Older article got stuck in draft…
I originally titled this “Self Help Still Implies We Need Help!” It was a title I had come up with before thinking of something to write about. What I eventually wrote could have still been a fit with this title, but it seemed like a very distant tangent.
I jumped into a political debate on Facebook this week, which is the equivalent of a temperature gauge going off on a car. I am not trying to paint this picture on others, but for me, when I succumb to having a political discussion on Facebook, it is a damned good sign that I am close to depression or anxiety or both. Buying lottery tickets (I know better) is another good sign that I’m running into depression or anxiety.
It doesn’t mean that I am feeling deep or heavy depression or anxiety. It just means I’m red lining a bit.
Yesterday, I knowingly made the mistake of letting a political meme shared by a friend, whom I like and respect but whose politics are almost a polar opposite of my own, draw me into a political discussion. It was fruitless. There was no point. Neither of us were going to change our minds about anything. What was the point?
Part of my inner dialogue went a little like this ‘if I let my friends harp on about something politically and I do not respond to state that their stance is not something I agree with, then I am in essence giving them the perspective that their view is more widely held than it really is’. If I do not ‘speak up’ then their sounding board might push them to take on more extreme views pushing them further from myself and also further into connections with people that also are talking themselves into a political frenzy. (Keep in mind this is an inner dialogue, a judgmental one taking place when I’m in a low spot and simply not minding my own business. Intellectually, I know better. But that feeling thing can take control sometimes or maybe a better description is that we do not always have the muscle memory to practice best practices.)
This is much more likely to happen when I’m in a tough place or descending into a tough place.
What’s more, having one of these conversations is almost certainly going to make feel less positive and not better. Nothing good is going to come from this type of thing.
I know better.
I mention it here because this is one of the great ways for me to raise up and permanently cast away my demons, my issues. Sometimes the demons stay down, sometimes they come back and I have to get rid of them again.
In terms of my daily routines, I’m doing everything I need to do to keep myself happy and progressing. My weekly and monthly routines are a little behind. I was physically and mentally exhausted last night and didn’t seize the opportunity to get out and go dancing with friends. I let the opportunity slip by to go out for an outdoor movie in the park with the kids and other friends too.
I really just needed some solitude. As a single father of three, that’s not always an option and last night, the option wasn’t there. I am happy and grateful that I had my kids with me last night. We had some fun watching a comedy and playing Candyland. It was a good evening, but on a personal basis I needed some time to get right with myself as well.
Its that juggling act parents have to make to practice self care so they can take care of their kids balanced with the time and attention demands their children require.
I’m generally happy to error on the side of spending time with my kids, especially now that I only get to spend every other week with them. This week was a little different as there was a holiday weekend that followed my normal 7 days of custody. So I get 10 days with the kids. This is a good thing and I am happy about it.
Still there are no normal routines in divorce custody schedules.
I have to literally seize every hour of every day of every week of every month.
Seizing solitude is a weirdness that I personally have difficulty embracing. I need it, but as I continue to getting used to my time alone with no family, it feels like the last thing I need, until I really need it. 🙂
I’m writing this during a pool break at the local public pool. I have been here with my daughters swimming and diving off the diving board for the last 2 hours or so. Its hot here in the sun as I type this.
I’m getting or building a lot of Vitamin D and that feels very good. Its something else that I need and needed. I’m taking what I can get today, sun, vitamin D, quality time with my girls.
I made it to yoga this morning and had a late breakfast. I got a full 8 hours of sleep last night. I needed a little more, but I needed yoga a bit more, and my youngest was quick to walk into my bedroom at 8 am turn on my lights and ask if the community pool ( a different pool in my apartment complex was open yet). It was supposed to be open, but as far as I can tell no one remembered to come and remove the chain and padlock from the gate. We received an email yesterday saying it would open today at 10 am and then it didn’t.
I had visions of hanging out close to home and walking back and forth to the pool getting snacks and drinks when we needed it.
It didn’t work out that way and we found a different pool, probably better, close by to go to instead. Seizing the day, seizing the afternoon.
When I first woke up this morning, Facebook served up a reminder to me of a post from last year when I was still reeling from shock or just starting to emerge from shock as I awoke to the fact that I was getting divorced. The shock had originally kept some of the pain at bay, but three weeks after the original surprise the shock subsided and the full pain hit.
I had an anxiety attack, a break down while sorting through twenty three years of family pictures. I thought I was going to have a heart attack and die. I had never had an anxiety attack and never witnessed anyone having one.
On this day a year ago, it was about 4 days after the attack and I wrote about purging, about getting rid of my bed that I felt had contributed a bit (not all of it but a bit) to the divorce. It was a king and too wide and I felt that it had added to the distance problem that had grown over the years.
Today, I was reminded how much my writing at that time included a projection of my feelings onto what my ex-wife was or might have been feeling. The projection did not help. The projection probably added nail gun nails to the coffin of our relationship.
But I was in too much pain and did not have enough self awareness at the time to do any better. It was a mistake but it was the type of mistake that one makes likes screaming an F Bomb in front of little kids when your leg breaks and the bone shoots out of your skin. You’d like to take back the words, you’d like to have never said them, but even if you had it to do over again, odds are you wouldn’t cope with the pain much better than the first time. Some of us can and some of us can’t. I can laugh at physical pain, mental pain is something beyond me.
So today, I’m relaxing in the sun. Playing in the water, letting these words fly quickly just before letting them totally go and I’m heading for the water to fly off a diving board, and then soar through the water.
Water is as much a heeling tool for me as sunlight is.
I know what doesn’t work for me. I know many of the things that do work for me. Sun, writing, flying, swimming, yoga, paddle boarding, dancing, laughing, being with people I love … These are the good things for me.
Find your good things. Write a list, grow the list, find more, experiment and find even more, grow your list even more. Do this for yourself for the days when you need it!
Make yourself a great day!