Monday, February 6, 2012

Mind Ninja Navigation

As mentioned in a previous post about Beginning Again and Moving Forward, I’ve started seeing a counselor to help combat my depression.

Like a friend and fellow D-advocate recently described it, I’ve taken the step to seek this help and take the metaphoric pill to wake up and see things as they really are, not as I’ve tricked myself into thinking everything really is in a dim, depressing light.

I contemplated clever names that might be appropriate to use in referring to this nice, very-insightful LCSW. Being a movie-buff, I thought about using Dr. Leo Marvin from “What About Bob?” but decided against that. After some thought about how her mind task is to help me ninja-kick my mind into a better place and sort through all the jumbled mess up there, I settled on Mind Ninja. Because, let’s face it: If I need to be a D-Ninja, then I need a Mind Ninja on this team.

In a sense, it’s like I’m a ship in the darkened night-time waters trying to find my way to shore. The light-house isn’t easy to find, but I know it’s there. The choppy waters of depression and diabetes and life-stresses are crashing against me, slowing down my journey and even pushing me off course. But, Mind Ninja is my navigational tool, and with her help I’ll be able to find that beacon on the shoreline to help guide me to the mental place I need to be.

Even after two sessions, I know she’s equipped to help me.

For one, she’s a fellow Person With Diabetes (PWD) who’s Living with Type 2. So she “gets it” to the degree that we’re living with diabetes in many of the same ways. Secondly, the small world that is our Diabetes Community has already found its way into our discussions. In describing my own D-advocacy and writing activity and aspirations from the journalism perspective, she mentioned how she’d periodically read the work of someone I might find inspiration from: A man by the name of Mendoza.

As soon as she said that, I said, “David! He’s great! I’ve been reading him for years, since way back in the 90s. And what an honor it was to meet him in person a couple years ago!”
Mind Ninja: “Oh, you’ve met him?!”

I told I had the opportunity to meet him, and many others, through the Roche Social Media Summits. Also how Dr. Bill Polonsky was an incredibly insightful person to meet and hear in person. We started talking a bit about that, circling back to how D-burnout can happen and the whole emotional side of diabetes.

We hit at the feeling of “hopelessness” that I have felt at times, and how the positive forces in my life help counter-balance those pessimistic feelings. I talked about how I’ve been trying to consciously tell myself to be positive at the start of each day, looking for that ray of sunshine rather than listening to the negative thoughts of failure, inadequacy, and self-doubt that frequently enter my mind. That’s important, she said. We always listen to ourselves, even when we don’t realize it.

She said it’s about filtering out the negativity, and I made the observation that I need to change my air filter. Part of that on my end is adding positive elements into my life, removing some of the stress – financial woes, work-related, diabetes, and whatever else might be caught in my filter. I’m making an effort to exercise each day, even if it’s just walking the dog around the block. Going outside to breathe and take in some natural settings. Read a book, just to read for fun – not news or diabetes or anything, but the types of things I used to enjoy such as history or literature or poetry to exercise my mind in that way.

That discussion led to the theme of our third session: Positive thoughts and the roots of my feelings of inadequacy. Am I really inadequate or is it just a mind game I’ve been playing?

Like I said, I’m a ways out from the shoreline and it’s cloudy out here. But I know this is a strong ship to help me travel back, a whole crew of people is on board to man the ship, I have the navigational tools to get there, and my focus is getting stronger on the journey ahead.

So here we go. The waters are choppy, but they’re calming down and I know I’ll find my way back to shore with Mind Ninja’s guidance.

10 comments:

Kate said...

Well written, Mike. I'm glad you've found your mind ninja. Here's hoping you find some smooth sailing ahead.

Kelly Booth said...

I am glad that you found a Mind Ninja that is a PWD Mike. I hope that lighthouse keeps getting brighter & brighter for you!

Kelly said...

Sounds like you are on your way to finding your shore again soon!

Cherise said...

Mike-

I'm glad you are speaking to someone:) yay for mind ninjas:)

Scott Strange said...

Great post Mike.

Negative thinking was extremely difficult for me to even start working on, and it is still an issue for me at times.

It's a little like diabetes, you almost have to think about every single thought and "correct" yourself whenever you put a negative spin on something that doesn't deserve it.

Hang in there, brother, it will get better!

Sara said...

Sounds awesome Mike!

Jess said...

i am so glad you've started this journey! remember we're with you every step of the way!

Bea said...

Inadequate? You? Never, Mike! It's your mind playing tricks on you as it mine did as well.

I'm so glad to hear you found help and your therapist understands where you're coming from.

I don't know if you're taking medication, but my psychiatrist was very emphatic: my anti-depressant is another diabetes medicine. There is no control or motivation when the other D is looming.

I can tell you my depression is in what I'd call remission. Because I looked for help, because I looked at it and told it "Stop! You won't win!"

So here's my wish for you: That you vanquish depression and that you find many, many reasons to be proud of who you are.

Hugs!

George said...

I am so glad you are seeing the Mind Ninja. So many of us try to go it alone and depression can be tricky.

Take care my friend.

shannon said...

i love that movie "what about bob"!

sounds like you and mind ninja are on the right track!