Happiness (A Poem)

How do I achieve happiness?

I’ve been working hard at identifying my perfectionistic tendencies.

I’ve learned that I have quite a few of them.

I engage in a lifestyle that makes me think happiness is synonymous with perfection.

It may take time before things get better.

A Winter Mental Health Update

Every day is tough!

My psychiatrist is trying to re-build rapport with me, after my meds were notably ineffective during a major life event.

I appreciate his efforts, and we will “get there again,” I’m sure.

More on my difficulties…

I am anxious an awful lot! But, what I describe as anxiety is much more than that. It’s psychosis (as far as I can tell), but I am not a mental health professional.

The people in my life seem to be there because they want to be, and since none of them are causing any harm, they are all welcome!

It has taken me years to fully understand and appreciate a non-toxic life. And, this has included years of learning how to implement boundaries, and know the difference between what is healthy and unhealthy for me.

Interestingly enough, politics has helped in clarifying what I personally believe and what others do as well. This matters a lot when it comes to protecting my mental health.

So, while I don’t discard the people who aren’t causing any harm, I do adamantly disagree with my friends who follow Conservative politics.

But, just because we disagree, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get along.

Some of my best friends and closest family members and I share different politics, and that’s okay!

As I spend every day, doing some kind of reading up on the state of our world, I do consider myself fairly well-informed.

But, that just means I’m not taking anyone’s crap!

Anyway, am I happier this way?

For being informed, yes. For what it is doing to me, probably not.

Are you informed and truly so? Do you consider yourself happy amid the world’s troubles?

Thanks for reading and I hope whatever holidays you celebrate or don’t celebrate, go well for you!

Genetic Diseases Suck

I wanted to share that I wrote three posts between yesterday and today, while accidentally having skipped a number of psych meds, that affect my disposition. But, at least I get certain things out!

There seems to be dementia on both sides of my family. Not to mention, mental illness, which I already have.

And, while I am obese (which obesity runs on one side of the family), I keep trying to find enough happiness/peace/stability, that I can do better with eating and exercising.

I’ve actually lost about 10 pounds since being sick with a cold. The cold is not Covid, and has helped me to realize I need allergy meds. So, I now have those.

Anyway, genetic diseases suck per the post title.

Some day, it will be within more people’s reach to cherry pick their offspring’s genes.

Since I don’t have that kind of money and have NO desire to have children, this is a non-issue for me.

And, while I’m thinking about it… I am damn proud! I am damn proud of the work I’ve done so far in life. I am damn proud of the awareness I sometimes have. And, I am damn proud that I could give a shit less about assholes (with particular attention paid to those I once knew, who have also wronged me).

It’s all good!

Day by day… 🙂

Have a good one!

Things I Feel I Must Come To Terms With

While I don’t really want to die, I think a lot about death.

And, because of the problems with current treatments for my schizoaffective disorder, I will likely die of an obesity-related illness.

I know. To some, this will sound defeatist.

But, no matter what I do, I can’t sleep consistently and I am not able to eat less with consistency either.

Both my weight and lack of a consistent sleep routine have caused me a great deal of pain, for at least 20-something years.

And, this isn’t about diet! It’s about how the medications I take affect my weight, sleep routine, and activity level. And, how I’d like to have a better plan of action moving forward.

I try so hard! And, currently, I have about three days a month, where I sleep eight to nine hours straight and feel rested.

Plus, I’ll still need one to three naps, even when I get that amount of sleep.

I do go to bed at the same time every night, but I oftentimes have difficulty staying asleep the whole night.

I guess I’m just writing all of this, because I am worn down and could use some advice.

Maybe this community has some suggestions? I’m open to hearing what you have to say.

Implementing long-lasting change will probably be up for grabs.

But, maybe not.

And, therapy is off the table.

The Basics Of Dealing With My Severe Mental Illness

My responsibility in life is to firstly, take my meds.

Taking care of myself is difficult.

But, how much more difficult would it be without any medications?

I want to say that taking care of myself to the best of my ability is what I have to do!

For me, there have been many moments, where I question my ability to do more, and those moments are typically followed by my having great difficulty doing even the basics.

Thus, it’s a cycle—whereby I want to contribute more, but I can’t.

It’s a reluctant, but necessary “NO” to a world and to people who do not understand.

And, some will say… what can you do?

Aside from sometimes forcing myself to have and to work on hobbies…

I can sleep too little or too much and not be rested.

I can follow a checklist and not make any real progress.

I can be concerned, panicking about my future as I age.

So, I can do several things, including thinking that I am not depressed, when I am actually quite depressed.

And, a lot of this makes me think about others battling chronic illnesses—do we ever really get out of survival mode?

Or, is there another term to describe the challenges we face?

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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?

3 AM Thoughts

In my life, I’ve done a lot of questioning and I’ve come a long ways.

And, I’ve been uncomfortable A LOT.

My family is both uber religious and ultra conservative.

Among other things, they are self-righteous and care only about themselves.

Many of my friends are slightly less religious, but also quite conservative.

I live in the Midwestern United States, and here, that is the norm.

That being said, I’ve managed to travel in the opposite direction of everything I once knew!

I’m definitely different, the odd ball of my group.

I’ve worked on myself for the past 25 years. And, I have done the best that I could as often as I’ve been able.

And, it has been soul-crushing, trying to make sense of the senseless.

I haven’t been privy to ignoring so many of life’s atrocities, anymore than I can ignore the fact that many Americans think that the U.S. is the only country worth consideration in the world!

Yes, I struggle to love those who could care less. I grapple with loving the “shitty.”

So, as of late… I don’t.

If you didn’t come to your own (healthy) conclusions about religion and politics early on, based off of YOURS (and, others’ experiences)… you are probably following the religion and politics of your family.

An easy and automatic decision for many.

And, I get it. It’s uncomfortable for some people to think about others as their equals, and it’s easy to explain away others’ grief, especially when so many people haven’t “paid their dues.”

But, why must we do that? Think that way? Aren’t we more evolved than that? Don’t we see the shades of gray?

There are lots of choices in life. And, numerous reasons for choosing the (liberal) path that so many before us, have.

Racism. Social Justice. Equality. A woman’s right. To name four!

We are in a war of morals, of human decency. And anymore, I am creeped the fuck out!

But, I’ve also learned that one’s suffering can be the greatest of teachers.

And, I’ve come to learn that you are either practicing greater self-awareness or you are feeding your ego.

Please remember that.

I have found the above statement to be one of life’s ultimate truths!

You are either practicing greater self-awareness or you are feeding your ego.

Powerful thoughts for 3 AM.

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?

This Is Treatment Resistant Schizoaffective Disorder I

I do not know where I’d be right now, if my depression wasn’t being medicated successfully. Also, my schizophrenia is NOT being medicated successfully.

Sometime in the past six months, give or take, I became quite worse on the main antipsychotic I am on.

I am not well.

You’ve heard this from me before, and the difference is, things are more dire than they were previously.

Right now, I am hallucinating pieces of conversations, and having severe delusions, oftentimes while in the process of talking to people.

This is schizoaffective disorder—the treatment resistant type.

For me, I am more aware in some ways than others who battle this illness, mainly because I am trying to “fix” the problem.

So, this affords me the opportunity to explain my issues in greater detail, right?

I suppose so, but what REALLY matters is that I get my medications straightened out.

I just want to get back to my version of “good” again!

Just gotta hold on!