Tag Archives: lessons

The power of discipline…and amphetamines 

22 Feb

Wow…what a difference a day makes. Where yesterday morning – especially anxiety-inducing following a long weekend – I felt a sense of panic, dread and gloom heading into work, today I arrived feeling…good. More than good in fact; I felt energetic, ambitious and optimistic about the day ahead. My to-do list is just as daunting, but I feel worlds better about tackling it today. 

So what changed? Not just from today but from prior experiences I can boil it down to three key things:

1. Discipline – I got up when my alarm went off. I ate breakfast. I made the kids’ lunches and got them off to school early. Before 9:00 I already felt productive which, as I’ve written on previously, I tend to equate with happiness and success (a topic for another post I’m sure). 

2. Doing Instead of Thinking – By getting up and “just doing it” I avoided my typical morning pitfall of overthinking things and getting caught up in my own mind. Most days I find myself drinking coffee (no breakfast) in front of the news and starting the vicious cycle of ruminating over my previous day’s shortfalls, feeling shitty about myself, procrastinating my start on the new day, and back again to ruminating. It’s true what they 

3. Vyvanse – It’s not a magic bullet, and it only works if I balance it with other coping mechanisms like the ones above, but this is the one drug that’s had an immediately noticeable impact on my mood. The test of whether it works for you: if it speeds things up and makes you hyper, you don’t need it, but if it actually slows things down to a manageable pace, it could be a perfect fit for you. 

Food for thought. Tomorrow…an update on what I’ve been up to for the last two years.

Self Care: The canary in the coal mine of crazy

22 Feb

I didn’t brush my teeth last night.

It’s been two days since I showered (but new underwear/socks today).

I haven’t had breakfast or lunch since Wednesday.

Why am I sharing these (some would say too) personal details?  Because one of the first things they teach you in rehab and recovery programs is to start with the basics; start taking care of yourself, really taking care of yourself – daily showers, changing clothes, eating three semi-healthy meals – and the rest will follow.

In my experience, it works.

I’ve also found a corollary to this approach; that signs of self care neglect should be seen as an early warning system, a canary in the coal mine of your mind. I’ve had my own experiences, and heard many more at church, when a harsh slide in mood – or substance relapse – follows on the heels of letting even a few self care habits slide.

At least I’m in new clothes today.  And I’m seeing a baby tomorrow so I’ve got to shower before then.

WTF? Another self-help blog?

27 Sep

So I’ve had some rough times and I see a shrink.  Why do I need to write a blog?  Why does the world needs one more self-help blog or one more diary of a self-proclaimed recovering addict with a weird childhood, to add to the millions that are already out there?  A few reasons:

1) The message isn’t getting through – Benjamin Franklin once said (in frustration I imagine) insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome.”   By this measure all of humanity is certifiably insane, but crazy people are particularly prone.   One thing that stands out among all the crazy people I’ve met  is how much their own stories – of decline and recovery – so closely mirror my own. Why do we put ourselves through such pain just to learn a lesson that so many have learned (and probably told us) before?

2) I’ve earned it – Sure I’ve made mistakes, burned bridges and dropped off the radar with old friends.  I’ll even agree that I’m chiefly to blame for my own mental health woes.  But none of this takes away from the pain I’ve been through and burdens I’ve carried with me over the years, and if that’s earned me anything I think it’s a voice.

3)  I’m not supposed to be here – I know what you’re thinking, that everyone’s innocent in jail.  But I really wasn’t supposed to be end up crazy.  My dad’s crazy, but I made it out of childhood unscathed.  I went to a private school and a good university, and I always did well.  I was a dot-com millionaire before I turned 30, by then accustomed to working with CEOs twice my age, billing myself out for $200+/hr,  and usually being the youngest person in the room.

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