Monday's Mental Health Moment:
Where I work (which is Inpatient Behavioral Health - we no longer refer to these as 'psych wards' and 'mental hospitals') we talk about mindfulness quite a bit. If you are not familiar with it, basically it's being present, or what some say is being 'in the moment'. I was first introduced to this term in 2007 at a table in my dietitian's office when we talked about mindless eating versus being mindful at mealtimes. Not being mindful when eating usually meant that I was inattentive to the purpose food was serving for me. Instead of enjoying meals, I was thinking about exercise and how I'd burn off the calories, the crap day I had, the school papers that were due, and the list goes on and on. Mindless eating was the only way I had ever taken nutrition into my body. Mindfulness taught me to focus on food as fuel and completely changed the way I eat and why I eat.
So, that is mindfulness in a nutshell. If it's not something you're familiar with, I encourage you to explore it more in-depth. It is not just used for food/mealtimes, but it can help with daily stressors and many of the patients we see find this to be beneficial.
There is mindfulness, and then there is Melissa's Mind-fullness. It's being in a different kind of moment. Melissa's definitely got a mind full. I can tell you that a cockroach can live for 13 days without a head. I know that in the time it takes to drive from Wisconsin to Alaska, you can listen to John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" approximately 928 times. The actor who played Charlie Bucket in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" is a veterinarian. Kickstart contains 5% juice and has 92mg of caffeine. An elephant that doesn't matter is irrelephant. And things like this float through my mind and occasionally shoot out of my mouth. All day. EVERYDAY. This is mind-fullness.
When the mind is so full that it hardly has time to take a breather. Some call this "racing thoughts" or "mania". No, not Melissa. I call it normal and even sometimes entertaining. I like having a mind full of junk. It kind of reminds me of my car after a 60 day stretch of below zero temperatures. It's too cold to clean it out, so when spring finally comes, I find all this crap I've collected through the winter. Basically, my mind could be featured on an episode of Hoarders.
How does one deal with a mind full of stuff? Oh, there are lots of strategies that keep me balanced and functioning at a healthy level of abnormal.
I intend to dive more into relaxation and meditation on this blog at a later date. Some people seem to enjoy quiet music, nature walks, the beach, or reading a book for relaxation. Lately, my relaxation has been Netflix. Binge-watching, actually. I'm halfway through season 3 of Dexter and I started it last week. How watching a show about a serial killer is "relaxation" is something I can't really explain all that well. Like I said, keeping that level of abnormal as healthy as possible.
I like to spend quiet time with myself. Googling more junk to pack in the trunk of my cerebral cortex.
If you're one of the 9 people who follow this blog, you know I've been sick a lot since the end of last summer. Exercise is not really something I've been doing much of, but I used to. When I would exercise, I found that time hitting the pavement running was a good distraction. All that stuff my mind was full of found a closet to hide in while I focused on more important things. Like, how much I hate exercise.
I'd love to finish this, but I've had to pee since I started this blog entry and now I'm becoming quite uncomfortable. After I go take care of that, I'm going to spend some quality time with Netflix.