nedelja, 21. februar 2010

Relaxing with Cow Manure

The world market is overflooded by relaxation and meditation techniques. Therefore we ask ourselves which one to try. People with schizoaffective disorder for example should avoid any deep meditation techniques. I am not capable of giving you a list of such techniques. But I personally feel rebirthing for example would be too much for me. I am not even compelled to ASK my psychiatrist whether I should try it. There is no need to ask, since I simply feel rebirthing would be too stressful for my brain. A friend of mine does rebirthing regularly, but she is mentally healthy. When she told me what such workshops look and feel like, there was a strong Don't try it! in my head. I find it very important that we listen to ourselves.

Last summer I took part in a 3-day-seminar of the technique called Bert Hellinger Family Constellation Work, that helps the participants to forgive their close relatives. After the first day I was completely exhausted. I also got sleeping disorders. I went home after the first day of the seminar. I felt very strongly that this technique is too stressful for me. The emotions the technique invoked in me were simply too strong for me to handle.

On the other hand I have been doing visualizations according to Phyllis Krystal method regularly for 4 years. A day does not start right for me without the so called maypole visualization, which is one of the imagery exercises of the P. Krystal method. A traditional Tibetan incense and light meditative music like piano and flutes create the atmosphere for my morning routine: maypole imagery followed by saying thanks for everything that has happened to me and everything that will happen to me.

Apart from the techniques I learned in various seminars there are simple things I have found soothing: listening to the wind or to wood cracking in a fireplace or to the birds singing in the forest. I also find the smell of burning wood smoke coming out of chimneys calming. And even the smell of cows manure calms me. This array of things might seem odd to you, but for me these are the sounds and smells of my happy childhood in a small village.

There is no need to judge which meditation technique is better or worse. What you need to find out is which one works best for you. And there is no better method of finding that out than trying them each individually. Of course you should consult your doctor before trying anything out.

You can ask me more about my experience with mental illness:

ponedeljek, 15. februar 2010

Home Sweet Home

In 1996 when I fell ill for the first time, my friends tried to stick with me at first. However after a while it got too hard for them to look at somebody who was quiet all the time and looked like a walking corpse. I did not say it out loud, but they must have felt I was thinking of suicide a lot. Today I am glad they limited their contacts to me to a few times a year. They had to do it for their own protection, for bad mood is catchy as you well know. It would have worn them out.

In 1999 I met my future husband and since I practically had no friends, I attached myself too much to him. It was not the best thing to do, but the way I see it from today’s perspective it was the only way. He stood by me no matter what. He helped me become who I am today. I would not have made it without him.

It was only in 2007 that I came out of my fear and depression jungle to such an extent that I was able to renew my old friendships and even make new ones. However I came across another danger — the belief that I had to accept anyone as a friend. I thought I was not supposed to be choosy about new friends, since I had been “alone” for such a long time. My husband and I also moved to another town, where apartments were cheaper, so I had little contact with the old friends. Soon I realized that the new friends that were very different from me, were only exhausting me. I realized I had to become choosy, or I will fall ill. Today I have two new friends in the town we moved to. I mean those kind of friends you see every week. Thus I am not that terribly attached to my husband anymore.

Another trap I fell into was “analyzing my relatives”. After having acquired a lot of knowledge about personal growth in various seminars, books and daily mental work (2004—2008), I suddenly wanted to help everyone. This was exhausting too. So I had to reduce family visits.

It was this winter that I finally managed to find the balance between solitude and socializing. When I feel there has been too much talk with my friends, I simply take some days off and enjoy the peace and quiet of our home or take a stroll in the forest. As far as my relatives are concerned, I try to take them the way they are. I just listen and make as little remarks as possible. When listening to them still stresses me out, my dear husband give me a Tibetan heat compress massage before going to bed. This makes keeping the balance between solitude and socializing much easier.

I do love people and wish everyone their best, but I am very sensitive to the energy they are sending out, that is why I am a bit of a loner. Of course it’s predominantly the negative energy people send out that gives me sleeping disorders. But also a huge amount of positive energy in the evening makes it harder for me to fall asleep. That is why my home sweet home became a sort of “headquarters of peace”. A quiet place only for me and my beloved husband, no loud music, no TV. It’s a place where we both re-fuel our “tanks” with life energy. Once a week we also get a major re-fill in the mountains.

You can ask me more about my experience with mental illness:

ponedeljek, 08. februar 2010

Writing Therapy

Last year I noticed that writing my book tires me. I got headaches and some kind of weird tiredness while writing the first version of the book from October 2008 to December 2009. This kind of tiredness I also got after weekend seminars of various personal growth approaches. It should not have come as a surprise, since writing therapy is a personal growth approach too. When we write about our past — distant or recent — we in a way go through all those painful experiences once more. This is good for us in the long run, for we will be able to overcome the pain our memories bring us sooner, if we write about it. Nonetheless we should not overdo it. We should limit the amount of the so called writing therapy in order not to get too tired from it. It would be similar to taking too much medicine.

Last year I thought to myself: »When I finish the text, these problems will be gone«. This year the text is finished. I am making improvements to it. However the problem of tiredness and headaches is still there.

I asked my psychiatrist about it. She agreed that making improvements to the text is still writing therapy. So are the blogs. That is why sometimes I have to take a whole week off. Last week for example I walked in the nature a lot. I took a lot of photos during the walks and was busy arranging them afterwards. I also painted a nice picture for a birthday card. I participated in forums discussions a bit, but not too much. For me even short posts on or are writing therapy.

To sum up — no matter how I enjoy producing this book and no matter how happy I am to have finally found my dream job, I still have to be patient. I have to stay away from the computer at times, no matter how hard it is to resist working on my book about my experience with mental illness.

What cannot be cured must be endured.

You can ask me more about my experience with mental illness: