Learning What is Right, Instead of Wrong

Today I have finished my fourth lesson in the counselling skills course and it’s safe to say that I’m getting a lot out of it. Even if I’m not enthusiastic on the day, I still manage to feel better when I sit down to learn and I can be engaged in the theory work. I especially like the part of the lesson where we practice the counselling skills with a fellow classmate; like I expected, I tend to prefer learning that way.

There is a nagging feeling that gets to me when I’m away from the class environment though and it probably has to do with the effects of the isolation on my self. I tend to become deflated, fall into negative thought patterns and lose confidence in myself and my abilities. It’s not all the time, but I feel I will have to make more of an effort to escape the isolation and find more reasons to go out into the world, which I’ve mentioned before anyway and is a continuing problem for me.

It’s nice to get encouraging feedback, both from tutor on the homework and the skills practice from my partner in the class. It feels like what I’m doing is more like the right kind of fit for me and that does bring me some reassurance and faith that I’m doing what I need to be doing.

At this point, it’s more a case of maintaining and building upon the positive experiences and trying to rework the negative ones into something better.

Walking in Shadows

I am I sat here wondering “Am I trying to change myself, break away from myself, become myself or just playing ego games?” and I don’t feel I’m in a position to answer that clearly.

When I look into the darkness of the blurred and confused sides of what I see as a part of who I am, I don’t know if I can be proud of that, even though I know I have to acknowledge it and accept it for what it is. How could something so deep seated be so shallow? I am reluctant to disclose the details and I will keep it close to my chest for now, but when we get lost in what we thought was healthy for us, only to find that there’s something seriously wrong about what we’re doing, it’s a challenge to know how to proceed. Do we actively make choices to alter our behaviour for the better or do we avoid situations where our undesirable behaviour has a chance to act out, or both? Is the behaviour really as ill or much of a problem as we believe? Could it be linked to a certain scenario unrelated to it but more distressing? There’s likely many different answers and possibilities.

Stepping out of my home to walk the streets of my town put me ill at ease. Getting out of isolation after being sucked into it for so long feels like pulling on a cord that screams at me to turn back and return. The world is alien and I see where I’m failing as a human being. Being a part of the the community and connecting with others feels impossible, but maybe if I spend long enough out exploring it my attitude will change. Is a small manageable, reasonably safe and familiar existence worth holding on to when the outside environment with all the potential people to meet and experiences to have and see awaits? What really matters in the grand scheme of things? If only I could say for sure.

The Desire to Breakthrough

For me, living in isolation is a double-edged sword. On one side there is the familiar security of living in my own space and the comfort of a simple routine, then on the other side there is the neglectful behaviour, where I don’t tend to my needs and when depressed I keep digging a hole deeper and deeper into the endless abyss instead of making a better effort to pull myself out, by getting out into the world. This presents a dilemma, because tearing away from the isolation gets more challenging the longer I’m in it and what is considering healthy gets lost. Yet, can I transform my way of life to be less of a hermit, or is that who I am meant to be?

I’m taking the time to get myself out at least one day a week and then to work on my writing. Hopefully, over time, I can stretch that to more days until I can try and break the cycle. I’m not sure if this will be the solution, but it’s the only idea I have right now. Usually I wait for inspiration to turn up when it comes to writing, but I’m aware it helps to be disciplined if there’s ever a chance of developing it further, so using that as the reason to get outside is a worthy incentive. However, sometimes it requires breaking through a thick wall to get to the point of doing anything creative. Today I find myself dragging the words out of me, but I continue to type anyway.

Using the turmoil and the dismay that we contain within ourselves can be a useful catalyst for creativity, yet how far can that really take us? Does it depend on the drive behind that, or for as long as it beats at us, is that good enough? It’ll be a another test to see if that can keep propelling me forward. Time will tell if it’s successful or not.


How to Live When you Don’t Want to Anymore

Last night and through to this morning I found myself suicidal once again. My best friend who means the world to me decided that she no longer wanted me in her life. I know this is not her fault, that I was too attached, that I leaned on her too much, but this doesn’t make the reality of this extreme turmoil any easier to bear….so what can I do in this situation?

I can either dwell on the thoughts and the urge to commit suicide, or for a while longer I can say “not today”. No matter how excruciating life may be and how much death feels like an escape, the real escape is to keep going until I’m brave enough to attempt to live again. Death is final, life is not. Life is full of wonderful possibilities, for those who have the time to heal.

I say this now, only half convincing myself, but no matter how much or how little I believe, it is enough. Enough to say “You know what? I can kill myself at any point, but what can I do now before it gets to that?”. Every passing moment is an opportunity to make as big a difference to help life be that little bit easier. There’s so much suffering in the world, but I don’t have to add to it. If I caused my friend that much suffering, I don’t have to add to that and I can work on being the person I need to be.

Yes, I’m exhausted. Yes, I only want to wither away inside my bed. That is ok for a time, until I can move forward, until I can come up for air again. What matters is not giving up. Not giving up on what my friend and other loved ones have given me. The people who have shown me the best of what there is to offer In this world, deserve the justice in their actions by me continuing to live.

So, if you ever read this my friend, I will continue to persevere because of what you have shown me and I am so sorry for the pain I must have put you through.

I hope I can remain strong, as to live by these words, instead of merely say them.

The Connections Between Us

Early this year I had another episode of being manic, which led to me acting bizarre around a number of people, including friends. After coming back down to reality and becoming depressed for many months, I eventually got my health back to a reasonable state and had time to reflect on my actions. It was at this point I attempted to reconnect with the people I had disturbed in some way.

Unfortunately, when it comes to mental illness, there are those who can only see you for the person who is unwell, without recognising that you are going through the motions of being mentally ill and this becomes what you are judged by. Others distance themselves even if they do understand, because they don’t want someone in their lives who disrupts their world in that way. Very few seem to accept you and stand by you….so my attempts to reconnect with those who were affected mostly ended in disappointment and rejection. I lost a community of people who I was a part of and it was that blow that affected me most. All this results in more isolation. Recovering and making new contacts presents a greater challenge, especially in such a small town.

Another thing I wanted to mention, is that around all this I entered a romantic relationship with someone. While this is wonderful and I couldn’t be happier, I do have to take into consideration my ill health and the journey of building other connections, as well as creating a life for myself, without depending too much on the relationship for support. I think this is the important factor in having a successful relationship. No matter how understanding and how much your partner is able to relate to you, being able to manage and thrive with tackling your mental health alone, is in my opinion, essential. We have to depend on ourselves to overcome our difficulties, first and foremost.

While being around people who have similar mental health issues can help and certainly bring people together, it does not guarantee the success of forming a connection. I think a number of people who have mental health issues have been hurt by people in the past and it can take a great deal of trust and confidence to open up and form a bond with someone. From my own experiences, having lost so many people over the years, getting close to others comes with the anxiety of pushing them away or disturbing them to the point of losing them. What does it take for someone to stand by you when you lose your mind? I would say it takes someone to get to know the real you beyond the illness, being able to see you for who you are at heart, after all, we are not our mental illness; it is something we have to contend with in our everyday lives.

Saying all this, I am hopeful for the future. I am hopeful with the partner I have in my life now and it encourages me to let other people in to form friendships with. It encourages me to create opportunities to band together with others and work with them. It encourages me to want to help others again, who have been where I have and know the difficulties with forming and maintaining relationships.

It’s the people in our lives that matter most and make a difference to the world we have around us. Being honest and open with who we are, where possible, will hopefully bring the people into our lives that we deserve and who deserve us in kind.

From Out of the Slumber

It finally feels like the right time to post something here again after the longest period of being lost to uncertainty, as well as many other limiting factors.

I’ve been experiencing a great deal of mild chronic depression, which has been problematic enough to restrict how I live my life, dictating what I do on a day to day basis – which is nothing much at all in the grand scheme of things. During this time I have come to question the notion of a spiritual world, choosing to sort of abandon it, albeit not completely.

Maybe it’s time to change gears on this blog once again and go in a different direction, but for now I don’t know what that direction should be. Maybe it’s the nature of this low level of consciousness I’m working with, operating in this depressive state that I only snap out of briefly once in a while, which prevents me from connecting to something more substantial and profound which I don’t get to witness in my everyday mundane life.

The thing about having a manic and psychotic experience is that when you get catapulted into a realm where anything you can imagine becomes possible and real, you’re given a unique perspective, first hand, to explore the age old questions which we can never find the final answers to and you eventually reach a clarity where you are completely connected to the totality of all that is, anchored in the moment, which then allows for the deepest insight available to you to bring about realisations that you never thought possible. Once you’ve tasted that state of reality, it becomes all the more disheartening and shattering to feel yourself fall back down to a place where the banal rules and the only thing that exists is what your basic senses can fumble to grasp.

I’ve taken it on myself to reach out for help and I’m waiting on seeing a counsellor and a Psychologist, which should be in another three months or so for the former. Hopefully during that therapeutic process I can try to elevate myself enough to feel connected more to a living world where I see a point and meaning to my existence. Until then it’s a case of being patient, tolerant and kind to myself so I can avoid crashing down any further and blocking out the world. I’ll also be seeing my Psychiatrist to discuss the efficacy of my medication.

On a more positive note, I’ve opened myself up to the idea of volunteering and sometime this year I may be in a position to contribute to making a change to how mental health services are delivered in my local area. I’m also looking to be a part of starting back up a peer support group where myself and others can see about helping one another through our daily grind of troubles. I have to hope my depressive mind allows me to undertake these endeavours successfully.

Well, that’s it for now. May you take something away from reading this if you got this far and find the light in your own life if you require it.


It Begins and Then…Just, Ends.

Well it’s a Saturday night and here I am in the comfort (or maybe that’s half discomfort too) of my isolation looking to ramble away again with a desire to produce something interesting for readers.

I could describe my mood as unusual and if I were to physically describe it, it would be like I want to reach deep into my body, sliding between all the grime, bones and what not to pull out something remarkable that has some kind of enigma to it. Something worth exploring to find deeper insight into the nature of simply being. It gets tiring though; there’s only so much worth you can find from your own psyche without contributing more experiences to it and finding more evolved ways to live your life.

Part of being in isolation and solitude does cause you to shut down, close up and start to lose your mind to depression and other such things, but the other side is that you find an element of spirit that is unmoved, always thriving and ready to produce anything that you would ever need – if only you can hang on to it. It’s that life force that you can rely on, no matter what situation you are in and no matter what you experience – if only you can remember that it’s there. The calm, present entity that we see as ourselves existing there constantly, even after death in this material realm if you so believe.

Yet we’re a species that always wants more. Even if we have everything we need it can never be enough, because we’re designed to evolve and move forward in some sort of direction to “better” ourselves…….and I would like to see this as what we’re all here to actually accomplish. As much as I want solid answers in my soul searching, I’m inclined to believe there is a greater living construct out there that we’re all tied to and it’s this construct or maybe it’s better to say “living entity” that will benefit from our collective worlds that we all create for ourselves. Because it is like our own universe when we delve deep enough inside to discover what is really going on. We could house our own universe to help expand the existing one, readying it for further life capable of existing due to our new contribution.

Well there’s a lot of maybes, could bes and what ifs for one post.

Coming back to what we consider reality, I’m looking for something that answers the seemingly unanswerable questions still because if all we need to do is to keep breathing to accomplish our original designed outcome, then I need to know why it was necessary in the first place. Having a life in itself is not enough to constitute a reason.

Then we come back to that unmoved spirit – that we look to hang on to and remember is there and all those rambled thoughts dissolve.

So there is that cycle of birth and rebirth as permeating the world around us.

Another ramble ends.


The Solace of Human Kindness

As frustrated as I was the other day I can say that this early morning I do value the company of people going through different but yet somehow similar struggles and the company of people coming together for a common hobby.

The beauty of what I learnt in helping run a general mental health peer support group in the past was that regardless of the unique personal journey that someone had come down, there was always something that that person could find within the journey to relate with and connect to other people who had something different to tell. There’s common themes within that struggle, whether it be depression, anxiety or “psychosis” and so on, that all come back to the essence of being human. It’s the human condition that we can all identify with and it’s that which brings us together to feel less alone and want to help one another. It’s something that I can easily forget when I feel lost in the world and setting up a peer support group again is something which I feel strongly about in these coming weeks.

In other news I’ve been given one of my older anti-psychotics to replace my new (but ancient in the history of meds) anti-psychotics due to the side effects being preferable with my older one. There’s a transition period where I have to take both, but so far I haven’t minded the side-effects. In all this I met the Psychiatrist that currently resides at my local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) for the first time and we got on well enough as far as doctors go. Part of me wants to tough it out on the medication, part of me wants to be free of it. I think if I spent more time in nature and had more holistic options to help myself I’d be better for it and get a stronger sense of spirit, which I have lacking right now.

There’s a danger to be superficial and absurd when it comes to spiritual beliefs and I’m doing my best to remain connected to something grander than myself based on my own personal lived experiences rather than relating everything to something created by man as a means to make sense of the world. What I mean is that rather than accepting something as accurate and true from a spiritual source based on age old mysticism or elaborate systems and methods of working based on nothing grounded in actual research, I want to accept something that I can see working in action and feel with my own senses, perceptions and way of being. If I record something I want it to be as genuine as possible.

Psychiatry doesn’t allow so much for the pure experience found in what they call psychosis to express itself without medication in a safe environment. There are projects such as Soteria House here in the UK, which has once been established in the US, which offers the kind of environment for people with little to no medication which is very much needed, but to have something that caters for people who wish to make sense of their experience on a spiritual level is where I feel there needs to be something established. It comes back to having a unique therapeutic working relationship with a specifically tailored kind of Psychotherapy and a team to support that.

Of course beggars can’t be choosers and here on the NHS we have to accept the only kind of sanctuary that’s available when things go awry – that of a Psychiatric hospital where medication is compulsory and forced on patients if they refuse, along with the idea of Electro-Convulsive Therapy still being used.

I can only hope to one day live in a western world where what I “suffer” from is not considered as a disease or sickness, but as a profound condition for greater learning and understanding of the human condition that should be allowed to run it’s course if the individual so chooses. Until then, being there for my fellow human on that different but similar journey is where I’ll have to be.

And That’s the Waaay it Goes.

Lately I’ve felt closed down spiritually and…..rather than continue with a list of things that I could talk about in how I’ve not been doing as well as per usual I think I’ll go off in a different direction.

Pure rambling, as I’m not coming in with any preconceived idea of what I want to write – maybe I’m just writing for the sake of writing right now. I wonder if a single post from someone seemingly insignificant can have a ripple effect on someone who is searching for meaning in their own life. It’s simply not enough to survive, even when that can mean the world to you. There reaches a point where being a more efficient mechanism for change is more appropriate and it goes beyond a search for meaning and worth. Meaning and worth is already there it’s simply knowing how to best utilise that. It’s rare to find people who genuinely want to make a difference in this world beyond their own self interests to obtain greater riches and rewards. Some of us are not in it for exuberance or fine material riches that overwhelm and dominate a person’s life. Some of us are are wanting to envision a world where human kind comes first and people have exactly what they need, rather than what they’re brainwashed into thinking they need and go out to strive to achieve.

It’s not a new message, especially from me, but I could say I’m tired of being around people who are happy not wanting to change, or being around people who think that having pleasure by any means possible is the way to go.

It’s a lonely world when all you think about is wanting to better yourself in order to be a better humanitarian for the people you hope you can one day make a positive difference to. Otherwise all those creature comforts sometimes taken for granted don’t mean much of anything. If we can’t be here to profoundly help one another, then it’s not a part of a world I want to be in.

Yet I’m not oblivious to the challenges people face in simply just trying to exist. Existing in itself is challenge enough without having to think of others. Perhaps they are the people in need the most, because living just for the sake of living is no place for anyone to be. We all need the freedom to express our thoughts, pick the life choices we want to make and maybe there’s an irony in me pointing that out, because how can we look to all be helping one another if we have different ideas about how we wish to live our lives. Some people simply want to be selfish after a long period of having to exist without anyone caring about them.

Maybe I’m looking to reach out to the people that would rather use their knowledge and experience to help people while they venture on their own personal journey, regardless what that may be. Coming from a town that doesn’t seem to care much about promoting activities and missions to push people forward in order to thrive leaves me a longing, searching and wanting for something better. Perhaps I can be a catalyst and strive to create something better, if only a minuscule level. Maybe that’s how it starts. I can’t do it alone though and I’m tired of being in solitude after these many years of ruminating on my own thoughts and where my place is in the world. One day you simply have to break free from the restraints you put on yourself. I don’t want to use clich├ęs any more, I want to see thought put into action and a true difference being made. It could be something I start this moment.

The next step is the all important one.

Come to the Edge, but not Too Far.

Soooooo….how is it going in my world, some might wonder.

Well, I’ve been taking on a lot more since I got out of hospital and it’s kind of been a test to see what is too much to take on and where the line is to draw for me, where I need to stop myself from breaking. I’m sure now that I’ve had that realisation; that point where I can safely say “I’m ok hanging here for now, thanks”.

I recently got myself into a romantic relationship, which I’m very excited and happy about. I feel blessed to find someone I can talk to about anything for long periods of time and share intimate moments. Plus an interesting thing happened between us lately. We were both seeing the numbers 11:11 and other such recurring numbers. She would see 16 in numerous places and I would see things like 12:12 and other combinations of the same numbers. I know some of this is related to Angels and other such things, which is fascinating to read and research about if you haven’t.

As far as Psychiatry goes, I’m looking to meet with someone from my local mental health team to receive an appointment for the Psychiatrist to discuss my medication. I am not “Psychotic” any more so I don’t feel I should have to take anti-psychotics indefinitely, which one Psychiatrist at the mental health team actually said to me before now (a rare good guy among doctors). I’m also meeting with the worker from the mental health team to discuss a move to a new place. I requested a change of housing about two years ago, due to my place being detrimental to my health (being claustrophobic and making me feel trapped) and I have finally come to the top of the list to be given an alternative. I can only hope it will be more suitable and not a waste of precious time.

I’ve been embracing my spirituality as much as possible and I’ve met others and had conversations which I haven’t been able to have with people so much in person before now, which is refreshing. I’ve been using crystals and gem stones to protect and enhance my home and I’ve been making use of a Shaman Oracle Deck, when I’ve needed to ask questions and seek guidance. Plus I’ve been reading books of a spiritual nature too, which have started to have a profound effect already. I also went out of town to a nice shop where there were offers on gem stones and other helpful items, where I met the owner again and another guy who’s a Buddhist practitioner who I met many years ago. At that time I was out on temporary leave from the local Psychiatric hospital when I met him. It was a nice reconnection. Generally I feel more in-tune with the natural order of things, as opposed to the sick society and it’s people that I see around me. I have faith that this is a year for change where people will start to wake up more and realise enough is enough – we need to start doing a better job for ourselves and Mother Earth.

Only time will tell of course.


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