All in Hot Mess

Call Me Crazy—Or Don't (Mental Health Series pt. 1)

We’ve all got that “Crazy Aunt Betty” who talks to dust bunnies or that clowning uncle who always has a bit too much to drink at the family reunion. We’ve all seen people walking down the street alone, waving their arms, apparently in a heated discussion with no one in particular. (Of course, this was easier to spot before the advent of Bluetooth ear pieces!) We recognize that those people may be dealing with some mental health issues. 

But how about the quiet girl sitting in the corner of the coffee shop with her ear buds in, angled toward the wall. She has ADHD but you would never know that to look at her (Okay, she’s me.). Or the bespectacled professor at the front of the classroom with his perfectly tied bowtie; You’d never know he has a thirty-point checklist of things he has to do every time he leaves his house—and that’s better than he used to be with his OCD. Often mental health issues can be hidden to all but those who are very close to the person struggling. I know most people would never guess I’ve dealt with depression, ADD and even some anxiety. I mask it well, most of the time. But it’s still a very real issue I’ve had to deal with. 

You’ve probably heard the words, “That’s insane!” or “She’s got to be crazy.” Most of us say these things innocently—lightly. But the problem is that mental health isn’t something we can take lightly anymore. We see the effects of mental illness on the “breaking news” ticker daily. Whether it’s a disgruntled employee going off on a rampage, a bullied loner opening fire on his classmates, or a well-known celebrity ending her life, these things affect our world regularly and most of the time the roots of these stories are buried deep in the world of mental health. 

On What Makes Us Tick

I started this new blog a few months ago with the idea of it being a place to talk about the issues and ideas that seem to resonate with both me and a lot of the people I know. At first glance, these things may not seem to be related (which is a problem if you’re trying to figure narrow down what your blog is all about) but when I listed off the subjects that energize me I realized that they are all basically topics that flow into what makes us tick. I’m interested in talking about and understanding why we are who we are in relation to:

Imperfect Progress

But I was doing so well. Hmmff. (Insert pouting face here)

I was very proud of myself. I’d started up this new blog in February and I was determined to write every week. However, let's just say that consistency has never been my strong suit. It's never actually even been in my closet or card deck or wherever that expression comes from. So telling myself I would write weekly seemed a bit of a stretch. But I set my weekly writing time and I did it. For about two months I pushed “publish” once a week and if felt fabulous. (I know, two months doesn't seem like much to all my well organized and motivated reader friends. But for me...it was practically Mt. Everest. So go ahead, take a moment and silently applaud. Aw, shucks. You're making me blush.) Anywho...then life happened, as it does.

First, I went to a writer’s conference in April—which you would think wouldn’t be something to throw off my writing, but it did. Initially, just because I was gone for five days and then had to catch up on work and life stuff so my time was limited. But also because I was suddenly filled with so many ideas that I couldn’t seem to settle down and pick one to work on.

Days after that, in an effort to focus, I joined an amazing online course called Author School, taught by my favorite literary agent, Rachelle Gardner (you may be wondering how one decides on a favorite agent but when said agent reps all your favorite authors and has an incredible, generous website chock-full of vital info for writers, it's a no-brainer). Author School is a weekly live video course plus tons of extras online and on our Facebook group. It’s truly invaluable information and you would think that would have been something that got me writing again. But just after I started the course, my grandma passed away and that took me away from home for five days but also, obviously, took up some of my emotional bandwidth. 

So then, after I got home, I was going to get back on track. No doubt. It was gonna happen.

Until it didn’t. Because a few days later,

Is Silence a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

What do you do each morning to start your day the right way? What’s your morning routine? I used to laugh at the idea of a morning routine. First, I didn't like mornings and second I didn't like anything routine. To me that was code for boring. So it was a tall order to sell me on the idea of creating a healthy morning routine for myself. 

My "morning routine" used to be rolling out of bed a couple minutes ahead of my kids, donning my grey bath robe (Bill calls me Gandalf when I wear it) and trying to tame my bedhead a bit before going downstairs so I didn't scare my children. But when I started my day that way, I felt like I was running behind all day long. So while my recent earlier mornings are a result of needing more time to plan my days and more time to just wake up in the morning, they are also about starting my day with gratitude and finding joy in simple pleasures, like a few minutes of silence. 

Whether you’re a working mom, a stay-at-home dad,

Night Owl or Early Bird?

Are you a night owl or an early bird? Do you fall asleep by 9pm and wake up in the morning like a red-bull fueled, whirling dervish checking all the items off your To Do list by 8am? Or do you find you have to force yourself go to bed at night ("Okay, I know I've said goodnight five times but this time I'm really go—is that a two hour episode of the Voice?") and then you have to force yourself to get out of it in the morning with self-bribery involving hot caffeinated beverages? The latter has definitely been my pattern for as long as I can remember. 

I always thought it was just how I was wired. That I was a night owl and would never be able to get up early and function well throughout my day. But I think I've been wrong all this time. I don't think it's because my body is wired that way. I think it's much more to do with how I structure my day and my ADD brain and the way it functions (or doesn't function in this case...you can read my last post for more about that.) I think the number of hours of sleep a person needs is quite individual. But let's say it's 7 hours for me. I think as long as I'm getting the amount of time my body needs, I can do that from 10pm-5am just as effectively as 1am-8am. My body will adjust if I'm consistent and I can actually turn myself into a morning person. (Okay, still not the whirling dervish type...and I still need my caffeine, but I can get up earlier!)

"Everyone has ADD."

This is my normal. If you're horrified right now, you can just stop reading. It's okay, this is too long for you to read if you're not emotionally vested at this point. 😂

But if you're nodding your head in total understanding—while simultaneously thinking you have other things to do so you should probably stop reading...but you know you'll just end up scrolling instagram for the next ten minutes anyway—read on...

I never suspected I had ADD when I was young. I didn't fit the typical mold. I wasn't a hyper boy in the 80's who bounced off the walls if given a sip of kool-aid. I was actually a quiet dreamer in school. (While at home I was a non-stop talker...right mom?) I would look out the windows and let my brain take me where it willed. Or I would sit at the front of the classroom taking notes so I could pay attention to what the teacher was saying. And I did very well in school. I didn't get in trouble or have poor grades.