My Year To Thrive

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." ~Maya Angelou

Mental Health Monday (on a Tuesday): When Normal’s Just A Phase

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“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
~World Health Organization, 1948~
(Health Quotes)

locked gates

There are lots of things, habits I have, that I want to change, but just seem stuck – “locked” – into these same patterns. Not all of them could be called destructive, but they definitely don’t enhance my life or further my goals. Sometimes these things just fall into place when you can figure out the ‘why’, but others take a lot concentrated effort. I prefer the ones that resolve themselves easily.  But who doesn’t?

(I wrote most of this post Monday night, but got too tired to finish it properly, so I’m doing it today.  I’m not changing the language though, so read it like it’s Monday.)

So, I have been working on this post all day.  Actually, I think I started working on it last night – if you count clicking “new post”, before getting distracted by a new shiny object.  This would be easier if I shut down Facebook & Twitter when I tried to write (okay, done).  That is a generalizable method, too.  I don’t need to be ready to pounce as soon as a message comes through.  Honest.  Anyone else have that problem?  I’m sure it isn’t just me.

How have things been in the wake of Snowpocalypse 2011?  Pretty good actually.  I don’t think I got anything done around the house, except Sunday, aka yesterday, when I took out the trash & washed the dishes.  I did however go to my tennis class, but got the time wrong & missed it, lol, & my Weight Watchers meeting.  I was even chatty to the point of feeling manic at the meeting.  I exercised three days last week, & visited with friends twice  & talked to one on the phone  I have been eating better, specifically less sugar & caffeine.

I am certainly feeling better.  I am glad to feel well enough to do the things I have been.  In turn, doing those things makes me feel even better.  I try not to think too far ahead, but just let it come as it comes.

My friend’s death put a damper on a lot, but I have handled it surprisingly well.  Probably because I spent the weekend prior panicking over it & was much calmer by the time she actually passed.  To be honest, it already seems so far away it’s almost as if I dreamed it.  There are moments though when I feel the surprise of its newness; seeing a picture of us or an article I want to send her.  Or seeing these purple sunglasses I bought for a gift when she was moving to San Francisco.  She ended up too sick to fly when it was supposed to happen & things intervened that it never happened.  I plan to wear those sunglasses when the weather warms up; wear them & be happy knowing she’s sharing those moments with me.

All in all, looking over it I’m feeling better.  Almost normal, or at least my idea of what it must feel like to be normal. I don’t think I really know what that means.  I grew up with drinkers & the mentally ill.  After leaving home I learned my version of normal was crazy, white trash according to the rest of the world.  It’s easier to be crazy when you don’t know any better.  But it’s easier to move toward health when you do; even easier when you have a clear road map to what your idea of healthy is.

But how do you define mental health & being normal?  For me it’s leading a productive life, developing habits & rituals that will get me through a day without feeling like a worthless waste of space.  It’s about knowing I’ll have good days & bad days, & having the good ones weigh heavier on the scale.  Living to see a point in my life where I can pass an entire day without wishing I could die.

This week felt as close to that as I can ever remember being.

  • Self-care:  Got in my two showers last week.  Yay!  Did take one really long shower.  I got in there thinking about something, & I don’t know how long I stood in the water before realizing where I was & what I needed to be doing.
  • Was more active.  I missed my tennis class on Tuesday, but I went walking/jogging three days around the park.
  • Ate less sugar & caffeine.  They were part of conscious occasional indulgences, rather than a mindless part of every day.  I can feel the difference.
  • Do housework. Didn’t fair too well in this area last week.  I did get all the garbage out & the dishes washed on Sunday though.
  • Be more social.  Had a couple of nice visits with friends last week, plus emails & a phone call with others.
  • Continue with my regular posting here.  My schedule has been sliding, but I’m sticking with it.  Just need to get back on track with having them written & scheduled the night before so they go out on the proper morning.
  • Start a mood journal. Doing this has crossed my mind before, but I’ve never actually tried one.  Seems like something I won’t keep up.  But talking about my anxiety last weekend & then writing this update got me to thinking.  I measure doing here, but not how I feel.  That’s a pretty big part of mental illness ignored.  Certainly harder to quantify & write about, but doable.  If I can blog about my hygiene issues, surely I can write about mood changes & anxiety>_<  Plus, I got a pocket calendar from friends after xmas, & I think it would be perfect for jotting a few notes about each day.  We’ll see how it goes.  This site has a down-loadable mood calendar for bipolar.  It has space for meds & anxiety, too.  I considered trying it, I like the features, but I want to make use of this little calendar.

And now, for the current week:

  • Self-care:  Shooting for another couple of showers this week.  May even get to three depending on my weekend plans.
  • Continue to get more activity.  I’m really enjoying tennis, & the walking & jogging.
  • Continue to make better choices in regards to what I eat.  I do feel much more stable, when I eat regularly & healthfully, & limit my intake of caffeine & processed sugars.
  • Be more active around the house.  Keeping up with the dishes & doing some cleaning everyday.  I used the notes feature of Windows 7 to add my daily to-do lists to my monitor.  I’m liking it so far.
  • Visit another friend this week.  I also have some calls I need to make, but they aren’t friendly.
  • Get back on my stated posting schedule.  Write my posts the evening before & schedule them to post the next morning.
  • Test out my mood calendar idea.  Nothing fancy, no charts or codes, just a few jots for each day about how I felt.

That’s it!  Here’s to another productive week building habits to hang on to when times get dark.

Glitter Graphics | http://www.graphicsgrotto.com/

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Author: despitemyself

A person in flux.

3 thoughts on “Mental Health Monday (on a Tuesday): When Normal’s Just A Phase

  1. Pingback: A Really Good Week! I’m Down In A Good Way:~) « My Year To Thrive

  2. “For me it’s leading a productive life, developing habits & rituals that will get me through a day without feeling like a worthless waste of space.”
    That is a perfect definition for “normal”… at least that is how I feel about it as well. Well that, and not obsessing as much (like about food, calories, weight…)

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