Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’

I avoid mirrors, I simply can’t handle seeing my own reflection. I naturally have a difficult time making eye contact with anyone, fearing they will see through my mask. The rare moments I make eye contact with the man in the Mirror I grow weary and this is what came out.

My faces of evil

Cleverly hidden 

My eyes…

The window into a voidless darkness…

Soulless 

Stare too long and he takes you away

“Grab my hand”

“I will take this pain away”

“Follow me into the shadows”

“Fear not of voided thoughts”

“Shed no tears”

“We have lived beyond our years”

“Trust in me”

“To take the pain away”

I have heard this phrase from many people when it comes to my writings about suicide. I agree with them 100% And Believe Me I would love nothing more then too no longer be. My issue is as it always has been, how will my Suicide effect my family. That alone has been my safety net. I have a plan I have a date this makes me comfortable because its the only thing i feel i can control. Before my date I owe it to my family to make sure I am doing everything I can to make myself mentally healthy. I will continue to try as hard as I can to want to live.

Writing about my troubled feelings is cathartic and helps me deal with and process my feelings. I apologize if some of my writings contain suicidal ideologies and for those who get annoyed because i dont just shut up and do it, if things continue to get worse than you will have your wush. Frankly when it comes down to it if you don’t like what I’m saying then stop reading my fucking shit.

I enjoy philosophical riddles, and I spend far too less time working on them. The reasons do not matter. I am confronted with one riddle in particular day in and day out… Why have I not or cannot kill myself?

I have gone through my fair share of suffering, and for most of my life battled with the will and desire to no longer be alive. I have many times and still want to die. I do not want to exist. So why at this moment with how I feel and have felt I must ask myself. Why am I breathing and writing this?

This has been a philosophical puzzle that has plagued and tortured me. I have come up with many theories, reasons, and excuses for why I have not.

No point in running the list. What I came up with and I feel so blind for not figuring this out. Its our primal directive to survive. Its ingrained within us and drives everything. This directive is so powerful that I cannot overcome or find the courage to end my suffering.

To me logic and reason would dictate that ending suffering is the only thing that makes sense. Every other theory I have ever had about why I am still alive stems from this roadblock.

How can this override clear logic and reason of not wanting to suffer? How can this seed allow us to self deceive ourselves against the logical course of action. How and at what point can this will be broken down?

What We Learn From Failed Relationships

Posted: May 27, 2014 in Absolute Truth, Abuse, Anxiety, Arguments, Blog, Blogging, Change, Childhood, Children, Coping, Crisis, Culture, Dating, Debates, Depression, Diary, Dilemma, Divorce, Dreams, Emotional Abuse, Ethics, Evil, Faith, Family, Fatherhood, Fear, Forgiveness, Freedom, Fun, Greed, Grief, Growing up in abusive homes, Health, Humor, Inside My Mind, Journal, Kids, Learning, Lies and broken promises, Life, Lists, Living Your Dream, Logic, Love, Lust, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Misc, miscellaneous, Moral Theories, Morals, Motivation, Mourning, NA, Opinion, Pain, Parent, Parenting, Personal, Philosophy, Poems, Poetry, Published Author, Quotes, Random, Random Thoughts, Rants, Rejection, Relationship Issues, Relationships, Sadness, Self-esteem, Self-Help, Self-image, Social Anxiety, Social Debates, Society, Sorrow, Spirituality, Stress, Suffering, The Invention of Lying, The Philosophy of Lyrics, The Philosophy of Quotes, Things That Give Me Anxiety, Thoughts, Top Ten Lists, Uncategorized, Unity, Verbal Abuse, Writing
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I would first like to start off by thanking all of my readers and subscribers. I learned today; I have readers from 61 different countries. I think that’s pretty bad ass. I am aware that my readership grew from the topics of philosophy, theology, and madness. So bear with me as I stray a bit from those topics. Today I would like to release that which has been permeating in my mind. I would like ponder for a moment the importance of learning from our mistakes in a failed relationship. Through all of this I am trying to maintain a positive attitude and outlook. So here we go.

The one thing I can say with out a doubt is I am far from sainthood. I have made my more than my fair share of mistakes, and bad decisions which played a role in the overall destruction of my marriage. I am ashamed and consumed with intense guilt because of this. This combined with my wife’s lies, and infidelity has allowed me to see the light. I am sure I could write a 200 page paper on this topic, but I will try to keep this short and sweet.

There are 10 main things I have learned in my failed marriage. Now mind you there are far more than 10, but as I said this is not a 200 page dissertation on my failed marriage. I will do my best to not place blame, because it doesn’t do anyone any good. Some things on this list will undoubtedly overlap, even though this is the case I feel each one deserves to be mentioned. Without further ado here is my list of 10 things I learned from my failed marriage.

  1. Never Lie: I did a lot of research after I found out about what my wife did. I learned that in humans our first response when we know we have done something wrong, that will ultimately lead to a negative outcome our immediate response is to lie. We do this for two reasons one we want to avoid conflict, and two we don’t want to get in trouble. Since I am a proponent of the tabula rasa theory (mind being born as a blank slate.) I feel this is a trait we learn as children, which carries over into adulthood. Lying to your partner no matter how small is a terrible idea. We can overcome this childish trait, by knowing our partner as well as ourselves, focus on understanding and know that mistakes are actually learning opportunities.
  2. Never Cheat: I think this one doesn’t need further explanation. It’s a painful and shitty thing to do to those we love. Even if (insert some attractive famous person) wanted to be with you, nothing is worth hurting the one you love.
  3. Trust: it should go without saying that if the two things listed above are followed then trust shouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately we all carry the baggage of past hurt, what we need to realize is who ever we are with now is not the person who caused us hurt in the past. I would imagine it would be a good idea to be open and honest about these past hurts. A relationship that is not built on trust is like trying to build a house of cards on a windy day, neither of these two examples will be successful. The perfect advice one can give in fostering trust in a relationship is this; if you would not say or do something if your partner was there with you, then you definitely shouldn’t do it.
  4. Accept and Love Each Other For All Their Good Qualities, As Well As Their Flaws: let’s admit it people, no one is perfect, and those who claim to be are probably the most screwed up of them all. Initially I am sure that we all fall in love with our mates good qualities. During the “courting” or “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, it is kind of like interviewing for a job, you really are not being completely honest your just trying to get the “job.” As the relationship progresses and begins to become serious is usually when we start to notice each others flaws. The important thing is that we learn to love that person regardless of their flaws. In fact I believe our flaws can become the most exciting part of a relationship. When you love the good qualities along with the flaws you know you have found true love; when everything seems to fit like a glove.
  5. Never Put Your Partner Down and Break Their Will: this topic has a lot to do with item number four. There are just two things I would like to add. The first is from an article by John Gottman, PhD in an article titled “4 Signs of A Troubled Marriage” Here is the link.http://affiliatedpsychologicalservices.com/4-signs-of-a-troubled-marriage/ Gottman talks about “The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse” which are clear signs you are headed for a divorce. The first two he brings up is “Criticism” and “Contempt.” If anyone out there grew up in an abusive home where as a child you were faced with these two horsemen, having to deal with such things in a marriage is a key ingredient in a divorce. If you tell someone something negative about them enough times, with the right amount of nastiness it is only natural the other party will believe what they are being told, and inevitable this is who they will see when they look into the mirror. I don’t think people are aware of how serious the long term damage can be. My second point comes from a line from the song “Weight of The World” by Blue October. “Don’t bother changing things that won’t give into changing.” It is one thing to help your partner grow and become the best person they can be, but in the process don’t try to change who they are inside. If you are hell bent on trying to force someone to change, there is always medication. If this is your goal please take to heart one of my quotes “Medication is to fix the people we don’t like.” If you feel you need to medicate your partner, it’s time to call it quits.
  6. Freedom: As your relationship grows, it is imperative that you do not take away your partners freedom. When I say freedom I am not referring to allowing your partner to go out all the time neglecting the relationship, and engaging in behaviors which fall into the first three categories I listed. When I say freedom, I say that it is clearly healthy to share and be with each other, but it is also healthy to have a respectful life outside of the relationship. I have made this deadly mistake in one of my relationships, and I have now been on the receiving end of how damaging smothering and isolating your partner can be. If your relationship is built on a strong foundation of trust and respect this should be something you encourage each other to do. I have always admired the relationship between my best friend of 26 years and his lovely wife. I will not mention names, but I truly hope one day I can figure out whatever their secret is, and apply it to my future relationships. I am going to encourage them to write a book.
  7. Support Their Dreams: There is nothing more precious and sacred than some ones hopes and dreams. For some our dreams appear to us when we are young, others do not fully realize their dreams until they discover who they are. When I was young I had the normal boyhood dreams to become a professional football or baseball player, unfortunately like normal boys those dreams were not meant to be. Beyond those two options, I really didn’t have anything else that drove or inspired me, until the 5th grade. Long story short I ended up doing many writing assignments and I remember my teacher signing my year book, saying she could one day see something I have written being published. I was not a very well behaved child, so positive reinforcement from the teachers I tormented was rare, but from that moment my dream changed. I wanted to become a professional writer. As I grew older I held onto this dream, and wrote in private. I never thought anything I would write would be read let alone published. Again long story short one of my poetry books was published, I started this blog, wrote two children’s books, and two other poetry books. Needless to say this was the greatest I had ever felt about myself, because I accomplished something I never thought I could… my dream. I did not receive support from my partner, and in fact was highly put down and discouraged from continuing to write, until finally I had no option but to stop writing. The details behind this are not important at this moment.
  8. Open & Honest Communication: You would think this is a no brainier, but for my marriage and I would imagine many others this proved to be too challenging to overcome and sowed the seeds to our divorce. I feel if you have all seven of these things listed above then number eight would be a given, but if you take out one or two of the above it makes communication a challenge. I avoided and ran away from open and honest communication. I could make a laundry list for why, but this is already becoming too long of a post. Mainly I was afraid to honestly look in the mirror, I was scared I was going to receive an unhealthy dose of items four and five. Regardless of those reasons it is on me for failing in this aspect of our marriage. I need to take ownership for this, and like everything listed learn to not make the same mistakes. It is very difficult and challenging for me to be social, and communicate even with those closest to me. I know this is something I need to work on, but what always ends up playing over and over in my mind is the Pink Floyd lyrics from the song “The Final Cut” which I will add at the end.
  9. Be A Selfless Lover: This is actually one area where I have and feel the most accomplished. I felt I needed to add this, because in my experience men in general put their intimacy needs, or the final “outcome” before their partners. I will not go into detail in case my mom is reading this, but as men our primary focus and goal when it comes to being intimate is placing our partners needs before ourselves. Any man can do his business and be on his way, but this is a man who has failed. When it comes to intimacy your only goal and desire should be the feelings and ultimate “outcome” of your partners needs. Everything else should be secondary.
  10. Find Your Genuine Light: Tomorrow I am going to post a quick poem describing the meaning behind this comment. I do not believe in soul mates. I do not believe there is only one true love for everyone. I believe for everyone, there exists many individuals who could be considered your genuine light. I believe they are rare, but they are out there. My advice is if you feel you are holding your genuine light, don’t let them slip away because you cannot be certain another one will come around to light up your life.

 

“And if I show you my dark side
Will you still hold me tonight?
And if I open my heart to you
And show you my weak side
What would you do?
Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?
Would you take the children away
And leave me alone?
And smile in reassurance
As you whisper down the phone?
Would you send me packing?
Or would you take me home?”

Pink Floyd

These lyrics describe perfectly why it is so difficult for me to open up to people, which hinders my ability to effectively communicate.

“The mere attempt to examine my own confusion would consume volumes.”
James Agee

I wonder if you were to crack open my skull and dissected my mind what you would find. My mind is a cancer on my soul and rarely makes sense to me. My mind 89% of the time is on hyper drive and I am bombarded with so many thoughts and ideas. These thoughts come across as voices in my head, or over powering thoughts which continue to repeat themselves over and over again until the voices and thoughts are screaming at me. It is hard to be present with the outside world when I am trapped within my own mind. This chaos in my mind causes a cloud of confusion often time leading me to become dazed, confused, disorientate, and delusional.

I have found that writing at least eases some of the pressure on my brain. The problem is I cannot capture every thought or idea. I may come up with an idea for an entire novel in my mind. I know all the characters the plot beginning middle and end. This will swirl around bombarding my mind, and then poof just like that it is gone. No matter how hard I try to remember the details I cannot remember a thing. My mom for Christmas last year got me a recording device so I can just turn it on and talk it out, but sadly it is broken. I feel cheated because I wonder how many great ideas are lost amidst the screaming and confusion.  

I am not sure how the normal mind works, let alone my own twisted mind but solving this puzzle would be a great accomplishment. I wish there was a device I could hook up to my head which constantly grabbed every idea and thought and nicely file it so I could go back for later review. I cannot even imagine the brilliant books I could write, compose some breathtaking poetry, write interesting blog posts, and create delightful “Dylan Thomas” books. My problem is I cannot type or write how fast my brain works, so many things are lost. If this machine existed I would be very pleased. This contraption could not only pull my thoughts, but could also file my feelings nice and tidy. I would then be able to manage my emotions more effectively.

This machine would come in perfectly for my current writers block. I still have all this shit going on in my head, but it is trapped. I need to strain to grab a hold of these ideas and even then they come out jumbled and incoherent. I have been unable to produce quality work in almost three weeks now. My thoughts and ideas are unsystematic and scattered. My mind just wants to shut down, stare off into nothing, and listen to music. It has been getting harder and harder to write, and for me this is a huge deal. I suppose all I can do is keep plugging away at posts until my block is lifted. It upsets me that I am not able to capture everything going on in my head right now, because I know it would make for good reading.  

I think like this quote says the attempt to understand my confusion would create volumes upon volumes of work. Even if I had everything recorded and in its proper place I would still end up confusing myself because the daunting task of trying to put everything together would prove to be to overwhelming. My mind is so complex and multi-layered I do not think even the strongest device could extract everything and put it into order. For example while I am writing this I am bombarded with this constant thought of hiding in an igloo, the urge to draw penises on my wall, the need to somehow create a wall mounting to display all my pens, what if California falls into the ocean, who is controlling the white noise which is frying my brain, and why they came up with the name fruit bats. This was just the first six thoughts which came to my head. This is but a grain of sand in the overall workings of my mind.

I try and cope with this by trying to drown out the thoughts and voices with music. I hate silence it is my archenemy. If I am sitting in silence I am filled with a sense of panic because now all I have are my thoughts. My mind quickly spirals out of control, and I am led down the rabbit hole so to speak. This is why at work my music is always on to drown out my mind. When it is time to write I lift my hand in the air and try to catch any idea and just try to hold onto it long enough to make sense. The posts you see on this blog are all just random thoughts from a random mind.

“Sometimes the glue that binds us together can be the same glue that rips us apart.”

Tim Lundmark

This thought came to my head this morning while I was in a deep reflection on my current mental status. February begins tomorrow and this just happens to be the most evil month. This has never been a very good month for me in the past and is usually when my winter cycle comes to a damaging head. I am not sure why this is the case. My “cycles” can be rather predictable. I tend to cycle with every changing of the seasons like clock work. Spring and summer bring mania psychosis, while fall and winter deliver depressive psychosis. This usually doesn’t just hit right away it is a gradual fall from grace, usually two to three months in the making. When I think about this it makes me sad because this means I am only “normal” one maybe two months a year if I am lucky.

The way my mind works is there are times when it is clear and I am high functioning (the one or two months.) When I hit this point I am at my greatest. I am present in the moment and I am receptive and give out understanding and love. It is during this period I am unable to write poetry, but I am able to write my “Dylan Thomas” books. In time my mind slowly starts to worsen, and as time progresses I start to fall apart. When a piece of my sanity falls off I quickly grab it; throw some glue on and stick it back into place. This is fine and I am sure perfectly normal, but it seems as time passes more and more pieces fall off each day, to where I spend all my psychological energy just picking up the pieces and trying to put it all back together. The end result is I run out of glue giving me no means to put the pieces back together.

It has been a really tough go as of late, but I feel lucky I was able to have a relaxing weekend. I had to take Friday off because my son didn’t have daycare, so I ended up having a three day weekend. Although this weekend was relaxing I still wish I had more time off, because I don’t feel ready to jump back into the daily grind. I am not prepared for this; I am having trouble gluing myself back together. I worry I will not be able to do this. I have thought about talking to my boss about what is going on. I need the comfort of knowing that if I end up in the hospital I will not lose my job.

It felt good this weekend because I relieved much of the pressure inside of me by just going with things. I just went with it, and this may have been a mistake. When I talked with my mother and sister they thought I was on drugs. I think this is just further evidence I shouldn’t really share the truth with what is really going on. My symptoms are still pretty intense and I feel myself sliding further away from sanity. I wish I could log on here and just go off about all the things I am feeling and thinking, but my family does not think this is the appropriate forum for such things, yet It felt good posting my last two pieces. I have received many responses from people who have felt or who are going through something similar to what I am dealing with. There encouraging words and their ability to relate to my plight made me feel a bit better about things. It felt good knowing I could put my words out there like that and have an emotional impact on another person. This simple thing is what motivated me to become a writer in the first place, so this is awesome.     

I am so embarrassed with what is really going on in my head I do not feel I would be met well if I went into everything that was going on inside of me. I feel if I were to just jump on here and free write it may end up making me feel a little bit better, but then everything that I am will be exposed. It is this exposure I am afraid of. It is the rejection I am afraid of. No one is ready for what is going on. I feel if I were to just grab somebody on the streets and put my mind inside of theirs they would kill themselves in less than a week. They wouldn’t be able to deal with it. I suppose like anything else you just get used to it, but I am sick of being used to it. I am so tired of the pretending. What was great about this weekend was I let go and stopped pretending.

I realized after looking over some of my comments I received that I have picked up many Christian readers. I am so appreciative of their readership. I enjoyed reading their comments and wondered if my exposure as of late means something or not. I am afraid once I do a piece which is anti-religious I will piss them all off, and lose their readership. I feel I am at a crucial point in my spiritual journey, and I do not want to hold back my feelings on this topic. If the God of the Bible exists I need to work through my anger towards him, but at the same time I have found that Taoism is giving me a level of spiritual peace. Needless to say I am concerned about this.

I only have thirteen hours left to finish my book “Trapped Within My Illness.” I have to have the manuscript submitted by the end of today to meet their open submission period. I am so excited about this project and I really want to get it out there, but their response time is six months and I am unsure if I want to wait that long just to get the rejection letter. I want to put it out there, but wonder what the point is in that. I am embarrassed to say I have sold zero copies of “Yin” and “Yang.” I really think this one is better than the last three that I wrote. I blame my lack of sales on the fact I haven’t done any readings, if I submit it to this publisher I can’t do any readings until after I get the rejection letter because then I can just self publish.  

To sum the whole thing up I am just not ready for today. I am not ready for tomorrow and the start of February. I am working hard to glue my mind back together. My symptoms are getting worse, and although it was liberating to just let loose I still have other things going on which I am embarrassed to talk about. I just hope I make it through this month. I really just need this to stop because it is getting to the point where I just can’t fight it anymore.

It is amazing to me how the smallest thing can finally sever the last thread of sanity which is holding me together. For the last few months I have been struggling with some moderate to sever MI (mental illness) issues, which seem to be getting progressively worse. It has been difficult keeping everything looking nice and wrapped in a tidy little bow. How does one hide such intense turmoil without it spilling out unto the world?

Until about a few weeks ago I have done a great job hiding my issues, but then the irritation kicked in. I get so exhausted holding it together and as a result I get irritable. I get irritable because I cannot deal with the pressure anymore. I know at this point I can’t completely shut down to the world so I get irritable. This irritability only makes the situation worse. It is like I am on the outside looking in. My irritability is usually followed by a complete mental collapse. This collapse is almost entirely done internally, which writing is my only outlet.

I haven’t been able to write a quality post in some time, and my outlet has always been poetry yet my psyche is not allowing the words to come. I am being denied the one channel which keeps me sane. I think this has been the longest writer’s block I have been through. I am still writing but it just comes out as shit. I am stuck inside my head and I am lost within it. I cannot get out and it is getting crazy as fuck in here. I just want to get out. I am a prisoner in my own head.

I was doing my best to hold this fucked up mess together, but a situation which happened yesterday just caused me to crack. I feel completely unable to keep it together. I need to quickly put this broken doll back together before it’s too late. I cannot see my therapist until February so I have to just keep all this shit inside. The most fucked up thing is I cannot even articulate what is exactly wrong with me. I just know the deep depression and psychosis is here, and I need to battle it. It just gets so tiring fighting this bullshit all the time. I hate being good and then slowly transforming into mental breakdown. This has been the cycle my whole life and I need to ask myself how long I can continue this predictable scenario.

What sucks the most is my family gets dragged into this mess. This is by far the most painful thing about this. I can deal with my inner turmoil because Lord knows I have been doing it my entire life. I feel as if they would be better off without my bullshit fucking up their lives. These are innocent bystanders who get dragged in the mud because of my issues. I infect them with my disease and I wish they knew how sorry I am because of this. I can’t very well sit them down and explain daddy has issues and he is so sorry he can’t be a good father or husband. I just feel so ashamed. I feel so alone.

“What if nothing exists and we’re all in somebody’s dream?”
Woody Allen

This manner of thinking has been the center of many of my psychosis throughout life. When I begin to take baby steps further away from what is real. At this point reality and fantasy begin intertwining with one another. When I am dreaming I believe I am awake, and when I am awake I suppose I am dreaming. This gets very complicated because my dreams are so vivid they feel like everything is so real. When I am consumed in this mode of thinking, I get more and more mixed up. Pretty soon I am crossing each reality over and over. In a dream I may be referencing something from when I was awake, and while I am awake I am referencing dreams. This criss-crossing of realities gets awfully confusing.

One (out of many) reoccurrings thought I have been having is if I in my current state exist, or am I just an entity inside of someone’s mind or dream. I am able to battle this frame of thinking with René Descartes “Cogito ergo sum” (I think therefore I am.) If I am able to formulate thought then I cannot be inside someone’s dream because dreams do not have imagery with individual thought. I would think this is far to complex to be a fabrication inside of someone’s mind. This may be possible if I myself am the individual dreaming. If this dreamer is dreaming me as an alter ego to themselves then it would be only natural that I would have thought since this individuals mind is thinking through me in the dream state. My dream self could realistically wake up as a butterfly who had just dreamed of being a human. This is may seem doubtful, but is a very realistic possibility. In thinking I am only establishing that I have thought, but whether this thought constitutes reality could be up for debate. 

Descartes goes on in his book “Meditations on First Philosophy” to say that just because I am able to validate my existence I cannot prove the existence of others. This messes with me because it draws me to believe that reality is something I may never be able to prove. I could very well be in a dream, or I could very well be a memory somewhere in my mind. What I am doing right now feels as real as anything, but is that not so for dreams. When I am dreaming I do not question the reality I am in, unless I am amidst the psychosis I mentioned earlier.

I know or at least I think I can prove I really exist and I am not in someone’s dream by applying cogito ergo sum, but this to may be misleading. The mind is a powerful thing, and who really knows if it can or cannot produce five or five thousand different individual thinking dream people. If this is the case then this concept does not apply, and I have no way of proving whether I could be dreaming, or a fabrication in someone else’s dream. Who knows if as I type this I am actually resting snuggly in my bed? Who knows if you the reader are actually fabrications within my dream?

When I was plagued with these questions as a teenager and young adult I would focus on the mantra “I think therefore I am.” This brought me back to a supposed reality where I was able to find a baseline. Descartes was the first philosopher I read, so I took his writings as philosophical fact. I turned his musings into absolute truth. As I got older and discovered many other view points and the many different possibilities I have a harder and harder time finding absolute truth within this statement. The question whether I actually exist in physical form cannot be proven; therefore I am left with trying to find what is real. I could very well be deceased and I am living in purgatory just reliving my life. Who really knows the absolute truth behind this conundrum? I personally do not think my existence can be proven, and I do not think your existence can be proven either.

“Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m schizophrenic, and so am I.”
Oscar Levant

Due to the shooting in Arizona; schizophrenia has become a hot topic. It is sad that this illness is brought to the forefront in such a negative light, all because of one person. I am certain many people out there believe those who suffer from schizophrenia are nothing but raving lunatics walking the streets talking to themselves while wearing tinfoil helmets to shield the government from stealing their thoughts. I think this is the image most Americans think of when they hear the word schizophrenia. Yes there are some of us out there, who unfortunately may fall under this generalization, but for the most part this is simply not the case, and in my opinion is a form of discrimination. These types of sweeping statements are the same as saying “all Muslims are terrorists.” Yes there are those who deteriorate to the point of madness such as Jared Loughner had, but this one man does not define how everyone else with this disease acts. There are many high functioning schizophrenics out there who work have families and contribute to society. It is sad that as a society, those of us who suffer from mental illness need to still carry that stigma around with us.

I know society does not deal well with mental illness. There are so many uneducated people out there with discrimination in their heads. I can tell you a personal story of such discrimination. I was working at a company which shall remain nameless. I was employed there for a while, and I was excelling at my job. I would go out to lunch with my co-workers and shoot the shit. Business was good, and there were no complaints against my job performance. I shared a cubicle with two other guys and we worked together to make sure projects were getting done. We were all in the cube one day when the topic of mental illness was brought up. They were talking about how those who have bi-polar disorder are drug addicts and completely useless to society. They went on to say how they are all violent criminals who are completely out of control. At first I bit my lip, just hoping they would go on to the next topic. About twenty minutes into MI (mental Illness) bashing I final had to interject. I told them their comments were offending me since I am bi-polar (diagnosis at the time but later changed.) I told them I am able to contribute to society and I am by no means violent or a drug addict. The cube became awkwardly silent and rather uncomfortable. They apologized for offending me, and I accepted. We went back to work with no other issues. Two days later I was “laid off.”

Schizophrenia is a progressive brain disease where as time passes symptoms of this disease seem to get worse and worse. I am only thirty-one years old so I am in the infancy stages of my illness. I am able to manage it properly so I can function within society.  My doctors have done a great job with managing my symptoms with medication. I have a job, which suites my illness perfectly allowing me to be a productive member of society. I am able to be a husband, father, and friend. I still have episodes where I fall apart and need daily living assistance, but I am able to get out of my head and find sanity. The progressive part is what scares me though. I am afraid of where my mind will be in five or ten years. I worry about slipping so far into my head I become completely detached. What scares me is I won’t even know what is going on. The shitty thing about this is I cannot control this inevitable outcome. I just need to have hope and faith I will always be high functioning.   

With all the negativity going around about this illness I thought I should speak out about it. Yes there are those who completely lose touch with reality. The sad part is they can be reeled back in with medication along with the proper support system. This shooting in Arizona could have been avoided if Loughner’s friends and family had been monitoring him more. From interviews I have seen it sounds like his friends knew he was off his rocker, yet stood by and did nothing. There are millions of us out there who suffer from one form of MI or another, yet I feel that we hide it in shame. Many of us are high functioning adults who seem in control of our illness.

I am not embarrassed or ashamed of whom I am, and I am not embarrassed or ashamed of my illness. I am proud that I am high functioning considering my diagnosis. I am proud I can hold down a job and raise a family. I may have a mental illness, but this illness does not define me as a person. I need to learn to live within my limitations and accept who I am illness and all. I wouldn’t need to hide or be ashamed if my illness was MS, but for some reason I should feel differently because it is MI? I think people hide their MI like a dirty little secret because they are scared of being judged. Does anyone else hear how sad that sounds?

“We learn the inner secret of happiness when we learn to direct our inner drives, our interest and our attention to something besides ourselves.”
Ethel Percy Andrus

How common is selflessness in our culture today? Have we become a society where the “me” first mentality reins supreme? How many people out there can honestly say they put others needs before there own? I would imagine the percentage is rather small, but then again I have very little faith in our current humanity. I know there are many wealthy Americans who do great deeds of charity, giving away millions of dollars to various organizations, but are they doing this because they are putting others before themselves or are they doing these things for tax breaks, self-image, or some other form of self-interests. I know like our country I struggle with the disease of selfishness. When I slack on studying the Tao Te Ching, I tend to lose my center and allow ego and selfishness back to the forefront of my conscience. The days I am able to live by putting others before myself, tend to be my greatest Tao moments. I have learned so much from the Tao thus far, but I have a hard time living the lessons on a daily basis. I would love nothing more than to rid myself of my most embarrassing character flaws, but this has proven to be a hard habit to break.

Ever since I started writing I have directed my inner drive on achieving my writing goals; neglecting my other responsibilities. There was a time when I would get home from work and do nothing but write until it was time for me to go to bed. Naturally this produced friction in my marriage and my ability to be a good father. My interests and attention was focused in a selfish manner, and my happiness was greatly impacted. Once I started to let this desire go I noticed a greater sense of happiness inside of myself as well as my family. I also noticed how much my happiness was affected by this simple change. Now this could be because my selfish focus on my writing was causing so many arguments, and now they were not, or it could be because of how I felt about myself knowing I was putting others before me. I know my wife and kids are happy I made this transition. Yes there are days where all I want to do is write, but if I only do this once every other week or so then I am met with love and understanding from my family. The question I need to answer is finding balance. When I do not work at home my writing suffers, but when I do get sucked into writing I can’t seem to find a happy balance.

There are some aspects of my life where I need to be selfish and that is in managing my mental health. For many years I felt guilty for shutting down and tuning out when I finally hit a mental wall. I have since talked to my therapist and she reassured me that being selfish when managing your MI is actually a good thing. I can only go so long before my mind and body begin to deteriorate. I for the most part have been good at recognizing my symptoms prior to just completely breaking down. When I recognize this I immediately need a few days to shut down and recharge. I need to have little to none negative or hyper stimulation, and I either need to cuddle on the couch and watch television or play Madden. My therapists praised me for being able to identify my current state and know what I need to correct this. My wife is understanding of this and accommodates me well. My problem is I will turn a weekend or evening of recharging into two-weeks of laziness. I have transformed productive selfishness into damaging and negative selfishness.

I work everyday at trying to put others before myself. I am a bit frustrated with my progress to this point. I began studying the Tao Te Ching ten months ago. It has taken me this long to get through twenty-five verses. I feel like I should still be on the first verse. Should I really move on to the next if I have not yet mastered the lessoned learned from each verse. The first verse talks about turning desiring into allowing. The verse says to sit back relax, and stop trying so hard to achieve something, instead just allow it to happen. Although this verse does not directly mention selflessness it is perfect for my selfishness because in times I want to get something done, it is all I think about and I become irritated when something stands in my way. The third verse builds on this concept and says it much better “practice not doing. When action is pure and selfless, everything settles into its own perfect place.” Now if I could just live this everyday I would be golden. 

“The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.”
Ethel Percy Andrus

Our country is founded and thrives on capitalism, where greed and selfishness are the building blocks. Imagine a world where every citizen inhabiting our planet stopped with the “me” first mentality and instead lived to serve their fellow man. There would be no war, poverty, violence, starvation among many other things. We would live in a world where the rich would shelter the poor, instead of stepping on top of them. Sick adults and children would receive life altering medical care, not because they have insurance but because it is the right thing to do. If every one of us took the very first step towards thinking of others in time we would live in a much better world, but who am I to talk. If I cannot cure the disease of selfishness in my own life how can I ask others to change theirs?