this summer was good.

I didn't have the huge bucket list I usually do.  Instead, I only had one goal: to reach a state of mental well being. You may think I'm joking, but I took, (and still take) mental health very seriously. Too often, our emotional well-being is overlooked. When we see blood, we know it's time for help.  Our stomach acts up and we'll call the doc.  But when our mind hurts and we can't explain it, we ignore it.  Dealing with a good emotional balance has been the hurtle of my life so far.  I've referred to it before in posts, but not so directly, perhaps because I was scared to admit such an imperfect part of me.  But for some reason, today, at this very moment, I just started writing this with zero premeditation.  and will probably post it before I even read it through and thoroughly think of the outcomes (or fix the grammar mistakes...).

If there is one thing I've learned through my anxiety dealings it's that I'm not alone.  In fact, more people than not deal with "the woes" on a regular basis.  I feel pretty safe saying you, yes you reading this, have at some time in your life.  The difference for people is how they deal with it.

amongst other things things that have helped (good diet, exercise, meditation) the one part of my goal for mental well-being that really got the ball rolling was to speak to someone.  yes, a shrink.  It wasn't the first time I've been to a counselor and it may not be the last.  It was loads of help.  during a particular session, my counselor explained something to me that hit me like a ton of bricks.  (People talk about turning points in there lives....well this might very well be mine.)  It'll be hard to type it out (I speak so much with my hands/arms/facial expressions) but basically, I realized I think in absolutes.  Did you catch that?  I think in absolutes.  What does that mean?  Here's some examples of absolute statements:

-I have to
-I can't
-I must

you may be looking at those thinking "I still don't get it".  lets try this: If I make a to do list (which I do often) full of things that need to be done at a certain time or of great importance, one of two things happen.

1. I do the things on the list
2. I don't do the things on the list.

If I do do the things on the list, there is no "reward" since I required myself to do it.  The satisfaction is missing.  If I don't do the things on the list, I'm upset with myself since they "had" to happen.  And do something I call emotional punishment: stay mad at myself.

both of these are plain silly.  I get that.  but for some reason, and I'm not going to dwell on finding out the "whys", my brain sees it that way.  So I've been trying to psych out my mind, trick it if you will.  I no longer make "to do" lists.  I make "it would be really nice if...but...ya know....whatever....it can wait...." lists.  that way, if I do them, I'm delighted with myself!  I went above and beyond!  and if I don't, well, I hardly notice.  Sure, this has left my house a tad bit messier and dishes in the sink a little longer than usual, but it's made for a happier me.

(Thinking in absolutes isn't limited to "to do" lists of course, it was just the easiest way to explain it. )

so why did I say all of this or any of it?  I'm not sure.  I suppose it's because I'm so much happier being happier.  (duh).  and I suppose I'm proud of myself for kicking perfectionist me in the butt.  And I suppose It's because I really do believe mental health is important.  And I suppose I want to help others kick their less happy selves in the butt too.

and there.  it's being posted.

message me if you feel so inclined: cathorley(at)gmail(dot)com


  1. i think a lot of people's minds work this way. it's good to know you aren't alone.

  2. You are one smart little cookie, my dear, to have figured out so much so young. I am glad that you are healthier and happier. Mommy smiles!

  3. Mental health is super important! And I admire you like a gazillion times for talking about it, because that is one that that is super hard for me to do. Thank you for sharing this :)

  4. you're beautiful. i love your style. plain and simple, you inspire me.