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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

stream of consciousness for tonight

The fire burns
It is all of me and none of me
Taking away
Sometimes to make room for new growth and
Sometimes it’s just destruction

I look back and wonder
At the charred remains
The regrets
Sometimes it’s just hopeless

Don’t tell me about self control
I can’t always be the firefighter
When sometimes I’m just the fire
I don’t don’t
I don’t want it to be like this

Just take your pills and everything will be alright?

Until when

Don’t tell me you have the answer
Don’t think that you know
Because the answers you have are the ones you found for yourself
They apply to you and you alone

The simple well
And motivational sayings
Your proverbs
And rules
And guidance
They work for you

I’ll find mine
In mine
In the mine
Of my soul

Sometimes it’s just buried too deep

Let the rain fall
And the sun
Shine in



As always, Tom Gabel said it better... "the revolution was a lie." 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Some Nights

I don't want to write right now. I'd rather spend more and more time putting thoughts together and coming up with a final answer. A solution for the meaning of life and how to live it. What my own personal goals really are. I've noticed that most of my conversations never get as deep as I'd like them too. Sometimes I'm interrupted and don't fight to get back on the track I had going and sometimes I just need to guard myself.

My former fiance and I have been going through a break up that will never end and it's deeply hurting us both. I've told her some of my deepest fears and failures and she has later thrown them back in my face as insults. I've let her down emotionally, financially and otherwise, and these sins she has vowed not to forgive.

Right now is a very strange place in my life. I've made a commitment to pursue photography as my profession. It's a dream I've had since childhood that I was always afraid I could not achieve. The way I'm pursuing the dream now is not what I originally wanted but it is close enough and I hope it can lead closer to that original dream. Sometimes I think, oh shit, I'm really trying this time. I can fail, but that wouldn't be so terrible. But I won't fail unless I choose to give up.

My mother says there is no unforgivable sin. That when you make the pact to place faith in Jesus your soul will be eternally covered. I can remember being a young child, maybe even 6 or 7, and being worried that this was not so. There is a lot more to this deep feeling that I don't think I can uncover yet. Sometimes my life feels like a gift. Sometimes I feel like this life is a punishment for things I did in a previous life. Sometimes I think it is redemption.

Nate Ruess said it better.
I don't think I should be afraid to admit that this video made me cry:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Finding identity may be one of the hardest things for someone with mental illness to do. For all people it may be one of the hardest things to nail down. Are we our jobs, our achievements, our dreams, or even the plain monotony of our everyday existence? What are we besides our actions, both what we have done in the past and what we are doing? My father has been working on his auto biography for some time under the working title “Deeds Not Words”. For someone in my position finding self can be harder than saying it’s what I have done. Should I define myself by some of my more outrageous actions under the throws of a manic episode or my complete apathy and despair while wallowing in depression?

For some time I have been haunted by the idea of destiny. The genes we are born with have some of the deepest effects on our personality. While a child is still young they exhibit signs of who they are and who they are to become. Even fraternal twins are often incredibly different people despite that they share many of the same experiences in their formidable years. The other major contributing factor to who we are comes from instances of chance beyond our control and how respond to them, although even these responses will tend to fall along patterns of behavior that developed before we knew ourselves.

I would like to believe that I am who I have been as much as whom I will myself to become. It is a terrible thing for someone to define themselves by a label that has been assigned to them. Diagnosis with mental illness is far different than any other form of malady. There is no blood test to determine, no brain scan to show, or visible wounds to diagnose the demons that afflict us.

“No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself.” John Stienbeck wrote that in  The Winter of Our Discontent and it has stuck with me ever since. Mental illness often leads to isolation. For months, even years on end I can lead a “normal” life. On the outside I probably appear much like any one else. But occasionally I enter mania; my actions stray outside of society’s acceptable limits. While I feel elated inside every one around me suddenly no longer knows who I am. Eventually I come back down to normal and my family and friends (those I haven’t driven away in the process) breathe a sigh of relief. Normal for me is ok, but I miss my wild side and even hold onto some of the delusions I experienced. And suddenly I feel that the people around me are not like myself. So begins the cycle of depression and isolation.  

Maybe none of us really know ourselves. Deep down below the layers of actions and thoughts is something our minds cannot fully fathom. As a race we have sought to add meaning to our existence and to understand ourselves in terms of where we have come from and where we are going. The culture of the western world is shifting towards a faith in science, where only what can be quantified and repeatedly tested can be trusted. Throughout history every religion has appreciated a metaphysical connection to something we feel but can barely describe or understand.

The journey to finding me is long and nowhere near over, but at this juncture I am certain of several things. I am more than a collection of genetic information. I am more than the chemical reactions and seemingly random synapses that occur in my brain. I am more than a label. I am a soul and I am not alone. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

This guy said it better

"We have another name for recovery, bored."

I identified with that statement so much that I laughed when I heard it. I'm researching for my next article and found this. I think he sums up my condition better than almost anything I've heard before. I will definitely be looking at bipolaradvantage.com a lot more in the future.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finding Direction

I've been reading my friend Matti's blog, http://breathebrattleboro.blogspot.com/, for about three months now and it is inspiring me to take this blog in a new, and actually focused, direction. His blog deals directly with mental illness and the recovery process. Until reading his blog I never thought about bi-polar as something to recover from but just something I had to deal with. While I will likely need to manage my illness for the rest of my life using medication, he points out that there are other avenues to pursue such as fitness and support groups. They are suggestions I've heard of before but maybe the message didn't get through to me because I wasn't ready, or maybe just because they weren't from someone I knew.

I think I would like to use my blog in a similar fashion, as a way to communicate my experiences with mental illness with others so they can help themselves along their path to recovery as well. Additionally, "I've seen and experienced things" that I think are worth sharing, if for nothing more than entertainment value. I don't want this to become some narcissistic "look at me" kind of blog though and aim to have a good balance of researched and informative posts along with self reflective guides on my recovery.

I think my current readership is mostly just four people, my former fiance, mother, brother, and some guy I don't even know. It would be nice to know if there is anyone else out there reading this and I plan on trying to expand my audience with this new focus in mind. If I don't start posting here on a regular basis (at minimum twice a month) then I would like someone to email or speak to me so that I can be motivated and held accountable to this goal.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A time for?

Sometime in my senior year of high school I dropped out. Not in the traditional sense of leaving school unfinished or even in a way that was noticeable to most people but in a much deeper and profound way. I had evaluated the world and humanity as a whole and decided I wanted no part of the global conditions which we created. There is pollution and wars and such, but it was the realization of the barbarism inherent in the human condition that made me want to push away. It's not that I hate people, it's that I hate what we've become.

I examined the world from my privileged position and could find no emotion but guilt. I sat in the lap of comparitve luxury, reminded to finish all the food on my plate because "other children in the world are starving." Maybe that's something that we all hear and subtly let go, but I couldn't. I realized that the only way I could enjoy the life of nice shoes and new clothes was due to another person on the other side of the world toiled to make them for me. And the price I paid for even one pair of jeans was more than the months salary of the man, woman or child that made them. All that separated me from them was the good fortune of being on one continent rather than another. Seemingly every time I dressed, used a cheap piece of electronics or threw away scraps of food in my soul I knew that someone else sacrificed for these. How could we see the equality of all humans and still willfully exploit the situation of those across the globe? The weight became too much to bare.

Some would say who we are is brought about by the natural course of evolution.  In a world where survival is a matter of besting the competition it is only rational that mankind would seek to dominate one another. For ages we have boasted our superiority as justification for the destruction of other species, cultures and races. But now where are we? The human race is now acutely aware of our world on a massive scale. While we still divide the world on arbitrary borders of nations we know now, more than ever that we are really just one species, on one world all struggling to survive. We've determined that all are men are created equal, but what we really mean is that they are equal so long as they live in the same nation.

I assumed in my youth that there was nothing anyone could do about it. On one hand I could enjoy the hand I was dealt, only a fool would throw away such luck. In the other, how could I participate in such exploitation? Frankly I didn't have the guts to walk away from my birth right but I sure didn't have the stomach to enjoy it.

Having kids changes things. I hate the unsustainable exploitation that our country runs on, yet I have children here and there's no leaving it all behind now. Non participation is no longer an option. So I am looking for a real job and a place in this society, but I know that I will need more than begrudging my place in the world. I will not feel right unless I make some effort to change the way the world works.

At a later time I will start to work this out a bit better and explain myself. Yes, I know competition brings out the best in us, and only with it can the best ideas, products and inventions emerge. Looking back on the last few years I've considered socialism and its opposite, anarchy but nothing sticks. I can't really conceive a way to ethically enforce the obligation of others to share, yet morally I cannot peacefully live knowing that the ease of my existence is borne on the backs of those less fortunate. At least some research is due on the topic because I'm sure someone else already said it better.