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Mental Health Awareness Month

There is so much I want to say about mental health and the toll it takes on individuals and families. I just cannot seem to get them to come out right from my mind to the keyboard. Some of that is because I have mental illness and it can, at times make concentrating difficult. Even though I am in a good place with my medications, nicely balanced and able to focus on many of the tasks I need to accomplish, there is still that underlying trepidation that any given day my medication may stop working for me. I have been there many times over the last two decades, reaching a point where the medication just fails to do what it is intended to do. The only choice is to swap things up and spend 6 months to even a year, adjusting different medications. Unfortunately when that happens my life is still going on, still have a job to do and a family to take care of, that does not stop just because I am in trouble mentally. No, life has to go on and it is in those darkest moments, when my emotions and my thoughts drag me down that I feel totally alone in the world. That is a bad place to be, especially if you have a family and a job, I am lucky that I have a bit of stubbornness that keeps me from giving up.

There have definitely been many times in my life when I wanted to give up, where not living felt like it would be the better choice. Long stretches where my mental train was a roller coaster; top of the world to a bottomless pit. That is a scary place to be when those emotions are flip flopping multiple times a day, no triggers, just random emotional states, and when your high water marks are still deeply depressed it can be overwhelming to the point where you just want it to end. When I was in high school I cut and burned myself to feel something other than despair. In the pain there was clarity, in clarity there was purpose, in purpose there was safety. I also self medicated with nicotine and on occasion with alcohol, lucky for me the alcohol did not become an addiction. The nicotine on the other hand stayed with me for 20+ years, from the age of thirteen and into my thirties, I still crave cigarettes after 15 years of not smoking.

So I celebrate the fact that I have not succumbed to my mental illness, but I also understand the toll it can take and why people eventually give up the fight. I have come close but I do not look down on anyone who gave up, some say it is the easy way out, but I suspect those who do have not spent a lifetime in the trenches fighting against themselves trying to survive.

The Human Condition

Some days we are as delicate and sensitive to the changes around us, we become wisps of smoke pouring down.

It only takes a small amount of air to interrupt our flow and send us scattering away.

Something to Ponder

Ezekiel 22 29 The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.

The Poor

This is a repost of yesterdays post, my wife said it should be in a newer, clearer translation. So here is the English Standard version.

Deuteronomy 15 7:11
7 “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. 9 Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly[a] on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. 10 You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. 11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

The Poor

I am just going to throw this out, just a short passage from the Old Testament. Something to maybe get people thinking about how they view those who are impoverished.

Deuteronomy 15 7:11
7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:

8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.

9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee.

10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.

11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

Hurry up and wait

If the Military invented it, hospital doctors perfected it. My wife Phoebe is a diabetic and was hospitalized with a severe infection of her foot yesterday. They did do an MRI yesterday once they finally got her admitted, however we have to wait for the Doctor to come by and give us the results and let us know what is going on. So, we sit and we wait, and wait, then we wait some more. Maybe we will get lucky and see the doctor before afternoon turns into evening.

Just one job

One important job, to stream a funeral on Facebook, and my mic was muted. A grieving family asked me to do one simple thing and I screwed it up. I was too nervous, there were people counting on me and I let them down. What an awful feeling that is above so many other things, to disappoint someone that asked you to do something and it goes wrong. Some days I think that is just one of the hardest things in life, letting other people down and knowing you cannot undue the error.


The past two weeks have been a long trial. To watch one of my puppies slowly die from getting into something poisonous and having to make the decision when he was nearing the end to quicken the process was heartbreaking. This is the third time I have had to make the decision to euthanize one of my dogs and it is a difficult and painful decision to make that never gets any less painful. I have had nightmares several nights that I made the wrong decision, but deep in my heart I know that he was too far gone the vet agreed that it was impossible for him to recover after he took a turn for the worse.

More grief and pain to bottle up inside and suppress because I fear letting go, I fear that if I let my emotions get out of control that there will be no coming back. Some days I feel like I am on the verge of a mental break down, kept at bay through will power and medication. It does not stop the anxiety attacks that take me closer and closer to that edge. But I am still standing, still slogging along the path. I know I can not give up, my family is depending on me and I can not let them down.

So, I live through my trials and I try to learn from them every day. It is not always easy, no one ever said it would be. I go forth through the darkening night, knowing that it can’t rain all the time, and joy will come in the morning.

It was a dismal overcast day, the cold was not freezing but getting close, not close enough though for the falling snowflakes, melting just before hitting the ground. It was the kind of day when one might want to find themselves curled up under a throw blanket with a hot cup of coffee or maybe a hot cocoa. Maybe it would be a good day for writing, of course that is always hard to predict when the words come or there is only a cacophony of sounds, like shouting into a strong wind. Maybe there is inspiration in the grey skies looming overhead, a perpetual sense of brooding, the mood of an angst filled teenager or a middle aged man looking out over his life.

There was a time when I was younger that the falling of snow would quicken my heart, thoughts of sledding, snowball fights, making snow angels during the winter in Germany. Ah but those are all just memories of a time long past. My sled rotted away in the Georgia humidity, a slow sad death as the wood simply gave way after many years. Now the snow rarely falls and even rarer still is when it sticks to the ground for a day or two.

But it was the kind of day for spending time indoors, watching the sputtering snow storm trying to blanket the earth in vain.

On Process Improvement

Waste of Motion
try to use lean tools.
Stop an entire ocean
with a ship of fools.
Rub in calamine lotion
cause you broke the rules
created a commotion
sitting back on stools
flirting with poison ivy
forgetting lean tools.

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