Struggling With Your Mental Health? Focus on the Fundamentals

The last few days have been a glide path down as I struggle with my twin demons ADHD and depression.

Sunday I was working on a little project with kid two. We’re refinishing a mirror from my parents’ cottage to hang in his room, to remind him of the good times at one of his favourite places. Unfortunately, as I was hunched over scraping off the stripping compound, I hurt my back. Fortunately, this was not a four days of muscle relaxants, pain killers and bed rest kind of hurt. I’m still living mostly normally, but I am in minor, constant, nagging pain.

Which is making it harder to sleep, and sleep deprivation triggers my mental health problems. I get tired, sapping my energy and making it hard to focus, thus giving both the depression and ADHD an entry point.

The problem is that my are natural allies. The depression saps my energy and harms my sleep, and the exhaustion exacerbates the ADHD. The ADHD makes it hard to stick to tasks, leading to feelings of failure, causing my depression.

Hello vicious cycle.

Last night I went to bed over an hour late because I lacked the small discipline to meet my bed time. Today I woke up exhausted and all morning I spiraled harder and deeper. I needed a pattern interrupt before the spiral really took hold.

In my daily letter of affirmation, I have written to myself that I would complete Ray Edward’s Clarity course this July. I’m near the end, but progress has stalled and I needed about an hour to get it done.

An hour?

About the length of time the boys would be bowling with their grandfather? About the time it takes to smoke a Macanudo Maduro Ascot? About the time it takes to enjoy a cup of Lapsang Suchong Tea?


So I dipped into my humidor, put on the kettle, got my phone, ear buds and notebook, and headed out to the patio to get stuck in and do something.

When you feel your triggers, when your mental health problems begin to take root, what do you do? I think you have two options, do nothing and ride the spiral all the way down, or do something and break the pattern.

I chose something.

My advice is always to do the smallest thing you can get yourself to do, and build from there.

Today, I add to that advice. Return to the basics. Focus on the fundamentals.

What are my triggers?

Exhaustion and failure.

Can I do anything about being exhausted? No.

Can I do anything about failure? Yes, get something done. Not do something, get something done. They’re different. And in getting myself to apply a small discipline to getting that course done, I felt better. Then, in the afternoon, I got a couple more things knocked off my to do list.

I’m still exhausted, but I’m happier, and being happier, I have more energy to focus on the next thing. I’ve broken the pattern to halt the spiral. By focusing on the fundamentals.