Month: April 2015

Another Sleepless Night-I’m Just Going to Ramble Today


Good morning dear readers.  I have been interested lately in graphic novels.  I was even having fun collecting them, but not only do I have an obsessive side about collecting things, I have poor impulse control when it comes to buying things.  I also have a thing that I think is unique to people with Bipolar/Manic Depression in that I somehow need to purchase things, or find some kind of excitement.  When I was much younger I collected comic books, younger than that I collected movie trading cards.  All the time I had to be working towards a bigger collection or earning money to increase my stocks.  It is a good thing I think to try and do at least one thing a day, but my desire to find something memorable in life to do, brought on most likely by manic behavior can be good and bad.  It was good when I was learning to write and I would either write a full page in a journal or a poem each day, but when I was a teen I simply had to get out and at least try and meet a member of the opposite sex and also have a few drinks on a Friday or Saturday night.  I am sure I was one of the few people who went into a Pentacostal Church on a Sunday not having completely washed off the hand stamp from the night club from the night before.

This drinking culture was a very negative thing.  I don’t think I ever, in all the times I went there, met a young woman who I could date or even dance with.  What I do remember doing was going to these places and either having to shout over the music and never have any kind of conversation that would allow me to get to know someone, or to simply hang around looking for young women I had known from before that I could strike up some kind of conversation with.  Neither of these led to anything.  I don’t know if I am simply not attractive or if these places are just selling a dream for the price of a cover charge and alcohol.

Being in a 12-step program not long after my teen years ended didn’t even help that much.  As things began, I went 6 months without a drink but then a fellow member who I regret ever meeting, decided he was going to be some kind of hero and buy me a drink.  This followed with a very nasty relapse into binge drinking and cost me a couple of close friends from my teen years.  What I did find though, was that whether or not I was attractive, if I could get to know a female around my age and let her get to know me, I would do very well with the opposite sex.  Places like the bus, bookstores, work and classes I took were the best places.  The problem became when I would sign up for a class and only stay in it long enough to try and pick up the attractive women who were taking it.  It is almost frightening to think of how many of my thoughts revolved around sex and my ego as a pickup artist.  It was a bit different when I was in flying school, I would meet all kinds of prospective partners and get their phone numbers-Vancouver was a much easier place for me to ‘operate’ partly because I was away from all the bad memories that Edmonton held for me, partly because I was much more confident, and I am sure a good part of it had to do with my almost limitless energy that didn’t manifest itself quite yet in delusional thinking.

Delusional thinking was for a good part of my days a driving force.  The funny thing is that once I got proper treatment and accepted my illness, life got to be better than any subconscious constructed world of delusional thoughts.  Having things like a motorcycle and a nice home, a satellite dish and a sports care were just a few of the things life dropped in my lap.  One of the things that is perhaps hardest to deal with is that to this day I still have some obsessive thoughts about a female from way in my past.  I have no desire to contact her, no desire to have a relationship with her.  I don’t even think I would recognize her voice if she called me up and I am pretty sure she is married with children, but she pops up in my thoughts a lot.  For a time I wanted to contact her to confront some of the delusions in my head that told me she was trying to help me through some of my more difficult times, but whenever I tried I was either ignored or even had the police called on me.  I felt so bad about it for a while that I told my Doctor that I thought I was a stalker even though I have had extremely limited contact with this person and he told me that a stalker would never come to a Doctor for help, never admit there was anything wrong.  The other thing that is funny is that it seems that this ‘perfect princess’ syndrome cuts across a large swath of people with mental illnesses.  There is a guy living in a building a friend once lived in who repeatedly tried to approach a young woman who has screamed at him, ran away from him, and put ultimatums to him.  Another friend is obsessed with Tiffany Amber Theissen from the old 90210 TV show.  This is a little less harmless, but I see this again and again.  For a time this weighed heavily on me, and I tried to study what stalking was all about and came across instances where people were so mentally ill that they took it upon themselves to kill the object of their desire.  The funny thing I have learned though is that in the vast majority of cases, this never happens, mentally ill people are no more violent or criminal than any other segment of the population, and when they are violent it is more often directed at themselves.  I hope this gives a bit of comfort to anyone out there reading who may have this problem.  I can’t just sit and tell people to let go, it would be very nice if I could ‘let go’ but these thoughts are beyond my control.  What I simply keep telling myself is that the delusional person has nothing at all to do with the actual person the delusions represent.  I also try to keep a close eye on my manic episodes, even though they are much milder, and I am the first person to request a higher dose of medication if I feel I am slipping away from sanity.  The sad fact for a lot of people is that our illnesses, be they schizophrenia or bipolar or OCD, could possibly get worse and there is no special assurance that physical health will go the other way than mental health.  What I mean to say is that we already have all the problems of normal people plus the cross of our illnesses to bear.  My best advice is to keep seeing a Psychiatrist, be as honest with him/her as you can and build relationships not based on alcohol or drugs or sex.  Find true friends and life will always be worthwhile.


What The Creator Gave Us All


The Children, The Garden and The Pets We Love


We seem to have messed around with the creator’s plan

He gave us all to share and nurture life in this sacred land

Most don’t seem to care that we poison our mother earth

Each day that we live starting at our very birth


Many people have said many times to me

You will go crazy living in the North Country

But this is the only place I know that I can see

Clean air and water, this is the place I need to be


This is our precious home to walk and gather as we sit

I worry so much about what man’s hand does to it

Don’t people know there is room for all to fit

If not here then in the deepest recesses of the fiery pit


That is where we all will go if we take this place

And destroy it collectively, the whole human race

It was given to all of us by the creator’s grace

And one day our creator we will all have to face


Each blade of grass, each tiny bird

Was bequeathed to man in God’s word

Yet species die off every single day

And mankind’s hope slips further away


We frack for oil and leave the waste behind

Are these fat cat oil billionaires blind?

All they seem to see in the land is dollar signs

To pull one strand of the web will make the web unwind


It makes me feel so sad that soon there will be no hope

When we lose all our plants and animals how will we cope?

All these precious creations given to us all

Soon will be no more and mankind will truly fall


In a far off place one tired old medicine man

Was the only one who could truly understand

No matter the reward, this was a lousy plan

To refuse to change, though we know we can


I ask you all to be a good steward of our planetary gift

The creator will reward us if we make something of it

The earth, the air, the water and all the life

Avoid the pain, avoid the deep and searing strife


It is all so simple, yet so many have it oh so wrong

You need to hear the medicine man there was a solution all along

You can’t walk in peace by covering the world in leather

Cover just your feet and in harmony walk this land together


Leif Gregersen

April 1, 2015


Well, this is a difficult topic.  I remember that one of the very first times in my life that I went to a church of my own accord I was in Alberta Hospital, a Psychiatric hospital near Edmonton.  My mind was ablaze with delusions and so were the minds of several other people in the room.  It was a Catholic service, but I had no idea about different religions or services.  All I could really remember was that when I was about 12 or 13 my brother and sister would take me to church and one time my brother pointed out a particularly cute young woman and told me that girls like that were half the reason he went to church.  My reason for going to church was that I was having delusions that some very wealthy people were conspiring to either bestow great riches and rewards on me or to kill me or thwart my efforts to control the world, etc., etc., etc.  It was actually a bit, no a lot–scary.  I somehow believed that in order to be the world or business leader that this mental hospital was somehow trying to convince me I wasn’t, I had to go to church.

All this must seem very confusing, and I am sure I am not telling the story all that well, so I will try to go back a few notches.  In my 18th year, back in 1990, almost a year after I should have graduated high school, I was still going to high school and had been under a great deal of stress.  Add to that I had yet to have any kind of girlfriend and then the fact that I was genetically prone to mental illness, and you have a real mess.  Over the course of a month or so I was in and out of hospital Psychiatric wards and had also spent some time in a Psychiatric Hospital.  One of the first things I did when I got home from the hospital was start drinking beer, a very bad idea with any medication, and I got a little drunk and called up a young woman I was very fond of who brushed me off but said she would still be my friend.  Over the next while, I suffered from psychotic delusions so real and so intense about a number of things that even now I marvel at how the human mind can come up with such false ideas and somehow tailor every day experiences to make them even more confusing.  My only idea was that there really was a God.  But that isn’t always the healthiest thing to convince a mental patient.

As time passed, my thoughts slowly returned to normal, but not until after I went through quite a bit.  One of the things that stands out for me is that when I was at my sickest, a hospital chaplain would come and visit me, a very kind and wise man from the Anglican church.  Later on in my mental health journey, I was in the University Hospital and I went to a service there and, while having a hard time with delusions, had another chaplain explain to me that the bible had predicted the end of the world and some of the things in it were really happening in the world despite that it was written thousands of years ago.  This was extremely disturbing, but somehow I tried to learn more and after a lot of mishaps, I found a church that makes a lot of sense to me with a priest I really like and respect, and on some Sundays I actually make it out to mass.  The problem though is that there were times in between where I was obsessed with reading the bible, times when I thought I had special status because I read the bible and prayed and went to church, and even times when I had delusions about Jesus.  So what is the solution, what is my grand answer to what people should believe if they are sick and hurting and want the comfort of religion or even spirituality?  I don’t think a loving God, and I believe he is a loving God, will hold anything against a person who has made mistakes because of an illness.  My priest even told me once that when you are mentally ill and deep into a depression, though it is not exactly giving permission, it is a forgivable sin to commit suicide.  In no way do I want to condone suicide though, it is a horrible thing, but often people who are in a depression are not in true control of their actions.  This gave me comfort because I lost an aunt and a very close friend to suicide, both from depression and I would like to think I will see them in heaven.  Aside from the forgiveness part of it though, I want to try and explain here that suicide is something that hurts so many people, something that is never beneficial.  One of the sad facts is that unless you make a serious suicide attempt, a lot of hospitals won’t admit you for help you may feel you need for other things.  I am so lucky because I have found a home that gives me structure and enforces medication compliance and regular Doctor and Pharmacist visits.  I myself have lived on my own and fallen away from those things and let myself get isolated and been near wanting to kill myself.  One of the few things that helped me through those times was having the ability to go to church and bible studies.

Now, I just want to say a few words about when religion can be a bad thing.  Some mentally ill people get obsessed with reading the bible, some of them misinterpret or have delusions about things in the bible.  This can be very unhealthy, but I don’t know what the solution is.  I know one lady who has Schizophrenia who had a breakdown as a result of reading the bible too much and needed help, needed her Doctor to step in and tell her to stop reading the bible and increase her medication.  Regular visits to your Psychiatrist and counselors are your best bet in watching out for things like this to happen.  Regular visits where you are as honest and comfortable as you can be with these people.  In my life, and I feel like I have a pretty good life, I sometimes use Yoga for exercise and flexibility, I sometimes use techniques I learned from Buddhist teachers to meditate and clear my thoughts, and I also attend a Catholic church.  In the end, I feel it is most important that I’m a Catholic because the church has a lot to offer me and the people seem so kind and helpful there to everyone.  It doesn’t stop me from finding comfort in other religious practices though, I just kind of feel that people need to follow the wisdom from an old Frank Capra movie, I believe it was called “The Snows of Kilamunjaro” in which an old monk summed up his philosophy in one sentence:  “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”  Take care and keep commenting!!