Thursday, September 17, 2020

Reviewing TIME Mental Health: A New Understanding

TIME Mental Health - A New Understanding

I picked up TIME Mental Health: A New Understanding a year ago in the grocery store and slowly worked my way through it. I assumed I would race through the magazine and produce a shining review for my readers to enjoy. Then ADHD happened, which is like saying, “And then I breathed”. When I say “slowly”, I refer to the speed at which glaciers raced across the North American continent. Ultimately, I finished, which is the lesson I take away from my tortoise and hare situation. I wasn’t in competition with anybody, except, perhaps, Father Time, but I must admit that I had an assist from COVID–19, which gave me lots of time to break my news addiction. After all, there are only so many ways in which you can be told “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!” before you tune out and suddenly decide that sorting that four year old bag of junk mail you’ve been kicking around seems like a better use of your time. Fortunately for me, this magazine was on top of that bag, so disaster averted.

There were many good articles in the magazine, but also many that weren’t exactly good, nor compelling, which might explain my glacier-like reading pace. Truthfully, I found the first half of the magazine often conflated pointing out a problem as solving it, but only the second half of the magazine offered concrete solutions. Yet there were excellent articles sprinkled throughout the magazine that caught my interest. One in particular was an article about loneliness. I found it extremely insightful, but more on that in a bit.

The magazine was laid out well and featured powerful illustrations and photography, often stunning and evocative. A true feast on the eyes. Assuming, however, you aren’t just going to leave the magazine around for guests to notice, you might be interested in which articles I found good.

Two articles were dedicated to the celebrity suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. The Bourdain piece was a kind and thoughtful retrospective of his career until the end, but didn’t delve into the mental health issues behind suicide, nor offer solutions, so I ultimately found it wanting. I suppose I shouldn’t fault the author for lacking a crystal ball to peer into Anthony Bourdain’s head.

"Hope from a Strange Source” was informative, helpful, and also honest about ketamine’s benefits & downsides. I dislike that folks take a ketamine “trip” at a doctor’s office. I find the language a bit hinky to be honest, especially if you’re hoping to gain mainstream acceptance. Never mind that the results don’t last, the process is expensive, and also potentially addictive. The derivative meds look far more promising. That article was followed by a brief but informative piece called “Drug-Free Treatments Backed by Science”. My favorite poison, cognitive behavioral therapy, made the list.

There was an interesting article on float therapy. I’ve never looked into this therapy before. I mean, why would I? Isn’t this the therapy Ellie uses to get to the dark side? I have enough nightmares in my own head without inviting them to cross over into my daytime, thank you very much. However, although the process seems Hollywood-kooky, the results looked promising—assuming you aren’t claustrophobic.

There was an article on psilocybin. The discussion was grounded in sensible science, which apparently included feelings of forgiveness, love, magic, fairies, and mystical placebos riding on happy unicorns adorned with rainbows. And there I was thinking that the ketamine trips were bad.

I found solace in ‪“The Power of Exercise”, an article about the science behind the positive effects that exercise, from aerobic to resistance training, has on depression. One study even found that one to two hours a week of exercise can boost endorphins & well-being, as well as improve sleep. They didn’t mention how beneficial such a low amount of exercise was on your waistline, however. Regardless, these finding match my own anecdotal observations, as well as others who have shared their anti-depression regimens with me. Exercise is good for the brain.

There were interesting findings on the benefits of sunlight in combating depression, something I have implemented for years. There were also studies about the benefits of eating more fish vs taking supplements for increased Omega3s in your diet. All of these studies are interesting, but may or may not be beneficial to you since we are all different. I recommend trying the more harmless ones suggested in the magazine to see if you experience benefits. For example, the most harmless downside to increasing fish in your diet might only be bad breath, whereas ingesting magic mushrooms might get you in a bit of trouble. I mean, I assume it might be troublesome. You might find dancing unicorns and feeling interconnected on a cosmic level with inanimate objects such as mailboxes and 5G towers to be exactly what you were looking for. I don’t judge.

There were two article that I found were worth the cost of the magazine. “How to Help a Friend or Loved One” gave excellent, practical advice on how to broach the topic of depression with loved ones who are suffering. People find themselves paralyzed by fear when needing to discuss depression or suicide with loved ones. We don’t want to offend. We don’t want to intrude. We don’t want to hurt or accidentally push somebody away. However, indecision is ultimately the same as doing nothing.

I did disagree with one part of the article. It states “To suggest that depression is a choice is to woefully misunderstand the disorder.” As a guy with both persistent and major depression disorders, I understand that depression is not my fault. I don’t wake up in the morning and declare, “I think I’ll be miserable today!” But, and this is key, we can decide to not stay miserable. Deciding to fight depression is crucial for overcoming it. You can read more about my thoughts on this subject here.

Lastly, the article on loneliness (“The Loneliness Epidemic”) was both informative and filled with suggestions to combat the condition. It may not be a surprise to learn that researchers have identified how loneliness in young adults can lead to depression, anxiety, and self-harm, but some of the other findings were eye-opening, especially the physiological aspects.

Someone who is lonely might have higher levels of inflammation in the body, metabolic abnormalities, high blood pressure and an abnormal stress response,” explains Kimberly Smith.

At first I thought, “Delightful. I’m doomed,” but then I became amused by the idea of lowering my high blood pressure by dating. Still, there are cause-and-effect correlations to be drawn from loneliness. For example, a study found people aged 19 to 32 who spent over two hours a day on social media were twice as likely to feel isolated and lonely than those who treated social media like a toxic dumpster fire. There is a lesson for me in there, I am sure of it.

Although I may kid, I found the suggestions in the article for combating loneliness very practical and reasonable. It was my favorite article in the magazine.

You may not agree with every take on mental health that the various writers have, but TIME Mental Health: A New Understanding is a good starting point if you’re struggling with a particular issue. I wish more articles were as good at offering solutions as they were in identifying a problem, but there were enough articles that were balanced to make the magazine worth your time. I’d recommend picking this magazine up at your local library and thumbing through it for the topics that interest you. You won’t likely find it for sale anymore at your local grocery or book store, but you can purchase an ebook or print copy from Amazon.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Dealing with Suicidal Tendencies? Posting on Social Media Is Not Therapy

Ronnie McNutts last Facebook post

On this World Suicide Prevention Day, I wanted to write to people who hide behind the illusion of strength. They give the appearance of mental well-being by posting excellent advice, uplifting memes, and beautiful quotes, but privately they struggle with the overpowering tidal forces of suicidal depression. When that tide sweeps them away, their friends are left surprised and stunned.

As many of you know, Ronnie McNutt¹ took his own life while live streaming on Facebook last month. It was traumatic and devastating to those who witnessed it. According to his friend, Ronnie was severely drunk, so it’s easy to assume that he might not have been thinking clearly when he posted such a strong, demanding, yet earnest post before ending his own life.

What can we learn from his example?

Ronnie didn’t reach out for help. He posted on Facebook, then, while inebriated, streamed his last moments. That is such an extreme and unusual situation, you may feel you have nothing to learn at all from his actions. Yet Ronnie hid his pain behind a social media post instead of seeking help. This is what I hope to encourage others to not do.

To those of you who hide your pain behind a social media mask, I have a message for you:

Posting upbeat, inspirational posts on social media is not the same thing as getting help.

Don’t treat your social media timeline as if it’s some magic ward against the demons that eat at you. You more than others know the importance of reaching out for help. Please don’t worry about keeping up appearances. If you feel overwhelmed by suicidal tendencies, reach out to those caring and wonderful people in your support network. Find people who listen. Find people who help.

It’s been two years and five months since I last had a suicidal thought. When a suicidal impulse springs to life in my mind, my first coping strategy is to tell somebody about it. I do the opposite of hiding it! Sometimes I tell my daughters. Sometimes I tell a religious leader. I always set up an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist. I immediately seek help. These coping strategies have helped me for over thirty years.

Set up good habits and practice them. Don’t disguise your pain with an illusion. Posting upbeat mental health content isn’t wrong, but it is your responsibility to yourself to ensure posting on social media is not all you do to keep yourself healthy.

If you will find it helpful, please read the articles I have written over the years regarding National Suicide Prevention Month. They are filled with personal anecdotes from my own struggles with depression and suicidal depression, but also tips and ideas to help you overcome your pain.

Please don’t keep it hidden.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

With ADHD, Who Needs Sleep Anyway?

I came across this old blog post that I never shared here. It’s from March 2013. I updated it a bit. I hope you enjoy it.

If I thought ADHD could throw monkey wrenches into my plans before, divorce was like dumping the entire plumber’s toolbox into the works instead. It’s taken a bit of time to heal, to sort out the mess, and to know what to do with all those monkey wrenches.

We have joint custody so we split parental duties as well as time spent with the kids right down the middle. She gets medical, and I get school. Since I am in charge of making sure my girls’ school paperwork is in order, I like to use my iPhone to keep things straight with the Calendar, Reminders, and Clear (todo list) apps. With those apps I keep track of everything that needs to be taken care of. My skills are awe inspiring—that is assuming I remember to write things down in the first place. Unfortunately, life gives me helpful reminders of how important it is to use my reminder system, like that weekend last month…

The girls were at their mothers (we switch every two weeks), but the teacher mailed me a packet of forms. It was time for my youngest daughter’s reassessment in the special needs cluster program. She has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, along with other issues that make school challenging for her. I used the “Put the packet out in the open. You can’t possibly forget about it if you trip over it” method that weekend instead of usual iPhone reminder system. Too bad I absentmindedly put another pile on top of that reminder pile. Sometime around 2am on Monday, early early on a schoolday morning, I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t filled out the paperwork.

My first panic was that I couldn’t find them. Once that problem was taken care of, there I was filling out psych evals and questionnaires for hours. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night, but I got the paperwork filled out on time. I was able to preserve my reputation as an awe inspiring, responsible father — assuming my ex doesn’t read this blog. The silly thing is that I have systems in place to avoid these types of stressful situations. That’s why I designed them. Adults with ADHD benefit from having systems in place to help avoid careless errors. We resist the structure at times, but nobody needs it more than we do.

There are plenty of reasons why I didn’t use my iPhone system that weekend. I had the flu…I was busy establishing world peace…I was abducted by aliens. No one really cares. Whatever is due is due. Fortunately for me, I didn’t let anyone down, so I’m not beating myself up over it. If losing sleep was the price I paid to pull it all together, so be it. I’ve now recommitted to using my reminder system, and started training myself to use it more instinctively going forward. At least until the next time I forget about it.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

People Read What I Write? Who Knew‽

22K Pageviews? Not bad!

22K Pageviews? Not bad!

Have I mentioned I was sick for a long time at the beginning of the year? I may have mentioned it once or twice¹. Well, while I was down for the count, my editors over at ADDitude Magazine were counting pageviews for an article I wrote for them a while back. Apparently, I hit 22,213 pageviews for that article alone. They told me all about it last February while I was slightly inconvenienced. I just recently discovered their post when I had to use carefully placed demolition charges and a pick axe to catch up with my email.

I know my mother wasn’t reloading that page over and over again as she wardrived from free wifi network to free wifi network all around town. Not only would she not think of doing that, she wouldn’t understand what I just wrote! Instead, I can only assume that there was a sizable amount of people who were interested in The Reinvented Chore Chart That Actually Motivates My Child

It was a fun article I wrote about how I finally got my stubborn teen to work on her chores. There was a lot of psychology involved, some of it even on a comfy chair, but in the end I succeeded in transforming my daughter into a celestial chores-happy being! There wasn’t any hypnotism or coercion involved either. Yep, I’m wicked good at taking what other people tell me and making it my own. You should read the article.

  1. I make no apologies. I was sick for over half a year. It’s taken me four months to work off the weight I gained and build back the muscle tone & strength that I lost.  ↩

Friday, July 17, 2020

In Memory of Dr. Elena Díaz de Guereñu

Dr. Elena Díaz de Guereñu

I’ve been blogging about ADHD & Depression since 2005. In that time I have met many wonderful people. One of them was Elena Díaz de Guereñu. Elena would translate my blogs into Spanish for her TDAH (ADHD) readers. I was always grateful for her efforts.

I haven’t heard from her in a while, and now that I’ve visited her blog again (Dra ELENA DÍAZ DE GUEREÑU – Diagnóstico y tratamiento del TDAH), I know why. She stopped blogging due to health reasons over a year ago. And now she’s gone, which feels off to me. The magical aspect of online relationships is that people live forever in our minds. Sometimes, we have no idea who they are in real life or what impact they have had on others. Judging by the dozens of tearful comments left on her facebook page, Elena left behind a legacy of grateful patients who she taught to manage their ADHD. She touched so many lives.

Here are the six articles she translated of my work. Most of them were written for ADDitude Magazine (who altered my URLs during a website redesign. You can’t follow through the links on her site.). If you speak Spanish and are interested in TDAH, I hope you find these articles useful. Elena translated a lot of ADHD material for her patients and readers. She was friendly, kind, and selfless. We will all miss her.

If you are interested in reading more articles that I’ve written about ADHD, you can find them here and at ADDitude Magazine.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

I'm Not Dead Yet

First vacation in over thirty years

I’ve been rethinking the purpose of my blog lately. Haven’t I written enough on ADHD & Depression? I don’t write exclusively about either subject, which turns some readers off, so I’ve never had the meteoric rise of some bloggers who target one or the other subject (although with ADHD bloggers & YouTubers, they usually blaze through the sky then disappear after awhile). Writing about comorbid conditions isn’t sexy, though I think I look pretty good in my newest jeans. Seriously, though, it’s hard to compete with Facebook. Remember when RSS, not Facebook, made the blogosphere go round? Heck, who even uses “blogosphere” anymore? It makes me wonder where I should be putting my focus.

The first blow to my blogging schedule was getting sick last Fall for SEVEN months (I cannot write enough about how disruptive that was to my life). Then COVID–19 arrived just as I was getting better, and my learning disabled daughter needed every ounce of my focus in order to graduate. Meanwhile, I decided to make the move to WordPress (in order to have comments again and to escape Google’s fickle ecosystem), but configuring WP templates was so needlessly complicated, my boredom resistant brain wandered off, leaving a half installed blog on my personal server with no new posts on my “old” blog. Plus, I was dealing with a major bout of depression which was defying my coping strategies. My answer to that was to leave social media entirely for over a month—not write more. When a friend offered to take me on vacation down to his parent’s home in Saint George, Utah, I leapt at the chance.

Then I rethought it, backed out, discussed with him how I could still do it, backed out again, then got him to delay HIS vacation by a day, and ultimately went. That is the kind of laser-focused, steely-eyed determination I am all about lately.

What I discovered on my time away from stressors was that:

  1. I miss writing about ADHD & Depression.
  2. I don’t schedule time for my blog book projects.
  3. I am taking too much time preparing/researching for my middle-grade novel.

So I made a list. What does a prolific Douglas Cootey look like? The concise list gives me eight thought provoking, evocative reasons to ponder my purpose in life while empowering me to do better. I am contemplating how to implement these sweeping changes into my life, and thinking, “Hey! This exercise would make a great blog post!” I’m finally feeling more like myself. Hello, Douglas. Long time no see.

Before charting my next move, I want to state something publicly: I do not regret taking time off from my writing to focus on life. Consider it my gap year. My blog has taken a beating in key search results terms, but I am still here. Sometimes life throws up unexpected detours. My family needed me; I was incredibly ill; and now I’m emerging from all that with greater insight. I am undergoing a chrysalis of sorts. Even the frustrating, overwhelming, often burdensome experiences have made me a better person. I look forward to showing you my personal growth here in these pages over the next few months.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Give Yourself a Fighting Chance. Put Stable People in Your Support Network

If you struggle with suicide, depression or anxiety, the types of people you have in your support network can make the difference between them being a lifeline or a weight.

Sunken Boat by nasir khan

It’s been over two years since I was last suicidal. I wasn’t making dark and deadly plans at the time. I simply thought I would be better off dead. It was the matter-of-factness of the “epiphany” that startled me the most. It seemed perfectly logical. Fortunately, I’ve heard this logic before and immediately engaged my coping strategies. I let family members know, I prayed deeply, and since I didn’t have a current counselor, I reached out to a bishop for a recommendation. Quite quickly, I put the suicidal ideation behind me. That’s the benefit of coping strategies.

It also helps that I was able to analyze my feelings and separate my awareness from the emotional maelstrom. I could outthink the destructive thoughts. This is very difficult for many people, though. They get caught up in the emotional maelstrom. When the illogical becomes logical, they need help from a support network, but not everybody is so fortunate.

During my recent anniversary , I couldn’t stop thinking about K-pop star, Goo Hara. The last time I wrote about Hara’s struggle with suicide was last year. I don’t stan for K-pop cuties (okeh. Not much), but discovering her band was one of the happy moments I shared with one of my daughters after the divorce. When I heard about Hara’s struggles last May, I was shocked. I wrote about it last September during National Suicide Prevention Month, but when I found out she took her life two months later, I was devastated. I haven’t listened to her band in years, but I was connected to her story. I wanted her to pull through.

Unfortunately for Hara, one of the supports she leaned on was her friend, Sulli, a fellow K-pop star who took her own life in October 2019. Hara followed Sulli’s example a month later. This incident shows the importance of having stable people in our support networks who don’t struggle with what we struggle with. Social contagion is real. The actions of others can unduly influence our own thinking.

As I wrote last time, building a support network is very difficult to do, but it is vitally important for your well being. Even if your depression or anxiety never plunges into being suicidal, start building that network right away. Finding stable people who can comfort you with wisdom and care is a trial & error process.

I commented on this process in my book:

“…many people don’t know what to do with the confession—even church leaders. Are we just being melodramatic, they wonder? Are we just looking for sympathy? Are we trying to manipulate their feelings so that we can get something from them? Why don’t we just suck it up and deal with it like everybody else? They have problems, too. And on and on and on. Their lack of empathy can be summed up with one glib and unspoken question: “What is wrong with you?”

The problem, of course, is that not every ear is sympathetic or capable of understanding the answer to that question. Of course, not every teacher, counselor, church leader, family member, etc. is insensitive or incapable of helping you—in fact, I suspect they are in the minority—but when we are hurting, we aren’t very good judges of who is best to trust. “Wait a minute!” you may shout. Common advice for those experiencing suicidal ideation is for them to seek help—to reach out and let others know what they are feeling. I agree. That is an important first step. The trouble with this step is that not everybody is equipped to deal with suicidal ideation. They can handle a slew of human conditions, but perhaps not suicide.

Sometimes, they might be emotionally unable to process your pain, or perhaps they simply don’t understand what you are trying to tell them. You wouldn’t ask an ear doctor for a medical opinion on your foot, would you? Why assume that untrained friends & family will be able to help you with suicidal ideation? This seems logical now, but when we reach out for help due to the influence of depression and suicidal ideation, we are already not thinking clearly. What saved me when I reached out to that church leader was that I had something already in place to fall back on—a support network that I had relied on for years. This is why you should mentally prepare for a suicide emergency as you would prepare for a fire or earthquake emergency. Go over your plan before hand. Line up people before hand.”¹

It seems logical to reach out to people who are also going through what you are. If anybody is going to be sympathetic, it’ll be another person dealing with anxiety, depression, or being suicidal, right? However, consider for a moment how much energy you put into feeling “normal” each day—how exhausted you are by the end of the day. Your support friend is likely as exhausted as you are. They may not have the emotional strength necessary to carry your burden along with theirs.

My recommendation is to keep like-minded friends as friends, but build a support network with sympathetic and caring people who aren’t struggling with your same mental health issues. Camaraderie is important. However, when you’re floundering, you need people to pull your boat ashore when waters are choppy, not put holes in the bottom.

If you’d like to read the rest of the chapter featured in this article, you can find the book online at most major ebook retailers, or suggest it as a purchase for your local online library.

  1. Saying NO to Suicide by D.R. Cootey  ↩

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Four Tips to Build a Support Network While Sheltering in Place

If you’re feeling down from too much social distancing, how do you build a support network when you’re sheltering in place‽

Ocean's Treasure by FotoFloridian

Support networks are the sort of things you’re supposed to have already put into place for that time when you need them. You’re also supposed to file your taxes on time, separate your recyclables, and brush your teeth twice a day. There are a lot of things we’re supposed to do, but for one reason or another, we sometimes don’t get around to doing. Support networks take effort to build. Because of that, it is easy to avoid putting yourself out there when things are going well.

Then your government tells you to stay inside or else, and suddenly that support network seems a lot more important than it did before. Fortunately, communicating with each other over distances isn’t limited to letters via post. Now we can private message, video chat, audio chat, and text over phones lines and the internet. If you deal with depression, you know that you can’t always tell when you’re going to have a bad day, but you don’t have to be a psychologist to know that social distancing and sheltering in place can feel like isolation. Having access to supportive people is key to managing your depression.

As I blogged about before, I’ve been social distancing for many months now. Fortunately, I already did the work to set up my support network, but I’m always looking to grow that network. The more people you can rely on, the better your chances are to reach somebody when you need help.

When I want to expand my network, I follow these steps:

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Top Ten Ways I've Survived Social Distancing

Sequestered away and worried about COVID–19? It’s good to take this crisis seriously, but social distancing doesn’t have to be as dire as people online make it seem. Here are the top ten ways I’ve kept my attitude upbeat while isolated from others.

Steezy Coot

As I’ve written before, I’ve been sick and social distancing since September 2019. I have asthmatic bronchitis, rhinitis, and chronic respiratory inflammation. Consequently, my body has been so busy struggling to breathe, it hasn’t had much oomph left to fight off every cold & virus in Utah. At first, I just thought I was getting a lot of colds for some reason. As soon as I got better, I’d go out again, but by the end of September, I was staying clear away from everybody as much as possible. By Christmas the isolation became difficult to bear. I’d do things with family, wearing a dust mask to filter out the smog, but it would only work for a short time. I was too sickly, and I ended up sicker and sicker. I had to stop socializing entirely.

Which brings me to today. COVID–19 has brought our societies to a standstill. We’re told to self-quarantine if we suspect we’re ill and practice social distancing if we’re healthy. I’ve started seeing articles popping up on how lonely social distancing is going to make us. From experience, I can tell you that social distancing may not be party, but it doesn’t have to be an experience of extreme isolation and loneliness, either.

Social distancing is different than self-quarantine. It’s easy to avoid others when you’re sick because you’re often too sick to mix and mingle, but social distancing when you’re healthy feels wrong—like you’re a paranoid nutcase who’s overreacting. I’ve been there. Unlike self-quarantine, you’re not locking yourself away with social distancing. You’re only minimizing contact and exposure to others. Taking precautions for yourself and others, you can still go out.

I have Major Depressive Disorder and Persistent Depressive Disorder, and I’ve managed to keep my spirits up these past six months. I’m all set for COVID–19. With some preparation and planning, you, too, can avoid the doldrums and make your isolation less lonely. I’d like to share with you my ten most successful activities. I hope they give you ideas to adapt in your own lives:

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Sneak-Peek of Spring

Yesterday I saw my immunologist. We discussed quite a few things, and she wants to see me continue social distancing, as I have been for six months, but also to try and get out more. That’ll be hard to do with this coronavirus pandemic we’re dealing with, but yesterday was just too good to not take her advice. 

I just went around the neighborhood. I was so weak—so little stamina after a long, hard winter of sickness. I had to take several breaks. Even with the two ventilator valves on my mask, carbon monoxide builds up when I’m breathing hard. I lasted about 30 minutes total. It was a good effort.

Today, I strapped on my asthma mask and headed out to the Jordan River Parkway. The weather was gorgeous and it felt good to get out without a jacket on. I loved feeling the sun on my face again. 

The cracks along the parkway had widened during the cold, dry winter. I couldn’t take them straight on but had to run across them obliquely. At first I was very rusty, catching the wheels in the cracks here and there, but eventually muscle memory kicked in, and I cruised along while carving across the cracks without difficulty. My stamina had improved, and I didn’t need to stop to catch my breath. Instead, I had to stop to stretch out my feet from cramping. The muscles moving my metatarsals weren’t used to carving and counterbalancing, especially while bearing my winter-blessed weight.

After 20 minutes I came to a stop at my destination, a cement bench underneath an overpass. I pulled out my ocarina and played through my repertoire, musing over how well my lungs were holding up. It’s all thanks to that mask. I’ve been using it since December, and it’s made a massive difference in my ability to stay outside without having an asthma attack. 

I, also, was struck by how unafraid I was by people hearing me play.  Various cyclists and joggers would pass me as I played. They would acknowledge me, thank me for playing, or complement me. I usually experience quite a bit of social anxiety when performing in front of other people. I’ll have to try to analyze this later to see why I experienced none of that today. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been practicing so much that I felt confident in my skills. Or perhaps I was simply so exhilarated to be outside and enjoying the day that I forgot to be worried. Perhaps it was a little bit of both.

After running through all my songs, I geared up and headed back the way I had come. This time I rode goofy. I like to practice riding regular and goofy. One, it gives my abs an equal work out, but two, I need to strengthen both my legs,  quicken my reflexes, and improve my balance if I ever hope to make progress longboard dancing. I guesstimate that I have 10 years before I’m too old to do it, so I’m anxious to accelerate my learning. 

The ride back was wonderful. Riding goofy isn’t wonderful, however. I am not good at it yet. My leg muscles were screaming, and my ankles had reduced strength to minimize board wobble. I probably should have headed out riding goofy when my body was at its freshest. Although, it was a rough and wobbly ride, I persevered all the way back to my car, stopping only once to take in the spectacular Maxfield Parrish sunset. 

Here’s hoping the Spring will boost my health and allow me to roam freely outside again, even if I have to wear a mask. With luck, I am seeing a return to my stamina. 


Update 3/21/2020: I was bedridden by the end of the week. Between longboarding and running errands, I overtasked myself. It is hard to know what my limits are since I blow by them cluelessly all the time. 

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