Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's Important?

How's my mental health today?

I can't complain. My day is starting with a therapeutic massage. I'm enjoying the early spring. Things are very good. Today will be a little different because our pastor has asked us to pray and fast. I can do that.

I had a good start to the day yesterday. I woke up with more energy than I've had in a while. Since it was Wednesday, I was up by 5 a.m. to meet with "The Band of Brothers" for our usual Bible study over coffee at Tim Horton's.

When I got home I dragged my bicycle off our balcony, cleaned the winter dust and dirt from it, scoured the rust off the chrome, and pumped up the tires. After a short break to do some reading, I got on the bike and rode to my doctor's appointment. My first real bike ride of this year! Riding outside is different than riding the stationary bike.

When I got in to see the doc I told him my concerns. He jokingly told me he had already read my blog and he had thought of telling me I didn't need to talk because he was caught up with what was happening for me. It's great to have that kind of relationship with my psychiatrist; it makes working together much easier.

The result of the appointment: I will increase the dosage of the new medication that I started  taking when my diagnosis was changed to bi-polar disorder. The dosage has been increased slowly and it may take a few more gradual increases to find the effective therapeutic level for me. The goal is still to level out the up and down cycling of my energy and mood without flattening my ability to think and be creative.

"The process takes time". That's what I told a friend who called me Tuesday evening looking for answers. His wife was diagnosed 18 months ago, and the realities and complexities of her situation are still unfolding for them. Yesterday I was reminded to keep what I told my friend in mind for my own situation.

Sitting in the waiting room can feel awkward for me sometimes. I would prefer to be anonymous while I wait for my turn with the doc, but every once in a while I am recognized by people I encountered in the years I worked in mental health. Yesterday was one of those days. I walked in to find one of Heidi's former co-workers sitting there with a couple of her clients. After a quick exchange of smiles and greetings she and her clients got called in to see the doctor. After my appointment, as I was waiting to schedule my next appointment, I heard someone call my name. I turned around and there was a young man who had worked for me for a couple of months almost 10 years ago. After greeting me he asked what I was doing now.

I'm very reluctant to respond to that question in some cases. I have experienced individuals crossing my boundaries and this young fellow was one of those people. I told him I was writing and his response was very affirming. "You're good at that". Then he thanked me for taking a chance on him all those years ago because it gave him the opening he was looking for to get involved in the politics of the mental health world.

That was a pleasant surprise.

Maybe it's a good idea for me to tell a few people what I'm doing because there are apparently some rumours about my fate circulating in the community. Heidi has told me a few times that she's heard that some people have spread the rumour that I'm seriously ill; others are convinced that I've died. I just shake my head - where do people come up with these ideas?

In the end it doesn't matter. Those that are important to me know the truth. I'm alive, dealing with whatever life throws at me, and enjoying my family, friends, writing, and faith journey. God is faithful (more than I am) and He's looking after me.

My job today:  fast and pray!

Do you have a hunger for God? If we don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul's appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting.

John Piper

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