Liven Your Space - A Resource for Healing from Mental Illness
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Getting Religion, Part XXXIV Ups and Downs

Some people are able to live their lives on a fairly even keel.  As they do they come to find that each day is pretty much the same with a few ups and downs and rare opportunities for large and unpredictable disruptions. I found by my thirties that I, like many others, was not one of these.  

Each day after my episode in San Francisco I would wake up unsure as to whether I would be setting out on an uncertain but enjoyable adventure  or faced with emotional obstacles that would cause me to retreat into a shell of isolation and fear.  It was Dr. Lebensohn that helped me understand that shaping my day, causing it to work for me and avoiding the pitfalls of mental illness was my responsibility.  He explained I needed to act proactively, establishing a set of behaviors that would keep me focused and well. 

For years, as I struggled to follow Dr. Lebensohn's advice, I would fall asleep feeling as though that day had been a good one; that I had successfully managed all the do's and don'ts on his list.  

But there was a period when things started to change.  During one of my monthly visits, Dr. Lebensohn noticed my symptoms right away.  I had lost weight, had dark circles under my eyes, and complained of being tired and afraid. The corners and colors of my world were losing clarity. Paranoia was taking control.  

From his distance, Dr. Lebensohn saw all this. He shared with me his concerns and observations. And in his kind fatherly voice, he ordered me to take three weeks off from work.  He talked with me and as he did I began to realize how warped my thinking had become.  I complied immediately. His compassion and intelligence reached out to me as a life line.  And with his help, I began swimming through a sea of perilous thoughts to safer ground again.  From the leather chair in his office, I walked to Toast and Strawberries to peruse the merchandise and chat with my friend and the proprietor Rosemary. 

To be continued ...

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