Posted in Creative Writing

Christmas Break–Down

All I got for Christmas was a two week stay in an acute mental health ward. It wasn’t exactly how I planned it but you don’t plan a breakdown. Or hearing voices for the first time. This voice was no different from my own inner dialogue just more menacing.

I think that is what is meant by the break in break-down. We are always listening to a multitude of voices and thoughts but depression or extreme exhaustion can bring these things to the fore. I have been struggling with mental health issues since I finished University. The first panic attack which took me to hospital for a night was reduced by Diazepam. Unfortunately the Diazepam brought on sense impressions like hallucinations but less-real.

I did not seek further help because I hoped it would disappear and I went to Beijing with this hangover of a mental health issue. Beijing was an intense teaching experience with a mild strain of paranoia running through it. The job collapsed after a certain argument with a director. I packed my bags and did what is known as a mid-night run. I took a flight back home and landed in Brighton to seek help.

My illness reached a peek back home and I was diagnosed with an ‘existential crisis with elements of a psychosis.’ To me it sounded like a posh dish at a psychiatrist’s convention. There I was given help in the form of a psychiatrist and medication such as olanzapine. This curbed the excesses of my thinking and the reaction to the disturbed images and dreams I was having. But there is a point when you are deemed ‘not that bad’ in comparison to people who have deep mental health issues.

To have a mental illness to me is a great shame. It’s an equal shame to being unemployed. There is the illness and there is the further illness brought on by no work and left marginalized with people unsure how to deal with you. Of course there are groups and clubs abound where you can seek help. But I considered it my man-duty to recover, deal with it, beat it, and win. That’s why I went to Prague because I could get work one-on-one and try and recover myself so I could post that I was winning not failing.

In Prague I found work immediately which made me feel happy that I was not reliant on anyone and enjoy the beautiful town to start a new life. But I still had a low level of paranoia and OCD type thinking which was maintained because I had cut myself of from human contact. After a few months I managed to get enough money together to pay for a counsellor and I could continue my life so when I went home for Christmas I was not expecting my condition to spike and take on a new form.

To come home for Christmas was to just heal personal wounds as I didn’t believe my family were that helpful to me when I had this breakdown in England. I admit that I too adopted a tough attitude of don’t tell anyone or choosing not to take medication so its not all their fault. While I believed I was winning in Prague there was still a deep layer of fear and paranoia and troubled thinking that needed to be dealt with.

I can’t go into to much detail about my current predicament. Words of paranoia and psychosis are being thrown round again. The term ‘hearing voices’ or ‘menacing dialogue’ as I would prefer are being mentioned. To summarize. It seems all the unresolved deeply held problems from childhood and since Uni have come back to the fore and resulted in a complete’ish breakdown. I have all the right people around me to help and most importantly admittance from myself that I am ill and need to help and follow the advice I was given last time.

P.S. I cant get wordpress on this ward so please add me on face book David Peter Swan try Bangor University for further identification.

Posted in Memoir, Mental Health

An existential crisis with elemnts of a psychosis

(This experience is 2 years old the next post is the most immediate. I am talking about this now as I am in hospital and I feel the illness can’t get any worse)

When the psychiatrist mentioned the term ‘existential crisis’ I tried to hide my embarrassment at not knowing what that meant. I had heard of the term ‘existentialist’ when referring to Sartre or watching ‘I Heart Huckabees’ but in no way did I think it could be described as a medical condition. If I could have slipped out my smartphone and googled it, I would have. But for the meanwhile, and to save my embarrassment, I adopted the muse pose and pretended I knew what it was. I know I am making light of the situation but my condition was critical. I had crash landed after my brief visit to Beijing and my original mild breakdown and take full-swing into a partial psychosis. Let me give a brief example of one experience.

-I’m a grown man of 47 and I’m walking through the park with tears streaming down my face. In my mind I see my brains literally boiling over into an open top skull. Even though there is a cartoon aspect to this image. It feels real like a panic attack is real. I call the emergency services believing I was going to kill myself. Immediately talking to someone calms me down and I am advised to book an appointment with the doctor. This experience is followed by a strong desire to blow my brains out but in a bizarre way I buy myself a coffee and cake and relax. My mind calms down and then I go for a walk to the sea. All is serene and beautiful. Some would say this is a kind of spiritual experience but I think it is just relief from the stress of the previous shocking images. I get to see the doctors and he prescribes me olanzapine. I have another friend who is with me and I take the medicine and then go back to my hostel and fall into a deep sleep. –

While studying in North Wales I had popped into a Bi-Polar self-help group for a bit of company. Not because I was bi-polar but because I was really lonely and not so great at forging company. They invited me in and offered me tea. I listened to a woman who had been doing fine in her life until her mother and cat passed away and before she knew it, thought the CIA were following her down the drive way. I was shocked by how she was affected by one death, in normal conditions, you might say.

What I didn’t realize is that I was starting to pick up some of these problems myself. I have to stress at this point those with severe mental health difficulties such as the group with bi-polar who truly believe their delusion and my brush which was only partial because I could rationalize about the experience. I was deemed not that bad and for me the difficult aspect was being made unemployed and being on medication with no full notion of what recovery was.

Don’t get me wrong I could pop into a craft centre and create a poem about how I feel or a collage that expresses my discontentment but not a service that would say,’ take these pills for one year and then we will gradually take you off them and help you back into work. A year and a half-later I find myself still dealing with these issues and wondering who to talk to that wont say, ‘keep taking the pills’ as the only form of recovery which perpetuates the treadmill of poverty, medicine, unemployment all feeding into a greater depression and a sense hopelessness.

Posted in Creative Writing

The Sahara Part 6

After a few minutes walking the group started to slowly separate from each other as people moved into their own spaces. Martin became like a caricature from a Lowry painting. His stick thin silhouette walking across the horizon a reference point for us all to follow. My focus of attention moved inwards as I looked for other means to distract myself.

The first thing that hit me was boredom. Bored of the same thoughts going round and round in my head. I was surprised by my mind’s lack of creativity. My thoughts mainly consisted of ‘I am so hungry,’ ‘God I could do with a beer,’ or ‘I wonder what is on television tonight.’ I imagined myself waving a white flag and shouting, ‘I surrender. Take me to the nearest bar with beer, loud music, and pointless conversation.’

After a further couple of hours of walking I had discovered this amazing ability to recall entire scenes from old movies played out in my mind as if I were actually in the cinema. I walked further while mumbling out loud Robert De Niro’s lines from Taxi Driver, ‘Are you looking at me? Because I don’t see anyone else out here.’

anotherdesert

I pulled my mouth downwards and then checked around for anyone else looking at me but the group was stretching further and further away into the desert. Thin lines on a compass point. The fresh desert air seemed to dislodge old memories stuck behind some grey mass located somewhere in my brain. Family arguments from when we were kids rose to the surface like steam from a boiling pan of food. The more the memories that came up the more I investigated the memories. Trespassing on things that were long forgotten.

It had only been two hours and desert madness was already setting in. Thoughts, memories, and feelings were bumping around in my head like dodgem cars. My lips were tightly pursed, wishing there was something to distract me from the incessant chatter of my own mind. I had read in one of my spiritual books that my mind was like the sky, vast and open. So I told my mind and my annoying thoughts that there was plenty of space to run around in so please stop bothering me.

After a while the madness subsided and I could only hear the soft crunching of my boots on the desert floor.

walkingindesert                                                  Read More Maddening Adventures Here

Posted in Articles

Paid Traffic and E-book Promotion Tool

Testing Revisitors.com Paid Traffic

There is a big question mark over whether you should pay for traffic or solely rely on organic traffic. Naturally organic traffic is better but it is good to experiment with different kinds of traffic revenues in the early stages to prepare you for later. I would imagine that if you do have an established website then paying for the right traffic would be a great idea. Now while I know Revisitors.com appears to have a bad rap with many reviewers. There are some that say it works and I can see why. Revisitors.com only forward blind traffic which means it is less targeted.

This to me is like having an open shop door with people passing by and hoping someone will pop in and browse. Of course if five people pass by each hour then it is very unlikely that you will get any customers let alone sales. If one hundred thousand people pass by then you can expect at least a few to pop in and many to buy your goods.

Revisitors.com paid traffic works like this which is why it is important to have a well- written generic article with an affiliate link that can make you decent money. Once your article is written just select the subject such as Education or Books, select the amount of traffic, which needs to be high, and sit back and wait for a month. For me revisitors.com is like playing the numbers game. The higher traffic you buy the more chance you have of winning. Coupled with a winning landing page that will hook the visitor.

E-book Promotion Tools

Personally I am a writer and I want to sell my e-books online. I am still at the early stages of this and I only have two novellas, one poetry book, and one collection of short-stories. I know that none of my genres are in the high-end selling bracket but I am just starting out and getting reviews first.

I must say getting downloads for your free books initially can be just as hard as trying to get reviews but I have tried two or three, and only recently discovered two that worked perfectly for me in difficult genres. After lots of dead-ends with freebie e-book tools and listings I found two the were dead cert winners for me. The two that did work for me were The Book Promotion Marketing Tool that cost me £25.00 for one promotion and received 150 downloads of a free short-story collection, and then also Book Bongo which I paid $15.00 for a free collection of poetry. I set my promotion date via kindle at least a week ahead for 12th December to the 16th December and was happy to report 150 downloads for my short-story collection, and 40 downloads for my Poetry collection. These are less popular genres so can you imagine how they work when the other books are up and running.

eBook Submission Tool

Posted in Poetry

The Bright

I have seen the dark. I have

seen the light.

I know which one I prefer.

One preferably without

shadows.

Especially the ones not yet

embraced.

The ones that have no face.

That don’t rhyme.

Gnarled roots. Scorched

earth. Blackened sky.

Crow calls out in the distance.

But I am the light.

Even underneath my quilt

they contort my night.

The mind as blank canvas. The

unconscious painter.

Painting Jungian landscapes

too frightening to mention.

Love. Love. Love is nowhere

to be seen.

Joy. Joy. Joy is not even a

dream.

I promised not to rhyme.

But rhyme comforts me like

the light.

Sings a song of the great dark

night.

That I traversed through in

order to see the bright.

The sunlight calls me.

Love waits by a river.

I have seen the light.

The Light. The Light. The Light.

.

Please click-through and download these FREE poems.

Posted in Creative Writing

I am not a Christian but I do like this…

God said to Moses: “I am Who I am” [Ex 3:14]: I am existence itself, so I am without beginning. Instead, the Immaculata says of herself, “I am Conception,” but, unlike all other human beings, the “Immaculate Conception.” (KW 1292)

[Coming from a Buddhist, free-thinking spiritual background I get this ‘I am that’ type thinking from Sri Nisargadatta and most other spiritual traditions.

It’s such a shame that it is lost in this almost childish, my way is the right way, as opposed to all ways are the right ways, as long as intention is good.

Fundamentally all religious teachings can be drilled down to kindness and compassion, and once you have helped yourself, then help others. You don’t need an MA to get that.

‘Peace be with you’ – from a free-thinking radical.

Posted in Mental Health

How To Meditate in Busy Urban Places

Now just fold your hands. Breathe in and breathe out. Feeling calm? Feeling relaxed? Of course you are because you are meditating in a room without any distractions. Maybe you have a candle lit or some soft music playing. Nice and calm isn’t it? But is your whole life nice and calm? Is it calm at work or busy and frantic with deadlines and targets to meet? How about on your way to work or out shopping? Busy. Busy. Busy. Stress mounting and anger rising. No wonder you need to shut everything out at the end of the day.

While the above meditation is also great I have found out over the years that meditating in busy urban places such as shopping centres, train stations. Or anywhere along a busy street you can find a bench, can often become the most peaceful and calmest of meditation of them all.

The expectation is to seek out a peaceful environment when meditating which is quite right. Of course life isn’t always peaceful so when you suddenly stop and decide to find a seat amidst the chaos then it can turn out to be a double lesson. This is because you are learning to carry that peace you feel inside you, when at home, with you into the busy and hectic world.

busyhighstreet

Urban Meditation requires no extras other than to find a place to sit whether in a shopping centre, train station, or along the high street. The busier the better. Instead of worrying about exactly how you sit with your legs just try to sit upright the best you can and place your hands palm down onto your thighs and then either look out into the distance and do as you would normally do. Feel the air coming through your nose. Feel your feet on the ground. Feel your chest and stomach going in and out.

At first you will feel more restless than usual as so much is going on around you but you can just stare ahead and not be worried about what is going on. Sometimes it may not feel as peaceful as the meditation at home but just sit there and gaze ahead. The fact that you are just stopping when you are usually harrying is an important lesson. If you are really lucky you will fall into a deep peace but as always no expectation. Sometimes its fun just watching everyone else rushing around.

The best time to do this is especially when you are very busy, or very angry. If you can catch yourself in one of those mega-moods then just look immediately for a bench and sit and watch the world go by. Just chew on that really big negative mood with your mind. It’s really important to do so that you take in and accept the chaos of the world around you and when you go home to meditate it will be even better than before. Please find a busy place to meditate and send in your pics of where you sat. Thanks.

busytrainstation