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“Showing Up for Recovery ” (Video)

Video Link

This video was uploaded to YouTube by Dr. Pat Deegan on February 9, 2012 and offers a message of hope for recovery while reminding us that medication isn’t a cure for mental illness but rather a tool to aid us in our recovery journey.

Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube

Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life’s StReSsOrS And How I Put Personal Medicine To Work

The past few days have been tough for me, last Friday evening I had to take Tippy, my Service Dog, to the vet for emergency treatment.  in the couple of weeks before that I’ve dealt with anxiety surrounding a hearing I have received a subpoena to testify in that I truly don’t want to do for reasons I’d rather not discuss here.  So in light of what has happened, it’s been like a roller coaster for me.  One day I feel ok with life in general, and the next I feel like the only thing that would help would be to dig a hole, crawl into it, and then cover it up with a boulder.  Obviously digging a hole isn’t all that practical, so I’ve opted to use what is called personal medicine to help me through the rough times.

Let me start by explaining that personal medicine is different from taking medications (pills) , in that personal medicine is something you do and not something you take.  Personal medicine is something that is positive, non-destructive, and basically puts a smile on your face or helps you relax.  While it is different from taking pills, it is not meant to replace pills, but rather to compliment them and work hand in hand with them.

Some examples of personal medicine that I’ve used over the past couple weeks when things get rough or I’m trying to head off a panic attack, include the following.

  • Knitting on my knifty knitter looms
    • Knitting has a rhythm to it that I find relaxing, I also get a sense of pride when I finish something, even if it is something as small as a dish cloth or a little bigger like a scarf.
  • Playing video games
    • Games I commonly play
    • Video games are something that I find people either get or don’t get, but for me, they offer a temporary escape where I can recharge myself and take out my frustrations, or simply help me to refocus or relax.  Gaming is for me, what some may call a “Brain dump” Gaming on some level is for me what a lightning rod is for a house.  Stress/anxiety is like lightning striking me (so to speak) and like a lightning rod on a house, gaming helps redirect the effects of the “lightning” into something less destructive, giving me a release and allowing me to take a little break from my anxiety so I can regroup.
  • Writing whether it be a list of pros and cons, a short story, sometimes even a blog entry or anything that allows me to express what’s inside me somehow.  I also get a sense of pride when I finish writing something, and often feel like I was able to sort out something that was bogging me down mentally.  Sometimes I write for fun though and it’s just something I do because it is a safe place for me to be creative.
  • Research  This is an odd one, but for me, working on my research project can help me redirect my thinking into something more positive, which has a calming effect on me.  Not to mention asking questions and digging for answers is something I’ve always found to be fun and enjoyable so it’s pretty natural for me to research stuff which is a lot easier to do now then it was when I was a kid since I now have the internet to help me on my quest for answers.
  • Cuddling or playing with Tippy is a great diversion and when it comes to cuddling, there is a strong sense of comfort I get in having her snuggled up against me.

Those are some of the things I use as personal medicine each offers its own spin on relief, enjoyment, or diversion, and in some cases they overlap a little, but it’s what works for me.  Personal medicine is unique to each individual and what works for me may not work for you, and vise versa.  I’m guessing that like me, there are probably things that my readers do that would fall under the heading of personal medicine that they did but didn’t necessarily realize there was a name for doing these things.  Here is a link to a blog entry on Pat Deegan’s site that talks about personal medicine more in-depth.  http://www.patdeegan.com/blog/posts/importance-personal-medicine

On a closing note, Tippy came home with me Friday night, and is on antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection that was caused by bladder stones.  she’s not at 100%, but I am relieved to know that  this is treatable and I caught it before it became life threatening.  I have to watch her closely to make sure she urinates, and if she goes 12 hours without urinating I have to call the vet again, but so far Tippy has been doing great at urinating.  I never thought I would get excited over the sight of yellow snow before, but now I get excited when Tippy makes yellow snow.  Also the hearing is tomorrow and at least in theory that mess will be done with.

“Dr. Mark Salerno Is Living Proof That It’s Possible to Overcome Mental Illness”

 

Rethink Mental Illness

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Article Link

This article found on the Phoenix News website on December 22, 2011, isn’t specific to Pennsylvania, but it is a story of recovery from mental illness by Dr. Mark Salerno, and some events of his story did take place in Pennsylvania, so there is a slight connection to here, but I mostly felt it was a really good article conveying hope, and offering encouragement.  Recovery doesn’t have an ending, but is a continuous journey this man’s journey is one that demonstrates that mental illness knows no boundaries when it comes to education or profession, but also demonstrates it is possible to reach beyond the struggles and be more than a diagnosis.

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