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Well it would appear that my mental health has been declining a little of late, and I hadn’t noticed.  Sometimes that happens and the first I became aware of it was when a thought came into my head that actually I hadn’t written anything on this blog – or more specifically that I had stopped answering my daughters questions within the “Questions To A Parent With Mental Illness” Challenge that she had set me.

As I say, sometimes that happens and I lose huge chunks of time when I seem to simply zone out and function without really functioning properly.  I apologize for that and, now that I am aware of it, I can keep an eye on it.

I can also, of course, get back to answering my daughter’s questions…
DD 22

Hi Honey 🙂

I think, given the subject matter of this question, that this answer is probably going to be fairly short.  

But first please accept my apologies for the delay in answering it.  I think I explained the reason for this in my introduction above.  But I do want to apologize for not having answered this sooner.  And I also want to assure you that it is by no means down to any lack of interest on my part.

So, the above having been said, to answer your question.

I guess quite logically, the answers to the question, “What are some of the things that you (I) do which affect your (my) mental health positively” will be the opposites of those things which I do that affect my mental health badly.

And these would be…

Keeping my home neat and tidy wherever possible as this directly impacts my mental health.

Pacing myself. (Or rather trying to learn to)  Trying not to do too much at once.  Taking regular breaks etc.

Socializing more.  Getting out of the house, going into town more, shopping, attending church events and meetings.  Sinead (my carer) is a wonderful blessing in this respect.  She often encourages me into going out and this really does help.

And then of course there are additional ones – not directly or conversely linked to those I mentioned in my answer to your last question.

And the first of these would be routine and structure.  I find that having a routine and a structure to my day, and thus my week, is so helpful for my mental health.  It really affords me a good baseline from which to function.  It also, as is the case I mentioned within my introduction, affords me a fairly good and quick indicator when things start to slip with my mental health.

Additionally it limits any potential damage and affords a better foundation for recovery and repair after any episodes.

And so those would be the main “tangible” things that I do and which affect my mental health positively.

And then there are the less tangible or noticeable ones but which are also so very important.

Having and maintaining – wherever possible – healthy and positive relationships.  I actively avoid relationships which are too demanding or which are controlling or negative by nature or content.  And I think that this is an important one for all of us, regardless of any mental health issues.

There are in life, folk who seem to want to control us or whose input into our lives seem, in the main, critical or negative.  This has a negative effect on us and can be extremely draining on us.  This means that we are faced with three basic options.  1) Allow it to continue – thereby enabling or empowering that behaviour, 2) Try to change it – thereby addressing and improving that behaviour, or 3) Walk away from it – thereby removing the harmful effects of that behaviour.

Personally I always first try to consider if I have caused or am causing that behaviour.  I then try to understand it and see if I can help in any way.  Sometimes this behaviour is ‘learned’ or appears necessary to the person doing it.  And if I cannot then sadly sometimes you just have to walk away in order to protect your own mental health and often other relationships as this kind of thing can be quite cancerous in nature.

What we take in to our lives.  What we expose ourselves to. Can have a very real impact on us honey.  And so, because of my mental health issues, I am – as you know – very careful about this with regard to most things.  The kind of music that I listen to, the medications that I take, the food that I eat – although I admit that is a recent addition to my list.  The kind of television programs that I watch and when I actually watch them.  The books that I read.  The kind of websites that I visit and even the blogs that I choose to read on a regular basis.

And I am not only talking about morals or this being done as a result of my faith here honey.  This applies generally across the board and especially in respect of my mental health.  But and this is important honey, the absence of any mental health issues does not remove our need to be cautious here.  I think if a lot of us were to seriously audit and consider what we expose ourselves to and to adopt a healthier approach to this, we would be a lot better off.  

For me personally all of these things are important.  And I would also add a couple more things which I do and which affect my mental health positively…

Writing – my books, my poetry and my blogs.  All provide me with a creative outlet.  And also afford me a way of processing and communicating what is happening to me.  Additionally they afford me with a sense of purpose and a way in which I can live out my faith,  Whilst I am very keen to ensure that this blog for example focuses on Mental Health and Mental Illness, I write it not only for my own sake but in the hope that it will help others.  And helping others is, after all, a key aspect of my faith.  

My art – Drawing, sketching, painting, sculpting (although I don’t do a lot of sculpting nowadays) are again all creative outlets and again afford me with a way of expressing myself, a way of communicating what is happening with me. And they seem to bring joy to a lot of people.  And I really am blessed by that.

So there you have them honey.  Some of the things (actually the main things) that I do which affects my mental health positively.  I hope that answers that question for you and I hope that others will get something out of this answer too.

And honey, I know that I haven’t included my faith – going to church, praise and worship, studying my bible, or praying etc. – very much in my answer.  And as you know these are all extremely important to me and yes they all very much bless me and affect my mental health positively.  

But as I said above, I am keen that this blog focuses on mental health and mental illness and is not incorrectly thought of by others as just a way in which I can evangelize or spread my faith.

Again, I am sorry for the delay in answering this question honey.  I am aware that my mental health has slipped slightly over the past few days and I am trying to address that and to keep an eye on it.

With all my love.