Coping, adjusting, figuring it out #mentalhealth


Yeah, it has been a while for posting. Life has been good. Just not much time to sit and write. I have been occupying my time doing other things. focusing on doing some painting. Getting things done around the house. Family stuff. But the events of the last week have led me to sit down and try to work through some thoughts.

There have been a number of changes at work. One of my managers stepped down and then resigned. Another Senior manager left the company. These were the folks that were the closest to friends I had at the company. That was a little stunning.

In the midst of this some positions opened up for management positions and I took the leap to apply. With the encouragement of these friends and other people that I trust and respect. I went through 2 interviews before I was knocked out of the running. That caught me by surprise. I really felt that I was more than qualified and ready for the position.

All of this meant I had a tough week emotionally. Accepting that I had made some mistakes during the interview process. Obsessing about that. Then a general malaise as I did not have the same companionship that I had enjoyed at the company. All of this meant I did not sleep all that well. On top of all this, we had a real gloomy, rain-filled week. It was rough.

Last night I had a good nights rest. After work, I had a good talk with some folks there. And I had one epiphany. One of the features of my previous job was tenure, there were an awful lot of people that had been there almost as long as I had been. As a result, I had forgotten what it was like to work in a more traditional call center with its attendant constant turnover. That will take some adjustment, but now that I am aware of it I will be better prepared.

Then today I took the bull by its’ horns and tackled a couple of things I needed to do for work. Which allowed me to refocus on my overall sense of the company and why I enjoy being there. That has also helped me overcome my disappointment with the failure int he promotion process. Also reminded myself that it is a process, a journey, and I need to focus on the steps, not on the end of it all.

In the end, nothing has really changed. There are still plenty of opportunities. I just need to keep being who I am. Do what I do. Find ways to excel. And the rest will gradually work itself out.

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R.E.S.C. What it means to me #7Habits #Mentalhealth


One of the things that is asked of you with the 7 habits is to create a Mission Statement. Figure out what is truly important to you and then write that down in the form of a statement, a manifesto if you will, that you can use as a guideline for decisions moving forward. I have spent some time working on this. And came up with my four guiding principles that I want to use to guide my life moving forward.

Respect

I will live my life and make decisions that show respect. Not just for others but also myself. For others that may mean treating others with respect. From dealing with them honestly and openly, to respecting their choices and decisions. I may not always agree with others choices, but I can at least show respect for them. This can mean something as simple as showing up on time (or a little early) for planned events. To being as nuanced as not speaking ill of those who have made choices I may not agree with. That is a lot harder than it seems. And is a goal which I strive for, I am not all the way there yet by a long shot.

I will also begin treating myself with respect. That means making choices and decisions that are best for me. Eating better. Getting more exercise. Sleeping better. Making sure I practice proactive self-care.

Encourage

I will encourage others and myself. When someone wishes to do something I will encourage them. If they are working on a project that does not directly involve me I can seek to encourage them. This can be as simple as a pat on the back for my co-workers when they are dealing with a difficult customer. Or as long term as working with my family members in log term activities like school, work, Scouting.

This does not mean I have to act as a constant cheerleader. But I can still do my part to encourage folks when they undertake activities. Telling my kids I know they can get themselves a meal instead of relying on the parents.

Sharing

I have been on this planet for 50 plus years. I have had an extensive education. I have worked a variety of jobs. And consider myself to be pretty well read on a variety of topics. In short, I know things (although I do not drink). The thing about all that knowledge is that it is useless if I do not share it. So my fourth principle is to share what I know.

As a father, one of my main jobs is to teach my kids. From something as simple as tying a shoelace, to as complex as how to write a coherent essay. As a husband, my wife and I are constantly teaching each other things (even after 20 some years.) At work, I have learned that teaching others what I know has the benefit of solving problems ahead of time which reduces everyone’s workload.

Curiosity 

I know a lot. But that does not mean I know it all. I think that one of the hallmarks of success for me is to keep learning. That could be learning how to do something at work that benefits my position there. Or just learning something that I can share with my colleagues.

It could be as meaningful as learning about the complex nuances of current events: local, national and international. Or it could be as mundane as learning who acted in a current movie or who a certain player is playing for. Or it could be about learning to play a new game or a different way of playing a game I already know. It all comes down to keeping an open and inquisitive mind. Because there is always something new out there to learn about.

Those are the guiding principles I choose to follow. That will affect my choices and decisions. Should I agree to do this new project for the Scouts? Who does the cooking and cleaning around the house? What am I doing for a vacation? I can look to my 4 principles to determine the answers to those questions.

It was an exciting year, full of fun, challenges, and changes #Kids #Life #Mentalhealth


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First Day

For Emily, it was her last year of Lower El. The last year of Ruch kids for Mrs. Clarice.  It was another good year for her. She continued to be the social butterfly. With friends of all ages. There were challenges, particularly the running club. But she persevered for the most part.

It was another great year of Girl Scouts for her. Kim took over the Troop officially. They had a good year, although it was exhausting just to see Kim on Mondays between Scout meetings. Emily did have a stellar year of cookie sales, reaching her goal of 2000 cookies!

She continues to mature and grow. She is smart as a whip when she wants to apply herself. And is a joy for all her teachers to have in class. She is more than ready for the next level next year though.

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Last Day

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First Day

This was a big year for Danny. First year at a new school. The first year of Middle school. First full year as a Boy Scout. I cannot say enough about how much he has grown this year: mentally, emotionally and physically.

We were a little worried about he would do academically at the new school. There were some initial challenges. But in the end, the picture below is him after accepting awards for the Arrow Club (requires a 3.5 GPA for at least 2 quarters) and Excellence in Social Studies. Turns out he really thrived in a more traditional academic classroom over the openness of the Montessori.

Socially he has also grown, he has made friends at the new school that he enjoys spending time with. And watching him at this last Boy Scout Camp showed me how well he is capable of handling himself in large group settings.

For Boy Scouts, he continues to enjoy himself. Kim has joined him as well as Assistant Scout Master (Yay Super Mom Kim!) He earned his first rank. And seems to enjoy the meetings and being a Scout. Which I think is really good for him.

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Last Day

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First Day

Last, there is this guy. As you can see there was a lot of growth for him. Physically he continues to mature. His first year of High School was full of challenges. There were some successes along the way. And I envision a bright future for him.

James discovered a love of singing this year in Men’s Choir. While not naturally gifted he does enjoy the singing. Which balances out his wrestling to keep him balanced. Wrestling season was solid for a JV year. He continues to enjoy the physical challenge.

Academics were a challenge. Poor study habits, laziness, and health conspired to keep him from realizing his full potential. And then there were the emotional issues.

We finally recognized the symptoms and got James the help he needs as he was diagnosed with Depression (damn genetics.) Of course this after a nearly wasted quarter, many arguments and trials, followed by a scare when he decided to simply run away one night. All is well now on this front.

All of the above were not helped by his learning the challenges of teenage relationships. That contributed to the wasted quarter and the stress that led to the attempt to simply run away.

However, after getting the help that he needed he was able to turn things around. Turning a failing semester into an average Semester. He now has the understanding of what he needs to do in the future to succeed, and I think the emotional balance that is also needed to get there.

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Last Day

It was an interesting school year, to say the least. Made even more interesting by my own life changes as I transitioned to a new job.  We could not have done as well as we did without the aid of Supermom Kim. Here we are at the beginning of Summer break.

The kids all have activities. Summer enrichment programs take up the month of June. Everyone has at least one camp. James starts with his wrestling camp. Then Emily has her first sleep away camp. Later in the summer, Kim joins Emily and then Danny for other Scout camps. While I work, due to the lack of vacation time that comes with a new job.  All in all, life remains good for the most part.

I’m still here, living the dream #mentalhealth


For all my followers, I am still here. The time off had nothing to do with any major problems for me. I am healthy (for the most part) and happy (for the most part.) Life has just been full of adjustment and some drama for the family.

But everyone is healthy (for the most part.) No one is hurt or damaged. School is still going on, along with Scouting. My work is becoming routine, but never boring. Look forward to a more detailed post this weekend.

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Red = Phone number is in BETTI on an existing SP or Consumer
Green = Phone number is a metered number owned by HomeAdvisor

HA Hunter

Community, duty, acceptance #mentalhealth #life


This was an interesting week. In the past 2 weeks, I have seen some great examples of real community. Which did not deter me from realizing that my made up personal duty was just creating personal grief. Which led me to just take the initiative and I am now feeling better.

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Tuesday night we attended a free concert at our son’s high school. (We did not know about this choir concert until that morning, he said was not told about it, in a stunning example of teenage ‘forgetfulness’.) It was a group concert made up of choir groups from all of our Westside schools. From a select choir from 3 elementary schools, choirs from both middle schools, and the different choirs from the high school itself. It truly was a community event. Which not nearly enough people attended or publicized it. I think it is great to live in a place that is willing to channel and encourage that kind of community.

Just the week before a different community gathered to celebrate some youngsters. It was the Cub Scout pack crossing over ceremony for the Pack that Danny was a member of. And I helped gather some extra ‘alumni’ from the Pack to attend. Because it was a chance to honor the Committee Chair who has been a guiding force behind the Pack for many years.

When I reflect on these two events I am encouraged that I live in a place and time where, despite the current tenor of cultural and political divide, people can celebrate community. A community that thrives because of its diversity. A community of different genders, ethnic backgrounds, cultural backgrounds and economic status.

I am not a community organizer, or gatherer, or leader. That is just not me. I wish I was, but I know myself better. However, I do know that there are folks out there that do that sort of thing. And it heartens me to realize that events like this are taking place.

Speaking of organizing and community. When I put together the most recent iteration of the boys D&D game it was partially out of a sense of duty. I wanted to do my part to spread the joy of this game. And also to provide an option for the child of a departed friend. The game had become a source of tension in my life recently. I was beginning to sense that at least my boys were not enjoying it as much. And I was not enjoying it as much either. Well, this week I was planning the game and that sense of unease was coming on again. So I accepted that as a sign. And realized that it was not smart of me to keep plunging forward with something that was creating personal problems out of a sense of duty. So I just decided to place the game on hold. And my mental unease greatly diminished as a result. A line from one of my favorite book series was apropos in this case for me:

Duty is heavier than a mountain, death lighter than a feather

Just the idea that doing something purely out of a sense of duty can truly weigh you down. It can be a greater burden than you realize.

Anyway, life goes on. Heartened by the realization that I am part of a greater community. And accepting that duty is important, but a misplaced sense of duty can have a worse effect on your well-being than is immediately obvious.

A new and different view #Life #Mentalhealth


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This has been the view from my back porch fo many years. Crowded with a ragged tree and lilac bush. Sure it provided shade. It also resulted in a constant littering of the ground with leaves, limbs, and trash. It was cluttered, and a constant fight every year to hack out a reasonable path to our storage shed and upper lawn.

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Here is the view down the fence line with our neighbor’s house. You can see the dogs pen. This is a nice little patch of ground. But it has suffered from being overshaded. Filled up with trash and dog poop. It is probably the best patch of soil in our yard but you could never tell because of all the overgrowth.

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Here is that view now. Clean and uncluttered. One can see the shed. The landscaping we had done many years ago is no longer hidden. It is a new way of seeing the back yard.

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Now we can see the fence line. The yard is no longer overcome by shade trees. We can see the work our neighbor put into his own back yard landscaping. And the aesthetic benefits of that earlier mentioned landscaping is visible here as well.

Several years ago I wrote about how yard work and landscaping projects are a fluid thing. You can never actually say it is done because you are dealing with living things and the dynamics of weather, erosion, traffic etc. This makes any yard project like life. Change is everywhere. One must learn to accept and adapt to change.

For example, we are going through some changes at work this week. Bringing in a new hire class for my group. Changing where we park every morning. I could view these changes as a threat to how well I am feeling about my work. I could be upset about how my commute just got increased. I could fret that I will end up with a new manager. Yet I am not feeling any of these things.

I know it is strange for someone who suffers from OCD, anxiety, and depression to be so willing to accept change. It is not that those feelings have gone away. However, as I have learned to accept and deal with those feelings I have figured out how to live with such change.

Just like I am embracing a cleaner, less cluttered view of my yard and landscaping. I am glad to be a part of a growing company with a growing department that is bringing in large new classes. I have the opportunity to add some daily exercise by walking to and from the new parking lot on nice weather days. Just like there is now the chance that a part of the yard that is no longer hidden and overgrown can now flourish with greater sunlight and exposure.

Yes, life means change. Some change can be daunting and difficult. But choosing to focus on the positive and the not on the negatives is a choice we can all make. It is not always the easiest option, but it is an option that is available.

Finding a new puzzle #Life #Mentalhealth #Work


Good morning as we mark another milestone today. It was an interesting week, Plenty of challenges for everyone. I had yet another epiphany at work. All in all a good week.

I am up early for a dropoff for the last JV wrestling tournament of the season for Number One Son. It has been a good season for him. A season of growth and improvements. He had some tastes of Varsity. Some very good tournaments. He continues to get better and better. I am happy to see such growth. I foresee a bright future for him with the sport if he remains focused. But I for one will be glad to have my Saturdays back after today.

Number One Daughter had a very good but very busy first week of Cookie sales. She is nearly 25% of the way toward her goal! It has been exhausting to get there. Especially for Kim. But we have remained cheerful, and are getting the daily practice of reconciling inventory down to a science. In a way, it is just another project for us to do together, which we always enjoy. Something about the collaboration brings out the best in our relationship.

Number Two Son has hung in there in recent weeks. This can be a difficult time of year for him. With his sibling occupying the majority of our attention. We have recognized this and are doing what we can with him. Including his return to therapy.  And we also know that once wrestling and cookie season end we need to give him some special emphasis.

My work continues to get better. It is not without challenges. But the challenges are actually very interesting for me. I even had the revelation this week that at this time in my life I prefer to solve people over software. It is more appealing and interesting to me to try to find different ways of talking with my customers and making them happy than it was to solve software issues.

This marks the third week of having epiphanies at work. Ideas and solutions that came to me. It is really quite cool to be at a job that challenges me on so many levels. In retrospect, I think that losing my former job and having to come to this new job was one of the better things that could have happened for me. My health is better. My mental health has improved. And I actually look forward to the work.

There are challenges to be sure. Tuesday my brain decided it would be fun to start the day with a manic state. Which made the calls extra challenging. And exhausting. Some calls are definitely better than others. But I enjoy it overall.

So life proceeds. We mark transitions from wrestling to cookie season. We make do when mechanical issues challenge us. We work together to improve our lives and have some fun while we are at it.