I Am Truly Realizing The Value Music Brings To My Life

I just spent much of yesterday evening, attempting to find stability with my thoughts.

And, the thing is… this is an every day occurrence… a lack of stable thinking.

I go round and round with the same cyclical thoughts.

I am doing all I can do to stay busy, but… I am just going to worry. And, I cannot stop the angst.

So, me being the forward thinking person I am… I created a music playlist of songs, that I really enjoy. Songs with meaning.

It would seem I like Adult Contemporary music the best!

What kind of music do you enjoy, and are you privy to making your own playlists? What is your approach to music appreciation?

How My Self-Recorded Reminders Are Helping Me

“Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.”

And, you know what?

That’s just the type of thing I want to remind myself of where my schizoaffective disorder is concerned.

As the case is, I ruminate over some of the same things again and again, many days of the week.

So, I made a recording that addresses these issues once and for all!

You could alternatively name it, “Combatting The Voices.”

So, for anyone who wants to try helping themselves with some of their repetitive thoughts, I can recommend some great tools that will help with that!

For the mac or pc (even Linux)… Download and install Audacity (it’s free)!

If you want to record anything, Audacity is as good as it gets, and rivals the best paid-for applications on the web.

It’s safe, and it will do the job of taking your voice and making a copy of it to refer to in the future.

Optionally… if you want a microphone, you can pick up a USB mic, that will work with the mac, the pc, and (again) Linux.

Of course, you don’t need an external microphone, as many computers have built in mics!

Recording myself addressing the things I most need to be reminded of, is presently making an impact, and is steering me away from some of my suicidal thinking.

Whatever helps, right?

Exactly! And, who would have thought that recording affirmations/reminders for 20 years would help lay the foundation for when I found greater direction for my days?

How do you handle learning and self-improvement? What self-help techniques, aside from taking meds or going to therapy, are in your toolbox?

A Bit About The Spoon Theory (And How I’m Practicing It)

Not long ago, I shared a generic daily checklist with you, here on my blog.

It was something I put a great amount of effort into, but at the end of the day, it held too many options.

Sure, it was nice seeing all of the daily possibilities in one place, but I have nowhere near the energy it takes to fill up that checklist!

So, I started looking more into the Spoon Theory, that Ashley from Mental Health @ Home has shared with all of us.

Turns out, not only was I basically reinventing the wheel with my daily checklist, I was being ineffective in getting the most important things done!

The Spoon Theory isolates those things that are most important and gives them a ranking system, allowing for you to choose where you spend your energy, day in and day out.

It just keeps things simple, which I like very much.

The originator of the Spoon Theory created it for herself some time ago, to share with friends and family, how she deals with lupus.

She once said, that the Spoon Theory is for anyone battling an illness, and severe mental illness would definitely fit into that category.

In the spirit of sharing more of my day to day with my readers, I am including a snapshot of my spoons.

Thus, I hope others can find inspiration on the Spoon Theory. And, a quick google search regarding Spoon Theory will tell you all you need to know to get started.

For reference purposes, I have been trying to allot myself 15 spoons every day. And, many days I work with that or a little bit less.

I am interested to know. Who all out there is practicing the Spoon Theory (or any variation of such)? And, what have you found is a good number of spoons to deal with, for your situation?

Do This When You Can – “My Daily Checklist” (For World Mental Health Day)

Hey all,

I’ve been working on this template for the past year and I hope you find it useful!

It is quite difficult for me to complete many of these items most days; but, having a place for some of the most important items to me, can sometimes afford me a wonderful sense of accomplishment!

Alter the content in any way that helps, and please be sure to add plenty of inspiring images as well!

Also, consider returning to this post in the future, to let me know how the checklist has helped you.

—Mio Angelo

A Reflection On My Past Attempts At Suicide

Until recently, I could not grasp the consequences of the pain I was going through the three times I tried to end my life, 20 years ago.

I couldn’t even categorize my attempts as “suicide attempts” until lately.

It has taken me most of those 20 years to get clarity on what it would have meant, had my actions resulted in something I seemingly wanted at the time.

What happened:

Three different times following three different hospitalizations (throughout one summer, during the early days of my deterioration, before I got the schizoaffective disorder diagnosis), I tried to get out of a moving vehicle.

One time, I even took the wheel of my dad’s car (thankfully, not hurting any of us), and totaled the vehicle. I was then rushed to the hospital—this time by ambulance.

I don’t ever want to experience that kind of helplessness again. I do experience a lot of hopelessness—but helplessness—no thank you!

And, now:

I’d like to think that today I’ve built up a pretty good set of coping skills.

Nonetheless, schizoaffective disorder has quite a hold on my life.

The illness and the side effects of the meds, make normal living a kind of challenge I have not been able to overcome.

So, I just do my best, which looks different—depending on the day.

It’s always one day at a time, with an eye towards building up my resilience!

I still think a lot about death, which is different than being actively suicidal.

Part of what was so troubling for me 20 years ago, was dealing with what severe mental illness was going to mean for me and my future.

A lot of what I dealt with then, and from time to time, now, are the stages of grief.

How about you?

Please share some of how you cope with adversity and your illness-related challenges.

(I appreciate the dialogue.)

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!