Mental Wellness Challenge
2022, April 14
Easter Weekend – Spring is here – well, Spring is trying to… some places better or more quickly than others…
My challenge for you last week was 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.
I didn’t get to some of my challenge. I didn’t reconnect with anyone from my yesterdays that I haven’t seen in a long time. I sincerely didn’t have the “space” for it. I’ll try this week. I know this was about reconnecting. I know what my intentions for this were, but I didn’t get there.
I’ve been trying to let lots and lots of stuff – go. I must be throwing boomerangs, because it keeps coming right back at me, but I am trying to let the things in my life – that I have zero control over – just go. I have a super difficult time with this – but I am working on it.
I did some reading on Trans-Cranial Magnetic Stimulation as a treatment for depression. Specifically – treatment resistant depression. There’s some really promising work being done with the application of magnetics in the treatment of depressive disorders. Some would say that this is indeed a proven treatment option – for me – when they have to preface their findings with statements like “Science is not 100% certain why this treatment works, they postulate that…”, ya – they don’t know the why it works yet… kind of like Electro Convulsive Therapy – not really sure how it does what it does, and it works for some – but not others… I’ll wait… It is interesting and for some folks for whom medications just don’t help, other treatments don’t help – this/these treatments are hope.
I am stronger today than I was yesterday, and stronger still than I was the day before. I’m not out of my forest yet (I’m hopeful I am heading out of my forest), but I am feeling physically better. I chock this up mostly to the meds that are helping with the symptoms of the meds I am taking for my depression… and they are working. My tummy isn’t great yet, still really crampy and uncomfortable – but I don’t have to stay home all the time because I need to be close to facilities all the time.
I have started getting out for walks, go to play outside and get moving. Exercise for me is medicine. I have to take it even when I don’t feel like it. The more depressed I am, the less I feel like doing ANYTHING. So now, I can get out and walk or putter, or whatever.
I’m still in/at a place where I’d rather just be alone than to be with anyone else. Its not even that I feel or think that I’m my own best company – because that’s not a truth… its more that I don’t have to expend energy to make sure I don’t stomp on somebody else’s feelings or space. I know I am pretty short, pretty edgy right now, so – for me – its more comfortable to just be alone. The problem with being alone all the time is that I turn into a hermit. Self isolation is something that I really have be aware of.
My goal for the next week is to get outside and do something – anything at least every other day. I’ll see how I do… I know that exercise can be as helpful as antidepressants for my depression… so I have to get off my butt and do some.
When I am, where I am… depressed… I set goals for each day. Sometimes the goal is “Accomplish something today, anything, but accomplish something today.” Maybe that something is as simple as making a meal, or getting out of bed, or having a shower (yes – taking a bath or a shower can be an accomplishment sometimes). I’m not in the space, right now, where bathing would be a chore to accomplish – but I have been there. Does that seem wild? I’ve been in places in my experience where I didn’t take very good care of myself at all. I suppose I look back at those times and thank goodness that I am where I am… and I know that is a piece of why I feel as good as I do. I know I’ve been in far darker places than I am now.
I’m grateful for that perspective – and at the same time – I know I’m not “well”.
I’m thinking to myself that I have so much to be grateful for – my life could be so very much worse off. I feel a tinge of guilt as I recognize that there’s folks all round that face much more significant worries and challenges than I have. I suppose this should help me feel better – but it doesn’t. My experience is my experience. Is that selfish? I’ve gone round with this many, many times. If I don’t practice awareness of my depression – it COULD/MAY be as deadly as any other disorder or disease. I look at this as – “The grass over there is a whole lot browner than the grass my feet are on…” – REVERSE GREENER GRASS… and my experience is that its not. My situation is where I am at and their situation is where they are at. Nothing stops me for having empathy for another’s challenges and woes, in fact – the perspective is good. I DO try to help others who are in tougher spots than I am – and I know that I do that for me… and for them. So – I do battle with the guilt… and try to just let it go.
I have a long, long history with the big G. Guilt was a tool used in my upbringing. I know I am not alone in this. My siblings faced similar guilt ridden experiences from our parents. Its taken me a long, long time to learn the truth that “I can’t make anyone feel anything.” I can’t make anyone happy or sad. Those emotions are choices that we all make for ourselves. I have a responsibility to choose how I react to “things”. (By the way – I’m not terribly good at this yet.) Anyway, the point I am getting at is that I have a duty to my self to be aware of where my emotional reactions take me. So in the paragraph above – where I talk a little about my propensity to compare my situation with others – I have to be careful of my motivations…
NOTHING OUT THERE CHANGES.
We all walk our own paths. I’ve walked along with one of the best people I know in the world for over 40 years – my K – and even though we have walked along the same journey – her footsteps have always been her footsteps. Have their been times along our journey when we have supported one another – absolutely… There have been times when I have carried her and she has carried me – but even then – our experiences of the journeys are our own. So, in my understanding, while I do sometimes take a look over the fence at the grass on the other side of the fence, its not my grass – and I don’t know the effort or the details that goes into the growing of it.
It’s taken me a long, long time to figure that out – and sincerely – I still don’t understand all of what there is of that to understand – but I know – NOTHING OUT THERE CHANGES. Change has to happen in me.
This week my challenge is:
- Ask yourself – “How’s my lawn?” Touch base with where you are.
- Read a poem that resonates with you, or maybe listen to or sing along with a song that means something to you. Poetry and music are powerful emotional tools.
- Give yourself a spring. Give yourself a new page to draw on. Give yourself a mulligan.
That’s it – I challenge you.
PS – I appreciate you. I appreciate the time you give to read my ramblings.