some of you may have seen this picture before–I am having upload problems with my wordpress account. Still a nice little summer-ish image.
Scroll down past today’s poem for today’s blog entry, and don’t forget to check out my eBook “Inching Back To Sane” for just $3.25 US at www.smashwords.com (link will take you to my book’s page)
Far Too Many To Name Here
On the days when my life has some meaning
On the nights when I don’t have to pretend
I can lay writing poems and dreaming
About times spent with you my dear friend
The people I share this brief life with
Are so precious and dear to my heart
Each moment spent with a friend or a loved one
Make me wish friends never had to depart
There were friends from my youth that threw parties
And when older girlfriends would often stop by
But the dear friends who truly lasted the longest
Were the ones with whom I could love, laugh and cry
Sharing good times and bad added with some real caring
Good friends can be family, loved ones or those we just met
What matters is that friends are all about sharing
When their friend is happy or sad or upset
Life takes a toll on all as it passes by us
Living each day means dying just a little too
But when I’m gone I don’t want people to fuss
It wasn’t so bad; I had a good friend in you
February 22, 2016
Good day dear Readers! Well, it has been a fair while since I made a blog entry. I have been feeling a bit stressed out (in fact I was so stressed out I made a video about stress using some of the information I learned from researching stress!) There is a lot of info out there about stress, some of it good, some of it bad. Of course there is this Kelly McGonigal who quotes studies that it is your attitude towards stress, not stress itself that makes it good or bad. I am not really sure, I just kind of felt like I hit a wall at one point shortly after finishing compiling a short story collection a little while ago. I took a few days and literally did nothing. I didn’t work out, I didn’t go for any walks, I just curled up and hid from the world which I don’t think is the best thing you could do. I was having a lot of trouble sleeping–most likely because I wasn’t exercising enough to tire myself out or need to repair my body with sleep, but I had little to do so I tried some different methods, one of them some over the counter sleeping pills, another a prescribed anxiety medication called rivotril or clonazepam. I also tried melatonin, all of them but the over the counter pill in moderation with consent of my Doctor. I am going to see my Psychiatrist tomorrow and talk to him about the sleeping pills then, but I am reluctant to have him prescribe me something because I really hate to get dependent or tolerant to any kind of medication that isn’t absolutely neccessary to my mental health. I also had a man with a Master’s Degree in social work tell me that a Doctor advised him that using sleeping pills can result in memory loss, so that too is a factor. It sure is funny getting older. My eyes are starting to go, it takes me longer to recover from workouts and it is so easy to get out of a good routine. Anyhow, I wanted to talk a little about friendships, so here goes:
Some of the first and most important friendships I made when I was first diagnosed as mentally ill was with other people in the hospital. I found this was very difficult with women or gay males because, them being sick as well they confused a lot of things with sexual overtures and possibly had enhanced ideas of their own attractiveness (as I did myself.) Although some hospitals, some nurses and some psychiatrists seem to be against it, I think it is extremely important to have someone to talk to and pal around with in the hospital. I can see how not having any friends could make things unbearable. Then there is another thing aside from the attractiveness thing, the last time I was in the hospital 15 years ago I mistook a woman who was there for a woman I knew and despite the fact that she was married I pursued a relationship with her. I was kind of surprised that I was able to succeed at this effort, before she left the ward I was on she actually referred to me as her ‘boyfriend’ while she had been quite hostile and suspicious before that. It was very troubling though because as we got to be good friends the staff was doing everything to keep us away from each other. What bothered me was not so much the policy, it was that it seemed to come down to the opinion of one nurse that she simply didn’t want us associating even though we weren’t having any kind of sexual relationship. Other staff had actually, almost under threat, encouraged socializing, but I don’t want to get into that.
When you get out of the hospital, you go into another phase of needing to make friends. For me, for a good while my only friend was my Dad. He would come down to the place I was living, pick me up and take me for a walk in Edmonton’s stunning river valley almost every day and it was simply wonderful. A little fresh air and exercise, some good conversation and a chance to re-establish a bond with a family member was so therapeutic. But eventually a person has to have more friends, in my case not only because my dad was getting older and had troubles driving, but also because I was putting a lot of demands on his time. A lot of times friends were simply people who lived in whatever housing I was in. This can be a real problem if you are in an unsupervised group home or residence for people with psychiatric disabilities and either there is no staff or the staff don’t watch out for their clients. A young man at a house I rented a room in was literally a sociopath. Many many times I got up at odd hours to help him, drive him home from work in the middle of the night, buy him meals, lend him money, lend him food. The list went on and on. Then one day I woke up late for work and was really hungry and here he had gotten drunk and left a cold pizza out on a counter ready for the flies to get at. I grabbed two pieces of the pizza thinking I would pay him back later and found out when I came home that he had called the police and tried to press charges on me for eating the pizza. I moved out of there (after another incident that I will relate another time) and into a five unit apartment house. The ‘caretaker’ (he called himself the landlord though he didn’t own the place and didn’t even get a free suite for his ‘work’) was off his rocker. He seemed normal enough, but was a real jerk. I got to be good friends with him too, and all these strange things kept happening, and he had a habit of showing up and giving me orders as to how to keep my suite, what I was allowed to do and all that. Then one day I came home and here he was just leaving my apartment with a smile on his face as he locked the door with his own key. I was gone pretty soon after that.
At that time, and before that, I had decided to try and rekindle old friendships that had been damaged when I last went into the hospital. This was very difficult and even impossible in a lot of cases, but I managed to get back on good terms with an ex-girlfriend and we have had a very mutually beneficial relationship, I even have become friends with her other family members and done things. I have no easy answers to making friends, but one thing I do know is that the more stability in your life, the better chance you have in making friends. One of my best friends right now is actually quite a well known author. He used to work as a writer-in-residence at the University and he liked my work and I liked his and we kept in touch and now we meet up quite often. The important thing to learn from that situation is to have a creative outlet in your life. It can be writing, it can be music, it can be pottery or Yoga, or even meditation. If you have stability in your life and you have something that helps you get out of bed each day you will eventually make friends that you can count on. I don’t want to scare anyone off making friends in a group home or other assisted living situation either, but I don’t think it is best to rely too much on this source either.
Well, that was a long one. I should leave off at that. It feels great to sit and just let the words flow. As always, I would love to hear your feedback. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if anyone is interested, I have now posted my book “Inching Back To Sane” on smashwords as an Ebook for just $3.25 US. Have a great day!
Dear old dad: