How is your mental health?

Have you ever taken one of those personality tests? And how do those factor into something like mental illness? Read on to see what my experience is!

#nami #susanstrasser #susanstrasserblog #amwriting

Lately, reading the news brings tears to my eyes. Even more than usual.

Supreme Court nominations being made before Ruth Bader Ginsburg is even cold in her grave. Worse yet, that so many politicians are going along with it. Such a slap in the face being that she was a champion for Human Rights and the racial injustices of police brutality and murders of folks such as Breanna Taylor and George Floyd.

Or those wildfires out west. Millions of acres, burning. I swear a couple of those overcast days last week had a thin film to them…like what people were saying was true: that the pollution had crossed the country. How fortunate we on the east coast are to not have that to deal with.

At this point, my Bipolar Disorder already sees things as a little apocalyptic. But then of course, there’s Covid. That America has reached the awful, never-wanted-to-be-here marker of 200,000 deaths. The paper said that that’s like 9-11 happening daily for 67 days. 9-11. The biggest attack ever on American soil. Remember 9-11? It changed history. Before that, it was Pearl Harbor. World War II. Remember 9-11? Our dear essential workers.

And I wonder why I feel like a powder keg lately managing my childrens’ educations: Chromebook Kindergarten for my son. 5th grade for my daughter. The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) suggests psychotherapy, medications, self-management strategies, and complementary health approaches for people like myself with Bipolar.

I take Depakote and Lithium for my Bipolar Disorder. Also I have weekly therapist sessions. Next, I see a psychiatrist monthly to monitor these medications. Lastly, I can never praise my 12 step fellowships enough for my spiritual foundation and infinite faith to keep going. Family and friends are a big part of “complementary health approaches.” I can always use compliments, too lol!

And there is some positive news out there: on the John Hopkins website this week, data shows that Maryland has had one full week of a decline in Covid cases! YEAH!

And there are always more resources to consider, reflect, and reuse for my sanity as well. Lately I reviewed my personality type for clues to my high stress reactions. I’m an INFJ-T. Of course, I’m going to internalize all the things happening around me as an introvert…Covid, wildfires, racial injustice…and then have my VERY energetic 6-year-old who’s drawing just a little too much on his whiteboard which he’s only supposed to be using for Math but he’s in Reading right now not listening to his teacher on Google Meet during his first month of Kindergarten by Chromebook and I have to walk out of the room because I am not going to ask him to get on task AGAIN.

I won’t.

INFJ-T: introverted, intuitive, feeling and judging personality, who tends to feel turbulence.

If my life was normal (ha!), I would not know what my son is doing all day in Kindergarten, I tell myself. Let it go.

Let him go!

And listen to his teacher teaching her heart out!

Strategize, strategize!

Glance at his Google classroom and see that almost ALL the kids are wiggle-worms like my son! We’re not alone.

Work it, work it!

As I let that anger and fear dissipate I hear and see him not being a perfect student, or the old stereotype of one who quietly sits there, absorbing information like a sponge. This is way outdated! And not only that, I need to watch that perfectionism. It’s a major weakness of being an INFJ-P.

So yes the state of my county seems near apocalyptic, but I personally choose sanity. I will read the news. And speak up for my beliefs. And not act out negatively, to the best of my ability, and if I do, forgive myself the best I can, and move on.

I commit to keep channeling my Bipolar symptom of ‘mood elevation’ as NAMI calls it and transform it into my creativity and altruism.

One of my fellow bloggers, Melissa Hunter, wrote lately: “It takes a strong person to admit they’re not happy and that they need help.”

Yup. Mentally ill introverts unite! We do recover.

love and hugs

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