Mental Wellness Challenge
2022, April 07
I didn’t blog last week… In my last challenge to you from March 24, I challenged you to:
- Practice gratitude. Share gratitude. Tell folks that do things you are grateful for, that you appreciate what they have done.
- Quiet your mind. Find a space in your experience where you can quiet your mind and take a mental breath.
- Give yourself an ‘attaboy’ or ‘attagirl’ each day this week. Recognize some of the good things you do. You might just be the only one that notices.
How did it go?
On practicing gratitude – I struggled with this one. I’m in a place where the walls are pretty high. Castles have walls – protection really – so do prisons… I know its perspective – but it is a truth. The issue with the walls for me – ya, they keep me safe from the outside and they keep those who I interact with in my experience away from my “ick”, but they also block out a bunch of other things – good things, beautiful things, wonderful things… While that is a truth for me – I try to acknowledge the nice things others do for me. Perhaps I need a ladder or a boost or something so that I peek out of the bastion…
Quieting my mind has been a necessity for the last long while. My thoughts race, I ruminate, I worry about things I can’t control… so I have to slow myself down. Do what I can to work with the poo that I drum up in my mind. When I am depressed – my inner roommate just won’t shut-up and its really hard to ignore it. Sometimes the best way for me to “quiet my mind” or be “mindful” is to get into a lesson for my students… sometimes, but not always. There are times when my mind is so loud that I have a difficult time thinking… and that makes it hard to teach.
Ya – the “atta boys” didn’t come much the past while. They are hard to give out when I’m depressed. Self confidence and self worth are things that depression dissolve. I shared a piece by Michael Landsberg last week from his #sicknotweak blog/site that pretty much explains the idea – likely more clearly than I could mutter on about… He’s doing what he can to support folk’s mental health too.
Last time I shared I used an analogy of a heavily laden Boston Whaler – with water lapping over the gunwales… that’s pretty much where I still am… not really sinking deeper (maybe a bit)… I still have pumps and pails and sopping wet towels bailing as much as I can to stop from sinking… It’s a bunch of effort, and I am getting tired.
Tired. Depression sucks. Depression hurts.
Trying to “unburden” my little boat is more complicated that it sounds. If I could just jettison pieces of my experience to lighten the load – I’d do that – at least I think I would if it were possible. I wish it was that easy. I can’t 100% control the onset, progression or resolution of my depression. I certainly have the ability to choose how I react, to work on being more healthy, to do what I can to stay out of my darkness… that said, a whole lot of the disorder or illness is outside of my ability to control… I know this, I accept it… and that’s where I can start working at it.
I “get” that this is so much like an old 8 track tape – that plays over and over and over… looping again and again. That’s a reality of my depression. When I am depressed – the soundtrack is kind of the same, even though the actors, scenes, theme and venue of my experience changes.
AAARRRGGHHHH!!! I am so incredibly frustrated. I can’t freaking think. I can’t write… I get frustrated to the point where I feel angry with myself.
Depression affects my ability to think, to recall, to create, to speak… I wish I could explain how incredibly bothersome and taxing it is to NOT be able to do things that come so easily when I am not feeling like this. My ability to think on my feet is pretty much gone… yet the requirements for me to teach lessons, remember facts, figures, formulas, theories doesn’t change. This is all “in my head” stuff and anyone on the outside can’t see this… I don’t look different to them… On the inside of my experience I see these “failings”. I can feel the inability to think, to process, to communicate, to recall… and when I do see these things, my inner critic is harsh. “Idiot, useless, stupid… etc”…
I don’t know the why depression affects my ability to recall, my ability to think, my ability to create – but it does. The antidepressants help a bit – but there’s no silver bullet that can bring all those skills back.
My patience quotient… and my tolerance for personalities and all that comes along with them is gone – so I have to pay very, very close attention to how I react to personalities. I know I can come across as an asshole when I am depressed. I think the words used by a student were “moody, unpredictable”… (There’s an added goodie currently in that some of the medications I am currently taking have a side effect of me being short/aggressive.) I don’t want to offend people. So, I throw another layer of blocks on my walls… lest my dragon exhale on some bystander – innocent or not…
I suppose it’s a good thing that Ohm’s Law, Watt’s Law and all the other laws, rules and principles that I have learned over the year haven’t changed. Even though I know this stuff as well as I know my own name – well – have you ever forgotten how to spell your middle name?? Ya, it can be like that.
I am pretty certain that my life is going to get better on the other side of this episode… pretty certain… reasonably confident… but I’m not 100% certain… then again – nothing in life is guaranteed… To me – this reasonable certainty is hope.
There is no other – easy – course… I am where I am and my experience is what it is… and I have to keep pointing myself in a direction towards better health.
This week I am going to challenge you to:
- Phone a friend. Give someone, that you haven’t connected with in a long time, a call.
- Let it go. Pick something in your experience that is using up your energy and let it go. That very thing may very well come back – but try to let it go.
- Learn something new about your mind/brain. Check out something – a video, paper, recorded lecture or whatever about your brain.
That’s it, I challenge you.