Mental Wellness Challenge
2022, January 27
Hello Blog – another week has slipped through the hourglass of my life. Some good grains – some meh grains – some not so good grains… all that – and I’m still here…
Last time I wrote, my challenge was to:
- 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.
- Drink 3 extra glasses of water a day each day for a week. Get hydrated.
- 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
How did ya do? I did so-so… and that’s ok.
I took some mind space breaks throughout my week. Taking intentional time to shut out it ALL out… the muck and the tinselly bits – and just tried to really stop my mind from pinging, ponging, binging and banging all over the place. To be truthful – taking a break can be a bunch of work for me sometimes… that’s likely the case for others too.
I drink lots of water… its become a habit for sure. I certainly can tell when I have not been getting enough… so I do try to get plenty of water into me… I suffer when I get busy working, puttering, running saw, moving snow, just busy… its during these times, when I should be making certain I hydrate – that I forget – more focused on the task than stopping…
I took a moment or two since I posted last to look at frost… nothing fancy (well, the crystals are really very fancy), just ice crystals on a tree branch and on the windshield of my vehicle. The crystals on the tree – incredible detail, symmetrical from what I could see, intricate, delicate, wonderful. The frost on the window of my van, sparkled, individual crystals had found the streaks on the glass left by the wiper blade from a previous day and had arranged themselves in a diamond strewn arch – the arch catching the light from outside my van and they sparkled wonderfully… And then the heat from the defroster melted them away and away I drove.
On my way to my cubicle this morning – one of my office mates asked “How’s it going today?”. OK, so we all do this, it’s a social thing – a greeting. How do I answer that??? Do I tell him how it’s actually going – cuz he likely doesn’t really want to know – or do I just say my usual – “Well, I’m on the right side of the grass and my heart is beating and I think my blood is flowing – so pretty good.” It’s a truth, pointed out by Jon Kabit Zinn that “So long as you’re breathing there’s more right with you than there is wrong with you, no matter what is wrong.” So – anyway that’s how I responded to his greeting.
And – that got me really thinking about – “How am I?” Hmm… “There’s more right with me than there’s wrong with me.” I think that’s about my answer. I know I’m in a depression right now, but I’m working it… I am taking meds to support my overall mood – and while those meds really cause some “inconvenient and uncomfortable side effects”, I can manage those. It’s one of those things I don’t really see as having a pile of choice about. I need the support, the support comes at a price – I have to pay the price if I want the support.
Compromise – It happens in all sorts of places and spaces. Especially in medicines… Take this med, it helps here, but it does something over there – the benefits are calculated to outweigh the costs – and so its done.
Societally – there are all kinds of compromises… The imposition of a certain restriction is put into place by government to make our society a safer place to be… that’s a compromise. As a society – we accept that certain restrictions are there for a greater good – and the collective we generally benefit from the compromise.
- an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions
- a way of reaching agreement in which each person or group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute
- something that combines the qualities of two different things
Back to me and where I’m at… There’s certainly more right with me than there is wrong with me.
My life, like every other person’s life, includes good days and bad days. Ups and downs, joyous and triumphant moments and really sad, crushing moments. That’s the way my life goes – I would expect – pretty much like anyone else’s. I know I have talked about this before – depression isn’t being sad, having a bad day… so – while I know this won’t last forever, and that there are going to be brighter days on the other side of this – it’s not as straight forward as “click” and the depression is gone. My depression/s tend to be persistent… (Persistent Depressive Disorder) I spend a PILE of energy being ever watchful that I don’t end up wandering off into dark spaces mentally… and that’s a compromise that I make with myself… Expend the energy, be “on purpose”, stay away from the darkness of my wilderness or wander into the wilderness and “most likely” end up lost in a dark, craggy, sulphury, jagged, terrible space. The side effect – I am less spontaneous as I could be, more measured, careful… and all that “watching” is fatiguing, exhausting…
Someone once yelled in my face that I was “WEAK” because of my depression, anxiety, etc. And that I had given my kids that same “WEAKNESS”. (Unfortunately – depression, anxiety, adhd, etc are genetic). That weighed on my soul for months… years really. Depression isn’t a weakness, its an illness. My anxiety disorder isn’t weakness – its an illness… (If most folks only realized how much energy it takes to muster up the will/courage/fortitude to push back an anxiety attack – maybe folks like the person that yelled at me that I was weak – would change… but I doubt that) I am NOT WEAK. I am NOT BROKEN. My brain’s different – my mind different. The reality in working these disorders on an ongoing basis means that I must invest more of my energy in doing what I can (the honest truth that there have been times when simply getting out of bed or having a shower or eating a meal have been considered as accomplishments) along my path, my journey to manage my disorders and that leaves less energy for other things that I might want to take part in.
There’s so very much more I want to say about this – but that’s going to have to wait for another page… another time, but for right now – there’s more right with me than there is wrong with me.
This week I challenge you to:
- 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.
That’s it – I challenge you!