I have worked on developing and enhancing my list of items I use as personal medicine. For those who aren’t familiar with the term “personal medicine” let me explain it a bit. Pat Deegan describes personal medicine as things we do that make us feel better, and reminds us that medication prescribed by our doctor is not the same as personal medicine. Medication or pills are something you take. personal medicine is something you do.
Here’s a list of some of my personal medicine items and how I benefit from doing them.
- Riding my bike helps me manage my anxiety by giving me an outlet for some of the anxious energy
- Blogging helps me feel connected to the world around me and at the same time gives me a sense of purpose
- Playing video games
- When I play video games, I am able to take a step back from things that may be overwhelming me, and I get an opportunity to regroup before trying to face whatever is overwhelming me again. I also use gaming as a way to practice social skill in an environment that is less threatening to me then face to face encounters with other people tend to feel.
- Knitting helps me in a few ways
- gives me a creative outlet
- helps me quiet my mind by doing something that doesn’t need lots of thinking, and I can sort of meditate a bit
- allows me to do something nice for other people and when I see people smile when I give them something I have knit, I get a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of warmth that helps take the sting out of the rough patches I may be experiencing in my life.
- Researching or learning more about whatever I happen to have as a pressing question on my mind, helps to quiet my mind, and satisfy my hunger for information. I will often have a question or idea on my mind that seems to almost take over my brain and make it tough to think about anything else, and I found that simply taking a little time to do a little research into the question or idea helps me settle my mind by giving me information to satisfy the thoughts. It’s kind of like if you have a baby that is hungry who is crying and fussy because of being hungry. Once you feed the baby and satisfy the baby’s hunger, the baby will generally settle down and be more content overall. In many ways that’s what my mind is like but instead of being hungry for food, my brain gets hungry for information, and the questions or ideas are like the fussy baby. I feed my mind information and the fussiness dissipates. So while I do realize that most people don’t do research for fun, it is something that I not only enjoy, but am able to use to quiet my often noisy brain.
- Journaling helps me sort and organize thoughts, feelings or ideas, and gives me a second option for handling the questions and such that often become overwhelming to me if left unchecked. If I don’t have time to do research right then, sometimes just the act of writing down the question, topic, idea or whatever it is that seems to be taking over my mind, it allows me to in a sense say ok, I recognize that this is on my mind and needs to be further considered, but I’m going to table it and deal with it later when I have more time. In short, it’s like I’m emptying my brain a little so I can focus on the thing I need to be focused on at that moment.
- Walking, like bicycling helps me manage my anxiety, my weight, and helps me kind of clear my mind by getting out and enjoying nature a bit
- Interacting with my Service Dog
- Interacting can be playing, training, working, or simply cuddling, but the thing all these forms of interaction do for me, is divert my attention off myself and help keep me from dwelling on things. I also get to explore the world around me much easier than I could on my own. The world is a very scary place for me, but using my service dog helps me manage the fears and anxiety I have about the world around me that pretty much paralyzes me if I’m left to handle things on my own without my Service Dog’s help. I get a sense of joy, accomplishment, and am more likely to interact with people around me then I would on my own. My service dog bridges the gap between my world and the world around me in a way that in some ways is almost magical, as well as being very difficult to put into words. She has the ability to make me laugh or smile at times when no human has been able to succeed, she gives me comfort, bolsters my braveness, and even though she is the one being trained, our training sessions give me a sense of accomplishment and pride when I see her begin to master a skill I’ve tried to teach her. She’s learning to help me, and I’m learning to reach beyond myself.
All the things I listed above are things that help me in many ways, but they all are able to have a positive impact on my mental health and even my physical health and by doing things that impact both my mental and physical health, I feel more like a complete or whole person who is better equipped to face the world around me and everything it has to offer.
I’m Blogging for World Mental Health Day on October 10
Filed under: ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Art and Music, Awareness, Cooking, Depression, Gardening, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Humor, Martial Arts, Mental Health, Pennsylvania, Personal Medicine, Physical Health, Psychiatric Service Dogs, Reading, Recovery, service dogs, Treatment and Support, volunteering, Warren County, Whole health | Tagged: anxiety, Health, Major depressive disorder, mental disorder, Mental Health, mental health recovery, Mental Illness, mental wellness, PAMHI, Pennsylvania, personal medicine, personal recovery, Recovery, Service dog, Warren County, Warren County PA | Comments Off on I’m Blogging for World Mental Health Day October 10