I learned a lot about myself while we were in Oak Island, North Carolina. The ocean was amazing. So much power and yet so peaceful. Watching the waves roll in and crash on the beach is extremely relaxing to watch and listen to. I enjoyed hanging out with my wife talking and laughing together. Ben is a champion on the beach with his floppy frisbee skills. What a great start and what we originally intended to be the end of our vacation.
I also learned a lot about where I am in my mental health journey. I learned it is unwise to just up and stop one of your medications for anti-depression the week before you leave on vacation. This, along with me thrusting myself back into the world (kind of…we had a house in a residential area…not a lot of people around) and seeing how I would react, left me with finding a lot out about were I am currently with my journey.
I spent a lot of the vacation worrying excessively about almost anything my brain could latch onto. It lead me to being apprehensive with wanting to venture far from the house. We went and hung out on the beach and would go out and get some take-out and bring it back to the house to eat. My excessive worrying lead me to believing that everything we did was being somehow inconsiderate to others…and it wasn’t, but try telling your brain that when you are locked into this thought pattern.
Thankfully, I had brought the medication I had stopped and was able to restart it about halfway through the week. After a couple of days, I was feeling much better. I don’t think it had been long enough for the medication to pass through my system so it lead me to not needing as long to start feeling the effects.
Or was it something different? I believe the chemicals of the drug hadn’t yet fully metabolized in my system, but I also wonder if I came into some form of acceptance about being on the medication regiment I am on. Either way, I began to feel better. I threw out the idea of extending our vacation by a day and taking a different route home. A route that would allow us to stay a couple nights in the great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee!
I will admit, my move with my medication was definitely a rebellious move. I get this way sometimes. I think I can do better or should at least try and see if I really need all of this medication. So I stopped it. And then I started it back up. Signaling the end of this particular rebellion.
We arrived to our cabin in the mountains and the view was breathtaking! Our cabin sat on the side of a mountain with a picture perfect view of the valley and the mountains on the other side of the valley. The ocean is indeed powerful, the mountains are just as powerful and really can take your breathe away with their awe inspiring peaks and valleys.
I was feeling better. Much better than how I was feeling in North Carolina. A peace had come over me. Again, I feel a lot of it was me accepting I need to stay on the course I have been on. This includes continuing the medications my doctor has prescribed for me. I experimented and I failed. But I learned as well. This is what I feel powered a lot of my resurgence. I had gone full circle from rebellious to accepting and now it was time to truly enjoy myself.
Nobody was really around us, this might have helped my good feeling as well. I didn’t have to worry about anything. Well bears, as they told us the bears were roaming around during this time, but other than that…I felt free😁. I was able to let myself go. I was finally able to take it all in. Where was this earlier in the vacation? Again, don’t just up and stop your meds!
We had a porch which overlooked our mountain picture perfect view. Of course, there was wooden rocking chairs. Don’t mind if I do. It was great sitting on the porch, rocking in a rocking chair, and looking at the mountain view and watching the trees in the distance wave back and forth in the mountain breeze.
I played my guitar. I wrote last weeks blog out on the porch. I slept better than I had the entire vacation. I felt comfortable. I felt comfortable in my own skin. Now this is what I was looking for this whole time!
I needed the experience I had at the ocean to be able to have the experience I had in the mountains. One place, I learned a lot about me. The other place, I could put “me” into action. This is why I am thankful for the unpleasant feeling I had while at the ocean. The ocean was great, but I think the experience I had with my mind was bound to happen at that time no matter where I was in the world. I thankfully got to have the experience at the ocean, as I feel my mind was more open, and I was really able to focus on the task at hand as it presented itself to me.
This lead me to being able to enjoy the part of the vacation we were never planning on having. I am so thankful that we extended the trip as the experience in the mountains was amazing.
I am OK with having been inflicted with the excessive worrying part of my vacation. At least I am now. As I sit here today, I feel really pretty good. I am a lot more peaceful. Stopping the medication allowed some of the frustration I can have to really rise up. I was easily set-off and I was easy to anger at things I didn’t call for a need to react in such a manner . But now, I feel more at peace. I feel more at peace with myself.
I was able to let myself go and, in turn, I was able to take it all in. Even the bears we saw at the cabin above us! Eek! We saw mama and then we saw her cubs…we quickly went into our cabin. Scary for a guy from Illinois who has to deal with squirrels, but awesome as well!
Much like the beach restoration going on in Oak Island after the hurricane hit, sometimes we have to get torn down and washed away. Sometimes we have to rebuild. Sometimes we have to experience a bad time, but just like the people of Oak Island, we have to begin to rebuild. We can’t sit around waiting for something to happen. We have to be in charge of starting our rebuild. Much like the beach, we are worthy of being restored. We can build ourselves to be much stronger and more resilient for the next time the storm hits.
We then get to enjoy the mountains. We get to truly take in the breath taking spectacle known as life and we can then enjoy the peace and the power of the undertaking we have taken upon ourselves. Pain and struggle is inevitable in life, but they don’t have to be defining. We don’t have to stay a torn town pile of rubble. We get the ability to build ourselves back up. We get this ability as many times as we need to!
We get to rise up like the mountain peaks. We get to touch the sky if we choose to. We have that choice, but it does take effort. The effort put forth is not an impossible feat, thankfully. It is very doable. We just have to be active in the effort to then get to rise up and touch the sky! We then are able to take it all in and enjoy the fruits of our labor. The fruits are our lives. The one life we get. It is precious. It can be great. Let’s keep going. Why? Because we are worth it…we really are!
You got this! I got this! We got this! Let’s keep walking this journey together.
Have a great day!
Please visit: Jason Kehl’s Basement Of Jams: Rocking Mental Health
A website I created to further my mission to spread mental health awareness. There you will find this blog and a podcast I do, along with some other creative expression works I have done all in the name of mental health. It Is OK, To Not Be OK. We can do this together.
Also, please feel free to venture over to Facebook. I started a group over there where we can all be lifted up and share with others who are dealing with a lot of the same things. It is a very chill group and all are welcome!