You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘mental-health’ tag.

Ok, so a friend contacted me and asked if I would proofread a book they were working on…part of a series of publications.  This is not exactly Earth shattering since I had proofread all of the previous entries—somewhat proficiently if I do say so myself.  So, this was just another chapter, so to speak, in the series.

To be perfectly honest, the series was an enjoyable one.  It wasn’t one of those boring topics that made proofreading difficult.  In fact, I so approved of the content that I wished I had written it myself.  So, proofreading it was right up my alley.

Yet, when I received this latest entry, something strange happened.  I read part of it, got a headache, went to lie down and then completely forgot about it.  And I don’t mean I forgot about it for a few minutes.  Not for a day or two or even three. I didn’t/couldn’t resume proofreading the book until almost a month later!

In fact, I not only forgot that I was working on this particular proofreading assignment but, I totally forgot about/lost interest in almost everything else I was doing around that same time regardless of the topic!

Unbelievable!  I mean, who does that?

Not me!

But apparently me?

I thought I had gone totally insane until I spoke with my doctor and discovered that, not only was I not insane, but that that response was typical, especially during times of high stress, during moments where we over-extend ourselves, when we’re eating on the fly and/or when we’re eating poorly!

And, boy oh boy, was I high stressed.  In fact, I was four for four on that list!  My doctor explained that I had had so much going on that I simply shut down.  My body and brain just shut down like your computer does sometimes.  And just like with your computer, it can happen right in the middle of whatever it is you’re working on…regardless of whether you’ve saved your work or not.

Were there warning signs, you might ask?

Yes, there were signs.

To be perfectly honest, there were many signs that I, in hindsight, totally ignored.

Not only was I overwhelmed, but I was tired—often very exhausted during the day. If that wasn’t bad enough, I was eating whatever I got my hands on and I couldn’t even remember when I had last had a good night’s sleep.

Truth be told, I was totally neglecting myself without even knowing it.  So, my memory, among other things, was suffering.  As a result, my brain protected itself by shutting down.

Isn’t that something?

For me, it felt both good and bad.  On the one hand, it was good to know that I had a backup system already in place to keep me from total destruction. At the same time, however, it felt bad to know that it could kick in without permission.  Although I suppose that’s the beauty of it…not letting me destroy myself by forcing one more task.

Mentally refreshed but a little freaked out, I made a vow to myself.  Next time, I would pay attention to the signs before the crash.  I mean, I would certainly not want to be driving or operating machinery when my brain computer just shut down due to overload.  Changes had to be made.

With that, I promised to take better care of myself. I started doing light exercises and stretches, making better food choices and getting proper rest and relaxation.

And what a difference it has made.

I’ve lost a few pounds, I sleep better and I feel better than I have in a very long time.

Thus my “brain collapse” turned out to be a win-win for me and perhaps for those who commissioned my proofreading services.

Oh, by the way, you’ll be happy to know that I did finally complete that job and other backlogged assignments without further ado.  I was lucky that the author was gracious enough to extend time for me to recover.

My advice: Don’t wait until you fall down to take care of yourself.  It’s unfair to you, to your family, to your friends and really to everyone.

I know it sounds cliché but, before making a vow to be there for others, make a vow to yourself and keep it. I think we can all agree that everything works out better when you’re your best self.

Can anybody hear me?

When asked to define “home,” most people will agree that their home is where they are most comfortable and feel most relaxed.  In fact, they often volunteer unsolicited information about items within their home that maximize their comfort level.

From leather recliners to chaise loungers, everyone has that one piece of furniture that puts them most at ease.   Even with differing taste in furnishings, varying size of the homes etc., the dwellings still promote the same feelings of security and pleasure to the owner ​regardless of social standing.

Interestingly enough, during these discussions, most people never mention putting anything in their home that makes them feel uncomfortable or unappreciated.  In fact, even with limited funding, most people go out of their way to make their homes their sanctuaries.

That same need for security within your home is also needed when you exit said home for work or play and, when properly in place, promotes overall health/wellness.  And most people would acknowledge this.  After all, we have laws and rules on the books to protect people from “hostile working environments.”  However, this basic and often taken for granted level of comfort is routinely denied to black people in the United States everyday, resulting in a very different and difficult life for blacks compared to their white counterparts.

If it isn’t harrowing enough, not knowing if law enforcement will see you as a criminal today as a direct result of your skin color,  hairdo, or outfit, you have to contend with walking passed innumerable statues and shrines that pay homage to the slave masters (both past & present) of your people.

Blacks in the US have no choice but to attend institutions that bear the names of the same individuals who not only enslaved their people but who fought then and whose followers fight now to have them remain slaves in some fashion and listen to the cries and murmurings of those who wish to celebrate that legacy of barbarism under the guise of maintaining the integrity of history and tradition.

What’s even more amazing, if possible, is that this particular level of insensitivity has flown under the radar in a country such as the US, which claims religious, cultural and moral superiority over other countries with differing religions, gods, languages, etc. Yet, somehow, from members of Congress to ordinary individuals on the streets, so many people believe it’s okay for blacks to live with the reminders of these and other atrocities every single day.  Not only that, but if blacks bring these points up in any sort of conversation, those on the other side claim that THEY are the ones being persecuted for being who they are and that it is black people who are oppressing them because of their whiteness.

With all of that being the case, I don’t find it a quantum leap to conclude that black people are being told through situations—such as the excused, if not celebrated, murders of blacks by law enforcement officials, as well as the continued overlooked acts of daily cruelty, as discussed above—that the United States is not their home.  If it were, the individuals who run this country and who are in positions of authority in this country would own up to the truth about its history of flagrant mistreatment of black people.  They would make reparations to them, as other nations guilty of genocide and enslavement in the modern era have to their victims.  They would make every effort to ensure the comfort of ALL the nation’s inhabitants and not just a few.  In other words, they would do everything in their power to make sure blacks Americans would “feel” at home in America.

Not tolerated…and certainly not like they should feel grateful for the consequences of the enslavement that cut them off from their native lands and history.

But at HOME…right HERE.

The cultural differences of blacks would be nurtured and celebrated the same as other cultures of people within the US.  Perhaps there would even be areas of town set aside for the advancement and encouragement of black pride and business, which would be especially important for a group of people who arrived to the US on slave ships as opposed to other groups of people, such as the Chinese and Indians, who arrived in the US of their own volition and with their memories and histories intact.  To be clear, I’m not disparaging them.  I’m trying to make a point.

So, let’s think about it.

What is the underlying message to black people, who continue to be disrespected, murdered in the streets by law enforcement and forced to endure daily cruelty at work, rest or play?

What CAN it be?

America is making it loud and clear that this land is not your home.  If it were, at the very least, the same attention to detail currently in place to make other cultures feel at home when they choose America as their new home would be extended to black people who didn’t choose America in the first place, but had it forced upon them.

To recap, when you are at home, you feel welcomed…not alienated.  You feel at peace, not that little concern is being shown for the continued damage to your spiritual, emotional, physical, psychological and financial capability.

Can anybody hear me?

I must confess, I’m not a really big fan of psychology. I don’t so much mind the focus of psychology—that is, the mind. I guess it is the application of it that I take issue with. Specifically, I don’t like how it is being used today. It seems as though people are being convinced that they cannot move on with their lives unless they return to the past and deal with every single hurt, every single disappointment, every single person who hurt them, etc., from childhood. So, instead of working through their disappointments and coming to the realization that they, just like the people who hurt them, can also be the source of somebody else’s pain, they are constantly on a deep sea diving expedition for a treasure that doesn’t exist. In their attempt to heal their own hurt, they end up trying to force others to relive the past, trying to re-write the past or, worse, forcing people to be someone they are not and, sometimes, never will be.

This school of thought—this position—is flawed from the outset. True healing cannot be dependent upon someone else. Approaching your mother, your father, the bully at school etc., and telling them how you feel about them and/or what you feel they didn’t do or should have done etc., can sometimes put you in the position of being disrespectful, being disbelieved and could even lead to further hurt. Oftentimes, the individual who caused you so much pain has gone on with their lives, oblivious to the suffering they have caused. More often than not, they could care less about having caused you and/or countless others grief. Even if they do respond positively, now what?

In the long run, YOU were the one who was stifled, angry, and unable to move forward. By spending so much time focusing on a single period of your life, not only did the other person destroy that moment, but you allowed them to destroy the rest of your life as well. You have allowed it to go on into infinity. You have empowered them to destroy your entire life, making you culpable in your own deconstruction.

My suggestion? Take self-inventory, especially after particularly painful experiences. Decide what can be used in a positive way and discard the rest. Also, take self-inventory especially after particularly wonderful experiences as well. Be steadfast in recognizing when you are the culprit and not the victim. Try to fix whatever you break. Remember, none of us are perfect. We all get hurt and occasionally we hurt others – sometimes on purpose. Nevertheless, we all have to move on!   Move forward! After all, life is truly too short! Get yourself off of your mind! Focus on your purpose not your pain.

Can anybody hear me?

After looking carefully at myself in the mirror, I find that I am not at all pleased with what I see.  Sound familiar?  However, I am not discussing having too much hips or thunder thighs.  No.  I am discussing the person that I have allowed myself to become – to others.

All my life I have been the comforter for whatever relationship I am in.  Be it in relationships with men, women or children, if I can help in any way, I have tried to do so.  If I had the money, and money would help your situation, I provided that.  If it was emotional support that was required, I provided that.  If it was of a spiritual nature, then I became that spiritual guide.  I am, at heart, a helper but, sometimes, the helper needs help.  Who do I turn to?

Well, let me tell you, it is not to the so-called friends that I have assisted in any way, shape or form throughout my life.  How do I know this?  I attempted to do just that.  I contacted the individuals who write to me almost on a daily basis and decided to tell them about my dreams for my life.  I’m not really one to do that.  What did I do that for?

All I received was the cold hard facts of life.  I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed to stop complaining, b*tching and moaning and that I should do something about achieving my dreams.  I am not commenting on whether or not the advice was sound; what I am saying is that I received none of the support from these same individuals who seek me out to receive support and guidance for themselves.  If I were suicidal, I almost certainly would have killed myself due to the frustration and lack of empathy that I was meeting with.  I learned that I was burdening them with my “complaint” and that I needed to “move on.”  After two emails, they grew tired.  In other words, they only want to deal with the happy “me.”  They only want the me that is happy all the time—without problems of her own—and is therefore available to be a listening ear and a shoulder for them to cry on.

At first, I thought that because I am always the counselor they were simply unprepared to deal with my needing nurturing.  However, after I made it clear that I was indeed seeking nurturing from them, my needs were still mostly ignored.  I received scorn.  So, I retreated, but not before telling them what I really thought of their lack of patience, concern and understanding for me.  That was a new trick for me.  Normally, I would have retreated without ever letting them know how I really felt and done exactly what they said…”move on” and allow my own hurt to be pushed aside to make room for theirs.  Maybe, I’ll give that mirror trick another try!  I just might like what I see this time.  Can anybody hear me?

Though I believe that many women experience some form of mid-life crisis, we tend to think of men when we discuss this topic.  I like to think of a mid-life crisis as the male version of menopause… mentally if not physically.  In women, this is the time where you realize that you are moving into yet another phase of aging.  Even though this period is most often categorized by night sweats, weight gain and other miseries too numerous to list, most women can at least look forward to the cessation of menses.  For some, that alone is worth the price of discomfort.  However, in men, having a mid-life crisis, or participating in anything remotely related to aging for that matter, seems to have no such “bright spot.”

I noted that this is seemingly the time when most divorces take place and gave some thought as to the reason.  It seems that as soon as aging is too present to be denied, one or the other of the partners eagerly races to someone younger than themselves in their attempt to drink from the nonexistent fountain of youth.  The results are predictable…and disheartening.  They Sugar Daddy and Cougar themselves into the Hall of Shame at best or bankruptcy at worst.  In the end, their troubles solicit little sympathy from those of us who are a witness to this social malady.

I cannot help but witness the return to silly looking, low cut shirts resting just above protruding guts on men and to too-short skirts, tight pants and way too much sagging cleavage on women.  Honorable mention goes to way too much make-up!!  Even when the person in question thinks themselves to be “in shape” it is sadly just a matter of time before said shape becomes something wholly unfamiliar as it begins to spill out of its “containment.”  It seems that aging with dignity is no longer in style.  Fighting it on every level is to be admired.  Surgery, injections, anything you can do to ward off wrinkles and any other signs of aging is utilized (quickly, if not excessively), often resulting in an outcome far worse than the curse of Father Time.

I do not mean to imply that aging is easy.  There are pains and pangs of frustration and self doubt for even the most well-adjusted among us.  Yet, nothing and I mean nothing is more embarrassing than an attempt to remain young in dialogue (i.e. slang, excessive cursing, etc), dress (tight, revealing sets or drooping pants) or deportment (approaching persons young enough to be one’s child, failing to pass on any wisdom).  So, for my money, I say, eat right (as much as you can), drink only in moderation, exercise only in moderation, hydrate, moisturize, get some sleep and age with grace.  Can anybody hear me?

Recently, I was incensed by the story of the Roach-eating contest winner who choked to death shortly thereafter.  Mind you, it was not the fact that he was eating bugs that caused me to be angry.  In fact, many countries eat bugs on a daily basis as a source of protein.  No.  My anger was due to the idea that a country like the USA, where there are starving citizens on one side and obese citizens on the other, should ever encourage or sponsor any contest where overeating (bugs or otherwise) is the focal point.

In this country, food has become so plentiful and so trivial that people are almost literally killing themselves with forks.  With a different restaurant or fast food establishment on each corner, it is almost impossible to go a few minutes without having the idea of more and more food, pardon the pun, shoved down your throat.

Meanwhile, people who are sick, physically challenged, etc., who fight for life and pray for good health, who would give anything for a strong body get to read of this young, healthy man who had his entire life ahead of him, and yet squandered it away in a contest to see who could consume the greatest amount of something in the shortest amount of time?

Moreover, every time I read about or witness eating contests, or watch while yet another telemarketer cuts and then discards fruit, vegetables and meats in demonstration of their latest invention, I am sickened.

People are hungry!  And, I don’t just mean people living in so-called third world countries.  People right here in the USA are starving.  While some are malnourished and may not even be aware that they are due to conditions like anorexia, others throw food away carelessly, as though it is unimportant.

In an ever growing number of cases, those who are not malnourished have gone so far in their misery, fear, overindulgence or simple love of food that they have become morbidly obese.  Still others are binging and purging every time they eat because they have bulimia and fear obesity.

Let’s face it, food, in one way or another, is a very real problem in this country.  So, with all the other sports and activities at our disposal, I should think we could make better use of our time entertaining ourselves with other things that don’t involve either the wasting or the overeating of food.  Can anybody hear me?