Tag Archives: recovery

Today is October 30, 2017. I am alive and well.

Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.   Gertrude Stein

I don’t throw caution to the wind. I am careful in my life. And I don’t think I’ve stumbled recently. I’m not certain what stumbling looks like unless it’s to fall or stutter. I do stumble over my words often in conversation. My brain takes a quick nap and I can’t think of what I’m trying to say. I don’t know if this is because of my schizophrenia or my medications. I know I’m not stupid. But I also certainly do know I prefer writing to speaking. I’m a rather quiet person.

Do you think Gertrude means physically taking a tumble? I don’t wear high heels. I believe high heels gives one the opportunity to stumble. It’s hard to fall off of flats or boots.

How else might one stumble in life if not physically or verbally? I looked stumble up. It means to fall into sin or waywardness, to make an error (blunder), or to come to an obstacle to belief.

Do I stumble in my faith? Do I have moments when I don’t believe everything will work out? Are there moments in which I believe that God doesn’t have my back? Yes, but rarely. I spend most of my time feeling blessed. This has been a long time coming.

The reason I am careful in my life is because of my mental illness. I will do anything to not become psychotic. Psychosis is a shadow in my mind. It is a parrot with a sharp beak. It is news announcing terror. By structuring my life, I avoid pitfalls. My roommate says I’m so predictable she could set a watch by me.

At times I regret rarely being able to be spontaneous. I am in bed by eight and still wake tired after eleven hours of sleep. One of the meds I take causes this. I’m not complaining, though. My meds have given me life.

My roommate says there is someone out there who will love me and not be bothered by all my quirks. I know my ex did and does. Maybe that’s how I will stumble. I will stumble upon someone who will lift me up, who I too could lift up. I would love to stumble over a duffel bag full of money. The most grievous thing I’ve done is not to have spent my money well.

Writing this has been like not being able to move over a lane to make a left hand turn because of traffic. Why I picked such a challenging quote to respond to I have no idea. I stumbled onto the quote and I have stumbled over the quote. So much for not stumbling!

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Today is July 4, 2015. I am alive and well.

I look out the window and see wind. The green bushes shake with it. I believe it sounds like a young boy trying to whistle.

My twin bed, upon which I recline, is settled across from my bedroom window. The foot of my bed is three feet away from this window. The window blind retired months ago when it broke loose from its socket. It rests unused on the floor. The cats occasionally jump on it causing it to emit a crinkling sound.

My room is no longer private. Anyone can look in and see me or my furniture. Outside my window are many windows of many residents–six stories of windows. I am on the first floor. There is a sidewalk twenty feet away. At night is when I’m most vulnerable. Light on, my bedroom glows like the sunset radiating in the split y of two branches. People can see in and I can barely see out.

I can’t change in my bedroom into anything but socks and shoes. I carry a T-shirt, jeans with sparkles on the back pockets, indigo blue underwear, and a padded bra into the bathroom. My breasts are tiny as those of a sixth grader. The padded bra is deceitful. I like it anyway.

Eventually, I want to get plantation shutters. I am waiting to collect money like my grandfather did pennies dated before 1920.

It is peaceful this morning. My hair is tied in a pony tail on top of my head. Grams climbs my pillow, then bats at my pony tail with her paw. I wonder if cats know when a person smiles. I smile.

Writing from bed is better than trying on new blouses, better then buying caramel apples. My bed is no longer my prison. I’m no longer driven by depression and psychosis, unable to put my feet on the floor, wishing for death.

I have a lunch date. My friend likes to talk about books, writing, and recovery. I am able to have conversations on all these subjects. I dine with grace. The red velvet cheesecake is amazing.

Today is June 15, 2014. I am alive and well.

I am a women whose outline is continually traced by a black pen. Letters flow from the pen in quick succession, creating a quick glimpse of me:  tall, long dark hair, black clothing, Converse sneakers or black boots, slender, ten fingers, ten toes, two arms,two legs, and a hunger that pushes me forward from where I stand.

I haven’t always had the hunger. I was thinking today how good life is and how far I have come from being a woman obsessed with death, believing suicide may be the answer, to the usually joyful person I now am. I have peace. Sometimes my black outline gets smudged and I need to move in a different direction than where I was originally headed. But, move I do. The strength of the outline returns.

I have a friend who has stage 3 cancer. Her cancer has led me to reflect on my own life and inevitable death. I realized today that I actually fear death now. I definitely don’t want to die anytime soon, and not by my own hand. I can’t express in words the miracle that this is. Life is more than possible. Life leaves me ecstatic, wanting to become the person God intended me to be. I grow in the light and dark. The balance of the two I have come to rely on. Step in mud and track it into the house; then gratefully clean it up. 

Today is May 26, 2014. I am alive and well.

“I am convinced that there are universal currents of Divine Thought vibrating the ether everywhere and that any who can feel these vibrations is inspired,” writes Richard Wagner. Are the vibrations stronger when my mind is sick? Sometimes I think so. I need people to remind me of how it is when I am at my worst. I am convinced the government has my name and needs something from me. The something has never been clear to me. I am convinced there is a dial attached to my brain that can be turned to various frequencies. Bugs are crawling underneath my skin and rats are covering the floors–I do kind of like the rats. And on and on it goes.

I am removed from the world of a psychiatric unit. A Japanese fighter fish jumps from one bowl of water to the next. There is a plastic castle in one bowl and a pile of rocks in the other. Today, I am with the rocks. I drain the bowl, put the fish back with the castle and allow decorative weeds to sprout from the crevices of rock. Weeds can be beautiful. I pull them from the rock and flatten them on paper with a roller. I sign my name to them knowing I am the weed, flattening myself to the wall of a common reality where love prospers and cookies can be baked. Add milk. Delight in the curved edge of the kitchen chair. Taste the sun bouncing off the table and later, allow the moon to reflect off my glasses. The glasses, not the same pair I wear when visiting the psychiatric unit.

Today is February 24, 1014. I am alive and well despite challenges.

The good thing about being sober and in recovery from my schizophrenia is that things change. The little energizer bunny is no longer running laps around my mind. In fact, he didn’t even finish a marathon, just a couple of miles that took an hour or so. 

I still hear voices which isn’t a big deal to me because mostly they are just a hum, or garbled, acting like a dog in heat who chases her tail and then lays quiet when there is no partner to find.

This morning, I managed to drag my happy ass to the gym. Quite the feat. I often wrestle with should I write when first up, or should I walk on the treadmill at the gym first. The treadmill usual wins out, especially if I know when I get home that I will have several hours to write and read, and yes my work practices as a writer includes reading; I simply try not to use reading as a form of procrastinating. Admittedly, I have avoided the terror involved in starting writing by procrastinating. But the procrastination is anxiety building, so I forge on writing sentence after sentence in a slow rumba, allowing the fear to silently leave me without protest. I seek the zone, and find it. It is glorious.

Today is June 20, 2013. I am alive and well.

So, a little bit about myself and why the blog. I am a 48-year-old woman who has alcoholism and schizophrenia; two diseases that tell me I don’t have a disease. Writing the blog reminds me of where I come from and hopefully dispels some of the myths that get attached to these two diseases.

I am in good health. It is possible to live well with these two diseases. It is not easy. In fact, it is quite difficult, but I am up for the challenge. And the pay off is tremendous!

I am a member of a twelve step program that assists me in taking care of my alcoholism. This year, God willing, I will be celebrating 20 years of sobriety.

This year, because of a good medication regimen that I take as prescribed every day, and a little bit of willingness to walk into the day, I will celebrate being hospital free from schizophrenia for six years.

I am a writer, and as such, I don’t usually write in simple black and white ways. I didn’t want my metaphors to cloud alcoholism and schizophrenia. But it is true my alcoholism is a patient dog who will, if not given clean water to drink regularly, drink from the sewer every time, making her quite sick. And my schizophrenia will place me on a runway with an oncoming plane. I will either step out of the way of the plane or jump onto one of the wings in flight to another reality other than the common one in which you and I eat dinner and watch the local news.

I invite you to take off your hat, stand in socks, and journey with me as I slide into truths. Alcoholics are not just men in sheets with bottles in paper bags. Schizophrenics are capable of joining others in the stream of stars that invite love and kindness and compassion. I welcome you. Ride with me. Suspend judgment. Reach out. The world is full of all of us and allows for unicorns. God bless.