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.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year

May 2008 be a good year for all of us.

I hope everyone had a safe and relatively happy holiday and New Year’s Eve and Day. I spent Christmas and New Year’s on my own and it was okay. I did a lot of cooking for myself and for my friend Richard and his family. Richard said that he prefers people cooking for him over giving him presents, so this year that’s what I did. I made carrot cake, a cocoa banana nut bread and a spinach lasagna using Edam cheese and ricotta. For myself I made vegetable paella and lentil soup with turkey kielbasa. Also Richard’s wife had him bring me some cookies, a plate full of food and on New Year’s day stuffed shells. Also Richard and his son did me a big favor and got rid of my old and decrepit couch and brought over another couch from my brother’s house that is in much better condition. No longer do I have a couch that is an eyesore. Maybe this year I’ll actually invite people over to my house.

I haven’t seen my therapist for over four weeks and I won’t see her until the end of this month when she gets back from her mid term vacation but in the interim I’ve been talking into a tape recorder and then listening to myself. It has been a surprisingly effective form of talk therapy for me. Though I talk to myself about my illness and reflect on my past, I’m reassured that I sound fairly stable. For the most part, I like the person I hear on those tapes; and so I also keep myself company.

I’m amazed at how much time I can spend alone and not fall apart. I’m still reading a book called Party Of One: The Loner’s Manifesto by Anneli Rufus. Ms. Rufus asserts that there is a sizable minority of loners and that these loners play an important part in society but are often disparaged. I’m not going to review the book till after I’ve finished it but suffice it to say that this author has made me feel less freakish for my reclusive tendencies. She’s made me realize that there are others like me, many writers or creative artists, who can go for days without seeing another soul and be content on their own. I know before I became psychotic some of my best times were when I was alone.

My schizophrenia complicates matters because there are times when I know I should be around people mainly in a support group setting. But the only way that is going to happen is if I take the steps to make it happen. For now, I go online to the NAMI message boards for schizophrenia and try to offer support. I also need support but I’m not very good at asking for it. It takes practice. So I’m trying to be a regular there, someone people can trust.

I’ve decided that I have to earn some money this year but I want to see if I can do it from home over the computer. There are some proofreading and copyediting jobs available and I’ve decided to try to learn that trade. I’ve ordered a For Dummies book on it which should arrive next week and I’ll study that and see if I have any aptitude for that kind of work. There is training also available for word processing work and medical transcription work. I’d also like to learn something about web design. I am so woefully ignorant about using the computer and it is high time that I get down to learning the basics.

While I was ordering books on Amazon.com, I saw an ad. It said something like: earn money writing short articles. The site is called Helium . I recommend any writers out there check it out. It’s a large site with a message board and if you’re diligent it seems you can actually earn some money. It’s competitive and there’s a rating system. There are tons of topics to write on and I’ve been having fun checking it all out. It’s a good place to meet other writers and possible employers. The articles that are written are not long, between 400 and 1,500 words an article. I’m not real familiar with the site yet but I have posted one article. I’m hoping it will spur me into a practice of regular writing. If I could earn some money too, I would be very happy but I’m not counting on it. What I want to do is to improve my writing to the point where I’m willing to submit some work to various publications. As it stands I’m a beginner, a newbie. More on this site as I get to know it better.

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