Hello . . . to you.
I’ve been in deep lately and the lights I see aren’t’ always trustworthy, if you know what I mean.
I feel bad because a few people had tried to make connections with me during this absence, and I hope to pick up those threads.
I’m so easily overwhelmed right now that even the thought of a doctor’s appointment makes me anxious - does anyone get this?
I haven’t the words, but I could desperately use some.
Please wish me luck.
I promise that I will return to writing as soon as I have a plate to put this on.
(P.S. I’m not sure how often or soon I will be able to come back to this. I love you all for the camaraderie, kind words, and knowledge)
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We all have good days and bad days. For some of us, especially if mental health issues are involved, the bad days can be all-consuming, so when they hit we need to have the coping skills to deal with the emotional distress we find ourselves in.
My support worker recently gave me a worksheet - created by Indigo Daya (a Melbourne based mental health trainer, consultant and change agent) -
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If you don’t have anything to say, then say ‘Thank you’.
This is a very personal story but and I hope you read it all the way. I’m sure I romanticized the details some, but it is as truthful as I can tell it.
I had been digging lately for some bit of truth I could write about. I’ve been stuck in the mines of ‘meaning’ and hiding in the shadows of ‘doubt’. All of this wandering to just find myself with nothing singularly significant to say . . . and then I remembered some wisdom I got from an elderly patient.
He was a sweet old man very near the end of his life and I only cared for him for a few days, but he had a lot of nice things to say, and some great stories. I’d like to think all the stories were a test, and that I passed. I’d like to think he was testing for my reactions and to get a glimpse of who I was, and if I was worthy of the final secrets he would tell me. Maybe I was just mesmerized and he made me feel special. No matter the reason, near the end of our time together he drew me close and spoke in a low by lively tone. He told me what he thought was the secret to life was. In fact, he had a few secrets and I was attentive to each.
I’ll always remember the things he shared and how he shared them. I knew that a lot of his wisdom was coming through his filter of working a hard life that led to success. He had worked as a laborer for years when he was young but decided to take the risk of opening a business which he sold a few years later for a nice profit. He used this profit to start another business which he sold to make an even greater profit; he was a creator and this inspired me.
Do you know what was weird, that shouldn’t have been weird? He had his hand on me the whole time we spoke close. He held my hand or put his hand on my shoulder or forearm. Somehow the physical connection gave extra weight to his words and engraved the moment in my memory. Maybe it’s because I never had a father and I was so unaccustomed to this kind of affection, but I knew that it was love, though we had just met. I share this here because I feel safe – I was reluctant at first. I have found that ever since, whenever I’ve needed to really connect with someone when we speak, I always try to hold their hand – does this fit in our society?
Why am I telling you this? Well, because I would like to share what he told me, but I don’t think I could without doing it the same way he did.
I can share one thing though. During our chit chat one day, I don’t remember what we were talking about but I threw out the old saying “Well, if you can’t say something nice, then you should say nothing at all”, and he stopped me dead. He sternly and abruptly said “NO!”
I was shocked. I was about to apologize, thinking I had somehow unknowingly offended him, but he took a deep breath, as though trying to summon the strength to tell me something important without driving it down my throat. “No” he said calmly, “If you don’t have anything to say, then say ‘Thank you’” I wasn’t going to press him for an explanation since I was worried that I might really upset him – this was very important to him.
Later, once our conversation returned to a lighter level, he would go on to tell me how I should never look ‘down at my feet’, always say something when I walk in a room even if the room is empty, and that laughter is amazing medicine. So far, these are easy truths that really don’t hold a lot of meaning, until you eventually need them.
He went on to say that since I was so young, I have no idea how much I should be thankful for, but I if I lived as long as he did, I would learn this because I would lose these things like youth, health, some friends, some family, some opportunities, lost chances, blessings, graces, dignities, and such. His eyes were full of meaning when when gently squeezed my hand and told me ‘You have so much to be thankful for. Don’t wait to be an old man to notice’ I am learning this to be true more and more.
He passed away a few weeks later. None of my workmates seemed to notice, yet I will never forget.
I am thankful, especially when I don’t have anything else to say; it is in those moments of pause that I try to find a few positive things to focus on. I can always find something to be thankful for and luckily, new things seem to pop up all the time – Maybe that old man was thankful for me? I am very thankful for him.
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Tags: mentor, Patient, Philosophy, success, Thank you, thankful, touch
From shadows I seek you . . .
Got a light?
“To contemplate is to look at shadows” – Victor Hugo
I must be in deep, deep thought
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you” – Walt Whitman
I’m trying Uncle Walt . . . can you breath some life into me?
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Tags: depression, help, Light, Victor Hugo, Walt Whitman
I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.
I suffered from severe depression as a child and teen, all the while loving the highs of hypomania, so for a long time I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Nearing my late 20’s the hypomania became too much and my moods began to cycle too much and too wildly I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type II. It took me a while to accept this diagnosis, but as time went on it all began to make sense. I am bipolar – this acceptance has made a huge difference in my life and I hope to help others through their journeys.
I was pledged by a brilliant blogger, Ruby, at http://mywonderfulabnormalmind.wordpress.com/ Please seek out her writing, it is very, very good.
I’d like to pledge five other bloggers:
1) She is so candid and clever! http://bipolarwitch.wordpress.com
2) Another man fighting the good fight: http://fishrobber.wordpress.com
3) An amazing and talented writer: http://onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com
4) Great creativity and visual presentations: http://redmermaid.wordpress.com
5) Another explorer in the process: http://siegeofthespirit.com
I love the whole community of bloggers that are an enormous inspiration to me. I’ve received some of the kindest words I’ve heard via this blog. I know this is a place for healing. I too am a voice for positivity and I hope to share this with you
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Tags: Blog, mental-health
I wish there were commercials like this everywhere! If there were commercials like this in the U.S., I think people wouldn't have a problem talking about it. Can you imagine having a mental illness and you can go out with your friends and discuss it openly, freely. The worst part about the stigma is that I have to pretend to be someone when I'm not.
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Respect. Peace. Freedom.
These words are easy to throw around – I’ve done it.
But I still know their weight when it counts.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man who stood up and spoke against the status quo. He challenged the ‘ways things were’ and dared to dream of something much better. A great man indeed.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’ve written on the power and desperate need of forgiveness for myself. MLK got this in such a deeper way. To paraphrase the doctor, to forgive ourselves is one thing, but peace comes when we forgive our enemies also. How powerful.
As a father, I am always looking for ways to improve my kids upbringing, to wit I am always striving to be a better father. I am reminded today of a quote from MLK about my views on schooling and character
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I hope that my children learn some value of character at school, but I really don’t expect the school to teach it. What I hope is that the children will strengthen their values at school. I’m an active member in their whole learning, not just facts, but heart as well.
Rest In Peace Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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Tags: character, children, forgiveness, freedom, History, integrity, love, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King Day, parenting, peace, respect