Mental Wellness Challenge – 2021, May 14

Mental Wellness Challenge – 2021, May 14

Middle of May already… time is just flying by for me… seems like just yesterday I was blogging and that was a week ago… busy I suppose…

Last week my challenge was to:

  1. Spin the clock back a bunch of years. Think back to a day – a long time past – that you were super happy.  Think back to the events of the day.  What was the reason you were happy?  Who was there?  What was the day like?  Let yourself go back to that time and just ‘be’ there for a few minutes.  Think about the scents in the air… try to remember the tiniest of details.
  2. Hold a loved one’s hand. You don’t need to talk or do anything other than just hold their hand.  Feel the connection to that person through the tough of their hand.
  3. Give a close friend or family member a few minutes of your time. Call them.  Talk to them.  Listen to them.  Be there for them.

On reflecting back on a time that I was super happy… It was a snowy, wintery day – I did my usual thing of going out for a hike along the river bed – took along the fixin’s for mint tea and bannock… I can pretty much smell the mint tea and taste the salty, sweetness of the bannock wrapped around a stick and roasted over an open fire that I built in a tree well… I was on my own out in the woods (the truth is that I wasn’t hundreds of miles from home – miles for sure…) but I was in one of my favorite places… “the big tree”… a campsite that was home to this huge big old tree… The tree was large enough that a kid could fit inside the hollow trunk and be out of the weather… Lots and lots of imagination roared out at that place… it wasn’t just my place – lots of young people camped out there… There was water close – via the Old Man River and lots of shelter and firewood…  This was a place where I could, and did, get away from it all… it was a “happy place” for me…  I was between 10 and 12 years old… so – a loooonnnngggg time ago… mmm the sweet mint tea… makes me smile even now..


I hold my K’s hand lots… lots of hugs too… There’s just something about feeling the touch of someone I love that makes me… feel better…  This was an easy part of my challenge for me.  Easy for sure, but super valuable.  I really hope that you were able to enjoy the same kind of feeling of physical connection.


This past week was really hectic for me.  That said, I still made time to, to take time, to reach out to my kids.  If even only for a brief moment – I made sure to give them some of my time.  One of the folks I made time for was my eldest granddaughter.  This young lady never ceases to amaze me.  She is so bright… and so so so much like her auntie… I know she’s my youngest daughter’s girl, but one would swear she should be my eldest daughters child… All of my grand babies are incredible.  Back to making time – we spent time back and forth before she had to get to school the other day.  THAT MADE MY DAY…  and it helped me connect to my grand child as well.

Challenges, answers to long asked questions and more questions to ask seemed to my common thread this last week.  I got some answers to some of my health questions – and those answers lead to their own questions that need more answers…  I suppose that’s the way life goes.

I am going to share a “wander” through some of my thoughts this week…

I got some answers for my tummy issues – a confirmed diagnosis that will give me a place to start working from… now I have to make changes to diet, routine and some of the medicines that I take to be able to address the new diagnosis.  There’s good pieces and taxing pieces to the diagnosis… the malady that I have isn’t known to cause cancer… but its also not the most common form of the disorder or disease either… there’s lots of information out there on it – but there’s tons and tons of conflicting information too.  I’ve been diagnosed with something called microscopic colitis…  That’s the answer to my question of “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON WITH MY GUTS?”… but… the “How does this get fixed?” is a question that is going to take some – this and that – to try to resolve.  I don’t know enough about to share anything about it – other than it’s been 15 or 18 months of “NO FUN”…. So far…

One of the initial pieces to deal with this business is to wean off of my antidepressant medications… as SSRIs are known to be a factor… A really supportive friend of mine asked me the other day – “How do you feel about going off the antidepressants?”  I thought about that question.  It was a good one… I’ll say this… about my answer.  “Where my mood is currently at – and where my capacity to “be at the helm” improving – I’m OK with titrating off the meds…” All that said – if I start to wander into the darkness again – I would have zero reservations about going back on them and then dealing with the results of the colitis…  I have made a commitment to myself to never let myself wander into the darkness again.  There are too many wonderful things in my experience to allow that to happen… and certainly – the ‘crap’ that I have been dealing with, with the tummy issues is a concern… However – I believe that – at this point – with where my head and “wellness capacity” is currently at – that I am better off to go off the depression meds and then be able to get more exercise and not be tied to the great white porcelain telephone… that not having this daily “hung over feeling” will be better for my overall health than the support that I am getting from antidepressant… (give and take – this and that)

These last couple of thoughts bring me to acknowledge how fortunate I truly am.  I KNOW, KNOW TO THE CORE OF MY BEING, that I am blessed with true friends.  People who genuinely care about me.  This is a piece of my life that I have – until the last few years – never really felt.  Maybe I was walled up and didn’t let many people in – or maybe I was selfish and too self centered to realize the love that others had for me for that which is truly is.  I still don’t have many really close friends – I have more fingers than I have super close friends, but I am far more aware of the importance of all of those people in my life.  They are each as important as each of the fingers on my hands.  These are the kinds of people that… well… when I give them a hug… I don’t want to let go…  those kinds of friends.

That thought brings me to a hurt – to a loss that I learned about this past week… A dear friend of mine passed away on the 6th.  I just learned about it on Monday of this week.  Joe was the kind of friend that I could just sit with – not have to say anything – just be with and we seemed to communicate.  When I had issues on my heart – I know I could share with him and I would get straight up – no bullshit – advice.  No rose colored glasses… his sincere opinion.  My friend was the kind of man that loved his family more than he loved anything else.  His children were his world.  He wasn’t afraid to speak with them firmly or with compassion – he did everything with love.  Joe was a teacher…. Not just of his trade – but of all the “soft skills” that make a person – a better person.  His caring ways flowed over all of his students.  His death has left a hole… I’ll miss my friend – I’ll miss our chats and his unique sense of humor and his way of calling a spade – well a spade…

Hmm… well – that turn in my thought wander has left me a little melancholy… and I appreciate that it hurts because well, Joe was a good friend and he mattered in my life.  I only regret that I didn’t work harder to let him know that I loved him very much.  The last time I shared time with him, our time ended with one of our hugs and I did tell him that I loved him.. but – that just doesn’t seem like enough.  I know that time will take away some of the ache – but time won’t diminish the respect and love I had for him.

Farewell Joe Gex-Collet…  I’ll miss you!

This week I’d like to challenge you to:

  1. Check in with your heart. Check in with how you are really feeling.  Wash off the busy, the hustle and the day to day and touch base with what is going on in your mind and your heart.  Two distinctly different things for sure… but that’s part of the point here.
  2. Get hydrated. Drink at least 4 8oz glasses of water each day.
  3. Give yourself a pat on the back for something you have done. Worked hard all week, or took time to pamper yourself a little, took time to bandage a bumped up heart of a friend or child, take a look at the things you do and give yourself some self appreciation for it.  (This is one of those things that I am learning to be better at.  Growing up I was taught that this was a sin… to have self pride or to self acknowledge a good deed was wrong… so this is a piece of my experience that I have to work on…)

That’s it, I challenge you!

Please be kind, be patient and be tolerant.  So many of us are just doing the best we can… our emotional energy reserves are somewhat depleted and well – life is still happening all around… This request applies to ourselves as well…