I No Longer Compare Myself To People Who Do Not Have Mental Illness

One of the good things about my first long-term psychiatrist, is that he made every effort to get me to stay awake during the day (as often as I could).

He basically wanted me to be as much like the rest of the world as I could be.

And, I agreed that that made the most sense. At the time especially.

So, I spent years trying to make a schedule I could follow, that had me up during much of the day.

It wasn’t easy, but I now stay awake in the daytime primarily.

Another thing that this doctor did all those years ago, was that he compared me to people who did not have mental illness.

That was okay when I was younger, because it helped me to think about how the rest of the world gets along.

But today, I view any comparison between me and someone who is not chronically ill (for example) as “apples to oranges.”

So, while this first doctor of mine was helpful in getting me to conform ever so slightly, it was actually my getting online and putting myself out there in the blogosphere, that had me see some of my biggest strides.

A lot has changed!

And, that could have much to do with where I am at today as compared to where I was a decade plus ago.

For instance, I used to be single and lonely. And now, I have a partner and am usually only lonely when she’s not around.

In any event, I did not envision the life I now have, but am grateful for it!

Things are still very difficult though, and probably always will be.

I just have to take life a day at a time, and that helps me to get by.

Why do you suppose us humans like to take things a day at a time?

My guess is that we have so many responsibilities, that is would be virtually impossible to NOT do so.

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment!

How One Person With Mental Illness Does Self-Care

Confusion is a real thing for me (as mentioned in the previous post), but I do self-care primarily through suggestions/reminders/affirmations.

In fact, “Words of Affirmation” is my love language—for those who subscribe to that sort of thing.

I make recordings!

Anything about the stuff I want to reinforce in my life, within the scope of illness management and change.

I think the sort of thing I do with my recordings is rare and “quite different.”

So much so that many people often disregard it out of the gate!

But, if you’re the type of person bent on growth, you’ll give it some thought, before excusing it along with the person with mental illness, suggesting it!

(Actually, one’s mental health may or may not factor in to your decision to give this a try.)

My recordings are personal to me, and while I could share snippets, that defeats the purpose of you using your own creativity and imagination to get the job done!

What do I do with my recordings exactly?

I am being my own best friend, by talking to myself and recording my voice for playback.

And, that’s my present reminder/self-care strategy.

You’re reinforcing the pertinent things and even making an album of your thoughts.

They can go in the direction of anything that is positive, helpful, and soothing.

If you would talk to your friend in a way that compliments them or captures something special about who they are, you can do that through reminders and self-care affirmations, for yourself as well.

Things are okay today (one day at a time), and I owe that to my self-care suggestions/reminders/affirmations.

Have any of you ever tried recording your own voice, saying something positive or uplifting? I’m excited to know!

And, if you have made some recordings, what did you say to yourself? 🙂

To Be Human Is To Be Alive

I suppose there is some truth to this title, since deceased humans can’t really weigh-in. :/

What is your feeling about the other part of life (I.e. having a zest for life)?

With all the confusion I experience, there is little to no “zest for life.”

Rather, there is a desire (at this time) to be here, and some gratitude for being alive.

This can all change in a moment, if I were to have compounded medical problems.

My hope is that more medical issues wouldn’t change things, but they certainly could.

Thus, I do what I do each day, these days, to try and create an atmosphere, where I want to and am able to get some sort of nutrition and exercise (among other wants).

And, I do this by recording and playing back my very own affirmations, beliefs, quotes, sayings, and (ideal) experiences.

And, for the record, having made these recordings and playing them back, is a lot better than listening to anyone else definitively telling you what you should think! 🙂

By now, I am doing alright with creating simplistic background music too, which helps to keep me focused on the words I am speaking.

I get a bit of a thrill listening to my voice, telling me what I should think and feel—with options no less!

Options are important!

So yes, it helps to reinforce these things, and it takes a lot of time to figure many of them out!

As someone battling severe mental illness, I can only hope that I continue down this non-delusional path of personal growth, and in a way that helps rather than hurts.

Thanks for reading, and if you would, please share some things that you do ritualistically, that serve to help you with your days!

My Dogs, My Music, and My Partner

I have three wonderful dogs, I listen to lots of music, and I have a loving partner.

In no particular order, these are the three things I involve myself with every day.

They each help me to be happy.

And, happiness takes work!

Now, to do better with my personal hygiene…

I wish that those of us struggling with severe mental illness had it easier in this realm.

There are other areas in which I struggle with my illness, and for the longest time, my goal has been to close the gap on the struggles that are in my control.

I’ve made some progress, but not nearly as much as I’d like.

For instance, right now I am very depressed. And, have been for a few weeks.

I haven’t been able to do enough to make things better for myself. I may get momentary relief, but that’s about it.

Is goal setting a thing for you when you’re symptomatic? Are you able to do things that bring you closer to accomplishing the things you want to accomplish?

One Might Think It Would Be Easier: My New Rules For Caffeine Consumption

Many times when I’m on the verge of discovering something i.e. having a breakthrough, I have this series of moments, whereby I think to myself, wow… I can see this or I can see that… and, I can feel how difficult it was to get here… but, why is it so difficult to begin with?

I am grateful to overcome challenges when I do, but each time I make strides, it is often followed up with… “yep… that could have been easier!”

And, it’s not easy… for anyone… but more difficult for the chronically mentally ill.

In my experience, in order for things to get easier, you have to plug into your self-awareness, and experiment, experiment, experiment.

It works, and that is one reason why I remain open minded (especially in the sense that we are all human beings, each of us trying to make and find our way, etc).

In case you are wondering, the epiphany I had today was that caffeine helps me, and that for me personally, I need to have it. And, a lot of it.

And so, I am drinking diet soda vs. regular soda, in an effort to keep my teeth from rotting out and my sugar intake to a minimum.

This may all sound weird, but I basically decided to make caffeine available to me most hours of the day.

Yes, I get anxious… but, anxiety is something I am generally willing to deal with, to (hopefully) feel more alive!

Will see if this is the ticket or not, to feeling “decent” for more than two days in a row, which I’ve never really been able to do (that I can recall).

So yes, I would appreciate feeling more alive/energetic, and believe that relying on caffeine is going to have to be the ticket to my getting there.

That said, what is your relationship with caffeine? And, what are your “rules” surrounding it?

The Foundation For Happiness (A Poem)

I’ve found that there are no magic pills. No easy fixes.

It takes hard work to manage chronic mental illness.

I take psychiatric medications, because the science of taking them, is in my corner.

I’m all about the science – 80%!

The other 20% is where I make allowances for my own brand of spirituality!

Nothing is perfect with chronic mental illness.

There are dark times, false starts, fears, setbacks, emotional moments, and workarounds.

In a nutshell, taking my psychiatric medications is the foundation for what happiness means to me!

Happiness in the long-term.

Happiness in the moment.

My Three Favorite Solo Artists

I was into the music of Elton John as a young adult, and am now rediscovering him again.

Elton John does not disappoint!

He is on his farewell tour this year, but I don’t do concerts anymore.

Right along with Sir Elton John, I enjoy the music of Sarah McLachlan and that of Seal.

What makes these three artists so special?

Well, for me, it’s primarily their lyrics!

The stories they tell, aren’t always happy ones, but I find many of them to be relatable.

All in all, I give Elton John, Sarah McLachlan, and Seal 5/5 stars each!

I like lots of other musicians, but the aforementioned are my favorites.

Who are some of your favorite musicians and why do you like them?

A Reflection On Time And Self-Effort, With Prescription Antipsychotics

Where do I begin?

Seriously.

I have been thinking a lot about how I was at different ages of my life, with and without prescription antipsychotics.

And, I am curious about some things.

First off, I do believe my regular regimen of prescription antipsychotics are helping.

Secondly, I wanted to ask myself, were they even necessary to begin with?

I took to taking antipsychotics within six months of having a firm diagnosis that requires them.

And, I was able to see that something indeed needed to be done. Then and now.

I don’t believe that what started all of this was anything but psychosis.

Thankfully, the doctors knew what they were doing with me.

And thankfully, I adhered (and continue to adhere) to their recommendations.

I am still going to feel slighted. I am going to feel cheated. I am going to be upset… all at different intervals.

For I did have a life, all those years ago. It had its problems. But, I was able to do significantly more things in those days, than I could ever do today.

Now, the flip side to this is that I am alive. I get to experience some life, whereas some people don’t get that opportunity, or that opportunity is taken away from them too soon.

So, the only thing I really need to do for myself, with this information, is to note that we are all going to die, but only some of us do get to live.

It’s not a perfect reminder, but Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, all of a sudden makes sense.

Anyhow, if I had one wish, it would be to see the bulk of my symptoms go into remission.

I have gotten to experience bits and pieces of a good day though.

And, I’m not 100% where I’d like to be, and have to prepare myself, that I may never be.

But, neither will most people, independent of chronic illness even.

That said, I know my illness will continue to improve… if for no other reasons, than time and my very own self-effort.

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?