It’s a holiday, yay? And some Thankful thoughts #Mentalhealth #Thankful

So tomorrow is a Holiday. Well it is for some people. My wife is not one of them, she works in a grocery store, so she will be in there, hustling your eggs, milk, butter and other diary needs up on the shelf for those of you who forget things or cannot shop until the day of. On top of that, the holidays can be pretty stressful on introverts, because we have to deal with lots of people. But, in the spirit of the Holiday I can mention a few things I am thankful for.

I personally find it disgraceful that our culture cannot get it’s mind around the idea that a Holiday should be a Holiday for everyone (aside from emergency first responders.) In my day I have worked all of the major Holidays: Xmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, Easter, Labor Day, Memorial Day. And I just don’t get it. Particularly the ‘big ones’: Thanksgiving, Xmas. Why this country feels that it cannot set aside 2 days of the year when only emergency first responder types work is beyond me. We just work too much and too hard in this culture in my opinion. The American worker is more productive than ever before, and yet the trend is to expect more hours, not less. So, when you realize you don’t have that one item for your feast tomorrow, ask yourself if you really need it, is it life threatening if it is not part of your meal. And if it isn’t, then skip it and stay home. And if you do have to go get that item, think of the people who are there at the store, working their asses off so you can get that wholly necessary item, think about what they are missing that you have.

The Holiday season can be stressful, depressing, and difficult. For a lot of reasons too long to go into. But I can tell you that personally it is because of the people, so many people. Danny asked me this morning if there will be a lot of people at our house tomorrow. I told him that yes, there will be a lot of people, but Friday we get to recover. That is what makes the Holidays hard for me, I love my family, my very large extended family. And I enjoy much of the time I spend with them. But boy can it get exhausting being around so many people, and that requires some self care for me to manage it properly.

Now that I have finished my rants about things that bother me about the Holidays, in the spirit of this Holiday, let me rattle off a list of things I am thankful for:

  1. My family: my wonderful, hard working super Mom wife. My kids, be they ever so demanding. My parents, who have done so much for me. My siblings and their families, who have filled my life up to the brim. My In-laws, for showing me a different side of life. And the extended family, for reminding me that family does not have to be blood relatives.
  2. Mental Health: Learning what that term means, exploring all the facets of my mind. Learning Self care, and passing that along to those who might otherwise have had harder lives.
  3. Friends: Be they close, distant, never seen or often seen, a source of fun, both now, or only in my cherished memories.
  4. Hobbies: Providing my life with a richness and depth that helps maintain my mental health.
  5. Physical Health: Cortisone shots, walking, pain relievers, diet, it’s all a part of me, but I am thankful that I can do all of those things, and try to keep them up.
  6. Work: Glad to have a job, and to work for a company that respects Holidays and provides good benefits. And while I wish that Kim did not have to work when she does or as hard as she does, it does help keep our lives where we like it.

That about sums it all up. Enjoy your Holiday, and I will return on Monday with hopefully many good tales to recount, and very few bad ones.

Sometimes it is nice to just turn off #Mentalhealth

Then you get weekends like this. When I just said the heck with it, and just turned off my mind for a while. Friday night was a bit of a blur, nothing real special, just continued to care for Kim, who has been dealing with a cold. Saturday especially I just turned off my brain. And Sunday we did some shopping and then I ran the D&D game. But overall I just said the heck with it.

I’ve been ‘on’ for a couple of weeks, getting things done, keeping busy at home. And this weekend, knowing that it was a sort of a vacation weekend, I decided to just let it all go. Some times you just have to do that, not try and do anything special or try to do much, just relax the mind. It was a good mental break.

Saturday morning Danny and I went and did an hour of bell ringing for the Salvation Army, on behalf of Scouts. Then we went home to warm up and relax. Until I took Emily shopping, lunch, and then to her friends birthday party. While Kim took Jimmy to his wrestling tournament, and then went out for the night. Then I organized a spur of the moment sleepover for Danny, having his buddy over. And when Jimmy got home he had 2 buddies over as well. So it was a full house for the night.

So I just spent the night watching college football. Something I had not done in quite a while. But there were a number of interesting games to watch and enjoy. And I got it going so I could jump back and forth between up to 4 games at once. I just really jumped into it all full force. And it was a good diversion. It was nice to just turn my mind off and just watch some stuff that did not require me to think at all.

Sunday we got up and got some food for all the kids. Then Kim and I got in some grocery shopping for the week. And then took another trip for some xmas gifts, and a few more groceries. And when we got back, and I took the kids down stairs for D&D, Kim the super cleaning hurricane went to work and got the house in a decent condition for the week.

Our D&D game went well, I enjoyed it for the most part. And then we just relaxed the rest of the evening with some television shows.

In the end I did everything that I wanted to get done over the course of the weekend. All of the required tasks were completed. And yet I still managed to get in some much needed mental R&R time. And now I have a short work week. Before spending a day with a lot of people on Thanksgiving, and then a couple of days to recover from that.

Yes, that was a great sigh of relief you heard

Ah yes, dropped the kids at school this morning (including Jimmy) and I can breathe a sigh of relief. Because after today they are off for a week. Which means I get a break from the morning routine for a week.Which is quite a relief.

I will be working 3 days next week, so I still have to go in to work myself. But in many ways that is a good thing for me. I learned a lesson from the 4 day weekend over Halloween that taking time off just to be with the kids while they are around the house is not what it used to be. It is actually less exhausting for me to come in to work. Even though we will be short staffed so in theory I will be taking more calls, but that is countered by the fact that it is a holiday week, so a lot of people will not be calling in.

This weekend will be a split in the family. Kim will be taking Jimmy to a club tournament, while I take Emily to a birthday party, and then find something for Danny and I to do. Then on Sunday I am running the D&D game for the boys. And in theory, somewhere in there we will try to get the house picked up so the kids will not have to do as much next week in terms of keeping it clean.

Last night Jimmy had his wrestling team banquet. It was cool to see all those kids get recognized. And the coach gave a lengthy spiel about Jimmy and what a good kid he is etc. It was good to see that recognition for all his hard work. And we did some recruiting for the Westside club as well. It is funny, we live close to one Middle/Elementary school, but our kids go to different schools. But in some ways we are closer to the kids at the local school. And definitely when it comes to wrestling I find myself cheering just for Westside kids, regardless of school. And next year it will be a moot point, as Jimmy’s peers will all be on the same high school team anyway.

Briefly sucked in, but got out quickly

Here’s the thing, I like politics, not personally, but I do try to keep up on political news. And I find it interesting to discuss the issues of the day with people who are also knowledgeable. And I do care about a lot of the issues.

So when I first got into Facebook (FB) several years ago, I discovered that it was a place to debate in writing all day long. And that is something I enjoy as well (far more than face to face discussion, I’ll be honest.) So I let my liberal flag fly high. And rarely hesitated to get into discussions. Some of them long and drawn out.

But then a few things happened. First, some people that I friended on Facebook were pretty conservative. And not afraid to let their own views flow freely like I did. That led to a lot of lengthy online arguments. And, sadly, not everyone was willing to keep the arguments civil, or avoid getting into straw man and ad hominem attacks. Many of which ended up being taken personally by more than a few people.

So I ended up trying to avoid those people on FB. And in some cases theses discussions ended some ‘frendships’ on both sides.

Well last year, when I began therapy I began to realize that living online so much, and getting so involved in things was not really healthy for me. I decided to cut back on my political rants online. I still have some from time to time. And I do post, or share things that catch my interest. But I have made it a rule in general to try to stay out of the arguments.

I did get caught up in one on Tuesday-Wednesday. And I really noticed yesterday how that affected me. When I was taking my walk I began plotting more online comments to make on the subject. And that is when I had to check myself. I was getting sucked in again, and I realized that I needed to just stop.

Like all things mental health related it is just something I have to keep an eye on. And realize I need to hold in check. While it is momentarily fun to argue there are a few important things to realize:

  1. You will almost never sway someone else’s political views with an online argument. Therefore trying or hoping that you can is like butting your head against a wall.
  2. Nearly 8 years of being online have proven that for a lot of people the online world is an echo chamber. They view the web sites they want, watch the news they want, and read the articles they want. Which means people will most likely have what they thing repeated back to them all day.
  3. People will write and post things online that they simply would never say in person or in public. Which means there is no politeness filter.

All of this means, that online arguments about politics are simply not worth it. I’m not going to stop occasionally posting things or sharing links to things I think are interesting. But the arguments are not worth it, it is a rabbit hole that is not worth going down.


The fun weekend was… fun #Kids #Life #Mentalhealth

For a full weekend that ended up being one day longer than planned that sure was fun. There were family fun moments. There were proud moments. There was some pure entertainment. And there was even some fun productivity. Yep pretty much fun for me.

Friday night turned into a family movie night. And for a wonder all of the family actually sat still and watched a movie together. It wasn’t the best movie, but it was fun for the whole family, which is what we can hope for. I got off work early to see the doctor about my toe, which resulted in a cortisone shot. And then I felt kind of under the weather the rest of the day. Which was a harbinger of things to come, as every kid in the family was sick by Monday, which is why I ended up staying home on Monday. The main thing though is we all had fun watching the movie together.

Saturday was Jimmy’s wrestling tournament. This was the school district classic, the last tournament of his middle school career as far as school organized wrestling. In addition two of his buddies, boys that are in the D&D game, and who I have watched grow up, were also in the tournament. And there were also a number of other kids that he has wrestled with in his club, so we knew a lot of the wrestlers. So, while Jimmy and his buddies were wrestling for his school, I did as much cheering just for the geographically close kids (Westside!)

Jimmy ended up placing third in his weight bracket. Winning 2 matches and losing one. I was proud of his victories, but it was the loss that made me most proud (and angry.) The thing is, it was clear to us in the stands that the opposing wrestler was hurt. And James told us after the fact that the other kids was in tears, and was apparently suffering from a headache, and very likely a concussion. I was angry to hear that because he should not have even been wrestling in that condition (even if he did beat Jimmy.) But I was very proud to hear Jimmy tell me that he did take it easy, not fighting as hard as he could, because he knows what it is like to suffer from a concussion. Would I have been proud for Jimmy to wrestle for first in his class? Sure, but I am prouder that he showed the class and sportsmanship to avoid hurting a kid just to win.

The day of wrestling was a long one overall. A good 9 hours in the gymnasium, dealing with and talking with other people, and the little ones when boredom kicked in. So I was pretty exhausted when we got home. But I did the right thing, found a movie to relax to. Made sure the kids got to bed. And did not try to do anything else. Even conceding the point and just going to bed and reading when I reached the point of no return.

Sunday was a fun day. Jimmy and I had a good talk on the way to Denver. Worked out some rules for his grades and his ability to go to Denver, and wrestle in Club tournaments. And while we didn’t do a lot during the session it was still fun. And a welcome get away for me. And I didn’t have the expected problems getting home despite the Broncos game.

Monday I woke up with a plan to come in to work, get my computer and go back and work from home while Emily lay around sick. Then it became clear that Danny was sick as well. At which point I just called in. But I didn’t just hang out. I got some stuff done around the house. Even took a walk to test the effectiveness of the cortisone shot (still not 100% but definitely better.) ¬†And played around with some game stuff. Basically I found a way to enjoy being productive while the kids did their thing.

Like I said, what turned out to be a 3 day weekend was fun. Enjoying a number of different things. Family movie fun as a group. Watching kids wrestle was diverting. Taking some time for myself was fun. And the fun of a role playing game. I found the fun in a variety of activities, and did not have any real problems. As in all things, the amount of fun was relative, but what was important to me is I had fun.

It’s Friday, and I have plans, plans to have fun and breath

It’s a big weekend. A big weekend for Jimmy, as he has the District Middle School wrestling tournament this weekend. As for me, I plan to enjoy the wrestling, and then Sunday we have our Denver game. And if I get the chance I plan to divert myself in the down time with watching some Star Wars movies. Because for once there are no big house hold projects or events to deal with.

This is Jimmy’s last middle school District championships. I am nervous, because I have no idea how he will do. One of the realities is that he is at a pretty average weight class. That means that there is a lot of real good competition for him. And his season has been uneven due to illnesses and injuries. The unique thing about wrestling is that there is no way to get around experience and mat time. Some sports you can get better at by just getting bigger, more fit, faster, stronger. But in wrestling so much of what happens comes from technique that experience and mat time makes the biggest difference. And with the missed practice time for Jimmy he has suffered as a result.

Of course the other thing about the district championship is that it means spending the day in a crowded gym with lots of other people, which is not exactly my favorite thing.I will get through it, I usually do, but I will be glad when it is done.

After reading the Star Wars book I am inspired to undertake a project. I plan to re-watch all the movies, at least one a week, before the new movie comes out in about a month. Not that I haven’t seen them before, nor is it a question of my not knowing the story, it is just a matter of wanting to watch them again. It should be a fun diversion.

Sunday is our monthly Pathfinder game in Denver. Jimmy and I are both pretty excited to play. I know why they only play once a month, but it sure would be fun to play more often. We have a real good time at these games. And it is a good break for me, to get out of the house and some of the daily work that I have to deal with at home.

Like I said, this is the first weekend in a while where I am not trying to put something together, or complete a project, or host an event at our house. And boy does that feel good. It is a good break from being ‘on’ every weekend.

Yep my focus is to have some fun this weekend. Enjoy watching the wrestling. Enjoy my game break in Denver. And find some fun diversions at home instead of focusing on some project or event. Have fun and breathe, those are my focus points this weekend.

It’s all going along okay #Mentalhealth

Checking back in a week after my not so great day. Things are better. I have a better handle on keeping track of all the things that are going on, so I am not feeling so much anxiety about things. The month of birthdays is now past, and wrestling season is about to transition. And I am taking some steps for me and my health.

Like I knew they would things are better than last week. That is one of the things that you have to learn to repeat to yourself when you suffer from depression and/anxiety issues. That there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you will eventually get there. Learning that, and teaching that skill is a big deal. And not an easy one to stick to during those dark times. But I got through it, partially just because you do get past it eventually, and partially by taking action on part of the problem.

Not quite a week of sticking to the reminders and it is helping. I am getting things done that normally might slip. And having accomplished them I no longer have the generalized fear that I am missing something, that there is something I need to do and haven’t done, and if I don’t do it there will be a disaster. It is still too early to declare it a new habit, or a complete success, but early returns are that it is helping.

Getting past the month of birthdays is a big deal, a weight off my mind. Yes, the holidays are still coming up, Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Years. And that does mean large gatherings of people. And with those large gatherings that also means getting the house ready for those gatherings etc. But, these gatherings are generally community efforts, they are not for a single person. And they are also geared around family, rather than having to entertain extra people. So there is less of a feeling that I need to please person X on this day.

Last I am taking steps for myself and my health. I finally got around to getting a referral and an appointment with a podiatrist to look at my toes. It is possible that they will say what my doctor says: find a different exercise, lose weight, wear different shoes, there is nothing that can be done. But I suspect that they will come back with some different options, and hopefully a more complete solution.

Again, it is all getting better. There are still things out there that I cannot control that bother me. But for the most part I have a much better feeling about life, and what is going on, than I did a week ago. And with a week off for the kids pending, and more immediately a game for me to get excited about I can see some happy moments on the immediate horizon.