Confidence

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Delve deep into the sunrise,

Not far from now the night dies,

Suppressing nothing the mind finds,

And yesterday falls behind,

Stretching out into memories,

Archived for the next day I need,

Or ever more: 

The sunshine’s freed,

Delicious day,

Desirable,

Divine,

And only for a few moments it might unwind,

The seconds when I’m uncertain in time,

An anxious moment, and I’m dead in my tracks,

 

Without you, I’m dead in my tracks,

 

Diving down into a frown, I fall all the way down,

Without your light, or dreams at night,

I can’t get around and I’m dead in my tracks,

 

Confidence returns, when I face the facts,

Anxiety fades, and good health comes back,

Peace of mind comes from love of life,

I learn to relax,

 

I breathe through the mountains and their forest trees,

I peer through the skies and feel through the seas,

I clamber through the attic built up in my mind,

And run electrical wire through visions that I find,

Coursing through my veins are my future plans,

In my pounding heart, my love of life sure stands,

Even though I feel humble, I still sweat certain pride,

I buzz with energy, that I can never hide,

 

Somewhat off or simple, this demeanour might seem,

All I really want is human harmony to stream,

If we find fairness in the rivers, instead of social stress,

We can climb the banks, and leave this muddy mess,

Chip away at brilliance, find knowledge on the run,

Rise through the valleys, reach into the sun,

Pull down meaningful faith, and media to trust,

Equality on the earth, and peace that is robust,

 

Voice like a volcano, the internet explodes,

Sometimes my screen is dormant, sometimes woe it bodes,

Silent snow-capped peaks in the dead of summer,

Yet fiery flames spewing, if winter has your number,

Identity comes from how we live and learn,

If our resolution is a rock, it may never burn,

For our hard world to survive, we must pool all our forces,

To protect all good lives, we must fairly share resources,

 

Confidence in peace can get us through each day,

Optimism flows when we climb up all the way,

Get past setbacks, escape the traps we trip,

When we endure, we find the cure, our faith sharp as a whip,

Be true to all we love, forge strength to do what’s right,

Don’t get lost in dreams, past the edge of night,

Got to dig the sunrise, have hope and trust ourselves,

With a confident outlook, our progress deeper delves

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Balance and Harmony

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I have risen from bed, not full of dread,

But carrying the world on my shoulders,

Yesterday weighs much less than tomorrow,

Yet together they’re like massive boulders,

Rolling down from mountains, that we call today,

The past seems to fall all around us,

Pushing back up the hill, with all of our will,

Future’s strong form could come back to pound us,

And so it seems, we must support our dreams,

And be careful about big change and planning,

Secure our resources, pool all our forces,

Create structures that will still stay standing,

 

Today I am strong, optimistic in song,

And nightmares are left at my pillow,

I push forward with pride, and nothing to hide,

The morning, calm and free like a willow,

Noon comes around, and leaves caress ground,

I pray that people have good moods the most,

Sun shines through cloud, neighbor’s distance does shroud,

From up in the tree, fierce battles come close,

Throughout all the day, in work or in play,

I often stop to feel the truth of pain,

The road will be hard, no matter how far,

Love helps out lots, and new faith keeps us sane,

 

Evening time, could change on a dime,

If we don’t work to get it together,

With all that we have, we must make a path,

That gets us through this changing of weather,

No matter what we think, the sun will sink,

We may need strong forces to guide us,

Although our way’s paved, tomorrow is saved,

If we just have a true light to tide us,

Into the night we still rely on our sight,

But sometimes it’s too dark to see,

Although life can be tense, with a certain sixth sense,

Balance and harmony are truly the key

Pass the Word, Share the Vision

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Today,

Always aware of something,

Awesome,

Always working for something better,

Brightened day,

Isolation fades,

In the city,

On the highway,

In the country,

Faces seen through forests,

Leaves and branches,

Maybe from on the road,

Moving,

In the wires, amid lampposts, buildings,

Clouds…

Each impacts our center of gravity,

Words and visions have a physical force that can be,

Just enough to trigger great change,

Of the human position,

Our perspective,

To find and live,

In harmony with many – Dissonance with few,

Daylight, city lights,

Kitchen is filled with helpers,

The chairs at the table,

Are pulled right up to the table,

Why?

Inside,

Incandescent or florescent glows,

Outside, we also live,

In the sunshine, or in the rain,

In the cold,

By the starlight,

We all must find a place to work things out,

Our plans,

Our conversation,

The sharing of our views can illuminate pathways,

Favorable for the group of us,

All of us,

Despite setbacks and obstacles:

A vision of fairness,

And the sound of awareness,

Can bring us harmony,

Through understanding and empathy,

Pass the word,

Share the vision

Stigma of a Cat

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Well, this picture is not perfect.  I have to question if it is supposed to be, because I get mixed readings on that.  For starts, it is a crow, not a raven.  This lyric first jumped into my head yesterday, and while the initial rhyme is open to interpretation, I have a certain idea in mind, particularly to encourage a persistent, calm mood and attitude: for understanding behavior (including our own).

Things are not always what they seem to be.  Depression, anxiety, mania and stigma can revert to a calm mood – and healthy understanding, when we ground ourselves, and simply take a slightly different perspective. To do this, often we must ground our decisions about events, people and mental health in the most concrete way we can find.  Make it available.  Do research if necessary. Find out what we can.  From one angle, life can be depressing or bring unreal, anxious, condemning thoughts.  From a perspective grounded in another way – away from negative judgement, we can find calm – even peace.  The thing is: sometimes the most unexpected truths will change our perspective on events and personalities.  Often these truths are quite available.  They may even present themselves.  These details, can be observed when we stretch out.  They can be described by science (sometimes found on google!) and also just by asking another person.

Diversify our perspectives, and find peace in the truths that exist in life and nature. Sometimes these truths are just a slight stretch out of our reach.  We just have to look, and listen hard enough.  Feel the big picture, or identify the details that can help us have a calm, optimistic attitude.  The animals here represent parts of the human spirit, and also the very creatures that exist.

Volatile smile that makes us wild,

Raven flies over all those miles,

Fast cat catches up to the light,

Smile again when we feel alright,

Reason for moods can be as plain as day,

Other times they are hidden far away,

Sometimes the truth is really out of sight,

The cat chased the raven into the night,

Here’s the point, with no intentional guile,

To explain the facts behind this strange style,

If you stay calm you’ll gain the best insight,

Find understanding when the time is right,

These things that happen may seem to be planned,

When stars line up, it’s not a slight of hand,

Events in our life, all the things we say,

Are sure to be lined up in this same way,

Wake up to see the cat beside feathers,

Patience for truth is in need of tethers,

Mystic bird breaks free of the night and day,

Mocks the cat and stigma has gone away

This is a living document on this website.  Updates are most likely to occur within the next month.  I post this today, as it is fresh, but I may like to improve it as I continue to think on these topics.  Happy New Year!  Hope you find health and peace.

Moods Awake

 

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I can stand in this spot,

And see the world,

Experience takes hold,

Situations unravel,

While decisions unlock,

 

Lifetimes,

For some,

Only hours of difference,

From when the mood is inspired,

And the dream is awake,

Until we sleep thoughtlessly,

Wake and crawl through the paces,

 

Potential, forgetting those lost in the current,

Who in tiresome motions,

Face life and

Conflict in the day,

Perhaps find strength in the monotony,

Or better yet: seek

Courage and creativity,

For our greatest aspirations,

And then achieve,

Until the world is changed,

 

Moments to seize,

When the mood has become

Calm and focused,

Deep,

And the dream lasts past wakening,

When the day takes over:

Pay attention to our main goals,

Now we lead a better life,

Certainly in these times that change

Values, Words to Battle Illness

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If and when, I tweet or email again,

I will write more for the women and men,

All folks and then, I will check the system,

And by noon find some room for improvement,

 

Later in the day, when further away,

I’ll have more to say, and troubles soon fade,

All life is spent, as we solve each moment,

Gears in tune with the people and movement,

 

If and then when, I should take the challenge,

I will dedicate hours to planning,

The problems soon mend, and people will win,

Action matters with our understanding,

 

By the decades end, my words could contend,

My thought would best lend, clear conscious plans sent,

Though illness can rend, consensus defends,

Practical values that bring fair denouement

 

 

A Day in the Life – Adaptation Required

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This is a poem about adapting, in life and in the workforce, especially when faced with mental health challenges.  I start by describing a more general view of how I have made it work.  In the second half, I go on to describe some of my  life – specifically in the workforce.  I discuss some of the views that I have had, and I try to share the ways that I have found to cope with stress and maintain mental health.  While this write up and the poem below go together: what I say in these few paragraphs is not entirely reflected in the poem, nor did I intend it to be that way.  When I write poetry, I often write whatever comes to my head.  I will endeavour to write more poetry, directed to the cause of mental health, and stigma in the work place.  I do feel that what I have here touches on some very useful strategies and ways of thinking for mental health.

With about fifteen years in the construction industry, I learned to keep my mental health thoughts and diagnosis to myself, at least on the job site. That is what is sometimes necessary to keep good relationships with co-workers, superiors and to stay employed.  These long-time trends are gradually changing.  I think that today we are more able to discuss ways to be mentally healthy, than we were a few years ago.  Discussing mental illness is quite a different matter.

While this poem does not name stigma directly, it should be mentioned that avoiding stigma forced me to put my health on the line in order to stay employed.  Mainly by not opening a can of worms, I sought to avoid the mistrust that discussing a diagnosis can create for both the worker and employer.  Part of this was self-stigma, and part of it was the very legitimate fear of social and structural stigma.  I ran into some difficulties by not identifying my condition (of living with bipolar).  Sometimes I had to work on days that I did not feel up to it, but had no good, usable excuse. This could have been troublesome, because the conditions in the construction or industrial environment are already very difficult.  If mental health is faltering, it can become increasingly unsafe.  Fortunately, I was able to avoid incidents by managing my schedule when I could, and taking rest for myself when possible.  I also learned to focus on other strategies that help me maintain stability: in basic physical health, as well as cognitive strategies.  Good habits in sleep routines and staying calm in difficult situations has been very important. Sometimes avoiding discussion of a labelled condition, can avoid the building of interactive social problems.  It is important to be careful in what we do and say.   Doing what is best for our health, should always be a top priority.

A label sometimes takes on a life of its own that is not always easy to manage. It can be safer to outright avoid discussion of labels in a personal mental health condition. Sometimes it is not. Deciding when to disclose should involve careful thought.  Hopefully one day, with the mental health movement creating more awareness of the truths about the manageability of mental illness, and sharing the best practices for dealing with mental illness, some of these problems could be avoided. For example, it may become easier for employees to approach their employers about mental health issues, if both parties are made more aware of how to work for the best of the two sides. Employers could learn to be more accommodating, and in return find the benefits of good work from a healthy workforce. Employees could be made more aware of the best ways to manage their own condition in the workplace.  After all that time in the trades for me, I greatly respect the work and the people, but recognize a need for change – specifically for more understanding and awareness of best mental health practices.

Aside from the medication I have taken religiously over all these years, I have had almost no professional help to deal with the workplace as a person living with bipolar disorder. It doesn’t seem that anyone tried to get involved.  From the companies that I worked for to the local health authorities:  I saw no one to communicate with about my concerns.  Maybe it was not readily available, with this time period’s resources.  At one point health contacts stopped offering counselling, or support – and then I just sort of faded into the paperwork I guess. This seems unreasonable, when working on major undertakings, such as an apprenticeship in the trades, or work as a journeyman, while living with a serious mental condition.  Someone in the health authorities, should follow up on this type of progress, since the worker and employer may need help.  There seems to be a lack of infrastucture to support this, that may come from the government. The companies should also share a big role and be directed on how to take more of a role in workplace mental health.  I hope to see resources become more available for such projects, in the years to come. What I can see that is needed most in this case is direct help in understanding mental health in the workplace, and support based on that understanding.  When stigma is common place, everyday in different job settings: it can be dangerous. The only way I have had to deal with that is through common sense – with virtually no outside help, early in the millennium.  I survived, but it has not been easy.

  • More attention needs to be paid to caring for mental health in the work-place, especially in industries that can be more dangerous, like construction.  As of this year, I have been working full-time in support work, and trying to apply my writing and research towards further education.  I have found that working with goals of health in mind, for others and for myself, is much more rewarding and conducive to mental health all around. If we can learn to incorporate this more into our work lives, no matter what else happens, we will increase our quality of life. Trying to make these changes more and more practical still requires patience, perseverance and actually: creativity too.

A Day in the Life – Adaptation

How our day begins, on the morning road,

Feeling like a chain, hauling up a load,

Yesterday is gone, still is on the line,

Plans for tomorrow, must be made in time,

Landing on firm ground, stack our days up high,

Many hours of work, drive to pass it by,

Dig deep to get ahead, as the friction burns,

Capture all that force, that holds, or grinds or turns,

Thought makes our life last, as it dissipates,

Turning wheel rides far, staying in one place,

Spinning like a top, rolling like a train,

Times we must move fast, still need to feed our brain,

When there’s even keel, take it all in smooth,

Can’t force the course too fast, switching gears can soothe,

Slowly grease the grooves, look close in the light,

Mood is a machine, must care and fuel it right,

Tighten what we need, move ahead so steady,

Energize and charge, when absolutely ready,

Build our universe, around true clear thought,

Eclipse doubt with calm, and give it all we got,

Know what to expect, being ready saves,

Life is a reaction, comes to us in waves,

Get through challenges, never let time lag,

Make changes and breathe, if our day’s a drag,

Just a year ago, couldn’t get out the door,

By coffee sometimes numb, lying at my core,

Climbing up the walls, difficult to bear,

Now a year later, work with human care,

Learning, and teaching, helps to drive my pay,

Best to find meaning, inspired all the way,

On the other hand, when I was in that place,

Earned far more dollars, just was not my pace,

For others I took care, as I met demands,

Hard to squeeze to size, an industry of plans,

Safety for myself, sometimes jeopardized,

Not by being careless, but by being compromised,

Never reckless work, my body paid that feat,

Hiding pain and grief, just to make ends meet,

Now that trial is done, new job has some peace,

Lofty goals I have, on life: a brand new lease,

How our day closes, as a chapter ends,

Feeling like a branch, bears hope as it bends,

Today will remain, full of life for us,

Compete to survive, learn all we discuss,

Forests of facts here, can define our days,

No tree is alone, the bond to nature stays,

Focus in our life, like books that we read,

Follow our main goals, work hard to succeed