It is going to work out #life #Mentalhealth


Training complete I am feeling very good about my new job. Being smart about my condition in order to keep it that way. An enjoyable holiday season with lots of great visits. Generally just feeling good.

My training effectively ended Thursday. We all went solo and active on the phones for about 6 hours. I was and still am confident. There are quirks that I still have to learn. But nowhere near as many or as complex as a software package. More like doing taxes again. The time did flow very fast and was busy so there is none of the tedium that I was dealing with over the last year of my previous job. It will be repetitive but there is a difference between repetition and tedious. And with the many opportunities available to me I think it will be a very good fit.

The Xmas holiday is over. It was a busy and active week or so. My brother came up from Phoenix with his family. It was great to see them and spend time with them as we had a couple of evenings her at our house. And then we all were up in Denver at my other brother’s house for most of the day on Xmas Eve. Which was really nice. Lots of visiting with various family members. Lots of kids running around like crazy people. Loads of good food. It was really great.

Then we hosted the other side of the family at our house for Xmas proper. Which meant a very full house again. With a Nerf battle amongst the kids and adults. A sit-down game of Risk Europe. Loads of good food. Lots more visiting with folks. It was also enjoyable.

One of the perks of the new job is that I had a 4 day weekend for the Holidays. And there was some talk of my taking the kids back up to Denver today for more family time. The kids were kind of ambivalent about that. But as the day ended last night and then when I woke up this morning I realized that I needed to be smarter than that. I am just exhausted from all the extended social interaction. While I would have enjoyed more time with my family and the kids would have been fine I realized that would have meant going to work completely done in. Which would have been foolish on my part. So in the interests of self-care I chose to remain home and take a day to recover. There are plenty of things for me to do here to get everyone ready for the week.

Life is good and promises to get better. We all had a good holiday season. I have a good job that I enjoy. I just need to be smart about how I live and handle everything to keep all of this under control and continue to enjoy it all.

 

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Enjoying an extended weekend #Family


Woohoo! A Holiday weekend gives me three days off. Sadly Kim has to work 2 of the 3 days so we as a family will not going be doing anything exotic. But at least we can enjoy some of it with some events.

Saturday we will be playing D&D. One of the boys will be gone so it will be a smaller group. I am hoping to amp up my game a little bit more this time. Should be fun.

Saturday afternoon and evening we will be hosting a holiday cookout. The kids will have friends over. Our family will be coming over as well, as this is a traditional family event.

Sunday we will be doing another family event. Kim will be taking the kids over to her aunt’s house to help with preparing a special meal. And then I will go over later in the day to join them.

Monday will be a quiet day of recovery at home. We will be doing some work in Danny’s room. But not hosting any big events or groups of friends.

So yes, it will be a busy, social weekend. By Sunday night, I will be wanting to take a break from people in general. So it is good I have Monday off.

A grudge I refuse to let go of #Colorblind #StPatricksday


Today I celebrate St. Patricks Day the same way I always do, by wearing my orange shirt and listening to Irish Punk bands. I have done my best over the years to rid myself of irrational grudges. By minimizing my focus on sports I am ever so slowly losing my hatred of certain sports teams. And I have done what I can to open myself up to friendships with people that I did not get along with in high school. I am striving to be a person without grudges, so I can pass that along to my children. Show them that it is possible to live a life without hate.

But today is one grudge I refuse to let go. So I wear orange. And if anyone asks, or doesn’t get it I just blow past it. If they understand what an insult that is then I apologize and go into deeper detail about why I dislike this day. Because it has nothing to do with heritage, I just go with the orange to see if anyone is really in touch with their heritage enough to understand.

Now the truth is I am an American, I have no Irish heritage. My grandmother did the genealogy work, and traced our family roots way back, and there were ancestors on this continent before the Revolution. And no Irish at all in any branch of the family. Swedish, German, English, that is pretty much it. My kids have Irish blood in them from their mothers side, but none from me. But in my view, we are just American, if you have never met an immigrant ancestor then you really are just an American. Claiming otherwise is just an excuse to claim something that isn’t really part of you in my opinion. So no celebration of an Irish heritage for me on this day. If pressed, I can go back to maybe some English Ulstermen, therefore, I wear the orange.

But the real reason I hold a grudge against this day has very little to do with that. Not really. It has to do with an extremely irritating part of the traditions for this day. On this day of the year, you are supposed to wear green. And if you are not wearing green then people can pinch you, or at least that is the ‘tradition’, and it is what kids get taught. But I am Red-Green colorblind, which means I get reds, browns and greens confused. And as a result, I have a difficult time telling if something is green, especially clothes. Well, imagine having that particular handicap when you are a kid, and going to school with what you think is green, but is actually red or brown. You will get harassed, and made fun of, and pinched. And that has stuck with me. Thankfully my kids are not colorblind, so they can pick out their own green clothes and not deal with that.

So yeah, this day reminds me of all that, so I wear orange.

Living life without routine can be fun #Mentalhealth


Day 5 of my week off, third day without the routine of school and work. And it has been pleasant so far. No breakdowns or major issues. I have accomplished all that I wanted to get done. And enjoyed pretty much all of the events.

I have pretty much operated without a routine this week. We had scheduled events: wrestling tournament, holiday treat making, vet appointments. But for the most part I have been living without a set routine. And it has been a refreshing change.

I’m not saying I would like to always operate that way. My internal wiring does not work that way. I need some level of routine in order to satisfy my OCD. But it has been a good breather, and I no one has died or been hurt by the lack of routine.

Jimmy had a successful tournament on Saturday. He was slated in the B bracket, and dominated his weight class, taking first with three matches, three major wins by pin. It was a good confidence booster for him. And he can return to the A bracket for the rest of the club season. He is in that area where he is at the top of one bracket, but at the bottom of the next one up, or at best competitive. It is just a matter of experience and mat time to get to the next level.

The annual Holiday treat making party was a success overall. I am sitting in a kitchen that still smells of all the various treats. There were moments when things fell a part a little. And the prioritizing of what we make needs to change up next year. But for the most part I would call the event a success.

Monday the kids and I worked on the basement. I cleaned up some of my stuff, hung some stuff on the walls, and moved some furniture. Jimmy really attacked his room, doing a real good job. And then on the spur of the moment we scattered the kids to friends houses for sleepovers. And proceeded to have a date night, enjoying dinner and then Seeing Star Wars. Which we both really enjoyed, and look forward to taking the boys.

Yesterday I finished my Xmas shopping. Came home and got everything wrapped. Including the little surprise gifts I bought each of the kids and the family. Then we got the dogs to the vet for shots and a check up. And had a quiet evening at home catching up on all of our recorded shows.

Today is more cleaning for the kids. And then we will finish the Xmas shopping. And maybe tackle some other small things around the house.

And tomorrow is Xmas eve. With the usual activities reserved for that: last minute gifts, an informal family gathering. And then the craziness that is Xmas arrives.

It has been a good week. With the focus on tasks instead of on schedules and routine. Like I said, not exactly the way I would like to live all the time. But good enough for this week, and a satisfactory break.

 

There’s news, but first some holiday cheer #Kids #Mentalhealth


Yeah there were some developments yesterday. But first I thought I would take some time to share a little holiday cheer in the form of three videos that have different but special meanings to me.

First, the jolly, fun video about Christmas. I loved Run DMC, saw them once with the Beastie Boys on the Together Forever tour. And every time I see or hear them I think about some of the great times I had. Plus this song, or at least a portion of it, is in one of the best action Xmas movies of all time: Die Hard.

Yes, have the very happiest of holidays, wherever you are. Because it is not Xmas until I hear this song. Just about one of the funniest songs I have ever heard. I know it is only the song, with no actual video accompaniment, but if you listen you will get the idea.

This was our official Xmas holiday song when I was in college. I still get a little teary eyed when I hear it. Thinking of all of us sitting around drunkenly singing along. It truly is a cherished memory. And a really good song to boot.

While I was searching for those videos I came across this, which is of course one of the best Xmas stories ever!

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Feeling excited, full of antica… pation #Mentalhealth #Holidays


I have this feeling that I have not felt in a while this year. I am actually excited for the holidays. Which is unusual and a refreshing change for me. And I know this because I made yet another conscious decision for my health.

Maybe it is because I know I have a week off from work next week. Maybe it is the break from the routine with the kids. And maybe, just maybe it is a little excitement for Xmas. But my mood just keeps getting better and better this week. I’m letting little stuff go. Doing what I know I can do. And looking forward to getting some things done next week that I have been wanting to work on.

And maybe it is just a little manic feeling. An up with an inevitable downturn coming. But it doesn’t feel that way. Instead I am just feeling like there are lots of good things to look forward to, and none of the bad things. It is a real contrast to last year and some previous years when I dreaded the holidays, because it would mean giving up my space and time to large groups of people.

I know that will happen this year of course. I cannot reasonably expect to not feel overwhelmed by the groups of people coming into my home for 2 days. But the difference is I know that I will feel that. And I also know that is normal for me. And, most importantly, that feeling will pass, the people will leave, and we can get back to doing what we want in our space.

So, last week, during some slow time I downloaded Sim City on my iPad. I had some fun with it, once I got a grip on how it should work. But I began to notice something. Too much playing on my iPad is physically bad for me. Specifically my neck gets stiff and inflamed. And no game is worth the pain of a constant stiff neck. So I did the smart thing today and just deleted it. There are better things I can do to pass the time than craning my neck over a game.

What all this means is that if I really look at what is different this year, this holiday season, from previous years is a greater self awareness. The thing about mental health is that unlike a physical malady it never really goes away. You are never totally cured, instead you can manage it, and become aware of it. And this year I have medication, and I have awareness. And just as important, my family is aware too, and respects it, keeping me from taking on too much.

So, yes I am excited and viewing the holiday with anticipation. And the reason for that is because I am far more comfortable with who I am and what I am than I was in previous years. And I credit this blog, medicine, and help from family and friends in getting to this point.

Eventful, fun, truly enjoyable weekend #Family #Mentalhealth


The weekend started off with a bang with a fun company holiday party. Then we had a productive morning getting stuff done around the house. Followed by a pleasant family gathering with my family, with plenty of catching up. On Sunday Jimmy and I went to Denver for our game, had a great time. Monday I worked from home so I could get to a doctors appointment, which went well. It was a good weekend.

Friday night was my company holiday party. In the past these have been a mixed bag. Some times fun, other times just flat boring, and others were uncomfortable. This was not one of those. It didn’t look like it would be good when we got there. The people that I wanted to sit with had already taken up all the places at a table so Kim and I wandered until we found a table in the corner, figuring we could just sit quietly. Until the local VP who is in charge of our local office sat down, followed by the company CEO and his wife. But that turned out to be a good thing, as they were fun, interesting people to sit with and enjoy time with. And I helped lead our table to victory in the trivia contest, demonstrating my mastery of obscure, useless information. So what looked like it could have been a disaster turned into probably the best company party we have ever attended.

Saturday the kids and I did some cleaning and picking up while Kim went to a Scout training event. Then we went over to my Dad’s house for a gathering in honor of my little brother being in town. It was a really nice gathering, a chance to see lots of people and catch up some more. After that we went home in the snow storm, cuddled up in front of a a fire and had a family evening. Decorating the tree.

I know that the plan was for Jimmy to stay home, due to his grades and mid week illness. But he did work hard to take care of all of his missing work. And, more importantly, Kim had some things planned for the day and having Jimmy around to antagonize the little ones would have made that time pretty much no fun for her. So I relented and took him with me to Denver. We had a really good time there, and a chance to talk over a number of things on the drive up there and back.

I had my 6 month follow up with my doctor for my Depression meds. Like I said last week, I knew that I wanted and needed them, and he agreed to just renew the prescription for a year. We also talked about some other stuff. Like my wanting to get back to working on my physical health to complement the work I have done on my mental health. It was a good appointment.

And now today the kids have a snow day, but a number of orders to follow at home. And I drove into work, which my car handled like a champ. Days like this make that expense to get new tires well worth it.

Overall, just feeling really good now. The Holiday break is coming up, I get the first week off with the kids. Where I will work on getting the house ready to host the various family gatherings. But I am not dreading the holiday gatherings like I have in the past, which is a good sign of progress. Like I said to the doctor, I’m not saying my mind is perfect, just better and under control, like the rest of my life.