Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, May 15

Mental Wellness Challenge, 2020 May, 15

Another week has just screamed by…

Last week I challenged you to:

  1. Be intentionally kind.

We have no more of an idea of someone else’s burdens than they would of ours…

Personally, I am too quick to judge and to cast pall…

I was good with the kindness piece.  I worked hard to make the best of situations that could have been contrary and cut others the slack that I know I would appreciate.  There were a few of occasions, in dealing with some fairly thorny issues and people, where I had to turn my thinking away from reacting to negativity and focus more on being kind.

  1. Shut the news off… maybe even shut all the technology off…

I didn’t do as well with limiting the “hype input factor” as I could have been.  My curious nature, my “needing to know” kept me watching more news than I likely should have been.  I struggle with the lack of control of “my world”.  Reading or watching news, that very often is hyped, erroneous, or politically motivated, isn’t helping.  I still go the BC CDC for the stats…

This pandemic has seemingly “infected” my entire existence.  I struggle to find places where I don’t have to even consider it… and while I do have some of those places… I can’t be at them all the time… both figuratively and actually…

  1. Take a little time to check your perspective…

Perspective taking is a daily piece for me right now.  I grew up being told that we shouldn’t compare our lot in life to that of others – and I think I get where that was coming from – I grew up in a house that, while we had everything we needed, we often didn’t have any of the extras… my mother always did her utmost to do nice things for kids… Even now, looking back, I can take a positive perspective on those circumstances… Food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to sleep… that was more than a whole lot of people had… And I suppose – I could take the other view too… The environment, while physically “safe” was emotionally unstable, violently eruptive, demeaning and very isolating… so – ya, there’s two sides to that coin…

I leave a lot of that stuff in the heap in the middle of who I am in my “darks” pile.  Those things are part of fabric of who I am, but I do my best to not give that stuff any energy.  Forgetting won’t happen and there’s no way to reconcile the wrongs – so I just leave it.  I suppose that’s a way of exercising perspective on those things too.

My perspective on my past week is that I am fortunate to have the work I have, it feeds the part of me that needs interaction with others and I love sharing what I know with those that want that information. I am fortunate that I live in a country where I can call my doctor without concern that the call and visit is going to be a financial burden.  I am also fortunate that I have access to supports and resources that are there to help me through tough times – like now.  I am super fortunate that I have the experiences of my life and tools that I have built to help me “weather this storm”… In my perspective, I also have the real hope that this is going to end and some semblance of calm/safety/wholesomeness will return to my world.


This week I’d like to share about supports.  All kinds of supports.

The stress of the goings on in the world right now has been taking its toll on my mental wellness.  I have struggled to stay “out of my woods” as best and as hard I can and know how.

Rumination (the grinding of worry over and over and over again) has been robbing me of my sleep.

The inescapable ‘rattle’ of COVID this and COVID that drives my worry engine almost like a diesel engine runs away when it self aspirates through a turbo…

The disconnection that I have to the people around me has taken away the part of my job and experience that helps to fill my wellness tank every day…

And on…

And on..

And on.

I don’t think I am alone here – I know there are loads of other folks that are feeling super depleted, exhausted and “brittle” from the stresses that have been added to the world… and that’s really why I want to share about supports.

This past week, I made the terribly difficult decision to restart taking an antidepressant/antianxiety medication again.  Man, I struggled with making this decision for a month… “I can do this on my own.”, I would tell myself – and another day would go by and would feel a little worse, more stressed, more dark, shorter temper, and all the things that go along with this… I didn’t want to go back on the medicine because I had “beaten” depression…. It had been several years since I needed to take the medicine… and I didn’t want to go back there…

Well, all that rationalization and self-talk went round and round and the part of me that is more logical than emotional prevailed and I started taking it again this past week.  I won’t realize the positive benefits of the stuff for a number of weeks, but I know those benefits are going to be there… and in a way, that helps me to feel better just in that knowing… I didn’t want to lose to the darkness.  It took a lot of strength for me to ask for help… and I have a bit of pride that I am committed enough to do that.

I have known that I might one day have to start taking medicines again to help with the depression and anxiety all along.  I have taken the perspective that the medicines are supports (that is what they are after all) and that I am just putting wheel chocks behind my tires of my mental wellness as I navigate this steep incline… the medicines are there to stop my mental wellness from rolling backward – without control.  As I inch forward, with the help of other supports, the medicines will be there, supporting my forward progress… so that’s a good thing…

The other piece about the medicines are – they take time work and then, once they are working, its best to keep them around until I’m on more navigable terrain or my own abilities can do the job… and I’m going to be OK with that.

In my experience, medications – on their own – don’t do the job of lifting me out of any sort of depression or anxiety… They are one of a number of supports that I use.

I have been here before.  I have built myself a wellness model that I use to help guide me, like a road map along the way.  So, my model is certainly one of my supports.  My road map isn’t a panacea, but it is what helped me decide that I needed more help to get through this than I could muster on my own…

Exercise is another support that I use/take.  I am not a big fan of exercise – never really have been – but I know its value and right now, I am taking exercise just like I would take medicine… I suppose, when I look at all the physiological things exercise does for the body, it is indeed a medicine.

I journal, I get the whirling thoughts out of my head and onto paper (well, an online journal really).  That can, even for just a little while, seem to stop them from racing around… The other benefit for me from writing in my journal is – I can read bad days on good days and good days on bad days and that helps me with seeing where I am… perspective.

I try to communicate with friends.  I have a couple of friends that share similar journeys and its good for me to listen to their journeys and I think they get something from listening to mine.

I do have help from a professional coach, counselor… and I share my heart and head with her.  She is very good and really “hearing me” … Sometimes the things she hears isn’t what I thought I was saying, not to suggest at all that she puts words in my mouth, but that she see’s the issue that is precipitating the thinking… I can’t do that on my own, and I don’t really have another neutral party that isn’t afraid to tell me the way its seen.  My coach is an invaluable support.

My spouse is my rock.  She is my anchor really.  While she doesn’t always recognize or see my struggle, she is always supportive of my efforts in my fight against depression and anxiety.  I am a very lucky fellow… I am pretty certain that I would be on my own – if it would not be for my wife… I am grateful for her.

So – there’s a smattering of the supports I am currently using.

Moving forward, I know that I will rely on others along the way.


This week I’d like to challenge you to:

  1. Examine how you are doing… how are you getting along.
  2. Make a little list of the supports that you use or have available to you if you need them.
  3. Give some word or works of affirmation to someone you love!

That’s it, I challenge you.

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