Wednesday 30 July 2008

A Therapeutic Oasis.

The creation of my garden was a statement of peaceful defiance. When I moved in to my home, it was more a matter of: "garden? what garden?" I looked out through my living room window and realised what a huge challenge lay before me. My garden and, for that matter, the gardens around me, were merely dumping grounds for people who didn't care or just couldn't be bothered. Beyond my living room window was a panorama of indifference.
On my own, only armed with a shovel, I proceeded to transform my forlorn excuse of a garden, disguised as a landfill, into a 'therapeutic oasis'. A place for our dog 'Penny' to play. A 'hang-out' for my son Tristan and his mates.
It has become a sanctuary to soothe my soul, our garden has given me a positive focus. I was determined to turn a negative environment into a special, spiritual place. I look out through my living room window, I notice the beauty, listen to the wind chimes and realise that inner contentment may well be a possibility. Anyone for a barbecue?

Tuesday 22 July 2008

Write On.

All I ever wanted to do was write. That was my dream, a dream I had from a very young and tender age. When I was ten years old I submitted a play to a show named 'Razzle Dazzle' on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (C.B.C.). I was all excited about the prospect of them doing my play on television and winning the coveted first prize; a transistor radio.
Well the C.B.C never did send me that radio. I had to eventually conclude that someone else was the winner of their play writing contest. I got on with my life, went to school, did several mundane jobs and lived from week to week. Yet the dream of becoming a writer was always lingering in the back of my mind. "I'll keep living my life so devoid of meaning" I thought. "Tomorrow or maybe the next day, I shall become a writer."
The thought of becoming a writer still burns in my mind like a glowing ember. The dream has not been extinguished. As I sit here alone in my house, I know, no matter how good, or how bad my writing is, I can use my blog as a therapeutic outlet. For writing is my chance to work through my feelings. This is my platform to try and make sense of it all.
Writing this blog is testimony that I shall continue to choose positivity. I could easily give up and never have my writing noticed by a wider audience. Giving up is not an option. For what I write is a source of comfort to me, and hopefully, a source of comfort to others.
I have mental health issues. The power of the written word has helped me deal with my illness. To remain undaunted and determined to live my dream, has been the catalyst in my ongoing recovery. We all have choices, pursue your dreams, never give up. One day, I shall be a writer. The little boy who did not win the transistor radio was disappointed but stayed resilient. Heck, if I try hard enough, I might now win a state of the art sound system. Let me conclude by saying this: "Write On."

Friday 11 July 2008

Squeeze The Bottom?

I was contemplating doing a blog on procrastination..nah..maybe another time. So, instead, I'm going to do a completely disjointed blog. Something quite different for me then. Squeeze the bottom? In some situations I think it is most appropriate to squeeze the bottom..I mean if you squeeze the top of the toothpaste tube, the paste below gets trapped. That is not good.
You know your having a bad day when you go to a certain restaurant and ask for an 'Unhappy Meal', just to cheer up. There is a song by those legends of rock, Led Zeppelin, titled: 'Ramble On'. That is precisely what I am doing in this blog. I told you this blog would be confusing and perhaps bordering on incoherent. I would completely understand if you did not read anymore of this. Matter of fact, well done if you are still here.
For those of you still reading, lets continue. I was talking to this dude the other day who told me he was 'strapped for cash'. I replied: "Really? Just how much do you get paid and what sort of straps are used?" Hang on a moment please..the phone is ringing.... Right I'm back now. Unbelievable, I have won another cruise to the Bahamas. I used to win trips to Orlando but never actually took them up on their kind offer. Anyone else get these phonecalls?
I was having quite the chat with a couple of folks the other day. They were telling me that Britain was getting so much like America. "Everywhere you look, American restaurants, American movies, American television. We need to retain our British culture." "So why are you dressed up like a cowboy and cowgirl then?" I inquired. "We're off to our Line dancing class. We just love Line dancing." Scream! Hmm..any Americans taking Morris dancing lessons?
Now speaking of baseball. As you may realise, baseball is a major sport in North America. Baseball requires the usage of a baseball bat. So not unusual to go into a sporting goods shop in North America and purchase a baseball bat. In Britain, baseball is not exactly a big sporting concern. So when someone goes into a sporting goods shop in Britain and purchases a baseball bat, just who are they playing baseball with?
I shall now draw this silly blog to an end. Let me leave you with some silly thoughts that are swirling in my head. Yes I'm bored. If anyone ever says to me that all I do is argue. I shall respond by saying: "No I don't." In tennis 'love' means nothing. I hear you can win loads of money in an 'air guitar' strings attached. So I think it is most appropriate to squeeze the bottom..of the toothpaste. Where do squeeze your tube of toothpaste? "Usually in the bathroom" you reply. Very funny, very pedantic. Right, that's it then, this blog has reached the bottom.

Wednesday 2 July 2008

Please Don't Look The Other Way

Greetings friends. The following is an article that I submitted to the Talkbank Times. I thought I would share it with you. Maybe some of you can relate to my experiences. We need to eliminate the stigma attached to mental health issues. You, the media and myself can do our bit to challenge the stereotyping that revolves around mental health concerns. I thank you.

I live in a small town. Living in a small town, when your life is falling apart, word soon gets around. Due to series of overwhelming negative circumstances, I broke down. The onslaught of my mental illness, caused me to end up in a psychiatric unit, very close to this small town.
A visitor to the hospital noticed me and couldn't wait to spread the word. When I returned home, I was subjected to ridicule. "Hey nutter, out of the nut house" they would say, as they laughed. I ignored them, it caused me anxiety but I tried to move on to a better life.
The years rolled by. Yet even now, when I see someone who knows about my past, they become very uncomfortable. I will be in a shop, I smile at them, they blank me. It is very sad, do I scare them? How can I convince them that I am a harmless man? I have committed no crime. Maybe just maybe, they worry that the 'mental guy' might be having a bad day. Do they fear for their safety? Or do they fear that what they perceive about me, might happen to them?
People in this small town, who do not know about my past, are kind to me. I have a great laugh with them. Oh they might think of me being somewhat unconventional in my attitude towards life, yet I detect no fear. They relate to a guy who has the ability to make people happy. That is all I want to do, bring to people's lives a bit of joy. If only those who would pass judgement could understand that, yes I am ill, but I challenge my negative world.
Those that feel awkward around me are aware of the stereotypes that surround mental health issues. They are aware of the negative sensationalism that the media has often portrayed. So wouldn't it be nice if they could read a story about someone who has mental health issues, yet remained undaunted in seeking positivity? Wouldn't it be nice that they read a story about a lonely, desperate man who was determined to get better? What if they read it and realised the story was about that 'nutter' who causes them such anxiety? What if they started to understand? Now that would be sensational.
Please don't look the other way, I extend my hand of friendship. There is nothing to fear.
Gary Pennick.