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, June 30, 2008

A Song And Journal Excerpts

As of Friday late morning I have high speed internet access and can download or upload much more quickly. I still can’t play video or in some cases audio and I don’t know why. My brother comes over tomorrow, maybe he can figure it out for me. I’ve said it before, but one of the drawbacks of self isolation is not having friends who can explain computer stuff to me. Otherwise, the man who set me up was very nice and it took less than a half and hour to do. I was so surprised and pleased. I had been expecting it to take hours.

I signed up with a podcasting host called Podbean for $5 a month. Now I have to figure out how to actually take an audio file, upload it to their site and send it out to both the blog and iTunes (I think?). Podbean seems very user friendly but I’m fairly clueless. Oh, I’ll learn; I’m determined to learn. I ordered a book today on how to use the GarageBand program to create songs and to podcast. I’m hoping to get it within a week.

I did make an audio recording using GarageBand, but very minimally--just me recording my introduction (which lasts about 9 and 1/2 minutes) and then me rambling for another 14 minutes. I need to get more organized and try again. I mean it sounds okay, but I’d like it to be a little better than just okay, preferably good and informative. And I’m tempted to include at least one of my songs. Maybe start the podcast with a song and then go into some talking. The song I think I’m going to use is called Ready and it’s about my friend Richard. I wrote it maybe 12 years ago and sang it close to that long ago, so the recording is old and not of very good sound quality, but it’s one of my better songs. Here are the lyrics:


(For Richard)

I’m ready to die
I’m ready to die, he said
It’s all over for me
Doesn’t matter ‘bout the kids and the family

He said my wife would be
Much better without me
I’ve got a two hundred thousand dollar
Life insurance policy

I’m just really tired,
Really tired and too poor
I’ve tried every angle I could think of
I can’t think of any angles anymore,
Not anymore.

My wife doesn’t give me
The affection that I need
She doesn’t understand that
That’s a very slow death for me,
For me.

I’d accept any miracle
Jesus Christ had to give but
I’m ready, I’m way too ready
I’m ready, I’m way too ready
I’m ready to die
I’m ready to die he said
I’m ready to die
I’m ready to die he said.

I mention Jesus Christ because Richard is a Born Again Christian and when he talked repeatedly to me about being willing to die, he was serious. He wouldn’t go so far as to kill himself (which he must consider a sin) but he was almost welcoming the end of his life and that really disturbed me. He’s one of these very creative, hard working types and it was out of character for him to speak about his death so plainly. I felt helpless to help him. I’ve never played him the song though...

I picked up and read from a journal the other day that dates from about a month after my last psychotic break in December of 2001. It’s surprisingly lucid and sensible. The first two pages contain lists of recovery behaviors like taking the anti-psychotic meds, going to my therapist and support groups, getting enough sleep, etc...and also of warning signs like the return of delusions and paranoia, the inability to concentrate when reading, talking aloud too much, etc... I remember that I kept the Al-Anon daily readers close by and studied them. I wrote: “Today I’ve been guided to keep the focus on myself. Instead of being codependent on my psychosis, I need to focus on my core problem which is codependence.” Before I became psychotic, I was codependent on the alcoholic in my life. I obsessed about him and his problems and avoided dealing with my own. I did the same thing after I became psychotic. I believed that I was telepathically connected to an eccentric rock star who eventually morphed into a serial killer. And I obsessed about him and again avoided looking closely at myself. I made another list prefaced by the question: “How do I keep the focus on myself?
1. When I take my medication
2. When I make sure to get enough sleep
3. When I make sure to eat regular, healthy meals
4. When I love the cats.
5. When I bathe regularly
6. When I relax and enjoy some of a movie or a book
7. When I meditate on goodness and good behavior
8. When I consult the I Ching as a spiritual/moral practice
9. When I write in my journal
10. When I make choices focusing on what I like rather than conforming to what others like
11. When I love my reflection in a mirror.

What I was doing was working a recovery program. I was in a very delicate state but I was determined to get healthier: “I HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I’M SICK EVERYDAY.” And I did. I had to stop pretending that there was some higher purpose in my delusions. The higher purpose was in recovering from my delusions and not in fostering them.


“And we don’t see clearly what is going on while it is going on. It is as though we are in a fog.” (Codependent’s Guide To the Twelve Steps, p.15, Beattie)

This is how I’m feeling now--just beginning to come out of the fog. It’s frightening to see how lost I’ve been in my sickness. Seeing but not seeing--I think I’ve been aware of some level of my blindness--in the beginning of the psychosis I said “I’m flying blind.” And even so, I’ve been held and guided throughout it all. If I hadn’t been guided, I would be dead. That’s how important it is to rely on a higher spiritual power. I’m still very detached, but I believe i will begin to remember my more painful moments with enough of a balance to work through the pain and release it.


After I read that journal, I read the next journal. Then I gathered up all my journals, organized them and put them on a shelf. I’m going to gradually go through them and pick out quotes and write responses to those quotes. The goal is to make a Journal Book of my life from just before I became involved with an abusive alcoholic all the way through the worst of the schizophrenia and up till now. It might also be a good way to organize some of my blog entries.

I got a bit depressed after reading the journals, but that’s to be expected. It’s not easy going back in time to painful moments. But I do think it will be worth it to try and understand some of what I went through and share it with you. Maybe you will find parallels in your own life or with your loved ones.

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