Making a user journey map… for your brain

Mental Fitness, Personal, Values based living, Workouts

 

Throughout my mental health journey, I’ve repeatedly run into an obstacle, which I will loosely dub ‘I’m not sick enough to deserve help’.

Whenever I would think about getting therapy or talking to anyone about what was going on, I’d say, ‘Well, I’m still going to uni and getting my assignments done. I don’t take drugs. I can leave my house. I might be depressed, and having panic attacks every other day, but I can sort it out. I just need to stop being lazy.’

I think a lot of us take that perspective on our mental health. But let’s flip it so we’re talking about physical health, instead:

‘I hurt my leg a few years ago, but I can still crawl around to places. It’s not ideal because I have to drag this dead weight around with me, and I can’t put weight on that side. Still, it can’t be that bad, because I can use the other leg. I’m not gonna bother getting it checked out until I lose function in both legs. I’m just lazy and need to work harder.’

Sounds dumb right? Granted, lots of us do ignore our physical health for too long, but I don’t think it’s as normalised in our society.

When Ghosts From the Past Appear…

Personal, Relationships

Last week my ex emailed me – the one I mentioned in this post. My relationship with this person and our subsequent breakup unearthed a range of mental health issues, new and old. It was an intense relationship considering I was dating my best friend at the time, and I spent the better part of a year rebounding from it while in therapy, and then almost a year and a half (up to now) being single so I could heal from it properly.

Soda Free April – wrap up

Other

So, I did the challenge, but failed at doing regular updates. Whoops. In any case, here’s what went down:

  • I had coke twice – once on day 5 which I posted about, and another time I accidentally ordered a coke with a takeaway. I went a few days before drinking it, and found it crazy sweet.
  • I was extremely busy during April, and ended up eating out a lot for lunch, and – well, this is probably where things went wrong. I still craved a carbonated drink, or some kind of sugary drink, so oftentimes I’d buy flavoured water and stuff. It’s not terrible, but I wasn’t exactly trying to prioritise water instead.
  • I definitely ate worse overall, mitigating any impact of the soda stuff.
  • I’ve had a few since the challenge ended but not really enjoyed it. Part of that is because I’ve had a really bad cold this week.

As you can see, it’s a little dubious whether I can say I succeeded or not. I stuck within my rules that I set out, but I’m not sure how I did within the ‘spirit’ of the challenge.

And that’s fine! It’s been pointed out to me that going cold turkey like this isn’t sustainable for habit building and honestly, I agree. I don’t expect long term change to come from these challenges.

Instead, I like doing these month long challenges to understand myself a bit better. If I’ve got into a habit and I want to change it, which parts do I find easy or hard to change? What things trigger the habit, such as going out to lunch? What helps me stop?

Doing this for a month, you start to notice what excuses you’re likely to make, what mental gymnastics you do to get something. I clearly did a lot of them this month because what I really wanted was the carbonation – so I can think of ways around that. In short, it brings a particular area of my life into focus and I can troubleshoot habit building around those compulsions and/or addictions.

In any case, I just think it’s fun to change stuff up sometimes 🙂

I don’t have any challenge plans for May so next one will probably be June
!

Soda Free April, Day 5

Other

So… I accidentally drank a glass of coke yesterday without even thinking!!

It was hilariously automatic. I went for lunch with my colleague in the middle of some research in a shopping mall, and only halfway through did I remember. It’s mostly because I don’t eat at restaurants very frequently, so I remembered all my usual triggers but not that one. D’oh.

Oh well. I can’t undo it, so I’ll just have to carry on and remember to get water in future 🙂 …

Soda-Free April: Day 1

Levelling Up and Productivity

When I started 2019 I had wanted to spend every month work on a new challenge or habit. During January I worked on ‘Saying yes’ (no blog post) and was really successful (never done karaoke before…) . In March I didn’t have a particular challenge, but I did work on consistently doing exercise I found fun… Like dancing – badly 🙂

This April I’m cutting out all carbonated drinks! Ironically this become a bit of a problem during my no takeaway challenge back at the end of last year, which just shows how your dependencies can shift onto something else.

Rules:

1. No carbonated drinks, at all.

2. Juice or a pint or two if I’m out with friends.

3. Drink more water! I just bought a new bottle — nothing fancy, it was super cheap — and hoping to use it at work.

That’s it! I can’t imagine this being extremely hard past the first week or so — I mostly get cravings when I buy a meal deal or something like that, as I would typically get a coke or something with it. I mostly want to cut that out, and rehydrate 🙂

Will update more this week!