Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Greatest Accomplishment

with 4 comments

I’ve been contemplating a life well-lived after remotely participating in a funeral online last week and then learning of an anticipated death in our friends’ family. Being in the phase of life when I’m closer to my death than I am to my birth, it occurs to me that my greatest accomplishments are quite possibly behind me as opposed to yet to come.

Most days, I feel that my greatest achievement happened when I took action to get treatment for depression. After many years of self-denial about what I was battling, receiving the confirmation of a professional diagnosis was the key that opened the door for my journey toward healthy thinking. Initially relying on medication and talk therapy to interrupt a life-long pattern of dysfunctional thinking, I eventually gained enough command of my faculties to cope on my own, medication-free.

One book I found helpful is “Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You” by Richard O’Connor.

I still need to treat my natural inclination toward depression every day with healthy thinking, a reasonable diet, regular exercise, and good-quality sleep habits, but reaching the point where I don’t require support from the medical health industry is something I am proud to have achieved.

Last November and December brought a fresh challenge for me in managing the chemicals bathing my brain in the face of grief and fatigue. The combination of needing to first put down our cat, Pequenita, and then our dog, Delilah, mixed with striving to cope with Cyndie’s unexpected injury pushed me to my limits. I was the sole person tending to the horses (during which two highly stressful horse-health challenges arose), cleared snow after two significant snowfall events, and took over all tasks caring for Cyndie and the house while she is laid up.

The physical fatigue left me susceptible to allowing my old familiar depressive behaviors to return. I don’t find that worrisome because years of good mental health have provided a fresh setting for “normal” that I use for reference, allowing me to notice when intervention is warranted. I have a variety of options to employ but the key to being able to self-treat my depression is the “noticing” and consciously changing something in response.

Mostly, I change my thinking. My thoughts are a major trigger to the chemical reactions going on in my brain and body. Sometimes I just need a nap. Often times I just need more time. Especially when the trigger is grief.

Speaking of grief, the horses were giving me some grief recently. This is a case where it would have been nice to have a camera recording what goes on under the overhang when we are not around.

Somehow they picked up the grate in one of the slow feeder boxes and turned it sideways. I guess they’ve got some great accomplishments of their own to neigh about.

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4 Responses

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  1. So sorry to hear about your losses. You seem like a wonderful person with a very kind heart.

    Catsandcoffee

    January 9, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    • Thank you. I’m honored to know my spirit is coming through in my posts! You are sweet to write this. Much appreciated.

      johnwhays

      January 9, 2023 at 4:20 pm

  2. I consider you one of the greatest people I know, good is an understatement, but to me, you are beautiful example of the good in the world. Love You

    mngrazer

    January 9, 2023 at 7:44 am

    • Wow, thank you for this. You are a truly precious part of our lives and your support means the world to me. Thank you for your love. Right back atcha, my friend.

      johnwhays

      January 9, 2023 at 10:10 am


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