Category Archives: wellness

Frog In A Blender

“Frog In A Blender”

“Mental illness. What comes to your mind, pardon the pun, when you read the words mental illness? I know some people just rush to the quick verbiage of a “crazy person.” And I’m okay with using those descriptors because this particular writing isn’t about what’s accurate or appropriate and description is much as the trueness of your thoughts. I also not naive and I realized several years ago that the mentally ill will continue to be a marginalized group that is misunderstood by the general populace and greatly ignored. The mentally ill tend to be part of the dredges of society. A unique cast system of broken individuals not seen valuable.

After I was diagnosed my heart broke in several pieces. You knew something was wrong with yourself You felt these different thoughts, urges, sensations, and sometimes confusion, and yet as if a paralytic trying to will their legs to move, you yourself or unable to act or think in a normal way.

You know it’s funny as I reflect on a lot of the different relationships throughout my life of coworkers, colleagues, clients, business associates, friends, & lovers. All the while I never felt okay. I felt like I was doing my best to keep a deep dark secret. Who I am must not be found out.

It’s funny, living years with the mind of someone with borderline personality disorder, you think I wouldn’t be nearly so ignorant to what people would think in regards to my behaviors. And yet I felt like I was able to sort of fool people. That I too could be normal. I wasn’t fooling anyone. As the cliche goes I was only fooling myself.

One thing for sure, an individual that struggles with something like borderline personality disorder has his work cut out for himself BUT so do the loved ones who also experience that diagnosis as witnesses. In some ways, it feels like collateral damage and your personal shame grows exponentially because in the normal stable moments of your thought process you’d never want anyone to be harmed with what you struggle with. But that’s not how it works.

So, of course, a lot of people would think with my own life I would use my diagnosis as an enabling tool. That I too am just a victim of something outside of my control. My divorces, broken relationships, personal debts, suicide attempts are things that happened to me.

Man! I would love that excuse! I’d take it and run with it if that was possible. However, my actions are still on me. Even the unknowns in my life are my responsibility to uncover and understand.”

(Excerpt from book)

SLOW DOWN

Why?

To thinking clearly.

To seeing the whole chessboard.

To making tough decisions.

To managing our emotions.

To identifying the right goals.

To handling high-pressure situations.

To maintaining relationships.

To building good habits.

To being productive.

To physical excellence.

To feeling fulfilled.

To capturing moments of laughter and joy.

Music Therapy, Sailing and Repetition

Music can help us pull emotions to process from our spirits.
Don’t be afraid to embrace those feelings to work on healing.
Don’t stay in that place. Use the music to help process and expel while being careful about getting stuck. Wallowing poisons the possibility for the process.

More on music therapy:
https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/December-2016/The-Impact-of-Music-Therapy-on-Mental-Health

Lyric Analysis
While talk therapy allows a person to speak about topics that may be difficult to discuss, lyric analysis introduces a novel and less-threatening approach to process emotions, thoughts, and experiences. A person receiving music therapy is encouraged to offer insight, alternative lyrics, and tangible tools or themes from lyrics that can apply to obstacles in their life and their treatment. We all have a song that we deeply connect to and appreciate—lyric analysis provides an opportunity for an individual to identify song lyrics that may correlate with their experience.

Improvisation Music Playing
Playing instruments can encourage emotional expression, socialization, and exploration of various therapeutic themes (i.e. conflict, communication, grief, etc.). For example, a group can create a “storm” by playing drums, rain sticks, thunder tubes, and other percussive instruments. The group can note areas of escalation and de-escalation in the improvisation, and the group can correlate the “highs and lows” of the storm to particular feelings they may have. This creates an opportunity for the group to discuss their feelings further.

Active Music Listening
Music can be utilized to regulate mood. Because of its rhythmic and repetitive aspects, music engages the neocortex of our brain, which calms us and reduces impulsivity. We often utilize music to match or alter our mood. While there are benefits to matching music to our mood, it can potentially keep us stuck in a depressive, angry or anxious state. To alter mood states, a music therapist can play music to match the current mood of the person and then slowly shift to a more positive or calm state.

Songwriting
Songwriting provides opportunities for expression in a positive and rewarding way. Anyone can create lyrics that reflect their own thoughts and experiences, and select instruments and sounds that best reflect the emotion behind the lyrics. This process can be very validating and can aid in building self-worth. This intervention can also instill a sense of pride, as someone listens to their own creation.

Unknown Tool To Improve Your Strength, Muscles and Overall Recovery: Orthostatic Testing

Orthostatic testing  is the difference between the heart rates at supine rest and at standing position. For example, if the average heart rate in a lying position is 56 and at standing 80, the orthostatic heart rate is 24 bpm.

More info at: https://www.polar.com/en/smart-coaching/orthostatic-test

Athletes are often under a lot of pressure to perform well regularly. This pressure can result in the athlete overtraining and/or becoming stressed. The Orthostatic Heart Rate Test is used to monitor the athlete’s state of health.

Required Resources
To perform the Orthostatic Heart Rate Test, you require

Stopwatch
Assistant

How to conduct the test
The athlete lies down and rests for at least 15 minutes
The assistant records the athlete’s pulse rate (bpm) – R1
The athlete stands up
15 seconds later the assistant records the athlete’s pulse rate (bpm) – R2
The assistant records the difference between R1 and R2

Assessment
To obtain your Orthostatic Heart Rate please enter R1 and R2 and then select the calculate button.

If the difference is greater than 15 to 20 beats then it is probable that the athlete has not recovered from the previous days training, is under stress or the onset of a possible cold. The athlete should consider adjusting their training to allow the body to recover.

Alternative Approach
Perform the test as above over 14 days and record your OHR for each day. Review the 14 values and determine a typical range.

Example: An athlete’s 14 OHR values are: 7, 7, 9, 8, 9, 8, 9, 7, 7, 9, 8, 8, 10, 8

7 – 4 off
8 – 5 off
9 – 4 off
10 -1 off
A typical range for this athlete’s OHR is 7 to 9 bpm. If the athlete finds the OHR for a specific day is greater than 9 then review the planned day’s training and consider reducing the load and/or volume of work.

A value above the typical range could indicate the onset of a cold or the body has not recovered from the previous day’s training. Other factors may cause a raised OHR, like a disturbed night, so review the previous 24 hours and see if there was something else that might have contributed to the raised OHR.

Analysis
Analysis of the result is by comparing it with the results of previous tests. It is expected that, with appropriate recovery between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement.

Target Group
This test is suitable for anyone but not for individuals where the test would be contraindicated.

Reliability
Test reliability refers to the degree to which a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. Reliability will depend upon how strict the test is conducted and the individual’s level of motivation to perform the test. The following link provides a variety of factors that may influence the results and therefore the test reliability.

Validity
Test validity refers to the degree to which the test measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made based on test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor the effect of training on the athlete’s physical development.

Advantages
Minimal equipment required
Simple to set up and conduct
Can be conducted almost anywhere
Disadvantages
Assistant required to administer the test

Source: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/hrtest.htm

I remember reading in a Flex magazine years ago as an 11 or 12 year old about the importance of checking the heart rate when you first wake after a nights rest.  A higher heart rate might actually be someone moving toward a state of overtraining.  That stuck with me for years and years.

First, I recommend that you establish a baseline that you can compare against over time. Pick a week when you will not be pushing yourself very hard, when you are feeling good, and have a limited amount of stress.

Every morning for one week do the following:

Before getting out of bed, take a 60 second reading of your heart rate either with a heart rate monitor or by taking your pulse.
Stand up and wait 15 seconds.
Measure your standing heart rate for 60 seconds.
Record all three measurements: Prone, standing, and the difference between the two (orthostatic).
This is your baseline.

Next, I suggest that you take a few more measurements – measure the morning after a particularly difficult training session, and then again the next day.

Most importantly, take some daily measurements if you are feeling the effects of a prolonged series of training sessions with little time for recovery, especially if you are showing some of the signs of overtraining.

My Storytelling Moment

In May, I was invited to attend a training class to formulate and express my story in regards to mental health.  After I was selected to attend the training and the speaking event I was emailed a questionnaire.  The instructors wanted to know the subject area of what I wanted to share.  I truthfully had no idea what to discuss.  Knowing that the story sharing time was a mere 5-7 minutes was intimidating to remain relevant while within the guidelines expected.

I asked my wife, Kristen what she thought regarding a topic to speak on.  She encouraged me to just pray about it and give it time; adding that whatever I pick will be great.  There is nothing like that vote of confidence that isn’t lip service, full of genuine belief.  Encouraged with my pep talk from Kristen I decided to weigh the topics I found to be most relevant for this actual event.

The JED Foundation was the group footing the bill for this amazing opportunity and their focus is suicide education with high schools and colleges.  I considered my personal experiences in relationship to this very current and devastating topic.  Unfortunately, I have alot of choices riddled with the epidemic that is suicide.

I decided on story from my life that profoundly impacted me for years.  The video in this is that story.  I hope it is helpful for you or someone you care about.  I am always open to questions and dialogue.  I am not a therapist but I have alot of personal experience to share or just listen.

**TRIGGER WARNING: GRAPHIC DETAILS**

Since sharing this video I have been contacted by numerous people looking to thank me, find resources, talk or just to say it helped them to find the words to talk to a friend.

Dave Tate of EliteFTS even reshared the video that I hope keeps speaking to a group of people that need to be reminded that strength isn’t always about what you can lift.

https://www.elitefts.com/coaching-logs/remembering-wes-mental-health-awareness-month/

If you need support please check out the link below.

https://afsp.org/find-support/
American Federation for Suicide Prevention

https://www.nami.org/Find-Support
National Alliance on Mental Illness

https://www.crisistextline.org
Get free help now: Text CONNECT to 741741

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-TALK

https://safeut.med.utah.edu/
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