Mental Wellness Challenge – 2022, January 18

Mental Wellness Challenge 

2022, January 18

My last challenge was:

  1. Think about being kind. Are we, as social creatures, fundamentally skeptical, guarded, perhaps self serving or are we fundamentally kind, caring and community minded?  Someone encouraged me to consider and think about this… so I am sharing the same encouragement.  Think about it a bit – I know I can certainly see places in my experience when I have tendencies both ways – I continue to actively think about this and where – in my experiences – I can be less self serving and perhaps spread more understanding and kindness.
  2. Visit, have a look at the resources that are available for anyone to use.
  3. Share a moment of hope with a friend. Hope for better health, hope for a kinder, more gentle community, hope for greater understanding and acceptance…

I was pretty good with my challenge.

I have been reading a book “Humankind – A Hopeful History” by Rutger Bregman.  I’m about halfway through the book and I’m curious what his findings are going to be… The book is a look at the juxtaposition of “fundamentally kind” and “fundamentally self-serving”.  This certainly isn’t the sort of book that I usually read, but I am finding it a good push to examine my own thoughts on the subject.  Perhaps I’ll share what I think of the book and its findings when I am finished reading it.

I have been visiting each day at work.  I take a few minutes to check in with the mood wall and to take advantage of some of the resources held there.  The CMHA has done a good thing with this site, I hope it continues.  I have other favorite pages I checkout from time to time – being one for sure.  For me, having resources that help me along my way and remind me that “I’m not alone” in “this”… well – they help.  Some of the coping tools and strategies fit with what I am or might be going through.

Sharing a moment of hope… I gotta be honest – this piece kicked my butt a bit… I’m struggling in my own space… and I find it difficult to be sincerely hopeful.  I was able to share a little about being hopeful about… well, about the future.  I suppose that that is really what hope is – looking into the next moment and seeing the possibilities of a better – better anything or everything.  A few years ago now… (at least I think its been a few years) I came across this… HOPE – H.O.P.E. – Hang On, Pain Ends…  and – at the base of that – there’s truth.  My shitstorm won’t last forever… the pain that I am currently experiencing (physical, mental or spiritual) won’t last forever… sometimes I just need a reminder of that…  One of the tools that helps me with hope is perspective…

This week – well – I’m going to put some of my journaling “out there”… I AM in a tough spot… TO BE CERTAIN – I AM WORKING IT.  I am taking responsible steps and actions to manage my current darkness – medications, help, support etc…  I suppose – talking about hope – that the differences between these past few “wanderings in the forest” and my previous journeys is that I have been paying much closer attention to where I am – emotionally.  Depression, for me, is a sneaky thing… if I am not paying attention to where I am – I can very easily get too deep into it to be able to manage a way out – on my own.  I suppose that is the very good thing that came out of getting some very professional help… I was provided with the tools to be able to help myself.  For certain – I have to have some humility as well – I can’t do this without some supports… so – while I can’t stop the depression from happening, I do have the tools to manage it better…

Here’s a few lines from my journal from the other day…


Wholly crap I am struggling…

I can’t roust up the motivation to do much of anything.

This is my own space and I feel like I am pushing a wet spaghetti noodle…

I had a realization the other day – yesterday or the day before maybe that I’m not in a very good place.  I feel like I am just getting from one day to the next and I’m not really feeling like I am making any progress towards anything…  Do I have a lack of goals – a lack of a target to hit – something to accomplish?  I don’t think so… there are lots of things I should be doing – but I don’t seem to be able to get myself motivated to dig in and do them.  I have loads of learning materials that I should/could build and or update – I can’t scrape up the motivation to do it.

Am I just living to get through each day?  If I had to evaluate some sort of productivity for each day – well – I’d have to have some significantly simple tasks – “like got out of bed”, “took a bath/shower”, “made a pot of coffee”… pretty lowly accomplishments… I feel my own internal pressure to accomplish so very much more – that I should be a star… but I’m feeling like more of a black hole…

I’m anxious  about COVID.  I’m anxious and at the same time – I would almost rather just get it – get through that – have whatever immunity comes out of that and be done with it… but I sincerely doubt that we are ever going to be done with the ‘vid’.  There are people at work that are wandering around with masks off, or under their noses etc… I’m frustrated with those people… I’m frustrated to bits by those people.

I don’t feel like I’m doing much good.  Sharing my stuff on my blog is feeling heavy – tedious… I’m not getting the same personal benefit of my own insights from my sharing. 

I’m certainly more pessimistic than I normally am. 

I suppose living to live another day – is better than giving up… quitting.

Ramble, ramble, ramble…


So – that’s where my head’s at.  Some things I should make clear – when I journal I just let my thoughts roll… what ever comes out, comes out.  I don’t edit… it is what it is.. sometimes it doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense – but that’s because another person who might read it doesn’t have any context.  Sometimes, when I read my journaling days or weeks after I’ve written it – I myself confounded by some of the threads… but I have learned to just let that go.  I might re-read that same stuff six months later and it would make perfect sense…

I journal to get the “stuff” out of my head – so that I can see it… I don’t know if that makes sense to others… but getting the thoughts out where I can read them helps me to deal with the “issues” that are digging at me.

For instance – Yes, there are people in my workplace that aren’t following the “rules” about wearing a mask.  I can let this roll around in my head, I can ruminate over it, I can obsess about it… and I do… when I get it out of my head and on paper (OK, It’s a web based blog called Penzu.) I see it… its not just a thought – its there – so then I can apply the skills I have developed to deal with it…  So, once its out of my head – I can nail it down.  NOTHING OUT THERE CHANGES… So, I wear my mask, or I ask the person to make certain they are wearing their mask appropriately or both.

You see – somewhere along the way – in my “growing up” I started to think that I should be able to control things that there is simply no way to control…  Like somehow I am responsible for a rainy day on family camping trip or not being able to stop an accident from happening.  Locus of control – hmm… not really… more like somewhere I was made to believe I was responsible for shit that I had zero responsibility for…

So – I remind myself that I am only responsible for the things I am actually able to influence and really – since “Nothing out there changes” – I am just responsible for my own actions, space, etc.  That doesn’t mean that I can just blow stuff off… I do have responsibilities.

In the context of my workplace dealio with the masks – I have to make choices… I wear my mask and I choose to let the rest go… because in reality – that’s all that I can do.  I have to take similar steps with the other things that come bubbling up through my thoughts as well…

As another for instance – Feeling like I am not getting the same personal benefit from posting my blog… I have to be honest… My posts really are for me… My blog helps me be accountable to – ME.  As a secondary benefit – if my sharing helps someone else along the way – that’s worth it too.  So – when I start to feel burdened by posting – I check in with myself… go back to my ‘why’ and then realize that this is for me… they do help me with being accountable to myself – and it is a GOOD THING to recognize that its ok to feel like its work for me to post them.  I think its reasonable to feel “burdened” by working my way through doing a post when I am not in a “bright and sunny” mental space.  I have another fav saying – “There’s benefit in the struggle.” and that’s a truth for me.

I suppose I could go along and talk about all of the bits from my journal… Sincerely – sometimes I don’t even look back to what I have written – that usually happens when I’m in a good space and need to “unload” some of my head… The journal entries that get more focus are in times when I am stuck, dark, hurting, lost, or down.  As I have mentioned before – I usually start my journal entries with an emoji – 😊 or ☹… 😊 for good or better days, ☹ for not so good days… or sometimes angry etc… you get the idea.

So – I hope that sharing a little about my journaling and what I do with my journaling to help me along my way might give you some ideas on how journaling might help you.  I know its an important tool in my pouch…  One that I likely don’t use as much as I should.

This week, I challenge you to:

  1. Take 5 minutes to stop.  Be still for 5 minutes.  Use a clock if you have to.  In those 5 minutes don’t answer the phone, read your text messages… don’t do any of that… just let your mind have a break… if shit comes crashing into your head – just close the door… this 5 minutes is just for you.
  2. Drink 3 extra glasses of water a day each day for a week. Get hydrated.
  3. Look at a tree, a snowflake, a mountain. Take a heartbeats worth of nature in… look at the amazing details of that tree, its branches, its trunk… the majesty of a mountain

That’s it, I challenge you.

Please be kind.  Please be patient.  Please be understanding.