One Step Closer To Riding The Bike

Song: “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne

Mood: 6.5 to 7.

I had two more nightmares last night that kept me awake for a little while. Fortunately, the rest of my sleep was good so I didn’t feel rough when I finally got up. I had breakfast, watched one of the shrimp moult (which was both fascinating and disgusting) and sat down to do some writing. I also watched four or five partial episodes of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. They were pretty amusing – he doesn’t pull any punches when he’s talking about stuff, that’s for sure. Then I went back to writing. I worked on one of my stories for quite a while and it felt pretty good to write.

On a completely different note, my motorcycle has been back together and waiting for me to ride it for quite a while now. One reason is that I’m nervous to try. Even though I’ve been riding the same bike since 2009, the thought of going out on two wheels makes me nervous. Another reason I haven’t gone for a ride is that due to the medication I’m on, I’ve put on a fair amount of weight and my riding jackets don’t fit. I won’t go out without helmet, jacket, boots, and gloves, so that put an end to that pretty quickly.

J suggested we go to our local powersport store and look at jackets. I was nervous and felt bad about it – the jacket J bought me for Christmas three years ago is still in great shape – but she told me that it was okay and someday I’ll be able to wear it again.

Anyway, J drove us to the store and in less than twenty minutes I had a new jacket and it fit. The salesperson at the dealership was very helpful – she went into the storeroom to find a jacket in a size that would fit me and came out with two armfuls of jackets. I tried one on and it fit great (and even had a little bit of room in case I put on more weight). J was happy, I was happy, and I think the salesperson was happy too. I also checked at the parts desk to see if they had any rivet-style master links (I’m running a clip-style master link right now) but unfortunately they didn’t have any in stock. I’ll have to check around for one – I don’t really trust the clip link.

So tomorrow or sometime this weekend I am going to take the bike out for a ride. I will stay in the neighbourhood and take it easy while J will be just a phone call away if I run into trouble. The bike’s never let me down before (even after I crashed it) and I don’t expect it to let me down now. It’s just whether I’m up to the task of riding. I really hope I am – riding the bike always made me happy and demanded all of my concentration so I couldn’t worry about other things like work or bills or anything like that. I think they call it “motorcycle therapy” for a reason.

Other than that, not much is going on. Oh, today was warm and humid enough for the new air conditioner to kick in and it works great – way better than the old one.

Stay safe!

Hobby Focus: Writing

Hobby: Writing

Cost: Do you have access to a computer or pen and paper? If so, zero.

Time Required: Completely up to you, but can devour hours at a time.

I enjoy writing a lot. Even when I’m having a day where it’s impossible to concentrate, it still feels good to jot down a couple of four-word sentences. It feels like I’ve accomplished something. That’s one of the reasons I try to write at least once a day, even when I’m having trouble stringing words together. In fact, I think it’s on those harder days that it’s more important for me to write something down.

You don’t have a degree in English or Creative Writing or anything like that to write a story. I don’t and I really enjoy coming up with ideas for stories and writing them out. I’ve written quite a few things, from really bad short stories and poems to an equally bad 300-page story. I’m not looking to make a living doing it, I just want to enjoy myself and (especially on the bad days) burn off some hours.

Nobody will see most of what I write, and that’s fine. Writing can help keep me grounded and distract me from a bad mood or bad thoughts.

Another thing you can write is a thank-you letter to someone or a group that has done something special for you. You can brighten up someone else’s day by letting them know they helped you out in some way.

Keeping a journal is a good way to remember special occasions and keep track of your recovery. I find it has therapeutic value, too, which is another reason I try to write a post about how I’m doing most days.

Writing is easy, can be exciting, and doesn’t take much in the way of resources. Even if you haven’t enjoyed it in the past, give it a try and see what happens!

Stay safe!

And Another Day Goes By

Song: “Cow Patti” by Jim Stafford.

Mood: 5

I didn’t sleep all that well last night – my nightmares came back and woke me up a few times. Fortunately, I was able to get back to sleep after a little while.

Today wasn’t a great day. Not that it was particularly bad, but because it was very difficult to motivate myself to do anything and to keep from going back to bed. I did some writing and listened to some more records and did my exercises but it took a lot of willpower to do anything.

J coming home was (and pretty much always is) the highlight of my day and she brought supper. We had a good chat about stuff and then I went and wrote the previous post. After that, we tidied up the house and watched a couple of episodes of Community. I’m pretty tired so I’ll be heading to bed soon.

Stay safe.

This Sucks

I’ve got to say, I’m getting tired of all this. You’d think that being able to stay at home for over a year would be fun, but that’s not how I see it. To me, it’s boring, tiring, and depressing.

I wish I was working.

I wish I could work.

I wish I could hop in the truck and drive to wherever I want.

I wish I didn’t have to take two handfuls of pills every day just to keep my head above water.

I wish that nobody had to worry about me.

I wish I hadn’t scared my wife and family so many times.

I wish I could jump out of bed, stretch, and smile at the sunrise.

I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that I needed help earlier.

I wish that I didn’t have the same nightmares coming back to haunt me again and again.

I wish that the medication I’m taking didn’t make me gain weight.

I wish that I hadn’t had to spend four and a half months in the psych ward.

I wish I could concentrate enough to do anything I wanted.

I wish that I could say that everything is fine.

I wish sirens and loud noises didn’t scare the hell out of me.

I wish I could look at a government office without my stomach turning.

I wish I could trust myself.

I wish I could answer the phone.

I wish I didn’t want to run and hide every time the doorbell rings.

I wish I didn’t disappoint my friends.

I wish I could get angry at things again.

I wish I had an appetite and a “full” switch.

I wish I never had to worry about having a panic attack again.

I wish everything wasn’t so difficult to do.

I wish I didn’t want to curl up into a ball and hide in the basement.

I wish going out places wasn’t as distressing and difficult as it is.

I wish I was a reliable person again.

I wish I could contribute.

I wish I could look at the door once and trust that it was locked.

I wish I didn’t remember bad things from work so vividly.

I wish I could enjoy thunderstorms again.

I wish I wasn’t scared about what the future holds.

I wish I felt better.

I wish this stuff didn’t happen to anyone.


Stay safe.

Hobby Focus: Painting

Hobby: Painting

Cost: Around $10 to $20 to start

Time Required: Completely up to you

I never used to enjoy painting because I was terrible at it. When I was in the hospital, it was one of the activities available so I gave it a shot. The result was that I’m still terrible at it but I enjoy it quite a bit. At home, J and I share the painting supplies and almost all of them were found at the dollar store.

A great thing about painting is that you can do whatever you want. Want to paint nothing but circles on a piece of paper? Sure, go nuts. Want to paint a little wooden decorative box? You can do that. Want to sit there, very carefully painting something you’ve got in your head? Have fun! Nobody has the right to tell you if you’re right or wrong – it’s all up to you.

Here are a few things I’ve painted:


Mountains. I followed along with an episode of “The Joy of Painting” for this one.



A dock jutting out into the sea.



This was a “paint inside the lines” canvas that was pretty fun to do.



A small decorative box that I painted for J.



A wooden butterfly cutout that I tried to make look like a monarch. I did this while I was in the hospital.


There’s all kinds of stuff you can do, and if you’re not feeling well and are looking for something that’ll burn off an hour or two, painting is a great choice.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • A pack of different-sized brushes,
  • A couple of foam brushes of different sizes
  • Some paint (I recommend inexpensive acrylic or watercolour paints),
  • A place to paint on that you can easily clean or it’s not the end of the world if it gets dirty,
  • A big jug of water for rinsing,
  • Something you can mix paints on (if you want to make other colours), and
  • Something to paint on, whether it’s paper, cardboard, canvas, wood… lots of options here.

All of this should be available at your local dollar or discount store for very little.

The only thing I don’t like about painting is the cleanup, but if you’re using acrylic or watercolour paints it’s usually not too bad. Oil paints, however, are pretty tough to clean up without the proper solvent.

I find painting to be fun and relaxing, even if it doesn’t turn out the way I’d hoped. For all of the paintings I listed in this post, there are five or ten that didn’t work out so I just started doodling on them. Don’t take it too seriously and have fun!

Stay safe!

A Decent Day

Mood: Seven. Having trouble telling my brain to stop running around and banging into things.

Song: “You Think You’re A Man” by Divine.

I woke up this morning and had breakfast after J had already gone to work. I felt pretty fuzzy this morning and it was hard to keep my thoughts in order. The haze cleared pretty quickly, though.

I did a lot of writing today. Not just for my blog but I worked on a story I’ve been playing with for some time now. I’ve no idea where it’s going but I find it enjoyable and relaxing to sit down and let the words flow out through my fingers and wander across the screen. Maybe I’ll share part of it sometime.

The turntable got a workout today, too. I listened to a couple of records this afternoon and then J and I listened to another bunch this evening after supper.

I’ve been finding that my mind has been racing a lot today, and not for any rational (or even coherent, for that matter) reason. It’s just bopping along at a hundred miles an hour and going off in all directions. I hope this doesn’t mean I’ll have trouble sleeping this evening.

My folks called this morning, too. It was very good to talk to them – I miss them quite a bit and hope to see them again soon. The last time I saw them was when I was in the hospital which doesn’t make for the best environment to chat.

Tomorrow I plan on heading out to the garage and doing some more work out there. I would really like to get welding soon.

Stay safe!

When The Wheels Fell Off, Part II

Trigger Warning: this post may contain content that can trigger a shift in mood, comfort, or mental status. Proceed at your own risk.

Christmas had been a little rough for me. The fact that everyone had to come visit us instead of the other way around really bothered me and I felt like I’d let everyone down. The final trigger that sent me to the hospital the second time was a telephone conversation with my disability insurance case agent. They like to call every six weeks or so to see how things are going. Unfortunately, I was (and still am) unable to answer the phone, so J spoke with them and set up an appointment for them to call when she’d be home to help me.

Up to this point I was feeling not too badly – maybe around a five or six. The thought of talking to the insurance company made my stomach churn a bit but I thought that with J there things would be okay.

When the call came, J answered the phone and then put it on speaker so we could both participate in the conversation. I was immediately nervous and could feel panic building in my chest. The case agent was pleasant enough, but the questions she asked were very difficult for me to answer. J stepped in quite a few times to help, but as the interview continued, it felt more like a grilling than a conversation to see how I was doing.

After a while, I began to shut down and answered fewer and fewer questions. All I could think about was how the insurance company was going to cancel my insurance and the financial hardships that would surely follow. At the time, J wasn’t entirely sure what was going on with her job and the idea of losing the house felt very real to me. I could feel myself beginning to fall apart.

After what seemed like hours, the conversation ended. I was in very rough shape and J was concerned about me. A few days later at my Dr C appointment, I broke down and wanted to kill myself. Thankfully, Dr C could see what was going on and wouldn’t let me leave her office by myself. J was on the phone with Dr W, telling him what was going on and came to pick me up. Fortunately, there was a bed available in the hospital so I was able to get in.

As I said earlier, the insurance company wanted to call around every six weeks to interview me. Dr W called them, told them what had happened, and that they were a trigger and weren’t to call until he told them they could. He told me that I didn’t need to worry about the calls and that helped me quite a bit. There was still a lot of fixing to be done, though, and five weeks later, I was home.

Stay safe!

I’m Back Home!

Song: “Johnny B. Rotten” by The Monks

Mood: A solid 8.

I didn’t sleep very well last night. It was partially because of the brightness in my room but mostly because I was excited. The pass had gone so well and I was sure I was ready to be discharged.

This afternoon, Dr W did just that. We had a short chat, talked about medication changes, and then he sent the discharge paperwork to my nurse. J picked me up at about 4:15PM and we were home for supper by 5.

It’s been a good day.

This most recent admission lasted twelve days. I’m still a little embarrassed that it’s my fourth admission but I’m feeling stronger and happier than I have for a while now. No more days spent almost entirely in bed. No more time spent hating myself because I wasn’t able to get out of bed and do anything. I feel pretty good.

I’m also going to devote more time to listening to what my brain is trying to tell me. With luck, that’ll help me deal with and turn around my mood dips before they become free-falls. It’s scary how quickly my mind can go off the rails so I really want to try and catch it before it does.

Stay safe!

Pass Went Very Well

J just dropped me off at the hospital about 20 minutes ago, concluding my pass. A few anxious times aside, the pass went very well. I’m okay being by myself while J’s at work, I’m okay keeping myself busy, and my sleep is now back to 8-10 hours per day instead of 18-20. That thick cloud of depression is now just a tiny dot on the horizon and I’m feeling pretty darn good.

With luck, I’ll be discharged tomorrow afternoon. It will be very good to be home. With a little more luck, it’ll be more than a month until my next visit. Who knows, maybe this will be my last time in the psych ward.

I spoke with my nurse after I got back and she said that if I have to come back it’s okay and in its own way a good sign. I used to be very reluctant to ask anyone for assistance but now I’m a lot more comfortable saying when I’m in trouble and asking for help. I think it’s very important to be able to do that; after all, people won’t know to help me unless I say something.

I’ve said it before and said it again that I’m so grateful to J, Dr C, Dr W, and the staff at the hospital for picking up the pieces and putting me back together again. It’s not much of a stretch to say that I’d probably be dead if it weren’t for all of them. Saying thanks and sending a letter or card is all I can do but it never seems like enough. I hope everyone knows how grateful I am.

Stay safe!

Company Was Great!

Song: “Sweet Home Chicago” by the Blues Brothers.

Mood: Eight. Getting pretty tired.

This is going to be a pretty short post because I’m pooped.

So this afternoon we had some friends over for pizza and a game night. It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen them so instead of playing any games we just talked. It was really good. Lots of laughter, lots of good stories, and it just felt good to hang out with them again. I started to get a little anxious about two hours in but I took a lorazepam and that helped quite a bit.

Since our guests were bringing the pizza, J and I decided to make monster cookies for dessert. I got a good recipe for them in one of the cooking groups at the hospital. I did my best but I’m not a professional baker so some of the cookies came out looking pretty un-cookie-ish, but they tasted pretty good and went over well after we’d finished the pizza.

It’s so wonderful to have good friends to hang out with. J and I are very lucky.

Tomorrow evening my pass ends so J is going to take me back to the hospital after supper. With luck I’ll be discharged on Monday!

Stay safe!