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 8, 2009

A Friend Of The Family

My thanks to J.P., Bev and Jen who posted comments on my last entry. I really appreciate the feedback and support.

Richard is a very good friend of the family, he's been especially good to my brother. They've been friends for over 20 years. Well, now he is helping me. He has worked on my house before, but not for a very long time. Unfortunately, it's going to be a fairly big and expensive job to repair the downstairs and the outside drain. He began work right away and has called in several specialists to consult with them. The good news is that the problems can be fixed. The other day he and his 18 year old son cleared out the downstairs making three trips to the dump. The downstairs had to be cleared out because of the mold on the walls which create spores that get into everything. It's just as well, because I am a bit of a hoarder myself and it is good to get rid of stuff that I don't use. I just wish that it hadn't gotten to this point.

This past week Richard has been visiting with me after working downstairs. I offer him a couple of beers and some food and we talk. He and his wife are Born Again Christians and she doesn't believe in drinking alcohol, coffee or tea and so Richard only drinks them when he's not at home. She also is not affectionate to her husband and this is something that really disturbs him. A few weeks ago, he had surgery on one of his shoulders. He was told that he should have his shoulder, back, and chest massaged to ease some of the pain, but his wife hasn't offered to to that for him. And so one night he asked me if I would rub his back and shoulder for him because he was in pain after working all day. I've known Richard for 20 years and I knew this was not a come on. And so, as a friend, I rubbed his back and shoulders.

I have been alone, not touching or being touched, for a very long time; touching Richard felt very healing. It reassured me that I am still human. I also felt good about showing him my gratitude for coming into my house, dealing with my problems and being just a good, honest, hardworking friend. I think also that I am afraid of getting close to a man because I've been through an abusive relationship. I worry that a man will hurt me and take advantage of me. Richard, on the other hand, is a "safe" man, a married man and a practicing Christian, a friend of my family and so I felt good moving closer to him. All I want right now is a friend and that seems to be all that Richard wants too. And so I count myself fortunate. I'm hoping that a friendship with a safe man will lead me to a more serious relationship with an available man.

Richard suggested that I join an online personals group. Actually I had already tried joining a group called No Longer Lonely which was created to help people living with mental illness meet other people living with mental illness, but both times I tried I never got a confirming password from them to open my account. That was very frustrating, so I tried joining Match.com to see if I could find other people with mental illness to be friends with, but my personal essay never got approval. Truth is, I don't think I want a lover right now; I would rather have a good pen pal for a few months. I could do that with No Longer Lonely, but these other personal sites don't seem to allow for finding just friends, they jump right into a serious relationship and I'm not ready for that, especially with a virtual stranger.

Though I believe it is a good thing developing a deeper friendship with Richard, mostly it is still me on my own and lately and I haven't been very productive. I did paint a portrait of Richard's friend's daughter that came out pretty well, but then my next drawing didn't come out and I haven't gone farther with it. I know I need to return to some kind of creative work in order to remain balanced and happier. I got two books last week, one on writing a memoir and one on becoming a creative entrepreneur. I've been reading them slowly and have started work on the memoir, though only in fits and starts. I also see how I am still sick in comparison Richard's relative health. He works and works hard, I do not. He has friends, I do not. Where he is active and healthy, I am more passive and sick. I still don't clean my house (upstairs) or go out much. I'm still self absorbed. So I see the problem and now I have to continue to work on the solution. Do my artwork and writing, clean my house a little at a time, go out once a day, see my brother and Richard. I can do these things, but I have to encourage myself.
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