The End.

I am making a new start, and this blog was to be a chronicle of how I achieved “freedom”. I didn’t achieve anything of the sort, but boy did I learn a thing or two. So, in keeping with my desire to start fresh, and remove toxic thoughts and feelings from my life, I’m closing this blog and ‘ll be starting a new one. Good Luck to anyone who is still following.

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More Thoughts

I’ve been doing a lot of putzing around since I visited here last, and I enjoyed some of it, some has been quite boring. I haven’t been writing much and I’m not really sure why, except that I don’t always think I have a lot to say. Then again, maybe I’m just being lazy. I know I do a ton of thinking, but it would be almost impossible to write everything I’m thinking down, because for one, I am lazy. That’s okay though, because that’s me. I know, you all thought I was perfect, but I do have that one little flaw. For another though, I just do not type fast enough to keep up with all I think. I need to take a keyboarding class. Remember when it was typing class? Well, some of you don’t, I’m sure.

My pursuit of a new life, and “My journey to freedom,” have not diminished so much as they’ve run up against reality. There are abundant signs that all is as it should be in my life, and as I’ve learned, the Universe responds to the energy I put into it, not in my time frame, but as the Universe and the Creative Intelligence behind it deems proper. So I can be satisfied with the way things are going even though I’m not rich or famous, or traveling the world. Yet.

I wrote in my last piece about my medical tests, and one manifestation of my positive thinking is that my carotid arteries on both sides are perfectly clear. One was supposedly partially blocked, and although it’s common in guys my age, I didn’t believe that there was a problem, and it turned out that there wasn’t. Another manifestation which I hadn’t really thought about until just now was that back in the spring, I went to my cardiologist, and my blood pressure was up a bit. He had me monitor it for a month or so, but when I did, it was always high. Sometimes way too high. Before the month had gone by though, I had to see the PA at my regular doctor’s, and she started me on a small dose of an anti hypertensive med. As soon as I started taking it, my BP was normal. Better than normal. I thinkĀ  I got so worried when my BP got so high that my negative energy kept it up there, and drove it higher. Thus, to me, there is a place for medications and sometimes they are absolutely necessary.

It has been a while now since Robin Williams’ death, and I’ve refrained from commenting about it because I needed to ponder it and consider, really, how I felt about it. I mean obviously I, like every one else who is a thinking human being, mourn his passing, but it has a deep meaning for me personally in my journey because I think I know exactly how he felt, and how desperate he must have been for relief from his pain that he decided death was the only option.

I’m incredulous still that there was a question of whether he was depressed or not. How could someone who decides to die by his own hand not be depressed? It was also disheartening to me to find that in this day and age, people can still be so heartless as to call him a coward for what he did, but then again, it just emphasized how little folks really do understand about what a horrible, black, all enveloping monster, depression truly is. I’m sorry that Robin couldn’t take solace in his knowledge of what a truly beloved person he was. Even if he wasn’t always the happy, joking cut up he always appeared to be in public. I’m sorry that he couldn’t have talked with me, or the many like me who’ve suffered the black pain and managed to come out on the other side alive and better for it. I’m sorry that his pain was so deep that he could look past the hurt that his death would cause his family, where the knowledge of the pain my suicide would have caused my daughters was all that kept me alive. We all knew though, as we read about his issues with alcohol and sobriety that deep inside, he hid the tears of a clown.

So. Forgive me if I preach a bit, but I still find myself getting upset at the routine use of “mental health” jokes and memes in social media. I really only use Facebook, and I’m amazed at how thoughtlessly people who are usually thoughtful, and would never consider posting a joke about having, say, cancer or a stroke, post jokes about being bipolar, depressed or even schizophrenic and think they’re funny! I am far from politically correct, and I can take a joke as well as anyone. I can poke fun at my own episodes of mental illness because it can’t hurt me anymore. Neither can other people’s jokes, but not everyone who suffers from this disease has learned what I have, nor can they always separate the joke from what seems an attempt to shame them. Especially if one of the symptoms the person is suffering from is paranoia.

I’m debating what I should do. I want to “stick up” for people who may not be able to do it for themselves, but I don’t want to appear as though I’m turning into the PC police either. I think, maybe, that just a simple statement of my opinion is called for, because this is something that is dear to my heart, and it really isn’t any of my business what other people think of me. For someone who’s in the black cloud of depression, or maybe in a hyper manic phase, or hearing voices telling him to die, and that person is thinking that death really will relieve the pain, the jokes must seem particularly cruel, and may even be the impetus for someone to take that final, irreversible step.

Once again, writing what I’ve been thinking has clarified some things for me, and given me an action plan. I’m not sure why this is so important to me at the moment, but it’s been on my mind for a while. Stay tuned. I’ll let you (and me) know how it turned out.

Thoughts

I had a physical exam a couple of months ago, since it had been two years, and as part of my new life and loving myself, I owe it to me to maintain my health. Plus, I’m fifty frikkin’ nine years old, too. The PA ordered ultrasound exams of my abdomen and carotid arteries, something that I’ve never had before. Apparently, folks my age need these to check the internal organs and for blood flow to the brain. It turns out that I have up to a 60% narrowing of my right carotid artery, so the PA ordered an MRA, which I had done today.

An MRA is like an MRI except the study is of the arteries. When you get one of the carotids, you have to lie on the sliding platform with your head and neck in a kind of brace, and then they put a cage over your face and lock it down to prevent head movement. They then slide you into this narrow tunnel of a machine, and get to work. If you are prone to claustrophobia, (I’m not, normally,) it can be a very unpleasant experience. I’ve had at least three other MRI’s of either my head or my upper body, so I knew what to expect, and I had no real concerns about it.

So, I slide into the machine, and it starts making all the ungodly noises they do, which to me sounds for all the world like it’s trying to shake and bang itself apart. I mentally examined the possibility of getting claustrophobic, and I wasn’t, although I could feel panic just hovering around my mind, should I choose to let it in.

The technician was a big heavy affable guy named John, and at the start of the exam he spoke to me from the safe room through an intercom. I deliberately didn’t move, because I knew that if I lifted my hand or leg and felt how tightly I was wrapped in this big tube, I would start to feel trapped. Suddenly though, seemingly out of nowhere, came a thought: “John is so big, what if he has a heart attack and drops dead in that other room?” Instantly I could feel adrenaline starting to surge, and panic started poking at the edges of my mind, looking for a way in. I wondered if the machine would just keep on running until it fried my brain, or if I’d have to lie there until somebody came looking for John when he didn’t make his next appointment!

Then, the banging stopped. The bed moved a little. John was still alive! I felt foolish. Confused. A bit angry with myself. I was also curious though. Why had a ridiculous thought like that, unbidden, come crashing into my consciousness? Why had I entertained it for the few minutes that I had? Was there a life lesson in this for me? I think there was.

I believe in the Law of Attraction, and it has fundamentally changed my life. I’ve written here before though, that I often have trouble holding on to my faith in the law when I face adversity. In this instance, the Universe gave me a harmless lesson in how much work I still have to do, because my mind was so easily able to just disregard everything I’ve learned. I became consumed with worry about a completely irrational idea. It’s not a lesson that I’ll soon forget!

There was another lesson there for me too. As absurd as my worry was, I also had to examine my own mortality. Stranger things have happened than a guy getting his brain fried in an MRI machine. I was not scared of dying though. If that’s what came to pass, I figured my kids would make a pretty good chunk of money in the end. I accept now that when it’s my time, then my energy will return to the Universe. Maybe I’ll get to come back in another life. Maybe as a plant or animal, maybe on another planet in the Universe. We are all made of the same energy at the very core of our beings, so my form may change, but what I’m made of won’t. I find that comforting, and very much more logical than a vengeful god who’ll send my soul to suffer unspeakable anguish for eternity because I haven’t lived a perfect life.

I took a weekend trip to Vermont with my Lady to attend a wedding. With my newfound knowledge, I was able to dance and chat and enjoy myself with her, without worrying about how I looked dancing, or what other people might think. Vermont is beautiful, and I got some really nice photos.DSC_5532

It’s Been Awhile

So, I haven’t written anything here for awhile, and that’s in spite of my previous declaration that I would write daily. I have no excuse that I haven’t, only that I just wasn’t feeling it. Now, if I were a pro, that would be completely unacceptable as an excuse, however, I’m not a pro.

I’ve always had “issues” with feeling like I have to do things, and when I procrastinate, get lazy, or I’m just not feeling it, I often end up feeling guilty for not doing what I required in the first place. I read some helpful hints today, by a man name Dr. Neil Fiore. One is to make the choice to accomplish the task I’ve set for myself. A simple change in thinking, from, “I have to write today”, to “I will write today” makes a huge difference. See? Here I am! Second, I threaten myself with doubt and uncertainty when I “have to” do something, or I decide that it’s too much, so I may not even start. However, and I found this to be true today, if I break the tasks into smaller 15 to 30 minute segments, and my focus isn’t on getting the whole thing done, but getting each step done, it goes much easier.

Since I can’t drive right now, my main mode of transport is to bicycle. I own two bikes, one is a twenty some odd year old “street” bike that was pretty expensive in it’s day, and the other is my year old combination bike with an electric assist. The newer bike has been having repeated issues with rear tire flats, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time determining what the problem is, and I had to order some simple items to help prevent the flats. The items have still not arrived though, and that bike is unusable until they do. My other bike has been hanging in a garage or sitting on my front porch for years. It was dirty, the tires were flat, and the wheels were off the bike. It also has a different type of air valve, a Presta, and I thought I needed an adapter to make my pump work with it. I’d been telling myself that I needed to get that bicycle up and running, but procrastination reared it’s ugly head.

In all the You Tube tutorials I watched, I discovered that all modern bicycle pumps usually can switch between Presta and Schrader valves, and a little more research revealed that mine did too. So I set myself a goal this morning of getting up, getting my old bike together and using it for the ride to the gym. When I went to get it though, it was sitting there, dusty, dirty, rusted gear and brake wires, and I started thinking it would be too much work to get it rideable.

I sat down to have my morning coffee, read the daily teaching from “The Secret”, checked on what was going on in the world, and all the time I was thinking how I wouldn’t be able to get my old bicycle up and running so I would have to walk to the gym, yada, yada, yada. I checked my email, and there was one from the aforementioned Dr. Fiore called “How to Conquer Procrastination https://www.entheos.com/academy/classes/how-to-conquer-procrastination-and-optimize-your-productivity/entheos?utm_campaign=Academy1&utm_content=mobile&utm_medium=email&utm_source=optimizer-2175 I read it, and then I read it again. Then, I inflated the tires to my bike, and sat for a while and had more coffee. After I spoke with my Lady, (as we do every morning!) I took the bike frame outside, cleaned it, lubed it a little, put the wheels back on, and in the end used it to go to the gym with absolutely no problems.

Of course, I’m used to my bike with the electric assist motor, so when the effort gets to be a bit much, all I need do is twist the throttle and the motor takes up more of the load. It took a little practice and adjusting, but I made it to the gym and back without keeling over from exhaustion, but I even managed the hills with some huffing and puffing.

It’s funny how a little thing like some education can get my mind back on track, and thinking positively about life. The Law of Attraction worked for me, and I’m grateful. It’s also curious how accomplishing a big task in small increments can send my mood soaring!

Old Ways

I’ve discovered, or maybe re-discovered how insidious old ways of thinking can be. As I’ve stated here a number of times, I discovered the Law of Attraction and what it means for me. I’ve been working to use the principles of the law, and I’ve been putting it into practice. Sort of.

Recently, I’ve not felt the connection and enthusiasm that I initially had for the Law of Attraction and the new life I’m leading. I started wondering if it really was what I’ve been looking for, and why it didn’t seem to be solving all my problems. In short, I felt that it wasn’t working.

Today, I re-watched the movie that initially turned me on to the LoA, and I discovered once again what I was doing wrong. My thinking was wrong. I’d started thinking negatively again, not about everything, but enough that I’d forgotten the main truth about the Law of Attraction, namely that what you think and feel, attracts more of the same thinking and feeling.

Even though my thinking has gone backwards a bit though, I’m not disheartened by it because I recognized that what I was thinking, and therefore feeling and doing, were actually attracting negativity to me. That’s not to say that everything was negative, but I didn’t feel like I was making progress, and I just wasn’t feeling excited like I was in the very beginning.

I realized that I was thinking like the David in my previous life, and I’d slid into those thought patterns without even realizing I had done so. I was reacting to my lady friend, other people and events with negativity, and even though a part of me knew it, I was unable to reverse course, and find the positive energy I knew was out there. All it really took was for me to watch “The Secret” again though, and all of the reasons I was so happy to find out this secret came flooding back.

I’ve been drifting along lately, not taking some of the necessary actions I need to do to accomplish and attract the things I want in my life. I use “things” sort of generically, because there is so much that I want to do, to have, to be, and to give.

I’ve also been feeling kind of guilty lately, wallowing in the “shoulds” because I always feel like I have to be acting in certain ways, meeting expectations, doing what people think I ought to be doing, but all that is unnecessary, because my life is my own to live. I can’t live any one else’s reality, and no one can live mine. I know what I need to do though, and rather than feel guilty, all I have to do is be proactive and do. One step at a time.

I’m back on track, I feel good, I feel happy. I’m grateful that I can examine my thoughts and feelings, and sort out where negativity started creeping in. Of course I’m even more grateful that I can recognize this and start inserting positivity into my thoughts and feelings again. And I’m going on a small vacation with my lady next week, so I can do some traveling with her, which is my favorite!

Mental Illness

I haven’t written here in a few days even though I committed to writing every day, but I’ve done some writing elsewhere that I’d rather not share in this “PG” rated forum. Be that as it may, I’ve stumbled across a couple of topics near and dear to my heart.

I just read a news article titled “US jails struggle with role as asylums.” The gist of it is that many folks with mental illness have little access to real health care, and often must get arrested for minor offenses, (usually committed as a symptom of the mental illness) and end up in jail rather than treatment. While in jail, these folks may or may not get evaluated or treated for their mental illness while there. This depends largely on whether the person admits to having an illness. Even if they do though, they may receive medication for the time they’re in jail, but are then released with no follow up, and so the cycle repeats itself. Except occasionally, some one becomes violent against others, or commits suicide.

Then, there’s an article somewhere, and in today’s internet world, space afterward for comments. They always seem to go like this: “My brother wouldn’t take his meds and he was homeless, now he’s in prison.” “My mother has bipolar but won’t get herself help, so we’ve given up on her.” “Dad can’t take care of himself, but he can’t get an appointment to see a doctor, and the system won’t help him.” “My sister is schizophrenic, but she takes drugs and steals to get the money, so we threw her out of the house. Now she’s homeless, but she won’t stop using drugs.”

There were also other statements by commenters who claimed that a big part of the problem for mentally ill people in the jails was the obvious abuse perpetrated on them by the staff, principally the “guards.”

Now I have some experience with mental illness, as I was diagnosed with “Major Clinical Depression” 19 years ago this month, as fate would have it, and I’ve been treated for it with everything from meds to therapy to electro shock treatment (ECT). I’ve discovered what amounts basically to a cure for me, but I have to be wary and watch for the signs and symptoms of depression, because it can sneak back in if I let it.

It has taken me this long to understand how I can defeat this monster though, and many people just aren’t so fortunate. Maybe someone will read my blog, and discover that they too can get better without medications and what passes for “treatment.” That’s not to say if you have a mental illness and your treatment works for you, that you should give it up, but I lost faith in the conventional forms and I found what works for me.

Any way, that’s not really the point of this post though. What I’m talking about, first and foremost, is that families don’t seem to come together to care for a mentally sick member, at least not like they do for those with physical ailments. In the past, (I know I’m generalizing here) if someone had a mental illness, the family would surround him/her, make sure that person was cared for with a home, food, someone to watch over them, and their privacy was protected. The neighbors may have known that the Michael’s had a son who “wasn’t right in the head”, but nobody bothered them, and the son could live out his days as well as possible, in the loving embrace of his family. Obviously, there were circumstances where that wasn’t possible, or the ill person had no family, and these people needed to be institutionalized.

I’m not going to go into great lengths about the horrors that were uncovered in some of the institutions, but generally speaking, families took care of their own. When did that change? Why did that change? I realize this is a different world, but there are tons of stories about folks with cancer who are cared for by family, loved ones, hospitals, and finally hospices when the time comes. Why doesn’t that happen with mentally ill people? There are no people with cancer in prison for stealing to get the pain meds they need, because the meds are supplied to them as compassionate care. Why are schizophrenics or depressed folks locked up for stealing in order to medicate their pain? It’s partly because those who’ve never experienced that pain don’t believe it’s real. I’m not suggesting that someone with depression should be supplied with morphine, but the current methods and the current meds that screw with brain chemistry don’t work. If they did, there wouldn’t be so many of these folks committing crimes and ending up in jail!

Why are people with mental illnesses blamed for their own diseases? Why do their families give up on them? Why isn’t home care and more than just emergency hospitalization available to them? If I became severely depressed today, went down to the local hospital psychiatric ER and told them that, they would make me an appointment, or more likely, give me a number to call to make an appointment in two or three weeks, to see a psychiatrist who would ask me how sad I was and then prescribe an anti-depressant. Or, more anti-depressants. If I went there and said I was going to kill myself or someone else though, then they’d lock me up in a ward where I’d sit most of the day and stare at a TV. If I had been drinking before that though, then that would become the root of all my problems, and they would hustle me off to a rehab as soon as possible.

Some folks get so depressed that they literally cannot move from bed for days. What happens to these people when they have no one to care for them? If someone discovers them they might go to an ER and get IV fluids, but they’ll be sent back home again. Not posing a threat to anybody, right? My point being that if someone needs “help”, the way to get it is to act out.

Next, even though I’m a little biased on the subject, prison officers are probably the greatest mental health counselors alive today. They damn near live with the mentally ill, they have to watch out for their safety, as well as the safety of those around them. Prison officers, when experienced, have a very finely tuned sense of who the ill inmates are, and maybe more importantly, when they are “decompensating” and descending into their own particular brand of hell. Thus, the prison officer is often the first advocate for the mentally ill prisoner, taking all the administrative action required to get him treated. Every officer with a few years on the job has experienced some who are known to be ill and are caught in the revolving door of incarceration, release, no treatment, incarceration, release, on and on. Plus, as in my case, very often the prison officer learns first hand what depression feels like.

I don’t know what the answer is, and maybe there isn’t one. I do know that if you have a mental illness but are functional and can understand the basics, then the Law of Attraction can help. It did for me.