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.

Advertisements

Difficulty.

This new life that I’m learning is in some ways pretty difficult. I’ve made a commitment to write something every day. The problem is, what do I write when nothing special has happened? Today was just a very routine, albeit pleasant, day. I got to speak with my lady friend when I didn’t expect to, I went to the gym and had a not very good workout, but I went, and I did it.

I’d like to regain that sense of accomplishment I was feeling when I first started returning to the gym, because now it feels sort of routine, and that could be a death knell for progress. My weight loss seems to have plateaued also, but I did have a few days recently where I threw caution to the winds and chowed down on stuff that definitely doesn’t help to lose weight. I read something someone else wrote though, and it resonated with me, “would you rather spend your time trying to live to 81, or would you rather live your life until 80?

Even though I enjoy the summer weather, I have a condition called hyperhydrosis. It’s a big word that means I sweat. A lot. I sweat in the winter, I sweat while cooking, I sweat just because. I really sweat. And during the summer, it’s atrocious the amount that I sweat. I can go outside, and literally be soaked through my clothes wet, within five or ten minutes. I deal with it, I carry a washcloth or hand towel with me whenever I go out and I’m careful about how I dress, ( a soaking wet polo shirt or button down is not a good look for me!) and I always wear shorts.

My point being though, that I think the summer heat takes a lot out of me, fluid wise and energy wise. But, it’s raining right now, with some little rumbles of thunder, and I love a nice thunderstorm or even a rainy afternoon, plus it’s much cooler in here now. Hey! Something else to be grateful for!

Are We the ONLY Ones?

I had kind of a lazy afternoon, so I amused myself with some mindless entertainment on the television. I found a movie about UFO’s and at first I thought it was going to be sort of silly because there were folks talking about their experiences as “abductees” and how they were forced to have sex, and the aliens are breeding hybrid alien/humans, that kind of thing.

There were also however, some fairly prominent science types who talked about their opinions regarding the possibilities and how they thought such matters as interstellar travel might be accomplished.

While I was watching, a couple of things occurred to me. First, that I was looking for mindless entertainment when I found “The Secret”, and that movie has changed my life. Second, considering what little I know about the Universe, the fundamentals of ALL matter which is at it’s core, energy, and suddenly much of what I was seeing and hearing made a lot more sense. At the very least, the possibility of it all.

I’ve read a lot pro and con regarding science and the the likelihood of life on other worlds, and the theories seem to me to run in two basic directions: There are just too many stars, solar systems, and planets in the Universe for the life on Earth to be the only life extant. Or, it takes such a unique set of circumstances which absolutely HAVE to happen in the right order, and at the right times, that the Earth IS alone in the Universe in having everything happen so perfectly that the conditions were ripe for life to form.

Personally, I tend toward the first idea. I just cannot fathom when I look at the stars that Earth is the only place where life could form. I understand the narrow, unvarying conditions required for life to form here, but look at all the different forms of life right here! There are millions, if not billions of different species of life on Earth. From single cell amoebas, to jellyfish, to worms, insects, to all kinds of plant life, to the animals, and finally, we humans. Just consider all the different racial makeups of people. If we’re not separate species, we’re certainly different subsets of the same species. My question would have to be, with all the variations of life there are here, how could Earth be unique?

Now, that’s not to say though, that life elsewhere would necessarily be anything like what we know. We understand a set of physical laws that apply to this planet, our own little piece of the cosmos. Science now knows too, about “quantum physics”, even if we have very little idea of the laws that apply there. The theories abound however, about the possibilities of life made of molecules other than carbon. Maybe pure energy without physical form, (where we all derive from maybe?) to the way that time and space could be “folded” on itself, potentially making a physical point in space that is light years away in our physics, existent in the same place in other laws. There might even be an infinite number of “alternate” universes.

Are there extraterrestrial craft roaming our skies? I don’t know, because I haven’t seen definitive proof yet. I believe that it’s absolutely possible that there are other civilizations capable of that kind of movement. I just don’t know if they’ve been here yet.

The people who claim to have been abducted and examined or impregnated, or had implants placed, still seem kind of wacky to me. Then again, we humans routinely subject “lesser” life forms to what amounts to torture in order to study them. So who’s to say? Another civilization that could travel here from another solar system would in all likelihood consider us, if not a lesser life form, then certainly a less intelligent, less capable, and thus, inferior one.

I don’t think they would mean us harm though, because as one of the science types on the movie pointed out, “civilizations” on Earth that don’t learn to live peacefully and in harmony with the Universe, ALWAYS destroy themselves. We in this “civilization” are doing that now. Any life capable of traveling here would certainly be far advanced to us in terms of their understanding of the laws of the Universe, so they would be peaceful, but intent on learning about the Earth.

So. I choose to believe, based on all I’ve learned about the Law of Attraction, and the energy that is common to all the Universe, that there are other beings out there. I visualize a World where we’ve learned to live by the Law of Attraction, and thus put out positive, rather than negative energy. I bet then we’ll attract some pretty cool dudes from another planet who can teach us a thing or two.

Writer’s Block?

Here I am again, not having written anything for quite some time. I don’t know if I have writer’s block, or I’m just in a dry patch with my new found life. I feel like there’s something I’m missing, or maybe I’m not trying hard enough. Then again, the whole point of the Law of Attraction is that “thoughts become things.”

Maybe though, I’m not recognizing the “things”, because they’re not huge, earth shattering events. My life is cruising along just fine, my health is good, better than it was ten years ago. I do volunteer work, I exercise at least four or five days a week, and something just changed in me.

I’m not exercising my gratefulness enough. Just the simple act of sitting here and writing these sentences though, floods my mind with how truly fortunate I am, and how much I have to be grateful for. I’ve been letting myself focus on what I don’t have, and it apparently took me writing this to turn my head in the right direction. So, a gratitude list is definitely called for. I’ve written them before, and I’ve gone back to reread them on occasion, but writing it is the way to go.

I also have to create a “visualization board” with pictures of what I’m trying to attract to my life so that my mind can send the energy to the Universe when I look at it. I bought some meditation soundtracks that I haven’t really taken advantage of yet, too.

This calls for an action plan, and since I’m writing, and this blog is public, it’ll hold me to task for actually doing the things in my plan.
1. Create a visualization board.
2. Set a time each day to meditate, at least once for 30 minutes, or twice for 15.
3. Instead of looking at Facebook and reading the bad news on Yahoo, spend at least 1/2 hour a day writing.
4. Write a gratefulness message on gratitudelog.com, daily.
5. Spend some time every day reading or researching how to write my history of the Albany Post Road.

Now, since I’ve posted my plan here, I’ll have to check in on my blog daily, and since I’ll already be here, so to speak, I might as well write something. I often feel like I have nothing to say, but I usually find that the words come if I just start putting them on “virtual” paper.

Keeping Up

I haven’t written anything here for almost a week, but the truth is, I’ve just been too busy! I’m also doing the Writing 101 assignments, (well, most of them) and with my hectic social life and learning about my new found way of life, so for a retired guy, I’m really working.

I also started volunteer work at the local food pantry/soup kitchen, and that’s going to occupy some time too. I’ve only been there once so far, and doctor’s appointments will keep me away this week, but I think I’ll enjoy the work.

My life feels as if it’s right where it’s supposed to be at this point, but I’m getting impatient at times. I know realistically that I won’t be rich next week, or have my driver’s license back, or a new car. In order to attract these things though, I have to believe and act as if I already have them. So I guess I’m choosing to ride my bike instead of drive because it’s the healthy choice, and I have a fitness goal to meet too.

I listened to a really good visualization lesson today, the gist of which is to celebrate and appreciate that other people have the things that I want, even if I don’t have them yet. Because, if other folks have whatever it is I want, then that’s just proof that it’s there for me too. If it’s possible for someone else, it’s possible for me. Makes sense, no?

Life is a whirlwind!

My life feels like a whirlwind lately, I’m retired, have no real demands on my time, but I have stuff to do every day, all the time. Three months ago I was bemoaning my life, my boredom, my lack of enthusiasm, my general malaise and depression. I believe though, that now I’m really living, and that’s why it seems that there is always too much to do, so much to accomplish. I tell you though, I love having a dream for my life again, a goal that I can work for and expect to achieve it.

I’m still learning, as I will be forever, about how the Law of Attraction works in my life. I still have difficulty with old ways of thinking and feeling about myself. I still have the “shoulds.” You know, “I should do this,” or, “I need to take care of that.” I find myself feeling guilty and then chastising myself for not rabidly chasing my dream. I forget that each step I take in learning about myself and the Law of Attraction, each step I take in learning how to write well, and get a book written, IS what I “should” be doing. I deserve to enjoy the ride and do other things that I enjoy also. I’ve spent so many years telling myself that I don’t deserve happiness that telling me that I do is almost like speaking a foreign language to myself.

I’m still constantly amazed by how the LoA is working, and how I’ve discovered that it’s always working. Little things happen now that I recognize as manifestations of the Law. Ever since I saw The Secret, I keep seeing references to the Law of Attraction, in emails, Facebook posts, those little inspirational messages that folks post. Is it coincidence? Of course not. I am attracting these constant reminders that the Law is out there, and it’s working. You know how when you first learn a new word, and it keeps coming up when you’ve never noticed it before? That’s the Law of Attraction. I’ve had some concerns about money this month. Instead of worrying, I’ve freed my mind to accept that all will be positive. And sure enough, small things pop up, and all is well.

I have to say though, that I’m somewhat disappointed in the huge industry that seems to have been spawned by people becoming aware of The Secret, and the LoA. Most of it seems to revolve around making money, and while I certainly want to do that, money is not, and never will be the “be all and end all” of my existence. I can see where many folks are realizing their dreams of financial success by selling lessons or coaching on how to get rich with the Law of Attraction. I guess it’s to be expected, but still, if I have to spend money for someone to teach me the “secrets” of how to use the LoA, then the Law isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be. I know that isn’t true though, so I feel that folks who maybe don’t understand the Law are being taken advantage of.

I am working toward realizing my dream of writing and having published a best selling history book. The actual finished product is a long way off, years in fact. That’s okay though. I recognize that, I’m learning what is needed to make it happen, and I’m DOING what is needed to make it happen. There are many hurdles that I will have to leap, but leap I shall, and the ride is just beginning!