be.” I’m starting to feel my age. Sometimes I think, if only I knew then what I know now, I would have taken much more advantage of youth than I did. And when I look at young people I think this is their golden time, they should enjoy as much of life as they can, within reason of course. I guess for a while there I thought I would be young indefinitely but alas, that is not the case. And personal trauma leaves its marks but at least I am alive and in relatively good health. I’ve taken some knocks as we all have at some point but my spirit is still resilient enough to start to bounce back. It just takes time and some patience. Part of being able to bounce back is in being able to let go of delusionary thoughts and feelings. Growing older is helping me to face reality and it is softening me. I can look back now on my life and see where I was lost and why. I can point out moments of delusion and I know, at the time, that I firmly believed in my delusion and I would hold on tight to it as if my world depended on it. Now I let it go. I acknowledge my own misperceptions due to the subtle (and not so subtle) attack of the illness. It’s a relief. But it took years to acknowledge the falsity of my delusions and this helped to create deep depresssion. No longer special and no longer young and very sick still. I just got through it, I survived it and that gave me a bit of courage. And so it’s okay now that I’m not the kid I used to be or thought I was. While I was actively psychotic I bought a framed picture. It has just three words on it plainly spelt: Faith, Hope, Love. Faith and love I cultivated and hope returned to me. I think they are all very important parts of recovery.

Okay, that’s it for now. I’m going to be bringing my laptop with me so hopefully I do some blogging during the trip.

Post a Comment