happiness

How To Succeed in Life When You Have Bipolar

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Well, today’s title suggests a tall order.  In fact, I really don’t know how to succeed in life despite my Bipolar because I haven’t sat down and written out what I think I need to do to succeed in life.  Maybe that could be a good topic to consider-goals.  I really like to quote a study that was once undertaken where a graduating group was asked if they had clear, concise, written goals for themselves and when the same people were checked years later, the three percent or so that had written goals had made more money than the entire rest of the graduating class.  What this tells me is that writing has power.

When I was younger, one of my goals was to write books and I had written down these goals.  I had other goals I didn’t write down like learn 3 or four languages, get my pilot’s license and become a military officer.  None of these came true, but my goal of writing-that really went a long way.  One of the reasons I think this is was because I worked at it a tiny bit each day for a very long time.  I regret to say that for a period of time I did nothing but chat in various chat rooms and pursue relationships with people I would never meet, but I kept returning to my writing goal knowing that if I failed at it I would be losing something very important in my life and it came true.  One of the reasons for that could be the power of keeping  a journal.  One day soon I want to head down to the basement and read some of the journals I wrote when I was just starting out as a writer and see how my thinking has progressed.  I do know that now as it has been a long time since I drank alcohol, a long time since I gambled, and a very long time since I was without proper medications that my thoughts have cleared up a great deal.  Years ago I had some thoughts in my head that I had a very hard time letting go of, everything from resentments to imagined relationships with females, and I think for these reasons they have gotten a lot better.  I also would like to thank the power of meditation for clearing up my thinking.  I haven’t done it in a while, but meditation is a powerful tool for freeing the mind from negative thinking.  You can actually train yourself to push away negative thoughts and embrace positive ones through meditation.

One of my favorite forms of meditation is simply snorkeling at the swimming pool.  I start out my workout by sitting in the hot tub to get my joints moving and then strap on flippers and mask and snorkel and propel myself through the water, enjoying the silence and freedom from the outside world.  It is so relaxing and renewing.

Another huge part of being a success, aside from sitting down and getting a clear idea of what you want to accomplish to succeed, is to become a part of a community.  I have lived in the neighborhood I now live in for 14 years and it is simply wonderful.  It took some time, but now when I walk down the street I know my neighbors and am always glad to stop to talk with them.  It started out with me volunteering at the local community newspaper, something that looks great on a resume and it grew so that now I have many friends living near me and many opportunities as a result of knowing these people.  The editor of the paper, Paula, edits my short stories and other writing for free and gave me a great deal on this website.  My neighbor Gary down the street is an accomplished writer himself and is a great guy to go to poetry readings and other events with.  There is also a community in the people that live in the group home I’m in which is perhaps the most important one in my life right now.  There are around 20 people who I can call at any time, who I can talk to each day, borrow from or lend to.  There is also staff, but there is something very important about having other people around who have mental illnesses because I need to feel comfortable as a person with a mental illness and when people around you are going through the same thing, you can feel so much more free to be yourself.

I often wonder about some of the people from the US who read this, especially the ones that suffer from Bipolar Disorder or other mental illnesses, not to mention some of the people from far off countries.  I had a person read my blog from a place called Qutar the other day and I wonder about what it must be like to live in a more judgemental type of atmosphere and have a child who suffers or be someone who suffers.  As usual, I am always more than ready to talk to anyone who wants help in understanding what they may be going through, viking3082000@yahoo.com

So when you boil it all down, what does it take?  First, you need a plan, you need to brainstorm what success is to you.  It can be owning a motorbike or a car, it can be having a job or having a better job.  Details count.  Then you need to find people who will be your friend and support you in your quest to accomplish these things.  Many people out there don’t want to see you succeed but quite often if you talk with them and perhaps even impart some of these principles to them they will not only support you, they will learn how to succeed themselves.  Then, once you have got your list, you need to make realistic and achievable steps to get to these goals.  If you want to know more languages, start with a free course from the library.  If you want to make more more money, read the book I talked about “The Richest Man in Babylon” and take the advice of carefully putting away 10-30% of your income after all of your expenses and learn how to make more money.  If you want to simply have more friends and a better social life, seek out organizations in your community where you can meet people your age.  It can be a political party, it can be a writer’s group, it can be a mental health organization.  If you want to write, commit to filling a page each day with your journal entries and writing about each movie you see, each book you read.  I am a firm believer in the library, I think a lot of things can be found there like book clubs, books on making more money in your chosen profession, books you can read to help you write better.  A lot of larger libraries will also have a writer in residence you can talk to about your writing goals totally free.  So you have to know when you will consider yourself a success, you need to take small steps, take advantage of resources out there, and make friends that will support your efforts.  I have taken these steps and life has gotten incredibly good for me over time.  Bipolar?  Take your medications, see your Doctor, work on your life issues with counselors and psychologists and in group therapy and then just baby step yourself back up.  If you are interested in seeing the choices I made and the things I went through, order a copy of “Through The Withering Storm” or “Inching Back to Sane” from the ‘books’ section of this website and let me know how things go.  All the best to all my readers!

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Some Say I’m Brilliant, I Just Want To Be Happy

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LOOKS NOTHING LIKE THIS NOW, JUST WANTED TO SEE AN IDYLLIC SHOT OF THE OPEN ROAD.

Well, I had a great day today.  I didn’t start the day off with a swim, which perhaps could have made it better, but I did get up on time and had a chance to speak on the phone with my very cool reporter friend who works for the St.Albert Gazette, my home town newspaper.  We went over some of the projects I’m working on and he was very kind to take note of my campaign to raise money to print and distribute a ‘mental health’ comic book.  I wrote this script you see for a comic and had it looked at by a person who does this sort of thing for a living, and he was impressed.  It is the story of a young man who ends up having mental health difficulties and nearly kills himself and goes in and out of treatment for his illness.  I wanted to do this project because I have a new job starting up soon where I will be going to schools and talking to young people about Bipolar and Schizophrenia and other mental health disorders and I want to be able to give them something they can relate to.  I have put a notice at http://www.gofundme.com/oneinfive1in5 asking those who want to help to donate until I reach my goal of $750.00.  It will take more than that, but that will help a great deal if I can get assistance.  Anyhow, my friend Scott Hayes from the Gazette is going to run the URL in the newspaper, which is kind of exciting.  I have had a lot of exciting news lately, I met with a woman who is going to connect me with a person who is writing a screenplay about Bipolar.  If it makes it to a movie, and I can be of help, I think I might be able to get work on the film as a creative consultant.  That’s all a long shot though, but I have to admit that I am greatly enjoying my life.  So, as my day progresses, I did the interview and then after supper I went to something called a “Story Slam” where you go and read a 5-minute story to an audience and random people judge your story and if you get enough points, you win a hatful of money ($180).  I didn’t win, but a number of people (not the number 0) told me I did well, and two people bought books off me for $20 each plus I won a new CD.  It was great really.  I won’t be performing another story there for two months, but I definitely want to make this a regular occurrence, I really liked the people I met and it was kind of cool to get up and read my story.  Tomorrow is going to be interesting, in the morning, a photographer from the Gazette is coming to take my picture and then at noon I am attending my first talk with regards to my new public speaking job and then the day finishes up with me attending an orientation session for work at 6:00pm.  The weather here in Edmonton is nice too, above freezing anyhow and all is well.  Check out today’s poem below the second photo of the day, below.

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HERE IS A SUNRISE PHOTO OF THE LAW COURTS IN SUMMER IN EDMONTON

 

All To Dust

 

A friend can often be the one to say

You change the world in such a special way

A true love can say you are the best

Don’t listen to the crap from all the rest

 

My friend I want to tell you that you are

Someone more than you think you are by far

I say these words to you because I care

This world was meant for you and I to share

 

In days gone by we talked of those we loved

And those among us who pushed us and shoved

There are people who only want to hate

Forget them now, leave them to their fate

 

We must love those who care and hold them close

Forget those jerks who only strut and pose

My friend my life, my world is in your hands

One day we shall realize all our plans

 

But first we must get past those childhood days

Perhaps this friendship is simply a phase

Because though we cling together right here

We can’t be friends forever I do fear

 

One day a lover will come to us both

Who we will join to with a special oath

Perhaps also children will come to us

With love that turns our friendships all to dust

 

It’s sad but true that this is how things work

Just don’t forget this new love has its perks

Because as childhood friendships fade away

New love will give new ways to laugh and play

 

We will walk in true happiness and peace

Love will give our hearts and minds a new lease

Think of me Christmas each year my friend

Always warm wishes I will still extend

 

Leif Gregersen

January 15, 2015

Poetry of December

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Well, it has been a long week, it seems to be long anyway, even though it is just Thursday.  I think a lot about when I was a kid and how in elementary and junior high school I would look up at the clock and count the hours, minutes, seconds until I could leave.  Sometimes I would even do this when I had work to do although most of the time school didn’t keep me as busy as many of the other students.  I don’t regret my school days at all, actually I really started to like going to school when I made it to high school. Good old Paul Kane High, so many good memories.  Not long ago there was a 25 year class reunion posted to Facebook and I was blocked from viewing it by the administrators of the site.  It did hurt but as the man says, “The Best Revenge is Living Well”.  I really feel very blessed this year, I mentioned a few posts back that I had a great birthday, but my birthday seems to be still going.  Today I received a wonderful package in the mail from my old friend Caroline.  She sent me socks, a t-shirt she thought would look good on me, chocolates, special tea and even a delicious box of ready to make noodles.  And then later the same day my Dad gave me the news that my sister had just sent $75 in the mail for me.  I seem to be making out like a bandit this year.

One of the things that I think is very special about this year, and a few previous is how I seem to be able to form strong bonds with people.  Funny enough, I have a cousin who lives in Ontario who I don’t talk to a whole lot but I have become good friends with his wife Kirsten.  A few years back, her and I were chatting on Facebook and she had to go and answer a phone call and I thought to myself, “why don’t I write her a nice poem about England?” and so I did, right off the top of my head.  She came back and read it and said, “What a lovely poem Leif, who wrote it?”  I simply said, “I did-just now.”  her response?  “Fuck off!”  That really made me laugh.  I think I had to write more poems for her to convince her that I really do have something of a gift for poetry.  The super neat thing is that Kirsten and my cousin Brian at the time were University Professors and they used some of my poems as illustrations in their courses.

Yesterday a friend was talking to me and was telling me he was very sad because a close friend of his had a daughter who lost a newborn baby to an illness at the age of 3 months.  I felt touched by the words he told me and decided to write a poem for the family, perhaps to be read in the eulogy.  I don’t want to repeat the poem here, I kind of feel it is too personal, but it excites me that one day as I get better known I will be able to tailor-make poems for important occasions.  The whole world seems to be wide open for me right now.  I even have a new poetry book coming out some time soon.  Anyhow, I am going to post a photo here again I think, scroll down past it for today’s poem.  Thank you dear readers.

 

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A Poet’s Night

 

 

Winter’s night so dark

Crisp cold snow all around

I’m alone but not lonely

There is little sound

 

I don’t hurt inside

On nights like these

I have my books

I have mid-winter’s gentle breeze

 

My poems keep me

From wandering thoughts

Of all I once dreamed of

All the things I’m not

 

In the darkness

I can always say

Peace and contentment

Are never far away

 

I can open any book

And be in another place

In another mind

Even out in space

 

An old young man

With a soul that’s been to hell

Finally I have all I wanted

Happy alive and well

 

I’m so dearly lucky

To have my dim-lit room

Volumes of poems

Both to write and consume

 

Thoughts of loved ones

On this Earth and loved ones gone

Keep me working, writing

Keep my spirit strong

 

If there is just one out there

Who cares for you

No such thing as being lonely

No such thing as being blue

 

And if you lack a love

To call your own

Remember there are hearts out there

Even more alone

 

Tomorrow is your new chance

To find that hurting soul

Give a little of yourself

And feel warm and whole

 

Never stop hoping

That you will make your way

Never stop knowing

You have something to say

 

Pick up your pen

Write out your heart’s true longing

Speak of wandering

Of not belonging

 

And then one day

Someone will read about you

They will understand

Know your heart is true

 

 

 

Leif Gregersen

 

December 11, 2014

Poetry and Short Story Day

Well, it has been a creative day for me.  I have written a sonnet, a short story and a prose poem (which I am going to share with you just after this blog entry for today).  Today is the final lesson of my poetry course which I have really been enjoying.  In the past couple of days I have pushed my limits and gone out to read poetry at two public gatherings and it felt really good.  I also did something I don’t know if I will regret.  Last week I had this bright idea that if I went and purchased something nice for myself I would be motivated to get out and work to help pay it off and maybe even buy more stuff like it.  I ordered a $700 camera online and in the time it took to get here I decided I was going to take it back when I got it.  Then the box came and the idea of having a 200mm lens on a camera that took pictures with 24+ Megapixels and was brand new was just too much temptation, and I changed my mind and opened the box up.  I have to admit, it does take pretty good photos, there is one that I coached my roommate into taking with it that I think is worthwhile posting below.  That kind of picture quality with a good lens just makes the colours and tones so rich and alive.  I have one hope for my financial state of affairs for Christmas, I have sent off an article to a magazine called “Esprit De Corps” which is the official magazine of the Canadian Military.  The article was about an incredible story of courage and skill in soldiering which resulted in a stupendous victory for the UN Forces in the Korean Conflict.  It would be so cool if I could get that published for a few bucks.  Even if they just want to publish it though, I would be happy because the magazine has such esteem from a wide audience in Canada.

Going to the Rouge Poetry “Breath in Poetry Collective” was just great the other day.  This is the place I talked about in my “Tuesday Night” poem in the previous blog.  I was able to read three of my poems, enjoy being entertained by others and made some connections with fellow writers.  There was this one young girl who could only read one poem and then had to leave who was really interesting to talk to.  She was actually underage (no, I didn’t see her as a love interest) but recited an incredible poem for the lounge and was very interested in my own poetry.  She had also read a book that few people have the fortitude to get through, “Les Miserables”.  I think if a lot of young people are like her, old guys like me have to watch out, the next generation to come along just might surpass what mine can do.  Anyhow, I will post my new photo from my new camera below this and I hope you enjoy today’s poem!

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My Dream Girl

 

 

I miss you dream girl

That gentle smell of you maybe the most

You were a bit of a Tomboy

But you had the taste of a fashion model

You could cook the most divine of foods

We had so much fun

Going from place to place

Talking for hours eating in all the best restaurants

That smell, that gentle scent of flowers was the best

It made me love being near you

Having you in the car

That you were upset over me getting rid of

I know you liked me driving you around

But I had my problems too

My balance was never the same since the pills I have to take

I hoped you could understand that

 

You had the cutest little turned up nose

And that sexy sound of your voice

Just drove me nuts

So sweet, so sensual

You would go into all these details

Of your romps and adventures

It was the hardest though when we would say goodbye

Always with a hug

Those athletic curves next to me

It was almost painful to hang out with you

Knowing that you likely never felt

How I felt about you

 

You confessed to me once

That you were an addict

A still-practicing one

But I didn’t care

There was more than enough good about you

That I could go on loving

Someone who needed to dull the pain now and then

Your soft dark brown hair used to make me want to run my fingers through it

Give your soft lips a passionate kiss

Those moist dark brown eyes the perfect accent to your face

 

I knew when you would get sad

You would lose some of the wind in your sails, look down at the ground

You would have to find some way to get a drink

Or even a few of them

And I would sit with you

Or take the bus out in the morning to get your truck

So you wouldn’t have to drive drunk

I remember you telling me about your abortions

I wondered how you could take a tiny life that grew inside you

It hurt me

But I know it hurt you as well

When I looked in those eyes

 

 

Then one fine summer day

Sitting on my porch waiting for your cab

It all fell apart

You were kissing me goodbye

You kissed me a few times

Each time telling me you loved me

I didn’t understand you meant loved me as a friend

Or like a brother

I would have been happy with that

But I wanted you so bad

Took the kiss as a chance to make my move

And it all ended there

I miss you dream girl

 

Leif Gregersen

November 20, 2014

http://www.edmontonwriter.com