Mental Health Mind Reading

Scroll down for today’s blog if you want to skip today’s photo and poem. the photo below is a black and white I took of a bedsheet after throwing it up in the air


January One, 2017; 5:15am


Outside is still and dark, silence fills the land

On this day hope begins anew with New Year plans

We gathered in the cold to greet this year

With promises to set aside unhappiness, anger and fear


As the new day dawns, I promise to all of you

That there is not one thing that I promise to do

Other than put my friends and family always first

Through the lazy easy happy times and through the worst


I do know that many challenges will come to us

I just ask that you do your best and always trust

That our good times will greatly overwhelm the bad

And that you must call me any time you’re feeling sad


This day is also set aside to recall the past

None of our futures are singularly cast

Each of us together or apart can change our fate

If we just let go of all that bitterness and hate


Anger and anxiety consumes us from within

Worse than not receiving forgiveness for our sins

It hurts us as it drives those we love away

It can cause us to end up alone one day


Family is so very necessary for us all

Please don’t forget those great words, “divided we fall”

And please care for the elders in your community

One day we’ll be among them, you and me


A love still dwells in my heart for everyone

Not just at year’s end but with each setting sun

For all the friends and lovers who shared my hurts and joys

For those who taught me love, gentleness and poise


And I could not pass without saying something for

The teachers who opened so many doors

From my little niece who taught me how to care

To the instructors who wisdom followed me everywhere


I now vow to all of you to never stop

Looking past the little challenges, striving for the top

And also, I give a special word to those who wear a uniform and fight

I want to thank you all for risking your lives for what we know is right


Leif Gregersen

     Well, I haven’t got a lot to say regarding mental health. I have been experiencing anxiety lately and it has been working negatively on my stomach. As a result, I felt nausea last night and took a couple of gravol which helped the bad feeling and helped me sleep and even relax a bit. I got up and wrote a long letter to a friend I have been relying on way too much for our own good. She is this very kind and caring young woman and we have met for lunch a few times and I actually started to think we might go out, but I discovered she had no such intentions. She is so nice though that she has decided to keep me as a friend which I am very glad of. The problem that’s been happening lately is that she has been busy and I have been short of things to do since everything is shut down for the holidays and I live alone (yes, big mistake for someone with a mental illness!) I contacted her a couple of times and my anxiety started making up all these ideas. First I thought I was bothering her, then I wrote back hoping to make her less worried about me, then she sent me a quick text and I thought that she was ‘weirded’ out about me doing that. I keep stumbling over my words and it isn’t helping that my social skills and confidence are diminished from living alone. I still have a good friend in my life who I talk to a lot, but I would hate to lose this other person as a friend. I am kind of wondering if I need to up my dose of anti-anxiety medication despite the possible dependancy and side effects. I hope someone out there can identify with this and maybe take something out of it they can use. I wish there was a support group out there that was free and ongoing for neurotics like me.

A Little Basic Planning and the Apple Watch

DSC_0145            A Beautiful Christmas Day View Of The MacDonald Hotel In Downtown Edmonton

(don’t forget to scroll down past today’s poem for my blog entry)

Good Friends Through The Years


As each year passes good friends will come and some will go

As these times pass us by I want to write and let you know


You my friends and loved ones are the best part of me

If only I had more than just simple words to make you see


How much of my life I truly owe to all of you

And how you make my heart and soul feel new


Life was tough and bad luck had me down for quite a while

But now when I feel down I can think of my friends and smile


My friends and I don’t all have the same image of a perfect world

But into that same great void we will all one day be hurled


There are friends so close and true they are almost family

I have so many dear friends that mean so much to me


Some know me only through the words I write

But they are there for me in darkness and in light


It is heavenly to have good friends in the summertime

And having friends in deepest winter can be sublime


It’s more important that your friends are there through good or bad

There will be times when friends seem to be the only thing you have


As a teen friends and I loved to pile into a car

Race off and get some beer or find a bar


But the friends I have now like me with or without booze

It seemed that all my teenage friends could do was use


And then there is true love warm and precious that can grow

From someone who is already a friend of yours you know


A love like this can make your heart feel reborn and new

Nurture these friendships, they can change your world for you


Just take care to proceed with caution lest you end up alone

Let any love grow slowly, naturally all on its own


And one last thing you really need to know

Love can cause you so much pain when it goes


But care for your friends and keep trying for that perfect love

Love and friends are the road to heaven and a gift from God above


Leif Gregersen

December 28, 2016

     Hello Dear Readers!  Well, a few more people have joined in the past few days.  I have been having problems with my creativity lately and decided that I should try and focus on poetry which comes a little easier to me than short stories.  Then yesterday morning I woke up and was still extremely groggy but had a great idea, to write about my true life experiences in Vancouver as a 19 year-old but add in elements of fiction.  It worked out nicely, and with the help of a few friends I worked it into something that I felt a bit proud of.  Anyone interested in seeing an advance copy feel free to email me at and I will be more than happy to send you one.

As far as mental health goes for today, I think that if I can do a bit of work, especially creative work, along with my daily life and mental health maintenance routine, I will be happy.  My daily mental health maintenance routine is something I knew about but learned a little more about in a class I took called “Wellness Recovery Action Plan” or Wrap.  It is a really beneficial course, it teaches you to become more aware of your triggers and to plan out things you can do to de-stress yourself.  I think I find it most useful in planning a day in which I just feel better mentally.  This includes of course taking my proper medication, but then goes to stuff that applies to anyone.  Clean clothes, brush teeth, make sure and eat three nutritious meals a day and get some exercise.  The exercise part is a bit difficult, but in this past year I made an investment in the Apple Watch Sport and it monitors and reminds you of three categories of fitness: how much you stand (it recommends once an hour for 12 hours of each day) how much you exercise (it recommends 30 minutes a day) and how many calories you burn (this you can set).  It takes into account your steps, your movements, your height and weight and is an excellent addition to a person’s daily routine.  At $500 it isn’t that affordable, but I should note it does a lot more than remind you and help you plan your workouts.  I can ask my watch anything, just like google (as long as my phone is within bluetooth distance) the other day I was at a loss to remember a writer and just asked my watch and it told me right away.  You can also ask it just about anything you can ask Siri on your phone like math questions, addresses.  It updates you on messages, lets you use it as a phone to call or receive calls.  I simply love it.  The other cool thing is that right on your watch face you get the date, the time, the temperature, your workouts and even the next sunset or sunrise time.  It makes things so handy to have all of this right on your wrist, my only real complaint is that it has to be charged approximately every 24 hours.

To get back to the mental health maintenance plan though, after exercise, I find it important to spend some time each day interacting with people.  If I don’t interact with anyone I take two giant steps back in feeling comfortable around others and I have to readjust myself when a social situation does come up.  So I spend a lot of time on the phone and try to engage my roommate and other group home residents at supper and other times.

Another thing that has a lot to do with mental health maintenance is how clean your house, apartment or room is.  Having a clean and organized room is huge.  I recently picked up a book called the ancient art of tidying up or something close to that and soon after reading it I threw out a bunch of stuff that may have been worth something but I wasn’t using it.  I also found a lot of garbage that wasn’t of any value at all and now I can walk around and do things in my room a lot more efficiently.  I have a ways to go, but it has already started to make me feel better.

I have been trying something to make myself happier lately that a good friend has kind of been pushing me to do, I have tried to add in more leisure time to my life.  Simple, fun things that I have always liked but not done because I felt it was more important to work until my fingers started to bleed on my keyboard.  I have been buying comic books and even toys and video games just to keep that inner child of mine happy, and it seems to work well and has even made me more of a personable, social person, which only adds to the medicine wheel of happiness.  I also know I would get a lot out of going to church, but I have had a hard time doing this.  I did attend midnight mass on Christmas which was really special and a lot of fun, I love Christmas carols!

Well, dear readers, I leave you at that.  As always I appreciate any feedback, comments.  Don’t forget to have a peek at my books page, I have written nine books now and would love if someone who follows my blog could read one or more of them (available at amazon in print and eBook) and review or comment on them.  Anyone curious should have a quick look at the amazon page for my first book, “Through The Withering Storm”, it recently got an incredibly good review by a well known psychologist with a Master’s Degree.  Happy New Year to all of you and let’s hope 2016 is a better and more peaceful year for everyone in the world, perhaps especially right now for Syrian refugees.


Working Out and Changing The Way I Think and Feel

IMG_7588It is said we are all physical, mental and spiritual beings.  This is where my spiritual side is nourished, and in today’s blog I talk about the other parts of me

     For some reason, I haven’t really got a clear idea of what I would like to write about today.  I didn’t do much yesterday, got up a bit late, went down to meet someone at the library about a radio interview on CJSR 88.5 FM, then did a bit of shopping.  Money goes so freaking fast these days.  I paid for some postage and some shipping envelopes and a few items at Safeway like coffee and such and a graphic novel at a used book store and suddenly more than $100 was gone.  Then when I got home I went onto eBay and ordered a telephoto lens for my new camera which set me back another $150.  If I didn’t have a part-time job, most of those things would be impossible.  As a note, I am a bit excited about the package I mailed, I am sending my two books, “Through The Withering Storm” and “Mustang Summer” to be considered for a distribution deal.  If they are accepted, I think this could mean a big difference in how many books I can sell and how far they will reach (across Canada).  I still think that my efforts are not 100% noble with my writing, though I don’t really do it for the money.  What I want to do is simply to be able to reach out to people, and I also really enjoy the feeling that people who read my stuff think that I am intelligent and have something to say.  So much of my life, especially after my first serious hospitalization has been a long series of running into people who think I am defined by my illness, so much so that I end up thinking the same.

I have been in a much healthier mental state lately though, even just the past couple of weeks have been better than the times before and so on.  I guess one of the things that has caused that is simply me attending these groups the Schizophrenia Society has been putting on.  As a person with Bipolar Disorder, among a group of people with Schizophrenia, I often dominate the question part of the meetings but no one seems to mind.  Many years ago I was very ill and went to a Schizophrenia group and they went around the room asking people their name and what they did, and when it came to me I said “I am Doctor Gordon Mowat and I research the disease.”  No one batted an eye, even after the discussion.  When I think back it seems kind of funny that no one asked why a Psychiatrist was only 20 and was living in a homeless shelter.  Now I can see the humor of it, but for a long time these things made me feel pretty bad.

I haven’t done much writing in the past few days, not even the odd poem.  I was at a point where I started thinking posting a new poem each day wasn’t doing me much good because I can’t submit poetry anywhere if it has been posted online already, but when I don’t have a place to post my poems I find I don’t write that much.  I recently wrote a Young Adult Novel as many know, but I don’t seem to be getting much response from the many people I sent it to to read.  I did get a very high piece of praise from my brother, who was a part inspiration of the story about how my writing is really coming along and another great piece of feedback from my Dad who said “It’s good.”  Coming from my Dad though, “It’s good.” is huge.  One person I am looking forward to getting feedback from soon is a man called Gary Garrison who just completed a book called “Human on the Inside”, a book about Canada’s Federal Prisons which was so good I read it for the second time the other week in a single sitting.  He is a great help in my work and has a PhD in English.  We attend poetry gatherings together often and he lives just up the street.  I hope Gary and I stay friends for a long time, even though there is a 24 year difference in our ages.  Gary is a very interesting person having left the US during the Vietnam war to escape the draft.

As far as mental health goes, I think I have been doing well.  One of the things that seems to make a big difference is learning about Buddhism and taking anger management.  I have been finding little ways to redirect my thoughts when I find myself being negative and the Buddhism is a great way to develop a spirit of compassion towards people.  I still find myself getting upset sometimes, it is really hard not to when you spend time in this city as a pedestrian and people in cars do things like race by you splashing mud on your clothes or park in front of you when you stand in front of a bus stop.  There was even a guy today who carelessly raced up to a stop where I was crossing and came extremely close to running me down.  Part of me really wants to lash out at these things, but in fact none of these people are really trying to be malicious and me getting angry isn’t going to punish them in some way that will correct their behavior.  In fact, me getting angry only poisons my own soul, so I am hoping I can learn to govern myself better.  I was a bit surprised today to find that I have high blood pressure (according to the self-test machine at the drug store)  I am going to have to take a look at my diet which often includes salty popcorn, salty oily french fries and other bad stuff.  In many ways I am still young at 43 but it is nearing the time when I have to keep a close eye on my health.  I haven’t been nearly as active in the past few weeks as I normally am having had a bad cold, which may be a factor as well.  When I was still a teenager, I was reading one of my brother’s bodybuilding magazines and in it a 70 year-old man was talking about how he pushed and challenged himself physically each day and how you never have to stop doing that, how he even reached new heights of abilities at his age.  I am also inspired by Sylvester Stallone, not only in his movie characters, but in his regular life where he works out like a madman to stay in shape.  He is truly a man to admire, but I am aware that he uses Human Growth Hormones which have altered his appearance.

Well, I will leave it off at that for today.  Anyone wanting to learn about what I know about fitness, nutrition, working out and all that, I have an eBook I wrote with a bodybuilding friend and the help of knowledge gained from reading weightlifting magazines and working out for many years.  It is called “Muscular Strength Training For Any Age” and I have had some good feedback on it.  It isn’t available on this page, but can be accessed through Amazon under my name or the book’s name.  All the best readers, stay healthy, stay safe and stay sane!

IMG_7742This is my Dad, Leif Senior, and the flag of Denmark.  He is standing outside the church in which I was baptized more than 40 years ago