Why Having Mental Illness Constantly Feels Like Being In Survival Mode, Part 2

Back in February 2021, I wrote about some of my experiences of feeling like mental illness = survival mode.

I talked about reevaluating my medication regimen, as well as lowering my caffeine intake—and, all of this was six months ago!

Now to today…

With the help of my psychiatrist, I spent time lowering/raising my antipsychotic, adding/subtracting a second antipsychotic, and playing around with my caffeine intake.

All of this took time!

And, what I discovered is that “having a renewed perspective” has been key to my finding some level of peace again.

Like so many people, I find the cousin of peace—happiness—to be fleeting.

I’d much rather focus on my diet, my sleep, and my breathing—as those things do far more for me in the long run.

So, this is my way of not feeling like I’m in survival mode in August 2021—Focusing on my diet, my sleep, and my breathing!

What are some changes that you have implemented in your life—in order to feel more focused/less overwhelmed?

How I Overcame Agnosia To Become “Mostly” Aware Today

In the world of brick and mortar business, it’s “Location. Location. Location.”

It’s not much different with severe mental illness, in particular, schizophrenia, except that it’s “Education. Education. Education.”

I am one of those geeks, that cares about my well-being, and who wants to be the best I can be.

That being said, I go through periods of time (i.e. years), that I don’t have the ability to work through my core symptoms.

Maybe I’m under/over medicated, maybe it’s the side effects, maybe it’s because I’m treatment resistant, or maybe it’s a combination of all the above!

Whatever your individual situation, your doctor and you know “you” best. So, I highly recommend seeking out (or continuing to seek out) opportunities to learn more about your condition with your doctor.

Wanting to be educated is generally how I have been for much of my adult life, and having mental illness hasn’t changed that.

If anything, for me, being ill makes me want to learn that much more. To again… be the best I can be!

Aside from blogging (and, all that that entails), what sorts of opportunities have you found yourself getting involved with, in order to raise your awareness of various aspects of your condition?

As I Approach My 400th Post And 400th Follower

I’ve learned that I can misunderstand things, I can be impulsive, and that I can flat-out be wrong!

And, I have these troubles A LOT!

I’ve also discovered, that because of the aforementioned, I might lose credibility with certain people.

And, that is bad, yes, but…

To all of this, I say… so be it!

I try and I try and (I hear a 4 Non Blondes song coming on).

But, I am about the sharing of information!

Some of what I put out there is good, some of it is not as good, but I try to be helpful whenever I can!

So, together, maybe we can each learn something that might be beneficial for all of our lives?

The pursuit of truth is all that matters TO ME!

Thank you for reading!

Birds Of A Feather Flock Together

Many of my friends have mental illness, but not all mental illness is created equal!

And, how/why do I have so many friends?

Before I became full-blown ill, I maintained some connections with people, that stood by me.

And over time, is how I learned that some of these friends have some form of mental illness, and can go for periods of time when the extent of their suffering is hidden.

And, some friends’ suffering never gets mentioned. Ever.

So, behind all of this is the “spectrum” of mental illness, some of which debilitates.

At the risk of saying Dale isn’t all that bad, I will defer you to what Dale deals with.

Dale thinks he has bipolar disorder, and I am his only friend.

(I know, never self-diagnose.)

Of course, Dale doesn’t take meds, but he does work at a job, and is responsible with his money. He also tends to quit his jobs every time the throes of his “bipolar disorder” are in full-effect.

Mark deals with whatever troubles he has, and has been able to maintain employment throughout. Mark has never been diagnosed with anything to my knowledge either.

He does have a close relative with schizophrenia though, and he and I’s friendship is often strained because of one thing or another. And since I am not a doctor, I can’t tell you why that is.

Not all of my friends have mental illness, and some of them are only seasonally depressed.

The idea of my companions in life being depressed gets discussed privately (among a few of us), but again, there are those who don’t ever discuss having troubles.

As I am an open person (at times, too open), I do talk about what I experience mental health-wise.

But, the reason for this post is mainly my friend, Dale.

As I mentioned, I am his only friend and he is not being treated for his “bipolar disorder.”

And, it took me the better part of 25 years to see that he and I are a lot alike!

What I, being fairly educated in mental health, failed to properly see, are some of our similarities, revealed in different ways.

So, Dale confided in me and said, “I have manic depression.”

But, was it the first time he said this?

I can be pretty self-involved, and quite frankly, hard on some of my friends.

And, that is a tough pill for me to swallow, as I admit that here with you.

So, Dale and I were just chatting and having fun, when he shared this information with me.

Does it matter, though, when I treat Dale like I want to be treated?

I don’t think so ultimately.

And, does having mental illness mean that we are all the same fundamentally?

Not really. As I’ve said here today, mental health is a “spectrum,” and this spectrum varies widely.

Dale maintains a job with only one friend and has virtually no socialization.

Thus, what I want to do more than anything is honor Dale’s character. Because, to me, that counts more than how someone’s brain is working (or not working).

The two of us are good friends because we have things in common (aside from having mental health troubles), and I treasure those things and Dale.

Do you have in-person friends who struggle with their mental health? What are your thoughts about mental health and these friends?

As Someone Who Pays Close Attention To Words

I write my own songs and sometimes even sing them. It’s quite an experience.

My goal is to become uniquely inspirational some day, but not in the mentioning of a higher power kind of way.

To use real-world situations as my guide!

I’m not sure I will get to where I want to be, which needs to be better defined.

And, I’m opening myself up to potential criticism with this post…

There’s an artist, similar to Adele (that I recently discovered), but in the Christian realm, that is bright and shiny, and who also helps a lot of people—but, perhaps in a different way!

I am speaking of Lauren Daigle.

And, while I personally don’t take to the politics of the Christian “Right” (the predominate view for Christians in the U.S.), I DO find comfort in some of Lauren’s most uplifting songs!

When times are tough, I will sometimes put on some Contemporary Christian music.

So, what I get from doing this are feelings that sometimes conjure up relief for my world—no matter how much I am hurting—a “soothing” I might not have gotten without this effort—and, without some past religious programming.

I know that there are a lot of non-Christians out there, and quite frankly, religion (any religion or no religion) is your business.

So, I won’t say a whole lot more about Christianity vs. non-Christianity (because the world and people in particular are not helping matters—and, there are NO easy solutions ANYWHERE that I’ve found), except to state that it’s whatever works for and helps YOU!

In fact, you don’t even need to tell anybody you’re listening (that is, if you are)!

My main recommendation is a song of hers called, “You Say,” which is a cross-over pop song, that you may have already heard.

It isn’t the world’s best music, but it is a change of pace for some.

Plenty of people will not even care, nor will have ever heard of Lauren Daigle, so sharing her name is all I am doing here today.

Regardless of how and what you believe—her music may be worth a listen (if you’re so inclined)—makes no difference to me—except maybe on a discussion level.

Anyway, what kind of music inspires you? Seriously… with so many people loving music, I want to know what inspires YOU! No judgment… for I get inspiration from a plethora of artists and genres, that I’ve been known to listen to on “repeat” when the feeling hits!

How I’ve Kept Friends Amidst This Volatile Political Climate

Many of my friends think differently than I do—vastly differently in the majority of cases.

And, navigating the rough waters of relationships with these individuals has been tough!

It required a lot of trial and error, to include more than a few disgruntled fights.

The very mentioning of politics today by anyone other than my partner pains me!

What did I do to make things easier on me?

I put up boundaries with my friends.

I said, “I don’t want to discuss politics.”

And, I have been known to cite my illness as the reason for it!

I have definitely been quite adamant about this as being my standing policy.

I’ve also learned that you can gauge someone’s respect for you by how well they honor your wishes!

I do have a few friends who still bring up politics – but, they know my policy and (usually) do their best to adhere to it.

It’s just a messed up situation all the way around!

Because politicians want us fighting each other. That is their goal!

Anyway, I don’t do that any longer. And, appreciate what friends I have kept for what they bring to the table, and not which side of the table they sit on.

What’s been of great help too, is A) Knowing the issues. But, B) No longer following politics except perhaps during an election.

I’ve had to do this for my own mental health.

What is going on with politics where your friends are concerned ? Have you done something similar? Something different?

How Do You Maintain Connection When You Have Mental Illness?

For me, I wasn’t able to maintain many relationships for the first several years of my illness.

And then, with time, I slowly began to “try.”

It is difficult having schizoaffective disorder without a doubt, and I am in my 24th year since my first psychotic break!

What that means is that I’ve had time to “figure” some things out, which has much to do with my engaging with my doctors.

But, every day (and I mean every day), I am symptomatic!

I am hoping to get on a medication that will augment my current regimen.

Will that happen?

I don’t know.

I may ultimately have to go to something stronger.

What I’ve learned is that I’m going to have good days and bad days.

But, as always, I try… and, take things one day at a time.

Have you learned to slow down to the point that you are now taking your fight with mental illness, one day at a time? What did that look like for you? How did you get to the one day at a time mentality?

Doing One’s Best And Being Symptomatic

I used to believe I was doing my best by holding my thoughts captive.

And, now I believe this philosophical approach is not so good for me.

But, how do you change the very thing that made you who you are?

In terms of my personality, I’ve always been “deep.”

From adolescence to present day, I’ve always been a “thinker.”

But, now I’m tired of “thinking…”

I’m just tired of mental illness to be straight!

I’m bothered by some of my behaviors, which I’ve began viewing as symptoms of the illness (rather than my being witty, intelligent, or clever).

During the half dozen or so times I was inpatient, I can recall a range of these behaviors:

From not talking to talking, from being polite to being belligerent.

Simple, yet revealing (at least to me)!

This was and is my illness. And, it’s still the pattern I’m involved in today (although I’m not belligerent anymore).

I’d love to end this post by asking some witty, intelligent, or clever questions… but, my tolerance level for my own bullshit has pegged the V/U meter.

That, or as I’ve already said, I’m just tired!

How To Catch A Break Mental Health-Wise (A Poem)

Note: What works for me may not work for you (and vice-versa).

When I stop and think of reading into things, I must realize that that is, 9 times out of 10, my brain wanting to grab ahold of something unhealthy.

I have to accept that this is what’s happening, no matter how much I want to engage in that moment.

I must be stronger than my symptoms wanting to take hold!

It isn’t pretty when I entertain said symptoms, so I choose to stay busy enough in general, that I can sometimes catch a break.

In the moments leading up to my becoming overtired, it is important to move towards resting.

I’ve tried to avoid naps, but for me, that doesn’t help!

By lying down when it’s absolutely essential, it reduces the likelihood of my getting worse.

Taking the time for self-care does my body just as much good, as my keeping a running list of daily tasks.

So, I do what’s helpful for improving my mental health, and saving myself a lot of unnecessary pain.

The “Horrors” Of Pre-Psychosis

As a teenager, I watched horror movies.

I used to enjoy them. And, I think I thought parts of them were real!

As an adult, I confessed that in some of those movies, I actually believed there were actors who lost their lives (during the filming process).

I know it’s silly to think that! But, that’s what I thought for quite some time!

I no longer watch horror movies anymore (I barely watch movies at all, and only some television)!

I think so much time spent watching strange movies and tv shows when I was younger, had a definite impact on me.

At least, that’s what it felt like in retrospect!

I know I was (and probably still am) impressionable!

So, “turning off the tube” is how I do business today.

Do you watch a lot of movies and tv shows? Was there ever been a period of time where you did? What are your favorite genres?