Mental Wellness Challenge – 2022, July 21

Mental Wellness Challenge

2022, July 21

It’s been a long while since I have posted to my blog.  Life’s been really filled with stress, anxiety, worry, frustration, confusion and challenges… so my blogging went on the shelf a bit.

I’ll have to start a new challenge as I am certain that most folks have lost track of my last one – I know I have…

I’m going to start writing and I’ll see where my heart takes me.

Gratitude – this is one of the first pieces that I want to share about.  I have an immense amount of gratitude and respect for the place I work and the people I work with.  My current experience is a weedy, thorny, rocky, mucky space and the people I work with and the place I work at have been so kind, accommodating and respectful of me.  I’m sincerely blessed to work at College of the Rockies and with the folks I do.

I’m also so incredibly grateful for my friends, my mental health coaches, confidantes and my doctor.  All of these folks look out for me.  Check me – ask me questions like “So, are you working your tools?”, “Are you REALLY working your tools.”… and the like.  My close friends challenge me to check my perceptions, biases, and assumptions.  I know these acts aren’t easy or comfortable.  I also know that I appreciate that they care for me enough to hold me accountable and hold my feet to the fire.

I am so truly blessed with my relationship with my family.  My wife, daughters, grandkids, sons-in-law, and brother and sister are simply the best.  The very best that anyone could ever hope for.  There is a security of the soul that comes with knowing that there are people in the world that have your back – 100%, all the time.  They may not always understand what’s going on inside my experience, or have the tools to help be do battle with my darkness.. .but they are there.  I know I’ve made lots and lots of mistakes being a husband, father, brother and friend along the way – but these folks have forgiven all that stuff and stand with me.  It’s an awesome thing to KNOW that I am loved in such an incredible way.

I’m also grateful that I live where I do.  Even within the bounds of Canada, I am so grateful to little old Cranbrook, BC.  Our little community certainly is having a tough time with thefts, drug abuse, vagrancy, transient populations and all the things that come along with that… (I learned from a sincerely reliable source – that “problem populations” are actually being relocated to Cranbrook… I don’t understand how that fixes any problems, but my source is credible)…  and even with all that, this little place is home.  We have some/most of the convenience of larger centers, but fewer of the larger center concerns.  It would be great if we could attract some more doctors and specialists to our care center… but that’s a political thing and I don’t do much with politics.  For all of its bruises, scrapes, and the rest – Cranbrook IS a good place to live.

I am grateful that I don’t live in a part of the world that is dealing with war.  The whole situation in the Ukraine and the Baltics is unfathomably terrible.  I am grateful that my grandkids can put their heads on their pillows at night and not have to even know what its like to be concerned about bombings, shells and all that strife.  I can not imagine what heartbreak and loss is being experienced in the Ukraine and all of the countries surrounding that conflict.

I am grateful for my health.  I do have a sense of embarrassment and self-disappointment that I continue to get heavier… and I know what the solution to that is… I know my will power isn’t as strong as I know it can be… and there’s a piece of internal conflict there too.  I do know that the amount of fat that I pack is a barometer of how “secure” I feel in my experience.  I know too that some of the meds that I have been taking affect my weight, but my being obese isn’t all related to the steroids… The less secure I feel, not vulnerable – secure, the more I see that I pack weight on.  Important difference there.  Vulnerability isn’t insecurity… The less secure I am in my “SELF”, the less I feel like ‘I am enough…’ and the more I guard myself from the outside… this occurs mentally and physically… [I just had a wonder… I wonder if I put on mental fat when I am not feeling well???  I wonder what that looks like???   Something for me to ponder a bit sometime… MENTAL FAT AS A PROTECTION AGAINST INSECURITY.]  Other than being fat, heavy, “BIG”… my health seems to be pretty good… physically… my mental health isn’t great – but I AM working on it.

I’ve had too many friends, coworkers and others that I really care about and love have big BIG health issues lately.  From massive heart issues, to discoveries of cancers – some aggressive forms of cancers, others less aggressive but nevertheless, cancers, to mental health crisis and all the upheavals that come with that, to ongoing – long term health issues that aren’t being addressed by medical professionals and health issues without diagnosis that go on and on that diminish the quality of life of those affected.  All of this is going on in my “social circle”… these are all folks IN my experience.  In some of these instances, I have the opportunity and ability to offer/give some support and in the rest – there’s nothing I can do.  I can only do what I can do.  Sometimes I feel like I am watching little boats filled with people I love and care for, head down a river where there’s going to be really rough rapids and some un-survivable water falls and cascades.  There’s literally nothing I can do but to run along the shore and offer the help I can.  I only have the tools that I have… I can only do what I can do… and I end up feeling useless.

Well, that kind of came out like a little ray of gloom.  I supposed if I didn’t have anyone in my life that I cared about, all that stuff wouldn’t matter.  But I do care and they do matter.  Someone told me – not so long about – that worrying about things I can’t control is foolish.  I agree with that.  This isn’t worry… this is concern for the health of those folks… I see it as different.  My friends, and loved ones matter.  I grab that care, that concern and I pack it.  In the previous paragraph I said that there’s nothing I can do to help some of the loved ones in my life…and that’s not completely true.  I can share my experience with them and let them know that they are important people in my life.  I’m not an oncologist, or a cardiologist, or any other gist… I’m gist me… I can/do offer hugs, my time, my love.  In some of those folks experiences, the water’s too fast, too deep and I can’t swim well enough to even swim beside their boats – in those instances – all I can do is call out from the shore… and the truth is, I’m grateful for the ability to know that.


That simple truth, the truth that: “The world doesn’t happen to me, the world happens, and I am in the world and I have choices and responsibilities about how I act and react to what goes on in the world around me.”,  “Nobody can ‘make’ me happy, or sad, or excited, or bored – and those are all my stuff.”  “That you can’t fix me, that only I can fix meDoctors, medicine, therapy, and all the rest are just supports… my wellness is my responsibility.”   Those are all the same truth, just said in different ways, and I have learned that it is a key to my wellness.

This isn’t a new idea at all… just something that I’m still just learning.

Every once in a while, I have an opportunity to share this thing I am still learning with another on their journey… The concept is simple, the application is more complex…

I’m at a spot where I’m going to leave things be… or else this post will be way too long…

I am going to try to get back into checking in with my blog on my weekly schedule again… as I have said before – it’s a type of accountability for me… it helps me keep my head in the game…

The world is an even more crazy place than it was a month ago.  The regular YOU AND ME of the world need to step up and do more… Politicians are more concerned about their seats in office and the funding they get from lobbyists than they are their constituents… back room deals and powerful lobbies take away our voices…  I’ve experienced a big increase in obvious self centeredness in folks… anyway, this could turn into a whole other piece.  PLEASE BE KIND.  PLEASE GIVE A MOMENTS THOUGHT ABOUT THE OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR EXPERIENCE.  PLEASE EXERCISE HOPE.


My challenge is:

  1. BE KIND.


That’s it – I challenge you.