Behind Locked Doors When There Was No Crime

This is a picture of me when I was in my early 20s. I think one of the coolest compliments I ever recieved was when I showed it to a female friend and she said, “Wow, you really had the whole Val Kilmer thing going for you back then.” I suppose I had the advantage of good looks for a time, but there was so much going wrong withmy life. I think at the time I still hadn’t been able yet to be completely honest with my Doctor and I had some misconceptions about trusting a psychiatrist to give me the proper meds I needed. When I look at this photo it makes me a bit sad because I see the torn hand me down jeans, the jacket my brother gave me which was the only decent clothing I owned. The orange sweater is one my Dad gave me from his store of clothes. Around this time I was going to adult high school and met a friend who I still talk to to this day, but I have no real clue as to why it lasted this long. When I look at this photo it doesn’t even seem like me.

So, for a bit of irony I will tell you all Dear Readers that as I write this blog entry I am currently a patient on a psychiatric ward. I have been here a month and tomorrow I am going to go home for the weekend and I don’t have a clear idea as to what is waiting for me. All I really do know is that there is a lifetime of books, comics, video games and two places to sleep (along with a ton of frozen meat that I truly hope is still okay) that will be a great deal better than staying here. When I come back from my pass, if all has gone well I will be discharged. One of the odd things about this stay is how sick I was when I came in and how quickly I came back from it all. I did use some of the advice I put on this blog, but I have been very lucky to have incredibly caring and intelligent staff members to help me through, as well as being in a hospital where no expense was spared to make sure the mental, physical and spiritual needs of the patients have been met.

When I came into the hospital, I was in a serious psychosis. I believed that two men from the building I live in had come to kill me and possibly kill my Dad. It was a completely unfounded idea, but I didn’t want to take any chances. I stood my ground until the police, called by my Dad, came to intervene and get me in an ambulance and on to the hospital. Once I saw the police had come I relaxed almost right away and even talked with one of the officers who had seen me speak at his recruit class. But sadly that was where, for a while at least, that I had my last dose of respect from people who were there to help me. I got to the hospital and I thought that everyone was avoiding me and that I stunk horribly so I asked for a gown and a garment bag and went into the bathroom and changed right while I was waiting into a ridiculous piece of hospital clothing that barely covered me. Then, my old enemies anxiety and paranoia surfaced, along with the psychosis (split from reality) that I was experiencing. For a while I really thought I was going to jail though I had done nothing to warrant it.

After incidents I honestly have very little recollection of, I was sent to the hospital where I am now, but not to the quiet and comfortable ward I am on now, I was sent to the locked ward. I can’t even begin to describe how chaotic places like this can be. I did what I could, drank coffee like mad and read until finally I was put over to this ward. There have been some blips, but not a single fight here on the more stable ward, though for a while I still had ideas in my head that someone had a gun and was going to kill me. As I look back in hindsight, there was actually very little animosity. I mostly keep to myself here and try to read and help others when I can. I have to admit to a healthy bit of fear of some of the others, but as I adjusted even those fears dissolved.

I am wondering what tomorrow will bring. How I will cope with the shock of being home. When I went home the other day on a day pass, it seemed that the building was going downhill. For a while I had thought my only solution was to forget about my apartment and head to BC. After a visit and a talk with my building manager, I really don’t think that will be needed. I just really can’t wait to sleep as long as I want, drink tea when I want and not have to report in to anyone.

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