Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Your Recovery Journey Session

I went to my session called Your Recovery Journey.  We have a book which explains different aspects of recovery which also contains questions that we answer right in the book.  today we were discussing goal setting.  I personally believe that we create our own destiny.  We decide on our destiny, draw up a plan with all our goals to work on to fulfill our destiny.  I shared with the group that because of my OCD I have problems making decisions.  When I do make a decision I work on it for a week then change my mind and decide on a different destiny.  I just go round and round in circles and don't make any progress.  They gave an excellent solution to my problem.  Completely forget long term goals for now.  Just focus on today. When I wake up in the morning just decide what I want to accomplish just for that day.  Don't worry about the long term.  For me it's not difficult to set goals for just one day.  doing it that way I am not committed to work on the same goals for long periods of time.  Every day I can set new goals to work on just for that one day.  For example my goal for today might be to play the guitar but tomorrow it might be to write an article for my blogs, and another day it might be to play computer games and so on.  I am not able to focus on several things in one day.  I can only focus on and do one thing for that day.  I think the reason for this is my OCD. I feel that going about it this way reduce my stress level and give me the opportunity to accomplish something every day and boost my self-esteem.  That way I can accomplish several goals a week.  If you add all that up I will have accomplished a lot things in a year.  That is how I am going to live my life for now.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What Does Recovery Mean to Me?

Recovery is an ongoing process.  We never arrive.  We continue recovering until we leave this world.  As a result of my mental illness I suffered many losses.  I lost 20 to 25 years of my life.  I did absolutely nothing.
All I did was pace the floor, drink coffee after coffee, and smoked cigarette after cigarette.  I wasn't able to work, do much reading, or anything that required concentration.   I lost the opportunity to get a higher education, work in the field of my study, and have a real career (not just a job).  I felt all alone even though there were others around me.  I lived in my own little world.

Around Christmas time in 1999 I had to go to detox.  I was released just before Christmas.  I went through the motions of Christmas.  By the time February rolled by I had enough.  I couldn't cope with my illness and addiction any more.  I made the decision I was going to end my life and this time I was going to succeed. For some reason I called up my nurse and told her.  She said, "well, you could give up and kill yourself or you could do something about it".  I thought about what she said for three days.  I decided I wasn't going to give up and kill myself but I was going to do something about it.  I didn't know what or how.  After I made my decision my nurse called me up and told me about the Beacon Program.  I was there in a week.  It was located at the Rehab in Waterville.  There is where I learned the what and how.  While there Dr. Mulhal put me on medication that actually worked.  I also received psycho-social treatment while I was there.

I am presently living in recovery.  I have a real good support network to help me.  My wife, family, friends, and mental health workers.  When things are bothering me I have lots of people to talk to to get me in the right frame of mind.  If I need to vent there are lots of people to vent out with.  If I am having problems there are lots of people to point me in the right direction and help me out.  My support network is an important part of my recovery journey.

The most important thing in my recovery is my wife.  We are having a great relationship.  Having an intimate relationship really helps with my recovery.  I can share things with her I can't share with anyone else.  She loves me and stands behind me in every decision I make in my life.  If I have made the wrong decision she shares it with me and reasons with me to change my mind.

Another part of my recovery is the ability to concentrate on my research and writing.  This activity is very important to me.  I love the very act of research and writing.  I get great pleasure from  these activities. Doing these things gives me much meaning and purpose in life.

My work is also important.  I am still writing for the CMHA newsletter and the Schizophrenia Society newsletter.  I am not collating right now because I haven't recovered enough from my guillian barre syndrome yet.  My legs are not strong enough yet and my hands are still numb and wouldn't be able to pick up the flyers.  I am not able to drive the car until at least June.  I do my exercises the physio therapist gave me to do.  This helps strengthen my legs, arms, and hands.

I also believe that having the right attitude helps with one's recovery.  I am where I am right now because of shear determination, motivation, and real hard work.  I didn't get where I am by being lazy, and unmotivated. I have a real positive attitude towards life.  I look at the half full glass instead of the half empty glass.  

Have faith, hope, and courage. Recovery is truly possible.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Day Today

Concerning my recovery from guillain barre syndrome I'm making progress in leaps and bounds.  I was able to rinse off the dishes, put them in the dishwasher, and empty it out when they were done.  I also did a second load.  I also helped Kim cook supper.  We had baked fish and boiled potatoes.  I spent most of my day sleeping.  One of the symptoms is fatigue.  

I am very pleased how my recovery is going.  The Doctor told me that my recovery is going faster than most people with this disorder.  I believe him.  A week ago I thought it was going to take me forever to make any progress.  It usually takes up to a year to achieve a full and complete recovery.  I am hoping for a complete recovery.  If I don't have a complete recovery I will have to simply accept it and do the best I can with my disability.  I would be limited as to what I could do for work, but I feel that I might be able to still write.  It will just take longer to type. My typing is very slow.  At the present moment I am having problems concentrating.  I can't focus on reading and writing for very long.  The nurse told me in the hospital that this condition can affect my cognitive functioning.  I agree with her.  With determination and hard work I will overcome this problem.  It's all mind over matter.I am also determined and am going to  work very hard at beating my condition.  There are still a lot of things I can't do with my hands.  My fine motor skills in my hands isn't very good right now.  Concerning this I have a long ways to go.  Over all I have had a wonderful day and I am very grateful and thankful for what I have accomplished today.  I am looking forward to tomorrow and what I will accomplish.  I am just taking one day at a time.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The New Year

The new year is coming upon us.  A lot of people talk about new year resolutions.  I don't have any.  I do think about what I would like to accomplish in the new year.  My first concern is recovering from my guillain barre syndrome.  I will have a lot of free time on my hands.  I will not be able to work as a collator this year. I do have enough use of my hands to write although it will take longer to write than usual.  I have decided to spend all my spare time doing research and writing.  I need to figure out what subjects to research and write about.  I have so many interests.  Mental illness, addiction, alcoholism, archeology, science, philosophy, paranormal, conservation, global warming, and wildlife to name just a few.   Instead of focusing on just one of these subjects I will write about whatever I feel like writing about at the time.  I am even thinking about starting new blogs on some of these subjects.  I have a real passion for doing research and writing.  I am an intellectual person and love the act of doing research and writing.  I would love to go to university and get some degrees but this is not practical,  It will cost too much money.  I will settle for being self taught.  I can learn just as much or even more on my own.  I will have to spend a lot of hours studying and writing.  I will have to be really determined and motivated.  I will succeed.  It's all about mind over matter.  There is a saying.  "if you think you can you will.  If you think you can't you won't."  This is what I would like to accomplish in 2014.

Have a great and successful new year.

Guillain Barre Syndrome

I developed a rare disease called Guillain Barre Syndrome.  Only 1 in 100,000 get this disease.  On a Sunday night we had to call the paramedics.  They kept me over night.  They released me on Monday afternoon telling me my condition was caused by an anxiety attack or my OCD.  I was angry. I knew that this was not the reason for my problem.

On Tuesday we had to call the paramedics again.  When I arrived I could not move my legs, arms, or hands. They brought in a specialist this time.  She examined me had a suspicion as to what was causing my condition.  They performed a spinal tap and discovered I had guillain barre syndrome.  This disease causes paralysis.  

The same night they started my treatment.  I received five treatments of a blood product called immunoglobulin.  It as administered to me by IV.  The next day they started me with my physiotherapy.  I spent 2 1/2 weeks in hospital.  They were going to keep me over Christmas and send me down to Digby to the rehab.  I recovered enough to make it home for Christmas and I advanced far enough in my recovery I didn't have to go to Digby.

I did some research and I discovered that 10% have a relapse, 30% will not have a full and compete recovery, and those that do have a complete recovery it can take up to a year to achieve.  I am not completely recovered yet but I am making good progress.

When it first started I was an emotional and psychological wreck.  The second day in hospital I did some serious contemplating.  I got myself together and told myself that with shear determination and hard work I will beat this thing.  I had a friend that got into a car accident in his twenties.  The doctors told him he will never walk again.  He looked the doctor straight in the eye and told him "you are wrong.  I will walk again. " With shear determination and hard work in a year he was walking, driving the car, and went back to work as a prison guard.  

I have the same attitude.  With shear determination and hard work I will achieve a full and complete recovery.  It's all about mind over matter.  If per chance I don't have a complete recovery I will learn to accept it and cope with and manage my disability.  It will be months before I am able to do work that's physically demanding.  I have been able to write this article but it has taking me 20 times longer than usual to write it.  I have faith, hope, and courage that I will beat this thing and recover.

There is a very important lesson I learned from all this.  Those of us who can walk, use our arms and hands have a very special gift.  Before this happened to me I took all these things for granted.  I am very grateful for what recovery I've had so far.  I am slowly getting use of my legs, arms, and hands again.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lifestyle Change

For almost seven months I didn't smoke.  I was on the patch.  It didn't help much.  Even though I was getting nicotine it wasn't enough.  For the whole seven months I craved continually.  Since I quit my mental health was not very good.  I wasn't able to focus and concentrate on my research and writing.  I had a terrible time at work.  Basically I just wasn't able to function very well.  I have just done the bare things that needed to be done.  I haven't accomplished much since I quit.

Finally I just got fed up with the whole thing and started smoking again yesterday.  I am not upset with myself and I am quite glad I started again.  Just since yesterday my mental health has improved almost 100%.  I have a lot more energy since I quit.  When I wasn't smoking I didn't have much energy.  I wasn't able to as much as I did before I quit..  I was always tired and slept in a lot.  The  whole experience was simply a nightmare.

A lot of people are disappointed in me for starting again but it is my life not theirs.  I have perfect peace of mind since I started.  I am glad I started again.  It cost a lot of money to smoke and tobacco went up quite a bit since I quit but I will solve that problem by smoking moderately and have been successful at doing this. That is difficult to do but I am determined to do so.  I have to moderate because I have a very limited income.

I personally believe that my life will greatly improve since I started again.  I basically had two choices.  Have good physical health and poor mental health, or have poor physical health but good mental health.  I have free will to do whatever I decide to do and I used my freewill to smoke again.  Frankly I do not care about all those people out there that are dead against smoking and what they think or have to say about my smoking.

I would like to end this article by stating I am completely happy and content with my decision.  In the article I previously wrote about my quitting wasn't very accurate because I just happened to be having a good day that day. That my regular daily experience most of the time it was like I have just described in this article.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Today is our anniversary.  We have been married 12 years.  It has been the best 12 years of my whole life.  Kim has made me what I am today.  When we first met I was only clean and sober for a few months.  She helped me a lot in staying clean and sober.  She helps me get victory over my OCD.  We do a lot of things together.  I am just very happy I met Kim.  She is special in my life.  Our marriage gives me meaning and purpose in life.  Without Kim I would be like a little lost sheep in the wilderness wandering around aimlessly.She loves me despite my schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, addiction, and alcoholism.She loves me for who I am.  She overlooks the labels the medical profession has put upon me.  I love her very, very, very much and I hope we have many more wonderful years together.  Basically Kim has helped me tremendously with my recovery.  If it wasn't for her I would not be in the stage of recovery I am in right now.  I am very grateful and thankful for having Kim in my life.

Bye for now.