Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Five Keys to Mental Health: Someplace To Go

First, we'll start with today's foggy brain moment. I never did a lot with ATMs when I was working, just grab the paycheck, head for the bank at lunchtime, cash the check, drop some money into the checking account and out the door with a slightly larger feeling in my wallet pocket. However, since retiring and discovering the wonders of direct deposit, I've been known to have just a few dollars in my pocket and the ATM card. Swipe city! Stopping at the ATM became one of the things you just did. Stick in the card, do your pin, and it gives you money. Unless you've got foggy brain, such as today, when I stood before the ATM near my house, placed my card in the required slot, and then the machine asked for "password or PIN" on a different screen that I'd never seen before. Freeze frame! I had no idea what to do, finally resorting to dragging a bank employee out. He was kind enough to show me the whole process as if I hadn't done it before, but my brain at that moment did not have access to that file. "And then you do this, and then like that. Now put in your PIN." PIN? What's a PIN? One of those things to sew buttons, right. My brain looking in all the file cabinets in my head. PIN? What is he talking about? Finally my brain pulls the right file. I touch the keyboard **** and money comes out. Saved. I thank the bank employee, wondering what he thinks of my total incomprehension of the ATM. Perhaps he sees worse every day. I know I will. Age, Multiple Sclerosis, and bipolar disorder just making a mess up there. So we look for what help we can. On to today's topic....

Someplace to Go

The last time I spoke with my neurologist (for MS - by the way, an aside here, there are great neurologists out there who really appreciate the challenges of the disease, and there are just as many, if not more, who have no clue.  Be an advocate for yourself.), she told me in no uncertain terms:

"You can do one of two things. You can sit and watch television and eat Cheetos until the inevitable or you can get up and go."

I recommend go.  If its work, fine, go do that, remembering what we talked of yesterday, and that is, keeping a balance and trying to avoid stress as much as you can (both BP and MS).  If you are not working or can't, develop a routine. Exercise, walk, hit the movies, read, but do those out of your house, if you can.  The same four walls start looking mighty closer each day if that's all you are looking at.  Volunteer if that's available.  My MS is such that standing is not all that easy, and my walking is occasionally hilarious (to others, and OK, sometimes me) but I can sit and stick words together, and probably other stuff until my legs go numb, or I doze off.  Fatigue is whole month of blog entries.

Support groups are great, as long as they are positive. Bitchathons have their place, but in the long run just pulls everyone down.  Both BP and MS have no cure, just treatments and it is up to the person you see in the mirror (with help from medical professionals) to decide how you will face your challenges.

Outside my window now the rain has stopped and and the flowers are starting to blossom ....

...but to really see them, and to take the picture, I had to get up and go outside.
Move. Go to the mall.  There's bound to be one somewhere. Go to the Mailbox.  Exercise. Lift weights. Touch your toes. Or see if you can see your toes. Doing any of these is moving something.

We all have obstacles to overcome.  But we still have this gift of life that we can waste or use even in a limited capacity.  Walk as far as you can and if you see anyone on your walk, smile and greet them, or even just nod.  You can still connect.  We can still connect with each other.  But to do that, you've got to have someplace to go, even if its just in your thoughts. Tomorrow you will open your eyes from sleep at some point. Ask yourself where do I want to go today. Find it. Get out and get there.  It's waiting.

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