On thinking over my life from the period when I went into the military and became mentally ill, before and after, my life changed tremendously outwardly but also my thinking changed. I started out as a kid being overly silly and outgoing whereas after my period of difficulty became more artistic and very serious. I also suffered a very significant loss in understanding of cultural norms and my interpersonal behavior suffered as a result.
I had not only to relearn how to relate with other people but to get a sense of confidence and humor about life. It took many years to learn to express how I felt and how to learn how to lower my pain. I did though have a sense of purpose and this was to lower the suffering in the world and specifically to do so by writing and art. That was based both on my personal experiences and study of world religions.
Learning to deal with my illness had to start basically with little prior knowledge. There was little written that applied to me much because many of my issues tied together spiritual, mental, and physical problems I had. What ultimately I would like to do is to integrate Christianity with modern psychology. I believe I can do this well by continuing to deepen my knowledge of the Bible, which seems to center much around being aware of the context. This is because I believe that modern psychology comes from the Bible.
Many of the issues I have had to deal with involve things common to younger adults and to those living in this era of time in America. There are so many distractions. I once thought and still think it too often that my life is very boring and unimportant because I have few outward signs of success in terms of money, power, or even recognition of any kind. But this is certainly not a sad thing, especially considering so many have so much less, that I have little to give evidence of my contributions to this world.
I guess it makes it easier to keep your heart right with God by not having the power to fix everything in this world. I see so many suffer so much many much beyond anything I have had to deal with and I would like to make a dent in it. It seems our problems escalate at a steep rate by the year and most people in this part of the world are actually making the problem worse and many don’t believe it even exists.
It is always easier to fix world problems than personal ones though. I still struggle with many of the same problems as I did 10 or 20 years ago.
One of these is called paranoia, which is an irrational fear of people coming after you even though there is no evidence of it. It is a specific type of delusion. This is one of the major symptoms of Schizophrenia that is most disabling to me. This makes it almost impossible to trust anyone else.
One of the other major problems I continue to have is that I still do not know how to rest. I have recently come back to church for a variety of reasons, chief among them a change in why I go to church (for God now not my benefit) and as a bonus I have a great church too. Going to church regularly has given me much more peace with the world.
I guess one of the problems I have resting is that I have a tremendous drive or ambition to contribute as much as possible. I also feel tired no matter how much I sleep because I am on a powerful sedative which is the main medicine for psychosis. It is hard to know how far to push myself. My dad says I need to let myself rest.
I find it very difficult to let things go without perfecting them indefinitely. I continue to get inspired to produce art and writing and I have trouble stoping when I get exhausted. This makes the paranoia worse as it is triggered, like many symptoms of chronic diseases, by stress. How do you tell yourself to stop helping others when you are partially responsible for the world’s problems?
Another problem I have is that I am not focused enough on my daily needs. I have a hard time making myself stop to eat, sleep, or get out. I do not like being bothered when I am in the middle of creating. Many thing I do can take 15 minutes or 8 hours, depending on my running into issues I could not predict. I have this fear of losing things and so I spend much time and expense in making sure nothing important is lost.
This basically means I am a workaholic and too ambitious. I have to find some way to be less of an alpha. I have this family trait that when I reach a certain point of achievement, I raise my expectations of what level is considered an achievement in my work going forward. At this point, I have very high expectations of myself and none of anyone else.
Some of the causes of these problems are isolation and need to distract myself from paranoia and voices. I have tried many years to find volunteer opportunities and I have basically comes up short, but I have found a good church in walking distance now. I am trying to get more involved there.
One of the things I think God is trying to teach me now is patience. That is one of my biggest obstacles to personal growth.