Religion and the mental illness trap…and thoughts about a woodpecker 😊

My mental illness and religious indoctrination will start to form in my brain

It takes my mind and twist it up like I am going insane

Even though sometimes those scriptures help me to breathe

Using it too much with my illness I find no relief

Because the Spirit and Soul feed off nourishment to grow

And intellectual indoctrination can block the Spirit’s flow

With this illness of mine there’s balance to be found

Too much of anything can keep me all bound

So today I have to be silent with prayer because I don’t want to go back there

To living out of my intellect and robotic ways and really feeling stuck on most of my days

So when that religion starts to get stuck in my brain sometimes I must choose to back off and refrain….

The Spirit can find peace outside by a stream and listening to nature or watching a sun’s beam

I can write and express and help make people aware that I Know our illness doesn’t seem to be fair

But there’s hope yes there is…it’s looking you right in the face… in the mirror you will find the one to embrace

Give yourself a break and compassion it’s there.. no time for perfection just practice self care

Go outside and be free.. paint a picture..climb a tree..there’s so many ways to nourish your soul besides filling your mind go outside take a stroll

Look around and breathe in..hug yourself..touch your are worth are are a gift from above

Stand up tall and wear your brave don’t let your illness make you cave

You can do it you know it’s true…you’ve come so far just look at you!!

Poem by: Sharon Schwartz

After writing this poem this morning I decided to go for a run. Sometimes music from my playlist is awesome while I run because it takes my focus off of how hard the habit of running can be. Running also does wonders for my depression. I am only taking mood stabilizers and a sleep aid so it is my anti-depressant instead of another pill. That’s my regimen for now anyway.  Some mornings my music is just listening to nature and the music it brings. The birds, the breeze, a dog barking in the distance, my cats meowing as I walk down the steps to begin my run, etc… Today while I was running out of my driveway I heard a woodpecker in a tree beside me. I stopped for a second and just watched him pounding away. I thought that’s how I feel when I get my mind full of clutter by reading too much religious material or reading too much of anything really. When I think too much or my brain is very active with an array of thoughts. I feel exactly like that woodpecker and want to pound my head up against a tree to make it quit thinking sometimes. I know that must sound whack, but is it though? I am sure there are people out there that just get so caught up in busyness, work, and worrying that they just want the noise to stop. Well, after I passed the woodpecker I thought I would look him up online while I ran so when I stopped I could read about his significance. Funny, on my way home there was another woodpecker on a different tree as I was circling back to my house. The sounds they were making were standing out compared to the other noises. Anyway, when I read about the woodpecker “the symbolic meaning is strongly rooted in communication and opportunity…To be sure the woodpecker is an attention-grabber, and those who claim this amazing bird as their totem.. will attest to its ability to shake up awareness. After I read that I thought.. you know even though I think a lot and I write poetry about my thoughts they are to bring awareness. Even though at times I do feel like I am racking my brain and it feels like I have been pounding away at a tree I do hope my words are attention-grabbers and they shake people up and give them insight.

Here are some thoughts I want to share also:

When your relatives or other people tell you that you aren’t Bipolar, depressed, have anxiety or any other mental illness just don’t listen to them! You know your body, mind, diagnosis and intuition better than them. Take your meds and do what is working for you they don’t have to live in your body you do.

When people tell you that you can beat Bipolar Disorder or some other mental illnesses with natural remedies I wouldn’t listen to that either. I tried everything natural before meds and nothing worked. I juiced, I fasted, I ate extremely healthy, I exercised, etc..! Nothing worked but my meds changed my life!!

Accept the fact that some people are NOT going to love you or accept you. They are going to continually dis you and hold your mental illness against you. They don’t want to take responsibility for themselves or the pain they are causing you. Let them go!!

Sometimes you might fall back into bad habits and go backwards in your recovery. You might contact people that you know good and well that season of them being in your life is OVER. Move on…!!!

Always know that every second of your life is your second chance.

Always start your day out with gratitude!! As I have my coffee in the mornings I realize my coffee is a blessing. The creamer in my coffee is a blessing. I savor it and while I am sitting up in my bed drinking it…. I am thankful for my bed. I am thankful for a roof over my head, food, and clean water to drink and shower/bathe in, my family, life, waking up…and with depression sometimes it is hard to wake up so when I am up and motivated I am thankful for even that. There are so many things to be thankful for! Sometimes I am thankful for my mental illness because considering what I have been through in my life I have overcome A LOT. It shows my strength in my weakness. It has shown me that this illness is like cancer. You have to fight for your life everyday. You have to take your meds like patients take chemo. You have to do things you don’t feel like doing to take care of yourself. You have to live with a ruthless stigma and overcome the power of your thoughts. Like cancer patients we are survivors!!! Don’t let anyone tell you any different.  I have been sober for 19 years. My husband and I have practically raised 3 children without any help from our families. I have maintained my illness and have continued in my recovery since 2012. I set out to train for a 5k when I first started running in 2015. I ended up running a half-marathon instead of the 5k.  Since then, I have ran several 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons. I am an avid runner and that says a lot for someone who has struggled with depression since I was a teenager and I’m 48 now. I am not perfect, but I am growing..I am blessed and just these simple things I am very thankful for. Starting my day off remembering all of this is enough to keep me going!! Try it 🙂 gratitude will always help combat negative thoughts.





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