Mental Illness

The sounds I am hearing are not from this world

And the thoughts I am having are painfully grim

No graceful words can describe a delusion

No insight can be formed in poetic expression

Because it is the most simple and raw form of human emotion

That keeps me awake all through this night

The doctor said it may pass or it won’t

Only time and perseverance will tell

So I write poems pleading for the Lord’s gentle love

Embarrassing myself in front of strangers I’ll never meet

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Off the deep end

Hypo-mania, the liar

An embarrassing high

I make promises that I cannot keep

I do believe in dreaming

But dreams should be sought after with stability

I must make work of my ideas

In a way that is not harmful to self

How can I fight an invisible force?

With courage and hope no doubt

Giving up is not an option

Moving forwards is the only answer

But how do I draw the line

Between false hope and good ideas?

Perhaps I will always be stuck here

In purgatory of instability

I do not want to lose fulfillment

I can make light of the situation

Enjoy the time I am given here

Appreciate those that I love

And try to seek good mental health

Have Hope

Not all of my brothers will make it out

No matter the strength they have

The world can beat them down further

 

I feel blessed that I was able to pave a way for myself

That I could balance my chemistry again

 

I still suffer inside thinking of those who work hard

And feel no relief from pain

 

I can only offer what has helped me

And pray that it can inspire them to help themselves

To have persistence in their path finding

 

We are all hurting in some way

In different ways then others

 

Finding those who have faced similar tragedy

Can bring comfort to your own

 

Having been hurt

Tortured by anxiety and depression

It is only through hope that I am free

 

The struggle is devastating

Crippling me where I am weak

 

I must seek out my strength

And grapple onto the ledges that are few and far in between

 

It has not been an easy journey

Many times I have fallen

Many more times will I fall

 

Yet I am shaped by my circumstance

Forged by fire into hard granite

 

When I am crying out in my pain

It is my want for something better that pushes me

 

Though it is hard to believe in something

It is the only answer to the horrors of life

I must look for the beauty of suffering

 

The lack of desire and the anhedonia

Have a prettiness that most will deny

 

But my stoic answer to lack of feelings

Is that I was always in control of how I reacted

 

When I put myself to work

In whatever small way that it was

It did not motivate me any further

 

I trudged on anyways

Thinking that there was no other way out

 

Looking back on the small things that multiply

I can see the progress I have made and I am proud

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Month

Things have been improving in my life over the past month. My biggest achievement is that I haven’t smoked pot for just over a month now. The first two weeks of withdrawal came with lots of headaches, insomnia, tiredness and stomach aches. After that initial hump it’s only been up from there. I’ve had more energy and motivation. My cognitive functioning is improving everyday. I haven’t been having so much paranoia and anxiety.

I spent the past few months lowering my intake from everyday smoking down to once a week, and on January 1st I quit altogether. I didn’t try to make it a new years resolution because those don’t seem to last more then a week. It was more of just that I was ready to finally go cold turkey and doing it on the first day of the year seemed like a good day to track how long I had been off of it.

This is the first time I’ve quit before without having cravings. Which is a great sign for keeping up with it. I think the work I’ve done on myself, and the goals I’ve set, have created a reality where I don’t need it anymore to deal with my problems. I know that it only increases my chances of psychosis, causes anxiety and paranoia, and messes with my motivation and thinking ability.

I am wary of when I hit the 2-3 month mark of being off of it this time. The last time I quit, that was when I tricked myself into “just one more time”. I will not be having another last toke. I am finished with it. And I realize now that it is a daily choice that I have to make. I cannot let myself play mind games and rationalize reasons to smoke again. When I quit for 2 months over a year ago, just smoking up again once was all it took to get back into it daily for another year straight. And although I fell down, it was necessary to learn a lesson of just how far I will fall if I allow myself to.

I won’t be able to learn the complex things I need to learn to go into engineering if I am smoking up. Some people can deal with going to school and toking, but I am not one of those people. It has affects on my mental illness and cognitive functioning. It makes me stupid.

Going to school is my biggest goal at the moment. I am pursuing a career in electrical engineering. I have a lot of work to do but I am excited about the process as much as I am about the reward. I’ve been practicing my math skills over the past couple weeks, learning the things I failed to understand while in high school. I’ve been enjoying the work I put into it very much. And the sense of accomplishment as I fill up my notebook with equations is lifting my self-esteem.

I have a lot to learn about still. I did poorly while in school, and although I graduated I just barely made it through. I learned the absolute minimum. Which will not suffice when I go back to do my upgrading of prerequisites to get into university. The next semester for upgrading starts in winter of this year. And although that is a far ways away, I am still worried it may not be enough time to catch up. I need to ace my math courses to get into the university I would like to go to.

So I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed, but at the same time I’m feeling good about myself for reaching for my goals. I have something to accomplish and I am set out to do so. My medication is working well since I have not drank in a few months. I don’t have any plans to drink again in the future.

Life is looking up right now. And that is just as scary as it is comforting. I have a little fear some nights that something terrible is going to happen to bring it all crashing down again. I try my best to have courage and understand that I will just have to deal with whatever comes my way.

I’ve especially been enjoying writing poetry for the past couple weeks. It seems to be the only thing that soothes my anxiety. When I can’t sleep at night it keeps me occupied and free from worry. It may not be very good poetry, but it is my expression of self and that makes it special to me.

I will continue working on my goals as much as I can. I know that with persistence, and the support I receive from loved ones and my mental health workers, that I can do something worthwhile with my life. I don’t want to self sabotage anymore, I just want to keep putting one foot in front of the other and remain steadfast on my journey.

Some perspective on finding direction

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I’ve switched what I want to do with my life a few times over the past 10 years. From managing a store, to trades, to business, to healthcare to music production. It can be hard to not feel guilty for not having stuck with anything. The truth is, nothing has really peaked my interest so much that I feel like actively pursuing it. Things tend to hold my attention for a few weeks, and then die off as I realize it’s not really something I’m into.

Well, I’m on to my next big thing, and it feels a little different this time. That thing would be electrical engineering. Usually when I come up with ideas for what I want to do with myself, I’m mostly thinking about the end goal more so then the progress in between. I haven’t found anything where I’ve genuinely been interested in the process. Building a business is the closest thing that came to interest in the time spent learning, but even then it felt more like a means to an end.

The past week I’ve been consuming tutorials on how electricity works, and I’m fascinated! I’ve been literally jumping up out of my seat in excitement over what I learn (My cats think I’m crazy!). I don’t recall ever feeling this much interest in anything in my entire life. It’s not just about building an Iron Man suit eventually (How cool would that be?!). It’s actually really cool just to learn all the little pieces of information I’ve been researching. I learned how transistors work and how they’re made a few days ago, and I was totally amazed by the genius of the people who designed them. It wasn’t my regular “Okay, just need to focus long enough to learn something” haze that I usually go through when I’m learning about something. It was more of a “Holy shit this is cool!” sort of feeling the whole way through. I watched some videos more then once because I found it so interesting.

Woah, take it easy now. I haven’t felt this excited since I was starting to get into music production awhile back. I’m having a hard time not saying to myself “You were just as excited about music, and that lasted how long? Two, maybe three weeks? It’s just another phase that will quickly pass.” I have to remind myself that this is worth trying out, and no amount of guilt is going to help me find what I’m looking for in life. Even if my interest peters out, I have to at least try it to see if it’s really what I want.

So I’m doing my best not to be hard on myself for my past interests, and just let the excitement I feel be a motivator to continue in this passion. I have to let go of those failures to launch, and focus on the here and now. What if this is the thing I’ve always wanted and just never knew it, and it just took multiple failures and tries to figure that out? This could change everything about the way I live my life, should I give that up because I’ve felt this excited before and given up before? No way! Besides the fact that I should keep trying things out until something sticks, this feels a lot more right then my previous attempts at pursuit of passion.

I wanted to be writer, I really thought I did. This was mostly because it just comes a little more natural for me to do. The problem is even though it comes natural to me, it doesn’t necessarily always feel enjoyable. If anything I think it’s more of a release then a hobby or passion. The muse will come and go as she pleases, and I don’t have much energy to chase her around. I like writing, but that’s about it. I think more about the fame and money and accomplishment of writing books then I do of actually sitting down to write.

Trades, meh. Challenging yes, but not really interesting to me all that much.

Healthcare was more of a pipe-dream I think. That’s one where I really had to lie to myself and say “This is what I want to do!”. I was more interested in the respect gained in being a healthcare provider, the big paycheque, and the challenge of the complexity. The problem is I wasn’t all that driven to learn about anatomy. It sounds interesting for sure, just not that “I NEED TO DO THIS” sort of interesting I think is necessary in having a passion.

Music production, another thing that I was more interested in the end result then actually learning how to do it.

Managing a store? The title sounds cool, the paycheck sounds cool, but dealing with shitty people all the time? Fart on that.

Lastly business. This was more of a middle ground for me. I was, and am still, interested in business. I have moderate interest in learning the tricks of the trade. In that I would have more interest in the process if it had some sort of end-goal in mind. I could probably muster up enough interest in marketing to learn it well if I had a project I felt was worth selling. I think this will be something I will poke at more in my later life after I’ve learned more about the world, and am ready to start creating big things.

I bring all these things up because I had sort of an a-ha moment just now. Even though I tried all of these things out, it doesn’t mean that I’ve failed in not pursuing them right now. These things might all tie into what is really burning inside me at the moment; Learning about electronics.

What if I end up going to school for electrical engineering, become the best that I can at it, really engulf myself in the learning of advanced electronics. What if I then decide that I want to manufacture medical devices to help people? Good thing I already had somewhat of an interest in medicine. What if I decide to design cool musical production stuff? There’s my musical interest coming into play. If I have to write technical papers, or even just explain things to other engineers or CEO’s, well it’s a good thing I’m good at writing! And it’s a good thing I study business on and off all the time, as that information will be useful when I invent something and decide to market it to the public.  I will need to be good at managing people if I run a company selling electronic devices. And of course I’ll need to be mechanically inclined to build everything.

So have I really failed at everything I’ve tried? Or have I just planted seeds that may one day mature into strong cedar? I don’t know, of course I don’t know. I’m sure we’ve all heard something along the lines of “Life will set its own path for you no matter how much you try to control it.” What I do know is that perspective changes everything about how you view the world. I could see these past interests as a complete failing in character, but I think instead, I will see these “failures” as stepping stones to a brighter future. Hope is a powerful thing, and feels a whole lot better then distress and misery.

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Moving along

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I don’t know where I’m going, or where I will end up. I don’t think any of us do. What’s important is keeping the ball rolling and always looking at the future with wanting eyes. Though the depression still haunts my days and nights, I haven’t given up hope that I can do something with my life.

I face most days with a lot of courage, even if I don’t recognize it in myself. A lot of time is spent thinking about my fears and anxieties. And yet I do my best not to let it control me. Some days I win, some days I don’t, but hope hasn’t left the building yet. I have deep-set fears of people hurting me, torturing me, but I still leave my house alone. I fear that I won’t amount to anything, and yet I spend so much time looking for ways to make my life better.

Right now, for better or worse, I am looking into going back to school for business. I’ve been thinking about it for the past 2 years, and though my fears always seem to keep me from taking the plunge, I haven’t given up. This coming Tuesday, I’m going with my mental health worker to the university to discuss taking a business course. No strings attached, I’m just curious and need some answers. Maybe I won’t go down this avenue, but I feel it is my duty to at least learn all I can about this big decision.

I worry that I won’t be able to pay attention in class. I worry about forgetting everything. And biggest of all I fear being stuck in a room that I can’t escape without major embarrassment. I need to do this though. My soul calls out to me to make a move, and I follow.

Is this just another excitement, a guilty pleasure before I tumble into the darkness again? I really don’t know, but I do know I need change in my life. I need to face my fears and set an example for others who are in similar situations. If anything, this might be the biggest and scariest risk I’ve ever taken. Going to school doesn’t feel like a joke to me.

There’s people I feel I need to help, to inspire, and I can’t do that if I’m letting my fears control me. There’s so much good left to do in this world, I don’t want to take the cowards path of misery and regret.

So yes, I’m scared. I feel the pressure I’m putting on myself. It’s exhilarating in it’s scariness. I went through quite a slump over the past few months, a slump that I feel is only lifted when I have hope and intention for something to happen for the better. The best times of my life over the past couple years have been when I had goals to work towards. When I think about the things I want to do with myself, I feel alive again.

I must tread carefully, so that I don’t fall into a hypo-manic phase where the world is in the palm of my hand. I need to take things as they are and not as how I think they should be. Hope is good, but blind faith in myself can lead to heartbreak. I must continue learning my strengths and weaknesses, and where I can excel and where to hold back.

Is this just another pipe-dream? I don’t know, maybe next week it will be another project I’m working towards. I need that hope though, I need it to fill me up and stomp on the depression. Maybe I’ll never start my own business, but I’ll never know if I don’t try.

A strange poem

Swallow the pain deep down in your chest,

Push all of that sorrow into the fatty pockets of your heart

Where it spreads the poison into your veins.

Crying out is futile, don’t you know that?

When the mule will carry the load, what will you be doing?

You will be the animal too, you of little strength.

They will laugh at you and cringe at your efforts

Have you not learned your place in this world?

 

Woe to you, I respond, listen to my words once and forever;

 

Hark, you of little faith and persistence

Hear me when I say that you shall not give in

Do you not know your own power? Do you have no reason?

Take off the dirty glasses that shadow your face

And see the fruits that the earth has offered you

Taste their sweetness and reflect on your time here.

For what man does not look forward to the meat

That the prison guard offers once a month?

 

The road will be entangled with a great sadness and apathy,

Yes even your own gut will cry out “give me release!”

Let go of the notion of better and of goodness and joy

Put your feet on the ground and walk the path

Use what meager means are yours to open your heart,

So that you may set a place at the table for your brothers

Let the flesh be flayed, and turn the other cheek

Know that for a time, your name will hold value

Tornado

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What’s lost in the commotion of the toiling mind

Does it return to us, a shining gleam of intelligence?

I forget the last time that I was okay, was it last year, was it before?

When it’s all gone out the window, thrown like dirty sheets,

I’m left with a burden to show that I can keep on keeping on.

Where do I go from here, is there hope for me?

Shall I release my grip on trying to lead a normal life?

There are questions, and I seek answers, though find very few.

My request is that I find peace in the eye of the storm.

In the slumps

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Well, I’ve realized that I was a little hypomanic when I made the blog post a little while ago about feeling better. I think it was probably the added dose of abilify that sent me up into the clouds for a little bit. The same thing happened when I first started it, lots of energy and motivation that seemed to disappear into thin air. The high was nice I will admit to that, but at the same time it feels like life was just teasing me, giving me a glimpse of how I should be feeling.

I’ve been having pretty bad depression and anhedonia for the past month or so, and an intense writers block because of it. I’ve opened up wordpress several times, and even written a hundred words or so, but I just feel completely empty and blank. On top of that, the passion I was feeling about writing sort of went out the window and I just found myself not even caring to puts the words down.

The total numbness has to be the worst part of depression for me. I don’t feel things very much, other then fear and anxiety and the odd bit of anger. That, and the sense of impending doom, do wonders for making a person feel like giving up and spending a bunch of time browsing useless internet articles.

I think that maybe part of why I’ve been unable to write is the expectations I have for myself, or from anybody who might read this blog. I don’t want to be a broken record when it comes to expressing myself, but I honestly don’t know how to mix it up and make it any more interesting. My life is boring and lacking passion, there’s not a whole lot for me to write about because it’s the same damn thing everyday. I start worrying that I must be a burden on people reading, or they’re just reading because they feel sorry for me, and I clam up. I think what I really want is to be interesting enough to read, and to at least have some kind connection with the readers through the experiences I have. I want to share and be accepted for who I am. There are times when worrying about who’s reading holds me back, especially when I get angry or irrational.

Perhaps I should just write the blog as a journal, and not worry so much about attracting readers. I won’t lie, that little notification that somebody has liked my post feels really good. I think a lot about boring people or sounding like I’m being too whiny or saying the same things over and over. Maybe I need to just express the nothingness though, get it out of me into words. It might be a good idea to take up the mentality that if people don’t like what I write about, they don’t have to read it. Let go of feeling like I want to make a living off of a blog and just write.

The feelings I have are real. The depression is real too. I can only do what I can do, and expecting myself to be some amazing writer with interesting posts every time is ridiculous. If I could just allow myself to bore people, and say to myself that I can’t force anything to work out, then maybe I would allow more freedom for myself to find my creativity.