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This has been a dream of mine for so long, simply because a car would make so many things easier. And especially now that I’m going to be living in a tiny town with only 200 people and no shops whatsoever, a car is really necessary!
For people who live outside of Denmark (or Scandinavia), getting a car at this age might seem a little weird. I bet, if you are American for instance, it’s normal to get your own car at age 16 when you get your driver’s license. The thing is though, here it is quite expensive to get a car. And not just the car alone, but with the car comes road tax and other expenses. And you need to have a buffer in case something happens to the car, because taking your car to a mechanic is also very (!) expensive.
Despite being schizophrenic, I have been very fortunate in my life. I live in a country where it is possible to get help when you can’t work. Of course there are exceptions, as with everything. And I am grateful every day for the help I have received over the years, and I don’t really need much. But a car has always been a big dream. And it just wasn’t possible for me to get that.
Until now. My boyfriend and I bought a car together so we’d be able to get around, go shopping for food and in general just have the benefit of being able to go anywhere, when we want. And it’s such a relief. Especially now that I move a couple of hours away from my family.
So what did we get? I have driven a lot of Toyotas in my life. Mainly the ones my mom has had. And I really think they are reliable cars. So we got a Toyota Aygo. A white Xpress Toyota Aygo. And I can’t wait to get it! It should be less than two weeks now. Normally, I’m really, really impatient. Everyone who knows me, knows how extreme it can be. But like I told my boyfriend, this is something I’m truly so incredibly thankful for, that I’m not going to be impossible and impatient about it. I’m going to be an adult (had to happen some time) and just wait without bitching about something so stupid as a two week waiting period.
I’m finally going to be a car owner! Wow, yay and hell yeah!
Well, I swear that I’m not actually addicted to this thing, although it doesn’t look that way from the outside. See, I’ve moved a lot of times in my life. 25 times to be exact. Sometimes out of necessity, other times out of boredom. Which sounds really bad, but at the same time, it’s the cold, hard truth.
In 2010 I moved into a place with my, now, ex-husband where I would end up being for 7 whole years. Which (up til this point) has been the record for me in my adult life. Then I got divorced, moved out and into a great apartment that I love and where I’ve been living the past six months. But… now it’s time again.
This time it is a bit unexpected as well as possibly a tiny bit rash. But the heart wants what it wants. If you read my last post, you’d know that I haven’t been with my boyfriend for too long. But we’ve decided to move in together. More specifically, I’m moving into his place. And I’m very excited about it!
We could have waited. Since it hasn’t been very long. But we just didn’t want to. This time the move has nothing to do with boredom and everything to do with, to put it simply, the fact that it just feels right.
So, raise your glass of milk or whatever you have sitting next to you (and if nothing’s there, go get something. It’s okay, I’ll wait)… and let’s toast to a new beginning! I for one am ready for it!
So it’s 2018. Can we just take a moment to take in the absurdity of that fact? How on earth did we end up in 2018?
I feel like I say this all the time, but I seriously can’t keep up.
December (my favorite month of the year) came and went. I went into my usual Christmas mode and soaked everything up to the best of my abilities. Because I knew that if would be over before I knew it.
I turned 35 on December 20th and spent it with my family. Christmas was also spent with family. The 24th with my mother, my sister and my dog. The 25th with my dad, his girlfriend, my sister, her boyfriend and their two dogs.
The next day my boyfriend and I made it official, which only made Christmas that much more special to me.
New Year’s Eve was ‘celebrated’ as per usual. I ignored all traditions and festivities (which I guess makes it a traditional itself), and stayed at home alone with the dog. He hates the fireworks, and I hate New Years Eve, so it was the perfect way for me to ensure that he made it through the night.
And then the calendar said 2018, and we’ve come full circle.
Did I get out of 2017 feeling like I did everything I wanted to? I can’t really say. Simply because I never had new years resolutions before. I do remember wanting to finish the novel I started writing in 2017. But it was a hope and not a resolution per se.
But that’s going to change now. Because I want to have aspirations for this new year. I want to be able to look back on this post and see if I did the things I wanted to. If all the goals are things I still agree with at the end of the year. What’s so bad about having goals anyway?
So here they are. In no particular order:
I want to lose the rest of the weight I gained in my marriage (if you’re new here, I got divorced in 2017). I’ve lost 60%, which means I need to lose 40%. I want to continue to go to the gym at least three times a week, to keep walking for at least 2 hours a day with the dog and continue swimming once a week. This goal is not at all hard to accomplish if I just stick to it.
The next one is not a resolution, it’s a promise to myself: this year you WILL finish the novel you’re writing. You’re already 1/3 in, so you can do this!
I want to find a new place to live, so my boyfriend and I can live together. It’s quick, yes. But we live pretty far away from each other and it’s getting increasingly hard to be away from each other, so in maybe six months time we’ll find a place together.
I want to get my pictures out into the world. There are a lot of other photographers out there, so competition is fierce. But I’m going to try my hardest anyway!
Which brings me to my next one: I want to be more active and take more pictures in 2018. Find some cool places and explore. Just myself or with my boyfriend who also loves photography. I want to find models to shoot (with the camera. You need to clarify something like that these days) and have some fun shoots.
I want to create more. Doesn’t matter if it’s in terms of photography, sculpting with clay or writing.
This last one is also more of a promise. I want to be more active on my blog. I love doing it, so I have to make the time if I want to stick with it. Something that should be doable.
And that’s pretty much it. I don’t want too many resolutions, because it could create a problem in terms of sticking with things.
Today is just a normal day. A Thursday, the 7th day of the month, really nothing too special. At the same time it’s also “one of those days”. We all have them. We all want to go to bed and sleep until it’s finally not this day anymore. Why? Because it has some sort of power? Some significance other than being a mediocre day? We all experience emotional pain in some sort of capacity, and we as humans don’t like feeling pain like that, which is why we want it to go away. We either want to feel happy emotions or no emotions at all.
And that’s where I am today. I’m feeling some of those ‘bad’ emotions that I want to discard so badly and never think about again. But they’re there. They’re in my body, in my head and in my heart.
I want to drink myself senseless, just to alleviate some of the pain. Unfortunately for me, I don’t drink alcohol. I want to snort cocaine up my nose and let the powder spread through my head and body. But, alas, I don’t do drugs.
I want to do a plethora of really unwise and unsafe things that I know I’m going to regret. So which pain is worse? The one I’m feeling right now, or the one that would leave me hungover or plagued with guilt the day after?
I’m going to choose to get through this day without substance abuse and without any harmful behavior. Because like it or not, in the end the pain is there. It’s not going away just because you wish it would. So by filling your nose with the snow white powder or your liver with unhealthy liquids, you’re only postponing the inevitable. And isn’t it better to feel things right now, get them out of your system, instead of pushing them away, momentarily, only to have them return shortly after?
So yes, I’m hurting today. I have unresolved feelings permeating my being and leaving me breathless. But I have to feel these emotions as I’m writing this, if I want to be able to move past them, healthily. The right way. Feel like joining me, if you’re also having ‘one of those days’?
I do realize that I am a little late and that it has already been December for five days. But my life is unusually busy at the moment, and I am trying so hard to keep up with everything around me.
If you know my channel, you know that I have a mental illness that keeps me from having a job. So until a few months ago I was never in a position where I’d have to say: “I’m sorry, but I’m just too busy to do that at the moment” or “can we schedule a different day for that, because my calendar is full?” However, that has changed over the past couple of months. After my divorce and the move to a different part of the country, I’ve started down the road of finding myself outside of my marriage. I’ve started reconnecting with myself and figuring out what it is that I actually want for myself.
Turns out what I want is to be active. I didn’t even know it, until it kind of just happened. I started walking my dog for an hour a day. That quickly turned into an hour and a half, then two hours a day, and now I’m at almost two and a half hours of walking each day which adds up to about 10 kilometers. Another thing I wanted to do was go swimming. So once a week I go to the local pool and swim 1 kilometer (after which I reward myself by going in the warm pool. Oh the bliss!)
Next came running. When I was married, I never went running, ever. I didn’t care much about exercise back then or about the fact that I had the worst eating habits. But after having lost 57 pounds the urge to go running quickly came, so for the first time in 8 years, I did just that. Now I’m trying to get to a place where I go running five days a week. It’s tough and I sound like a boar when I run, but at least I’m trying to get to a better place, physically and mentally speaking.
It’s funny how I didn’t know, just how much I love being active, until I was. And the best benefits? I sleep like a baby, and my anxiety is dwindling, and is much more manageable overall.
Those are some of the reasons why I am much more busy recently. There is one more. Quite randomly, I came across a small organization here in Esbjerg, Denmark, called Walking For Water. Here is a short summary from the website: “Walking for Water is a non-profit charitable organization. We believe that basic needs are a human right, and our ultimate vision is to make clean water accessible to every person alive”. The reason the organization is called Walking For Water, is quite literal. The founder of the organization, Charlie Uldahl Christensen, started his pilgrimage by setting off on foot from Esbjerg in 2015. His mission is to walk all the way to Tanzania, Africa, in efforts to raise money for the charity. I contacted him a few months back to hear if he would be interested in a donation. I wanted to donate some of the jewelry I’ve made, so he could sell it and raise money. Somehow that turned into me helping out with creating short videos about the need for clean water to post on the official Facebook profile and the website to create awareness on the subject. And a possibility of helping out in other areas in the future too. And I love it! My part in making Charlie’s above-mentioned dream come true is very small. But it’s just a genuinely great thing to be (once again, a small) part of, and creatively I love it too. It gives some dimension to my life, that I honestly think I’ve been missing the last five years or so. It’s a way for me to be a part of something rewarding, something that’s interesting to me and that keeps me on my toes a little.
And I love being able to say: “I can’t, I have to work on a new project today.”
I’ll be talking much more about Walking For Water in future posts, this was just a small introduction. If you want to know more or possibly donate to this awesome entrepreneurship, to help give clean water to people, who might otherwise be dependent on contaminated water, follow this link to go directly to the website: Walking For Water.
So overall, that’s pretty much my life right now. And I freakin’ love it!
Last year for my mother’s birthday, I gave her a diary. I decorated it in a gold and black color scheme (she likes gold), and at the same time I made one for myself, decorated in silver and white (I like silver). I wrote her a card saying that if she was up for it, I would love to begin a new tradition with her every year for her birthday. The concept was essentially a shared diary, where we would keep the diary for a year, fill it with whatever we had on our minds and in our hearts. Then every year for her birthday, we would get a new diary each and share the one from the previous year with each other. That way it was both a diary for ourselves as well as a letter of sorts to each other. Thankfully, my mother was up for it. She liked the idea and we, separately, wrote whatever came to mind in our diaries. This Thursday was my mother’s birthday. I gifted her the new diary along with the silver one I’d filled over the past year. She gave me hers as well, and I couldn’t wait to get started reading it. I wanted to really savor it, to make it last a long time. But the second time I sat down to read a bit, I ended up almost finishing it, because I completely forgot all about time and place.
I love the feeling of having this private space with my mom. We are very close, and I really want to know her in and out as a person. And honestly, another reason for my idea to begin with, was the fact that, one day she’s not going to be here anymore. I want to be able to have a piece of her to look back at, to read and reread. Having her own thoughts, her feelings, her passions and her heart right there with me… It’s something I already know is going to be a consolation to me in the future. And in the present, it’s really interesting to have her perspective on some of the events that unfolded within the past year, like my divorce and the birth of my mother’s fourth grandchild. It’s not that I don’t know how she felt in relation to those events. But this is essentially an internal monologue. My part of the ‘conversation’ doesn’t happen until much later and thus I really get to hear her unfiltered opinion on things. It’s a window to her life, something that I’ve never experienced like this before. And now we can respond to each other. We can talk to each other about things we might otherwise never touch upon. Its a chance to go even deeper and it’s amazing.
Are you close to your mom, or would you like to get to know her better while there’s still time (trying not to sound too morbid here)? Maybe gift her a diary for Christmas and see what she says? I know I am happy I did it and cannot recommend it enough.
When looking through stunning images of talented photographers on sites like 500px.com it is so easy to get inspired by all the beauty and creativity. It is also a great way of finding out which types of photography you like, and which you don’t. Here’s a short list of the types I don’t particularly care for, for one reason or another. But I want to be perfectly clear here. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving these different types. They’re just not for me.
1. Shooting water with long exposure. When taking pictures using a long exposure, you can create visual effects that a shorter exposure wouldn’t be able to do. You’ve probably seen this utilized in a huge variety of images. But if you haven’t, google search it. I am not going to show someone else’s work here, and because it’s not my favorite type, I haven’t shot such images myself. When photographing water (for instance a waterfall) it makes the falling water seem smooth and ethereal. And although I love that you can create this illusion in a sense, I just feel it’s been overdone time and time again, until it no longer possesses the ability to inspire. It’s not that I feel photography is only interesting, if you can capture a truly original image that has never before been seen. Because that would be impossible. If you shoot Big Ben in London, you’re definitely neither the first, nor the last, to do so. Does that mean your image can’t be good and relevant? No, of course not. But in terms of long exposure in images with water, it has just lost its magic for me.
2. Architectural photography. There are so many great images out there of this type of photography. It is a category with lots of lines, shapes and geometrical beauty. And I’m not even sure why I don’t really enjoy this type of photography. Some things you just don’t like, for reasons entirely unknown. So it’s not that I can’t appreciate that there is beauty to be found in this category, or that an image can’t be extraordinary in its execution. It’s just not images that I would ever purchase and hang on a wall in my home.
3. Tarantula/spider images. Do I have to explain my irrationality here?? (Okay, this one was not entirely serious, I admit it).
4. HDR images. HDR (High Dynamic Range imaging) is a popular way of manipulating an image where you melt together different exposures into one image. This gives an exaggerated expression in an image (look for images on Google) and can make an image look more like a painting than a photograph. Although I do appreciate the skills and creativity in images such as these, it’s just not my cup of tea. I’m struggling to know why. I guess it’s just (another) one of those things that can’t be explained.
5. The use of borders in images. This is not a type of photography, but it’s something that I really dislike. To me, nothing ruins a great photo quicker than putting a border around it. It’s unnecessary and looks unappealing.
Do you have any other types of photography that you dislike? Do you agree or disagree with the ones I’ve listed? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Close to two months ago I wrote my first blog post in English. Simply because I express myself better in English than I do in Danish, and because I don’t want my English to deteriorate. Then I went silent. Because life happened.
But, now I feel in the right head space for writing again and am excited to get started.
Since this is only my second post in English, I think it is appropriate to give some sort of idea about who I am. You might be new to my blog and in that case, here’s a little about me.
My name is Julie. I’m 34 years old, but will be turning 35 in exactly one month from today. I’m not scared by the number. I love it. Ages 14 to 18 scared the living daylights out of me. So any number above it is a relief.
I live in the fifth largest city in Denmark (so basically what you would call a small town anywhere else in the world). I recently moved here after getting a divorce. Yup, the big D. I was with my husband for 8 years. We don’t have children (unless you count the dog, and he’s pretty much my little baby, so I say he DOES count. Yes, he does. Don’t even try to argue with me!) The reason we didn’t have any (human) children was because of my illness. In 2007 I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. We decided very early on that it was for the best. And to be really frank, having children was never really a dream of mine. So I was thankful that my husband felt the same way.
Normally, in a post like this, this is where I announce my line of business. But as you can probably guess from the above section, I don’t have a job. Not that everyone with schizophrenia is unable to work, because that couldn’t be further from the truth. But in my case, it is. My mind simply can’t provide the level of energy and mental surplus that matches that of a healthy person. I get stressed really easily, and high activity for more than two days in a row can set me back and completely drain me, to the point where it takes me weeks to recover fully.
That being said, I try to stay as active as possible and to keep myself busy with things that I love and enjoy. Every day I walk my dog for two hours, I swim once a week and I go on bike rides. The only reason I’m able to do this, is because in between those activities I take care of myself. Mentally, that is. Since being diagnosed, I’ve learned how to adjust my life. How to work around my illness to give myself the best basis for my mental well-being. And by making that a priority, I’m able to do these things that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to. You might be thinking: “But if you can go for walks for two hours every day, wouldn’t you be able to manage having a job?” All I can say to that is, different people with schizophrenia have different issues. Someone else who might be able to work, might not be able to go walking. Someone else who might not be able to work, could be able to run marathons. We all have different issues and characteristics that play out uniquely in each person. I’ve found what works for me, so I utilize it.
So specifically, what are the other things that I love and enjoy spending time on? Photography, writing and other creative projects. I wish I could say I’d inherited my artistic dad’s capabilities when it comes to drawing. Alas, I draw like a three-year-old. Actually, I draw like a fetus. No, I know that hasn’t been done (that I know of), but to say I draw like a child of three years is giving myself way too much credit! But photography and writing are things that I’ve loved doing for years. Writing was my first love. I started writing short stories in the 1st grade, and I started getting into photography when I was in the 7th grade. And those are the two things that stuck with me all these years. Other loves come and go, but my enthusiasm for these two subjects never fades.
Like I said, I’m really excited about getting started on my blog again. I hope you’ll want to read about my life, my illness and my passions. And if that’s the case, I can’t thank you enough.
Here goes… You have probably noticed already that something’s different. The very obvious thing is that I’ve decided to change the language on my blog from Danish to English. There are two reasons for that. The first being that I simply express myself better in English. It’s always been that way and most of the time I think in English too. The second reason is that I’ve wanted to have a blog in English for a long time. I even made one a few weeks ago, until I realized I wasn’t sure if I should write the same posts on both and just change the language, or if I should write different posts on them. Before I made up my mind, I had yet another revelation; I didn’t actually want to have to go back and forth between two different blog sites. So I decided instead to keep this blog, delete the other one and simply write in English.
So that’s where I’m at now. It’s going to be the same blog about schizophrenia, life, love, photography etc. The themes are the same, only the language is different. I will keep the previous blog posts in Danish though.
Since it’s been a while (or ‘it’s been a minute’, as the kids say on Youtube), I thought I’d give an update on what’s been going on. If you’ve read my blog for a while (the people who’ve read my Danish posts), you’ll know I’m separated from my husband of 7 years. If you haven’t read my blog before, well now you know too. It’s now three months later and I love my new lease on life. I miss my ex-husband, of course I do – so much. But I’m back to feeling like myself. I lost myself at some point, I have no idea when. It just sort of happened. But I’ve found my way back, and I’m grateful for it. I have a great apartment (that I was so lucky to get), I have my dog, I have seen my family more times in the last three months than the last two years combined. I am going to be doing administrative work for a non-profit organization called Walking For Water, W4W, founded by Charlie Uldahl Christensen (much more on that later), and tomorrow I’m going to join the local photo club for the first time, which I’m really excited about!
I still struggle with the pain in my hip (bursitis). It went away at one point, and for a month and a half I had full function in my hip and leg. But then it returned. It wasn’t quite as bad as the last time (and still isn’t), but it’s still there. I’ve had an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon who told me (unlike all the other doctors I’ve seen) to stay active. So I’m going for long walks with the dog every day and I go bike riding as well. He told me to keep losing the weight (I’ve lost 20 kilos so far) as it will help with the pain in the long run.
I’m in a good place. There might be minor issues like my hip, but I feel good despite of that pain. I enjoy my life and the people in it. I never expected it to happen so soon. For me to get back to being me after only a few, short months. But I’m grateful nonetheless.
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I 2004 blev jeg tilknyttet distriktspsykiatrien for første gang. Nu, 13 år senere, har jeg været tilknyttet psykiatrien på tværs af flytninger, forskellige diagnoser og terapeut-skifte. Det har aldrig været op til diskussion i mit hoved, om det var noget, jeg skulle være tilknyttet. Jeg var syg, ergo skulle jeg have hjælp.
Men for første gang i min tid som psykisk syg er jeg på nuværende tidspunkt på egne ben. Efter at være blevet separeret er jeg flyttet til en kommune et andet sted i landet, og op til min flytning var det stadig en no-brainer i mit hoved, at jeg skulle have en henvisning til den nye kommunes psykiatri. Men i de uger der gik, fra jeg flyttede ud, boede et sted midlertidigt og endelig flyttede i min egen lejlighed, gik det op for mig, at det egentlig var en lettelse mere end noget andet, at jeg ikke havde samtaler med nogen.
Misforstå mig ikke, jeg har været glad for al den hjælp, jeg har fået de sidste 13 år. Men det sidste stykke tid virkede det næsten fjollet at have samtaler, fordi jeg er så stabil, som jeg er. Jeg klarer mig selv i hverdagen, og er efterhånden også blevet god til at håndtere min angst. De sidste mange samtaler jeg havde med min behandler, handlede om bøger, politik, samfund og interesser. De handlede ikke om sygdom eller problemstillinger. I en lang periode var det bare super hyggeligt at have en afslappet snak med hende om disse emner. Vi hyggede os. Men over tid begyndte frustrationen lige så stille og roligt at brede sig i mig. Det virkede som tids- og ressourcespild at have disse samtaler. Men jeg vidste, at man (i hvert fald i Aalborg kommune) skulle have en samtale mindst hver 2. måned, hvis man ville være tilknyttet distriktspsykiatrien. I mit hoved var det jo stadig ikke til debat, så derfor gjorde jeg ikke noget ved den frustration.
Men efter at være flyttet blev jeg ved med at udskyde at tage kontakt til min tidligere behandler for at få en henvisning til psykiatrien i Esbjerg kommune. Jo mere jeg tænkte over det, jo mindre lyst havde jeg til at skulle ind i systemet igen. Alene tanken om at sidde foran en ny behandler og skulle starte fra bunden igen (for 6. gang i min sygdomshistorie), var utrolig demotiverende.
Selvfølgelig kan man argumentere for, at jeg ved at være i systemet var dækket ind, hvis min sygdom pludselig tog en drejning i en grad, hvor jeg ikke længere ville kunne håndtere det selv. Men hvis jeg er helt ærlig, så vil jeg hellere nyde den frihed, jeg føler, jeg har lige nu, ved ikke at komme ind i systemet, end jeg vil være proaktiv i den henseende. Så hellere se på det til den tid, skulle det blive aktuelt.
I løbet af de sidste fem år har min sygdom været en opadgående kurve. Bestemte symptomer har aftaget, herunder især mine hallucinationer, og jeg er mere og mere gået i en retning, hvor tingene er til at håndtere på egen hånd. Det sagt så er jeg hverken helbredt eller rask. Jeg er stadig syg. Jeg har stadig vild paranoia, invaliderende angst og mange negative symptomer (som du kan læse mere om HER), men jeg har mere og mere lært at leve med det og holde det på et niveau, hvor det ikke tager voldsomt overhånd. Men for nu gør det mig faktisk rigtigt glad, at jeg kan få lov bare at være mig selv på denne måde. Så det vil jeg nyde. Hellere det end at tage sorgerne på forskud, når det ikke er garanteret, at disse sorger indfinder sig.