Mental Wellness Challenge
2022, February 02
My last challenge was:
- Take a piece of paper and pen, write down 10 things, in your experience, that you are grateful for… maybe it’s the food you have to eat, the clothes you have to wear, the cup of warm coffee or clean water that you have to drink, the friend sitting in the chair beside you… just write down 10. Then I want you to take an envelope and address it to yourself. On the bottom or the back of the envelope, write (10 Things – open if needed)… or something to that effect… then mail it to yourself. Let it go through the mail – then when you get it back – leave it for a day – that day when someone yells in your face that you’re broken, or weak… or that day when you feel less than… then open your reminder to yourself that you DO have things to be grateful for.
- Make a point of telling someone in your life that they matter to you. Let them know that your world is a better place because they are a part of it. That you appreciate them.
- Look for the kindness around you. Its there – I see it when I look for it… take time to actually look for it.
How did you do?
I did write down 10 things I was grateful for and posted them off to myself. Someone asked me what the point of mailing it to myself was – and really – it boils down to intention. I took the time to do something special for me… and now I know that I have a special letter that is on its way into my mailbox… sometime… I don’t have it back yet… but its like a little gift. I WILL wait until I have a bad day to open it… a pick me up… or a reminder that I do have good things in my life.
I have been trying to be very diligent in telling people in my life that they matter. That my world is a better place because they are in it. I do my very best to be as sincere and intentional as I can. Its not just a “love you” on the way out the door. (Although that happens too, cuz I do love my K.) I take time to be “on purpose” with this.
I saw kindness in many places over the past week or so. I saw it because I actually paid attention for it. I find myself moving through my experiences sometimes – not paying attention to the kindness other folks are sharing… taking their kindness for granted… When I look for it and recognize it – it…. tastes sweeter… I feel it more.
My experience this past week has been “thick”. My anxiety and depression are pressing in on me. I feel it/them more. Its harder to get through my day without barking or snapping at others. Working on depression isn’t like working on any physical or intellectual task or problem. My depression can and does affect both – my physical and intellectual… realms? Complicated? I think so. Anyway – my depression is more than sad thoughts or feelings. For instance – someone said to me that “You look good, you’ve got a smile on your face.” And I suppose that, at that moment I did. I’ve been told that my depression is “atypical” … I still experience some positive emotion etc, but I’m still depressed. I don’t blame you if you are confused – I was when I was learning about this too… but that’s the way it works for me.
The other piece of “looking good” is the support that I take from medications. In being mindful and aware I was able to get on my medications when I started noticing my pattern, my clues, my indicators of being depressed. I was able to get on them and let them start helping me.
The medication is just a support though. I have learned that I have to do all of the other work to keep myself out of the darkest parts of where my depressions can go. Even then, with the work that I do, I can’t “just stop” the disorder/s from happening. I shared with someone the other day – that wishing I could just stop my depression from happening was kinda like wishing that it didn’t rain on a picnic or camping trip… absolutely zero chance of affecting the rain – but I can prepare by wearing rain gear or having cover for the picnic. My life still has to carry on. I might have to curtail some of the “planned events” due to rain – but I have to make the best of what I have.
So ya, I’m back in a struggle. The depression makes my anxiety closer to the surface – and that can lead to social “misadventures” … I sometimes come across as really abrupt, or moody, or short tempered. I try to be as level minded as I can, sometimes I slip…
On this part of my journey with depression – the more or less descending piece – EVERYTHING seems closer to the surface. I am very sensitive to comments and criticisms (ya – even more than I usually am), tears seem to be just behind my eyes – ready to pop out, and… the more fatigued I am, the more sensitive and accordingly abrupt I can be. (This sensitivity is another big clue I need support/s.) When my depression gets really deep/bad, the sensitivity turns to numbness… If I get to the numbness phase – well – its not a good place to be… so I am going to do everything I need to, to make certain I don’t go there.
Stress. Stress is a problem to a depressive. Well, OK – I’ll make certain I am talking about me – Stress is a problem for me when I am depressed. When I am healthy, I can do lots of stress – good and bad. Deadlines and unexpected changes aren’t a huge issue. When I’m not as healthy, too many deadlines and/or unexpected changes have a much greater influence on my mental health. Not all stress is bad – but guess what – to a depressive – its still stress… My wellness kind of gets less flexible when I am depressed… so – instead of bending – things start to fracture… So I have to be aware of the amount of pressure I have “in my system – or on the scale” … and shed the stressors that I can.
I let stress go in a bunch of different ways. Talk therapy, some exercise, mindfulness exercises, writing/journaling, and the like. One of the ways I used to deal with stress – that I really miss – is spending time with my dog. One day I’ll maybe get another dog, its just not in the cards right now… But ya, I loved my little dog.
I’m looking out for myself. I am working on this. I know I’m going to have better days (like this one) and worse days, but I also know that there will be an end to this bout… sometime… and I’ll keep working at this because I have so much in my life to look forward to.
This week I challenge you to:
- Blow off some steam – unload some stress. Take some exercise. Write a little. Watch a funny movie and laugh – laugh “belly laughs”…. Or maybe sit quietly and let your stress flow away from you.
- Lend someone a hand. Hold the door some someone at the store, clear your neighbors walkway if it snows, brush off your partners car in the morning…
- Take a holiday from the news. No news for 48 hours. The world is still going to turn, it will still be there in a couple of days – but leave the news alone for a couple of days. (I know this one is going to be tough for me – but I’ll give it a go)
That’s it – I challenge you!