Reason #93 to Keep Living: Health Care

dav

Something easily taken for granted, something for which we must always be grateful: health care.

It’s dangerously easy to forget that health care is a privilege when you’ve had it for so long. And although I’ve complained about the health care system in Canada and Ontario before, both mental health care specifically and Canadian health care compared with Japanese health care, I am, in the end, pretty spoiled when it comes to receiving medical attention.

These medical resources, especially these “free” medical resources, are invaluable. Use them, no matter how tedious they may seem. Make phone calls, write emails, get on waiting lists, show up for your appointments. Get your money’s worth, speak your mind, and take care of yourself.

Please! Take care of yourself.


Read the original post of 101 Reasons to Keep Living to discover the genesis of this project, or catch up on any posts you might have missed here

Advertisements

Reason #92 to Keep Living: New Surroundings, New Perspectives

IMG_20190524_164559_287

Enjoying the precipice of a cliff side on the Aran Islands in Ireland.

I’m always finding new, surprising connections between the writing process and mental illness. Here’s the newest and the most surprising: travelling to new places, immersing yourself in new surroundings, and finding new perspectives both rejuvenates your writing and might (just might!) lift you from the monotony of a depressive episode.

New perspectives in writing (for example, shifting the narrative point of view, describing a scene from a different angle, or trying out a new tone) can cut through writer’s block in a way nothing else can. What makes writing interesting in the first place is how it presents life from different and new perspectives. Finding these fresh perspectives, however, can be challenging. Immersing yourself physically in different cultures, and therefore immersing yourself in different opinions and ideas, can sometimes be the ticket.

But when it comes to difficulties, cutting through the torpor of mental illness is certainly the more back breaking, the more mind numbing of the two. Continue reading

Reason #91 to Keep Living: Projects

sdr

If there is any one thing that gives me a reason to keep living, it’s my projects.

During the summer time, when school isn’t my first priority, I actually have time to indulge in these projects. First and foremost: writing. It may seem nerdy or bizarre or completely irrational, but to me there is nothing better — really, nothing better! — than spending a couple of hours or more a day on a long writing project.

It’s odd, isn’t it? That to slug away at something, day after day, to return to something and rethink something again and again, is eternally satisfying and stimulating.

To work full-tilt on a project. To have your mind buzz with it and your fingers ache. For those few hours you have to work on it — to think of nothing else.

But putting your energy into a long term project isn’t just about distraction, although it can certainly distract you from other things going on in your life. Continue reading

Reason #90 to Keep Living: Play

IMG_2019-04-29-19403921

Here is a picture of Squirtle sitting on my bed. He’s sitting on my bed because recently I’ve been playing a lot of Pokémon GO to pass the time and keep my spirits up as I transition into a new stage of my life. When things are scary, uncertain, or a little out of control, it’s nice to be a kid again, to laugh, and to lose yourself in play.

Find a way to smile, no matter what it is. Remember that there is tomorrow and the day after that. Keep creating and playing. It’s important to keep joy and a sense of discovery at your core as you look past the grit of the day. I will keep joy and a sense of discovery at my core as I look past the grit of the day. I will.

I will.

Keep finding your reasons to keep living. Keep on keeping on.


Read the original post of 101 Reasons to Keep Living to discover the genesis of this project, or catch up on any posts you might have missed here

Reason #89 to Keep Living: Working Hard for my Heart

IMG_20190329_182618_267

Getting up close and personal with the things in life that make me happy —  in this case, my dog.

This whole blog series is about practicing gratitude in order to alleviate some of the heaviness of mental illness, but being grateful for the little things in life doesn’t just make you feel better — it makes you, in general, a kinder person.

The more you focus on what you have rather than what you lack, and the more thankful you are for these things, the more you appreciate the people around you and, in effect, the better you treat them. Continue reading

Reason #88 to Keep Living: Coffee

dav

I hardly ever drank coffee before I started working at a cafe. My family never had it around, never ordered it when we went out to eat, and in general never cared much about it. We didn’t even have a coffee maker in the house while growing up. But now, when it’s free at work and I’m fighting my way through a long shift, usually after a long day of school work, coffee is a little hard to resist.

When the ideas aren’t flowing: coffee. When the morning alarm is unwelcome: coffee. When you’re up late writing a paper: coffee. When you hit that afternoon lull: coffee. When you want about ten minutes more of procrastination: coffee. When the days are long and the nights are longer: coffee. When you just need something to warm your hands: coffee.

Coffee, coffee, coffee. Okay, I’m done. Excuse me while I finish my essay and drink more coffee. Continue reading

Come see me read!

In a little less than a week, I’ll be reading at the TAP Center for Creativity in London, Ontario. If you like poetry, if you like fiction, if you like experimental collaboration, if you like creepy stuff, strange stuff, all different kinds of stuff, come out on April 3rd at 6:30 pm!

It’s free admission. Drink a beer, buy some art, read your own poetry, sit quietly, be contemplative, do a dance in the background — all behaviour is acceptable.

See you there!

https://www.lomp.ca/erica-mckeen

 

Reason #87 to Keep Living: Milestones

Milestones

For the last couple of years, school hasn’t been the easiest for me. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know a little of the story: I began my undergraduate degree at full speed in 2013. I was flying. Great marks, great motivation, and not a lot of worries on the financial side of things. But two and a half years in, my brain had run out of steam, my mental illness had flared up worse than ever, and I was ready to give up formal education altogether.

Then, I discovered Japan. After a two and a half week trip there in the summer of 2016, I was desperate to go back, and this time long term. How could I manage that? Teaching English, of course.

But in order to teach English I needed to finish my degree. Continue reading

Reason #86 to Keep Living: Art

DSC_0765

I talk a lot about art on this blog. I’ve written posts about being an artist and being a woman, about books, and about writing. I’ve even published a guest post on the ability to create. (Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the links now.)

But I haven’t yet talked about visual art. This is probably because I, myself, don’t participate in the creation of it. I don’t draw, paint, or sculpt. I’m not really into photography, and I definitely don’t make films.

Even though I don’t make my own visual art, this kind of creation is proportionately a big part of my life. I’ve always adored art museums and learning about art history. I get over-the-moon excited when my boyfriend dives back into his drawing and stop-motion animation. And, if you’ve read even a few of these blog posts, you’ll already know how obsessed I am with movies (ahem, Coraline). Continue reading

Reason #85 to Keep Living: Pets

received_304183083572905.jpegWe’ve all, at one time or another, scrolled through photos of cute animals or watched videos of cats doing the strange things that cats do. We’ve all, at one time or another, heard the term “therapy dog.”

We’ve all, at one time or another, snuggled up with a pet — whether it be our own or somebody else’s — and felt legitimately better afterward.

Pets are magical in this way. They’re simple and joyful and hilarious. They’re loving and predictable and trusting. Oh, and did I mention they’re soft and warm and (most of the time) love to cuddle? Continue reading