Before we dive into an exploration of the ways I’m supporting my own mental wellness, I want to say a few things.
[This post references suicide. If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.]
One. This is my path. I am not making recommendations. I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Two. It’s worth noting that I’ve been in therapy on and off since I was 28. The first time helped me see my family history more clearly. The second time failed when the therapist said, “Isn’t it interesting that your family, then your church, and now your marriage are all essentially the same?” I walked out because I wasn’t ready to face that uncomfortable truth. The third time helped me face that truth and others. It helped me build a better life.
Three. I’ve never been on any medication for my mind because none of my therapists recommended it. They probably would have when I was a teenager, but I didn’t have a therapist back then.
Four. When I was a teenager, I was depressed but undiagnosed, and I seriously considered “leaving the planet.” If you want to know more about that, I did a podcast episode about it. A big reason I came out of the closet with my story was to help students in my class at UC who have these thoughts. Every semester, there is someone who tells me they are struggling. I wanted them to know that they are not alone, that there are people walking the planet who got through it.
Five. Over the years, I’ve figured out some nonmedical/ nonclinical things that help me feel better, and I think there are other things that will work, too. That’s what I’m going to explore here: things that make my mind feel better.
There. The cards are on the table.
In case you’re worried about me, I’m okay. When I got back from Vancouver and found myself crying every day, I told a writer friend on our standing Tuesday call.
Revealing my vulnerability isn’t something that would have occurred to me as a teenager. It’s something I would have only told a therapist for most of my life. But I am finally learning this—when I feel mentally shaky, I will tell someone.
The focus here will not be on heavy clouds or sad feelings. The focus will be on what helps. For example, the call with my friend on Tuesday. We’ll start there.
Chewing the Cud of Good
Thankful for an armful of peonies.