Mental Wellness Challenge – 2021, January 22

Mental Wellness Challenge – 2021, January 22

Last week I challenged you to:

  1. Be authentic. Be you!
  2. Drink 4 big glasses of water every day.
  3. Journal a little. Take some time each day to get in touch with yourself… (see #1).

How did you do you?  I did OK.

I was intentional about being authentic.  I worked at doing my best to be me… I can get caught up in the whirlwinds of “stuff” around me and easily get pulled off my course – so I worked at being me a bit harder.  This always sounds like it should be a piece of cake – but I find it takes effort to not turn into a people pleaser or “silly putty”…  Not feeling the most chipper adds a bit of work too…


I started off with the challenge of drinking 4 big glasses of water, and I don’t know if starting the hydration process kicked my thirst into gear – but I know I was downing mega water through the week and continue to do so… Lots and lots of water… so – I feel I did well on this piece!


I didn’t journal as much as I should have this past week.  I did a little – but I didn’t get into my Penzu (that’s an online encrypted journal I use – not affiliated in any way) journal as often as I likely should have.  One thing I like about that journal is that I can quickly email “ticks or pokes” to it – and then follow with what was going on later… anyway – suffice to say I feel that I should likely have “spilled” more into my journal than I did.  I find that getting stuff out of my head and into words “on paper” helps me bail out the bilge of my experience…

I’ve been struggling more lately with my depression.  Lots of reasons for this I suppose… I know my depression is somewhat cyclic (there’s a longish pattern that I seem to go through), its Winter and the days are short – although they are getting noticeably longer lately, its colder outside (I don’t like being cold and I get cold pretty easily), COVID has changed life for everyone… (I don’t see all the folks that I really enjoy seeing, talking to, laughing with…) and on and on…

None of that stuff is new to me – and the saving grace for me is in the recognizing the pattern and working to manage it rather than being however oblivious to my path and trudging along headstrong into “my forest”.

In my acceptance that “none of this stuff is new”, “I’ve been here before”, “there are stressors outside my control”, and all the rest that goes with my experience – I continue to come up against all of it and it is still a struggle that doesn’t seem to get any easier with experience.  The work – the effort to keep my mental wellness “inside the lines” or “on the trail” as it were – requires my intentional effort.

I have folks in my life ask “If you have been here that many times before, and you know your way around, why is it difficult to navigate?”  That’s a great question – one for which the only answer I have is – “Even though each depressive episode or journey is similar – I have not experience two the same…” if that makes any sense.  So there always seem to be different curves in my path, different obstacles to get round, different pressures and stressors that push and pull me in different ways.  They just aren’t the same – and other than having my wellness model to help keep be on track – there’s never been any “Hitch Hikers Guide to Kev’s Depression” to follow… hmm… maybe that’s what my model is in a way…

Yes, I lean on my model.  It works for me… it helps.  I did a presentation to a 12 Step group a while back and one of the folks at the presentation came to me afterward and suggested that my model was my own incantation of their 12 step program – AA’s way of navigating recovery… and I suppose – in a way – my model is that for me… and I do try to apply my model to navigating my life – my experience.

OK then, I have my model – I built it, it works for me – so again, why the increase in effort to manage my depression.  Well – I know my Big Black Dog affects my entire experience.  The bigger that BBD is the less it heeds my commands and the more it pulls me around… That said – I do have a leash and a training collar on the mutt… it just takes more effort to have to keep checking it – HEEL damnit!  HEEL.. with my persistent application of intentionally applied, values based corrective actions – my BBD will start to behave.  Until then – I have to keep working at it…

Here’s a link to some videos from the World Health Organization that speak to DEPRESSION.

Even my internal dialog (EVERYONE has an internal dialog – not everyone has an internal roommate that’s an asshat.) becomes more acrid when I am struggling – and this takes intentional effort to repetitively correct the negative narrative I have with myself… I’m not a loser, I’m not dumb, I’m not a waste of time… correcting all that negative self-talk/chatter/noise takes effort…

Yes, there’s even a physical hurt to depression.  I am pretty certain that my brain aches are tied to my depression, I have body aches and pains as well that are more apparent when I am trying to get my BBD to heel (heal too I suppose).  Some of the physical hurt is a product of turtling up more too… and I know that… and I know that the more I get out of my shell and get out and MOVE MY BODY, the better I tend to feel… and I’m kinda right back to where I started this… when I’m depressed – it’s a struggle to get my self off my butt… so there has to be intention there too…

There’s lots more to the effort piece of dealing with my depression over and over, again and again.  The fact that my depression is persistent, and repeats is frustrating too.  Most folks that do battle with depression don’t go round and round with it like I have had to do… Most folks that experience a depression go through it, recover, and may never experience a major depressive episode again.

I have often said – if getting over or rid of my mental health challenges was as cut and dry as stopping using alcohol, I’d do it immediately… but its not… at least it hasn’t been for me… and at least I don’t have to do battle with alcohol anymore…

This week I challenge you to:

  1. Take a bit of time and do some research on a facet of mental health that interests you. Read a scholarly article on Major Depression, Persistent Depressive Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, ADD/ADHD, Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, or any of the myriad of disorders that afflict folks.  OR, maybe read about ways to maintain good mental wellness.
  2. Share what you learn, read, etc with someone you care about! Talk about mental wellness, talk about mental health.
  3. Thursday, January 28, 2021 is Bell’s Let’s Talk day. Take part in some way. Join the conversation!

That’s it, I challenge you!


Please be kind, stay safe, wear a mask, wash your hands.