Mental health issues

I’ve come up with a few ideas to try to combat what’s happening in my head.

Hello dear reader.

Before I begin, I need to make clear that I am NOT a mental health professional. The things I say are from my personal experience.

Good. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk.

I’ve spoken a lot on this blog about my physical issues. Today, however, I want to speak about my mental issues.

I’ve been diagnosed with chronic depression, PTSD, GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), and ADD. I’m being treated for all of these, and have been for some time now. Another thing you need to know about me is that I’ve spent most of my life fighting for children. So the horrific actions being taken against immigrant children is really eating at me (see Father’s day Nightmare). I feel helpless to do anything. I find myself reading and watching everything I can find about it.

I’ve been noticing the symptoms of my mental illness getting worse as this situation continues. I’m feeling high levels of stress and anxiety. I feel a weight pressing me down. Everything feels dark and hopeless.

I’m certain I’m not the only one being affected like this. I’ve come up with a few ideas to try to combat what’s happening in my head.

  1. Turn off the news. TV, internet, social media, etc.
  2. Find a distraction. Listen to music, read a book, watch a movie.
  3. Replace the negativity with something uplifting. Make the distractions pleasant. Read a book that’s heartwarming or funny. Choose a comedy for a movie. Listen to a comedian or watch a sitcom.
  4. Ask for help. Talk to your spouse, therapist, friend, blog. Don’t try to handle it alone.

Those are what I’ve come up with so far. I’m doing #4 right now, asking for your help. Is this affecting you too? How are you handling it? What’s worked (or failed) for you?

If you’re reading this on Facebook, Twitter or another site, please click on the title of the post. That will bring you to my site. At the end of the post is a comment box. Please put your responses there so they become part of this post. That way everyone can see them. I want this to help as many people as possible.

Until next time…

6 reasons not to worry

Hello dear reader.

Lately, I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration in what certain quotes bring to mind.  Glancing at them doesn’t get it.  You have to stop and let your mind wrap itself around what they say and, more importantly, what they mean.  How do they relate to your own life?  Here’s the one I picked for today…..

“Little minds have little worries, big minds have no time for worries.”

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Worry…who doesn’t do that?  I think we all do it, some more than others.  I’ve figured out over the years that worry is something that should be avoided if possible.  Here are reasons why…

1.  Worry fixes nothing.   No matter how much you worry about any given thing, it will not change the outcome.  For example, say you’re a student with an important exam coming up in a subject you struggle with and you’re worried about it.  Will that improve your grade?  Of course not!  The way to make a better grade is to study.

2.  Worry actually makes things worse.  Worry is often a self-fulfilling prophecy.   Let’s go back to that exam you’re worried about.  Worrying about it causes stress, right?  Stress interferes with your ability to think clearly.  It also impedes your ability to relax, which can cause you to lose sleep.  Loss of sleep also interferes with you ability to think clearly.  You see where this is going?

3.  Worry can blow things out of proportion.  Monsters hide in the dark.  When you worry about things they grow in your mind.  Continuing with our example about the exam, worry can blow it up from a single exam to your entire future.  Who hasn’t done this before?  “If I blow this exam, I’ll fail that class.  If I fail that class, my GPA will drop.  If my GPA drops, I could lose my scholarship.  If I lose my scholarship, I won’t be able to graduate.  If I don’t graduate, I’ll end up flipping burgers for the rest of my life.  If I end up flipping burgers for a living, nobody will ever want to marry me.  If nobody wants to marry me, I’ll be old and alone.”   Etc., Etc.   Your head has convinced you that you will lose any chance at a happy life if you don’t do well on this one exam.  How many times has the unknown been much worse than the reality?

4.  Worry is habit forming.  Have you ever met someone who worries constantly about everything?   They can’t stop.  Once your head starts feeding into worry, it becomes a vicious circle.  One worry leads to another, which leads to another, which eventually leads to worrying about how much you worry.  Okay, that may be a little extreme, but you get my point.

5.  Worrying wastes your time and energy.  Worrying is exhausting!  Back to our exam, your brain is too busy running scenarios of what might happen if you do poorly (see #3) to have time or energy to absorb the information you need to do well on the exam.  There are only so many things you can focus on at once.   So you decide to go to a study group, where you spend the entire time talking about how worried about the exam you are.  So you’ve wasted three hours and exhausted yourself for absolutely no gain.  And the point is…???

6.  Worry robs you of happiness.  This is probably the most important reason of all to avoid worrying.  You cannot be worried and happy at the same time.  It’s just plain not possible.  It’s a proven fact that happy people are more productive people.  Back to our exam one last time…it’s simply a choice.  You can choose to study hard and do the best you can.  That mindset allows happiness.  You can also choose to have thoughts that say it’s not not good enough.  You need to find something more.  That mindset will lead to worry and frustration…the opposite of happiness

I can hear you now, “But Lynnette, sometimes you can’t help but worry.  Haven’t you ever been in a situation like that?  Are you trying to tell me that you just don’t worry at all?”  Of course I worry!  My kids will vouch for that fact.  However, I don’t allow myself to stay worried, and that changes everything.  When I begin to worry about something, I ask myself three questions…
      1.  Why am I worried about this?
      2.  Is there anything that I can do to make the situation better?
      3.  If I’ve done everything I can, why am I still holding on to this?
Those questions bring me back into focus, into reality.  I’ve done all I can, so let it go.

I’ve learned over the years that while things may not work out the way I want them to, they do work out the way they’re supposed to.  Some people call that faith.  I honestly don’t know if it’s faith or simply experience.  Whatever you want to call it, it leaves no room for worry.

So what do you think?  Do you have little worries?  Big worries?  Or a big mind?

Until next time…

Relaxation

Happy Independence Day dear reader!

I was inspired to write about relaxation today by a few things. Obviously it’s 4th of July and summertime. I think it was more about the time we spent with some good friends yesterday, and ways to relax came up in the conversation.

There are a lot of people (myself included) who have to make an effort to relax. Sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true. I try to just read a book , sit out in the sun, or just watch something on television and immediately my head is full of all the things I should be getting done. I tell myself that they can wait, which helps for about 30 seconds. From that point on there is an argument going on in my head and “relaxing” becomes one of the more stressful parts of the day!

People like me are really thankful for people like Tim. He will push me to go do things like taking a ride on the motorcycle or going for a walk in the woods with the dogs. I usually agree to it just to make him happy, but once I’m there I’m always extremely glad that I went. I come back relaxed and refreshed. That being said, you’re probably asking yourself, “If she knows it will help her, why does she have to be pushed into it?” That would be a totally legitimate question which I don’t have a clue how to answer.

Last night was a perfect example. We had dinner with a couple who are really good friends of ours. Yesterday was also the memorial service (at 11 a.m.) for Brenda. Needless to say, I wasn’t really in a mood to socialize. But plans had been made and both of them spend a lot of time out of town, so I felt obligated to go. I am SO glad I did! We had a wonderful time talking and laughing. We didn’t leave until after 11:00. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t in bed by 10 at the latest. Yeah, I know, I know. The point is that my heart took a break from the pain I was feeling over losing Brenda and I was relaxed. Why is that so hard to do?

So I thought I’d try something a little different today. If I did it right (BIG if!) there will be a poll on here which asks you about your favorite ways to relax. There are a few things listed but, since there are as many ways to relax as there are personalities, there’s a “fill in the blank” option as well.

If you have any ideas about why it is so difficult for people to relax, or anything else you’d like to say, there’s a place for that as well in the comments section.

I hope all of you are having a wonderful time today with friends and family. Relax and enjoy it!

Until next time….

Relaxation Poll