Journey Towards Mental Wholeness

Journey Towards Mental Wholeness Using PianoPan thinks I should see someone for my worrying. I keep thinking that I don’t have a serious enough problem to need a professional to examine my head. Actually, I was offended the first time he suggested it because it’s one thing to joke about being crazy, but another thing for someone else suggest that you’re damaged enough to need professional help. I always assumed that if I manage to get myself married I’ll need couples therapy or a shaman or whatever they go to to fix marriages, but not now – not for something as seemingly insignificant as worrying a little too much.

People (myself included, until recently) don’t realize that mental health is like physical health. If you have a fever, a friend can nurse you back to health for a week, but if you have cancer, you’ll need a doctor to put you back together, and in the same way, if you have a serious mental health problem, professional help is your best bet.

I first wanted to try and make some changes myself. I started to create little systems to manage my life and its stress, and here’s how I did it. Please note that I do not claim to be a health professional, and this is not medical advice, I do encourage you to seek professional help if needed.

Inspiring Role Models

When Terry Crews was cut from a football team, he would offer to paint star athletes’ portraits to earn a few thousand dollars. He was not a superstar football athlete but it opened a thriving career in entertainment, so while it might not be great for your pride, sometimes you have to set aside your pride if you’re looking for those successes.

Not being good at the first career you choose can easily send a person into a downward spiral, and in fact, a lot of people are not good at their career at first. Terry Crews turned it around and by his own admission, he is an unlikely statistic from Flint, Michigan.

If we peek at the bright side of each situation a bit more often, we might feel more grateful for what we do have.

Each time I almost get annoyed that I can’t play some of my favourite piano music at the same level as I used to play, I also remind myself that I am fortunate to have the muscle memory to play piano at all, given that I hadn’t practiced in many years.

So, each time I catch myself thinking a negative thought or complaint, I will tack on something I am grateful for in my life.

Work ≠ Fun Time

I made sure work time doesn’t bleed into fun time. I’m a strong advocator for giving something all you have, but unfortunately that also makes me ill.

So I have turned off notifications for work/side project messages on my personal phone and I only check them during work hours. I have a few months “off” from work, so I have hidden my work notifications and I only let a few close friends invade my personal time. Unfortunately, I still get overwhelmed with social media, so I’ve taken steps to reduce my exposure: I don’t have a facebook/instagram/twitter app on my phone, my only social app is reddit, which lives on the third page of my phone.

Treat distractions like a cookie jar: out of sight, slowly out of mind.

Finding Comfort in My Piano

A lot of things have made me cry recently. I will also admit that I have contemplated killing myself, last month, but I don’t have access to anything… that won’t cause pain. I really thought it through. Nothing happened, but Pan was concerned that I had those thoughts at all.

So I decided to play piano. It cleared my mind.

I play all my favourites that I can’t quite play perfectly anymore, but they make me happy.

I play the pieces that remind me of my dad when he would peek his head around the door.

I play the pieces that remind me of the hours I put into training my fingers when the sun would stream through the windows and I would wish so badly I were outside playing with my sister.

I play the pieces that let me pound on the piano and also the pieces that let my fingers cry for me.

Where To Go Now…

It’s now probably a week and a half since… I had depressing thoughts. Pan and I compromised: I don’t have to see anyone if I promise to speak up if I ever have those thoughts again, and I will also talk to my good friend about it who is in counselling. I do not want to be on medication, ever. I have been doing all my favourite summer activities: mountain biking, hiking, swimming, and I am ashamed that I ever wanted to give this up. I look at my legs and they are already tastefully sprinkled with scars and bruises from this year’s summer activities and I haven’t even been surfing yet

Today, I tell a friend about how I thought about killing myself, and I feel a bit lighter. She tells me it is okay to have those thoughts and to not feel ridiculous because those thoughts were real and actionable at one point in time and many people get lucky and nothing irreversible happens, but also many people are not so lucky and succeed in committing suicide or inflict irreversible damage upon themselves and they regret it afterwards.

I am telling you this because I am one of the lucky ones, and I hope with the bottom of my heart that you are one of the lucky ones as well. We all go through tough times, and I believe that we can get through them.

There are a lot of reasons a person may have thoughts about committing suicide or harming themselves and these reasons are very real in the moment, but the dark thoughts pass. If you are going through a tough time, this too shall pass. If you have thoughts about harming yourself, please talk to someone about it. Please seek help. Your life is worth living for, I swear.

Grace

if you need help, please access the following resources: Suicide Prevention Canada & Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA/Intl.) 1-800-273-8255
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Joey
Joey
2 years ago

Hey Grace. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been down. I’ve had many points in my life where I’d find myself depressed or searching for meaning and I think you’re on the right track with gratitude and reflecting on all that you have to be grateful for (or even how certain things that happened could’ve always gone much worse). I sincerely feel I’m at my happiest in life after bouts of meditation where I reflect on the things – irreplaceable and otherwise – I have to be grateful for and what it would be like to either lose them and/or what… Read more »

Joceyln ( Lady J)
Joceyln ( Lady J)
2 years ago

Morning Grace, I’ve been there. But you are right this too will pass. You must learn to take time for yourself and do some things that make you feel better, Happy. Because sometimes you get overwhelmed with daily duties. I too find peace in some songs that I use to play. Life is worth living , I promise. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning!!!

carol
carol
2 years ago

yea — I’ve been there too. I feel the most happy when I get to sit down at the piano and just ‘belt out’ my fave pieces. it feels really good to get my fingers to pound on the keys when no one is at home. just me the piano and my kiity stitch. he hops onto the bench next to me and cuddles and puts his paw on my lap as i play. sometimes i feel like my dad is also watching me play. his forehead and eyes peeking over the newspaper as he sits in the dining room… Read more »

Elise
Elise
2 years ago

I couldn’t understand you more as I’ve been going through the same thoughts lately. Honestly speaking, I still struggle with finding joy in life. But it’s in the depth of my pit that I realized that I wasn’t stuck in the conditions I was in. So since then, I started trading some work for relaxation, some bad friendships for some valuable time alone… No, I won’t be able to be perfect and tick off all of my resolutions for this year… but it’s fine too. I guess, so.

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