Category Archives: Mental wellness

The Practices of Acceptance, Forgiveness and Gratitute

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There are three practices that go a long way to aiding in mental health and help in keeping our shared illness at bay. These three practices are the practice of acceptance, the practice of gratitude and the practice of forgiveness.

They are called practices for a reason. Acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude are things that need to be practiced on a regular basis like a soldier drills the use and function of his weapons into his subconscious. Practice and training in acceptance, gratitude and forgiveness make them available when they are needed most, in times of crisis.

Acceptance is the ability to see and understand things as they really are, not as we want them to be. To achieve peace of mind and any serenity in our lives this is an essential practice. We need to realize that every person, place, thing and situation that is causing us grief, making our lives miserable, actually are as they are supposed to be. It is us that is out of step with reality.

As an example, dealing with some things that spring from our past actions, or inactions, can cause us to begin the “why me” serenade that leads onto that incredible downward spiral.  My response to “why me” has become “because on close examination you caused it.”

The practice of acceptance has removed one of the greatest hindrances to mental wellness for me, that hindrance is finding excuses. I had an excuse for everything.

When I accept things exactly as they are I no longer need an excuse to justify my non-acceptance. I can just move on.

A while ago the Tax man garnisheed my wages due to outstanding taxes for unreported income. The income was unreported because I had never received the income but it took quite a while to convince the Tax man of that fact. I found it hard to accept that I was losing a substantial amount of income to pay taxes on something I did not get in the first place. However the response to the “why me?” question has of course proven that I was the cause of this issue. I failed to notify someone that I had not received the funds that they owed me. It took months to sort the problem out and could have been the cause of a deep depression. By practicing acceptance of the situation I was able to avoid a deep depression and keep moving forward.

I am not going to say that I instantly accepted this situation because that would be a lie. It took a while to fully accept that I had to keep paying this money even if I didn’t owe it. I had to accept that in time it would all work out in my favor and of course it did in time. But if I had not practiced real acceptance I could have lost more than a little money for a while. I could have lost me.

That is really what the practice of acceptance does for you, it allows you to keep moving forward, rather than being glued to the couch in a depression and at risk of losing yourself again.

 

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

A Different Starting Point

 

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“Discover who you truly are and fully give every aspect of your uniqueness to the world. This is your path to an extraordinary life.” James McWhinney.

I talk often to people about how I had to find a different starting point for many things in my life, meditation, ambition and success to name a few. The quote I used today is another example that would cause me to think of a different starting point because I would have only identified with one part of what the author is saying, that is “give every aspect of your uniqueness to the world.”

I did show “every aspect of my uniqueness to world” on a lot of occasions and all it ever got me was rejected or locked up. So that approach has a real stigma attached to it and it definitely was not my path to an extraordinary life.

This is about how we, BP sufferers, have to look at things set out for the so called normal world. We must recognize that we see and interpret things differently and even on the path the mental wellness we still have to be careful with this issue. When I read things like the above quote I need to slow down and read the whole quote a few times. Then relate that quote to what I know.

Jesus said, “When you know yourselves, you will be known and you will understand that you are children of the living father. If you do not know yourselves you will live in poverty and you are the poverty.”  The Gospel of Thomas Verse 3

I am not about show my uniqueness to the world ever again, because my uniqueness to me means me in my illness.  I have worked diligently at discovering who I am so that I can present that person to the world, the sane reasonable person, I find I am not that unique when I am close to mental wellness. I can find sameness or shared ideals with others that does not make me feel unique and different.

If I want to carve a path to an extraordinary life my uniqueness is not the direction that I need to go in, I need to find a different starting point. On this issue I find looking for the sameness with others, especially those I respect, to be the starting point for me.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

Mental Wellness

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“Without struggle there is no progress.” Frederick Douglas

If someone tells you that dealing with BP is not a struggle every day, they are lying. Over the last couple of days I have been thinking a lot about my personal progress, the ups and downs, and the one step forward three steps back approach that was the beginning. That has now progressed to a steady, or unsteady, trudge onward. I am now able to see a lot of beauty around me instead of the blackness that overshadowed everything.

One of the most telling parts of this look over my shoulder at the path behind me is the distinct change in perception and attitude that has come about on the journey towards mental wellness.  At one time concentrating on and learning all about the illness that I suffered from was paramount to me and my way of thinking. However, all though the knowledge has been helpful in getting to know myself and how my illness affects me, this approach seemed to leave me mired in the illness. Only by shifting my perception to mental wellness was I able to shake this stuck in the “Land of Oz” feeling.

By concentrating on the illness, the illness would control me even though I wanted to be better. When my focus became wellness, I was able to begin to overcome my mental anguish and emotional turmoil. It was only when I concentrated on mental wellness was I able to become useful and productive. Only by concentrating on wellness was I able to become a functioning person in society.

As long as I concentrated on the illness I could not overcome, but that shift of perception to mental wellness took time and I now understand it was part of the growth process. We all have to start with our illness and learning to cope with that illness and then we progress towards mental wellness. This then becomes our focus, to be mentally well a condition I would not trade for anything.