Posts Tagged With: mental-health

 
 

In Search Of: Missing Groove

A friend of mine recently mentioned “getting her groove on.” That led to an interesting discussion about what that meant, which led to Googling a random movie neither of us have seen, which led to a comment by me that I thought my groove might be moldering in the washing machine.

You know that mildew smell right? Ew.

Have you ever mopped up spilled milk with a towel and then let the towel sit for 24 hours or so? Or spilled a whole gallon of milk in the car in the summertime; oy, that’ll put you off driving for a while.

Mildewing groove. Gross!

Groovy crop circle. Not my missing groove though. Photo by Cropoilbrush (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Groovy crop circle. Not my missing groove though. Photo by Cropoilbrush (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So what IS a groove and how do you get it back? And in my case, how do I get rid of that smell?

Here’s a mashup of what a few of the online dictionaries said about it: “Hippie term: Taken from music, but relating it to life, social situations, and nature. Generally feeling good , in tune and in the rhythm of nature. Enjoying life. An established habit. Enjoying oneself.”

According to that definition, my groove, and my friend’s groove, have both definitely gone missing. Me in tune? Nope, I’m way off-key. In rhythm with nature? I wish.

And just so you know, Diet Coke does little to alleviate the void left by missing grooveness. Although, ice cream can briefly mimic having a groove, but once the bowl empties, that feeling dissipates quickly.

When I ride my bike pre-sunrise I feel “in the groove.” But that sensation slips away sometime before noon. Sad, I know.

Maybe music would help. Cranking those tunes (<— click it, you’ll thank me) during the day could ramp up the groove meter. A little disco never hurt anyone, right? (Don’t answer that.)

Has YOUR groove wandered off?

Possibly that lack of groove finds its roots in one or more of the following:

  • Fifth month of relentless heat, with who knows how many more weeks still to endure. (Think cabin fever, but with heat in place of snow.)
  • Consistently running short on sleep
  • Little time spent in recreational reading
  • A deficit of fun
  • Not having something to look forward to
  • Missing family members or friends
  • Lack of a consistent schedule
  • Spreading myself too thin
  • Overcommitment
  • Too much time lost in my own circular thoughts
  • Worry, about lots of things that I have little or no control over
  • Lack of concrete goals
  • Not enough laughter in a day or week
  • Internalizing other people’s stress
  • Lack of balance between work and recreation
  • A disorganized desk, room, house, garage, car, life.
  • The ever-present money worries
  • A plague of pumpkin spice everything, everywhere!

Not a drastic, life altering list of anti-grooveness there, but just enough of a handful of them to make things smell a bit moldy and feel off-kilter.

A336,_The_Wave_at_twilight,_Paria_Canyon-Vermilion_Cliffs_Wilderness,_Arizona,_USA,_2011

Pretty groovy, but not the one I’m missing. (photo © Brian W. Schaller / License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Your list for a missing groove certainly reads different from mine. Maybe you’re a caregiver with little respite, or a worn-out mom of toddlers, or a school teacher (bless your soul). Any one of those things right there can throw a person off track and leave them dazed and drained and with no groove.

Your list might include a hormone imbalance, or chronic pain, or living in a stress-filled situation. Maybe you’re completely clueless about why your groove got up and went. It happens.

How you find your groove might feel nearly impossible with time and energy constraints beyond your control.

Small and simple things like adding a bit of outdoor time, or hitting the gym, or a class or club you attend once a month might be completely out of reach. As would a regularly scheduled babysitter. Even making plans for something cool in your future which could light the fire under your groove and get it boiling could feel pointless. Even sneaking in a nap occasionally to revitalize your dormant groove could seem like a pipe dream.

Small moves, tiny changes, bits of brightness. Sometimes that’s where I often find my groove. Easy to overlook, and yet powerfully energizing, even if only briefly. Hearing a bird song as your walk in to work, catching a glimpse of blue sky through the window, noticing the flavor or texture of the food you’re eating,    breathing out a short amen to the sweetness of the pillow beneath your head as your finally, blessedly get to go to bed.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s more to that off-putting smell of mildew. Maybe some big repairs wait in the wings. A remodel, a mold removal service, a new roof. Meds, therapy, counseling, intervention, multiple steps, moving on or moving out, or simply hanging in there until forever or whenever. Heaven forbid that your groove goes that bad.  I know it can. Prayers for you, my friend.

A Cat Story

My cat was much scruffier looking than this beauty.

My cat was much scruffier looking than this beauty.

I adopted a stray tom cat when I was a teenager. Named him Tom. (I know!) He’d disappear for weeks and then show up battered, bloodied, matted, patches of fur missing, limping, open wounds. I’d clean him up, do my best to comb out his fur. He’d spend hours on my bed in a patch of sunlight, purring, healing, content to just be. And then a month or two later, he’d wander away again. After several years of his comings and goings he just never returned from one of his wild adventures.

I worry that my groove resembles scruffy Tom. One day it might wander off and not come back. I hope that’s not true. Not for me. Not for you.

I’m not really looking for a new groove like that animated emperor. I just want my old, comfortable one back. Sure it’s a little frayed and ratty looking, but it fits nicely and does the job when it sticks around. It likes to hum along to that Simon and Garfunkel tune “The 59th Street Bridge Song.” (Y’know, “Feeling Groovy.”)  Do you think there’s much chance I’ll find it? I sure hope so.

I’m posting a mental wanted poster: “Missing: One Groove.”

If you need me, I’ll be out searching.

 

Categories: Being Human, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Getting Healthy in all the Right Places

Doctor’s waiting rooms seem ripe with all sorts of possible bad outcomes. Don’t you agree?

I always wish I had my own bottle of hand sanitizer after simply opening the door to go in.

There’s those pens, the ones with flowers taped to them so no one takes one. Who’s going to walk off with a bacteria laden pen from a doctor’s office? Not me! Even minus the fake flower. Not to mention the clip boards. I’ll bet no one has ever swiped a disinfectant wipe across one of those boards o’ infection. The arms on the chairs? Ew. Potential illness abounds.

Let’s not even get started on the magazines from 1990 something, or last year, or even last month. Petri dish some of those pages and see what you come up with!

Brrrr.

Brrrr.

Last month I availed myself of the attentions of a new doctor, an internal medicine specialist. Nice guy. He looks like he’s about the same age as one of my son-in-laws, who happens to be a med student.  Putting my health in the hands of someone so young seems like kind of a scary thought, but then he seems up on the latest studies, schools of thought in Europe versus here in the States. And he takes his time with me. No sense that he’s in a big rush to get to the next patient.

Bonus points for this: he only treats grown ups. Grown ups have complicated, twisty knotted up weirdness in the physical health area. I’d suggest an internist if you fall into that category. So far, I like the guy.

So this young internist writes out a series of tests that he says I need. Labs, scopes, prods, pokes, whatever the heck you’re supposed to do on a regular basis that I (cough) rarely do. So I’ve spent the past month or so doing all that fun stuff. At one of the funner procedures, NOT the one I wrote about, I got put in a little dressing room, put on a gown which would become completely useless in no time, and took a seat next to some nice, crisp, newish magazines. I was told to wait. Or maybe I was supposed to say, “Ready or not, here I come,” when I was decent. I don’t remember.

Anyway, I had a minute to read one of the magazines called “Experience Life.” I laughed when I read the title. Like I need a magazine at my age (relatively young-ish) to tell me anything about experiencing life. I found the idea rather humorous. But, surprisingly this one article caught my attention. In fact, it riveted me to my seat and made me forget my half-nakedness. That’s pretty impressive power.

"Healing Spaces" the book

“Healing Spaces” the book

The title of the article is “Healing Spaces”. In fact you can CLICK HERE to read what I read, only online. It’s written by Esther Sternberg, MD, who excepted it from a book she wrote called Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being. I checked it out from the library and can’t wait to read it.

Basically, these ideas took hold when someone noticed that patients who could see trees through their window while they were in recovery left the hospital a full day earlier than those without a natural view. This prompted a variety of studies which have come up with some fascinating conclusions about things that help improve the healing process. Conclusions I happen to support wholeheartedly, based on personal experience.

Don’t you love it when research backs up what you already know? Makes me feel kind of brilliant. Ha!

So what sort of things has this research concluded help us to heal faster? I’m glad you asked. These things right here:

  • Quiet places
  • A place in the sun
  • The presence of loved ones
  • Places that smell good
  • Walking paths and labyrinths
  • Places of belief
The Riparian on a rare rainy day.

The Riparian on a rare rainy day.

All those things already top my list of priorities. My sanity requires regular quiet mornings and my wandering walks. The Riparian Preserve where I walk fills up some awesome smells that change with the seasons and the weather. Living in the desert Southwest I get lots of glorious sunny days.

The baking I love to do makes my home smell heavenly and right now the air is thick with the smell of citrus blossoms. Some of my most cherished moments each week I spend in sacred places. And, I know I feel better and happier when I spend regular time with family and friends.

Based on where I spend my time and this book, I ought to be one of the healthiest people around.

According to my doctor and all those tests, I’m in great health, with a couple of things I need to work on. (Aren’t we all a work in progress, or egress?) I’m pretty sure that the time I spend in all these places keeps me in better health than I deserve. Mentally, I’m certainly saner than I’d be without such places in my life.

So breath deeply, wander some, soak up some rays, enjoy family and friend time, hang out somewhere sacred and luxuriate in a bit of quiet. Your body and your brain will thank you.

~~~~~

“Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact that there is healing.”  ~ Linda Hogan

Categories: Mental Health, Nature, physical health | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Whateverness

I skipped out on writing a Gratituesday post yesterday. Not that anyone would notice except me, really. It’s not like me. Even if I don’t write anything for a week I always, always, always post something I’m grateful for on Tuesdays. But nope. Not yesterday.

Part of me said to myself that Monday’s post about the “Twenties” could serve as my gratitude offering for the week. Part of me doesn’t want to think of things I’m grateful for lately.

Who could be uncheered by a sunrise like this?

Who could be uncheered by a sunrise like this?

Why would I do that? What is it about human nature that makes me want to wallow in whininess and self-pity rather than pay attention to the abundance surrounding me. Or maybe it isn’t human nature at all. Maybe it’s just my own personal nature, prone toward the negative. It’s an ongoing battle, most days holding my ground or even gaining some ground. Other days the foe pushes harder than my stamina and will power. Then I find myself mired in the old, all too familiar ground of smudged glasses, a fog in the air, stuck knee-deep in depression and meh.

Does it matter that I pushed through the tiredness and volunteered with MSH at a food bank for a few hours  yesterday? He thought it would do me good, give me some perspective. I’m sure it did somehow deep down. I tried, later, to compose a post about the experience, but found my heart had stayed closed off to the experience as well as any potential good I could have gained from it. Shelves got stocked, meals made available, families and individuals got served. Now my muscles ache and my back hurts. I should have felt a sense of satisfaction, of joy, but nope. Nada.

Veggies in my future?

Veggies in my future?

Does it matter that I dug out my seed collection and, in an act of extreme faith, even for a desert gardener, put seeds into the ground early in September? I try to envision radishes pushing up through the soil, imagine beets with their tiny red stems poking though, lettuces for future salads, carrots with their furry tops, pea vines winding up the wall. Do you think it will really happen? Or will I fail to keep the soil moist enough over the critical week or two of seedling spouting? Will the temperatures soar and bake the now saturated ground along with the tender shoots of my offering of faith?

Just after shaking off the pond water.

Just after shaking off the pond water.

Did today’s face to face encounter with a coyote stir something in me, make me feel more alive and lighter? As I said, “Oh, hello there!” and those gray eyes looked through me, judging, assessing, weighing the danger, did I wonder at such a confrontation? Perhaps, a bit.  And only minutes later, when the geese complained at the coyote’s invitation to breakfast, did anything stir in me as they flew overhead, the sunrise backlighting them just so? I took a photograph to share and smiled a little. That’s something. The whole day ought to have brightened at such an occurrence, my heart should have jumped and laughed out loud at the very least.

Maybe I’m behind on my sleep. Maybe I need to take vitamins, eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water. Maybe I need some hours lost inside a book, oblivious to my surroundings. Maybe it’s time for some extreme sanctuary, silent meditation or exceptional prayers. Maybe I need a few days camping, saturating myself in pine-scented oxygen and unfettered starlight. Maybe I think too much. Maybe I think about the wrong things. Maybe I need some serious chocolate. Who knows.

Looking for calmer waters.

I’m just trying to make sense of my life, and some days honestly, there’s very little sense in it at all.

In my decades long war with depression, I’ve learned to remind myself that what I’m feeling is temporary. That I won’t feel like this forever. Days will get better, laughter will come easier, I’ll feel like being around people soon enough. There’s no need to give up hope.

I declare today a mental health day for myself. I’ll be gentle with and generous to myself. I’ll rest and renew and find a toehold to push myself back up to solid ground. I’ll reread some of my gratitude journals. I’ll push harder on the heavy door that’s shut everything out and open up my heart to the possibilities around me.

~~~~~

Turns out today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Far too many people have weeks and months and yes, even years of lassitude, depression, stress, trauma, the weight of the world on their shoulders, and general inability to cope or find help. It turns out hope does exist. Please educate yourself so that you can help someone who needs a light shining in their dark hours. Or educate yourself so that you can see your way to a source of light and hope and healing. God bless.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Hope, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rode Hard and Put Away Wet

While visiting my parents recently, I attended church with them. Much to my surprise I heard the following statement: “Some of you look like you’ve been rode hard and put away wet.”

The wordsmith in me immediately pulled out my phone and tapped in the phrase to look up later. Turns out it’s a horseman’s term that refers to someone not taking care of a horse after a hard day.

Long day?

Long day?

So we looked like we’d not been properly cared for, huh? Tuckered out, bedraggled, ragtag, worn down, scruffy. It had probably been a tough week for a few people there. In any large group there’s a high probability that more than a few were run ragged that week either physically or emotionally.

The last time I threw my leg over a horse to go riding I hadn’t graduated from high school yet. Now, what feels like nearly a hundred years later, I still remember the sway and roll of sitting in that saddle. The muscles of the horse under me felt powerful and yet, somehow, very gentle. My friend, whose family owned the horses, led the way on her horse through open fields and along the foothills. I could have sat up there all day, feeling like a queen surveying the world.

If you’ve never ridden a horse you’re missing out on one of life’s most eloquent pleasures.

That phrase, “rode hard and put away wet” has stuck with me for days now. Curiosity pushed me to research a bit more about how to care for a horse after a ride or a day of hard work. A few basic steps, about twenty to thirty minutes, and a horse can relax and rejuvenate after a days work.

Loosening the saddle some, pulling up the stirrups so they don’t bang around, letting it walk a bit to cool down are the first things to do. Following that you’d take off the bridle and put on a halter and tie the horse off. Loosen the cinch and take the saddle off being careful not to hit the horse’s back. Remove the blanket, clean off dirt and sweat with a wet sponge and brush and then dry off with a towel. While doing so check for cuts, nicks, and scratches. Check the hooves for stones and mud and use a hoof pick to clean. Lead the horse to pasture, take off the halter and let the horse cool down a bit more before feeding.

Here, let me pose for you.

Here, let me pose for you.

I wondered why someone wouldn’t take care of horse when the steps are basic common sense and fairly simple. If it keeps the horse happy and healthy and you care about the animal wouldn’t you do this every time?

What happens when these basic steps aren’t taken? A horse can develop saddle sores, or have untended wounds, become lame or simply be dirty and unkempt and uncomfortable.

I wondered why we don’t do this for ourselves. After a long day working or caring for others do we take basic measures to make sure we’re healthy and cared for?

At the end of the day do we loosen up a bit, set aside worries so they aren’t banging around, cool down a bit and shake off the weight of the day? Is there some basic self-care we could engage in that’s equivalent to having a brush down and our hoofs checked?

More than likely we push ourselves nonstop from the minute we wake up until our head hits the pillow at bedtime. Sure we might turn on the TV or browse the Internet some. For me that’s not much different from wandering into the stall untended. I need a more active, conscientious and deliberate effort to relax and care for my physical and mental well-being.

Reading or writing after a long day works wonders to wipe away the “sweat and dirt” of my day’s ride. Other times, having a conversation with MSH helps me lift the saddle weight of worry from my shoulders. Sometimes simply sitting and doing nothing, staring, thinking or meditating can wash away a day’s stress. If you’re the praying sort, that might be your emotional and spiritual grooming time to work out the kinks of life’s demands. Or maybe a literal washing in the shower or a soak in the tub serves as an emotional cleansing in your day.

Whatever we need to do to avoid being “rode hard and put away wet” seems like a good plan to me.

Well, hello there!

Sounds like basic horse sense to me!

 

“A horse loves freedom, and the weariest old work horse will roll on the ground or break into a lumbering gallop when he is turned loose into the open.” ~Gerald Raftery

 

 

 

 

Categories: good ideas, Mental Health, physical health, Wondering | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

What a Disaster

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for good outcomes.

So many things can go wrong.

And yet, so many things can turn out okay.

That part always surprises me. Why? Because I’m really quite adept at catastrophizing.

Catastrophizing – Giving greater weight to the worst possible outcome, however unlikely, or experiencing a situation as unbearable or impossible when it is just uncomfortable. ~Wikipedia

This is one of those irrational or exaggerated thought patterns or traits common to people with depression or anxiety. As you might imagine this sort of habit doesn’t really contribute to clear thinking in a crisis or even in everyday life.

Is this really a catastrophe?

Is this really a catastrophe?

This kind of thinking actually seems really logical to someone who engages in it often. It might not even seem like anything out of the ordinary to a person who thinks this way. To give you some idea of what this thinking entails I’ll paint a little picture.

Child B is fifteen minutes late arriving home from an activity. Mom (me) calls the child. No answer. The child drove, so logically in Mom’s mind, there has clearly been an accident. Mom continues to think along this line of thinking. Any minute now a police officer will show up to tell me my child has been killed in a car accident. When they tell me this I’ll collapse into a puddle. But I can’t collapse, I have to stay strong so I can tell the other children and my husband. And then, we have to plan a funeral, write an obituary. How are we going to pay for that with finances the way they are? What outfit will we dress this child in for burial? I have nothing proper to wear as a grieving mother. My other children will be so distraught one of them will probably also get in a horrific accident next week and we’ll have to go through all of this again. Child B walks through the door after a fun and innocent night out at the movies, thankfully ending this catastrophe.

Sounds silly? It happens in the minds of many people every single day.

Sometimes all it takes is hearing sirens.

Sirens. The bane of my mental existence.

Sirens. The bane of my mental existence.

Imagine when something really serious actually happens. It becomes a battle between irrational thoughts of the worst possible outcome, and logical, calm thoughts of how things can and most likely will turn out.

How do I know all this? I didn’t study psychology in college. That’s how my brain works. It’s really entertaining to my kids and MSH. I mostly have it under control; although there’s a part of my brain apparently devoted to traveling the road of the ridiculously improbable and exploring the universe of the highly unlikely. I’ve metaphorically built doors, walls, trap-doors, put up barbed wire and set out guard dogs to prevent myself from wandering these mental paths.

Humor seems the most effective deterrent. It’s like a colorful, shiny rattle distracting a toddler from sharp and dangerous things.

If I can find something to laugh about I can steer myself away from the negative thinking of catastrophe and disaster.

Usually I can park in the regular parking lot.

Usually I can park in the regular parking lot.

Good outcomes abound.

Turns out Mom’s second stroke from ten days ago is actually seizure activity originating in scar tissue from the first stroke she had last year. She’s on anti-seizure medication and improving rapidly.

Every single day so many things turn out okay. The car does start. Dinner doesn’t burn. Checks clear the bank. Kids travel safely to and from work. Medication works its magic. A stove fire gets put out in time. A stranger finds and returns a wallet. People offer help. Healing begins.

How grateful I feel today for the good things, which honestly, outnumber the bad by a huge margin.

 

 

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flexible, Spontaneous or Just Simply Chaotic

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for a plans and goals and lists. I’m sure that sounds odd to most people.

Windswept

Windswept (Photo credit: Kathrin & Stefan)

You see, I’m not normally a goal setting sort of person. I prefer to be flexible and goals seem to get in the way of that flexibility. I do, however, have a wide assortment of lists, which aren’t quite the same as goals.

I suppose I see plans as a happy medium between goals and lists. It falls right in the middle of inflexible and flexible.

“You can devise all the plans in the world, but if you don’t welcome spontaneity; you will just disappoint yourself.” ~ Abigail Biddinger

I’d have missed out on some of the greatest things in my life if I weren’t willing to let go of plans and goals and just ride the current I found myself in.

Of course, a person can’t always just be all “whatever.” I guess there needs to be a sense of order and control and sanity as a foundation in order to be able to be spontaneous. May be that’s where I fall short and why goals don’t work so well for me, not enough of a foundation of order.

Hmmm.

Well, so far, I’ve managed to get by fairly well with my many lists, my few goals and the plans I make.

I’ve always liked this saying because I think it justifies or proves my somewhat hectic life of flexibility mixed with chaos.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~Allan Saunders

I’m always on a quest for balance in my life. If I ever achieve it the planets may cease spinning.

Well at least, I’m fairly certain, I keep God laughing.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going Crazy…Be Back Soon

Going crazy…be back soon. That’s my favorite joke I tell myself every day lately. If I could find a bumper sticker that said that, I’d buy it. I’m sure there’s one out there, I just haven’t looked.

I know, it’s politically incorrect to make fun of or joke about, well, just about everything nowadays. But I’m simply laughing at myself when I say that.

The way I see it, I can laugh or I can cry. I choose to laugh. You see, I’ve battled depression off and on throughout my adult life. At times the battle nearly did me in. Luckily, blessedly, I’ve had people on my side, even if I haven’t always recognized it or allowed them to help.

I’ve also had family members, close and distant with their own mental health demons, and all the daily battles and years long wars that entails. Some lost that war, and what a horrific loss.

My best advice from the front lines? Don’t be silent about it. Don’t be ashamed by it. Talk to someone about it.

A close friend, a clergy member, a family member, a health care professional, a counselor anyone. There are help lines you can call, there are more people out there who have been exactly where you are.

And if you’ve been there, don’t be silent about it either. It’s not something we should be hiding. Our experience could be the saving grace or the hand that deflects the last straw.

Imagine realizing the person you’ve looked up to as a role model, the with it, always together, mellow person lets you know they’ve battled one of those mental health demons. Wouldn’t you want to know how they did it? Would you feel safe talking to them about your own worries, or the concerns you have about a spouse, a child, a parent? Imagine then, being the person who could help, and then open up and be that person.

Back in the Paleozoic era, when depression grabbed ahold of me and pulled me into a dark and bottomless pit, there was one medication available to treat it. Now, the list is longer than my arm.

You say you don’t want to go the medication route? Fine, there is still help and caring people with information you could use to win this war.

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Reach out for help. Or reach out to offer help. Either way, don’t be silent about it. Please.

Click here, or here, or here, or here, or here to learn more, to get help, to start opening up, to begin to change the world.

And then, enjoy these lovely jokes about being crazy. Because we all need to laugh.

mh28The aspiring psychiatrists were attending their first class on emotional extremes. “Just to establish some parameters,” said the professor to the student from Arkansas, “What is the opposite of joy?”

“Sadness,” said the student.

And the opposite of depression?” he asked of the young lady from Oklahoma.

“Elation,” said she.

“And you sir,” he said to the young man from Texas, “how about the opposite of woe?”

The Texan replied, “Sir, I believe that would be giddy-up.”

frank-cotham-if-you-have-any-mental-health-issues-you-d-like-to-discuss-now-would-be-new-yorker-cartoonQ: How does a crazy person travel through the woods?

A: They take the psycho path.

20906102_low

And these t-shirts are pretty funny, too!

Seriously, laughter might help, but it’s not a cure, not usually.

Ask for help. Offer help. Open up. You’ll be glad you did.

Categories: Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Five Ways to Drive Yourself Bonkers

A delayed evening flight is a bad excuse for imbibing in caffeinated beverages. Don’t do it. As soon as you do, the flight will miraculously depart and arrive on schedule. And you? You’ll still be wide awake at 3:45 in the morning writing drivel on the computer when you should be dreaming of a deserted island with a hammock and unlimited iced lemonades.

A Hammock on a tropical beach.

The Perfect Dream Hammock on a tropical beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sure myriad other ways exist for driving yourself bonkers. But this list seems pertinent to my week as I prepare for a wedding reception for my daughter who got married last week. Remember last week? It feels like months ago.

If you have a big event coming up maybe you can learn from my short list.

Five Ways to Drive Yourself Bonkers:

  1. Worry about things you have no control over.
  2. Assume you can do everything yourself and don’t ask for help, even when help is offered.
  3. Wear something brand new to an important event without having sat down, stood up, walked around in and gotten in and out of a car while wearing it.
  4. Try to find something interesting to watch on broadcast television after 10 p.m.
  5. Put off important details until the last-minute. (See number 4 above)

That felt a little negative and sarcastic. (Ya think?) Let’s try a different tack:

Five Ways to Recover from Your Own Mistakes

  1. Pretend that you planned for things to work out the way they did.
  2. Learn to delegate and to graciously accept help.
  3. Take a power nap and then eat some chocolate.
  4. Read a great book while sipping a cool beverage and ignoring your texts, tweets, reminders and calls.
  5. Fall asleep while reading (see 4 above) and stay that way as long as possible.

Not very realistic, for me anyway. Maybe I should fling caution to the wind (sorry, a cliché) and go all out:

Five Things I Would Do Differently Next Time I’m in Charge of Something Humongous.

  1. Rob a bank and hire out all the work. Every. Last. Detail.
  2. Start a meticulous daily to-do list months in advance and don’t allow myself access to any media or chocolate until the days’ tasks are done.
  3. Book a cruise to anywhere for the week of that event.
  4. Just say no? (See how effective that was…I can’t even write a sentence that sounds declarative and forceful.)
  5. Develop amnesia.

Okay, Okay, I can do this. Really, truly. Seriously. One more try for the Gipper. (What does that mean anyway? Remind me to look it up.)

Five Brilliant Insights That Will Save You Heartache and Improve Your Life and Save Your Sanity:

  1. Understand that you’re human and things aren’t going to turn out perfectly.
  2. Accept that life happens and that detours, side trips, distractions and worries are part of the process.
  3. Someday you’ll be able to look back on this and laugh. Someday in the far, far future.
  4. Remember the Beanie Baby. (Not sure if that really applies, but it just came to mind, it must mean something.)
  5. Love these people in your life, even when it gets bonkers.
Categories: Humor, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The White Flag of Surrender

I have a few questions for you.

  • Do you ever want to throw up the white flag and surrender?
  • Does admitting defeat seem like the only way to win?
  • Is giving up starting to look like your only option?
  • Will abandoning all hope give you some kind of peace?
  • Do the words “I’m done!” wait to leap from your mouth?

give-up-bg

If so I have a question for you:

  • How do YOU stop yourself from calling it quits?
  • How do YOU keep moving forward?
  • What do YOU tell yourself when things look hopeless?
  • Have YOU ever actually given in to the giving up feelings? Did it help?
  • WHY do you keep trying when you want to throw up your hands in helpless defeat?

In short:

How do you keep on keeping on?

No, don’t worry, I’m fine. I’m always fine. I have my coping strategies, my work arounds, my pick-me-ups, my support network.

I’m just wondering how other people do it.

I stand in awe of what others manage to get through. I’m amazed at their ability to withstand challenges that would wither me.

So I’m just curious about you.

What’s gotten you through the tough spots?

Categories: Hope, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Teeter-Totter, Bread and Water

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am thankful for the concept of gratitude. I know that sounds like a circular thought, but it’s not, at least in my case.

Seesaw with a crowd of children playing

Seesaw also known as a teeter totter

Consciously looking for the good things in my life brings a bit of balance into my mental equations.  I lean toward the depressed and pessimistic side of life. I tend to hover on the precipice of what bad thing is going to happen next. I’m scouting around for whatever it is, worrying, fretting, anxious. It’s as if by anticipating the difficulty I might be able to keep it away, or gird myself for its onslaught.

Then I stumbled on the idea of something quite the opposite to my natural inclinations. The idea of gratitude found a foothold in my negatively charged brain. Now gratitude is my fence, my force-field against depression, my castle wall of fortification against an abyss of sadness that seems to always be pressing in. Gratitude bring balance to my varyingly unbalanced mental life.

More effective than medications, gratitude has kept me, for the most part, balanced and reasonable. I may not be outright optimistic, but I’m at least not wallowing in self-pity and overwhelmed by life’s constant barrage.

English: Vegetable market in Heraklion, Crete....

So I look for the good stuff. I’m thankful for the simple things. I embrace the happy parts of my day. As a result, my mental health stays healthy-ish.

Yeah, the tough stuff is there, hovering everywhere, clamouring for attention, screaming for acknowledgement, crying out for my time and efforts. It occupies plenty of my time and energy. Like junk food for the soul, it’s very tempting to give in and indulge in sorrow, self-loathing, criticism and cynicism.

Gratitude serves as mental fruit and vegies, healthy food for my starving psyche. Gratitude quietly saves me from myself and helps me feel whole and well.

For that I am very grateful.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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