Friday, April 24, 2015

The Need For Examples

Friday, April 24, 2015

I recently found myself articulating another aspect of why I have found life to be difficult in the last few years. Sporadic employment, physical health issues and a discouraging political climate here in the United States have certainly all previously taken a toll on my ability to maintain a positive outlook. But there is still more that I was dealing with. I was dealing with entering a period of life in which I have few good examples of others who are living in a healthy way.

I think first and foremost about my biological parents. My mother's active and independent participation in society had ended long before she reached her forties. Her initial descent into schizophrenia occurred in her late twenties. A subsequent episode of the illness consumed her when she was in her mid thirties. Her life looked quite different by the time she turned forty.  Her life would never be what it was when she was a young woman.  My father was nearly murdered just one short month after turning forty. It's essentially only dumb luck that he survived the last attempt on his life.  So both of my parents had undergone a horrific ordeal by the time they reached the age I am now (which is forty-one). Is it any wonder I sometimes feel adrift and overwhelmed even now some twenty two months after I sought out treatment?

Healing can take a long time. Recognizing when loved ones are struggling with mental illness can also take a long time. I read a rather sobering article this morning that reminded me of these realities. According to the article the average duration of untreated psychosis in America is seventy weeks. Yes, you read that correctly. A case of psychosis here in the United States typically goes untreated for more than four months more than a year of time. That is a staggering amount of suffering and lost time to deal with.

Early identification of any illness is so critical to maximizing the possibility of obtaining effective and timely care. In my own case I only wish I had listened to the people closest to me years ago.  I still recall how my primary mentor in my first graduate program mentioned how stress often had the effect of undermining my ability to be present to others in the present moment. If I had paused and really allowed myself to consider her wise words I might have been more proactive nearly a decade ago.

It is, however, quite important that I not get caught up in the possibilities and different paths I could have taken earlier in my life. What is done is done. I must move forward with the skills, strength, determination and resources that I now have. Living in sandcastles in the sky is not a way to live in the long term.

I personally feel fairly good lately. I am in fact planning to titrate completely off the sertraline I have been taking for nearly twenty months now. I feel I am ready to do so. But I will continue to have a primary care doctor and therapist monitor my health after I make this transition. At this time I plan to go off sertraline (known more commonly as Zoloft) in early June. I will first thoroughly consult with both my primary care physician and my therapist about this choice.

I will continue to write my blog. What form it will take in the future I cannot easily say. But if you have become a fan of my writing take comfort in knowing that I will continue to be a voice for wholeness and joy. We need more voices like these in the world.

Enjoy your Friday.

1 comment:

  1. What a great article. I really enjoy your writing. Keep up the good work and hope to see you soon!! Howard


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