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Day 15 – How to live the dream

I normally don’t watch Glee, but I watched part of it tonight. I used to be in choir so I’m a fan of chorale singing, but on the show tonight they went to Nationals. The thing that I like most about these moments in shows… the end of the singing shows, and this one as well, is that someone’s dreams are literally coming true at that moment. There is still tons of work ahead. It may not pan out the way they had hoped, but at that moment in time they have achieved something they’ve only dreamed of achieving. The closest I’ve ever come to this is when I was 14 or 15 and playing softball, and the team I was on won the state games (it used to be known as the junior olympics here). I remember singing along to “We Are the Champions.” I remember that overall feeling of how fantastic it was to finally be at the top, to be the winner, for things to have finally gone right.

Those moments don’t last, but they can certainly be moments to strive for. I was a state champion. That can’t be undone. It’s good to achieve things in our lives. It’s good to dream. Speaking in mental health terms, a mind that has hope and is capable of readily dreaming is more open to opportunities and more likely to actually achieve their dreams. They are more likely to report being happy in their lives, and they believe that life has something to offer. Dreams matter. It’s hard to feel fulfilled if we aren’t trying to do any of the things we really want to do. It doesn’t matter how big or small. If we don’t give ourselves a chance then the battle is already lost. And it affects every area of our lives.

It’s hard not to give up. It’s hard not to give in. It’s hard to figure out what’s really worth fighting for. It’s hard not to believe what other people say. But it’s hard living with yourself when you give up. It’s harder than overcoming. We have to make ends meet. We have to survive. But we have to find ways to do more as well. Time is scarce, and is completely irreversible. We are truly on a one-way track. It’s never too late to try. We have to find ways to make our contribution feel worthwhile to ourselves. We get a new chance with each new day. And every day we have something worthwhile to offer. What dreams do you have?

Day 14 – Catharsis

Today I’m just sharing about what it has been like so far writing again. I started out writing this blog this month because it had been so long since I had written. I wanted to see if I could still write, and I wanted to see how it could help shape my mental health practices to start back up. It really has been a nice stress reliever, considering how stressful life has been lately.

Writing for me has always just flowed. There is something in the connection of my pen to paper (my preferred method) or even now typing on a keyboard that just works. By that I mean the things that swirl around in my head at a rapid pace throughout the day have the capacity to be released in a somewhat meaningful manner. There is something unique that happens for me whenever I start to try to unfold all of the things I didn’t know that I was thinking. And sometimes upon review I even surprise myself with what was going on in my head.

I don’t speak well. Words never form properly when I try to get my point across using words. If I even start to speak too loudly, something in my wants to cry, which makes no sense. So I’ve never been good at yelling in arguments, which is fine for me as it’s not my preferred method of communication anyway. There is a disconnect that happens when I try to say the things I want to say. While there is a complete connection that seems to extend beyond me when I try to write the things I want to write. Even the things I don’t want to write just flow out of me when I’m writing. In a sense I feel more brave when I am writing. In another I feel relieved. It’s as though I am able to voice my concerns to the universe and have them displayed in a manner that makes sense, instead of a manner that fails to be comprehensible.

I’m quite glad at the moment that I did start writing. Even though I’m a little concerned that I have no clue what I will write about from here on out. It’s hard to be too deep constantly. And it’s difficult to find the lines between what I feel is worth sharing and what isn’t. We all have things that flow for us in our lives. What are some of yours??

Day 3 – Music makes the world go ‘round

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Well, at least this is supposed to be day 3. I’ve been at two different houses today and the internet was out at both. Something happened with the line at the cable company, so I haven’t been able to get online all day. It’s been a nice change of pace. Normally I have checked my mail about 10 times by now. It’s just after 6 pm. I’ve been on all of my social network sites. Caught up on everything that I can be caught up on in the world of the internet. But, today I’m somewhat out of the loop, and it’s nice. I used my computer for something I haven’t in a long time, which is listening to my music. So I figured that today, I would talk about music. Because music keeps me sane!

There was a study published recently that talked about how music makes people happy. And I think most people agree that it’s true for them. I love music. When I was little the only shows I would watch on TV were ones that had people singing in them. So as you can imagine growing up in the 80s I watched a lot of Kids Incorporated and Jem (who truly amazed me). My parents even taped Kids Inc. for me so that I could watch it on the weekends while they slept in. I had a light up microphone that I used to sing oldies to, because my parents made us listen to the music they liked. Fortunately I never minded that, and I appreciate it today. Billy Joel was my first concert. I was somewhere around the age of 2. And that was quickly followed by the Beach Boys. The music I remember most from when I was really young comes from that era… It was the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Billy Joel and Motown. People find it funny in conversations when the Temptations come on and my response is always that it brings me back to my childhood, because the songs were popularized 20 years before I was born. But that’s the great thing about great music. It lives on.

When I need to escape, when I need to think, or when I need to just smile there’s a song for it. There are usually multiple songs for it. Music is diversified and designed to make us feel. Even without words, music can move us. I think the universe is inherently musical. It’s how it communicates with us and how we respond in kind. When I started writing on May 1st I also decided that I was going to work this month to improve my mental health practices. So I meditated that night after writing. It was brief, just five minutes or so. But I worked to focus my mind on peace and relaxation. I kept repeating the word calm in my head, because well… I don’t really know how to meditate without a focus, and before I can make my mind quiet I have to tell  it what I want it to do.  But we need those moments of calmness, and if we can get there stillness (but relaxing to that point takes me longer, my mind is quite active, as many others’ are). So I’m going to keep meditating for whatever amount of time I get each day to myself to find some quiet and calm. It really does help me focus. And today I’m going to add finding an old song that I used to love and haven’t listened to in a while and playing it. It’s funny how happy it made me stumbling upon some of the songs I did today. Even the sad songs made me smile. Singing is cathartic for me in a way that is similar to writing. Only I don’t sing well, so listening wouldn’t be of much benefit to others. Are there old songs you’ve forgotten you loved? Artists you wish were still on the radio? Everybody needs good music. It livens up the soul!

A journey through May, Mental Health Month

In an effort to be more productive with this blog, I decided that since May is “Metal Health Month” I would try to write something every day that in some form or fashion has to do with mental health. It’s interesting to me having studied psychology for as long as I have to see how the public field divides around mental health. There are those who are adamant about mental health and the help that can be derived from the “industry.” And there are those who despise its existence all together. I often have the argument presented to me, “If I am starving thinking good thoughts isn’t going to save me.” And while this may be true, as mental health isn’t physical food it does still play a role. The way we think, our habits, our mindsets they make a difference in just about everything. And perhaps if one is starving something as intangible as hope may not feed them, but it may give him the faculties to hold on until help arrives or to devise a plan on his own.

To doubt the importance of that which we cannot see is to doubt the importance of that which we can. Our physical existence is dependent upon our mental existence. We live in a world where perception is reality. And our perception, all that we perceive in life allows for our existence. Neglecting it is rarely beneficial to anyone. And working to better oneself in any form, including our mental health is what makes life a life that is lived.

So this is my initial blog to start off “Mental Health Month.” I’m not good at coming up with things to write every day. But I am going to do my homework and try to figure out something to say that is worth saying each day to provide a positive, encouraging look at living life through a mental health lens. Any ideas are certainly welcome!

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