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.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Preparing For A Northern Christmas

I've stayed home for Christmas several times before, mainly when I've had psychotic symptoms that I couldn't cope with when I travelled to visit my parents in Florida.  This is the first Christmas I will be staying home with my brother Rob.  He's been depressed lately and I'm pretty sure it has to do with not going to Florida.  He often stays for at least a month, whereas I only stay for a week because I have seven cats to look after.

Last week I got Rob an early Christmas present, a basic cell phone.  I upgraded to the family plan and got a new line for him.  He's been without long distance for a very long time now and this means he's out of touch with our parents.  Rob has always been  much better at staying in touch with them than I have been, but not this past year.  I also wanted him to have a cell phone because from time to time he walks home drunk from the local bars and has fallen several times.  I want him to be able to call for help if he needs it.  But Rob made it clear the other night that he does not like the phone I chose to give him.  He is the kind of person who does serious research before buying equipment whereas I am (I admit it) an impulse buyer.  He was pissed with me not doing the research.  Actually I did try, but there are so many cell phones out there that I got overwhelmed.  I'm hoping that he will get used to the phone and keep it.  He's got only about 10 days to decide, after that we can't return it.  There's also a $35 fee to return it.

Rob's response to my well-intentioned present has brought me down too.  I was tentatively supposed to go out to lunch with him today, but decided against it because neither of us feel good and I don't want to deal with him bitching at me.  He will come over to my house by the end of the week and stay for a few days till after Christmas.  He might cook something for Christmas day.  I've been making toll house cookies and plan to make cocoa banana nut bread, spinach lasagna and vegetable paella.  I got all the ingredients the other day.  I don't cook very often, but when I do cook, it usually comes out well.  It's easier to cook for others instead of just for myself.  That's one of the good things about the holiday so far.  That and not having to travel during the height of holiday season and not having to worry about my cats.  I'd like to try to make it a good time for Rob.  He'll have presents from me and my mother to open and the use of my high speed internet connection and my company.  I think it will be all right.

I talked with Sam tonight and invited her over to my house on Tuesday evening to have a meal and drink some wine and stay the night.  Luckily I have a guest bedroom downstairs which also acts as my computer room, so whoever sleeps in this room gets to also have access to a computer.  So anyway, she said yes.  Tomorrow she's having her truck worked on at the auto shop, but Tuesday night should be free for her.  I asked her to call me and let me know what happened with her truck and whether I should plan on picking her up or not.

I haven't had anyone but my brother stay the night in years, so this is a step forward for me.  I also don't      often get drunk.  I don't really want to get drunk.  I don't know if I want to go that far, so I'm going to make the spinach lasagna for us to eat first and try to drink slowly.  I'm debating about whether to bring the electric guitar and the amp out into the living room.  If I do get a buzz off the wine, I might be willing to sing a song or two and/or let Sam play for me.  I haven't heard her play yet.  All I know is she has practiced much more than I have on how to actually play the instrument.  So it will be a pleasure to hear her play.  I also might play a song on the piano.  It's a classical song by Bartok called Sorrow.  I loved it when I played it as a teenager.  I actually studied the piano all through high school and even got up to Bach's Two Part Inventions.  I was proud of that, but I never took it farther.  What  got me playing again was a film Sam lent me about a musical family.

I haven't asked Richard if he'd be willing to forgo his $500 yet to give to Sam.  I've decided that I'm going to offer her $250 regardless of whether Richard donates the money or not.  I got some extra money as a refund from my health insurance this fall and I still have some of it left, so I can afford to be a little generous.  I still don't know if Sam will accept it, but I hope she will.  I have to see Richard this week, before Christmas, in order to give him some cookies and gift cards for his children, maybe a little extra cash for them too.  I did get to see him and his son Aaron today, but they couldn't stay long.  Aaron, who is 20, seemed very grown up to me this time.  And Richard struck me as being particularly respectful towards his son.  It was good to see them together.

Not much else to say for now.  I'm wishing you all a safe and happy holiday!
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