Hello Good Readers!
I have had more people join me of late and I want to say I truly appreciate it. I have found that it really isn’t enough to have a website and a blog and put out good content, a person really needs to persevere diligently to accomplish something in this world. I have been writing stories now for a good part of my life and today I opened my mail to see yet another rejection from a publisher that I had kind of pinned a lot of hopes on. As a writer I kind of start to get numb to this kind of stuff, but even that numbness is something that isn’t good for a person’s mental health.
I wanted to sit down today and talk a bit about how rejection in this world due to mental illness happens. I have now written three memoirs (Through the Withering Storm, Inching Back to Sane, and Alert and Oriented x3, all available on amazon) and some people say I have a lot of courage to do that. I don’t think I have so much courage, the courage I see is in a person I worked with at the Schizophrenia Society who lost a child to suicide as a result of schizophrenia yet still goes out to tell her story and his story in hopes of helping people understand the illness more. This person used to say that in the 1960s, cancer wasn’t talked about. It was a dark, foreboding subject. When you got cancer you died, and all this stigma hurt people in many ways. When they started talking more about cancer, a miracle happened. More people learned how to self-test and were able to have medical intervention before the cancer killed them. Not everyone, but more people. Then we saw that people were being comforted, not shunned as someone with a communicable disease, talking about cancer meant there was also more donations to treatments and research. This is what I want to be a part of with schizophrenia. I am also diagnosed with bipolar, and anxiety, but schizophrenia is by far the worst part of my illness. The reason I write books and give talks to various groups is that I am very grateful that despite the tragedy of mental illness in my life, some wonderful doctors, caring staff and of course family members were able to help me enough so I could leave the hospital, and then start to build a life for myself that even a person without an illness would be proud of. The other reason I am bold in saying who I am is similar to why people who are gay want to be out, want to be open about how they feel, if you tell someone you have an illness and they ditch you as a friend or even family member as a result, that person isn’t much worthy of being your friend or loved one. I have had to make some tough choices.
But to get back to the rejection aspect, one of the things that I feel is noteworthy is that I have always wanted to meet an intelligent and attractive woman who I could laugh with and love, and share my life with. But more and more I am seeing how my idea of a perfect partner just may never happen. Certainly at 48 I don’t think I could even raise kids at all. One of the things though is that many times what ruined relationships was behaviours surrounding chronic mental illness, things like my cigarette habit, which I have thankfully gotten over or the fact that I find it really hard to keep my apartment clean and organized and even have problems with keeping up with my laundry. For the most part I have overcome these things, I did quit cigarettes, but not soon enough to heal a relationship with a wonderful young woman who said she would continue to see me if I quit smoking.
One of the ways I deal with rejection goes back to something I feel can cure a lot of maladies, meditation. When you train your mind not to be all over the place and learn to control thoughts as you regulate your breathing and are able to focus, you can look so much more objectively at rejection. To make a quick point, I have known monks who are not married and will never and have never been in a romantic relationship and are completely whole within themselves because they have trained themselves to the point where they are happy and content in any situation.
There is another thing that I find helps me deal with rejection, that is just going onto YouTube and doing a search for inspirational videos. Some of my favourites are the ones when they show dialogue and training scenes from Rocky movies or have motivational speakers speak over action scenes of extreme sports. Watching some of these does to me what is so essential for me to succeed and to keep on working towards something, simply sitting down to work. I just got a huge rejection letter, and I decided I can make this bad experience into a good one by sharing these words and reminding myself of the things I do when I want to get back on the horse that bucked me.
It is interesting to look back at my life and some of the things I did for work that help me now. What is even more interesting is that some of these jobs had absolutely nothing to do with writing or creativity. One of them was working in a plastics factory, with these massive hot machines spitting out two ice cream pails every ten seconds for me to put handles on and stack. Doing this hour after hour, day after day taught me that a person can accomplish some incredible things with patience and determination. I worked in that plant for just two weeks but the money I made in that time gave me enough for a down payment on an incredible sports car that brought a great deal of joy into my life. I remember the summer I had it, I tried to sit down and repeat how I accomplished those impossible tasks in the factory and give myself a leg up for post-secondary education. I would get off work at the gas station I worked at and make a pot of tea, then sit and read all I could from the book “Les Miserables” this was an incredible book, partially in French and though it took me a couple of weeks, I accomplished the gargantuan task of finishing it, just a few chapters at a time. In the same night I would read one act of a Shakespeare play and it started me off on a love of language and literature that I am still maintaining. I even signed up for a French course after reading the book and not being able to understand parts of it.
Sometimes what can really help a person focus on a goal like I had, be it a home study course, a book they are writing, or even just bettering themselves physically in sports or fitness, is simply to turn off the TV. You don’t need to give up on it, but if you simply cut out a couple of programs or re-runs you watch that you find you don’t get a lot out of, there is so much you can do with that time. I have to admit though, today I watched about 3 hours of TV which is not like me but I only watched documentaries about space and astronomy. I am doing this because I want to expand my personal skills into being able to write science fiction. I don’t want to try and force opinions on people, but I am kind of against regular TV programs, with the possible exception of a few choice ones. I find TV programs (as opposed to movies) to be too unrealistic, too censored and worst of all, I find that it is almost as if the TV people were trying to teach us morality and other things without a good foundation on any philosophy or religion. You turn on a sex comedy with younger actors and you start to think all the world is an orgy and that as long as you use protection, it is okay to have all the sex you want and just get an abortion if anything goes wrong. Then you flip over and get a prime time show that is so completely unrealistic that it doesn’t seem to portray any type of real people at all. Movies on the other hand seem to let you think for yourselves, be able to express aspects of real life (some of the time). I don’t want to tell anyone what to think though or what to do, I just want people to think about what goes into their minds and how they are spending their time. And I honestly want to say that when I want to learn something, documentaries are great, but it seems nothing substitutes a book. But that can even be debunked as a theory because I have gotten some incredible courses from my local library, all free that taught me a great deal through videos and audiobooks and something called Gale courses. This is perhaps what I most want to say about rejection. If you can dig in and bear it, then get back up and learn from your experiences, and above all keep going back to working out your goals, nothing can stop you.