Don McLean about Vincent: “I had to argue he wasn’t crazy.” Mental Health Awareness Month.

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In the autumn of 1970 I had a job singing in the school system, playing my guitar in classrooms,” he says.

“I was sitting on the veranda one morning, reading a biography of Van Gogh, and suddenly I knew I had to write a song arguing that he wasn’t crazy.

He had an illness and so did his brother Theo. This makes it different, in my mind, to the garden variety of ‘crazy’ – because he was rejected by a woman [as was commonly thought].

So I sat down with a print of Starry Night and wrote the lyrics out on a paper bag.”

With its bittersweet palette of major and minor chords, Vincent’s soothing melody is one of high emotion recollected in tranquillity.

The lyrical list of colours – the “swirling clouds in violet haze”, the eyes of “China blue” the “snowy linen land” – evoke a mental slide show of the artist’s work.

Don McLean

with courtesy of The Telegraph

Starry, Starry  Night
“And now I understand what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen
They did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now.”
Don McLean
This painting has got great meaning for me, it is the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, near Arles, South France. Van Gogh was a beautiful march Aries just like me, and he is depicting the constellation of aries in the shape of a scalene triangle. Great empathy. I wish I would have met this great revolutionary Maestro of art painting in my life.

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What’s PTSD?

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If you agree, we – as human beings – were born to be a wholebalanced, and strongindividuals. Greek philosophers, and physicians, say that the natural state of things is calm and, sophrology – the science that studies the Consciousness – promotes body, mind and spirit harmony (SOS = free from diseases, balances. PHREN = diaphragm, emotional heart and by extension, spirit, conscience. LOGOS = Science, study, speech).

So, naturally, PTSD occur as a consequence of a lack of it. The fact is that you don’t realize at which cost, until your life becomes a mess, when you finally admit that something has broken, and you need help to fix it. It can be a physical wound, or invisible, when it concerns heart and soul, or if you are blessed enough, as brits would say, both.

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Before 2015, I used to practice Yoga, once a week, basically to keep healthy, in a good shape and mood, it was relaxing, and I could fully stretch my body, especially my neck, happily turning 40.

After the 2015 events (january and november), I got completely unbalanced, both emotionally, and physically, put on weight, panic attacks, anger outbursts, no way to do my job anymore, like dealing with typical visitors problem solving (e.g. lost baggages, fully booked restaurants,..), or simply baring mood swings of my bipolar colleague. As soon as someone started crying or yelling for any reason, my self defense felt in danger (“that freeze, fly or fight thing”).

In february 2016,  I was diagnosed obviously inadequate to my position, until today.

For the short storytime, I knew panic and fear on a terrorist attack at workplace and PTSD soon started with insomnia, poor emotional intelligence like Hulk’s syndrome,  inability to put words on my own feelings, anxiety and fear of going crazy, exhaustion and chronique fatigue disease, after sleep burn out, tremors (mouth, legs, hands), tachycardia, and memory loss, just to mention a few. Others symptoms you can’t just describe, like a sort of electrochemical pinching in your veins, especially in legs, or warmth flames in the back, which give you the right sense of burning inside.

“A short circuit of your soul.” 

It goes without saying, my health was severely damaged, as you know stress is quite dangerous for neurons, once they are gone, they don’t regenerate, so you start aging earlier, that’s also why, today, it’s not so rare to see stress effects in people who suffer Alzheimer’s syndrom much younger than 60, or stroke and heartattack victims.

By the way, I lost three colleagues between 27 and 43, in 5 months, does it count for stress disorders statistiques? Of course, it doesn’t, except if you can prove it. And you can’t. Occupational joke between Medicine and Managament states that it’s confidential.

During my journey, back from burn out, I have been told several times that this is the illness of the strong. And this is one of the main reasons why I feel a proud trauma survivor, today. Of course, you have to consider a deep cleaning of your personal life, as well as a full transformation of your jobcareer and lifestyle. 

You can’t figure out coping with PTSD and holding on the same life schedule than before trauma. It involves stop overthinking, letting go, and modulating negative emotional responses compared with the healthy controls.

“You need some yoga in your life.”  

Yoga practice really made a difference for me. It brought “justice” to my body and mind, especially since I am doing it regularly, almost everyday.

Check out Ted Nevins’s story “a soldier’s surprising journey to becoming a yogi” on the following: Warrior Spirit Retreat

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Thanks to a welsh penpal, and army brit, nicknamed Salad Dodger, my attention was caught by an association for Combat Stress, and reading an article I was quite shocked, because some of my burn out symptoms were perfectly matching with war vets PTSDafter battlefield.

This study led me to another article written from the american journalist, Sebastian Junger, published by Vanity Fair, who experienced PTSD on his way back from Afghanistan, where he spent 15 months on a mission with a Battle Company.

“Sometimes, we ask ourselves if we can save the vets, I think the real question is if we can save ourselves.”

To resume up, PTSD symptoms can be:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dissociation
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Irritability and outbursts of anger
  • Suicidal thoughts and suicide
  • Alcohol misuse and dependence
  • Sexual problems and confusion about sexuality

Other effects:

  • Eating disorders
  • Self-injury and self-harming behaviour
  • Transient psychotic episodes
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Somatisation – Emotional distress experienced as physical pain
  • Increased rates of physical conditions like heart disease and cancer
  • Homelessness Re-victimisation Prostitution
  • Criminal behaviour (including, for a small minority, sexual offences)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of confidence
  • Sleep problems
  • Parenting problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Trust issues

 

 

via What’s PTSD?

Bullying and Mental Health — The Bipolar Writer

Hi dear, I just went through your blog article about bullying and I feel like I want to say something. Bullying in the 80s, in Italy, at school? Once, I remember I had a fight against 4 school mates who wanted to beat me, and I reacted so violently that I could gain their respect. Btw I was such a tomboy, and I couldn’t simply accept that my mates would try to hurt me, for real. They were just playing, right? Were they?

Self-harm and mental illness came in my early twenties, too. Forget about talking to anyone. In 1994, internet wasn’t still developed, it arrived only in 1996-7. There was no means to learn about it, except in tv series, or rehab centers. The first time I heard about eating disorders, for example, it was in “Fame” tv show. A few years after my despair, I found my self in a hospital to pay a visit to a school friend, same than minute 8″, in the following video. Same exact situation.

But, please, don’t put weight issue at first place on eating disorders scale.  It goes so far deep inside, there is a 10 per cent of body self image, and the rest is related to perfectionism, and control, or parents relationships, self worth and self esteem issues. You really go through hell on earth, like a drug addicted. Food, calories, obsessions start from the first minute of your day until the very last minute. Social happenings like a pizza party, become a torture. Go away. You start lying to your self, and your friends, all of your peers (my mother used to invite cousins for a lunch on sundays and I hated it, I had to explain why I was eating just a mozzarella, instead of lasagne and tiramisu’ and I didn’t need to loose weight). Anorexia wasn’t worse for me, binge/bulimia was the worse. In fact, I didn’t loose so much weight as I would wish, and that explains why the Mental Health Center rejected me. Yes, because I wasn’t skinny enough. Honestly, if I look backward I feel so much relief because the two guys, brothers, who live in front of my parents home, still today, were accepted and got medical treatment, and no one of them could recover from their mental illness, until today.

Ok, James, I did my part, sorry, I will add plus details another time. Thank you for sharing. And go, get your memory published soon.

This is perhaps the most important topic I have covered on The Bipolar Writer blog. It is also the most talked about, and today as I write some new posts for the remainder of the week, I wanted to repost thing blog post, because there has been so much feedback posted on this post. I […]

via Bullying and Mental Health — The Bipolar Writer

Suicidal ? Why hurry up.

Wtumblr_ndd3fxXukW1shqmvso1_500hen I read about PTSD before going through my personal journey, I thought that PTSD were reserved only to war veterans or raped, child abused victims. God bless them all. Now, I can observe, « abuse », in a lifetime, can come in different ways, and shades of grey. It all depends on your level of sensibility. What is hurting me can be easily ignored by others. And, what’s worse, others won’t be able to understand your degreee of suffering, if they are not empath at all. I finally accept this. Since I’ve embraced the real fact that I am an empath and higher sensitive, in the noblest meaning. Also, I completely forgive these others. They miss awareness, and sometimes they simply don’t care. This is their misery. Not mine.

In my early twenties, I developed eating disorders and self harm disease. Depression was my company, since very young, it was more than weeping cos I wasn’t happy, and I couldn’t efford a Levi’s, financially, or couldn’t fit in. At 8 I discovered how to throw up food after eating, and it seemed to me like I got a magical power, eating junk food without putting weight on my belly. That worry didn’t last until I grew up older. I knew I wasn’t a typical cutie girl, and that was fine, that pushed me to look inside and focus on my personality. I really thought that my karmic debt was so heavy that I didn’t deserve to be the goodlooking girl which makes all men turn their head. And had to gain my beautiful body in one of next lives through hard work. Actually, not only I had a negative body image perception, but all my thoughts were tuned on negative vibes. Emotionally, I was a crap. Disfunctional family environement, of course, didn’t help and, at a certain moment, I just wanted to disappear. But slowly. A way to ask for attention and care.

Today I can recognise that I was on a strong love demand, and I can’t blame my peers not to understand how to manage my bipolar behaviour. Joyful, gay and cheerful, outside my armour, and damn upset and hating my self deeply inside. Self love is my last, wonderful achievement at age of 43.

Suicidal thoughts passed by in my twenties, like dark clouds on an empty sky. When anorexic, I have been diagnosed schizophrenic, because food&alchool abuse made me loose balance and clear mind. My mum had to watch me all the time or I could do something very harmful. Until I was hospitalized. Of course, today I see that it wasn’t my body, but my soul, the one who needed to be taken care of. But it took me 20 years to realize it, once for all.

At that time, the only way to overcome my lack of balance, by advice of my neurologist, was doing a psychodrug therapy. Recovering from drugs takes a long time and memory loss. A part of your soul flies away. Your personality, if you could build up some, at twenty, is no longer the same. Simply, you loose a big part of your Self. But in 90s there was not such a knowledge about ED like today. In a way, I feel lucky. First choice was a Center for Mental Health, and I can tell you that two of my neighbours passed by it and today they are still not well. Drugs addicted. Nobody takes care of them.

In my case, after all, time brings justice.

Being suicidal is natural when struggling is too much to bare, it makes sense to me, except that today I am a believer. Life is a game, a challenge. Indian call it « Lila ». Because I believe in karma, and reincarnation, I read once that, when you suicide, your soul is trapped between worlds. I can’t even think of being sticked in a hell of pain. This is enough for me to keep it up. But before I go on with my storytelling, I want you to know that choosing life requires courage and a bunch of energy.

So if you need more, ask for help to professionals. Not your neighbour, not your best friend or family member. We are nothing without others. Choose carefully.