Present Day, April 6th, 2020

FURLOUGH – day 7

This is where it started: Thursday, August 25th, 10 a.m.

133 entries ago I launched this blog. And it started by recounting a mental breakdown and subsequent hospitalization I underwent, brought about by the lack of management of my bipolar. Three and a half years ago I began to tell my story in hopes that someone, somewhere might find it helpful.

Now, as we all find ourselves homebound and with time on our hands, I thought there might be individuals who would like to hear from those early days of my struggles. So I have provided a link above to that first blog. If you scroll to the bottom of it you will find a link for the “Next Article”. That will allow you to sequentially follow the story as it unfolded. Reflections of what it was like to be hospitalized. Reflections of what it was like to journey forward upon returning back home. Reflections on how the struggles do not just abruptly come to an end.

I thought this might be a good time to introduce other features of the blog as well. On the right side is a thought cloud called “Train Stops”. By clicking on one of the items in this section, the blog will pull all the entries (from newest to oldest) with that tag. For example, you can click on “medication” and pull up entries where I talked about issues surrounding medications.

Another filter tool is located further down the right side: “Catagories”:

  • Back Home blogging about life back home post-hospitalization
  • Brain Tracks thoughts from inside the bipolar mind
  • Music for the Road songs that speak to life with a mental illness
  • Out of Town posts related to my escape and subsequent hospitalization

Take today’s entry as a shameless plug to delve further into the blog. To see what has been left in the past. To see what is the foundation for the present. To see why the future holds the challenges it does.

Share some thoughts and comments as various writings speak to you.

And continue to stay home, stay healthy, and stay safe.

 

Present Day, September 25th, 2018

Almost five and a half months. Still the blogging screen is blank.

Retreats. Books. Life events. All the usual, reliable prompts. But nothing.

It isn’t really a writer’s block. That’s for people who write for income, or entertainment, or pleasure.

I write for therapy. For reflection. For healing.

So it isn’t really a traditional writer’s block lacking inspiration and creativity. It is a lack of medicine. A lack of progress. A lack of health.

And it is one of many signs to be mindful of. There are others.

I have no desire to do…well…just about anything.

A weight loss plan that was highly successful through the first four months of the year has stalled out. Even begun heading the other direction. The self-discipline…self-motivation is gone. Again.

Ironic, because I’m not truly hungry for anything. Restaurants disappoint. Grocery shopping is merely requisite. I can eat the same food night after night after night after…well, you get the idea.

Stamp collecting. Sports watching. Camping. Hiking. All of it. Just motions.

Truth be told these are the spells that grip those of us who suffer from clinical depression. Sure, everybody to some extent, but these are not just periods of feeling down. They are extensive valleys. Valleys that can turn from days to weeks to months. Valleys that can rob us of energy, enthusiasm, enjoyment. Valleys that can black out a computer screen for five and a half months.

Which brings me to this moment. This moment that is called forced blogging. Push the keys one at a time. Put words on the screen. Run sentences together until a paragraph is formed. Then another. And another. Paragraphs that may serve as stepping stones for climbing out of the valley.

Not for income, entertainment or pleasure.

For therapy. For reflection. For healing.

Present Day, March 26th, 2017

Today is a personal retreat day for me. I’m loaded and prepared. My Chromebook, headphones, journal, novel, Kindle, A Guide to Rational Living, and of course…I will go through copious amounts of iced coffee.

My wife and I pre-planned a number of these retreat weekends throughout the year. Time for me to catch my breath, and try to reset anything that might be trying to misfire in my mind. I say “weekends” because that is the goal. So far, personal calendars and weather have transitioned them to single day getaways, which is fine for now. However, as winter gives way to spring, summer and fall…I look forward to hauling the camper out for overnight trips with a little more nature and a little less corporate America.

Today? This will do.

There is an agenda, but a loose one. An alternating of mediums between productivity (such as blogging), relaxation (such as likely taking in an episode of my newest addiction…The Blacklist), and mental health productivity (such as getting down some life application notes from my journey through Abert Ellis’s book). But it is loose. I won’t feel guilty if I don’t achieve all of these things (at least, that is what I am telling myself at 9:15), and I haven’t set times as to when I will move between events or activities. Just going with the flow. As much as I know how to.

If you have mental health issues, or a beating heart, you should schedule some of these.

If you have a significant other with mental health issues, or a beating heart, you should allow them to.

While we all seem to thrive in various levels of community, I believe we also all have needs of resetting as individuals.

It is no magic formula or guarantee of sanity. It is just what we are doing. What we had recommended to us to do. And what for today, I’m glad (and thankful to my wife who is covering the family business and kids) I have the opportunity to do.