Pain Enables Us To Grow

Author: siggy

Pain enables us to grow.  I am what I am not despite my bipolar disorder but because of it.  I certainly now have more empathy for others who suffer, whatever the reason.  It does not matter really why.  Yes, I have been to hell and back but so have many others.  What if nothing ever went wrong in your life?!  You would just experience boredom.  No one experiences this utopia.  Why should you feel for anyone else pain?  It is your own pain and suffering that produces empathy for others.

A shower is really a privilege.  Most of the world does not even have plumbing–much less a shower.  I had to remind myself of that.  Just about every American has a shower but some act as (if, though ???) they are poor, which they are not.  In fact in the last house I lived for fifteen years I did not have a shower just a tub so having a shower now is really a privilege.

The worst diagnosis I ever received was being considered mentally ill.  I had to fight for decades for my sanity.  I doubted my own mind.  I did not trust me.  And that is devastating when you do not even trust your own mind.  I had to understand me and also be able to rely on me.  The stigma my parents felt when I started breaking down became internalized.  I hated me every time I end up in a hospital or psychiatric ward.  The treatment I received was, also, devastating.  I was no longer treated as a citizen with all the rights due me.  I became a second class citizen with no civil rights.  They were all taken away from me because I broke down in a way society frowned upon.  It was not my fault.  Some people become drug addicts.  Some become alcoholics.  I was punished by the system because I was manic-depressive.  They would shoot me full of Thorazine to stamp out the mania which was not my fault.  I was stigmatized for being mentally ill.  I read everything I could to understand me and how to find a way I could exist in this society.  I do take medication now for my condition but all I do is take some pills in the morning and then evening and then forget about it.  I know who I am and like who I am.  I have learned to reach out to others.  I do not want others to go through the hell I did.  If reading this blog makes it a little easier for you on your journey I will be happy.  This is part 1 of this discussion.

“Thump!  Thump!  Thump!”  I say that to my favorite dog.  And his tail just wags faster and harder.  Tilla has had other names in the past:  the loveable mutt was first called Atilla The Hun, now shortened to Tilla.  Then the Olympian.  He the was the only dog athletic enough to clear our fence forcing us to build it higher the next year.  He tried then right away to go over but bounced right off it and did not try again.  He is a lovable rogue. I am sure he will earn other names as time goes by.  He is the same dog that never forgot being chained to the table twice when we were punishing him.  You can not keep a leash near him:  he will simply chew through it so leashes are kept out of his reach.  He never forgets.  Right now I feel sorry for him for he is limping slightly.  The vet says he has a torn tendon.  I am hoping we can correct that in the future.  Anyway, he is my dog.  I won him over by giving belly rubs almost any time he wants one and he loves his sporadic walks I give him.  I love him with all my heart and soul.  I never thought any dog would replace Daisy–a black mutt I had since she was a puppy but he has.  Dogs don’t live forever so I will enjoy him now.  Everything is by grace.

Pax is the bemused elder, a Rottweiler mix almost twelve years old.  The other three dogs are approximately five.  He is the dad of two of our dogs and Mom is our golden retriever.  He kind of looks at me with this odd look almost cockeyed.  He is the only one left from the three dogs we had when I entered this marriage nine years ago.  He no longer moves too quickly on his arthritic legs.  I have stepped on him too often although he has never bitten me for doing this.  He is now cautious when I walk nearby.  My nickname for him is “Woof”:  he is the most vocal of our four dogs.  He does his business in the yard quickly and indicate to us very (???) with a quick bark or two that he wants in the house.  He likes to run in the far right corner of our yard and barks at anyone who has the temerity to pass by.  He is one intimidating dog but he really is a sweetheart.  He is the only dog who is really my wife’s although he does listen to me.  He is the one dog I really do not want to get out:  he is plain scary looking.  He weighs about ninety pounds.

It is so easy to take the goldfinch for granted.  Now sometimes I can see a dozen or more feeding on the ground.  It was not that long ago they had stopped coming to my feeders.  I finally cleaned the goldfinch feeder and put out fresh thistle.  Now they are coming in droves.  I will not take them for granted this time.  They are beautiful birds and most have changed into their fall and winter drab coats.

I could not believe the acre of goldenrod.  It was at least a solid acre of goldenrod.  I had never seen so many plants in one acre as if someone planted them.  It really was the handwork of the Lord.  Man could not have done it.  I was totally amazed at the mass of yellow flowers.  I had never seen such a thing.  And how many people pass that same spot every day and do not see (???) give it a second thought.

The birds can come and go this afternoon.  I will peek out my large living room window and watch them.  I do not have to be anywhere today any longer.  I can keep peering out the window and see who comes along.  It really does not matter.  I do not have to do any thing the next two hours but listen to music–my favorite activity.  I am still waiting to see my first red bellied woodpecker since I started putting out suet cakes again several weeks ago.

Today I am having an afternoon tribute to Jefferson Airplane. They continue to excite me.  They were erudite.  Their harmonies, vocals and instrumentation were powerful.  They wrote great songs.  I had the privilege of seeing them in 1970.  I went down to the Shore to see them.  I knew I would be stranded overnight but I did not care.  I never forgot moving into the aisle when they played “Crown of Creation” and all I could do was sit there mouth open awed.  It is my favorite song of theirs.  It still speaks to me.  The song is timeless and is about your struggle to grow and love those around you.  Thank you, Paul Kantner.  I will continue to listen to this box set I have of them today.  My wife is not home so I can pump up the volume.  I never tire of them.  Their songs were about love, anger and the fight to remain true to yourself despite the forces which tear us apart.  I still identify with those struggles they portrayed so powerfully in music and song.

Today I will choose to be happy.  No matter what God sends my way.  I will choose to be happy.  Every day something goes wrong.  So what!?  I will determine to thank God for every thing He sends my way.

I am being blessed by this weather.  The next seven days it will be in the seventies.  Praise the Lord!  I will just enjoy it.  It has not been too long ago that the weather was unbearably hot, so I will just enjoy today’s weather.  And appreciate the mild weather and who knows I may, even, go fishing.