It has been a while. It has been a time.

What a time.



It’s hard for me to say where I have been. I don’t want to say where I’ve been, but I can give you a glimpse.

If the flow of this talk (can we call it that?) seems out of  order it’s because I’m not trying to keep it straight. My thoughts are kind of jumbled and unorganized but I have left them that way on purpose. There is no need to hold them down as tight as I had.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be” – Lao Tzu

I am taking another step to getting my life back from the abyss. With a great deal of help I saw a light.

There was a lot of talking


And drugs (do I need to add that they were prescription drugs? I guess I just did)

Pill Box

I know that there are a lot of opinions about medications and I respect them. They helped me. This is my story and I’m sticking to it 🙂

Of course there was some laughs and soul searching



(Note: This movie is not about Bipolar … though I loved it a lot)


(I assume this offends no one)

But here’s the twist. It seems to me that whenever I hear of a person making it through some horrible circumstance that they always say that it was their family that got them through, but for me the thing that got me through was sleep.


A lot of sleep . . .

I slept for most of 6 weeks

6 Weeks I hibernated . . .

It was a dead sleep devoid of dream. It never stopped, even when I propped myself up at the supper table and pretended I was fine – these waking moments only lasted a few hours and my first thought was always about sleep. I’ll hav to write more on this sleep. It was special. Scary and dark, and muted and blank – it was nothing and so was I when I was in it . . . more on that another day.

So sleep go me through, but it was family that have been bringing me out of that darkness.


Little voices of happiness at first filled me with guilt but in time made me yearn to be with them with a hunger I can’t describe. It was the messy kisses, the snuggles, the projects they made for me – that brought me out. Their needs are what is keeping me out.

I’ll try to post more.

I was very moved by the messages sent by many of you. Words of encouragement mean so very much.  I wonder if you knew that in the quiet moments of the night when I cared to open my email and I saw another post from a caring friend, it really did help. Thank you 🙂

Here’s some sweet music to get you along. If even for a little while







Check In


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)


This is wonderful. A lot of work I think, but worth it 🙂

All that I am, all that I ever was...

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) – that gives advice on how we can help ourselves cope during such difficult times, across six different aspects of our lives:

On the reverse of the worksheet there is space for you to write about the various coping skills that work best for you. You’re also encouraged to print out a copy so you can refer to it in times of need. Whilst I’ve stuck my hard-copy on the fridge, I’ve also decided to include a version of it here…

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If you don’t have anything to say, then say ‘Thank you’.

thankful (1)

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.

Thank you.




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?


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.

Check out: Blog For Mental Health 2013 « A Canvas Of The Minds


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 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!

2)    Another man fighting the good fight:

3)    An amazing and talented writer:

4)    Great creativity and visual presentations:

5)    Another explorer in the process:


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 🙂


This is a pretty good PSA for mental health in the workplace. I’m very worried about my health at work and how I will be perceived, and I think that by having commercials like this around to dispel the mysticism of mental health, things can only get better. As long as they are done with respect and in good taste, things will get better

Bipolar, Unemployed & Lost

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. I have to pretend to be happy and fun, when all I want to do it cry and hide. This is the beginning of a movement, to let people know its okay to have this or that. It’s okay. Pass this along! Thanks Depressed Pessimist.

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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.



I have a tendency to fall victim to the most prevalent diseases in the Western world: I am ill of want. I’ve got a case of the “Gimme Gimme’s”. The moguls of media have me dead in their sights and have hit me with a barrage of advertisements that me sick of the things I have, and leave me with ache for a tonne of things that I couldn’t possibly use. I know that these things will just make me want even more of the stuff that I could never use; buy, regret, repeat.

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes 1 front

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha (attributed)

The problem is that I am wanting without. I am wanting things. I am wanting so much, that I am losing sight of the greatness around and within me – the love I already have. With this realization I’ve diagnosed my disease and I am able to refocus my desires inward. I turn off the TV, throw out the magazines, put on some soulful music, and hold a deep, deep conversation with one of my younger children about where the wind comes from (They have the best ideas, I promise you I’ve never been so informed, and laughed so hard – they are natural performers/teachers).

Breathing deep and slowly now, and promising that for as long as I can (seconds, minutes, hours?!) I am going to focus inwardly and look within myself for what I want. This is a quick list of wants, not necessarily needs, and this is just for today (tomorrow’s wants are TBA 🙂 )

  • I want to laugh . . . and laugh and laugh (Till my cheeks and tummy hurts. You get the picture)
  • I want to share a special glance with my Love. Our eyes locking and our souls connecting, not long, just a glance will do the trick.
  • I want to hold some truth. I want to hear something that will help me understand myself, the world, and how I am supposed to reconcile my relationship with the world, and my soul with eternity.
  • I want to feel heroic!
  • I want to be energized and excited, and in control.
  • I want to celebrate life and love.
  • I want to help others. I want to know that I’ve helped create some peace.
  • I want to breath peace.
  • I want to keep this focus.
  • I want to be able to forgive myself when I fail.

It seems obvious why I’m doing this doesn’t it? These wants from within are much more rewarding to fulfill than those wants from without. When I fulfill and inward want, I am left with the most important currency of life: peace and good memories. When I fulfill a want from without, I am left with regret, remorse, and eventually feel more naked than I was before.

I love that there is a sign in the back that says "Do Not Touch" - Let's be honest: some pretty funny pictures were probably taken before that sign went up

I love that there is a sign in the back that says “Do Not Touch” – Let’s be honest: some pretty funny pictures were probably taken before that sign went up

I’m not saying that you can’t go out and buy good things. What I am saying is that it is easy (for me at least) to get caught up in the advertisements that lure me into thinking that what I already have, isn’t good enough.  Or worse, the advertisements that try to teach us what ‘normal’ is with Mom, Pop, Skip and Sis, dog/cat, all smiles and pumpkin pie with Cool Whip – No real person/family can stack up against that, and that’s not fair.

Who else just read this in Stewie's voice?

Who else just read this in Stewie’s voice?

Today I am smiling, though I am on my guard. The media is ubiquitous and so we need to be on our toes. Maybe we should get some nice shoes for those toes? Nike is telling me, not asking, telling me to “Just do it”. Maybe not today Nike. Mind your manners.

Call me old fashioned but I do appreciate good manners, thank you very much :)

Call me old fashioned but I do appreciate good manners, thank you very much 🙂

(Story Time!) As an example of this illness of want, I can share a story from a friend (I asked him, and he doesn’t mind). So, I have a friend with a very, very, expensive surf board. He is fascinated by what he calls ‘surf culture’ and he ‘had to get a wicked surfboard’. So he read up on the topic of boards, looked at the plus/minus of the different brands and eventually saved up the money to buy a top of the line board. I remember asking him why he chose brand X board (not the real name) and he said that it was because it was the most expensive and so he felt that it must be the best. I asked him if it was the best board, and he said that it was way out of his league as a beginner, but he wanted it anyway. We, the people who love him, laughed a little and gently teased him some, but don’t think we are mean until you have heard the best part of the story: My friend lives in the middle of North America. On the prairies where the chance of a wave larger than 6 inches is pretty unlikely – and those waves are waves of wheat!

Woah! Hang Ten!

Woah! Hang Ten!

Celebrate This!


“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” Nelson Mandela

Such brilliance! I’m in awe of the wisdom and bravery! What a great way to live.

Gargoyle and glasses

I’ve been looking to celebrate lately. In want of a reason, I’ve felt little cheer, but today that ends.

A lot of people will say that you don’t need a reason to celebrate, and I think that individually that is often true (for me anyway), but it’s a whole lot easier when a group can get together for a specific thing. ‘Oh hey, it’s New Years, let’s lift our song, spirit, and hopes for a New Year!’ cheered the World.

As far as I know, there has never been a parade for: ‘Oh hey, the dryer didn’t eat any of my socks!’ (maybe this is because dryers always eat socks?)

Protect the socks from the Dryer Monster!

Protect the socks from the Dryer Monster!

So, in light of all of this, I’ve decided to celebrate the many good things in my life. Setting aside the negative, I am actively choosing to celebrate. My heart may not be entirely in this celebration, but I’m sure (hopefully) that it will join in after I force my body to jump a bit.

May my heart follow my feet

May my heart follow my feet

For all of you, Salut! To your health and merriment.

I love this song! Give it a listen!