Mental Wellness Challenge
2022, May 11
I haven’t checked in with my blog for the past couple of weeks…
The straight up truth… I’m feeling stressed the F#%& out. Not all bad stress – but stress none the less…
My last challenge was to:
- Dream a little… Langston Hughes is quoted as “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, you become a broken winged bird, that cannot fly.” I believe the intent here is deeper than what I am getting at – still – dream a little.
- Take a chance. Little chance, big chance – but take a chance.
- Enjoy a sunrise. The sun is coming up earlier now – so take the time to watch the sun break the Eastern horizon.
I did alright. Dreams – hopes for tomorrow. I look at “dreams” differently than I see goals and targets. Dreams being more lofty – wishes I suppose and goals more realistic, “achieve this by then”. Dreaming is a bit of a barometer for me – if I’m not doing any dreaming – my headspace is pretty “tight”…
I’m not a big “chance or risk taker”… at all… Along the way – I’ve had enough adverse experiences from the outcomes of risky behaviours that I tend to be more paralysed by risk and chance than perhaps I should be. My ADHD certainly is a piece of “risk”. Acting before thinking or taking risks without evaluating circumstances our outcomes – that said – at my current point in my experience I would say that I a don’t tend to take risks. SO – with my challenge – I did step outside of my comfort zone and stretched… The outcomes where OK. I grew a little and I didn’t get lost.
Sunrises… I wake up pretty early… well, I don’t know if its fair to say I wake up early or that I just don’t sleep very well…LOL… I love watching the sun silhouette the horizon and then come peeking over the ridge. Sometimes it seems like the birds stop – for just that moment – when the sun creeps over the horizon.
The past couple of weeks have been pretty… nasty. My experience, my life hasn’t taken any gnarly paths … HOWEVER – Some of the people I love dearly and others that I hold as good friends, have had some really bad news, life threatening experiences and just generally sh!t happen in their lives. There’s zero – nada, zip, zilch that I can do to influence their outcomes. The only thing I can do is try to maintain some level of positivity for those folks… and if I can’t do that, I just try to stay the heck out of their way.
When I take stock of the past few months of my life – I get a bit of perspective on where I am… and well, just how bad things could be for me. I glean some gratitude from that perspective. I know I shared a little about perspective taking/making in a recent post – but truly, sometimes perspective and gratitude are better tools for me than the medicine or talk therapy that I do.
There’s space for gratitude in pretty much all of my experience. I am so incredibly grateful for the medical technology and skilled hands that were able to perform the marvels that they did, I am grateful for the clarity of an experienced specialist who was able to more ably and definitively review the case file of a loved one. Sometimes even though the news isn’t the best – knowing the reality of a situation disarms worry with clarity. Perhaps the clarity might even provide some hope.
With all this “stuff” going on with folks in my life – I have to keep working on myself. I was asked by my medical man what I am doing to take care of myself – if I am still seeing a counsellor and/or doing therapy. I replied that I’m doing what I know to do. So – what does that look like?
I am working at maintaining the connections I have with the people I care about and that care about me. In my experience, when I am feeling stressed, depressed, anxious or just “ick”, I hermit. Making steps to keep my connections strong and clear help me to move towards wellness…
I check in with my values – with what is the “reason” I’m doing what I am doing and is that reason inline with my values. There are plenty of times when I am “lying to myself”. Its not an intentional thing – it’s a learned behavior (I think) – where I find myself out of alignment with my values. When I correct this – I invariably feel “better”.
My values and purpose are closely related – the WHY I am doing something or the doing something with purpose… Being “ON PURPOSE” is almost always a more stable path. Perhaps not as easily accomplished, but more stable.
I make sure to check in and touch base with the supports that I have in my life. I have a few folks that I can just BE with. I’m able to be straight up with these folks – no filters… and they will usually hold me to account. Will call me out if they see that my actions and words are out of alignment… I sincerely appreciate those folks.
I practice acceptance. This has been and continues to be a learning thing for me. Accepting that there are so many things in my experience that I have no control over and then – letting go of “need” to be responsible and try to alter the outcomes. When I practice acceptance and understanding – I gain some freedom. That said – I also accept that I have a responsibility to my own wellbeing.
That responsibility to my own wellness has to be acted upon. I have learned that I can’t just sit and wait for someone else to fix me – the truth – my truth is “NOTHING OUT THERE CHANGES”. I have to take action to DO and TAKE the steps that need to happen for me to move from a place of being unwell to one of being healthier. This action piece is really resonating with me lately. I am getting super heavy again. I know there are lots of “excuses” I can put out there for not acting and getting some real exercise – and perhaps exercising more self control. I know that I’m fat and that I know that I’m the only one that change that… so I need to take the action required to do that… and I am going to – today!
I am aware. I have an awareness and am vigilant about my mental health. I don’t have a typical brain and I AM prone to depression and anxiety. Being aware and accepting is a big difference – perhaps THE big difference between how I have managed my mental wellness in the past. My vigilance is a guarded one… if that makes sense?? I don’t want to be so vigilant that I see depression or anxiety that isn’t a problem. Everyone experiences dips and anxiousness from time to time. I have to make certain I take that into account.
I’m also committed to my wellness. I am committed to doing the work that I need to do. To go the places I need to go and to avoid the places and activities I have to avoid. I must be persistent in my journey toward wellness. Doctors and counsellors have all said that I’m in this for the long haul. One of the “Ds” for me is Persistent Depressive Disorder… so I watch – I’m careful. I try hard to BE ON MY WELLNESS MODEL. This all might sound like things most folks learned in elementary school… I didn’t for some reason and my reality is that I still have many life lessons to truly learn.
There’s a piece of me that feels like “Spring” is coming – that the season of my darkness is starting to break some. Perhaps I am just getting used to the stress around me??? I don’t know – but I am starting to feel like my wellness might be turning for the better. I certainly do appreciate that “making steps” does provide a sense of accomplishment and that sense of accomplishment makes me feel lighter… I have a ways to go to be totally out of the woods – but I am optimistic that I’m headed in the right direction.
This week I challenge you to:
- Laugh – just laugh. If you can, laugh til there’s tears in your eyes….
- Take the time to see. To see a budding leaf or a flower or plant struggling to break through the earth – to see the sun.
- Sing… Sing like nobody is listening – or sing like you have an audience – whatever you desire… but sing.
That’s it – I challenge you.
Please… be kind, be patient and try to be understanding. We are all walking our own paths – we all have mountains to climb, rivers to cross and burdens to carry. If someone is carrying a load across a raging river on their way up a mountain – a little kindness could be the little boost they need to lighten their load – and – an small unkindness might just be the slippery stone that causes them to fall into the raging torrent.