Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, June 19
Last week my challenge for you was to:
- Go for a walk by yourself. Pick up a small stone when you start your walk and keep the stone in your hand. As you are walking, think about the stressors that are in your life and mentally push them into the stone. At the end of your walk, cast the stone away from you far enough that you are not likely to be able to find the stone again… and in doing so – maybe you can cast away some of those stressors from your life. At the very least, this little exercise will bring awareness to the things in your experience that are stressing you.
- Just be. Take 5 minutes each day and just be. Put your feet flat on the ground/floor, put your hands on your lap, close your eyes and just be.
- Pay it forward. Perform one random act of kindness this week. Just one. This could be in the form of a “Good Job” compliment to maybe paying for the coffee for the person in line behind you.
I hope you had a successful week with the challenge.
I did OK on the walk – I chucked that stone as far as I could. It’s a little symbolic thing that helps me purge some of my “stuff”.
On just being – I worked at this piece hard this week. I have loads on my mind and on my plate right now and I took the time to just be – without feeling pressured that I needed to get this or that done. I don’t confuse this with procrastination – not by any means. Procrastination depletes me while intentionally taking the time to “BE” recharges me. To be sincere, I did plenty of procrastination this past week too…
I paid it forward quite a few times this week. Not crowing here… just checking in. I was intentional with this piece of my challenge. Expressing gratitude to someone for a job well done or taking care of a task that wasn’t mine to do… I worked at it.
This week I am feeling scattered… I don’t know why – but if I had to guess, and that’s all I have… I would guess that its stress, ADHD, cabin fever, uncertainty, worry… Ya – that’s what I would guess… I am feeling a bit like the flames in a camp fire on a breezy day… this way and that, fanned by the breeze, maybe burning hotter than normal… not out of control… just a little inconsistent.
This isn’t a new place for me at all. I experience this, in varying degrees, allot of the time. These are the times when I find the inattentive piece of my ADHD incredibly hard to manage. I have a really, really hard time focusing on – well – doing things like writing my blog… my attention snaps from my computer monitor to my knee bouncing away busily, to a bird that flies by outside to a doe that runs down the street, to thoughts of chores and tasks that I need to do to the car that drives by and on, and on… each one of those jumps requires me intentionally pulling my attention back to the computer – to my blog. Some might say – well – everyone experiences distraction… and OK, I’d agree with that – everyone can be distracted. Its not just the distractions – it is the effort that I have to put into pulling my attention back to the task at hand. SO – I enjoy my blog – this is something that I find rewarding, fulfilling… and this is a struggle right now… if this was something like grading papers, or some other task that isn’t as rewarding – I would not be doing it… plain and simple – RIGHT NOW I WOULD NOT HAVE IT… WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DO IT… and I know that – the task would not be done to the standard of attention that it deserves – and I am better of leaving it until I am more settled.
My desk at work is a good example. It’s a train wreck. I know it. Even on a good day – I can start cleaning it, organizing it and the next thing I know I NOT cleaning my desk – I am doing pretty much ANYTHING BUT cleaning up my desk. There’s a bunch of spaces in my life that are like that… both actual spaces and mental spaces too. Its frustrating – not just for me – but for those around me…
I think that’s maybe a good analogy for the way my ADHD touches the people around me. Not everyone sees it… some do… some see more of it than others… some that see “the mess” can just walk on by because it doesn’t really have any affect on them… others are more affected by the “disorderly organization” of the pieces of my life… and others yet – my spouse – is in the thick of it.
Clutter and “disorderly organization” are certainly traits of ADHD for me. Some folks are fastidiously organized and I can understand why… there are some pieces of my experience that I obsessive about… things out of place get lost… my keys are an example… I have “places” I put my keys… there are certain routines I have that I follow without fail – because I know myself well enough that if I don’t follow the routines – I will lose important information – or get lost myself…
I mentioned the clutter – there’s a clutter of thoughts and bags of emotional “stuff” all over inside my brain too… (well – ok – my mind… ). As I am writing this my mind is “pinging” (what I call it)… dancing from this thought to that thought, from that thought back to the blog and the train of thinking that I am trying to maintain here and then back off to something else – and that’s all happening within the confines of the space between my ears – never mind the external stimulus that is pulling me away… Wild when I really think about it.
I KNOW… I KNOW that I can use medicine to sharpen my focus. I know that I can take a stimulant and it will help me focus – the stimulant helps my mind to slow down – to bring focus and clarity… to let me shutter out the distractions both internal and external… I wear glasses – without them – I can’t see very clearly at any distance… (myopic). The lenses that I put on my face help the light to focus correctly on my retina and I can see… this is a little like what a stimulant does for my mind…
I don’t take the stimulants all the time – well – not very often actually. I use caffeine mostly to help manage this… the stimulants – while effective for helping to increase focus – have side-effects that I find are more costly than the benefit…
I manage the “pinging” as best I can with the tools that I have learned, developed over my lifetime. If you recall – I only learned about my ADHD a few years ago… I’ve made it this far with the coping mechanisms I have learned along the way. If the medicines didn’t cause the side effects they do – I would certainly use them. Another tool to help me keep on, keeping on.
There are still many medical professionals that dismiss the disorder… and that’s unfortunate – but they are entitled to their opinions. I know what I know… (funny that – there’s no way I can know what I don’t know…) and I know that my diagnosis of ADHD answered so very many questions I had about my life… the glove fit the hand…
Having my diagnosis only helps me navigate forward. It doesn’t fix the past. The diagnosis doesn’t absolve me of the personal responsibilities that I have for the way I interface with the world around me. Yes – there are some “accommodations” that help me get along and those are tools that help me move forward. I can only wonder what my life would look like – the differences that could have been – if I would have known about ADHD/ADD when I was in school or growing up… but I didn’t, and I won’t ever know…
This week, my challenge for you is:
- Do a little research and learn one thing new about ADHD, or depression/depressive disorders, or anxiety disorders, or any other mental health concern/disorder.
- Share that one thing you have learned with a friend. This might be an odd conversation – and that’s part of the challenge. Talk about mental health.
- Write yourself a note in the evening – that you will see in the morning – telling yourself that you an important part of the world, that you make a difference to the people around you and that you love yourself – OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. Be intentional about this. Give yourself a little love, a little boost of esteem… you deserve it.