Hello. I made a small error, the link to watch my presentation tonight is going to be https://youtu.be/StE2mgmBRVc please do not use the previous one!
Hello. I made a small error, the link to watch my presentation tonight is going to be https://youtu.be/StE2mgmBRVc please do not use the previous one!
Hello to all my amazing supporters. Just wanted to let you know I am having a book reading and Q and A session tonight regarding my book: “Alert and Oriented x3: A Snapshot of a Severe Psychosis” this will be on zoom and all are welcome. The show is tonight (July 7) at 7:00 pm Mountain Standard Time. Please feel free to share the zoom link below:
Hello Good Readers!
I have not been making many entries, what has been happening is that I have been publishing articles in different places, and I encourage you to read them and contact me with what you think of them. I will try and make time for more blogs soon, I love working on this website and the people who join me each time I write something. Please visit OC87 Recovery Diaries where you will be able to either listen to a podcast of my latest publication, or read the essay as a normal article. The link is below, you may have to copy and paste it into the window of your browser. All the best to everyone!
Hello Good Readers. It has been quite a while. I have so much to apologize for, I have neglected those who trusted and cared for me the most, you my dear readers. That has to change.
To begin, I have been writing a lot of essays like the ones I write here, but publishing them, which makes me feel wonderful only I miss the days of my simple blog and some short time spent checking hits. For those of you who like my essays, my latest publication is now appearing in an online magazine called “Anti-Heroin Chic” and can be found by clicking here: http://heroinchic.weebly.com/blog/in-all-too-long-a-time-by-leif-gregersen
Things seem to be humming along. I am busy but ever grateful for being blessed with many friends and wonderful people in my life. In the past few weeks I have had 2 articles published, 2 more approved, taught a few classes and spent time with some amazing people. I would have loved to make this post another mental health help video, but the link to that essay if already one and I am not only weary but somewhat overworked.
There is one thing I wanted to talk about, I have been reading a book by the most incredible author, Elisabeth Kuubler-Ross. The book is about death and dying and is so incredibly beautiful and comforting. In all the time that has passed, I have my doubts that I have truly grieved the loss of my mom and this book is showing me the work of an amazing woman who wanted to see what she could best do to comfort those who are in their last days, and in so doing, open the door to the final frontier of medicine: How do you give hope and comfort to those who have no hop[e.
It is my hope that many of you look for her books, even if you haven’t experienced a loss. It is absolutely captivating.
All the best dear readers, please feel free to leave any comments about my essay here or on the website. Thanks to all of you for your support and kindness!
Hello my good readers. I have been hard at work crafting essays and working on a writer’s workshop. I promise to post again on my very next sleepless night. In the meantime, please feel free to check out my latest publication on the US-based news magazine “The News Station” which can be found here: https://thenewsstation.com/the-war-on-stigma-can-be-won/
Well, I have to admit it, I have been getting complacent, so I thought it would be a good time to sit down and write. I have some bad news off the top, it looks like there is really no way I am going to have my new book, “Voted Off the Crew” ready for the launch date. On the good side of that, I am having it professionally edited and I think the end result of what will become of the book will be something my readers will enjoy more and I will be more proud of.
As for me, I have been isolating a lot but doing some writing that I really think might help make a difference. I have written essays for the websites, “OC87 Recovery Diaries” and “The News Station”. It feels good to publish, especially since in the case of the above, I am publishing about my mental health experiences. But I almost feel I need to shock myself into getting off my butt and getting down to doing more with each precious day I have.
I think it is something that people with mental illnesses are prone to, for a couple of days all I did was lay in bed. At first I gave myself the excuse that it was because I had a headache, which was true, then I had some pretty severe stomach pains and wanted to use that as an excuse to lie around, but when I got up and went for a mid-day walk, I soon forgot about any headache and my stomach pain went away.
I am not saying that everyone out there with health issues is being weak or lazy, but I am thinking that sometimes when you get into a rut it can be really helpful to get some fresh air and exercise. I love taking walks because they are fairly low-impact and you don’t need any fancy equipment, most of the time you don’t even need to change. You just head out your door and plan not to be back for an hour more or less.
A close friend who was both a medical student and a lifeguard once told me that in the case of just about everything, exercise is the best medicine. Of course there are limits, but if you find yourself in a funk and you aren’t doing anything constructive, try and get a little exercise in. There are also things you can do around the house that can be very beneficial and simple. You can lean against a wall and push away from it, doing what I call ‘low-impact push-ups’ you can do sit-ups, use tension to push your arms against each other at the fists or another point to build tone and strength. You can even find a second hand Yoga mat or invest a few bucks in a new one and go along with some of the many Youtube videos of Yoga classes.
Fortunately, my recent complacency hasn’t made me miss any of my doses of medication. If that happens to you, do your best to resume your medication at the point you are at. Don’t try and catch up and take a couple off doses, if it is Tuesday, start with Tuesday’s dose and move on. If you have been off medications and notice you are experiencing severe depression or voices, paranoia, or any of your old symptoms, either get to see your doctor as soon as you can or get to an emergency room, it could be a long wait, but there will be psychiatrists on call who can assess you and see what the next best course of action should be.
So I am hoping my words will be helpful. Getting complacent is a dangerous place to be in, a person should always remember what things were like when they were in a hospital setting or otherwise having a hard time and make an honest decision as to whether or not they want to go back to all that. Mental and physical health, which are deeply related, need daily and careful maintenance. If you are off your medications and not feeling good about yourself, find a way to see a doctor, and make a phone call before you do anything. There are crisis lines in Canada and the US that can help you through these difficult times, all you need to do is google, dial, reach out, and there will be someone there to listen.
The number for the suicide help line in Canada is: 1(833)456-4566
In the US, the number is: 1(800)273-TALK (8255)
Hello Everyone! I can’t contain my excitement, today I learned that the lion’s share of the editing of my new short story collection is done! Not much more to do to get it out to anyone who would like a copy. But, out of respect for the people who have read this blog and want to continue to read about mental health, I have started a new blog on Goodreads. To view it, all you have to do is visit https://bit.ly/3dph936 Sign up for the blog and I will inform you of updates, encourage you to pre-order, and to ‘Friend’ me on Goodreads so I can invite you to the launch party where I will be giving away a bunch of books that I will mail out, including a couple of copies of my “Mental Health Memoirs”
In the new blog, I will be giving suggestions on books to read, talking about the writing craft, and just generally keeping people up to date on my work and how it is coming along. The hope is to have my book launch event on May 9/21 which is just 3 weeks away. After that, I have been given the huge honour of a scholarship to a two-week writer’s workshop, so I am hoping to bring readers and writers together after each session to talk about what I learned.
As for those who are having difficulties with their mental health, I often talk about journalling, which is something that is both beneficial for writers and for people who deal with mental illness. My mom used to keep a journal and it was a special place where she could tell her secrets, confess her sins, all without being worried what someone might think of her. She would simply write the date at the top of a page, write a number between 1 and 10 to show what her mood was, and then pour her heart out on the page. Sometimes I wonder if my mom, or even my dad could have been famous writers. Both of them read heavily, and had a great grasp of the English language. I like to think that writing is something that can be learned, it isn’t a skill that you are born with. And it doesn’t really matter much what you write. If you like alien conspiracies, fictionalize one and imagine what could happen. If you like romance, change the names and places and fictionalize a story about a true love you once had, whether it worked out or not.
I don’t want to push anyone into what they aren’t comfortable with, but this is kind of what I do for a living. Seriously. I work at our local psychiatric hospital teaching creative writing to patients, and it is so amazing to teach someone how to write something, and hear them making beautiful sentences and moving descriptions, it really helps people feel better about what they were going through. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot more to say on that. I am keeping a poorly guarded secret that I want to share with anyone who likes to read this blog, if you click on the photo to the right of the bridge with two towers, it will take you to a page where you can download a free book of mine that I wrote about a recent hospital stay. Please download it and read it, and consider signing up for my blog on Goodreads, I would love to have you! More to come, keep on tuning in!
Leif Gregersen, email@example.com
Don’t forget to ‘Friend’ me and mark my upcoming short story collection as ‘To-read’ so I can invite you to the book launch that will have some juicy giveaways!
Hello Dear Readers! I have been feeling awful that I haven’t written anything for a while that actually had to do with mental illness, and I apologize. I should clarify one thing before I go further, I am actually diagnosed with both schizophrenia and bipolar symptoms, as well as anxiety. I have been doing a number of talks lately and I often like to say that I am so fortunate that my medication controls almost all of my symptoms. What I didn’t say is that a good part of that symptom control isn’t necessarily from medication, I have also had to develop rhythms of living and ways of doing everything from bedtime to choice of video games.
For many years I was plagued by symptoms of bipolar disorder. I had a lot of desperate lows, and highs that were filled with poor choices that bordered on ignorance. When I wasn’t taking medication, often it wouldn’t take long for that to develop into psychosis (hence the schizophrenia symptom diagnosis). Having rapid changes from highs to lows and a general split from reality (if anyone would like to have me describe more about psychosis, please ask) would often have me end up in the hospital. I am very glad they didn’t cause me to end up in the grave or in jail, which they could have all too easily.
What I wanted to talk about in this particular entry was how I stop myself from having manic highs. I should note here also that I currently take Fluoxetine which is the generic form of Prozac, and it works a miracle on keeping me out of depressions, though there are still times when I feel a little down. This is much better though than the desperate, crippling clinical depression I experienced while growing up and didn’t talk to anyone about. What I have the biggest problem with is getting too far on the high side of bipolar.
There are a few things that happen when I get bipolar, some of them are common to many other people who get manic highs. The first indicator is that I talk a lot, and talk fast. The next one is that I get too worked up to sleep, and can often stay up all night until I am completely exhausted. The first thing I do to counter the high moods (when I start to see the signs) is I try to live a lifestyle where I don’t get excited much. This is where the video games come in. If I play loud, driving rock music or sit down to blast away thousands of aliens with my life in danger at all times in a virtual world, it will get my adrenalin going and shoot me into a manic state. I try and curb the behaviour before that happens because it is much harder to curb it after I have already gotten ‘high’ for want of a better term.
I have had a lot of interesting questions over the past few days doing my mental health talks. One discussion involved THC. Someone asked why it was risky to smoke weed. The basic way I explained it was that, at least in my own experience doing it a handful of times, it would induce a psychosis. It wouldn’t induce a severe psychosis, but a mild, pleasurable one. It would skew perception and warp reality. It’s not that dangerous to do this now and then, but if someone becomes a chronic user, especially if they have a family history of mental illness, they can go into something called a ‘drug-induced psychosis’ or they can even trigger schizophrenia.
When I was younger, and I wasn’t on medications that helped my mood swings, each time I wanted to sleep, I had to first play ‘classic rock’ then ‘light rock’ then classical music, then take my medications and either lay down or distract myself with reading or writing in my journal so I could ease myself down for a soft landing and hopefully a proper sleep.
This past week has been very difficult with regards to getting rest. I have been busy just about every day from early to late, had little time for myself, and, had some incredibly good news. The first one was that a very popular magazine wanted to publish one of my articles, I spoke to two University classes about mental health and a high school, and just this evening have been invited to an exclusive writer’s conference. Needless to say, I don’t think I will sleep very much tonight. One of the odd things about all of this is that I haven’t been required to leave my apartment except for groceries or to give rides to my dad. Oh, the other thing–the thing that may have annoyed many of you, I am very close to having the final edit done on my latest short story book, “Voted Off the Crew” and Goodreads among other entities have been helping me put things together in a huge way. I am approaching the launch of this book in a new way, doing it almost completely online. I have made the decision to limit my in-person book promotions, and to simply rely on amazon.com and amazon.ca to sell books on my behalf. If you are a subscriber to this blog and you enjoy my writing, you may also enjoy the three ‘mental health memoirs’ that I have written. You just visit your local amazon store and do a search for Leif Gregersen or by title. My three mental health books are: “Through the Withering Storm” “Inching Back to Sane” and “Alert and Oriented x3” I would encourage regular readers as well to first look at all of the resources here on this website, and then also join or sign in to Goodreads and ‘Friend’ me so I can invite you to my book launch.
Whew…. all that commercial crap aside!
So, basically though I am on an excellent medication called Depekane, and it controls my moods much better than when I was on other drugs like Lithium or Tegratol for the same symptoms, I still need to be very careful. I should mention something here–if you suffer from a mental illness and you like to read, don’t read one of my books first. Read an incredible book by an incredibly smart man titled, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” I had heard good things about it, but the plain truth is that this is the first book I ever picked up where someone talked openly and honestly about mental illness, and I think everyone should read it. There is so much in there, philosophy, travel, mental health, love, family. The author, Robert M. Pirsig, is simply amazing.
Sorry, I wanted to recap what I said. Avoid excitement. Getting excited though it seems better than being boring, can trigger manic episodes. Exciting is great, when it is the summer time and you are with your family and everyone is happy and healthy and safe, and you go to a waterpark. Changing your life and doing risky things so you can erase boredom can become addictive, which means that if you have a tendency towards manic episodes, it will be very hard for you to keep from having a mental breakdown without medication. Avoid excitement. Read. Go to bed early. Study. Spend time with your loved ones. Excitement is for half crippled daredevils. Things like gambling and other ways of finding excitement can even come with their own addictive properties.
Watch out for high or low moods. Talk therapy can help in this case, especially Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Learn how to train your mind to make healthier associations with things in your life. I think this comes down to taking away your habits and vices, getting yourself mentally strong, and then finding out what you really love. For me it is writing and helping others through difficult times I also have experienced. That’s it for now dear readers, contact me with any suggestions or questions, my email is still firstname.lastname@example.org and make full use of this site and of the Goodreads site, they are amazing.
Use the link immediately below to learn more and sign up for updates on my new book, launching soon. Leave questions on that page, or write to me at: email@example.com
Just wanted to make my readers aware of the fact that I’m an independent author and I’m working hard to overcome my situation as a disabled person living on a very limited and fixed income. As many of you know, I have written three books about my mental health journey, but what has got me excited is that I am putting out a brand new collection of short fiction that I am hoping is going to put my home town on the map. To get updates on this book, which will launch in just over 30 days, visit the above page, or, if you live in the US, join the giveaway below and get a chance to win a free copy that will be signed and given an original Haiku poem from me personally. As I am a writer more than anything, I am going to soon start blogging on the Goodreads website as well, so please join and mark down my book “Voted Off the Crew” as “to-read” to keep getting updates. Further book projects may include essays from this website (edited of course) along with some I’ve been working on more recently. I may put out a call for submissions of mental health stories for the book, so if you have a mental illness or have a loved one who does, please write to me and let me know if you would like to be a part of that project!
Giveaway ends May 07, 2021.
Giveaway ends May 07, 2021.
Hello Dear Readers! I have been away from the blog for some time, my humble apologies, I do love to write in this space when I can. I have been hard at work perfecting and polishing a new collection of short stories which will be available for sale on May 09/2021. I haven’t set a price just yet, but if you click on the links (you can join Goodreads easily either with a free membership or a Facebook account) you can enter a free giveaway in which you can get a copy signed with a Haiku from yours truly. While you are there, have a look at some groups, there are some great mental health and reading support groups. If you have any difficulties joining or entering the contest, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure you get your name in. It would also be cool if you find you like Goodreads or are already a member if you would ‘friend’ me so you can keep in touch and keep getting information about my writing.