Mental Wellness Challenge
2021, March 26
Tummy issues kept me from posting last week… in a word – wicked… Anyway, back to whatever my current state is for the past couple of days – call it my current normal…
I took time to see a ND – something’s got to help with this issue… so, I am trying the Naturopathic Doctor avenue. There’s certainly a different approach and thoroughness to the way things seem to be viewed, thought about and contemplated… time will tell…
My challenge two weeks ago was:
- Pick a day in the next seven and make a point that day of trying to walk through that day being as aware as you can of the little marks you leave on those around you.
- Sincerely – try to be the change you want to see in the world. Model it. Ask not of others, that, that you are not willing to model yourself.
- Go for a walk with a friend. Share your time with someone you care about.
How did you do?
I really tried to be aware of the impact I have on others as I made my own way along my experience. I made significant efforts to think about how my actions, words or even lack of words impact others. Keeping kindness in mind as a guiding value.
Being the change I want to see in the world is sometimes much more difficult than it seems it should be. To be calm when others are stirred or panicked, to be kind in the face of ignorance or selfishness. The last couple of weeks have certainly been interesting in this regard.
YAY – my tummy settled down enough for me to be able to go for a couple of short walks with people I care about. I was able to take a couple of carefully timed walks out with my K and some other friends too! It was really great to stretch my legs and my heart…
I first want to take a line or two to thank all the other folks in my experience that take time to make a real difference in others lives… whether its kindness quotes on FaceBook, to posts about health and wellness on the company bulletin board, to really going out there and promoting mental wellness through championing speakers to do presentations to work groups promoting mental wellness, physical wellness, good communication techniques and all that kind of stuff. To all these people:
THANK YOU FOR THE KINDNESS AND LEADERSHIP YOU DEMONSTRATE TO OTHERS!!! TRULY, THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE BECAUSE OF YOUR EFFORTS.
I’ve been bobbing around lately. I haven’t really been doing a super great job at being mindful – being “ON PURPOSE”. One of the big drivers for that “cork on the water” piece is my ADHD. Being physically ill and pre-occupied with that has diverted the energies that I usually spend on taming my racing brain and I am feeling the turbulence starting to come to a rhythm… and its super important to me that I not let that rhythm get too pronounced because as I end up getting rocked out of my boat – so to speak.
A couple of the best tools I have, in my tool belt, to use to manage my ADHD are awareness and purpose/intention. Lately my inattention has been difficult to reign in. My mind flashes here, then there, then over there – from thought and idea to day dream and imagination. Even now, as I write my blog my mind is clanging all over and I am having to spend large pieces of effort to stay focused. Tiny little things pull my mind away… like a dog bark outside, the sound of my furnace fan, the bouncing of my knees up and down – with that soothing – house shaking – jiggle, jiggle, jiggle…
While there are stimulants I can take to manage the inattentiveness, I don’t take them as they have side effects that I find untenable… so – then… I don’t really have any other tools other than to straight up be more strict with my mind and hold myself on attention… NOW… Have you ever tried to hold a kitten or a puppy still for a long period of time… at first – its relatively straight forward… the critter pays mind and allows you to hold it… it doesn’t take too long for the “nature of the beast”, as it were, to come forward and pretty soon you’re dealing with sharp little claws – maybe sharp little teeth some meowing and or maybe a little growl… My ADHD is kind of like that… kind of…
When I start with intention and awareness, I am able to bring my ADHD to heel. If my ADHD is all I am focusing on, I can control it for a while. Then life happens, my experience happens… distractions like – oh – fatigue, emotions, stimuli start to come into play and it becomes more and more difficult to stay “on purpose”. I’ve heard it said that cats aren’t really domesticated… that they are still basically wild – they have just adapted to living with us – to getting what they want from us… but if they need to, they are readily able to convert back to wild things… while dogs – genetically – have actually changed to be domesticated.. My ADHD is more like a cat than a dog. My ADHD needs constant tending to. I need to manage it pretty much all the time – because if I don’t – it starts to “go wild”… to get into a pattern or rhythm that throws the rest of my experience into a mess.
When I was younger, I changed jobs pretty routinely – every 4 or 5 years… If it wasn’t changing jobs, other situations would come up in my experience that would put me off course. I figured out, much later in life, that this was “Life by crisis.”. I would get bored with what I was doing, I wouldn’t be able to hold focus, I would start either making mistakes or letting my idle mind get me into situations that I should ought not to be in… Turns out – this was untreated, un-recognized ADHD. I know that now… I didn’t know it then – Then – it was chalked up mostly as a flaw… “This guy can’t stick with anything…” “Flake”… when the honest answer was – I didn’t really have a whole lot of tools to deal with what I was experiencing… The changing jobs was a coping method. The challenge of a new job held my interest… the intensity of the new experience kept me “on purpose”.
There wasn’t any “Be calm and carry on.” stickers in my world back then. I was also a whole lot more intense with everything I did. I knew I wore my heart on my sleeve… I had much more of a temper… and when I did lose my temper, the flash was far more destructive… So – letting go of my ADHD and its symptoms, to let them go wild – isn’t something that I can let myself do any more… I have to be “ON”.
Being “ON” isn’t always easy.. but it’s the right thing for me to do in my life. I suppose like seasons, there is a natural rhythm to all things… and like surviving the seasons.. I have to dress for the weather… I can be more open in the warmth of summer and I need to dress for the cold in the winter… but mentally… Right now – even though its springing outside – I’m sort of in a winter… and I need to spend more energy keeping my mental health “warm”. And that analogy kind of works too…. Because if I am off – not paying attention – I am COLD as a person, if I am able to practice mindfulness, awareness and intention – I am WARMER as a person…
(I’m prone to the use of analogy in much of what I discuss with other folks. People who don’t have to navigate depression, anxiety, ADHD, PDD, PTSD, OCD and the like can’t understand what they haven’t experienced… and using analogies as much as I can – I think helps folks get a “feel” for what I am trying to share.)
I am going to work at trying to get my ADHD under closer control over the next while. I am committing to being more mindful, more intentional, and more purposeful about where I let my mind go. (I know this isn’t easy – but I don’t really have much choice…)
This week I challenge you to:
- Smile under your mask, smile while you are on the phone… smile.
- Do something each day “ON PURPOSE”. It can be something you do every day anyway… but do it with intention. Think about all the reasons why you are doing it.
- Give someone you love a big hug. No words… just hug them. Feel LOVE.
That’s it, I challenge you!