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, November 10, 2008

Glass Half Full

I'm just about 10 days free of smoking cigarettes and smoking remains "Not An Option". I haven't had any major cravings, just passing thoughts which I shut down right away. That appears to be key, to be able to say "No!" to an urge that wants to linger. So when the door opens a crack, I promptly close it and get on with the business at hand. So far, it's working, but I will remain vigilant. I've been stopping by Woofmang.com (the quit smoking support group) and I've gotten some great support and advice. I mentioned that I had been feeling a bit off, a bit blue and several people responded about how to fight depression. It was all very commonsensical: get some exercise, stay outside and get some sun each day, meditate, pray, have a healthy reward system in place, clean, etcetera. One woman told me to see the glass as half full, instead of half-empty, and another woman said to practice gratitude, which is essentially the same philosophy. What they were telling me was similar to what I tell others I know when they are depressed. I usually say--Be Creative! So now, I have to listen to my own advise again and cultivate the positive.

The I Ching has a hexagram called The Arousing or Shock which basically says you will receive shock/upsets to shake you out of complacency, to help you see things newly so that you can learn the lessons you were born to learn about life. Whenever I sink into depression, I have a window of opportunity to respond to it differently. The more I opt out of a new response, the more I fall into the hole. And so, I should practice recovery behavior now and for the rest of my life, get exercise and feel the sun on my face, meditate and pray, have meaningful creative work, help others on their way. This is called changing my attitude. I find I forget to do this over and over again. So I keep reminding myself and getting reminded by the examples and words of others.

Tomorrow is a new day.
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