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.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fresh Starts

This is the second time I've gotten a rebate check from my insurance company for over one thousand dollars. The first time, two years ago, I bought myself a laptop computer. This time I bought a portastudio to replace my older eight track recorder which only uses audio tapes. The price on this portable studio has come down dramatically in the last few years to around four hundred dollars from over a thousand. Nowadays the ability for people to make their own music and share it, even sell it, is widespread due to computers and the internet. I think it's fantastic.

The new eight track will allow me to record new songs and burn them down onto CDs. I might even be able to rerecord my older songs and put them on CDs as well. For those of you who don't know, an eight track recorder means that you can record not only a voice track and a guitar track, but a bass or keyboard or rhythm or whatever you want track. This machine will be able to mix all the tracks together to form a master track which is what you hear when you listen to songs on CDs. Many people now use computers to record their songs using programs such as GarageBand. I have GarageBand on my computer, but I find it way too complicated and I don't like the idea of overtaxing the computer, so I decided to stick with what's called a stand alone recording device that has its own built in CD burner.

So I've been singing and writing new songs and relearning old songs. And I'm so excited to turn them into CDs and to pass them out to people. It's taken me over a decade to get to this point, but I'm almost there. My voice seems to be getting stronger due to practice, but also I think it's because I mostly haven't been smoking cigarettes for over a year and a half. I think being able to sing is also due to the fact that the voices have not been attacking me while I sing and so I have the freedom to get back into it. But I find that it is very important to have other creative outlets besides the singing/playing/songwriting such as painting, writing and reading. So what I do is I alternate between different activities, eat properly and get regular exercise and this creates a kind of balance in me. At least that's how it's been working out lately. May it last.

I went out to lunch with Bev on Monday and gave her the portraits of two of her children and one of herself. She was pleased and said she would frame them and put them in her office at work. And I gave her some of my community service cards advertising the online mental health group I just started. I saw my therapist a couple of days later and gave her some as well. She said they looked great and she would put them in her waiting room. A few days ago I made up the flyers to go with the cards and yesterday and today I've been making card holders out of plastic canvas and yarn. It's going to take me a few more days, but then I'll go out and start posted the whole deal around town. J. said that I would have to get permission to post in the university's campus center. I have to work up the courage to ask and to go to the counseling centers, too. I really hope a few people take me seriously and join the group and start posting, but I'll have to wait and see.

I have to say that lately I've been feeling pretty happy, very little depression, ever since I started the diet and exercise program (which I'm still doing). I have to wait and see with this too because I have had the tendency to go up and down in my moods. Still, this feels different, not particularly manic, just energized and hopeful. Maybe I'm finally getting myself together. I thank my online friends and my family and the Higher Power that's given me some creative ability.
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