Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, December 04

Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, December 04

Hi Y’all.  7 more circles… 7 more days… time just flies by lately…

I hope your week was rewarding and that you were able to find some time for you.

Last week my challenge was to:

  1. Go for at least 3 walks for the week. Every other day maybe?  Walk to work?  Touch the earth and raise your heart rate at the same time.
  2. Address one place of clutter in your life – experience. If you don’t have any clutter – congratulations – me – I have lots of clutter – emotional clutter, physical clutter… lots of clutter… but take a little time to tidy up one “bit” of clutter.  And then  –  Take a moment to take drink in the success of those actions.
  3. Be intentionally grateful for something – each day. Gratitude is such an incredibly powerful thing in my life, I challenge you to seek out one thing in your life to be grateful for each day.

I got outside for my challenge – did some walks.  There were a couple of days where my head was pounding and I didn’t get out much… exercise is something that I need to ‘take’ taking more seriously.


I worked a little on some of the clutter in my experience.  I did some writing, some thinking, some sorting, some boxing… but I didn’t toss much out… more work here for me for sure… for both the physical clutter and the mental clutter…


Gratitude WAS an intentional piece of my week.  The perspective that gratitude brings is such a powerful tool in my kit.  Even if I am experiencing a nasty brain ache or climbing up a mentally tough spot – gratitude helps me seem – – lighter… shifts my paradigm from how empty I am to how full I am.  I might still be in the same circumstance – but the view tends to be better from the “higher ground”.

Needs and wants…

Needs and wants… Require and desire… shall and may…  This is a piece that – until the last 7 years or so – I was so ‘OFF’ about.  I didn’t really take much time to think about the difference that much.  I was pretty darn selfish…

There’s a piece of an ADHD brain – well – my ADHD brain – that battles with impulse control, executive function, instant gratification and values identification.  From what I have read – learned – this is frontal lobe stuff in my brain and it’s real.  There are differences between the way my brain works and say – the way my wife’s brain works in these regards.

I still lose track of the language sometimes between want and need.  When I lose track, I fall back into my confused space of priority assignment – values stuff.  I suppose, when I say I lost track of the language – what I am really saying is that I lose track of my self-control.  That’s a fair statement me thinks.

I am certainly ABLE to intellectualize the differences between “I want this new thing….” and “I need this new thing….”  The issue comes when I let my guard down and I move more on emotionality than rationality.

“I don’t know – what I don’t know…”

Before I was made aware of my ADHD and the blessings and challenges that the disorder bring to my life – I was very often “IN TROUBLE” for my battle with wants vs needs.  I would make less than rational choices on purchases, or actions that would very often cause conflict in my life… most commonly with my Karen.  I will acknowledge that I, at times, acted very irresponsibly at times and that put un-needed stress in our relationship.  I am not excusing bad behavior through a diagnosis of a disorder, what I am saying is that now that I understand my disorder a little more – “I GET IT!”  well, better anyway.  I get the difference between actual NEED and DESIRE.  Now that I am more aware of the “impulse control, emotional dysregulation piece and executive function” parts of my ADHD – I watch for them more.

At this point in my experience, I am most often intentional about my wants vs my needs.  I am more aware of the needs of my wife and those around me.  Very clearly – NEEDS trump WANTS.  I say I am “most often intentional” because I still get lost with this… especially if I am in a darker space, fatigued or maybe frustrated… pissy…  At these times, my self-discipline isn’t as strong as I need it to be and I can get lost in wants.

Most of my “wants” end up being about “stuff”.  Things.  I still very much struggle with ‘stuffing’ when I get worn down or am not as strong as I should be.  I have taken steps in my experience to try to limit the effect of my ‘stuffing’ on the others in my life.  Without getting into nitty gritty details – I’ll just say that I set aside resources for “stuff” and then I am less likely to affect the resources of my household… if that makes sense… The thing about having a little stash of “mad money” is that it helps me to see, to understand – not so easy come – really easy go… and when its gone… its gone….

This wants vs needs stuff is values related for sure.  I know I need a warm place to put my head, I need food, I need love, I need connections, I need to feel that I contribute, I need to feel accomplishment…  Intellectually really easy… So, there’s Maslow’s hierarchy of needs… The basic needs for being physiologically provided for and for shelter/safety, there’s the psychological needs of belonging and being loved and the needs for that sense of accomplishment and there’s the self-actualization needs – fulfilling creative interests and achieving goals… that end of it.   100% – in my experience those are truths.  This is stuff that I learned in grade school as words.. but those words weren’t really reality in my experience for a large part of my life.  Lots of different reasons for this for sure – and that’s all stuff for another day.

Being lost in a space where the emotional NEED to feel fulfilled, to feel rewarded, to experience a warm fuzzy was (and can still be) so very very strong, I often didn’t invest in the energy to put my brakes on.

This had deleterious effects on my relationship with my wife and other important relationships in my life.  I can’t make the blanket statement that this issue isn’t an issue any longer – but I do know that with my greater understanding of my disorder, I am better able to be more firm with myself and slow down the stuffing.

For sure, for sure – I still get wants – lots of them… and at this point in my life, my wants tend to be BIG wants… BIG wants… tools, machines, toys, etc… The difference at this point is I really do try to see my own way to those things… Impulse control is still an issue… but I am getting better at “putting away for this or that”, being more patient… (PATIENCE IS NOT A KEVIN SZOL STRONG SUIT)… well, that kind of patience anyway…

Again – my model helps me out with facet/piece/page in my experience.  I know that if I am being intentional, if I am being truly aware and accepting of my situation, actively participating in my life, checking to see that actions are aligned with values, that I am supporting the people who support me through caring connections, that I am doing this stuff “On Purpose”… then I am doing the best I can.  If I get off the rails – my wellness model helps to re-align me again.

Society is experiencing difficult times right now.  We are told that we “NEED” to limit our contacts, that we “NEED” to limit our exposure to COVID and to limit other folks exposure through the use of face masks, that we “NEED” to take care of ourselves and others… and those are all real NEEDS.  If we go back to Maslow’s, all of those things fall under the most basic need to be physiologically secure, healthy and safe.

There seems to be some real confusion in some parts of our society about the wants and needs piece too.

This week I’d like to challenge you to:

  1. Be aware. Participate in your experience.  Check for intention and purpose.
  2. Be kind. Be as kind as you can possibly be.
  3. Perform one random act of kindness… non-monetarily. Do something for someone else, give someone a genuine compliment, or some other ACT.

That’s it, I challenge you.