Mental Wellness Challenge 2020, May 01
Hello blog and blog readers… Last week I challenged you to three things:
- Seek an answer to the question – What is hope for you?
When I look at how I did on question 1, I see that, in my experience, hope takes many forms. I also see that there is a responsibility part to hope to be – at least- reasonably prepared for what comes in my life. PURE HOPE – in my experience is folly. When I think of my upbringing – I am reminded of the Sunday School lessons – “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” And while am not particularly a fixed type of religious person in my adulthood – I can recognize what that lesson is teaching… and for me it’s saying – DON’T USE HOPE AS A STRATEGY.
- Be kind. Be intentionally kind.
There were challenges for me with this, this week. There were times where some folks just kept taking and taking and taking and taking and, even when I told them I had nothing left to give them, they wanted more… My kindness dried up a bit this week. It was a hard thing for me…. But then I remembered those fences – those boundaries and recognized that I was WAY outside mine and I withdrew… I honestly don’t know what the folks that were taking are doing for themselves now – but that is – I think the issue… they haven’t done for themselves for so long – they have relied on the “expected kindness” of another, that they have become expectant of the kindness…
- Tell three people that you are connected to that they are important people in your life.. That you love them and that you are grateful for having them in your life.
I slipped hard on this one people. I did NOT approach this piece of my challenge with intention… No excuses… I just didn’t get there. I will keep this one for my own work for the upcoming week.
This weeks blog is going to be pretty short. I lost a day this week – literally lost it – to a migraine headache. This headache had been sitting in my head for a few days, hanging out – being pissy – and then Thursday, mid morning, 5 minutes of aura and BAM… there it was – hemispherical, nauseating, eye-closing, POUNDING, THROBBING… ya. My plans for the day were done. Better living through pharmaceuticals and at least I can have my head up today… One weird thing about the migraine and the medicine – even though I have slept a great deal more than I would normally ever sleep… I am incredibly fatigued… I don’t feel like I have slept at all… and when I am like this – I tend to lay low… I don’t drive or go far from home… period…
This week – I’d like to talk a little about “This week with ADHD.”.
There are so many pieces of this disorder that I don’t understand – don’t “get”. There’s a part of my experience with stressful situations that I haven’t figured out. So – ADHD on a regular day for me usually includes a definite level of anxiety. This has resulted in a diagnosis, at one time, of “Generalized Anxiety Disorder”, which is now – well, it’s not on my report anymore since the formal diagnosis of the ADHD… OK – so – lets say the poo really hits the fan… I can expect two distinct paths for my brain to go… I don’t always get that much control over the direction – but here we go…. One, the poo hitting the fan knocks my train off the tracks and I flounder… Two, (and this happens pretty regular) the poo hitting the fan turns on my hyperfocus, I laser in on the possible solutions and I the anxiety morphs into a burning sense of urgency… an urgency to deal with the fire and put it out, or build the solution to the problem – etc… I experienced this very often when I worked in IT for the Federal Government. A server would crash or we’d have lightening strike on a building or whatever… and I would be able to get to the site, stabilize the issue and get the sight back up and online quickly and sometimes – really creatively…
This week has been like that a little. I’ve had some opportunities to setup fixes for the upcoming school year, I have been able to plan for some interim measures for supporting students via distance. In a few of those instances, the amount of effort that I have put forward isn’t reflected in the end users finished product, but that’s OK. So that’s one way my ADHD week has been.
Another piece of my ADHD week has been my battle with a thing called ‘Emotional Dysregulation’. When my brain is back and forth, here and there, looking for solutions, worrying about this or that, my emotions don’t just sway back and forth like the pipes of a wind chime in the wind – my emotions tend to smash this way and that like wiggly giggly bobble head mounted on the dash of an ATV… Trust me… NO BODY, NO ONE, stands a chance of keeping up with me and my emotions when I am like that. I sincerely do my best to try and regulate my responses… but I am not always very successful. I’ve been called moody, touchy, snappy, emotionally unpredictable – and on and on my entire life. Up until a few years ago – I took all that as a flaw in my character – I didn’t realize that it was really a “thing”. OK, so the reality is that evening knowing that Emotional Dysregulation is a real thing and I get to play with it every day – doesn’t make my interactions with supervisors, students, friends, co-workers, grand children any smoother… I still have to try to make uncomfortable apology after uncomfortable apology about the messes that I sometimes create. And that’s happened this week – too often for my liking.
I think the last piece of my ADHD week that I will share is the communication piece. I used to think that it was just the way I was wired – but I 100% ALWAYS look at things being more empty than less full. I don’t know that it was the way I was wired or raised – but I do recall my mother and father saying something like – ALWAYS PLAN FOR THE WORST, ALWAYS EXPECT THE WORST – IF GOOD HAPPENS, YOU’RE AHEAD OF THE GAME, IF NOT, THEN YOU’RE PREPARED. And this might have been the result that they grew up in Europe in war times… and for me – it could be the pessimism that tends to come with my experience of ADHD… OK, so how the heck does that relate in anyway to communications… well, with this pandemic – almost all communication is text based. There is no intonation, there is no inflection… When I read a letter or an email (a personal interaction rather than a technical piece) I don’t get any of the non-verbal stuff… and I immediately go to “THIS IS AN ATTACK” or “WHY HAVE THE RULES CHANGED NOW” or maybe even the biggest communication of all for me – NO RESPONSE AT ALL… you see – for me – for the way my brain works – “NO RESPONSE – IS A RESPONSE”. This schmozzle can be the result of an interaction with a peer, a loved one, a student… but NO RESPONSE – my ADHD experience takes me to all of the darkest of dark possible extremes that could exist. YOU BET!!! 100%, I watch for this, I know it happens, I guard against letting this pull me into it… I rationalize – I think – “He/she is busy, I know they are busy.” “An urgency in my experience is nothing is their experience.” I try – I really try – and sometimes I am OK – and I work myself through the communication, sometimes I apply do my best to apply the 4 commitments (1. Be impeccable with your word, 2. Don’t take anything personally, 3. Don’t make assumptions, 4. Always do your best.) and when I am uncertain and starting to make assumptions, I ask questions to seek clarity…
Wild eh… in writing this little piece – this ‘stuff’ is all related, all tied together… The stress brings on fatigue, the fatigue reduces my ability to control my responses, the emotional dysregulation throws a pile unpredictability into the whole experience and… well… I don’t know…
So – that’s a tiny glimpse into the way my week was…
This week my challenge is:
- Get outside – go for a walk.
- Practice gratitude and perspective.
- Talk to someone you love about something that is on your heart.
That’s it, I challenge you.
My ask of you would be that you continue to be socially responsible by maintaining physical distance between yourself and others, washing your hands and coughing or sneezing into your bent elbow.
Wash your hands as often as you need to or use hand sanitizer as often as you need to limit the transfer of the virus.
DON’T WEAR THE SAME LATEX/NITRILE GLOVES FROM STORE TO STORE TO STORE… Wash your hands instead…