A Life Worth Living

The last couple of days have been eventful.

Yesterday I was on the road for most of the day, dropping off auction posters for a friend, and I had an appointment with M in Red Deer. Then it was home in time to have supper, and off to the town council meeting.

This morning was out early, county council meeting, and a visit with an old friend. This afternoon was spent in front of the laptop writing emails and working on pieces I am working on for the paper. Tonight I attempted to get some yard work done, but ended up getting hit with a migraine after an hour, the effects of which I am still feeling. But a bit of forward progress on the yard is better than no progress, so I will take it as a win.

Through all of this I have been working on repairing the mustang periodically. Considering my overall lack of skills and equipment that I was using for the repair, I am quite pleased with the result. A little bit more wet sanding and clear coat, and the beast will be done.

That is what I would like to focus on in this mental health recovery blog. Three weeks or so ago, I was struggling, then had a very severe case of Monday on top of it. Crunching the rear quarter panel on the Mustang could have put me over the edge. Add in the frustration of trying to get it fixed, and L being away at Comic Expo, it could have been a set up for a significant relapse in my recovery.

Instead, I have thrived from it. I have pushed my limits, sought council when needed, and gained some knowledge and perspective. I have never been one to do much work with my hands, yet I have found this project to be cathartic. I am planning to do a more detailed to blog as far as doing the repair, but for a teaser here is a before and after shot.20180423_095221.jpg20180515_194120.jpg

I had some help from my friend RM, who is now retired, but has been doing body work longer than I have been alive in all likelihood. He assisted me in the metal beating to get things back in to their approximate shape. The body filling, sanding and painting has all been done by me, with some helpful wisdom from RM and a couple other friends.

The reason I want to highlight this is to show that perspectives and attitudes do change. I have been in the depths of depression. Hell, I still struggle with it. I have been hospitalized on many occasions due to the borderline, the depression, and the post-traumatic stress, even as recently as December of 2017.

I have been working my ass off over the last several years dealing with my psychiatric issues. I know for a fact that I would not be here right now if not for the support of my wife. Through it all though, I never lost sight of my goal, which is to have more say over my thoughts than my brain was allowing me. I’ve studied meditation, and mindfulness. I’ve re-found my faith in God and in the church. I’ve spent more time in with psychiatrists and psychologists than I care to consider learning Dialectical Behavioral Skills.

The key statement in the above is “working”. I look at the progress I have made, and I am astounded. I feel like I am approaching the stepping off point for the next phase of my life, one with fewer doctors visits, fewer therapy sessions, and more time for my wife and I.

To the person reading this who is struggling right now, it can get better. To quote my favorite comedian, Bill Engvall, “Nothing is free”. I am fortunate that I have had the supports in my life to be able to reach this point, and it didn’t happen overnight. My first hospitalization was in the year 2001. It took me 13 years to get to the point where I had the supports I needed in place. And even when they did, the last five years have still be hell.

There is no “cure” for mental health issues. I will be fighting this beast in my mind until the day I die. Doing the work I have done, learning the skills I have, should hopefully set me up for a modicum of long term success. I know that working a 9-5 job is probably not conducive to my stability, and I have my doubts that I will be able to get back to Full Time employment. However, learning the skills, doing the work, and playing to my strengths can make a life worth living.

Kevin

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