Month: July 2015

Just a quick one today

Hello Dear Readers!  Just thought I would check in and share a couple of quick things.  First of all, I am going to be bouncing back and forth with blog entries between here and Goodreads until I decide which is more worth my time and effort.  The other is that I was on Television last night and wanted to share the link with all of you.  Take care and laugh until you cry, dance until you fall down!

http://www.dinnertelevision.ca/videos/4387546025001/

Precious Golden Summer Rays Of Beauty

DSC_0075

Hello Readers!  Well, it is a sunny summer day, (or it was the night before this was posted) and I thought I would talk a bit about the whole idea of motivating yourself when you may be suffering from voices or depression.  The photo above is from a recent trip to Jasper I took with my brother and Dad, I had quite a good time (if you scroll down a couple of entries you can watch the waterfall video I made on that trip).  I have been discussing something quite a bit lately though about mental illness and how people can be motivated.  I live in a group home and quite often a situation comes up where the staff has to try and motivate us to do something, be it going to an activity, turning off the TV or doing our assigned chores.  A long time ago the lady who runs the place realized that I am just bull headed enough to throw a monkey wrench into her machinery if anyone tries to bark orders at me.  I suppose also there might be an element that I am one of the success stories to come out of this group home, I entered it in a poor state more than 15 years ago and have managed to build up a pretty good life for myself and have done a good deal of writing for and about the group home.  So when someone wants me to do something and I refuse, they refer it right to the boss who has a talk with me and things get worked out.  I have been learning though that people with schizophrenia can often have a very hard time dealing with what is going on in their heads and doing anything that causes them stress can be quite harmful.  So really I guess I want to write this to family members and other loved ones or caregivers of people with mental health issues.  Personally, I think I have certain traits of schizophrenia but most of them seem to be fairly well controlled with medications.  I can think of times when I didn’t want to do anything but lay down and sleep, I literally could stay upright for very long even when I went to my Dad’s place.  Even in the mini van he would pick me up in I would climb in the back, put a blanket over my head and sleep on the way to visiting him and my mom.  I think perhaps one of the factors of that was that I was having a very hard time keeping a normal schedule.  I would often stay up all night listening to the radio, typing on the computer, watching movies and of course drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.  When the day came and if I happened to not fall asleep between the time of my Dad calling me and picking me up, I would be in a poor state.  Here’s where some more praise comes about the group home: they have a rule that I must see my Doctor and pick up my medications at supper time and do some chores.  At first this seemed pre-school simple, but in fact just that little amount of things to get done got me to establish something of a schedule.  Then, after quitting smoking I was able to get a free pass for the pool and would go early in the morning on a regular basis.  These two things were all the groundwork I needed, and soon I was volunteering, working a paying job at times and doing much much better than I was.  That was what worked for me.  One of the things that I think was the biggest motivator was driving through the river valley here in Edmonton one summer day and seeing a very attractive young woman jogging through the park.  I thought to myself that I would never get an awesome looking athletic girlfriend like her, I also thought that I was missing out on a lot of fun I could be having out of doors at this time of year.  Now I have added bike riding and bird watching to my hobbies and I no longer feel regret.  As far as my friends with schizophrenia, I can’t say what I think is best, I simply have to say in this case I am not a Doctor.  What I do know that I have been learning is that the actual physical makeup of the brain of a person with schizophrenia is different from a so-called ‘normal’ brain.  This something that will need an awful lot of care, an awful lot of hard work to get the afflicted person to a state of reasonable mental and physical health, and hopefully a state of relative independence perhaps in a place like the group home I live in.  A woman that I give presentations with was saying that her son’s Doctor had said that she shouldn’t nag him, shouldn’t force him to do anything, just let him sleep if he wants to sleep or eat if he wants to eat, she should try and not expect anything from him while he is going through his struggles.  I think this would be an extremely hard thing to do, but honestly, I have seen people who were determined and properly medicated go on to do things as complex as becoming Medical Doctors and then going on to get a specialty, in two cases that I know of in Psychiatry.  I also had watched a documentary about a young girl who was diagnosed early in life, I think around age six or so with schizophrenia and was very ill for quite a while but by age eleven had friends, good grades, and seemed almost 100% normal.  There is no guarantee of this though, my own time suffering with Bipolar went on for years.  I honestly thought nothing would keep me out of going into the hospital for months at a time at least once a year, and some of the staff at the hospital thought even less of me.  Then some years after my last visit, now 14 years ago, I returned to the hospital as a published author and really surprised some people.  But I didn’t show major signs of improvement until I was almost 30, nearly my whole life before that was a train wreck.  Anyhow dear readers, please send any questions or comments my way, and don’t forget to scroll past today’s second photo to read a poem I wrote about the different forms of love and their meaning.  viking3082000@yahoo.com  Always here to chat!

DSC_0083

Full Moon Poem

 

Life can be crazy, life can be fun

It can be so wild if you find the one

A love that makes living life so very worthwhile

A lover who feeds your soul and makes you smile

 

For a short time I had the girl of my dreams

Life was so good then, or so it seemed

We talked about kids, we talked about moving away

She made me feel like I really had something to say

 

But it all went away way too fast

I would have done anything to make it last

Soon I needed to hide from all the pain

I never wanted to live through all that again

 

I stayed at home and read all my books

Rarely went out and got a lot of weird looks

So much time passed and I missed my shot

At a number of girls who were kind of hot

 

Then I started to write all about my life

And how much I wished I had my own wife

But so many things still stood in my way

I didn’t realize things would get better one day

 

My girl broke my heart but she stayed my friend

At first I loved her too much, didn’t want to pretend

That she could just talk and joke around

Keeping me on the side making me feel like a clown

 

Then as time passed I found out what it meant

To have a close companion who really was heaven sent

We would meet up or talk just about every day

And as this went on I wanted it no other way

 

I got a bit older and learned I wanted friends more than lovers

Too much pain and emotion gets brought out from under covers

I do know one day I will somehow find that special one

And all my lonesome days will finally be done

 

I just need to wait and I need to make sure

This new found love is no game, that our love is pure

And then I can share nature’s gift with that special one

In hopes that some day we will have a daughter or son

 

There is no longer a point in running around

It’s a joke to play the fool, act like some hound

People like that never find what they seek

They just keep on trying to prove that they aren’t weak

 

What they don’t know is they will pay a price

Real love is about giving, it’s about sacrifice

They miss out on having a lover who is also a friend

Someone by your side through to the very end

 

It means so much to let love blossom and grow

Something all those players will never know

It is so much more to share a long happy life

With someone you love enough to have as your husband or wife

God of All Creation

DSC_0037THIS IS THE PHOTO (ROUGHLY) THAT APPEARED IN THE EDMONTON SUN NEWSPAPER

     Hello Dear Readers!  Well, I am in a good mood today.  I have been given a wonderful opportunity to work for the Schizophrenia Society as a presenter of my own lived experience with mental illness.  Basically I wrote a speech and now and then I get asked to give talks to different groups.  Last night I presented to a family wellness group and it went so well.  The talk kind of ran for a long time, but people seemed pretty responsive.  I should note that for a long time I have been working a job I love as a stage hand, but it has slowly gotten to be almost too much for me.  Now, I have this job with the Society and I am able to utilize all of my knowledge and skills (and a little bit of bravery-public speaking can be difficult at times!)  Not to mention that on some occasions I am given permission to bring and sell and sign books.  I get so much better response for my book sales when I do something like this, last night I sold three copies of “Inching Back To Sane” which is a lot considering at (a)there were only 10 people there to present to, and (b)at a book signing at a book store the other day I sat for five hours and sold just one book!

Another thing that I am finding is that as I meet with people and share about my illness, I am learning a lot about new coping strategies, new events and generally helping my condition a lot.  The lady who runs the Edmonton office of the Society seems to be impressed with me and has asked that I write a special speech for a fundraiser they are having in the fall, I am really excited about it.

I don’t know how much I have shared about it, but I recently completed a ‘Wellness Recovery Action Plan’ or WRAP course and I am hoping that I will be able to become a facilitator for this group in the new year.  For anyone that doesn’t have knowledge of it, I suggest you Google the name and also look for information about Mary Ellen Copeland, she has developed this method of becoming aware of the things that help get you through a bad day or a serious crisis and also making plans that you can share with others for what to do if you end up in crisis and many more things.  There is actually a ‘WRAP app’ on iPhone and Android where you can access on your smartphone all of your lists and even email them to anyone you feel might need them, say your therapist or doctor or health care worker or even family member or friend.  Just the other day I was feeling a bit out of sorts, possibly because I had been getting out in the hot sun a little too much and it wasn’t doing my mental health much good.  I opened up my ‘WRAP app’ and went through a list of things that I knew would make me feel better.  One of them of course is reading, and I picked up some light material and got myself through a time when I may have felt so ‘ill’ that I had to contact my Doctor or Nurse or put pressure on a family member to try and help me.  There are courses and books out there that I think could be very beneficial.

Another resource I wanted to mention was a thing I found on YouTube, called ‘guided meditation’.  There is this one video that comes up that shows an orange sunset over waves and in the video the announcer talks you through some deep breathing and relaxation techniques, and I swear it is better than a hot bath with epsom salts for relaxing you.  A large part of the video is just the sounds of waves gently crashing on a beach and it takes me back to times when I was in Honolulu near Waikiki Beach and I couldn’t sleep so I took a walk and then just sat on a park bench sipping a milkshake and listened to the waves, thinking to myself how incredibly cool it was that I was out on the cusp of thousands of miles of water.  It was such a powerful experience.  Anyhow, if you scroll past today’s second picture below you will find a poem, and below that in the previous blog I wrote you can find a YouTube link to a video I made of a nearby national park situated on the Alberta side of the Rocky Mountains.  I hope all of you are well, please email or comment if there is any information you want to see on this website or even just want to say hi.  viking3082000@yahoo.com

Take care!

DSC_0077        THERE HE IS AGAIN!  THE MAN WITH THE HAT!

 

Goldilocks Princess

 

Often when times seem unfair and way too rough

I steel myself and try to be strong and tough

But hidden deep down inside my mind

I long for days when the world was more kind

 

As a boy happiness was everywhere

I received so much dear love and care

My Mom and Dad would do all the worrying for me

And I was free to just live and play and be

 

But when that young boy reached the age to become a man

No one seemed to want to help or give a hand

I soon realized I had to make my own way

Work all day with no time left over to play

 

I still remember when I first cooked my own meals

Trying to understand the bus because I had no wheels

Waking up each day to work and try and build a life

Hoping somehow to meet someone to be my wife

 

And then so many awful things got in the way

It was all I could do just to make it through each day

Some people learned I was giving and kind and cleaned me out

But I know there are still good people, of this I have no doubt

 

And then after a time came the miracle that changed it all

My sister had a baby, so precious, adorable and small

I love her now just as though she were my own

And pray she never has to be alone or leave her home

 

I so much wish that she never wants or needs

I’ll work for her wellbeing until my fingers bleed

And then something that makes me feel a little shy

Is that she loves me back so dearly and I don’t know why

 

I’m just a simple writer, a lonely ageing man

Trying to do the most for those I love that I can

Nothing sweeter than to hear a little child say

I miss you when you are so far away

 

But in just a couple of weeks I will see her once more

Closer to her adulthood than ever before

I will take a flight to her family’s big city home

And I know she will inspire many more poems

 

The emotion a young one inspires is so wild

I sometimes wish she were forever a child

But she will grow and take her place all in due time

For now though she is sweet loving child so kind

 

And so with these words I hope I touch your heart

Remind you to love your family and never depart

Because my little miracle saved me from pain and despair

My own goldilocks Princess with so much love to share

 

Leif Gregersen

July 8, 2015

To Everything There is a Season and a Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven

DSCN0130 2

    CHRISTMAS WITH WILLA. FEELS GOOD TO BE A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR

( DON’T FORGET TO SCROLL PAST THE PHOTO BELOW TODAY’S BLOG FOR A POEM I WROTE TODAY!)

Hello Dear Readers!  Well, it has been an interesting last couple of days.  To any writers out there I wanted to talk a bit about a new kind of video game that has come out.  First I will talk about a similar one, now a bit of a retro game that I would be surprised to find anywhere from back in the days of games that you bought on CD and downloaded to your computer through your optical drive.  This game was beyond cool, it was a bit like a dungeons and dragons game, but it was called “Majestic Chess”.  What you did was take this little King through a map of castles, villages, bridges and so on and you would encounter some wise old men that would teach you chess moves and then you could practice them, you would challenge people you came across to battles and win chess pieces to add to your arsenal and then in the end of a level you would play some dude in a castle with all the pieces you amassed and hope to win to advance.  It was the best way ever to learn about chess, and funny enough it has a few simple similarities to a book I wrote about a young man who travels through time which is not yet released yet (email me if you are curious… viking3082000@yahoo.com).  But not to digress too much, I wanted to talk about this new game I just downloaded for Steam for Macintosh.  The game is called ‘Elegy’ or ‘Elegy for a dead world’ and it is simply one of the coolest teaching tools I have ever seen and is actually an interactive video game for writers.  What happens is you log in and then a little spaceman appears and you use your arrow keys to jet-pack him around a few simple planets (which is actually quite a beautiful bit of graphic design) and then when you hover your little man over a star or planet, you hit enter and you go to a menu for that planet.  You have the choice of reading writings from there, writing yourself and a few other options.  Then you choose a theme for your writing prompts.  You can choose from famous poems or words that start off a story or even just free writing and then you walk, explore and jet-pack around a mysterious dead world and at waypoints you get prompts and you write then move on and write more at the next one, and at the end of a planet you go back into space and are given the option of publishing your work.  Very brilliant concept, very engaging, very extremely fun and really gets the creative juices going.  The game is around $15 US through Steam and I think any writer who wants to improve his skills would love it, though the one flaw I see in it is that the places you explore often just make you want to write science fiction.

So, many of you may be wondering why I am talking about this video game.  The fact is that I heard about it from reading a magazine downstairs from my computer where I am now and I went up to download and play the game and got so engrossed, and I am not kidding in any way… I didn’t notice that someone stole my freaking truck!  After spending time on the game I went downstairs for coffee and there I saw it… an empty space where my truck should have been.  It was pretty spooky too because I called up the police and they said they had already found the truck.  The next evening (June 30, Tuesday) I found out from the Internet that the guy who stole my truck was flying down a freeway and ran it right into a cement block and was killed instantly!  No more truck for me now!  Son of a @#$#$%!

Still, I was undaunted and made it down to the clinic to see my Psychiatric nurse, get my bi-weekly injection of anti-psychotic medication and talk.  We discussed all the things I have been doing lately and sort of made the decision that I was going to severely cut back my activities.  I have decided I will take on a lesser role in the classes I was planning to teach this fall and that I will get more rest and free time before I take on more work or anything like it.  I have been feeling so stressed.  I was very down despite that there has been some really great things happening in my life like making  a lot of new friends, getting into the city newspaper and getting my books into Chapters, our major Canadian chain.

I also had a chance to meet up with my good friend Richard Van Camp, author of “The Lesser Blessed” and he gave me a free copy of the movie made from his book called none other than “The Lesser Blessed”  I am pretty happy about it, the movie is amazing and so is Richard’s work.  He tells these incredible stories about growing up in the Northwest Territories in places like Fort Simmer, Fort Smith, Fort Rae and other places, but what is so cool is that he has four or five short story collections out and in them he follows the same characters, very fascinating and sympathetic characters and he jumps around in time.  Richard has been such a force in my life as a writer, mentoring, supporting and editing my work.  I have even interviewed him for a couple of magazines and gotten advanced copies of some of his work.

Well, anyhow, I wanted to talk a bit about the depression I have been going through.  I don’t know why, but I have been feeling down.  I had some free time and I started reading a very informative half graphic novel/half non-fiction manual about Bipolar Disorder made in England and so much of it hit home.  I was very surprised to learn that Bipolar (which I have been diagnosed with) can be set off by large amounts of light, and I have been getting out in the sun a lot lately.  Today is Canada day, not the day we celebrate independence from Britain as the Americans do on the Fourth of July, Canada has never really gotten independence from Britain, we still have the Queen on all of our money and she is our official head of state.  The other interesting thing is that in Canada you have a lot less inalienable rights than in the US.  For example, we don’t have the freedom of the press, books have been banned (such as one of the books I am reading now, “Steal This Book” by Abbie Hoffman) and many other such inconsistencies.  I can recall a few times I was in a situation where people wanted to force me to work and I stated that according to the charter of rights and freedoms I can’t be forced to work (once in school, another time in the mental hospital) and basically I was threatened, bullied and ordered to work.  Kind of makes me sick to think about it but I will change the subject because I don’t want to be negative on a day when I celebrate a country I do truly love.  (there-I can put that down as a sign I am getting depressed-when I start remembering the past and being negative about it in my blog!)

Anyhow, I just thought I would put a few words out for people.  I really like it when I check my statistics for this page and see that a lot of people liked what I had to say.  I hope people out there try that video game, possibly even try ‘Majestic Chess’ if you can find it, I have never learned so much having fun as when I had that game on my old pentium computer.  Take care Dear Readers, and lets be careful out there!    (poem to follow the below photo)

IMG_7901SHARK TANK AT THE HONOLULU AQUARIUM

 

Independent Grocer’s Association of St.Albert

 

A poem is in fact a pretty piss-poor answer

To you asking why did I ever do that

 

Neither is it really much of an excuse

As to why I kept being so cruel

 

If I thought I could write you a few lines

That made up for all the things that I’ve done

They would end years of cold bitter feelings

That always got in the way of us two being one

 

I guess all that I can really say is that I remember that way

That beautiful heart that thumped in your chest, as you smiled at me

 

Back through the years you were such a perfect vision

You were every young man’s true mission

 

Some people thought that it was a bit funny

That I thought someone like me could have you

My family didn’t have all that much money

And it seemed you never had feelings that were true

 

But I will say my piece that I noticed though it sounds odd

Once you really did see me as some kind of God

 

I know to this day I was not mistaken

No other way your actions could be taken

 

There was a definite glow in your eyes

 

But then as I let some time pass

You felt I was just trailer trash

And when I returned to you later

All that was left of you was a hater

 

And you looked down on the simple and poor

 

I guess I could have handled that

I could have taken the pain

 

The fact that now I was the very thing you despised

 

I just kind of wished that after all this time

You could forgive and admit

Once long ago you honestly could have been mine

 

That was then, this is here

I’m too old and tired for more tears

And I’ll let you think what you like it is fine

 

I will grow older one day

And for sure I will pass away

 

Whether or not I ever had a woman like you

 

I will be able to look back

Before my last heart attack

 

Thinking how I saw in your eyes that love was true

 

And as I slip into the creeping crawling end

Though you will be in my thoughts I will pretend

 

It didn’t hurt me we both said things that weren’t true