Journeyman's Row
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***  October 11, 2016  -  June 30, 2021  ***

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Ups and downs and ups

Posted on December 20, 2016 at 4:00 AM

It is with thanks from a very kind acquaintance, half way around the world, that I was reminded of how the ups and downs of year's end call for the need to balance mental health with mental illness. In this respect, think of the health portion is the Up and the illness portion with the Down. Whether you see life as a glass of milk half full or empty, being better able to maintain a balance between both can be beneficial whether you have severe mental illness or only very minor. Take it from me; half of the time I don't know how I balance myself. I just do it, I suppose. Lucky me.


Some people are more perceptive of the negativity in their lives, and I'm sure some people are more outright responsive to positive elements. Creating and maintaining a balance isn't like having to learn a foreign language, but it does require some commitment and practice. As I indicated in my previous blog posts, "Snowy white" and "Snow envy", at one point I decided to try diminishing the effect that bare winters had been having on me. After that decision when the next winter season came and had no or less snow than average for this region, it took a daily effort to change how I reacted to those times when snow was scarce.


This effort also had the dormant effect of causing snow envy, only in recent years, but in the bigger picture of a prolonged period of time I managed to balance the anxiety of those once depressing bare winter seasons. Over time, I have been able to perceive a lull or low about to happen shortly after experiencing certain high and uplifting periods of time. It was as if I had been developing either a sensitivity or defense mechanism against negative moods, though I can't always anticipate a depressing mood beforehand. If you feel a negative period of emotion about to happen, this is your opportunity to do something about it. By practicing distraction that could take your mind off of the depressing mood swing, or create a positive mood, eventually it will become more and more effective. Practice and commitment makes for a stronger mind. Although, it may seem that you can't avoid all of the negativity.


Who said you needed to miss the entire storm to make it through? :)


Simply by deflecting some of the stress and anxiety you can still make a difference. One of the easiest and daily habits I have created was to laugh and smile more per day. In some ways which I will talk about later, literally, if a particular day like my birthdays becomes a major opportunity for depression then I try to fight it. In the last two years, rather than going out to dinner with my parents and brother I changed things up. Last year I had my parents order in to eat at home so I could have my favorite food, traditionally made Italian Stromboli. This year my parents and I drove to Nittany Mall to go to the first Italian Oven restaurant I've been to in years for the same Stromboli meal. Deep inside, I still hated it being my birthday and me getting one year older.


Yet on those two birthdays, I made a conscious effort to balance anxiety, depression, with anything opposite that I could throw at it. Essentially, what I did was to distract and delay myself from getting the chance to brood and feel down. I disagree with how some people insist a person with mental health issues can simply feel happy on command. We are human after all; full of flaws and differences, yet similarities that we all can make use of. Some people need to make a conscious, every day, determined effort each time they wake up in the morning or try to fall asleep at night to get through their days or rough times in their lives. I'm not trying to throw sand in the face of my critics. I am just leveling the playing field and beginning to weed out social stigmas, which can regularly cause ignorance. Ignorance, that does not help these situations.


In the words of Richard Dreyfuss' character Dr. Leo Marvin says in film What About Bob, "Baby steps". If you can make leaps and bounds of progress, by all means help as many people as you can and take those leaps. For some people it is more effective to shore up progress with smaller initiatives. That is what I am here for.


I am here to guide your Light, and absorb your Darkness.


Why? Because I can, and from here on I intend to do what I can to help. Even though my chronophobic anxiety is still making my life miserable with preventing me from resolving my career indecision.

Categories: Mental Health & Awareness

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