I watched my Grandson playing soccer last Sunday and as a typical 5 year old, he was less than fully engaged. Sure, he kicked the ball a lot, but as far as knowing what to do and when he was a typical 5 year old; in other words he was disconnected.
One problem is that he has a hole in his jersey, about the size of one of his fingers so he delights in poking his finger through the hole. He also seems fascinated with covering his face with his shirt and looking out of the hole while he was playing soccer. This makes him a big fan of falling down and talking to other kids. Scoring soccer goals, not so much.
A lot like me
Watching him reminded me of myself. He wanted to play soccer looking through the hole in his shirt. He loved seeing the game in tunnel vision. He was focused on only what was directly in front of him. Which means he ran a lot, fell down some, ran into a few others, and kicked the ball occasionally. But despite all that activity he rarely made plays that mattered much.
When compared to kids who love soccer, my Grandson looked a bit out of place. He went through the motions, but he had other priorities well beyond the soccer field. As I watched I felt a kindred spirit with him. You see, I am often disconnected from the task at hand.
I feel disconnected
Maybe it is the time of year or the fact RA is doing reasonably well but I feel disconnected from all things related to my health care. I am not negligent by any means, I just feel lost in a big crowd that seems better organized and more in tune with the task at hand.
I get this way sometimes. I feel out of sync with my health care. Every time I feel this way it makes me remember how easy it was to drop off of the health care wagon when I was 20 something. I was feeling much like I am today, and I had a bad experience with a doctor and the next thing I knew I refused to see doctors for over 20 years.
I know now that the reason this happened was that I became severely depressed. Thankfully, I am at that point in my life again. I am in a much better place than I have been in several years. But still watching my Grandson just reminded me what not paying attention can do.
Five things I do:
So as much as a reminder as anything, here are the five simple things that help me remain engaged.
Five things i do
Have fun. Medical stuff is not fun, but no matter if things are tough or easy we need to remember to laugh. Sometimes Sheryl is a little embarrassed by my humor when I tease with the office staff, pharmacy staff or doctors. But if I am laughing, I am far more likely to be willing to follow their instructions. I suppose I have gotten to the age where I no longer apologize for my humor. I have always believed that everyone has to make their own fun. I cannot rely on others to make my situation fun, so that is my job and when I have fun, I am more likely to do what the doctor has asked me.
Make appointments before leaving the office. When I walked out of the office 30+ years ago and did not go back for 20 years the main instigator was that I did not make another appointment. Look, I get that is a flimsy excuse, but it takes on significance when we examine it in totality. I just had a bad appointment (the doctor scolded me) and as I left the scheduler did not make another appointment. I knew when I went back, I could expect another scolding and when I put off the appointment well one thing led to another and 20 years later I really did not want to see the doctor.
Separate big issues from small issues and concentrate on the big ones. Ever meet a person in trouble with anxiety or depression? I bet they are having difficulty separating the important from the unimportant stuff. For me, when things got hard I had difficulty ordering in a restaurant. Not because I could not decide, I was rather afraid of making a mistake. I worried about everything and accomplished nothing.
Tell others when having a difficult time. I have a life partner who I love very much (Sheryl). She sometimes tells me she has a right to know what is bugging me. The truth is I need her to know. I just cannot always express my issues in a clear way. If I do not express it, it eats away at me and when that happens, I end up with a problem. I have to tell others to dig myself out of a mental funk.
This too shall pass. I have to give myself a chance to allow it to pass. I have to say I can pick up and then do it. Nothing is as bad as it seems in my imagination. I now know that overcoming depression is a matter of doing the right things, and running away is not the right thing. Stand and fight, I know I can beat depression if I am willing to do it.
National Mental Health Wellness Week
Yes, you can cover a lot of ground mentally while watching your Grandson play. I often tell people the happiest time in my life was when my sons were at the ages of 6 – 12. Visiting that happy time as I watch my Grandson playing soccer is pure fun. But it also reminds me the reason I sought help. November 8 – 14, 2015 is National Mental Health Wellness Week. As we get close, please remember to take care and have a good laugh with, or even about me. I know I will laugh about health care that week. It’s the least I can do to keep my sanity.