Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ode to Mental Health Awareness Month, May 2018

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge it because millions of people, as well as myself, combat mental health diseases every day. Enduring mental health disease has been a rough road for us however it can be done. I want people to understand that life does not come to an end just because you have a mental disease. I am a living witness that you can have a quality life while sustaining your disease.

What I have found to be effective and most helpful over the years, is to have a community of health care professionals, family members, loved ones and friends surrounding me at all times. If you do not have a health care professional that can treat your disease it should be a priority that you find one. You can find a health care professional, whether it be a licensed counselor, social worker, therapist, psychologist even psychiatrist, without having health insurance or low income. It is imperative that you have professionals in place to diagnosis, treat, and monitor your mental disease so that you do not hurt yourself or others. Most cities across the US have a local mental health department that can assist you with little financial burden. For instance, in Columbus, Ohio for Franklin County NetCare Access can help you in a crisis and get you set up with the professionals. Other places have organizations to aid you and refer you to the best match for your needs.

While you are researching your health care options you should take a good look around your inner circle of family, loved ones and friends because they are the ones who know you best. They can assist you with finding a professional who has your best interest at heart and advise them on things that you may not be able to advise them on. For instance, when I had my first Bipolar episode my mother and sister had to take over the reins. I was not healthy enough to help myself and they were a godsend. So, be sure your inner circle has your back and best interest in mind. You don’t want anyone who will enable you and encourage you to stop/refuse medications, treatment or therapy because those the three entities will be your life saver.

Now, I know there is a lot of stigmatism associated with mental disease, especially with everyone running to the conclusion that the people who commit mass murders have these issues versus being the epitome of evil. However, having a mental health disease is not wicked and does not stop life from going on. It should not give anyone the insecurity that they are not worthy of being treated with respect and love. I have had people in my past, even those in my inner circle, who I have discontinued being in a relationship with because they thought they could get over on me because of my disease. That included friends, lovers and even clergy members. I know it’s tough out here in the world, but our mental disease, which is our cross to bear, is not any different from living with a physical ailment such as diabetes or sickle cell anemia.

In conclusion my post today is just to give recognition to a disease that deserves to be taken seriously and not thrown around to aid political juggernauts in creating fear throughout the world. People living with real mental disease are not malicious, vile or revolting. We are every day citizens who go to work or school and contribute to our communities. We are not monsters, but real people who have feelings and should be treated with as much respect as anyone else. If you know someone in your circle who is living with a mental health disease give them a hug today and let them know that they matter to you and you love them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

On Writing: Overcoming Obstacles Three

As I continue the topic of overcoming obstacles in writing, I want to address procrastination. We all do it. Procrastination is probably the number one obstacle that writers face every day. How many times have you got ready to write, opened your laptop but ended up on Facebook for an hour instead of finishing your last chapter. Better yet how many times did you decide to research a topic again for the umpteenth time knowing you already have enough information to create a good scene instead of writing the scene.

It happens to even the best writers in the game. So how do we overcome this dastardly deed? First things first you must realize that procrastination is a habit and with all habits it can be broken. However, it is not a habit that can be stopped automatically. There will be a lot of effort on your part to develop new good writing habits. It is not so easy to “just do it” like Nike professes. With any habit you must develop healthy behaviors to overcome the unhealthy ones. I know, I know I went there, but you do want your writing career to be a healthy and productive one, right? So, treat it as such. You must find out the underlying reasons why you procrastinate when it comes to your writing. There could be several, but I will look at least three here.

One reason may be because you are afraid. You could be afraid of failure, have a fear of success, or fear of losing autonomy however, you should not let those fears stop you from writing. Ask yourself what you are afraid of and why. Get to the bottom of the presumed fear so you can work towards combating it successfully. Another reason why you may procrastinate is because you want to be perfect. Perfectionism goes hand in hand with procrastination because you have developed this warped sense that you must be perfect in your writing or even have the perfect atmosphere to write in before performing the task. Still another reason could be that you don’t like what you are writing. You may have developed a dislike for what you are creating because you are uninterested in the subject or it doesn’t confirm to your positive outlook on life.

But don’t fret, there are steps you can take to overcome procrastination. The first step is to take inventory of when you are procrastinating. Buckle down when you find yourself doing the act. I know it’s hard to admit when you are procrastinating but if you actively recognize when you are in the midst of that habit you can get back on track. Then you must figure out how you are procrastinating. Are you surfing social media, reading a fiction book for “fun”, organizing your desk or just eating another Snickers bar. Once you figure out how you’re doing it you can catch yourself and adjust. After these two seemingly basic steps have been adjusted then you can move on to creating an environment conducive to your writing needs. Make sure you set aside a space that is dedicated only to where you write your magic. That place could be the kitchen table after dinner or your desk inside your office. Once you are in that space you have to allow yourself time to write. Make it a priority to hash out the exact time of day you will be writing. After you commit to doing this seeming simple tweaks, you will finish your masterpiece and become a productive writer.