#WATWB March 2018 First Anniversary Post – #KevinHines #BlackDog and More

Welcome to our First Anniversary #WATWB post. Please visit and show your appreciation to our dedicated co-hosts for this month

Sylvia McGrath,

Sylvia Stein,

Shilpa Garg,

Eric Lahti and

Belinda Witzenhausen.

Kevin Hines

On this World Bipolar Day, the story of Kevin Hines, Cracked Not Broken (pictured) is one of surviving with a challenging condition of life. Kevin navigates the course through bipolar disorder. He does not navigate alone.

There have been times he has felt in the depths of desperation. He threw himself off San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. But, he did not die. His story now inspires others.

He takes his story to others as this Huff Post article states

Kevin also sits on the boards of The International Bipolar Foundation, The Bridge Rail Foundation (BRF) and The Mental Health Association of San Francisco (MHASF). Kevin has spoken and testified in congressional hearings alongside Patrick Kennedy in support of the Mental Health Parity Bill. He has been a powerful voice for the lived experience movement for over 15 years. 

His will to live and stay mentally well has inspired people worldwide. His compelling story has touched diverse, global audiences within colleges and universities, high schools, corporations, clergy, military, clinicians, health and medical communities, law enforcement organizations, and various conferences. Thousands have communicated to Hines that his story helped save their lives.

His story was featured in the 2006 critically-acclaimed film “The Bridge” by the film director and producer Eric Steel.

Kevin is one person who helps not only himself, but others too, find the will to live amidst the vicissitudes of life and health.  Check him out on youtube.

Black Dog Institute and Beyond Blue

In my country of Australia we have other agencies such as the Black Dog Institute and Beyond Blue.

The Black Institute describes itself as

 dedicated to understanding, preventing and treating mental illness. We are about creating a world where mental illness is treated with the same level of concern, immediacy and seriousness as physical illness; where scientists work to discover the causes of illness and new treatments, and where discoveries are immediately put into practice through health services, technology and community education.

Beyond Blue Foundation

Among their initiatives, Beyond Blue has some ambassadors from all walks of life: sports, media, law, the arts who support the work and who have a story linked to either them or loved ones of theirs, who have lived with the challenges of depression, anxiety and other demands on emotional-mental wellbeing.

We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB Itself

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#WATWB is also an example of giving people a reason to get out of bed, to believe in yourself, or to find another person or cause to believe in.  The #WATWB interaction builds commmunity. It fosters a compassionate and hopeful way of life.

In lieu of a poem,

           I’ve chosen a magnificent sung poem

by the great

Don McClean – ‘Vincent’, on youtube.

                                   Please enjoy.

And #WATWB is ONE YEAR OLD!  HappBirthday #WATWB!

Want to know more about this blogfest?  Read on.

Once again, here are the guidelines for #WATWB:

1. Keep your post to Below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. Link to a human news story on your blogone that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Paste in an excerpt and tell us why it touched you. The Link is important, because it actually makes us look through news to find the positive ones to post.

3. No story is too big or small, as long as it Goes Beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD badge or banner on your Post and your Sidebar. Some of you have already done so, this is just a gentle reminder for the others.

5. Help us spread the word on social media. Feel free to tweet, share using the #WATWB hastag to help us trend! 

Tweets, Facebook shares, Pins, Instagram, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. We’ll try and follow and share all those who post on the #WATWB hashtag, and we encourage you to do the same.Just click Here to enter their link and join us! Bigger the #WATWB group each month, more the joy!

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#Movember2016 & Other Bristling Words

#Movember2016 & Other Bristling Words

 

Bristles, whiskers, stubble,

Forming on the chin;

Tracing lines on upper lip,

Framing round a grin.

Movember makes a comeback,

Raising hair on many a face;

We do our bit for mental health,

To make the world a better place.

 

Simon C.J. Falk     1 Movember November 2016

For The Black Dog Bites Severely

 

For all those we know and love.  May they find peace and vigour again.

 

For The Black Dog Bites Severely

For some the Black Dog bites severely,

Smiting in an awful wound;

The cost to victims is dearly,

As they may feel sorely doomed.

 

The bite may infect like rabies,

And take a diabolic toll;

Turning certitudes to maybes,

As it eats at body, mind and soul.

 

And we, we try to tend them,

To bring the balm of cheer;

Apply the discipline of listening,

A focussed, compassionate ear.

 

It may take medication,

To bring the chemical mix to still;

And it takes love and dedication,

To bandage their battered will.

 

And so we send these words out,

To the one’s we know by name;

And to all their suffering companions,

Who feel much the same.

 

May they receive the treatment,

The best care all can give;

For we want them all to flourish,

And again to fully live.

 

 

Simon C.J. Falk 18 October 2016

Fissures

Fissures

 

Fissures break out

onto the face

We work hard

At saving,

Making the mask

Purposeful and perpetual.

Yet fissures

Crumble its façade.

Fault lines emerge,

Atolls of anxiety arise,

Ditches of depression

Sink in shadow.

The posturing persona

Tires,

As the real mantle

Rises from the core,

And the soul stirs,

It’s flame flowing,

To the face.

 

 

Simon C.J Falk 24 September 2016   Forthcoming – “Yearnings”.

We Are More

We Are More

Another response to reading a very good post on depression from Inside the Life of Moi yesterday.  There may be times we feel unwell, having a bad day, or, are beset by maladies or pathologies.  But we are more than our symptoms or our passing circumstances.

 

We Are More

(i)

He sits on the kerbside

With a cardboard sign,

“Please help,” inscribed

on its pulpy surface,

and, in the lines around

his eyes, and in them too,

darting side to side,

“Need more money”,

continued the message.

For while he medicated

His ‘voices’

With cheap plonk,

A desperate user took

His last dollars.

His schizophrenia controls

His happiness and habits,

Yet

We are more

Than the pathologies

That pin us.

 

(ii)

She shares half her sandwich

With him,

Then hears

TOOT!

An idling car awaits,

In readiness to take

Her where

She will ‘work’

This night.

Later she breathes in,

As the barby point

Of the syringe

Also enters in.

Morning sees

The ambulance there

To take her away.

“Another overdose”,

we overhear

someone say.

Yet

We are more

Than some

Of our habits.

 

(iii)

He takes his “Please help” sign,

Turns it round,

And with

A texta he found,

Begins

To sketch,

Feebly at first,

Then

With gusto,

A portrait

Of her,

That Toulouse-Lautrec

Would be proud of.

Yes

We are more

Than the symptoms seem.

 

 

 

 

 

Simon C.J. Falk 13/14 July 2016

Down Days of Darkness

Down Days of Darkness

It is more fun to write of cheerful or fanciful things. However, on reading a very good post on depression from Inside the Life of Moi yesterday,  I was drawn to write a poem by way of backing up what Amanda had shared.  You may also like to see The Rage Rages On.

Down Days of Darkness

For those who’ve walked the streets,

Down the days of darkness,

Know the shuffling of the feet,

And the foreboding tristesse.

In those dim, drizzly days,

Where all is hard to see,

Even the tears struggle to flow,

In the depression melee.

I scrawl as one who’s been there,

And for those who are there now,

To remind them another avenue waits,

And they will reach it somehow.

The cloud will lift, and the rain will dry,

Another avenue will come into view,

And the sun will beam down from the sky,

To warm the way for you.

 

 

Simon C.J Falk 13 July 2016

Another Side of Loneliness or ‘On Living Life to the Full’

Another Side of Loneliness or ‘On Living Life to the Full’

 

Paul Murray, who is a poet, scholar of Christian Spirituality and a Dominican Friar, writes in his book, Scars: Essays, Poems and Meditations on Affliction (Bloomsbury: 2014), on both the gift of our uniqueness and the loneliness that can be felt along with it.  Part of our lives are unique to us alone and others cannot perceive, think and feel exactly the same way that we each do. By the way, I’m fine at the moment.  I just recognise having had this experience before and wondered if others may identify with this in some way.

 

‘On Living Life to the Full’

 

When you heart is empty

And your hands are empty

 

You can take into your hands

The gift of the present

 

You can experience in your heart

The moment in its fullness.

 

***

 

And this you will know,

Though perhaps you may not yet

Understand it,

 

And this you will know:

 

That nothing

Of all you have longed for

Or have sought to hold fast

Can relieve you of your thirst,

Your loneliness,

 

Until you learn

To take in your hands

And raise to your lips

This cup of solitude

This chalice of the void

 

And drain it to the dregs.

 

(All rights to Paul Murray, OP and Bloomsbury Press 2014)

 

Interesting that I had read this, as, in recent times, the author Hannah Kent tweeted on her @HannahFKent account “My favourite new word: Waldeinsamkeit (German, noun). The feeling of being alone in the woods, an easy solitude, connectedness to nature.”

 

I partly covered what Murray is talking about in a closing section to one of my previous posts, “The Great Alone

How do we hold them,

Their damp, dark spirits,

In the fog,

When they realise

That we each

have an alone

that is unique to ourself,

and no other human

can truly dwell

with us

in that beautiful

yet alone

place?

 

Simon C.J. Falk 10 June 2016

Still Responding to ‘Still Alice’ and Others We Know

Still Responding to ‘Still Alice’ and Others We Know

Some time ago I read ‘Still Alice’ and was struck by the plight of the story.  I also know a number of families who have, or are, journeying with a loved one who has a dementia-related condition. This is partly a response to all of this, and also, to a fabulous post ‘Still Emily’ from the Bookshelf of Emily J.  

 

Still Responding to ‘Still Alice’ and Others We Know

Still

Spinning the cycling conversation,

We were last here

Around five minutes ago.

Still

Asking the same questions

And heading down the same trajectory,

As the narrative arcs out

And returns

Like a jet

Waiting for ground clearance

To finally come

To rest.

Rest

There needs to be rest

For this person

And their loved ones,

From this demented process,

The ‘in and out’ of reality,

Where

Some moments are Ok

But others, oh

No!

Who is this person

Behind the face

Of one I thought

I knew?

Maybe it is I

Who have the problem?

I can be a bit,

You know,

Lost in my world.

But wait.

He’s

Not following

The plot.

The poor family

How can they

Stay with this

Still?

Still

On the journey

The merry-go-round

Of thought loops.

But the go-round

Aint always so merry

Just round.

 

 

Simon C.J. Falk 4 June 2016

Gone

Gone

In the wake of those stricken by suicide.  If this raises concerns for you, or for one whom you love, seek assistance now.  Australia https://www.lifeline.org.au/ ; USA http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  ; Canada http://suicideprevention.ca/thinking-about-suicide/find-a-crisis-centre/  .  Or check where you live.

 

(i)

Gone.

You were.

Now

Not.

Gone.

No longer here.

The dance of dark and light,

Padding within,

Has come to

It’s zenith;

Or

To is plummet.

The darkness has cloaked you,

And the light

Has gone.

Except for a glimmer

That we grasp in memory,

Holding it in our hands,

Lest

It too

Is gone.

Were you freed

As you crossed

That final breach?

Or was it a sudden last jab

Or pain?

Then did you rise?

Like a raptor aloft,

Away from the soil of your sorrow?

Do you now feel pain?

Or a new one,

As you witness the wake,

The grief,

Of the remnant

Who mourn the loss,

your passing

From their midst?

In their lives now

You’ve left.

And left, yes,

A capacious hole,

Like the cold fissure

Of a crevasse,

Deep, sharp, biting and

Dark at its bottom.

As the pain left you

It alighted

On those who love you,

Who miss you.

The hurt is not gone,

Just transferred to others

Now needing,

Oh yes, needing much,

To do the healing

That needs to be done.

 

(ii)

May the dance of light

Leap over the shadows.

May its rays bring a new warmth

To the cold hurt.

And may those who remain

Catch the light

To illumine their pain.

And may that light,

Ever so bright and warm,

As it animates them,

Shine forth.

And may it beam so brightly

That it goes to you

And completes the cycle.

But,

This time,

Encircling your darkness in its ray,

That you may become

A star shining,

A beacon of peace,

And

The darkness

Gone.

 

 

Simon C.J. Falk   13 December 2015

The Rage Rages On

The Rage Rages On (edited) – Retro Post

TableLight

We are coming to the end of #Movember and, as I think on matters mental health, I am reminded of this set of lines that I penned years ago.   Back then, due to various reasons, I had spiraled into a situational depression.  I am fine now, but was not then.  It was important to get help. So, in these last days of #Movember, I urge men especially to get help from their doctor or other helplines in places where they come from.  The idea to do another retro post came from  witnessing our esteemed blogger colleague, Robert Okaji at O at the edges, do a great retro post recently.

The Rage Rages On

And the rage rages on!

The rage is maintained:

Surging up,

Billowing forth,

Pulsing through the veins.

The rage rages on!

War against terror,

Against Wall Street,

Against each other,

Against ourselves,

The rage rages on!

I feel it in me

Like a twirling tempest,

Like a surging sea,

Then I feel flat:

So flat,

Heavy,

Weighed down,

Septic,

With exhausting, raging weight.

I anger

At where I am,

At who I am.

I know not who I am anymore,

Save that I want to write again.

Verses, poems, stories

I want to write again.

My eyes are dry and heavy,

My limbs, like suspended concrete

Stiffly droop from my frame.

My head feels heavy

And thick like all its

Liquid is turning solid,

Or like gooey grease.

I am losing my memory

Or am I in fact retaining or attending?

I feel as if I am shutting down

Like a flower retreating from the evening time,

Closing its petals to the gloom.

And I feel in the eventide of my years

Ageing, old-ening, arthritic in body and ideas,

Stiffening against the blows of life

And the pains of past excesses

And yet

To put it down

To lay it on the page

Somehow that helps,

Anchors it,

Shapes it,

Puts it in its place,

And ejects some of the venom.

 

Original 22 February 2008, edited 28 November 2015

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