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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not A Day Goes By....

I've been sitting here at my desk for a good ten minutes or so just pondering how I can write what's on my mind and in my heart right now. I really do not know how to express it, how I could say it or if I even should at the moment.

I have been pretty open and very clear in past writings that I have had moments in my life where I really feared for my sanity. Certainly during my active addiction my behavior and thinking process were pushing the envelope of what would be considered sane. After trying to commit suicide I obviously was under a psychiatrists care for well over a year after the fact. 

In the Psychiatric Unit at the Hospital after my attempt, there were initially some grave concerns whether I was clinically Mentally Ill with Chronic Depression, Bi-Polar Syndrome and other like illnesses. Or an alcoholic/addict who because of long term use of drugs and alcohol started acting out similar behaviors then trying to kill myself.

I wasn't very cooperative and I'm not sure I was even capable of reasonable behavior...I was heavily medicated with a wide variety of powerful psych meds, I was very confused, I was still hurting emotionally and  feeling acutely the failure of my suicide attempt..."I failed at failure"( I had always considered suicide the ultimate failure of life, well I failed at failure in my mind).

Eventually this all sorted itself out reasonably well and I focused on recovery, weaned off the psych meds and treated my addiction/alcoholism while still receiving intense therapy, trauma therapy and outpatient alcoholism after-care. I was still confused and felt really out of whack but at that time my father became gravely ill from a burst appendix and I threw myself into caring for him and my mother. That really helped me get my focus back and I learned a lesson that I've used ever since: You help yourself when you help others!

But the issue that has troubled me lately plus the reason I have back-tracked through some of my case-history here is concerning whether I still have some psychiatric illnesses at play here or are these just recovery type issues and I'm just overreacting? I do know that I still have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms. So I don't know the answer to that question but the reason I've been wondering about it is I can experience some rather powerful reactions or sensations to things, right out of the blue. It's disconcerting and difficult to suddenly after all these years still have doubts about such a thing. 

But I try to be realistic. I experienced some very difficult things physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually...I was terribly wounded inside, badly scarred yet no one could see these wounds or scars and decades later they still fester at times, bringing nightmares, voices, I'm not totally sure what's happening to me.

On the other hand, since I became spiritual life has been extremely good and quite helpful to me on a day by day basis. I am a calmer, more deliberate, happier, more serene, more loving, caring person then ever before. It's a stability thing for sure...but it is much, much deeper then that.

Obviously these are the types of things that no one really wants to discuss at all but hey, it's reality and I have to face reality head on these days. And remember...I have been coping, living, learning and growing for nearly 5 years now with no psychiatric meds at all...NONE.

I'll be honest right now about all this mental illness concern...It is my opinion on this that I am not crazy, not at all or even a little bit. Certainly no crazier then any other adult who lives in our society with his eyes and mind wide open 24/7. It is a fact that I have experienced a lot of painful and traumatic things in the past and still relive it at times thanks to PTSD. But I'm open and honest about it and I actively share my concerns, troubles etc. with people I respect and trust who listen and give me feedback. I have found this invaluable to working through my issues on a daily basis...

I am also pushing the envelope for myself artistically writing this blog and I think there are some very positive benefits for doing so...I also think there is a bit of an emotional cost to pay for doing so as well. I dig deep and am brutally honest with myself and in my sharing, doing it here publicly for anyone to see. In 18 months or so, I've written over 900 posts or articles for Shell Shock Serenade. In doing so, I have re-visited some of the most difficult and painful experiences of my life and again I did it in a public forum. 

I honestly believe I really would be crazy if I DIDN'T experience a bit of internal "weirdness" once in awhile just to relieve a little bit of built up pressure while writing about this kind of thing every single day...

So that is where I am going to "land" with this little post tonight...Let's just say I've been experiencing a little understandable "Internal Weirdness" as a result of pushing the envelope writing The SHOCK and laying out  all the BADDIES that have been haunting me all these years for everyone and their grandmother to see and read. I'm not going to sweat it though I am going to continue to be aware of my feelings and emotions, keeping a lookout for any unusual changes or behaviors.

It is quite enlightening, really refreshing even to live a life where you basically do personal trauma therapy several times a day in a public forum. Some shrinks and other therapy specialists may think I'm absolutely MAD for doing this but I have worked through most of the really tough stuff and feel good about it.

I also been out-spoken about the benefit I receive from opening myself up here on the blog and elsewhere to help others. There are few things in life that have pleased me more then being able to take this terrible, painful crap from the past and use it for achieving something positive and good for others. I feel blessed and grateful for the opportunity to do so. 

Let me assure you that not a day goes by that I don't realize that most people who have experienced what I have aren't alive anymore to reap any benefit from those experiences. Why did they have to die and I survived? I do not really have an answer to that question except maybe Shell Shock Serenade IS the reason...maybe it's to lay myself out there and share this stuff so others don't have to experience it like I did. If that's the case then I am proud to do it...

Well, I was sort of wondering how a post about this was going to turn out tonight...Actually I think it worked out pretty well. I don't feel strange sharing my doubts and concerns about myself though it is hard to admit I still ask myself these difficult questions about my sanity once in awhile.  But honestly...the answer is more important then the question and I like the answer I'm discovering. It's "living life stuff" that I am experiencing and I'm a better person for doing it....I really believe that as I close this lengthy little, post.

(Painting by Claude Monet)