Mind Kind Within!
May 3rd 2018
Each and every morning when l awaken to a new day, whatever the weather, l lie in bed thinking positive thoughts for the first ten minutes. I mentally plan the tasks l wish to perform that day in my head. It’s a ritual l have developed since October 2017 specifically and so far it’s working. It’s purpose is to improve the quality of my mental health.
2017 was at my own concession a really horrible year, if anything could go wrong, it managed to acheieve success with me that year.
Here l am, 8 months later and whilst l am not 100% mental healthy, l grade myself each day out of that 100 – and ask how am l? This morning l scaled in at around 65% in comparison to say last week when l was scaling at 85%. Now at the time of writing l am back to around the 80 – 83% Personally and not being negative, l think the best l may be able to ever attain is around 90%. I think my Asperger’s is probably guilty of keeping that remaining 10% in the red.
I would be lying to you all if l was to say that achieving total balance is an easy task to acquire, l do not believe it is possible for anyone. No matter to what anyone else says contrary to that.
2017 started okay’ish, l was of a pretty stable % back in January, l had some stress on board – on the New Years’ Eve of 2016/17 l thought l might lose the faithful companionship of Scrappy who experienced a series of terrible spasm attacks which turned out to be diagnosed as IVDD – Intervertebral disk disease which had it remained would have permanently disabled her ability to walk properly ever again, which could have meant Suze and l would have had matters taken out of our own hands and have her put to sleep, against allowing her to die with dignity and no pain as an old dog.
As a dog owner for many years and as indeed any dog owner wishes for, is that their companions are allowed to die with respect and if possible naturally. Scrappy is my last pack member and as such no different to any other owner l want to have her by my side for as long as possible.
Scrappy turned 14 years of age on the 30th November 2017, which is a good age for a dog of her size. But she is the most remarkable breed l have ever known and had the privilage of having by my side, she is built for resilience, and stamina and determination. Her lustre for life could shame many people, her will power is enormous. She recovered according to the vets at an incredible speed considering her age, and now all this time forwards, the only trace you can see of the IVDD is the occasional scuffle limp on her right back left leg.
She is a great dog and a loving friend.
You can see in this picture another trace of her recovered IVDD, she sits differently to other dogs due to the spinal damage.
But she healed. If the stress from that wasn’t enough, a depression started to creep into my mind from around March 2017, and one l wasn’t able to readily nor shake easily. You will have read rather dramatic events recently where l was mentally that year in comparison to now.
For me stress builds up over time and mostly l can take everyday stresses relatively well, unless of course it starts to deepen into a depression, which is what was occuring, so the tiniest of things, inconsequential things could cause me to blow, and many a time they did.
The Motherload of stress for me arrived in August of that year. Both Suze and l were experiencing horrendous amounts of stress and anxiety and in many ways we WERE both feeling the effects of depression for different reasons.
We don’t live in a stress free world – none of us do, there are now more stresses abound in society than there ever have been before, our world is speeding up and slowly starting to destroy itself and its peoples. We are not designed as human skin and bone vessels to continually take on board daily strains to the magnitude our world expects from us and yet we do, but it costs us, it takes a toll – in order to rob Peter and pay Paul, we must make sacrifices on our integrity, our mental health and who we are just people. We are expected to give, give and give some more and receive very little in return to our giving.
In August 2017 my partner and l were stressed beyond measure. Suze was going through HRT for her post menopause and it was conflicting with her badly. She was not the woman l knew anymore, she had changed visibly, mentally, physically and emotionally and it was starting to break her resolve on everything.
My own stresses in trying to cope with these changes and cope with everything else going on, was starting to crumble also. We were both seeing each other as the enemy within. Suze couldn’t cope with her stress and mine at the same time and vice versa for me. We were both breaking down, and this would not be good for a furry child – Scrappy.
So in August, to make things better for her l broke up with her. The tension before that time was not manageable, and after that ‘break’ the tensions on both lessened off. She was able to concentrate on her own recovery and l was to face up to my own demons somehow and challenge them. It wasn’t that we didn’t care for each other anymore, we did – we were and still are in love with each other – but at that moment in time, the two stresses were too much.
Suze came off HRT and went back to a more organic approach to dealing with it – and now, 8 months on, she is back to the person she was before HRT! Which is excellent. In October 2017 l finally faced up to my PTSD demons and exorcised them from my life, once and for all.
So we come back to the ‘morning ritual’ l chant to myself everyday and the answer to people’s questions as to how l turned a negative into a positive?
Well, first it’s a hard battle to become mentally strong again, it’s not a walk in the park, and it takes a lot of self belief. To believe in yourself again, to remember that you are worthy of not just life, but your life! Also, it’s a daily self belief system, not like it’s okay to do it one day and not the next – NO.
You have to do it daily.
01] Believe in your self and your right to live life! Your life.
02] To tell yourself you are worthy each and every day – but more importantly – to believe it!
03] To not let your past dominate your present.
04] To not give up, when you receive knock backs – because they are there a plenty.
05] To set yourself daily goals achieved through baby steps.
06] To NOT blame yourself for when things go wrong.
07] To remember to TREAT yourself when things go right.
08] To be who YOU are and to NOT let others’ influence you to be someone else.
09] To NOT expect instant success in your quest and journey.
10] To be be prepared for recovery to take time.
11] To not feel ashamed at putting your mental health first.
12] To be forever mindful of who you are.
These are the chants l say to myself every morning before l rise from bed.
They may work for you also, and l hope that that they do.
On a private footnote – Suze and l are a couple again, we never left each others’ sides, we stayed together for Scrappy, but also us, and that dreadful day back in August as terrible as it was – really helped us to properly identify our individual needs.
Thanks for reading.
April 2019 Update
Well what a journey l have trekked since 2017 more or less the same time, roughly 2 years ago now. Where am l? Well, yes l still do the chanting every morning, perhaps for not as long, but l do it all the same. More so in recent months due to the nature of the shoulder injury which as of April 2019 is now 15 months as a medical problem. That has given me a lot of discomfort, pain and stress during those months.
Suze and l are stronger than we were and YES there is no denying we have our ups and down like most couples, but we are now communicating to each other properly, still love each other. Suze is still going through post menopause, and l cannot deny that has its own challenges, but we are fighting to stay together and working at us.
Suze can reflect back onto the HRT introduction in March 2017, and explained that it simply wasn’t working for her as it might do for other women. It conflicted with her desires to be chemical free and if anything turned her into a depressive. The menopause had damaged her confidence and self worth levels and combined with an incident in 2014 when she was just entering post menopause. In 2014 sadly Suze was the victim to sexual harassment from an employee in a job she had just started. That affected both her and us as a couple.
However in 2019, Suze is a much more confident person, she has a newer job which although still isn’t brilliant, it is way better than the job she had previously where she was front line staff in a busy customer service company and people were swearing at her daily and that was having a detrimental effect on her well being and mindfulness. Although l and others were highlighting that the old job was unsuitable for her, she couldn’t see it. No different to any of us is it? We need to see the problems with our own eyes before we can take action on them. She saw them, took action and is way better off for it.
As for Scrappy, well l am still bowled over by her stamina for life … okay she has become more finnickity and at times down right grumpy, but she is 16 this year, and yes her arthritis troubles her at times, but she still wants to spend as much time with her mops and pops as she can. She has slowed down, like us all – but as a family, we are doing well, really well!
In 2019, my biggest enemy is my shoulder injury, a problem which has now been with me since January 2018 and has since that time progressively gotten worse. More plightous is that in recent times l have received medical treatment for it, and both Suze and l believe the treatment has failed, meaning sadly l am back to square one! But in so far as stress in addition to that, l am on a pretty balanced keel. Occasionally, there are blips in the system, but they are just that … small glitches … nothing critical. I am in a much better position mentally than l was two years ago.
I owe this increased and stabilised mental health to a few things; 1] Suze and l are now better and stronger as a couple, 2] Financially we have been struggling a bit, but in the next few months, my inheritance will come through and that will put us firmly back in the black and ease off that particular stress load and 3] My writing and blogging has really encouraged me to stay focused and motivated. Sure l write and post a lot, and it is a lot, but that is actually me back on par. Once my shoulder is fixed, l can start to write again, but in the interim period … l am pretty damn pleased with what l am achieving, but also 4] This does deserve a mention, and that is the WP community they too have helped me keep enthusiastic.
So kudos to you folks – thanks.
All in all, l am thankful to be in a much better place than l was, but it has been a long journey … but totally worth it.