Resting and healing…

I am resting.  We still have lunch with my cousins to do.  I’ve been stressing to get them a gift that represents Canada so I’ve been busy.  But I haven’t been walking, knowing that I shouldn’t do too much.  So I had to go shopping the past few days to get just the right gift.  Light but something that says Canada.  So I bought them each some maple syrup in a plastic bottle instead of glass.  Glass might break my Mom said.  I am also giving one of them a small 4×4″ watercolor painting I did.  Hopefully they’ll like the gifts.  They brought us Finnish coffee and Finnish chocolate as well as licorice candy which I love.  They can’t fit much in their suitcases so we always buy small gifts.

I sketched this mother and child just before they came.  Again, my inspiration is my grandson Erik.  Such a joy!  The visitors loved him too.  He was such a good baby and slept for most of the first visit.  One of my second cousins held him as he slept.

I am reading a new book called The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.  It is a scientific explanation of depression and other mental illnesses.  Apparently I am producing too many stress hormones.  My system is all out of whack.  When I realized this, I felt a rush of fear just watching a tense part in a television show.  I had to do mindfulness for about half an hour to calm down.  So it is true!  I am producing too many stress hormones.  Hopefully this book will help me to calm that down.

I have learned not to get too tired.  So I’ve stopped walking this week.  Trying to rest.  Tomorrow I have to buy a fruit platter for the coffee date at my daughter’s place.  Along with Tim Horton’s coffee.  Finnish people love their coffee strong.

Hopefully your week is going well.  Remember if you know that you’re going to be stressed, make sure that you get extra rest.  You don’t want to overdo it.  Never stop fighting…:)

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A pause in my week…refreshing!

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I had visitors from overseas this week.  And my Mom came down to see them too.  A joy!

I paused in my week for a visit from family from overseas.  It was so wonderful to see my cousins and their children.  My mother came down from up north to see them too.  Needless to say they all took over my life.  But what a joy!  Family is so important and makes us strong.  My cousins are here until Saturday so I won’t be going to my drop-in session.  They are going to Toronto and then Niagara Falls.  And then I see them again Friday afternoon.  Hopefully they’ll be able to meet the rest of my children.  We’ll see.

They are a wonderful distraction.  Although I had anxiety about driving I did relatively well and was rewarded.  It was supper from McDonald’s.  So I didn’t have to cook as I have been since Saturday!  Most of my family lives in Finland.  My mother and brothers live here in Canada though.  A very positive visit.

I also received a new book from Amazon.  It looks really good.  It’s called The Body Keeps Score.  Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.  My body remembers but not my mind.  This book is supposed to be very good.  I’ll write a review once I’ve finished it.

Well that’s it for now.  Thanks for being there.  Remember that family is important.  At times they get in your face but their intentions are usually good.  Family gives me strength.

Never stop fighting.

Photo credit:  WordPress free photos.

Do you believe that you have an imaginary rich lover or that you are saving the world?

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Some people with mental illness have delusions.  Stories in their mind.  They are not real!  Please read further.

There is a mental illness known as delusional.  With this illness the person is caught up in delusions and hears voices in their mind.  Mental patterns occur in their mind that they believe absolutely to be real.  Like saving the world or a rich lover.  In their mind they go through scenarios which they believe real and sometimes actually talk to the characters that they see in their mind.  The delusion, for that is what it is, is so real to the person that they believe that they are living it.  Sometimes there is terror involved.  Fear of the unknown or just one person.  Sometimes people in real life can be portrayed within the delusion by a fabrication in the mind of the person that is ill.  However the delusions are not real.

Everything becomes relevant.  Every small action that happens in real life becomes relevant and pertinent to the delusional person.  They may laugh to themselves when there is nothing funny.  They will seem distracted, “not there”.  At times they won’t be able to hold a normal conversation with those around them because they are caught up in their delusion.  The extreme case is when they lose all sense of reality and become the delusion they believe in.  But the delusion is not real!

The delusion usually continues parallel to the reality which is the life of the delusional person.  They are usually able to function normally in their life with a parallel life that doesn’t usually disturb the real life of the person.  Except for them being distracted or rare outbursts where they laugh to themselves or say something or a phrase out of context.  The delusional person talks to themselves at least in private.  But often the conversations they have are going on in their mind.

If you believe that you have a psychic lover, male or female, who is rich and can save you from all your money problems or keep you safe, but who you have never met physically, you are in a delusion.  You may actually think that they talk to you but it’s all in your mind.  Seek medical help!  The help of a doctor or a psychiatrist!  If in your mind you battle a great evil to save mankind and are often distracted by the battles and ignore those around you to save mankind then you are in a delusion.  Seek the help of a psychiatrist.  Medication will help.  Test the delusion.  Stop listening to your inner voices and see what happens.  The world will not end.  You will survive.  It will take great courage to stop listening to the voices but you can do it!

It is possible to function in your everyday life if you are delusional with the help of medication.  The delusions and the voices will go away.  At first the voices will be strong in your mind.  But if you stop listening to them slowly they will go away as long as you take your medication.  However there may be a residual small unimportant voice that you hear when you are tired or stressed.  This one you ignore as well.  But it can at times produce anxiety and fear that you are slipping into another delusion.  You aren’t as long as you take your medication and remember that the delusion is not real.

Outside events may trigger the delusion to seem stronger.  Ignore it and it too will go away.  Say to yourself that it is me saying these things.  The people are not real!

How do you continue in life if you are delusional?  With courage.  Once you realize that the delusions aren’t real then you can work on the anxiety they may produce or in the case of an imaginary lover, work on real relationships to fill that void.  You can face your anxiety with positive counter statements that I have discussed before.  In the case of a delusion where you are saving the world from some great evil.  Mindfulness can also help to calm your mind.  Especially if you are anxious.  In addition, mindfulness can bring you back to the here and now and help you to ignore the delusions.  Look around and physically see what is real and not what you think is real.

However you also have to work on the underlying reason for the delusions.  I would recommend counselling.  Therapy is good in that it provides you with medication to help you with your illness.  Counselling however goes beyond and looks at the reason for your illness.  It might have been a traumatic event in your childhood, it might have been the loss of a loved one.  Some event in your past has caused the delusions and perhaps something in your recent past has triggered the memories.  You need the help of a counselor, often a social worker or a specific trained counselor for the trauma that you have experienced.  For example rape or death.  This combined with therapy, medication, will help you to heal.  Healing will take months and maybe years.

You will know when you have healed when you no longer hear the voice(s) in your head.

If you believe that you have a rich lover or that you are battling a great evil to save the world, know that you are in a delusion.  If you believe in this so strongly that you ignore your life to fulfill these goals, know that you are in a delusion.  Stop listening to the voices in your mind! Take 10 minutes.  Sit at home in a safe place.  Put on a timer.  Stop listening to the voices for ten minutes.  Did anything happen?  No!  I know.  Now put on the timer again and stop listening to the voices for 30 minutes.   Did anything bad happen?  No!  Phone your family doctor.  Tell him/her that you are hearing voices in your head and make an appointment to see him immediately.  If you can’t get an appointment today then phone the Crisis Line at 705-728-5044 or 1-888-893-8333 in Canada or phone 911 and explain your emergency.  You need immediate help because you are in crisis.  You believe in something that is not real.  Your belief in the voices can be lowered with the help of medication and the help of a psychiatrist and counselor.  Please don’t wait.  Call now!  Be strong.  Be courageous.  I know you can be.  Never stop fighting…

Photo by Sharon Garcia on Unsplash

A relapse…a small blip but I’m OK!

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I had a small relapse along with severe anxiety.  But I’m OK!

My mother is coming over for a visit.  She lives in the same town as the person who abused me.  In fact she knows his family.  This was a trigger for me.  My inner demons raised their ugly head.  I knew that it wasn’t real!  I was extremely anxious.  But I kept telling myself that it was all in my head.  So it was me voicing my fears of what that person would say about me.  But he doesn’t know that I know.  Hopefully he never will.

I had gone for a longer walk than usual that day.  On top of that I had read for the whole afternoon.  It was a good book and I couldn’t put it down.  I know that reading tires me.  So I was tired.  Now I am being careful about how long I read.  It was scary but I used logic and my knowledge of my illness to guide me through it.  It wasn’t real!

I still have to talk to my counselor about it.  She hasn’t called me back.  But I figured out what the trigger was and that I was tired.  Slowly I heal…Never stop fighting!

Remember those who are alone on Valentine’s Day!

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I would like to remind you that many are alone today.  The elderly, friends, people with depression…  Remember them!  Reach out to them!

A holiday like today can be a very lonely thing for those who are alone.  It can be very depressing.  Sometimes too depressing!  Take the time to reach out to people that you know are alone.  Today is a day for couples but take that extra effort and make just one extra call to someone you know is alone.  The elderly feel very alone on Valentine’s Day especially if their family is out of town and/or they have lost their partner as many have.  Many people who are alone and depressed find today especially difficult because it makes them think of how really alone they are.  Sometimes people can spiral to even darker depths.  If you know of someone on the brink of black thoughts, reach out to them, especially today.

I say “I love you” to all of my readers.  I love the way you make me feel.  Wanted and read!  I love that you are all out there for me, ready to make a comment if it’s important!  I love the courage you give me as I put “pen to paper” and write these posts hoping to encourage all of you.  I love you!

Take the moment.  Make the call.  Invite them for coffee maybe.  Or just call.  It will make their day.  And you’ll feel better for doing it!

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

Lioness and Cub Pastel Painting.

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Miriam’s Art is pleased to release her Lioness and Cub pastel painting.  It was painted at a time of joy but also of sorrow.  Enjoy!

The tawny brown eyes of the lion cub immediately draw the eye of the viewer.  He sits below his mother’s face.  The brownish gold of the lion cub contrasts well with the light gold of the mother’s face as well as the darker brown.  The mother stares into the distance perhaps watching for dangers to her young.  The green grey background contrasts well with the lioness and the cub.

This painting was done with joy.  Joy in the fact that I am a grandmother.  Celebrating the joy of birth.  However as you know it is finishes at a time of sorrow.  My cat Echo is no more.  He was too sick.  The joy has fizzled.  Although a picture of my grandson helped ease my sorrow.  Life is precious.  Enjoy it and those around you while you can!

The background was a challenge.  I mixed three colors:  dark green, grey and beige.  The result is interesting.  I bemoan the fact that I still don’t have the proper brown for a lion or for a bird for that matter.  However the medium brown of the cub comes close.  I should have used that for the mother!  I didn’t get it out until the end of the painting.

I plan to do more mother and child painting in the future.  Some of it human.  Enjoy!

Recognizing the Signs of Suicidal Thoughts

An excellent post. Worth the read.

The Bipolar Writer

My First Thoughts on Recognizing Suicidal Thoughts

I have been through some of the worst suicidal thoughts over the past ten years. I have never been great at recognizing how bad my suicidal thoughts have gotten until its too late. It usually takes a very big spiral, a suicide attempt, and me laying in a hospital bed wondering where how I got there.

It was that way for the first five years since my diagnosis. I got better over time with taking suicidal thought and changing them. I haven’t attempted suicide since 2010, but there have been times in the last seven years that I got close. (More the first four years than the last three.)

The most dramatic choice that a mentally ill individual can make in their life is suicide. I have to agree because it has been that way in my experience since my diagnosis of the…

View original post 1,089 more words

My Echo.

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Now I write of my beloved cat Echo.

I had the difficult choice yesterday.  The choice of ending a long and beautiful cat’s life.  He was 17 and too old and too sick to save.  He had had four years of a good life with me.  A pampered life.  But now the story is over.  The life at an end.  Echo, My Echo is no more.

This is the second post I write about him.  It helps me to heal, writing.  And I drew the picture posted with this blog post.  Writing and drawing helps me heal.

Now I remember his life.  He didn’t like to share his food.  He loved to cuddle and purr.  He would spend hours on my chest as I was reading.  Leaning up to my shoulder.  And purring.  And he didn’t like to share that spot.  Echo, My Echo.

He was scared of the dogs at first.  And the dogs would try to chase him.  I would say My Echo out loud and the dogs would stop running after him.  Echo, My Echo.  It took him four years to get used to the dogs.  The dogs live in the living room, dining room and kitchen.  There is a dog gate.  The cats roam the whole house.  But Echo used to stay on the other side of the gate until a year ago.  Now he preferred to sleep with the dogs on the couch!  He was a good cat.  Affectionate.  But strong willed.

I miss him.  It helps to think of him in a meadow of daisies with Candy, my daughter’s dog, and Ray, my brother.  They too have passed.  They’re having fun together now.  I love them all.

How will this effect me?  I had a dream and woke up early.  It wasn’t a dream about Echo.  But then I couldn’t fall back asleep.  So I decided to get up and write these two posts about Echo.  Another one you can find at www.meredithgibraltar.com.  That’s my writing pseudonym.  So I’ve decided to write to cope and to draw him.  That’s the drawing you see posted with this post.  But it’s 5:30 A.M.  I still haven’t drawn the marker drawing of Echo.  I’ll do that later.

I coped by getting comfort food at Wendy’s yesterday.  A bacon deluxe burger with poutine.  Then this morning I had a pear with cottage cheese.  I was still hungry.  Funny what we humans do.

So now I say adieu to Echo.  I will think of him all day.  I don’t want to go anywhere today.  I’m a bit anxious about driving because I’m tired.  I may be depressed.  We’ll see.  It helps to think that I gave him four good years.  I’ll miss him.  Echo, My Echo.

The drawing above is done with marker.  The head is a bit too wide.  But it’s Echo with his one brown eye and the other yellow green.  He was an all black cat but I tried to portray the play of light on the black of the cat with markers.  It has helped to draw him.  What helped the most was writing it into my next book, Abigail.  I spent three hours writing this morning.

If you suffer from anxiety or depression I recommend that you write about your day.  It can be as simple as a diary or a journal.  And even on your computer if it’s easier.  I write stories and the main characters suffer from depression or anxiety and they follow my day.  I haven’t tried publishing them yet.  Who knows if anyone will be interested.  But it has helped me to be able to write about my day and my challenges.  Perhaps you could start a story where you are the hero or heroine!  Who knows!  You could publish one day.  Or you could write poems.  Which I do too.  I plan to publish an ebook of my poems.  That will be within the year.  See?  I have dreams.  I have goals.  Who knows I may be able to make some money!  That would be nice.

I miss Echo today.  A large part of my days this week was taking care of him.  He will always be in my heart.  Rest in peace Echo, My Echo.  I love you.

Lioness and Cub WIP pastel painting.

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Miriam’s Art is pleased to show her Lioness and cub WIP pastel painting.  She is taking a day off today.  Enjoy!

Here you can see a bit of how a pastel painting is done.  Pastels are like a chalk.  You can layer more than one color at a time as in the background.  Or you can use sticks or pencils to make actual lines as in the lioness’ face.  You can also change the color of the paper however I tend to use grey.  It’s not often that I’ll buy a different color.  The eyes are the most important part when painting an animal.  They draw the viewer in.

I am taking a break today.  I’m reading a romance and taking care of my cat Echo.  He is sick.  I even had to help him use the litter today.  But he’s complaining today.  And he ate yesterday and had water today.  So I think that he’s slowly getting better.  I hope so!  I love the Old Man!  I should be reading one of my two healing books but it’s been a bit much lately.  Going to the drop-in sessions is hard.  It makes me think.  Plus I have to overcome my anxiety to get there so it’s very tiring.  My mind is tired.  I’ll see if I go this week.  So I’m reading a romance.  I love romances.  I can hold Echo as I read.

It’s recommended that you listen to your body when you are depressed or have anxiety.  It’s alright to take a day off every once in a while.  I try to take Sunday’s off to relax.  But today I did some errands and then I just got tired.  So I listened to my body and relaxed while reading.  I am tired and recognize the fact so I am taking steps to relax.

The reason that I am painting a lioness with her cub is that I am a grandmother now!  Hallelujah!  And what a miracle it is.  So I am inspired to paint mothers with children.  I might do another watercolor of a human mother and child next.  I have to sketch it first though.  The painting soothes my tattered soul.  Slowly I heal…never stop fighting!

Vision Board or Inspiration Board?

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I was lucky enough to be able to go to the drop-in group again today.  We made vision boards or inspiration boards.  Interesting and something I’ll look at every day.

A vision board has cut out pictures of your goals in life.  It’s a 12×18″ peice of bristol board with cutouts from magazines.  It represents your goals in life.  One of my goals was to travel.  Another one was to hike again.  The inspiration board holds pictures of inspiration to you and quotes that inspire you.  Why don’t you try making a vision or inspiration board for yourself.  Then hang it on your wall.  You could even frame it.  Look at it every day and keep your goals in mind or be inspired!  This drop-in session was a very positive experience.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m depressed on top of everything else.  Cleaning especially depresses me.  But I am working on doing more.  Before I let myself be spoiled and pampered but now I am actually cleaning more and doing more around the house.  Slowly I heal.  Self-care is another thing that gets let go when you have a depression.  I am showering more often.  If you notice that you are not as clean as you used to be, make an effort!  Take that shower.  Wash your hair!  Then concentrate on the good feeling you get once it’s done!  Slowly you will heal too.  But even this is tiring.  So make sure that you rest your mind during the day.  For me it’s the afternoons that I rest.  Then take one day a week where you do less.  For me that’s Sunday.  I might even start meditating on Sundays or doing yoga.  I’ll see.  Slowly I heal.  Slowly we heal.  As the Bipolar Writer says….never stop fighting!

I have posted my Wave pastel painting with an added touch.  I used a uni-ball Signo broad pen to add white highlights to the wave.  This makes this painting a multi-media painting since I used more than one medium to do it.  It helped in getting a glistening effect on the wave!  Painting has always helped my mood.  I loose myself to the painting and sometimes things that have been bothering come to light afterward or I even at times have solutions to things after painting.  Painting calms my mind and allows my subconscious to work on the problems facing me.

I also exercised this morning.  Shoveling snow!  It’s good exercise.  I have been depressed the last couple of days because I’ve been working more on the computer which tires me and I haven’t exercised.  On top of that my 17 year old cat is sick.  I might have to face the choice of putting him down.  He’s that old.  I spent yesterday afternoon with him in my arms watching television.  He seemed to need to be still and in my arms.  But he’s better today.  Getting around on his own.  Keep your fingers crossed!  I love that Old Man!  I call him Old Man now although his name is Echo.  He’s a black cat with one brown eye and one green eye.  A character through and through.

Keep on taking one step at a time and soon it will be one day at a time!