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  • Writer's pictureBen R

Friday Feelings

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

I can't believe how fast this summer is flying by. When you live in Minnesota, that's kind of everyone's response, but still without having worked at all this summer, it has flown by.

I last did a video update about my father's Alzheimer's. Nothing new has transpired since, other than getting into a bit of an argument with my mother on the importance of getting more assistance for dad. I love my mom to pieces, but she is carrying the weight of all the stress on her shoulders, and me and my partner have attempted our best to relieve some of that, while dealing with our own crazy lives. Unfortunately, she feels she must control everything with dad. Out of her respect for privacy, I won't go into detail. I had to have a talk with my partner earlier this week about it and we agreed we would back off dealing with my parents issues. It's tough, it really is, but you can't force anyone to do something unless they are ready. Still, when it involves a loved one, one may think otherwise; for the well-being of that person.

We finally had a Zoom meeting this week for my work. Unfortunately, we still don't have a timeframe of when we can come back. Our supervisors have been working kind of part-time throughout COVID, as certain clients have been cleared to come back. It was suggested that it would be, minimally another month, but more likely two months or even more. I don't fault them for not having an answer. I could tell people were anxious about what was going on. The whole situation with Covid is just strange. Unfortunately, the work I do involves direct face-to-face contact. I just have to remind myself to role with the hand that is dealt.

I do have some positive news. I've been invited for two things, regarding my work as a mental health advocate.

  1. NAMI wants to interview me for an upcoming newsletter. Actually, they are asking all of the new volunteer peer support specialists to do one, once a month I believe. Still, it's nice to feel valued.

  2. Any day here, I'm suppose to receive a call from a reporter, from a local online news source, to be interviewed about mental illness and my relationship with NAMI.

I'm excited about these opportunities. I'm really not one that actively seeks out attention, but in order to become known as a mental health advocate, word needs to spread and credibility needs to be built. I forgot as I'm typing this that I'm doing another Zoom presentation next week for a local college nursing program again, on sharing my personal story. I really am thankful for NAMI. I got my face in just before Covid hit and I'm so glad for that.

What else is new or needs updating?

I recently started taking a new anti-depressant. I had some issues with remembering to take my second dose in the evenings, as the other one was just once a day. I think I've got that corrected now. Minus known issues with blood pressure issues, I believe it's working good. It has "fixed" an issue I had with my other medication. The blood pressure issue has given me some light headedness at times. Mostly it was when I'd stand up or bend down, which you do a lot when you're monitoring the whereabouts of a puppy. They say it will usually go away once your body adjusts, and I think it's been getting better.

Speaking of puppy, we absolutely adore Hazel. She is very smart, which has its pluses and minuses (HAHA), curious, and a bit stubborn. But she is also playful and loves people, even more so than other dogs. I don't recall if I mentioned in my previous video blogs, but she loves to play with Lola, our 10 year old peekapoo. I've posted some videos on my Facebook page with the two crazy dogs. We are so thankful Lola helps us run some of Hazel's energy out. Still, Lola will crash and Hazel is getting into something else. Love her, but she can be a handful! She's gained a full pound since we picked her up 3 weeks ago. She's only going to get more energy as she grows! We are fortunate though, that she trains well and as quickly adjusted to her schedule, which we have mostly been able to maintain. My partner is hoping Hazel can become a medical alert dog in the future. I say she seems to have the right disposition for that.

In the beginning, I mentioned how the summer is flying by so quickly. As much as I understand what's going on with Covid and how it prevents all of us in this house from socializing or going anywhere, I have to admit one thing. I'm jealous of others taking vacations. I'm also a little perturbed by it as well, as I feel it's just going to prolong the self-isolation for us. I don't understand people. I know we are ALL tired of it, but the lack of social responsibility is unbelievable to me. But what can you do? One just has to live their life as best they can.

As a number of states have already done so, Minnesota will be starting a mandatory state-wide mask mandate tomorrow. I get so annoyed at the verbal abuse our governor and local mayor have to deal with. People just blame them for everything. They aren't perfect, but I've seen them trying to do the best they can. It's that negativity that takes away from us working as a state and locally as communities. Pardon my language, but seriously, just wear a fucking mask!!!

I do realize as someone working to become an advocate, I need to have, for lack of a better phrase, "a solid positive outlook on life", and I honestly do. Since I've started taking medication and especially since Covid life began, I've just felt the need to be more blunt about things, while still trying to be considerate of others. It's a work in progress; a balancing act.

Through all the unknown, I'm truly hopeful for the future. Maybe not so much for man-kind, but for myself and the direction I'm going in my life. I really hope that my work inspires others to take action and speak out, even if it has nothing to do with mental illness. I believe well-rounded people don't put all their eggs in one basket.

Tidbits/laundry list:

I'm highly considering looking into podcasts in the future. I already started doing more video talks/story telling, so I'm going to continue along that path. I'm really missing the social aspect of life, even though I'm introverted by nature. There's just something about seeing a face, I should probably say full face now that we are wearing masks, that give more meaning to talks.

In going along with the social aspect, I'd like to start composing a newsletter once a month or quarterly, that highlights things I'm doing, news on mental health (discoveries), and if possible, YOU, my viewers. I want to hear your stories on mental health. There's a number of websites that already do this, but we honestly can't have enough stories to help inspire and motive others to take action. I would almost call it an avenue of social responsibility; looking out for each other.

I will post on my Facebook page a request for email addresses. If you or someone you know would like to share, please reach out to me. This would be perfect information to include in a newsletter, with your permission of course.

One more thing, I received an email the other day from the owner of a website called Feedspot. I was told I was hand-picked as a top mental health resource on their list of mental health blogs. They said I was in the top 75, well I looked and I'm #78 (haha) but close enough. The owner asked that I spread the word about them in my next post, so I will keep my word and do so.

Click on the link here.

Please follow me on Facebook and Instagram (both as The Upstairs Battle). I also have a Twitter account under the same name, but I feel like 3 social media pages is a crowd, so you can follow me there, but I don't post as often.

You are not alone. Together, we are stronger!


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