The Weakness of Trigger Warnings

The Weakness of Trigger Warnings

I will upset my audience. Knowing this, I will not leave the stage without giving them effective methods on handling the troubling feelings that will arise. Otherwise, I become a provocateur. Interested only in triggering a response, and having no concern about the recoil. These young people deserve better from me. I will not shelter them from the horror of suicide. I refuse to put a smiling face over depression. 

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Tuesdays in the Toolkit

Tuesdays in the Toolkit

Mirror Therapy is a potent, introspective tool. I like to have a mirror directly in front of me, and one off to the side. This allows me to speak to myself, and also catch side glances of my reactions along my periphery. The first time I tried this, I spoke to myself from two drastically different perspectives - the depressed me, and the “normal” me.

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Virtues of the Whiteboard

Virtues of the Whiteboard

In my free time, I will be exploring more about Stoic philosophy, and how it can be applied to modern living and my permanent recovery from mental illness.

For my blog, each Wednesday I will share some of my whiteboard, and we’ll see if we make any discoveries, together.

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Shades of Grey: Perceiving Nuance in an Increasingly Binary Society

Shades of Grey: Perceiving Nuance in an Increasingly Binary Society

I invite you to adopt a depressed mindset, and examine something or someone that bothers you. Then step back, squint, refocus, and see if you can find a more nuanced perspective. You will realize that this black and white thinking is a complete crock.

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Clear the Fog of War

Mondays and Thursdays are my best days, but Tuesdays afternoons and Saturday evenings are difficult for me.

February and March are when I feel the very best, but I tend to slip into a mild depression at the end of the lacrosse season in May.

I am more productive in the summer, but I am usually affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, in the late fall.

How do I know all this? I tracked my mood twice a day for two years with an app, iMoodJournal. Every week, I reviewed the data and noted low and high days. Then I recalled what happened on those days, and, very slowly, the bigger picture revealed itself to me.

Before I tracked my mood, I assumed that my depressive episodes were sporadic and random. Because of that, I further assumed that they were beyond my control. I felt trapped in a mental “fog of war,” a term that means, “uncertainty regarding one's own capability, adversary capability, and adversary intent during an engagement, operation, or campaign.”

“Can anyone see the enemy?”

“Can anyone see the enemy?”

It is terrifying, stumbling around in the dark; knowing an enemy lurks nearby. It is even more terrifying when the enemy is your own mind.

After my hospitalization in the fall of 2016, I decided to map my mind as well as I could. iMoodJournal and PocketCBT were tools I used to spy on my internal enemy that was intent on doing me harm.

By identifying the times when depression or anxiety were most likely to launch an assault; I had time to dig a mental foxhole.

I could gather supplies and call in reinforcements. All of this gave me the mental ability to say to my depression and anxiety:

“Come Get some!”

I do not win every battle, but I no longer feel like I’m losing the war. There is immense psychological relief that comes from preparation. Whether that is rehearsing a presentation, doing breathing exercises, or telling your friends, “It’s almost winter, I may need you on some bad days,” you bolster your defenses.

While we cannot control our circumstances, we can control our reaction to them. If we have a good idea of when circumstances will change, we can be prepared and be even more in control of ourselves.

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