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bipolar Dual diagnosis Forgiveness hams harm reduction Inner demons mental health mental illness moderation NAMI pandemic psychosis Recovery relapse schizoaffective schizophrenia sobriety suicide

What I Have Been Up To Lately

I had therapy last week. I started seeing this therapist after the pandemic, so all my sessions have been virtual. I forget what she asked but I mentioned I remember mistakes from the past, 20, 30 years ago or more and they torment me. She wanted me to share but I am not comfortable with that. I feel such shame and they were mistakes that I feel are unforgivable. If I did not feel shame there would be something wrong. But, I don’t want to delve into them.

My father did not believe in mental health treatment even though schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar run in our family. When I started therapy he discouraged it saying talking about the past just makes everyone sad. I did not understand what he meant until now.

My therapist wants me to work on forgiving myself.  I have to explain to her that some of these things are best kept hidden.

 

 

I have been able to stay alcohol free after my planned intoxication in April.  My plan is sobriety until our wedding anniversary in October.  It was pretty easy to get back to it.

 

 

I posted a link to an In Our Own Voice presentation I did for NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, in a different post. I have not been speaking much lately. I saw a different program by NAMI called VOICES. It is geared towards first responders. I signed up to be a speaker, but am having trouble figuring out where to start. My initial interaction with mental healthcare and police was not until I was 39, but since mental illness runs in my family that was not foreign.

My brother had a psychotic break in college at 20 (I was 15). He refused treatment and would get picked up by the police for 72 hour observational holds in the late 70s. His is a sad story. He was severely symptomatic for 6 years when he finally was placed on a different medication that he responded well to. But, he started becoming symptomatic again, paranoid, edgy, and probably needed his medication adjusted. He went to Yosemite while symptomatic and fell at a waterfall. I don’t know if it was accidental or not, but he died from the fall.

This is supposed to be a story of hope, but it is part of my story.  If I had not seen him so ill for so long I may not have accepted treatment, but I did not want to be stuck in psychosis like he was.  I think it is okay for first responders, but not sure if it will scare the general public who may be worrying about their own children.

My story is much different.  I did go in and out of psychosis for 3 years, but I have been stable since 2006.  I have not been hospitalized for 16 years.  I am married, have healthy grown children, work part time.  I still have some doubts about what was real from the past, but I can function.

 

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Breakthrough Dysfunctional Forgiveness parenting Uncategorized

Working Towards a Breakthrough

In my last post I talked about my childhood and how could my parents have thought that was an okay environment. They thought they were superior to others, even.

I know everyone has flaws and maybe combined they had very poor judgement and blind spots.  They weren’t intentionally so hurtful.

I do want to find a way past this. I thought I had. I posted about having compassion and forgiving. I still have some more work to do.

 

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Forgiveness mental illness relationships Uncategorized

My Story of Forgiveness

Originally published PsychCentral

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/triple-winner/2017/07/my-story-of-forgiveness-and-mental-illness/

forgiveness-1767432_1280

My mother came to visit recently. We have a past issue between us, that I have not been able to forgive. It has to do with when my brother was very symptomatic with a mental illness during my teen years. I have avoided talking about it. She always seems to want to keep to light, happy news and it never seemed appropriate,

She has changed lately. Become a little more down to earth. She brought the issue up on her own and told me of one thing she had done over those years. She had checked out housing for my brother, and told me that she had done all she could. She believes she did everything. I don’t think I did everything. I feel we failed him.

The best thing I can do is let go of the resentment. I will also have to work on forgiving myself another time.

It is hard for me, but, as Lily Tomlin says, “Forgiving is giving up all hope for a better past.”

I think it will help me mentally to not have this bitterness inside and forgiving can protect against the tolls of stress.1

I am trying to have compassion for how my mother must have viewed things. I know she has a lot of anxiety. Maybe, she did/does feel helpless.

There was a lot I did not understand at the time, and still don’t. Mostly, I feel guilty that I had a second chance after a breakdown that did not happen for my brother.

I still have some bitterness. I am a work in progress and forgiveness will take time.

The rest of my siblings have moved on. Maybe things did not trouble them as much or they are more forgiving.

I am hoping to build happier memories with my mother in the future.

She wouldn’t understand if I said it to her, “For what?” but “Mom, I forgive you”.

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Forgiveness Uncategorized

Learning to Forgive

I was recently working on a blog post about forgiving my mother about past resentments. (I will post it here soon).

When I showed it to a few people they made comments that it was too harsh and that I sounded bitter. I had attempted to find compassion, but somehow in trying to explain “my side of the story”, I lost sight of my goal.

When I pulled back and tried to understand how she may have felt at the time, it made it easier. “I forgive you”‘ isn’t anything I can actually say to her. She doesn’t believe there is anything to forgive. She may be right.

I do feel lighter. I finally have some closure.