Monday, December 27, 2010

The Problems with Forgiveness

The problem with forgiveness.

Problems with forgiveness? That just seems unfathomable. Forgiveness is freedom for the forgiver and the receiver. Forgiveness is releasing. One hundred percent of the time our forgiveness is waiting upon our forgiving. There is power in forgiveness.

Those weights are lifted off our shoulders and the steps we walk are lightened. We see things differently, in a new light. Our expectations from others are no longer self-serving. We no longer seek to have our voids filled from others. And trying to fill our voids is draining. They never get filled.

Christ said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” He knew we are not capable of carrying around the weights of hurts and offenses for long. He knew they would suffocate our joy and peace. He knew they would hinder our relationship with Him and block our prayers from being answered. He knew and strongly taught the dependence of our sins being forgiven depended upon us forgiving others.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Did I miss Christ this Christmas?

I see Christmas through the world’s eye

I have to confess; I don’t know if this is a rant or more of a profession of confusion out of desperation. There are things weighing heavily on my mind and in my heart. Maybe, hopefully there will be cohesion within these words rather than them winding up being some kind of mixed up hodgepodge that doesn’t make sense. I’m liable to step on some toes. Sometimes I have a knack for rubbing people the wrong way. Usually it’s those that are reluctant to slide out of their comfort zone. But I’ve never been one to not speak what I have to say as long as it’s worth saying and that maybe something will come out of it.

Today of all days, in spite of how much I love this day, was a stressful day for me. Not necessarily in regards to this blog, though to an extent some. At the end of the day I sat at the edge of the bed exhausted, reflecting over the whole day thinking, “What just happened?”

Friday, December 17, 2010

I am an Epistle

In my last blog I made the proclamation that when we find ourselves in the midst of one of life’s crossroads we are forced to confront the reality of where we have been. Why? Isn’t the ultimate goal to turn from our past? Shouldn’t I just focus on moving towards the future God has planned for me? 

An epistle is basically defined as a formal letter. In 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 Paul reveals to us that “we are epistles, written on hearts, known and read by everyone, revealing that we are letters of Christ, being delivered, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on stone tablets, but on the tablets of human hearts.”

I have kept a journal for well almost ten years. My initial intentions were to simply keep a recorded log for my children to have of me after I pass on. I wanted to walk them through the worlds that I live in that are so often off limits to outsiders. Verbal words can only express so much, especially to a young child growing up. I wanted to provide them written expressions of myself. When I pass on I want to leave them my words. Words I forgot to say. Words I didn’t say enough. I want the weight off of their shoulders because they know of the depression episodes that sometimes would be accompanied by suicidal thoughts. I want them to know I was inside, behind those blank eyes.

I want them to know it was the mania that they couldn’t move enough for and not me. And that it wasn’t everything thing they did that aggravated me, that it was the mania. When they read my journals I want them to know I did my best and I fought hard so that if there are any resentments for my failures they will know it was the bipolar.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Caution: Street Signs Out of Order

When it comes to making decisions in life there are a number of analogies used to describe the dilemma. There’s only one place I know where it’s possible for confusion and dis-satisfaction to co-exist with a place where the possibilities are not only endless but exciting as well. It is such a sound and fitting analogy Christ took advantage of it on more than one occasion. (But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and a few find it—Matt 7:14; 13:4,19; Mar 4:4,15; Luke 1:79; 8:8,12)

I’m at my own crossroads in my life right now. I’m conflicted with what to do about school and which career or even whether or not to complete my graduate degree. Ever since Christ cleaned my act up and put me back together I handed my will over to him. I stopped pursuing my plans for my life. I did however enroll back in school. It was just something I had been doing and since I had to withdraw enrolled for the Fall. However, no classes were offered in my field that I , but Ihadn’t already taken so I enrolled in a couple of counseling classes that I thought would be interesting. I wonder if that should be my first clue? During the semester I kept trying to figure out how I was going to complete the requirements for my degree because of my “record” that I had incurred during my last two years of drinking.

Change of blog focus

I've decided to go in a different direction with my blog intead of focusing on myI Parkinson's. Even though I've had Parkinson's for at least 7 years it wasn't until last year that my symptoms have become problematic enough to affect my life. In retrospect it's a short time to significantly reflect on its impact, whether negative or positive, in my life. I had already reported most of the changes I have had to make, but honestly that's the extent of it.
I truly believe that God has given me strength, patience, and grace to deal with my Parkinson's, directly and by what I have learned through the last five years.

So, all that being said, decided to focus my blog on my life experiences with bipolar, my struggles with alcohol, and my tug-o-war battle with anorexia. For as long as I can remember I have dealt with bipolar. Well before being diagnosed.
During the last five years I struggled with alcohol and anorexia. They were my ways of dealing with, coping, and/or avoiding circumstances I was being put through and almost cost me the life I had worked to put back together that I had already lost.

I have a story to tell. A story with chapters. I wrote the first half. Christ is now writing the second half.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Tin Woodman, the Tin Woodsman, the Tinman, and Me...

Now I know I've got a heart, 'cause it's breaking
"For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world." --The Tin Woodman

He wasn't always The Tin Woodman. As a matter of fact sometimes he was referred to as the Tin Woodsman, but we know him as the Tinman. Before he was the Tinman he was a Munchkin named Nick Chopper, flesh and bone.
Unlike the classic story we all know, the origins of the character are rather gruesome. Nick Chopper made his living chopping down trees in Oz. The Wicked Witch of the East placed a spell on his axe at the request of his fiancée's father preventing him from marrying the girl he loved. The enchanted axe caused Nick to chop off his limbs one by one. Nick replaced each limb with a prosthetic limb made of tin. Eventually, there was nothing left of Nick but tin. The tinsmith, Ku-Klip, who helped him, had forgotten to replace his heart leaving him unable to love the girl he had fallen for. The Tinman is born while Nick Chopper ceased to exist.
We know the story of how the Tinman joins up with Dorothy for her journey to the Emerald City. But what probably 90% of its audience doesn't know is that along the way he proves himself useful by chopping wood to build a bridge or raft and chopping the heads off of threatening animals. Throughout the journey it was the Tinman that was the most compassionate and most protective. Rather than missing his original body of flesh, the Tinman becomes rather proud, rather too proud, of his tin body. Unlike in the movie, in the original published book one hundred years ago, when the party finally received what they were each seeking from the Wizard, the Wizard cut a hole in the Tinman's chest and placed a silk heart stuffed with sawdust, symbolizing to be very soft and tender.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thank you falettinme be mice elf agin

Thank you falettinme be mice elf agin

"Thank you for the party, But I could never stay
  Many thangs is on my mind, words in the way"

"Thank you for letting me be myself again"...a number one hit in 1969 and one of the most influential funk songs of all time by Sly and the Family Stone. The title sums up the bands career from 1960 to 1970. It's was Sly's message of appreciation to anyone who could hear his voice. Sly and the Family Stone is known for being the first racially integrated band in music history, spreading their message of peace, love and social consciousness. It was Sly and the Family Stone that stepped out and were the first to fuse differing genres together such as rock, soul, pop, and jazz that was soon to become R&B and funk.

"Mama's so happy
  Mama start to cry
  Papa still singin'
  You can make it if you try"

Sly and the Family Stone band was an interracial, mixed-gender combo that burst onto the music scene in 1967. Sly was a flamboyant man, not afraid to wear gold jump-suits with large hats that dangled with tassels. I guess it can be said he literally "danced to the beat of his own drum." He wasn't afraid to be himself and he gave us much more. Thank you Sly Stone for being yourself. Because of you, we have Miles Davis, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mayer, Michael Jackson, the Black Eyes Peas, and oh gosh I can't name all of them. Because you were you, we still hear you today. Wow! Sly Stone almost defines true authenticity. Unfortunately the band broke up in the late 70's after having to scrape up the funds to pay for their last show booking at Radio City Music Hall. Many things can be said of Sly, but if all is forgotten except one, it can be this, Sly refused to deny himself of whom he was and who he could be. It just wasn't in him. His music, his lyrics, his sound, his band and its composition were all extensions of who he was.
Sly wasn't without his problems or critics, such as albums being labeled as "too dark and political." He received scathing criticisms from music critics and record companies.

"Youth and truth are makin' love
  Dig it for a starter
  Dyin' young is hard to take
  Sellin' out is harder"

I wrote of the masked face in Parkinson's the other day and how it doesn't reflect what someone is feeling on the inside. After the question "name that tune" for Thank You was posed on Facebook I got to wondering how much of an extent or how many people stop being who they are because of a diagnosis. Will I let my Parkinson's define me? Do we eventually lose sight of who we are and get lost in a diagnosis or disorder? No matter the diagnosis. Do we sell out to our diagnosis/disorder? Sometimes we nourish our disorder into our identity such as my previous struggle with an eating disorder. I'm sure we all do, but to what extent and what cost? I mean, we're in a fragile state, right? Maybe, and if so then how much? Do we then need the helping hands of another to guide us back to where we were? Wow, a lot of questions to ponder.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I am exhausted but hopeful

I envy my wife. It's 4:33am, she's passed out and I'm still awake and up. It's the same every night. She sleeps soundly while I roam the house in an insomnianic sleep deprived stooper. My body is agitated and rigid so I just took a cocktail of Sinemet and Mirapex. As usual I can't sleep even though I was only able to get about 3 hours of sleep last night. Before going to bed I debated whether or not to stay up and then go to bed late or go to bed and get very early. If I get too much sleep I wake up with a severe migraine and I can kiss the restfulness goodbye. I've been exhausted all day so I went to bed fairly early. I decided to get up at 4:30am. But like so many times before it just didn't work out like I planned. I tossed and turned until I had to get out of bed and do something. So I've been up since. No matter. I'm used to sleepless nights. I've had them since I was a kid, just not like this though. For the most part I had slept ok during my Parkinson's. As it progressed my sleeping worsened. Research now shows that sleep problems may be an early indicator of Parkinson's.
Typically as symptoms progress sleep problems worsen. Pain and uncontrollable movements can cause severe insomnia. At night my uncontrollable movements become worse. I can't seem to force myself to sit still as I type this blog out right now. I can go for days without sleep. Sleep deprivation will set in after so many nights. The shadows seem to come alive making their presence known jumping out from behind a door way or out of a closet. I could almost promise you I've seen the boogey man.
Being quiet isn't hard to do. Everyone sleeps with their door shut. I roam the house making no noise. But I'm like that.
I've tried treating my insomnia for the last ten years with prescription drug, over the counter meds, changing diet, changing schedules, etc. Nothing works. I have Ambien but it makes me do weird things I don't remember, like interacting with dragons, and it doesn't work on me, but I will take one every now and then with hopes that it will work.
The days are long. And I mean 24 hour period of days. I'm awake for both day and night. The days are long because the nights are long.
I stopped trying to seek relief for now. It's only temporary though. Within the last ten years I've tried almost 20 different medications with no positive results. I get either severe side effects or no effects at all. The trial-and-error process of trying to find the right treatment is exhausting. Not to mention aggravating.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ranting in the Calm

Sometimes you just need to rant. Just let it out...even if it's over something that absolutely nothing to do with yourself. I actually have a couple of things I want to write about this afternoon. I had originally posted a note on my Facebook page about this Wizard of Oz remake the day I read the article. Why, you ask, am I bringing it up again for my blog? Maybe it's because it just really irks me. Maybe it's because I just rant too much. No, I think tinkering with The Wizard of Oz just really aggravates me that much.
I read today (Nov 18, 2010) there is currently not only a remake of The Wizard of Oz, live action for that matter, in the works but there are also a couple of spin off movies as well. The writer of the article actually used the words "comeback" and "classic" in the same sentence. A "comeback?" Are they serious? Where did this classic go? And isn't one of the qualifications for a classic to remain present? Then where is it coming back from? I received the 70th year Wizard of Oz Anniversary DVD set last year when it came out so it must have still been around.
And for that matter...not only one spinoff, but two? What the heck? Yea, apparently Dorothy's great, great granddaughter inherits the ruby slippers. That's the background. And the other, not only is Robert Downy, Jr. Iron Man...he's also the Wizard!

Say, "CHEESE!"

"Smile Lupe! Why don't you ever smile? Why do you always look so sad?  You should smile more." These are just some of the advice I'm privileged to receive from those who have my well-being in "their" best interest. "I should what?" "And why do you care?" "Thank you for reminding me of the progression of my Parkinson's. You will have to forgive me that it displeases you."

I mean really, who do people think they are that they feel the need to tell others how to carry themselves? I don't tell people who have gained weight, "Wow, you need to go on a diet; I don't like what I see."

Anyone who knows even the slightest bit about Parkinson's knows its cardinal signs: Tremor and Shuffling. However, the many other motor symptoms are not as well known, such as the lack of the automatic ability for facial expressions also known as hympomimia, or masked face. It's a flat affect. The upper lip is rigid and is difficult to move. Less blinking. The face looks, well, just flat...expressionless. Most of the time I sound like I'm drunk when I speak. My speach is slurred. My voice is low. Not so bad when meds are working well. And I would go so far as to say this makes some people uncomfortable. And for some downright nosy.

Being able to multi-task is all but lost as Parkinson's progresses. You know the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time? I've always had a stoic face. I can smile and I can laugh, when the circumstances call for it. I just don't walk around with a goofy grin
on my face. I can smile and I can walk, I just can't do both at the same time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It Wasn't Raining When Noah Built The Ark

No, it wasn't raining nor had it ever rained before. Just like Noah didn't know what to expect once he completed the ark, a day in the life of a person with Parkinson's is unknown.  With the fear of sounding sorry for myself, my days have come to be ruled by constant planning ahead never knowning what I will be facing. Quite the contrary of feeling sorry, it is so constant by now it has already become a way of life that has given me the grace to appreciate what God has entrusted me with.
I was 29 when my first symptom showed up, a slight tremor in my right hand. That was 7 years ago. For the most part of 6 of those years the extent my symptoms progressed was a tremor that developed in to my left hand and bottom jaw. Now in this previous year I became completely symptomatic. Part of my current treatment is an attempt to slow it's progression.

How My Nonsense Makes Sense

I like nonsense,it wakes up the brain cells. It breaks up the mundane and seriousness of life.
So many roles too fulfill. No games to play. Grad school, work, husband, and father...step-kids live here and my kids are with their mother miles away except for visitations. Weekly schedules of work and homework. Daily routines of helping with 5th grade homework. Communicating back and forth with my ex-wife to care for our kids. Both sets can be a worthwhile handful. Sometimes it feels as if I have two families. Then there is my own health...the symptoms, the pills. But for whatever reason I can be childlike, whether by design or natural. If things start happening, I don't worry, I don't stew, I just go right along and I'll start happening too. Oh, I'm not complaining either. I'm blessed. I know where I've been brought out of.
After my kids reached an age where they began to play using their imaginations I began to realize that fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope to see those things that we've allowed to be obstructed by our serious and responsible daily lives. Fantasy can be harmless child's play. We miss the best things if we keep our eyes shut.

Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

Blog with Integrity\\ Auhor Lupe Picazo

Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome them