The Wind Beneath My Wings

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5 years ago, was the end of what felt like one of the longest weeks in my life.

A week earlier, I received a call from the rehab facility that my sister was in, asking to take her to the hospital. She had a severe infection that spread. The hospital did everything that they could over the course of the week to give her every opportunity to find her strength.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Through the week, the hospital was preparing me for the call that I never wanted to hear, the call asking me to give permission to take her off of life support.

Thankfully, when the call came, I was with friends who could support me through the time immediately after the call.

For most of my life, she was my closest supporter.

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The Living Years

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31 years ago, today, my father passed away. 2 years later, Mike + The Mechanics released, a song that has forever epitomized my feelings.

This year, is slightly different. Depending on your personal spiritual perspectives on life, and death.

This will be the first anniversary that my parents are spending together.

I don’t know if this is good or bad.

If you believe that death brings restoration, then it will be the first time since long before I was born, that my parents have been, as they were on their wedding day.

I prefer to believe that death brings healing, and this can be the beginning of them to be back in happiness.

That the challenges that my father and I endured from my mother’s illness are behind them.

That the pain that led my father to drink is healed.

And that the pain that led my father to attempt to take his own life are healed.

These are the imperfect thoughts on the crumbled bits of paper laying on the floor of my mind.

The most valuable lesson from the song…

Say it loud, Say it clear.
You can listen as well as you hear.
It’s too late, when we die.
To admit we don’t see eye to eye.

The bitterness of the conversations that we never got to have really does last. Try not to have crumbled bits of paper filled with imperfect thoughts rolling around on the floor of your mind.

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One Of My Turns…

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Today, takes me back a long while. When I was growing up, my aunt was my refuge from the dysfunctions of home. She lived just a few doors down, so I could run down there when I needed to escape the toxic atmosphere of home.

Now, if you go back, way back, in our family’s history, my aunt, was more like a grandmother, just not on paper. When my father (and his brothers and sisters) were young, their parents passed, and my aunt and her husband took them in.

Without knowing the full story, I always knew that my aunt, was more than my aunt.

When I first learned about WRAP®, I recognized that her birthday was always the beginning of a period that I could feel one of my turns coming on.

Over the years I tended to expect the worst, and hope for the best, and usually I was pleasantly surprised that the day went better than I could have imagined.

This year, I wasn’t sure what to expect, since a new dimension was added to this day.

A year ago, my brother passed. It wasn’t expected. And in many ways our relationship was complex; including the fact that he was always in denial about how our family was functioning, until after my father died.

So, in many ways, today is a new twist on the old theme. What’s old is new again. The good news, if you can say good; is that in many ways, I’ve been preparing myself for today for the last six weeks; when his birthday fell. And there was enough time between his birthday, my sister’s birthday (a month later), and today to lessen the blow, ever so slightly.

So here’s to the promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath a clear blue sky…

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Bermuda Triangle

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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Nine years ago, when I was writing my first Wellness Recovery Action Plan, I noticed a special trigger that I referred to as my Bermuda Triangle.

August was a month where I had a birthday and a week with two anniversaries. So the month had a lot of triggers in a close period of time.

Five years ago, it extended a few weeks farther out. So that it began today, my sister’s birthday.

All told it encompassed a lot more loss, over the past nine years.

This year, it started earlier than ever before, a month ago, on my brother’s birthday, and will go a few weeks later, up to my mother’s birthday.

The last year, was one of the most challenging, I never expected to lose my remaining family so close together. But I also realize that this is a normal response to loving others.

There is a time to live, and a time to die…

There is a time to dance, and a time to mourn…

And a time to love…

525,600

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Independence Day

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America is still a government of the naive, for the naive, and by the naive. He who does not know this, nor relish it, has no inkling of the nature of his country.
Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

241 years ago, our founding fathers met in the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) to declare our independence from England. The 56 men who signed their names to our nation’s charter could have been killed for committing treason.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That thought is continued:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Our government has repeatedly demonstrated that it is beyond destructive. The party of the majority is repeatedly trying to figure new ways to murder more than 20 million of its citizens through causing a new medical genocide. Despite the expressed direction of the people from whom they derive their powers.

Our president, has repeatedly stated that the constitution which has guided our country for more than 200 years is archaic, because it was designed by the same founding fathers to protect our country from becoming controlled by a dictator.

What did the wise men who drafted the Declairation of Independence say about that?

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

Our system of government was created to have a checks and balances for a very specific reason, our founding fathers knew what came from having a monarch rule by their own whims, without having to answer to the citizens.

The mantra of the original tea party was simple; no taxation without representation. The system of checks and balances was created to ensure that our government truly was a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, so that our country would never have to endure a government that imposed its will over the will of its people.

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Travel

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Over the past few years, I have had to do lots of traveling between conferences, trainings, and the occasional getaway.

One thing that I specialize in is finding the best values when I travel.

Now, thanks to TRVL, I can help others to focus less on the work of planning the trip, and focus more on enjoying the trip.

Reviews:

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Fitbit Charge 2 HR

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7 Chakra Healing Bracelet

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Personal Note…

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For those who aren’t connected with me on Facebook, you may not have heard some personal news that has had me shaken for the past few days.

On Tuesday morning, my mother passed away. (obituary)

I would classify what I am experiencing as a really complex story of grief. Mix in a complex amount of mental health challenges, mental and physical abuse, trauma, and the complex inter-family dynamics that all of those factors create.

From the age of when I was three, my mother lost her vision, that loss, amplified signs that my family had noticed for years, but couldn’t quite identify. The signs of what professionals diagnose as paranoid schizophrenia.

The mother that I knew always was affected by this challenge. Some of her delusions resulted in mental and physical abuse. Notice that I said her delusions resulted in.

One of those instances resulted in my witnessing my father’s attempt to take his life. Fortunately, for about four years, that memory was locked away in the back of my mind. Until someone at the middle school of my school district successfully completed suicide when I was in high school. For about two weeks, I couldn’t understand the flashes of memory that were coming to me. Then that last piece of movie frame was inserted into the movie reel, and the movie was finally able to complete itself.

This was my first experience with the debilitating nature of mental health challenges, the loss of control, and in this case the simultaneously being in two realities, our consensus reality, and the reality of being 11, and looking out of my bedroom window at my sister’s house.

Thankfully, as time went on, unless there was something that happened to trigger that memory, the second reality became less frequent.

At 12, after my father passed, one of my mother’s delusions which was emotionally hurtful, led me to need to do something, anything to get away from that environment.

Up until 5 years ago, when she needed to go into a nursing home, my sister and I would go into her house weekly to see that she had anything that she needed to get.

On May 11, 2014, I posted this article on this blog entitled “Mother’s Day“, as a compliment to an earlier response to the Wall Street Journal’s April 1, 2014 editorial called “The Definition of Insanity” (“Re: The Definition of Insanity“).

I re-posted these articles in memory of my mother.

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Alternatives Conference 2016

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This week, I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 Alternatives Conference in San Diego, CA.

The title comes from the title of Judi Chamberlin’s 1978 book, On Our Own: Patient-Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System.

This year marked the 30th Alternatives Conference, and  included looking back at the past 30 years, and looking forward to the next 30 years of the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement.

There were a wealth of opportunities to learn from experts by experience in many different areas, as well as to network with leaders in the consumer/survivor/ex-patient movement from around the world.

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