Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, September 18

Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, September 18.

Well hello!  It’s been a little while since I have posted.  I hope you have had a relaxing, productive, good, fun, enjoyable past six weeks.

My last challenge for us was something like:

  1. Be responsible. OWN YOUR ACTIONS!
  2. BE KIND
  3. GET SOME FRESH AIR – go for a walk, cut the grass, take a bike ride – get outside.

So – checking in with how I did with each of the six pieces:

On being responsible – This was a focus for me the past while.  I worked at being conscious of my responsibility for my actions and words and worked really hard at not taking responsibility for the actions, misgivings, mistakes of others.  I did OK, (and there’s a but), but wasn’t stellar in this.

Being kind is sincerely becoming a piece of my fabric.  I am learning that the more I watch my intentions, the more kindness I grow.  The world around me is an unruly place right now… and I am really seeing that the more kindness and understanding that I can “deploy”, the calmer my personal space is.  I am certain to assert my needs and understanding – being kind isn’t being a push over – I just try to insert a little pause and thought between stimulus and response.  This is an ADHD piece too… Emotional dysregulation is piece of the disorder for me… so – being kind and “responsible” go hand in hand and this helps to make my experience better.

My wife and I got huge amounts of outside this summer – before all the smoke from the wildfires rolled in.  We took on the project of putting a new metal roof on our home – and we spent – well basically a couple of weeks – outside in the fresh air and the sun.  The project just has a tiny bit of work left on it – but we are waiting for some small parts that are taking forever to show up.

Reading – I have to say I bombed on this.  I don’t often read fiction.  Most of the time, my preferred reading is technical manuals, textbooks, or papers on mental health or so many other interests.  While K and I were working outdoors – I can honestly say that we didn’t leave much time for reading… and since the roof project – my usual routine has been messed up and I haven’t been attending to my downtime as much as I should – I’ve been spending too much time watching machining, welding, mechanics type videos on YouTube… (Yup, I see that this is becoming a too much thing and I am going to have to cut this way back too…)

I tell my spouse that I love her every day.  When I can do so, I tell my kids and my close friends that I love them too.  I know that there are times when I tell my good friends that they are important people in my life or that I love them – they are maybe a little surprised – but its truth and I mean it.

I 100% bombed on making a special meal.  I just didn’t do it… and I regret not doing so.  I enjoy making a good meal – I’ll have to be more intentional about the idea of making a special meal for my wife and me.  Not for any particular occasion – just for us.

This week – I’m not certain what I want to share about.  I know that over the past six weeks there’s been lots and lots of different pieces of my life that I noted and felt to share… I’m a little “flooded” with stuff I suppose.

Earlier this week I was thinking about my current experience… I saw the boxes of books from my office, the computer and monitors on my dining room table – the wires connecting this to that and that to this and pretty much just turned my attention away… as if I had to… the clutter, the chaos of the wires, it was just too much for me at that moment.  This is a sort of how I feel about my experience of late.  I know I wanted and indeed needed to take some time off to recharge and re-create… in doing so I got away from the constant presence of the chaos…

Getting some distance in that part of my life, my experience, for a while has provided me with little pieces of understanding.

It is imperative that I make, have and maintain a distinct separation between my work and my personal life.  If good fences make good neighbors – then distinct boundaries in my life should go a long way to making my personal and professional life more enjoyable.

I MUST reduce the chaos in my experience.  The clutter, the disorganization, the messes in my life.  (I’ve known this one for a long time – l see it more clearly now.)

I must start being more intentional about enjoying my life.  I must start looking to do more things that I sincerely enjoy.

There’s more here – but I think I’ve communicated the gist of this.

The difference, for me, between the mess on my dining room table and the mess in my experience is that I can walk away from my dining room table – my experience — not so much.  The little “vacation” that I took from my the work that I do on “me” has provided those insights…  I suppose I could say that I was too close to see my “bigger picture”… and this is also an interesting piece for me…

I kind of feel that I am rambling on about this a bit… so – I’ll try to move on a little.

This isn’t my story to tell – so I won’t – however I will share how my perspectives were changed and I was blessed by my friend’s experience.  I have a friend that has had kidney disease for about a decade.  He’s been on dialysis for few years – waiting for transplant.  One day – just at the start of my vacation and time away – his wife came bouncing across my lawn with a “Guess what?”.  I replied, based on her glee, “You won the big lotto!”.  She replied – “Better – he got a kidney!”.  She was absolutely bouncing, glowing, jumping.  HOW AWESOME IS THAT!  My friend got a brand new lease on his life.  Great things do happen to good people!  My blessing comes in here… I’ve been an organ donor registrant my entire adult life… and I get it… For my friend to be blessed with an opportunity at a more normal life and the freedom that the new kidney provides, somewhere – a family suffered a tragedy.  My blessing – My life is about the experiences I have, the lives I touch and the love I share.  Its not about the money I have or don’t have, the house I live in or the toys that play with.  My friend getting his kidney really shook my foundation.  I’m going to try to do better at maintaining a more realistic perspective in my life.

Early in September I had the opportunity to share my presentation about my journey so far with depression, anxiety, ADHD and what not.  This presentation was for my peers, my coworkers at the college I teach at.  It was the first time I had ever done the presentation with a definite time constraint and in front of a web-cam… (CURSES COVID!)  This was a totally different experience for me.  I wasn’t able to see or communicate much with the folks that were watching.  There wasn’t an opportunity for many questions or interaction between me and the folks watching.  After the presentation I was reflecting on it and I believe that I should likely record my presentation – totally without an audience at all…  Maybe I’d have to break it down into two or three pieces – but then, in the presentation, talk more about the pieces that bubble up for me.  I guess… I don’t really know… I feel like I did the folks watching a bit of a dis-service because the hour I had felt pretty rushed…. I usually take about 100 minutes or so…

Sincerely, if my sharing my journey, my ups and downs, my good and my bad, helps one person – then I’m happy.  I know that I have helped people… I know that I have sparked conversation and discussion about mental illness, mental wellness and that’s a good thing.  As I continue on my way – I am finding that this passion, this work I do, is taking on more and more importance in my life.

Life is good.

My challenge to you for this week:

  1. Talk to someone you love about mental health. It might be an uncomfortable conversation at the start – but take time to talk about some facet of mental wellness.
  2. Hug someone in your “personal bubble”. Wear a mask if you need to, but get some connection time with someone you care about.  We are social creatures – we need contact.
  3. Laugh.  Laugh.  Enjoy a good joke, a funny story or whatever.  Find a reason to really laugh.

That’s it.  I challenge you!