Friday, June 22, 2012

Five Keys to Mental Health...Something to look forward to.

Baseball. Autumn. Smiles from friends. Smiles from Strangers. Anything happy go lucky from Paul Simon (oh, wait, scratch that, there isn't any).  Beatles songs - most of them. Road trips where someone else is driving.  Short road trip where you drive and remember where you're going and why. Did I say autumn?  Roses from my garden.  My wife's smile.  Boston. The city and the band.  The Band.  New York. Citifield. Movies.  A good walk where you don't mind the pain.  Breathing quietly. Days where the injection pain goes on and on, but you don't care because it is supposed to be helping.  Drugs. Plans. Retirement. A nice lunch.  A leisurely dinner.  A boat ride on a lake.  Cooperstown.  Calvin Coolidge's farm.  General Grant's home at Exit 16 of the Northway - standing on the Overlook where he came in his final days to see the Beauty around him.  A haircut (it doesn't take long).  Lake George. Fort William Henry. The Saratoga Battlefield.  Chilled peach soup.   Meatloaf, both musician (1st album) and the food (my version).  Days when my arms don't itch (injection side effect).  Old book stores.  New book stores.  Caffe Lena's.  Baseball at the Joe (with no giveaways).  A 30 degree day in late January.  A 65 degree day in August with that cool breeze.  The first day of school (or so I remember). The last day of school.  Facebook surprises.  Disney.  Kristen.  Renaissance (the 70s group).  Blues music. A working air conditioner.  Picking out a song on the piano or guitar.  Dropping three pounds.  Actually completing a road trip without asking directions.  Completing my Buddha shrine.  Bob Dylan.  A dog licking my hand.  Sitting by cool water.  Fenway Park.  Valley Forge.  New York at Christmas.  A county fair.  The way my wife takes my hand and squeezes it on a bad day.  The wind as I ride my bike. Lake Wobegon.  Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky." The next Star Trek movie.  The Mets winning another World Series.  Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles.  A Pop Tart.  Finishing my novel, for the sake of finishing a novel.  Oreos dunked in milk.  Having the iPod suddenly play a streak of terrific songs when its on shuffle.

Everyday we wake up, and we realize whether we are totally healthy or not that we have a choice to make to face that day in a proper spirit or not.  I wake up each day with pains and strains in my legs, occasionally numbness, and that fog in my head.  But I get up, because there's always something that needs to be done, even if it is laundry (which I am a whiz at now).

Mr. M's list of the keys to mental health ends with "something to look forward to."  I've put a list up that's not so much of a bucket list, more things that are just nice to have happen, or favorite places to go. Nothing gigantic here.  Obviously, I did not put a cure for MS down because that won't happen while I'm around and there's money to be made for drug companies by merely treating the symptoms (ooops, did some cynicism get in there? Sorry.  We all know they are trying.  Really.).

But when talking about this, and we turn to you, what gets you up each morning, and we're talking about more than getting a paycheck here, is it that significant other? your children? something else? Well, as we've found in the other discussions, what you're seeing is that person you see in the mirror serving others.  Each of the activities listed above could be done alone, but each one was meant to be shared with another.  The dedication of getting up and facing each day for the benefit of others, even if its just to welcome them home (occasionally all I can contribute) will keep you moving spiritually.  Add in the exercise, activities, love, and the need to be part of Something Greater, and you can keep your head in the fight. Bob and weave.

MS, or whatever your challenge, can only take you down if you let it.  And I'm not preaching from a pulpit that's never been breached by the hordes.  I wake up a MS person with bipolar disorder every day. But I also wake up as Tom, and there's more yet after that.  I know you want to pull the cover over your head some days. I do too. I know of whole families who won't discuss the fact of this or other diseases.  My family just stuck their proverbial heads in the sand until it was too late.  All we can do is be patient and reach out.  I don't have cooties.  I have my story, and I'll share, but tell me - where would you like to go today? and tomorrow?  I've got Oreos!

All ahead, Mr. Sulu.  Second Star to the right, straight on 'til morning.  Warp Speed.

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to reading your blogs! I especially love when you talk of our family. Sometimes I get so sad because I feel as if I missed out on some good times with the family. I hope we can get together soon so I can learn as much as possible about the Martin clan!