A Year of Restoration: Welcoming the Normal

My pastor gave the sermon on the first Sunday of 2018 and spoke of this year as being a year of restoration. I am a “wordie” and love the written language. Everything about it. So, one of the definitions for restoration (from the Oxford Dictionary) is: The process of restoring a building, work of art, etc. to its original condition.

I love that! The idea of “A Year of Restoration” has been stuck in my head since he first preached on it. The point has been driven in that a year of this is on the horizon multiple times over the past few weeks. From verses that I have come across to happenings in life. Finishing the Devotionals for NAMI and realizing that it is hard for some people to see what we can use and what may set us who are dealing with a mental illness back- even in terms of study in faith. Wording is key by the way. The way someone says things can be the cure… or it can be another bullet. I digress. Actually having the urge to create some “major” goals for myself… and actually work to achieve them. A friend telling me that he has noticed a change in the level of anxiety I have and the ease at which he sees me living now. All of these have led me to this post that I am writing now.

So…restoration. We all need it, right? None of us can say we are in perfect condition. Whether it be mentally, emotionally, physically. Yes, it requires work. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing though. And there’s different approaches to the process. Some people exercise more, eat healthier, start yoga… Those are all great! I keep meaning to look into yoga, to be honest, but have yet to do it. Part of your restoration may be outward as well as inward. I, personally, have decided to take on both approaches to my restoration.

Inwardly first. I plan on continuing the work with my therapist as well as following through with my psychiatrist. That is first and foremost. I was asked, at a program I did for NAMI, what it was like living with Bipolar Disorder and knowing that a relapse is only a matter of time. My life, at one time, revolves around that. Thinking every time I was a little hyper or anxious as a symptom of impending doom. Over the past year, we (my therapist and I) have worked to normalize things so t hat I can actually live a life. Inward restoration mans continuing on my path with faith. I have been having a hard time as of late focusing when it comes to study. I am looking into solutions. I want to find whatever it is in me that triggers the Anxiety/OCD where my art is concerned and work through it. I miss my art.

Outwardly. I have two goals for riding this year. The same ones from last year that ended up getting postponed due to Anxiety and Mania, but they’re my goals all the same: riding in a parade and making it to Lot 5 (a mini trail area near the barn). I love my barn; and I am determined to find a way to gain the confidence that I know is in me somewhere when it comes to actually riding. I’m either joining or starting a book club- or both. My therapist and I are working on the whole “social life”/socialization thing. The book club thing is part of that. School. I want to have my Activity Director Certification by the end of the year before looking into what degree I am going to go back to pursue.

As part of my restoration, I also want to be of help to others. What is the point of a restoration if you don’t let people see it? I participated in my first day of presentations for NAMI’s Ending the Silence just last week. It was amazingly well. When I got to their office on Monday, I was asked if I would’ve interested in being a speaker of In Our Own Voice. I am working with one of the staff in the area of faith outreach; and am hoping to eventually bring it to my church as well as others. At my therapy appointment this past Tuesday we discussed my speaking for NAMI last week and the possibility of In Our Own Voice. She pointed out to me that normalizing mental health and letting people see those who have it as live people and not just a news story or symptoms on the internet is an important job. One that not everyone wants to take on. I have found working with NAMI to be immensely therapeutic. I hope that in my restoration, I can help people find their way to theirs.

Sometimes with mental illness it isn’t totally possible to get back to the normal you once knew. You have a new normal that takes time to accept. Once the acceptance takes hold it is up to you to figure out that normal. It can totally be as good as the one in the past. So… Restoration isn’t just for cars. We, as humans, can always benefit from it. Whether it be on a small scale or off the charts huge. Take a walk in the park. Turn up the radio and drive through the country. Attend a concert or take a vacation. Binge watch tv shows occasionally. Grab a cup of coffee from your favorite shop. Whatever it takes to give your motor a revamp. A new normal isn’t a bad thing. It gives you a chance to ride on fresh wheels.

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