What or Who is a Good Person?

Bangs Head on Desk by Tolan88 @ deviantart

Bangs Head on Desk by Tolan88 @ deviantart

I was going to post today about Perfectionism – as it was a recent discovery of mine, but instead, my lovely psychologist threw me a curve ball.  She decided that we needed to work through one of my beliefs, and it was quite a tear jerking moment.  I had to work through the thought that “I am not good enough”, which is something that I have lived with pretty much my entire life.  We went through the arguments for and against (to work out what are facts and what is fiction) and often it can be hard to find some against’s, although unwittingly, I had done that myself.  I got to a part about parenting – and I am not a good parent – and that started me off again.

So, my homework was to define “a good person” and “a good parent“.

That might seem easy – a good person is someone who is good right?  but what is good?

I asked my husband, and he reckons that someone who is honest, has integrity and trustworthy.  That’s all well and good, but what does that look like?  I wanted a more rounded definition to take back to my psychologist.  My Mum didn’t feel she was able to answer that question.

A good person – what do they do?

A good person is someone who is there for others, is selfless, kind, gentle, able to support and encourage someone in times of need.  They are friendly, helpful, a good listener and someone with sound advice.  Does this sound right to you?  What do you consider to be a good person?

What about a good parent – what does one of them look like?  What do they do?

For me, a good parent is someone who loves unconditionally, gives their time and patience to their child(ren), offers advice, help, but allows the child to make and learn from their own mistakes.  They support and encourage their child(ren) in all that they do.  They discipline them when they need to be, and teach them the basics to a healthy long living life of gratitude.

These are my own thoughts on the matter, but I am curious what other people think?  What is your definitions of a good person and a good parent?  If you don’t want to respond on here, feel free to email me at catherine(at)catherinemede(dot)com.

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Cold and Flu’s and Downhill Battles

Its been a while since I have done a Mental Health Post, and with having a cold and viral infection, it is timely that I write a post.

Normally with a cold, I can have one day when I feel really yuck, and then I am back on the road to recovery, however this time, it hasn’t been quite so easy to shake.  In fact I haven’t been able to shake it at all, and every time I think I am recovering, I have another ache, pain or ailment pop up.

So Friday I started feeling unwell, I had two days at home, feeling sorry for myself and thought that by Monday, I would be feeling OK.  Wrong.

Monday came, and went, and there was little improvement.  In fact, by Monday night I had wound myself up nicely and ended up with Asthma.  Fortunately I have an asthma plan and with help from my beloved, I was able to calm down and sleep for the night.

There was no improvement on Tuesday either, and by Wednesday, I knew that I wasn’t getting better, and my mood started to drop.

Why did it drop?  I guess I spend a lot of time, when I am well, focusing on keeping myself mentally well.  I do things that make myself feel better, and with not being well, I have been unable to do those things.  I couldn’t concentrate long enough to read anything except at night.  My head ached, my chest rattled, and I just didn’t have any reserves left.

Fortunately, my husband was also very onto it this time, and while I knew I was going downhill, he knew just what I needed to make me feel better, and it did.  With some kind loving and words of encouragement, I was able to smile again, and know that I have the support I need when I needed it.

It is really important when you have any mental illness that you that you take particular care.  Having been on a course of Antibiotics for my arm, my immune level was compromised, and then with the virus on time, the cold just latched on and wouldn’t let go.  Its important to make sure that you have contingencies in place, to counter for those moments when your physical health hits the skids.  Being aware that you have a tendency to decline, may be half your battle won.  Having a plan in place to counteract it, will really work in your favour.

Being unwell has meant that a lot of my contingency plans haven’t been able to work because they involve getting outside and walking, but that doesn’t mean I have to limit myself exercise wise.  There is still yoga, which can be done gently while in a congested state.  Watching your favourite videos, or even cuddling with your favourite toy (or partner, which is much better), can all be part of those plans – provided of course that your partner can put up with you and your germs!)

I am slowly getting better, and my mental health can only improve with my own health.

So what plans do you have in place for those moments when things fall apart?

Life and Complications

MaskI was hoping to post today about my tramping shakedown trip, but to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered.  I’m tired, low on energy and strength and just running out of joy.

Thank goodness I have an appointment with a psychiatrist today.  I was going to say that she will have the answers, but she doesn’t.  She’s an awesome sounding board though.  I am pretty much in a holding pattern at the moment, waiting to get into the hospital to see a psychologist, and fortunately this psychiatrist has taken me under her wing in the meantime.

To make it even nicer, another lady from the Mental Health Unit rang me last week, just to make sure everything was OK, and that I was coping and to let me know that there is only a couple of people ahead of me on the list, so I should get a psychologist soon.  I sometimes wish that I was staying with the psychiatrist, she has a sense of humour and a real understanding and is so good at validating my feelings, even if they are of confusion.  And she thanks me for sharing things with her.

As for complications – I guess having changed my ideas about what I do and don’t want to do, I now have to work out how to go about changing the situation, and unfortunately most of it is money based, so unless I find a money tree, or deal in illegal legal highs (which by the way I don’t condone or use), then money isn’t going to miraculously appear in front of me.  But I have had an idea, I just need to approach a couple of people to see if it is feasible to work it.

Anyway, another day, another dollar (which goes to the family budget, not my work budget) and I better get myself organised.

Sigh.

The “Can’t Help It” Days

Everyone has them, the days when they just keep sighing, nothing seems interesting, and they can’t get over themselves.  We call them “The Can’t Help Its”.  But how does one get over them?

I had one of those days in the weekend.  It had been an extremely busy week the previous week.  I spent some time at the op shop, I walked, rode a bike, helped with firewood, yet my day on the beach with my son, I just couldn’t get out of my funk.  Physically my body was ready to keep going, but mentally, I was exhausted.  I guess all the physical activity had outweighed its usefulness.

Having suffered from depression for the best part of four years now, these days can be harder than most, but I have to remember, that it isn’t a downer, it is just a blip on my radar.  I just have to remember all the good things that I do.

And it was my Mum that started the conversation, about why we volunteer our time.  We both work at op shops (aka opportunity shops / second hand shops / junk shops, whatever they are called in your part of the world), and often we get asked why we volunteer.  Mum couldn’t explain why she did, but I could.  I do it, because I want to give back to the community I live in.  All the money raised from our op shop is used to provide funds for local community groups who apply for help.

It was a real step outside of my comfort zone.  A big step out of my comfort zone, but a good one for me.  It has given me a sense of pride and sense of self, knowing that what I am doing, albeit a small part, is helping others.

Mum has always talked to me about the grid – a set of 3 x 3 squares, which makes up our lives.  Each square has a role that you play in it.  Every day, you should do something from each grid, that leads to a sense of accomplishment for the day.  It gives you a sense of purpose.

I don’t necessarily follow the grid pattern, but I try to focus on at least one thing that makes me happy each day.  Writing makes me happy, as does working at the op shop, or working at my day job.  Reading, spending time with my family, and walking / tramping are also things I enjoy doing.

So how did I end up getting out of my funk?  I actually ended up having an afternoon nap.  Sometimes it isn’t quite so drastic, sometimes its watching a funny video, or spending time doing some kind of physical activity.  In fact, once I woke up, had tea, I went out and stacked some of the fire wood that the kids delivered to my place on Friday.  It was what I needed to feel that little bit brighter.

So what do you do when you have the “can’t help its”?

And the word for the week is… Connections

communicationThis word has popped up so many times for me this week – that I just can’t ignore it.

First, the psychiatrist that has been assessing me, told me that it is important for people to have connections in their lives, to connect with others and be socialable.  Then a book I am reading talked about creating connections within yourself.  Thirdly, at my writers meeting on Saturday, Ro Cambridge spoke about making connections to further yourself.

Connections, connections, connections!

con·nec·tion

[kuh-nek-shuhn]  

noun

1. the act or state of connecting.
2. the state of being connected: the connection between cause and effect.
3. anything that connects; connecting part; link; bond: an electrical connection.
4. association; relationship: the connection between crime and poverty; no connection with any other firm of the same name.
5. a circle of friends or associates or a member of such a circle.
Connection is a real foreign term for me, my life has been spent avoiding connections, or making connections in all the wrong places.  It is only now that it is starting to make sense.  And I have been so busy developing my internal connections that I neglected a very important part of my family.
My son.
He came to me the other day, crying, because he was “lonely”, he felt such intense loneliness, even when surrounded by friends.  He said it was affecting his sleep and he felt all squirmy in the guts.
How did I manage to miss this!  It was my husband that pointed out to me that my son was craving time with me, and because I had been so focused on getting myself right, I hadn’t thought about him.
So we made a date.  After school on Thursday, we would do some drawing together, after he had been on the computer (he has a half hour limit).  It was so important to him that we spend time together, that he asked if we could do it before his computer time.
With suffering from depression – because it has been confirmed by a psychiatrist that I have been – I have only been able to focus on myself.  I now have to widen my circle and spend time – quality time – with my son, doing things that he enjoys doing, that we both like doing together.
This isn’t a bad thing.  It gives me something else to work on – along with my self esteem and depression issues (yeah!  surprised me too to learn that I had low self esteem!)
So, remember, connections are good, even with your children.  And husband, and wife, and mother, father, siblings.  Connections build and strengthen relationships.

Charlotte Dawson RIP 22 February 2014

Charlotte DawsonCharlotte Dawson was a NZ born celebrity who struggled with depression.  On 22nd February 2014, she was discovered dead in her own apartment – Police aren’t looking for anyone in connection with her death.  Which means she killed herself.

Ms Dawson was an intelligent beautiful woman, successful and on the outside, appeared to have it all.  But she had suffered depression for many years, and while trying to break the stigma of it, often shared her thoughts and experiences through Social Media (mostly through Twitter).  She suffered abuse and cyberbulling and told to “go and kill yourself.”

It is shocking to think that people have no empathy out there, and are willing to say something as stupid as that behind the guise of a twitter account.  Nobody came out and said that to her face.

I heard about her death at my party on Saturday night, and it actually stunned me.  While I sympathised with her for her struggles – I understood how hard it could be to live with depression.  I couldn’t understand though, why she never found the answers that she was searching for, because depression is about finding the problem and solutions to make yourself better.

But these are my thoughts on the matter of her suicide:

I don’t know whether to be angry, sad or frustrated.  Why?

Angry because she has basically told people – through her actions – that it is okay to end your life because it isn’t worth it.  She was trying to be a role model…

Sad because she couldn’t find the answers that she was desperately looking for… (to be loved, to be wanted…), because of the effects it will have on her family (why couldn’t we help her, why didn’t she talk to us.)

Frustrated that while people might not have actually contributed to her death, it does say something about society that they believed they had a right to tell her to “go kill yourself”.

Life with depression is hard, it is frustrating and confusing, but some people are determined to get better and work hard at getting their life back on track.  Whether this is done via medication, counselling, exercising, journaling, talking… the list goes on. Depression is curable, it doesn’t have to end with your own death – there are other options out there.

So I hope, Ms Dawson, that you have finally found the peace you were looking for.  I just pray that thousands of others out there discover that there are more positive answers.

Depression… Or Something Else?

An interesting dilemma has occurred.  I went to the Doctor the other day, because the Sertaline I am on, just isn’t working.  Full stop.  I was a mess, crying, wondering what the hell was wrong with me.  As long as I kept myself busy, I didn’t have to focus on how bad things were getting.

The Doc rang the Mental Health Unit to discuss possible options regarding antidepressants, and promised to ring back and let me know what was going on.  I haven’t heard from her.

In the meantime, in desperation, my husband suggested I start taking the Vitamin B supplements that I was taking prior to Christmas.  I was a little bit cautious about that because I stopped taking them when the bottle ran out, and that was about the same time I crashed.

Well guess what.  After three days of being on Vit B’s, I am feeling a hell of a lot more normal (I am still on the Sertraline until the Doc tells me otherwise!)  So if the B Vit’s are making me feel better – what the hell were the antidepressants doing???

And why was I on antidepressants???  Am I not depressed?  Have I been pumping my body full of synthetic materials for nothing?  I am thankful that my husband has been helping me through this.  He is the one that wants me off the meds, and now I am starting to believe that he might be onto something.

Until the Doc rings me back, I am going to keep taking the meds, and the B vits, because this is working for me.