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.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Cleaning (And Other Stuff)

No, I haven't done it yet, but I'm setting up to do it this week-end. Saying it aloud and to several people online will help me to commit to doing it. I almost wish I could say that my inability to clean is just plain laziness, but I know it is more. People with schizophrenia are known for not being particularly clean. I've gotten a bit better in terms of changing my clothes and brushing my teeth and changing the kitty litter boxes and such, but still I struggle with all the rest of it. The fact that very few people come over to my house just allows me to wallow in a state of disarray and mess. I love books, but I have too many of them and not enough book cases. I just have too much stuff and it's time to get rid of some things and make room. I used to have the ability to organize, now I shove things here and there and don't pay enough attention. All of this makes me acutely uncomfortable at times and depressed. I have to change myself and I have to start now.

The work on the downstairs of my house is basically finished and I was proud of myself for dragging my drawing table down the stairs and setting it up in the corner of one of the rooms. I also brought down other art related stuff, but there's more to do. It is a start in the right direction. My friend Richard, who has done almost all the work downstairs, is now busy constructing a play area in the outdoor cat pen. When he does something he goes all out. He's brought tree branches and trunks and even pieces of a telephone pole. Once he's done, which should be soon, I have to get up the nerve to let the cats out. I know that sounds silly, but I worry about them getting out or freaking out. I'll probably start letting just a couple out at a time and see what they do. It should be great really and not something to get anxious over, but I get anxious over a lot of small, dumb things. I've even been putting off opening the windows because I'm afraid of the wasps and bees that somehow manage to get inside the house despite having screens. Last summer one of my kittens made a habit of putting the wasp in his mouth, so, of course, he got stung. His lip swelled up, but only for a short time, so I was relieved. I guess they have to live and learn just as much as I do. Anyway, an hour ago I opened up some windows and already that's making a difference in the house.

I've also set up in the downstairs bedroom my recording equipment, my microphone and my electric guitar. I've been practicing playing and singing a bunch of new songs and also older songs (within the last couple of years) that I've re-worked. On the whole, my voice has potential if I keep practicing, so that's lifted my spirit. My songs are very basic because I am very limited in what I can do, but in some ways that gives me a simplified structure to work with. I'm amazed at how simple songwriting can be if you let it. The test will be when I record a few songs and put them on a CD and also upload them to my Soundclick page so that other people can hear them. Before I got ill, except for the first few months when I was still working on songs, I would take one song and practice it over and over until I was finally ready to record it. That's what I have to work my way up to doing. So I've been touching base with it a couple of times a day which is a good start for now. I don't really expect my songs to go very far, but that's okay. I think I've come to terms with that. The main thing is that it makes me feel spiritually connected to something larger than myself. And if a few people wind up enjoying a few of the songs, that's good enough. It's a little lonely working on my own, but I still need to do it.

No word from the former friend/lover that I sent my CD and a letter to. I also gave him this blog address and my Artid site address, so who knows, he might be stopping by from time to time without my knowing it. I'm a little saddened that he has probably decided not to respond to me, but I can understand it too. I laid a bunch of stuff on him all of a sudden and it may not have been appropriate. Still, it would have been great to know him online and just keep in touch. He's a singer/performer and perhaps a songwriter too. I did ask the I Ching about him. It seems he's not only dedicated to music and to his circle/family of friends, but he has a lot of integrity. I asked what his heart's desire was and I got the hexagram for Inner Truth. I thought that was great. But when I asked if he had decided not to contact me, I got hexagram 18 which is called Corruption with no moving lines. When there are no moving lines, it makes the response emphatic. I wasn't sure how to interpret it, but, as the name implies, it's not so good. It's also called Work On What Has Been Spoiled. From the interpretations I've read it might have something to do with neglect or personal fault, but there's also a lot of hopeful room for improvement. It's not as if it's some negative cosmic force that's put one in a bad situation and so you can do something about it if you choose. But really when it comes to this man and his situation, I can only have a little glimpse into his world. Ultimately I don't know and won't know unless he chooses to tell me. I told him to do what was best for him and I meant that. And so I retreat and let it go. But I am including him and his family in some of the prayers that I send out. I wish him well.

On the other hand, I have been getting in touch with some people I used to know through facebook and that has been very good so far, but, again, I'm not placing my hopes on it. I will just stay responsive and see what happens. If deeper connections can be made, that would be wonderful and if not, I will be okay. I'm just proud of myself for either reaching out or being receptive to others reaching out to me. There's one old friend that I'm particularly glad to be in touch with again. She's been sharing some of her memories with me. Her birthday is this coming Tuesday, so today I sent her a card and a small gift.
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