Tag: mental health

Mental Health Days

During my days in elementary school, my mother taught me about self-care.

I do not believe that she was intentionally teaching my sister and I about self care when she would declare a random day – Mental Health Day.

Mental Health Day did not come often but when it did it was outrageously exhilarating to elementary me.

Ok so Mom’s Mental Health Day was a day of lounging, eating something healthy and fuss free, and enjoying board games with some sort of dessert!

The most fascinating part about these Mental Health Days is that we stayed at home from work and/or school on these days. We just enjoyed each other’s company.

If we watched something on the television, it was a family movie that we all wanted to see. Since there were rarely movies that we all wanted to see, we rarely watched television on our special days.

Looking back, I see now that my mom had to carve out time for us as a family. Time that she was not rushing to go to work or trying to rest up for the next shift at work. She knew that our school work and her employment would be there once our day commenced…however, she must’ve been acutely aware that the easygoing, laid back time we shared together would be limited.

My sister and I are adults now and even living in the same town, it’s difficult to carve out a day when we can just share each other’s company. Work, school, family, church, and so on and so on gets in the way.

Neither me nor my sister have mom’s ingenuity to select the perfect day as a Mental Health Day. We’ve tried but we just don’t have the special touch my mom did.

Now when we try it feels forced and we are often busy trying to connect to the outside world on our devices and we just don’t accomplish a Mental Health Day.

But we remember those wonderful days that we shared with our mother and we marvel at how easily she pulled them off!

Back then once our day was over and life as we knew it returned, we were refreshed. Practically skipping joyfully on our way to school and/or work.

Our behavior at school and home improved and our relationship with each other grew.

I didn’t know it then but now I know that my mom taught me that self care is vitally important and it does not take much money.

I’m pretty sure that these mental health days likely occurred on my mom’s days off and on those rare half-days at school because my mom wouldn’t just let us miss a full regular school day

However, back then I was simply ecstatic that we were having fun with each other and just relaxing.

As I mention, I don’t have the magic formula my mom had to pull off a perfect mental health day; but mom gave me the guidelines on how to take care of myself regardless of what’s going on in the world or even in my world!

Mental Health Days in my home embodied what is now known as self-care and my mom was the best at it!

Flares

Flares – how appropriate is this word for the unpredictable, destructive way endometriosis and similar chronic pain disorders interrupt your life.

Like a flare of fire even if you avoid looking at it, the heat still makes it known. With endometriosis I often refuse to pay attention to the outrageous pain…yet it continues.

(more…)

Depression Was Once My Significant Other

In the not so distant past I had an on and off again relationship with Depression. Somewhere along the way I met Depression’s cousin Melancholy. I’ll introduce you to her later.

First, let me tell you about Depression, he was definitely a character. Depression presented himself as the perfect romantic mate for me. It depends on who you ask but we were great together…I hope that you are well aware that in the beginning of most relationships there are fireworks, sunshine, butterflies and smiles. My relationship with Depression was no different.

Depression was always there for me and he never questioned my lack of luster for life. He accepted me exactly the way I wanted to be accepted. It didn’t matter if I wanted to stay in everyday and away from others, he accepted me. He was never jealous when I chose food as a means of comfort, for a fact he encouraged me to bury my emotions in whatever method I chose…food, alcohol, stagnation, etc.

As much as Depression didn’t mind me entertaining food, alcohol, etc…he cared little for my friends and family. Yeah, my friends and family were not welcomed in my life because Depression could take care of me. Naively, I thought this meant that Depression loved me…he wanted me to himself, isn’t that romantic?

I remember the times that physicians would mention therapy or medication so that I could end my relationship with Depression. I’m sure you can guess how Depression felt every time some licensed individual would tell me that I needed to get rid of him. Let’s just say that he didn’t like it very much! 

Remember I felt loved by Depression and he never tried to change me, so I had a problem when these people wanted to take him from my life too. I’d grown accustomed to Depression being with me all the time and was unsure how I would be without him.

I mean when people saw me, they saw Depression too. He was my security blanket and he loved me.

However, once the doctors and therapists started suggesting that I rid myself of Depression I noticed that he had removed my loved ones from my life and made me codependent on him. 

How was I supposed to go back to my family and friends after I dismissed them to keep Depression happy? Depression told me that my loved ones didn’t want anything to do with me anymore and I needed him. He said that they would all laugh at me if I suddenly invited them back into my life. Additionally, he reminded me that he was the only one who stuck with me and I needed him to survive.

Being the halfway intelligent person that I am, I thought that maybe the clinicians had a point. I couldn’t figure out why they were so focused on my relationship with Depression but I refused to simply ignore their cautionary advice.

Depression was still ALWAYS with me so it was really hard to have a private thought about ending my relationship with him…he loved whispering sweet nothings in my ear every chance he could.

Sweet nothings? You know like telling me how beautiful I was not, reminding me that I had nothing to offer to anyone, oh he also told me my life was worthless and I was easily forgettable. Well those are some of the sweet nothings that the one who I knew loved me also known as Depression told me.

At one point I questioned Depression and asked if he really loved me just as I am. This angered him because it was the first time I showed any inkling of falling out of love with him. But as I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone who has been in an on and off again relationship; Depression begged me to give him another chance and reminded me of how we were a team…we belonged together

Sigh, this time I couldn’t take Depression back, although I missed many of the comforts I had with him. You know we had been together for years and although I didn’t want him anymore, I wanted something similar…

That’s when I met his cousin Melancholy. We were instant pals, she was my Best(est) friend, until she wasn’t.

One day I’ll tell you about my friendship with Melancholy…she is definitely related to Depression but not the same.