Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"E" is for Experience, Energy and Exercise #atozchallenge

I thought of these three for the letter “E," not quite sure how I would incorporate them all, but hey; I'm a writer I can figure this out.  The goal though was to relate them to my mental health ideas, well that was just asking too much then it came to me. For those with mental illness exercise is essential for mood, but finding the energy is difficult, and we know all this from experience.  Bingo!

Ok, had to have some fun there, in all seriousness I do know from experience that exercise is one of the best forms of treatment for my illnesses.  The fresh air can bring my most chaotic thoughts together into one place, if only for a short time.  In November of last year, we took a seven-day  trip to  Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; it was a week of relaxation, side trips and sun, but more importantly my morning walks on the beach as the sun came up were what sold me on the need for exercise and it's continued practice.

I woke up each morning at 6am and walked the two blocks to the beach, while there were many people on the boardwalk, no one was on the beach; I was by myself.  I stood at the water’s edge and watched the sunrise.  There are not enough words to express the feeling of calm, peace and release you find watching the sunrise over the Atlantic.  I had my camera with me and took many shots of the tide coming in, the slow rise of the sun, the sea gulls overhead and for nearly an hour would just walk letting the water wash over my feet.  I could have stayed there forever, for those moments nothing mattered.

Now, coming back to Pennsylvania after a week in Florida is hard enough, add the near record breaking snow fall we had and bitter cold it is safe to say I have not gotten out much since our return, and I can feel the difference.  The lack of exercise has, at least for me, a direct connection to how I feel and act.  I read an article recently titled, "How the outdoors boosts our mental health," that touched on this relation between the outdoors and mental health, it mentions, “Even if you don’t have hours to spend outside, taking 15 minutes to step outside and take a few deep breaths can greatly help clear your mind and relax your body. Being in the sunshine, even if only for a few minutes, helps the body absorb vitamin D from the sun, which is known to improve the mind.”  Also mentioned was the article, "Fresh Air is Good for Your Mental Health."

I believe this wholeheartedly, I am a wanderer by nature and for me to be surrounded by trees, water, or nature in general opens my mind up and releases some of what holds me back.  I can’t wait for Spring, the calendar says it has arrived, Mother Nature, however, has yet to receive the memo.

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