I heard another threat this afternoon while I was cooking chili. I like to make chili with different ingredients, and my husband likes the variety as well. There are so many different types of chili, trying to find a suitable recipe can take some time. I finally settled on one with lots of cumin. The cumin gives it a curry-like flavor, but also a little spice too, which is good. I add just added the tomatoes, onions, garlic, beans, and beef when I heard, Take your blog down by the end of the day! It always sounds like they are yelling. Maybe my voices are threatened by my blog. I’m not sure why. It always seems so dramatic and sometimes I get caught up in the drama.
I knew I had no intention of deleting my blog, although it’s not something that would be difficult to do. I have to make sure not to dwell on what I hear. If I think too much about what I hear, I tend to try and make sense of what they say, or to rationalize something that is completely irrational. That’s one of the reasons this blog is so useful for me. It helps me get my thoughts out of my head and written down. This is also a way to clarify what I am thinking about and to share with others.
I went to my monthly Buddhist discussion meeting last night, and it was very encouraging! One of our group members discussed his memoir that he recently published, and said it was going to be made into a movie. How exciting! At the end of the meeting, he brought up an important point about how we relate to other people, even those people we have difficulty with. Buddhism teaches that every person has the Buddha nature within them. This means that everyone has the potential for Buddhahood, even if they are not always manifesting that potential. We have the Buddha nature inherent in our own lives, and to deny another person’s Buddha nature is the same as denying our own. This can be difficult to keep in mind, especially when we are in the midst of a problem with a difficult person.
Last night I heard a voice say You better watch it! I was in bed writing in my journal, so I ignored the voice, and talked to my husband about it for a little bit. This morning I heard a voice ask me why I want to write a book. There are several reasons why I want to write a book. Mostly, I want to tell my story. I also hope to be able to encourage other people who suffer from the same illness. I sent my proposal to a few more prospective agents yesterday, so now it’s time to wait.
Last night while we were having fried chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner, I heard a male voice that sounded like it was coming from outside our apartment. It was fairly loud, although I know that John didn’t hear it. He said, “Just drop the book idea, and no one gets hurt!” My first thought was Oh no. Another threat. This time about the book. I don’t like being threatened, I never have. Usually, I get angry. I didn’t say anything to my husband. We were watching TV and eating, so I just tried to ignore what I heard. Later, when when we were in the car driving to my therapy appointment, I told John what I had heard at dinner.
He wanted to know why I let it bother me when I know the voices aren’t real. Even though John always reminds me, and I know they are all symptoms of my illness, they still affect me. I can’t help it. Sometimes my reaction is automatic. When I hear a voice or voices, especially if they are loud and threatening, it is hard not to react. It usually takes some time to forget about what I have heard, and continue on with whatever I was doing before I heard the voice or voices. I also know that if the voices weren’t threatening me about writing a book, they would be threatening me about something else. It’s just something that I have to deal with.
John said it was like playing on a sports team and having someone come up to and say, You suck! You should give up! How do we react in a situation like that. Do we just go ahead and give up? Or do we fight back, and not give in to the negativity? Sometimes the negativity can be overwhelming. This morning I found a great quote in my Buddhist book that seemed relevant. It is one of my favorites.
When your determination changes, everything else will begin to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself toward your success. On the other hand, if you think “This is never going to work out,” then at that instant every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the fight, and then everything really will move in the direction of failure.
We must be determined. Determined not to be defeated by ourselves or by anyone else.
We had a nice weekend, and now it’s back to work! My husband and I took the scenic route to Gilroy yesterday, and it was a very beautiful drive. We passed through golden brown rolling hills, with large expansive houses scattered here and there. We passed by Calero and Uvas Reservoirs, and stopped to take pictures at Uvas. It was a bright, warm, sunny day! I was wearing a tank top, and was glad it didn’t get cold enough to have to put a jacket on.
We enjoyed ourselves at my in-laws. We had grilled chicken for dinner with rice and beans. John’s brother and sister joined us for dinner, so it was a nice evening. The amazing part is that I didn’t hear any voices for the entire weekend! What a relief! I’m always so glad when I don’t have symptoms. I’m also always a little surprised as well, but pleasantly surprised.
I’m looking forward to my Tuesday afternoon group session tomorrow, and we also have a meeting tonight at 7pm with my Kaiser therapist. I enjoy my therapy session, especially when my husband participates. That way he can get someone else’s perspective as well. I actually see two separate therapists and a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist and one of the therapists are at Kaiser, the second therapist (who I see weekly) is at a private clinic. The Kaiser therapist I can’t see weekly, so we decided to find a second therapist for individual, weekly visits. The Kaiser therapist we’ve been seeing together, but only once every six weeks or so.
I’m excited and a little anxious to get started writing on my book project. I ordered a book on how to write a memoir, so I’m hoping that will help. I sent my book proposal to four prospective agents last week. I’ll probably send it out to a few more over the next few days. I talked to my mom on Saturday, and she said she thought writing a book was a really good idea. I love my mom and dad. They are always very encouraging.
My husband and I talked about motivation last night after he came home from work. I had only done one exercise that afternoon (instead of the usual four). I did four sets of squats with 25 reps each, and 30 on the last one. We’re getting a little older, and exercise is important to keep you looking younger and staying fit. Neither of us wants to get old and fat, or let ourselves go. It is a challenge to maintain a consistent, varied exercise routine that we both enjoy. We used to do quite a bit more jogging, but we haven’t been out along our favorite bay trails as much as we used to. We used to go jogging along the southern tip of the bay on trails along the former salt ponds in Sunnyvale. We haven’t been out there in quite a while, but both of us hope to get back into it.
My husband says that apathy and a general lack of motivation are part of my schizoaffective disorder. I don’t necessarily think I’m apathetic, sometimes I’m just lazy, and I do lack the motivation to exercise consistently on my own. I really need someone to go to the gym with, and go jogging with. Otherwise I don’t usually take it up on my own initiative. Having motivation for exercise also goes along with having the motivation to work on my appearance. I’m not a slob or anything, but I could use a few tips on hair styling and make-up. I’ve never spent much time on my personal appearance, other than the standard brushing of the hair, along with some basic foundation and powder for my face. I guess I’m a pretty basic woman when it comes to those sort of things. It would be nice to learn some tips and tricks in the hair and make-up department, so maybe I’ll look into that. I could probably find a workshop or class somewhere nearby.
I know that some people with schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses have trouble taking care of themselves, and their basic needs. I think it depends on the severity of their illness or the severity of their symptoms. For me, the more frequently I have symptoms, the harder it is for me to function normally. I can only imagine that it is the same for others.