Valentine's Day Greetings

  • In a friendly way, I want to wish you a Happy Valentine's Day. Mom sent me a card that was so beautiful, I cried. She must know how hard it is for me in terms of the schizophrenia. We didn't ask for what we got, and we didn't deserve it. After I had my relapse, I told myself I wouldn't dare put her through that again.

     

    A couple of days ago, as I exited Starbuck's, I watched a mother on the couch, feeding her tow-headed daughters bits of an espresso brownie. I regretted that I couldn't be a Mom. The truth is I could have a kid if I wanted, but I don't want to risk my child developing this condition.

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    Love does make the world go round, and if it doesn't, it should. Over the weekend, I bought the Compassionate Life, a book written by the Dalai Lama, whose cheerful good nature makes even me look like a sour puss. I've decided that this year I want to read widely to enrich my mind and broaden my worldview.

     

    Four years ago I was in a relationship that hit stormy weather, and I returned to therapy to deal with the changes going on in my life. I greatly admire anyone, hetero or not, who risks dating and mating, especially if he or she has schizophrenia. Right now, I suspect someone's sweet on me, and I will see if I can get in his good graces because I haven't made any overtures before. I've decided it's time to begin again.

     

    The point of recovery is to be in relationships, because that is how we develop vital life skills. I am lucky to be the aunt of Christopher and Rosa, who are my joy and pride. They're six and three, respectively, and at the ages where unconditional love comes easy to them.

     

    With such negativity in the world, I don't want to contribute to the bad karma. If I hurt someone, it would hurt me greatly. I'm the type of person who looks behind me when I exit a building to see if someone's coming out the door after me, so that I can hold it open.

     

    I'm Italian, and in my culture, we are schooled in la bella figura, translated literally as "the beautiful figure." Making a beautiful figure, we rush to take your coat and hat when you enter our apartment, and taken in its extreme, it conveys the stylized theatrics of putting on a show.

     

    My friend, Dmitri, is a big fan of self-esteem, and feels those of us with mental illnesses could use such a boost of self-confidence. When you find someone you want to spend time with, that puts you in a good mood.

     

    I've talked in other blog entries about how living our passions and doing what we love ratchets up our self-esteem, so I'm not going to detail this in here. However, it's worth noting that when we're actively engaged in doing what we love, our good humor rubs off on other people, and they enjoy being around us.

     

    Recently, I decided I wanted to be a kind and loving friend to myself. In April, I turn 43. Instead of being hard on myself, and then beating on myself for being hard on myself (a double whammy), I will just let the self-doubt come on, do its thing, and leave. At this stage of the game, I'm not sure any personality changes are about to happen.

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    Life is sweeter when you have someone to share it with. I'm independent-minded, and any guy would have to know that every so often I'd have the urge to fly solo. Mostly, I never felt I needed to be in a relationship to have a feeling of self-worth. However, I see the marriage my mother and father made, and while rocky in the beginning, their union is solid today. My therapist told me, "Don't rule out a romance later in your life."

     

    Maybe Valentine's Day is just another Hallmark card event, maybe not. Either way, it's the perfect opportunity to show someone you love him or her. Send this person a mille baci-thousand kisses.

     

    I'll leave you now to celebrate.

     

    Right now, I'm going to walk up to the drug store and buy myself a box of truffle hearts.

Published On: February 14, 2008