I must come clean. I, Jason Kehl, am a Star Wars nut. There…I said it. I feel so much better😁. I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I was young. Born in 1976, I was basically born into the franchise. Well…I was 1 when the first movie came out. I used to pride myself in how annoying I could be watching the movies. At one time, I was able to quote pretty much every word in the first three movies. I’m sure it really made people want to watch them with me.
In Return of the Jedi, the Rebel Alliance is on Endor. The mission is to blow up the shield generator that protects the new Death Star. I won’t give up what happens so you can watch for yourself😉. There is a scene that occurs in the Ewok village. The Rebel Alliance has just been accepted as part of the Ewok tribe and a celebration is occurring. While C-3PO was telling a story of one of their many battles, we see Luke Skywalker duck out of the hut they are in. Princess Leia follows him. Outside, she asks Luke what is wrong. Through the exchange, Luke talks about how the force is strong in his family. Luke says, “The force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it”. Again, you need to watch the movie to see what happens next. I’m not going to spoil it.
How does this all relate to our mental health journey? So, let’s pretend that I walked up as Luke and Leia are talking. I stand back as not to interrupt what looks like a serious conversation between the two of them. We are going to substitute in the word “patience” in the place of “force”. Here goes… Luke says, “Patience is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it”. Now, Luke notices me standing in the background. He looks my way and points and says to Leia, ” The patience is not strong in this one”.
It’s true. I am not the most patient person you could ever meet. I am one that makes a quick decision. More apt to make an impulsive purchase versus thinking about it first. I’m not prone to wanting to let things work out, as they should, over time. I am guilty of wanting immediate gratification. This isn’t true in every aspect of my life, but it is true in a lot of it. Guilty as charged.
How does this tie into our mental health and working on bettering ourselves and our situations. The mental health journey is just that…a journey. To me a journey is something that takes a while to get to where you want to go. You can’t just snap your fingers and, bam, you end up instantly on the other side. The process takes time.
After I got out of the hospital, for my worsening depression and anxiety, I was on fire! I felt like I could take on the world! After being in the hospital, I was ready to use the tools that I learned in the group sessions. I was ready to stop doing things on my own. Start seeing a psychiatrist. Start seeing a therapist. Continue taking my medication. Continue loving myself again.
By no means was I cured. I felt great, but little did I know, I had a long way to go. I now see that time in my life as “the honeymoon period” of dealing with my mental illness. I felt so good, but it didn’t last. I was still having the ups, but the downs began to creep back in.
I was still trying to use the tools that I learned in the hospital. I was meditating on positive thoughts when feeling anxious to help calm myself down. I was journaling regularly. I was reaching out more to friends and family. I was sharing more and more with my wife. I was going to see my psychiatrist. I was seeing my therapist. I was taking my medications as directed. I was learning and putting into action a plan to stop doing everything myself. I was including other practices into my life. It really felt good. I felt like I was progressing well. And then the “honeymoon period” came to an end.
The real world was around me again. The high that I was on was beginning to fade. The depression and anxiety was beginning to torment me again. Well crap! What is this about? I started to get frustrated. Really frustrated. This is all supposed to be over. I’m supposed to be able to walk through life a changed and happy man. I was fixed!
Well, I was wrong. There were so many more aspects that I had to figure out while on my journey. Over the next, at least, six months to a year. I had to make some changes to my plan. The original medication that I started in the hospital was not really working. I didn’t feel great. Honestly, it made me feel tired all the time. That didn’t work for me. I started a new medication. These medications take time to work. Nothing is immediate with them. That is just how it goes.
I had to change therapists as my past therapist moved. I was feeling kind of exposed through that time. Unprotected. Felt like one of my huge safety blankets had been ripped out from underneath me. I liked my therapist. Now I have to enter into the unknown with someone new.
I was having good days and bad days. The bad days began to outnumber the good days. What is going on here? The frustration really began to build. I am sick and tired of all of this!
I must admit something. I wasn’t being the most patient guy through all of this. As a nurse I was used to the medical world, outside of the mental health world, and how things sometimes work there. You get diagnosed with something. You throw a pill at it. The pain goes away. I was approaching my journey with this mindset. I didn’t want to give my treatment time. I wanted it to work right away. I was frustrated. I was angry. I was wrong!
I wanted to feel like I did after I got out of the hospital. I felt so good. That time period, the “honeymoon period”, is more like living in a fairy tale versus living in the real world. That time was great, but it was gone. I now needed to deal with everything in the real world setting. Everything isn’t going to be sunshine and rainbows all of the time.
I have really struggled with this. I am really trying. Patience isn’t my thing, but it has to be my thing. I do not get better without patience. I have to work at it. I have to fight for it. I have to want to get better.
Patience, with mental health, I am finding is the key. I am now on another medicine, as I talked about in my last blog. I am still in the beginning phases of taking it. I have a new therapist. I really like him. What a relief! But I still need to be patient during these new developments. I am trying to learn and practice patience. It is not easy, but I again am trying.
During my successful runs with being patient, I can tell that I have my biggest gains. It is when I let frustration and anger creep in that I notice everything slows to a crawl. Sometimes, I feel like I head backwards. The frustration and anger is going to always happen. It is human nature. We cannot let it win though! We can defeat it! We are never going backwards no matter what it seems like. Each and every step we take, in our journey, is a move forwards. I believe the patience is building inside of me.
I’m sure that a level of impatience will creep back in at times, but I would like to be someone who can learn how to exercise patience, better, in many aspects of my life. The mental health journey is one of those times that I need to exercise patience. I have to. It is the only way that I will be successful. It is the only way that I will move on down the road. We can all beat this! We have to give the journey a chance and be patient!
In the Star Wars world, no one can just work at gaining the force and then all of a sudden have it. In that world, you are either born with it or you are not born with it. Thankfully in our world, patience doesn’t work like the force. We may not be good at it, initially, but we can work at it and our patience will grow stronger. That stronger level of patience will be the force that we need to conquer these struggles in our life. I urge you to keep going! Don’t ever give up! Patience through all of our trials will help us get through the journey!
Have a great day and may the patience be with you!!
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Jason Kehl’s Basement of Jams: Rocking Mental Health
My goal is to create rock style instrumentals that I attach a positive message to.