Month: May 2017

Just a Poem and a Cool Photograph Today

 

Life Poem

 

In step we all march to the bitter end

Despite how each of us laughs and pretends

We live and love and go about our plans

And it seems that none of us understands

 

Old age, sickness and death will come to all

But we still must get up each time we fall

Friends and lovers can make this race worthwhile

So hold them close and try to make them smile

 

It seems that when we hold our loved ones dear

Each laugh or smile holds back another tear

Making friends and caring for those we love

Gives us each stores of treasures up above

 

In younger days it wasn’t up to us

To worry, fret, and plan and make a fuss

So now I feel full grown we have a task

To ease each other’s burden more than asked

 

Send flowers to a person feeling blue

Give lonely people time to spend with you

Above all love your friends more than yourself

And never put a lover on a shelf

 

I say these things because I lost so much

Letting time pass by without being in touch

Forgetting those who mattered most to me

Thinking that by doing that I was free

 

In time I was the one who was alone

And my place no longer felt like a home

I know now I must hold fast to my friends

As we all march towards the bitter end

Stress Management For Those With Mental Health Problems

(Please scroll past photo and poem for today’s blog 🙂

Love Poem

 

Not one of us will leave this world alive

We must show love to those we care for every day

Think upon all the things for which you strive

 

Do you think too much about the car you drive

Do you care about what others see and say

Not one of us will leave this world alive

 

There is truly just one way to thrive

One must give from deep within in every way

Think upon the things for which you strive

 

Caring, loving, giving is the only way to derive

A life with a special beauty like a grand ballet

Not one of us will leave this world alive

 

Sometimes into dark waters we must dive

Knowing nothing, only being able to pray

Think upon the things for which you strive

 

Give up plotting, planning, please don’t connive

For each thing you take you will be made to pay

Not one of us will leave this world alive

Think upon the things for which you strive

When dealing with a mental health issue, stress can be your worst enemy. I want to write today about some of the ways I deal with stress, which can be all boiled down to setting boundaries.

One of my favourite Canadian authors, Margaret Laurence, mentioned in an interview I watched that she only writes about 2 hours a day and can’t manage more. I don’t know if Margaret ever suffered from a mental illness, but I have found this to be a good rule of thumb. While I feel it is really important to write every day, and that doing so will definitely make you a better writer, I try to maximize my screen time to about 2 hours a day. Sometimes I do less, and often when I am deep in the trance of writing something I enjoy writing, I do more. Of course, again I want to mention that one of the best therapeutic things a person can do is to write in a journal that they don’t let anyone see. It is such a great way to express yourself and to let out things. In a way, I like it that writing in a journal each day gives me a gauge to see how I am improving overall.

The next thing that I feel is good for stress is exercise. For a long time after my last hospital admission, my Dad would drive to where I was staying and take me to the beautiful Edmonton River Valley for a long walk. I was a smoker at the time and couldn’t handle anything much more strenuous than that, but it got me into better shape, a better state of mind, was an outlet for my extra energy, and led to me being able to find a paid job eventually.

Work is definitely something a person has to consider when they are in recovery mode from a mental illness. I honestly think that if you have just gotten out of a hospital or have just made the decision to start looking for work, you really need to take some time to feel 100% before venturing out and getting a job. I started with a job that was very easy, working as a security guard. I had a hard time with some employers either sending me to assignments that were too stressful or asking me to work too many hours, but there are  a lot of jobs out there for those who want to transition back into the workplace. My security guard job kind of sucked, the pay wasn’t very good and it often wasn’t healthy for me to stay up all night drinking coffee and trying to get what sleep I could. Soon though, I found a rhythm and was able to lift weight and swim and also work my job and I was ‘scouted’ to work as a security guard in the film industry and made leaps and bounds more than what I used to make and got into a union that greatly benefitted me over the next few years. Some other jobs that are low stress could be working in a gas station as a cashier, working as a dishwasher, and many others. Just remember you won’t be doing this forever, this is just to get you out of the house and make a little extra money. Better jobs will come your way if you are conscientious about your work.

Another way to make a transition back to the work world is to volunteer. In Edmonton where I live there is a company called the volunteer network and you simply approach them with your skills and they find a place for you. This is a great way to get experience, self-respect, friendships and much more.

The last thing I wanted to mention that I do to deal with stress is keeping my schedule as open as I can, only making firm commitments for a few days a week. I work for the Schizophrenia Society now and give presentations to many different groups about mental illness. I have had the incredible privilege of speaking in front of lecture halls full of students, among many other groups as diverse as junior high schools to Edmonton City Police Recruits. But I only book 2-3 assignments and then keep things open so I am free to go to the pool or the library or for a long walk whenever I want. I guess on a final note, I want to offer the suggestion that you try and live beneath your means, whatever they are and save as much as you can so that you can enrich your life with travel at least once or twice a year. A really good trip can give you a lifetime of memories and a lot of happiness and joy in the present.

 

Mental Health and Our Changing World

(please scroll down for today’s video)

Being Open About Mental Health and it’s Consequences

So, yesterday was an amazing day for me. I was invited to the Edmonton Public library to give a talk and start a conversation about mental illness and it seemed to go really well. The only real problem was kind of a funny one, we had a young man crash our event who was suffering from a mental illness and likely experiencing psychosis. I felt really honored to be asked to do this event though and everything else seemed to go really smoothly. As far as events like this go, this is actually the best paid talk I have given so far. The important thing though is beyond that, myself and several other people were given a chance to open up and talk about mental health. I feel so much better about myself these days because I can explain to others what was going on in my head when I did some of the things that hurt people close to me. I also recognize that I hurt people close to me, and that when I was ill, they didn’t blame me and were able to forgive me.

Yesterday after my ‘conversation circle’ event, I was talking to my Dad about my teen years. I still can’t forget spending an entire summer between grade 11 and 12 almost aimlessly driving my car around, lost in a sea of depression and social anxiety. I spent a lot of that summer sitting at work doing very little. I had a small amount of fun delivering pizza and I did end up eating some memorable food, but I was so sad, so depressed. The unfortunate thing was that I began to learn that alcohol could solve a lot of my problems even though the next day I would feel like shit.

Well, just a short blog today. I have been watching a lot of videos lately that deal with motivation and inspiration and I thought I would share one of my favorites with you below. Enjoy!