A Roman Emporer by the name of Markus Aurelius once said “Your life is what your thoughts make it.”

I’m not sure if he was or wasn’t counting on depression as a fact of life. But that’s exactly what he counted on. He understood there are dark times whether we can control it or not. Moreso, he understood how we have it within us to control how we manage depression. And that it was unique to every person.

One of my unique ways of managing depression is through things like the #mentalhealthweek challenge on Instagram. Each day is a day of reflection during your time of depression, post what you have learned, and so on. It is an effort to keep oneself accountable for managing depression in one own unique way.

A friend of mine gave me the idea of turning each of the five days I posted and turn it into a blog post here. At first, I was apprehensive. Then, after several hours of mulling it over, I decided “why not?”. So here it is, my 5 days of depression on Instagram turned into a blog post.

Day One

Piece by Piece – Mental Health Day One of Five – Monday, May 3rd, 2021: Day one (Monday) kicks off a week-long series of posts in line with keeping myself accountable for the changes I’m actively working towards.

For this first post, I want to say “No, I’m not okay,” and that’s alright. The first step in solving a problem is first admitting there is one. Well, I confess I’m a recovering alcoholic – 2 years sober now, diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain.

Side Note: I’m not glorifying mental health by any means. This is only to hold myself accountable for my words and actions

It’s difficult discussing topics such as mental health because I’m a children’s book author and an aspiring author in various other genres. What comes with that is Fred Roger’s level of public purity, it seems. But I believe the earlier we talk about mental health with our kids, the better. And that’s what I’d like to strive to inspire in you, the reader, with select titles I’d love to publish. If my content inspires others for any reason at all, great! But that’s not my end goal.

We all have a story to tell and sometimes those stories come in the form of unusual methods and platforms.

So what’s your story? What are you doing this week or even this month to work on bettering your mental health?

Day Two

Day 2 of 5 Mental Health Week: Star Wars Day!

Happy #starwarsday everyone! Tonight, I’ll be watching Episode 4 as that was the first Star Wars movie I ever watched.

Ironic, isn’t it? Appropriate title for the month?

My first time watching it came in the form of the limited edition Golden Box Set (4-6) many years ago as a birthday gift. I was such a star wars nerd as a kid; I dont know why I grew out of it. But I still love it regardless.

Anyways, hi! Umm, well, for day two I’d like to say I woke up feeling a wee bit better this morning – mental health-wise; yesterday was absolutely brutal for me. Comfort watching a movie or tv show is 100% valid whether it’s a trauma response or not. We already are in short supply of what makes us happy these days as it is. Tonight will be A New Hope because Rilee is being picked up by her mom later today. Rilee is too young to sit and watch these movies with me, sadly.

Do you have a comfort movie or TV show? πŸ€”

Day Three

Day 3 of 5: Exhausted and out of balance, but…

I’m alright.

πŸ‘‰ My workstation/electronics were nearly destroyed by my daughter.
πŸ‘‰ My daughter peed through her diaper and soaked her bottoms.
πŸ‘‰ Restaurant didn’t listen to how I wanted my food.

But…

πŸ’œ My workstation and electronics alike are fine.

πŸ’œ I have clean clothes for my daughter in events like this.

πŸ’œ Still have food to eat so it’s only a mild inconvenience. I’m not going to leave a bad review or raise hell about it.

For much of my life I believed if I didn’t stay upset about something then I’m lying about how I feel about it. It took a long time for me to unlearn toxic mindsets and thought patterns.

As the Roman Emperor Markus Aurelius once said “Your life is what your thoughts make it” so it’s my responsibility to have a better perspective on a situation and event before responding negatively towards it.

I can stay mad about something or I can make it better. It’s not always easy making the difficult decision to alter your perspective but always worth it in the end.

Day Four

#mentalhealthweek Day 4 of 5: I’m as exhausted as I’ve ever been in nearly ten years.

Living in a constant state of exhaustion because I spend most of my day taking care of my daughter. Then, when she’s asleep, I get to eat dinner and THEN start doing work for my business.

I’m a one-man army. I wear all the hats.

Trying to raise my daughter and work-from-home/run a business (when she’s awake) is next to impossible for me.

The average 4 – 5 hours of sleep I get each night, if at all, caught up with me today. Spent most of today trying to catch up on sleep; dropped off Rilee at her grandmother’s. While Thursdays are one of my nights with Rilee, I had to give it up this week so I can get some sleep.

The stress from running a business, being a single WFH dad, lack of sleep, etc has all but caused any positive mental health I had been working to build this week to plummet through the floor.

Enter: depression and suicidal ideation.

I’m not going anywhere, I promise, but I still think about it on a near daily basis. BUT I did manage to write a single page towards a new manuscript last night so I’m happy about that at least.

When I get like this, it’s hard for me to generate content I know the people who follow me will enjoy. But I try. And I think that’s all that matters at this point.

I’m trying so hard every damn day to keep bouncing back towards where I want to be, mentally and emotionally.

With that said, what do you like to do to distract your mind from the “brain fog”?

Day Five

#mentalhealthweek Day 5 of 5: I…I freaking made it. And I’m in a lot of physical pain right now.

Chronic pain is something I’ve been living for roughly 15 years now. It’s not a walk in the park by any means whatsoever. But I did find a positive and “healthy” solution for it and that’s all that matters at this point.

Know that there is always someone you can reach out to for support whether that be moral, mental, emotional, or even physical support. They’re all valid in their own unique ways.

The greatest thing about the war on mental health is you’re not without weapons or tools to choose from. The only thing that matters is how you learn to wield them.

With time, patience, grace, and self-forgiveness.

In The End…

It doesn’t have to be scary. And it doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t have to be swept under the rug either. The more we openly speak about mental health, the more we normalize it. The more we normalize it, the more access to mental health care becomes available.