“All is quiet on New Year’s Day, A world in white gets underway, I want to be with you, Be with you, night and day, Nothing changes on New Year’s Day” Dave Evans / Larry Mullen / Adam Clayton / Paul Hewson
New Year’s Day is a time that should fill everybody with hope. It is a time of a new beginning. It is a time to refocus and concentrate on what is important in life.
Out with the old in with the new, well almost. I don’t think anybody has all bad or all good in their lives. If one only had all bad they wouldn’t have made it through the year. So there are some good habits or traits that you can cling on to. You can use this foundation to build a better life. Of course, this can only be done with honest reflection. Without honesty, we really have nothing at all.
Suffering from a mental illness is a humbling experience. At first, my illness was overpowering. I spent day after day lying in bed just thinking how I could kill myself. Eventually, I got out of my dark domain. It first started by reading a couple of books that happened to be where I was staying. After that, I got a job in a pizza place. I wasn’t too good at making pizzas so I got a job driving cabs. After a month of that my dad had a heart attack and I quit taking my medicine, so I wound up committed in a psychiatric hospital again.
But it wasn’t like entirely starting over, instead, I had progressed in my illness. A lot of dealing with mental illness is seeing it for what it is. Mental illness is a chemical imbalance. It is brought on by a combination of heredity and stress. For me, my grandmother had some form of mental illness. As far as stress I grew up in a very hostile environment. The second time in the psychiatric hospital wasn’t as terrifying as the first. The first time I wondered if I would ever get out at all.
Experience is a great thing to have. The first time one walks through the valley of the shadow of death it is most terrifying. But when you make it a regular route you find out that there is little to fear. I am now over fifty years over and I have had a mental illness for over thirty years. I still suffer from situational depression but I know how to handle it. I know the correct thought processes to go through. To feel my woes, accept them and process them and to move on.
A lot of growing is letting go of the past. I have made tremendous mistakes. Most notable is the stopping of taking my psychiatric medicine. Every time I did that disaster struck. But I don’t sit lamenting the fact that I made mistakes. Rather I look at them from a distance and see what I can learn. If you never let go than you never can move forward. Mistakes are like heavy weights you can’t travel far if keep them close.
The best way that somebody can help themselves is to help somebody else. Human beings were designed to love one another. There is plenty of opportunity to volunteer. But outside of that to be a kind compassionate person to everyone you encounter is truly the way to go. Compassion is a rare trait these days and when one practice it a difference is made.
Personally, my upcoming year is full of uncertainty. My wife is very ill with dementia. I haven’t worked in four years or so because I needed to stay home to take care of her. Soon my finances will be depleted. But from experience, I know that worry will not do any good only action will. One can only try their best.
Sometimes we look at the world and all the evil overwhelms us. But we must understand that the world is not a giant but rather a creature made of numerous small entities which one of them is you. To change the macro one must change the micro. So for this new year give it a try.
Please check out my memoirs “More Than The Madness.” https://amzn.to/2R47xB8
Photos by Yuichiro Haga,