Monthly Archives: May 2013

wintery reflection

beuaty and the beast

tale as old as time
song as old as rhyme
beauty and the beast

the beast hides out in his castle, disfigured from his once acceptable self. “surely, no one could love such a wretched beast such as me”, he says. or maybe the story needs a minor rewrite. maybe the words should read, “i say”.

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the power of an empathy

Brene Brown, in Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead,  writes, “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”

i’ll go even further. when one of our life adventures, no matter how awful, is received with empathy, we feel accepted for who we are and where we are. that acceptance is powerful and a form of love.

i went to my psychiatrist yesterday. recognizing how my depression can be a drag on Mary, i not so eloquently asked him, “any suggestions along the line, obviously when i’m in a bad space, it’s also a bad time for Mary. any suggestions along that line?”

dr. rogge replied, “…have some empathy for one another…just acknowledge it; that’s all you have to do.”

simple. yet, at times so difficult.

i recognize when i’m in a bad space, i am so wrapped up in myself. it is hard to see anything. i can imagine the difference it would make if i could say something like, “i recognize that when i am in depression, that it’s a hard time for you. i wish i didn’t have to drag you through it. when i do, it brings me sorrow as i’m sure it does for you, too. i wish that didn’t have to happen.”

or perhaps from the other side. “i recognize the depression puts you in a horrible place. that place is not of your choosing. when you get taken to that place, it makes me sad. i wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”

both of these statements ooze empathy. they acknowledge the wretched state and do it with out judgement. being on the receiving end of either of these statements, would make the situation feel a little less heavy and i would feel a little more accepted, a little more loved.

one thing that has become clear to me is  the power of our group, that being the people who suffer with mental disorders. we tend to seek solace with one another. we unknowingly and unwittingly become a support structure, a shoulder to lean on. its that willing ear, an understanding being, someone who has walked a similar walk. that makes it easier to leap to the feeling of, “been there, done that, i understand.” that generates strong feelings of belonging and empathy. those feeling give us a feeling of connectedness, that connectedness we as humans all desire.

so in closing, i offer up a challenge; act out of empathy today. in doing so, you will be taking a small step towards making the world a better place.

 

 

return from lake 22

that one little label, that one little stereotype

I have been reading Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. i am currently working my way through a chapter on shame.

as i parsed my way through the list on why people feel shame, i read the line, “because we are stereotyped or labeled.” with that, i had a new found understanding about my journey with my mental disorder, why i felt “”unclean”. i came to recognize with that one little line, through that one little label, that one little stereotype,  i had been thrown into a shame induced stupor. Continue reading

bird in the reeds

today

today is a hard to get out of bed day. i wish it wasn’t, it just is.

and Mary, bless her heart, having grown up in a boot strap family, wants me to get up and do something. anything. sometimes i wish she’d put the bootstrap away. it hurts too much.

a sad disconnect

Mary, my wife, is a loving, caring supportive person; that’s a given. she more than anyone, probably more than me, wants me to get through the crap i am going through. she sees the pain i go through everyday and that causes her great pain.

today, i had an aha moment.

Mary  is always willing to offer suggestions, things that might make a difference in my life. she does this because she cares about me, because she loves me, she wants me to get better.

something happens on the way from her caring and loving on the way to my brain. through my twisted hearing, my twisted mind, that loving and caring gets lost. i fear that if i don’t follow through on her suggestions, i will be a little less lovable.

the sad thing is the disconnect does not end there. when i choose not to follow through on her suggestions, she feels unheard, she fells rejected. she must think i don’t care enough to follow through on this suggestion.

the thing is, either both of us or broken or neither of us are broken. we just are where we are.

yet through our own twisted hearing, our own twisted minds we are each able to compound the situation and make things far worse than they have to be.

my wish, my hope: that i can better recognize the acts of love and care, the support that Mary gives me. secondly, i hope that Mary can see that i am as frustrated as she is. that i want to get better. that i’m trying and i can’t do everything. that i hate being in this place.

tatoosh range

a request of support

hello my friends in the web world,

as you might know, I have recently been diagnosed with a mental disorder, bipolar disorder. i have been through something like ten depressive cycles. i am finally seeing a good psychiatrist who hopefully will get me set up with some medications that will work for me.

societal misperceptions hold me back from freely sharing. if i had cancer, i would likely freely share on my struggles. same goes for a thyroid problem, a heart disease, a kidney or liver problem. that’s because there aren’t societal misconceptions about cancer, thyroid problems, heart disease, a kidney or liver problem; they are a disease, a disorder. let’s face it, mental disorders are that, too; a disease. one in four people struggle with some kind of a mental disorder!

there are problems that go with mental disorders. society has misconceptions about mental disorders. those misconceptions cause people to feel uncomfortable. fears of not being accepted or shunned cause people with mental disorders to “hide”.

it is time for me to try to break through the stigma, to get the support i need and hopefully many others like me. on may 18, i will be participating in a NAMI walk. NAMI is the national alliance of mental  illness. they are a national group set up to advocate and support people, family and friends who struggle with mental disorders. this walk will help to support local NAMI chapters.

i am asking for donations in support of NAMI in the NAMI walk. your donations will go to help support the NAMI organization in snohomish county.  you can make a donations set up at a url just for me at http://namiwalks.nami.org/sojourner.  the website is setup to take cash, checks or credit card donations. if you are unable to give financial support at this time, that’s okay. i would still appreciate it if you could drop by the site and leave me a message of support, an “adda boy”, a “fight the good fight”,  a “good for you”, a “bully for you”, or something else.

additionally if you have any questions about mental disorders, do not be afraid to ask. i may not know all the answers, but i am willing work with the resources i have to hopefully get you an answer.

thanks for your support as i continue my battle,

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