Thursday, August 01, 2019

You Can Do It! Defeating Mental Health Issues with Your Own Voice

You’ve heard that you are your best advocate, but are you giving yourself pep talks? Maybe you should be.

Clip from Yowamushi Pedal

For years, I have been an advocate for talking out loud to oneself as a way to organize one’s mind. I’ve casually blogged about it (as can be read here), and there was one time I gave a tutorial of sorts on the subject over on[1] However, I have also been known to give myself advice as well as a pep talk, both here and in person, as a coping strategy for dealing with my depression. I have found talking to myself to be an effective coping strategy for ADHD & depression, despite people around me thinking it’s kooky.

I can do this!

You can do this!

You can do it!

You can find variations of those expressions all over my blog, but the “you” is usually you, the reader. In real life, however, I’ve been known to talk to myself in the second person as well.

Crazy, huh? I’m a certifiable nutter. But the technique works so well, I can’t see myself giving it up anytime soon. To be discreet, I’ve taken to speaking into my earphones as if I’m on the phone so nobody is the wiser.

Talking out loud to yourself is empowering

Recently, I read an article on this very subject.[2] There it was! Scientific evidence I wasn’t a nutter after all! What serendipitous joy! Apparently, saying “You can do it!” works even better that “I can do it!”. In practice, they found that…

…those who used the second person consistently completed the trial quicker and produced more power.

Then I read that the scientists gleaned their findings from the mind-stammering massive sample of twenty-two cyclists. That’s almost no better than my anecdotal observations. How fortunate for me that anecdotal observations are all I need when writing these articles.

Case in point, I once wrote:

Life is stressful for everyone. Where my depression and ADHD contribute is that one makes coping more difficult, and the other adds to the chaos. I tell myself “I can do this,” a favorite mantra of mine, and so I will, but it isn’t a simple matter of repeating the words. Coping strategies are more than mantras or prayers of hope. They are action plans.[3]

There is power in giving yourself a pep talk. When I’m unable to rise from bed, I tell myself “You’ve got this,” then force myself to move. When I’m under deadline and overwhelmed by stimuli, I take a deep breath and say out loud, “You can do this!” Then I do. You can argue that it’s a placebo, but I’m not sure if you can get the same results with made up words like “bibbity boppity boo!”. To me this technique is not a magical mantra. Speaking the phrases out loud engages the mind. I verbally reinforce what I already believe I can do. It’s a pep talk, but one that initiates a calm, focused state of mind. I’ve spent years practicing it.

You are The Little Engine That Could.

You don’t have to be an athlete to give yourself a boost when you need extra oomph. However, you do have to believe in what you say. Otherwise, you may as well be spouting gibberish.

You’ve probably heard of the story about The Little Engine That Could. Where other, larger trains passed up a hard job, the little engine showed them up, all while chanting “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” How curious that a children’s story from last century now has scientific findings from this century to back it up.

We can climb out of bed, shower, eat, and move out into the world despite the influence of depression. We can organize ourselves and prioritize our lives despite the influence of ADHD. The power lies within us to accomplish it. Now, you may say, “But I need my meds!”, and I’m not saying you don’t. I’m just saying that fictional trains may not be quite as trite as we’ve been led to believe. Maybe there is something to giving yourself a pep talk in the second or even first person. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll utilize whatever coping strategy will help me get closer to my goals, even if it makes me look a touch crazy.

So hold that phone close to the side of your face. Place your hand on your earphones as if you’re in a conversation. Find a private place and have a good loud chat with yourself. You’ve got this. You’ll be saying “I thought I could” in no time. You can do it!

If you’re looking for tips on how to help a loved one who struggles with suicidal ideation, read my book. I provide tips at the end of every chapter.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Eight ADHD Tips to Tidy Your Tabs & Bookmarks

You’ve heard the expression, “Less is more”? Too bad your bookmarks & tabs haven’t.[1]

Nice & Tidy Browser Tabs

Sometimes I wonder if there’s a support group out there for adults with ADHD who have a tabs & bookmarks problem.

Hello, my name is Douglas Cootey, and I’m a hard core tabs junkie.

Maybe this seems like a first world problem. Maybe you’re asking yourself, “What’s the big deal with several hundred open tabs and a million or two bookmarks?” If that’s how you think, you might need to join me at that meeting.

In theory there’s nothing wrong with lots of tabs and bookmarks. I did things that way for years. The problem I ran into, however, was although ToDo tabs were great, I had so many tabs open in my browser I couldn’t find what I needed. Just as ToDo lists can get long and unmanageable, ToDo tabs multiply until they become noise—no longer useful as resources or reminders. Bookmarks are the same way. Yes, you’ve saved that funny self-surgery with tweezers link, but where is it? Unless you organize your bookmarks regularly, they are probably a jumbled mess. They cease being useful. If you’re searching the internet for something you’ve already saved, maybe your system isn’t working for you.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Healthline's Best Depression Bloggers for 2019

Facebook isn’t always the best curator of excellent content. If you’re looking for people who write about depression, you are going to love Healthline’s new list.

depression best blogs badge 2019

I am honored to be included in Healthline’s Best Depression Blogs of 2019. This is my fourth year to be listed. What a wonderful resource they have put together for you.

Many mental health sites have made curated lists of depression bloggers over the years (you can find some of them here), but Healthline’s is the most consistent year over year. You should bookmark the link. They update it every Spring with their new selections. Read on for my personal recommendations.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Accolades, Attributions & Awards

Over the years, I have received various awards for my efforts here. I've even been interviewed, though I've not been thorough in keeping track of those. It's like I have an attention deficit or something. You can find all those links below. Why would you care? Maybe you wouldn't. I keep track of these links for my own sake to remind me that I'm doing alright—that I'm not just shouting into the void. You might enjoy these sites, regardless. There's more there than applause for yours truly. Most of these awards lead to a list of excellent blogs and wonderful writers who have their own things to say about ADHD, depression, and mental health.

Unfortunately, not all of the sites that featured me are still online. Frankly, I am gobsmacked and befuddled that I have been online long enough to outlive so many of these resources. To address this, I've updated this page with archive links so you can see what the award pages looked like when the award was issued. The layouts are often broken, and some require you to scroll and scroll and scroll… but the content is there. Now you can discover them, and, with luck, access them again.



Thursday, April 18, 2019

Looking Your Best for Depression

If You’re Depressed, Why Bother Getting Up & Ready for the Day?

I was recently asked if I had a blog post about why I cared so much about my dress, hair, and appearance despite my depression. What drives me to bother cleaning up when laying in bed while reading news in my PJs is easier to do? Why bother shaving? Why bother showering? Why bother getting up at all?

I couldn’t find a specific blog where I addressed this issue, but the pat answer is that my vanity is a super power. Vanity overpowers the darkest, deepest depressions to make sure at least my hair is presentable. Doesn’t that sound superficial? The truth is much deeper than that. How did I get to the point where I care so much about my appearance, it can override the urge to not care about anything at all?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

ADHD: Five Throwaway ToDo Lists that Quickly Organize Your Day

Sometimes the simplest solutions can be forgotten. [1]

A cheap whiteboard and a list on a napkin.

On those days when it feels as if you woke up late for the launch, you need to strap on a jetpack to get through the day. You don’t have time to deal with elaborate ToDo list systems. Franklin Covey? Getting Things Done? Omnifocus? Or any handful of powerful task management systems installed on your phone? These systems each have their strengths, but they require upkeep, and when you’re pressed for time—if you are anything like me—you are focused only on what’s in front of you. The other things, albeit important, get lost in the ADHD panic of the moment. That’s why it is so important to keep on top of those systems, but if you’re forgetful or easily bored, you may find yourself behind.

Most Task Systems Require Maintenance

The Franklin Covey system with its A, B, & Cs helps prioritize your projects, but requires daily review and reprioritizing. The Getting Things Done system hopes to simplify your life by moving unimportant projects out of your headspace, but still requires a weekly review. Other task management systems offer their own takes on organizing to be more productive, but ofttimes the ADHD mind is put off by meticulous systems—or maybe it’s more likely that meticulous systems are put down by ADHD minds. Those minds have a fondness for distractions. All one needs is a few days of disuse, or worse, a week or two, and these management lists become anchored in the past.

So it’s a bad day at the office and an evening lost on Netflix then? Let’s not give up hope just yet.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

ADHD: Visual Reminders

The simplest ToDo list is one item long and stays in your face. [1]

There is one kind of reminder that I always fall back on when sticky notes, calendar apps, todo lists, and alarms fail. It is the visual reminder, and it is as powerful as it is simple.

Perhaps you haven’t noticed, what with all the forgotten bills, lost paperwork, and unfinished projects no longer on your mind, but one of the most notorious downsides of having adult ADHD is being forgetful. I can remind myself to do something every hour of every day and still forget to do it. All I need is a distraction at the wrong moment. That’s why task lists are so helpful for forgetful people. You don’t need to rely on your memory. That is unless you forget to look at the task list. Then you’re in all sorts of trouble again.

Friday, March 01, 2019

ADHD: Wicked Fast Photo ToDo Lists

When you’re in a hurry, photons are faster than pens. [1]

When I made the transition from paper to digital back in the 90s—you know…when Palm Pilots still roamed the earth and Man was preparing for the impending Y2K Bug apocalypse—I said good-bye to that trusty old standby for ToDo lists: the pen & paper. It was all digital for me! I was prepared to spend as much time as needed to get my very complicated repeating ToDos to beep on cue and sync with the desktop for backup security. It may have, occasionally, required hours to bang out the syncing bugs, but I was living in the future, baby!

Long ago, I sold off my half dozen Palm Pilots and Sony Cliés on eBay for $20. I’m older and wiser now and realize digital isn’t always better. Sometimes, it’s downright unreliable, which is why I keep a pen & paper handy just in case. However, I still love living in the future. I’m just smarter about it.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Of Awards, eBooks, and Depression

Just a quickie update for you this weekend.

I recently received an award for depression blogging. I even had to send off a headshot. I’ll write more about it when their post goes live, but in the meantime, I realized that I haven’t been blogging about depression much this year. I wanted to let you know why.

I’m cured!

Nah. Wouldn’t that be great? No such luck for me, however. I still struggle with mild depression daily and occasional heavy bouts when most inconvenient. What really has me distracted is my latest book project. I’ve dug through the past fourteen years of articles and collected the best articles I’ve written on ADHD and ToDo lists. That’s the theme of my next eBook. I hope to have a first draft finished by the end of next week.

Some of the articles stand as is, but many need to be updated or rewritten (For example, how about this one? Three Simple Ways to Prevent Your PDA from Becoming a Paperweight). As I update or write the chapters, I’ll post the first drafts here as articles. Then I’ll clean them up and hit the presses. Or press submit. It’s the same thing these days. By incorporating the book writing as blogging, I hope to prevent one from overtaking the other, as has been the case for the past few years. And then I’ll make time for my middle grade novel.

Once I’m finished with the task management for ADHD adults ebook, I’ll tackle the fighting depression book I started a year ago. Or was it two? I also started an upsides to ADHD book, which was also abandoned, come to think of it. It’s like I have ADHD or something. Weird.

For those of you who have come here seeking depression help, please click on the “Main Topics” tab above, then select “Depression”, or take advantage of the search field in the sidebar. I am certain you will find something that will be of use to you. If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter. I’m @SplinteredMind.

And now I’m off to write.

If you are interested in coping strategies for suicidal depression, you should read my book on fighting suicide.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

ADHD + Haste = Disaster

With Adult ADHD, when we are in a hurry, we blunder in glorious ways. If only there was a way to prevent that.

I have a quickie tip for you today as I’m blazing around my life like some earthbound comet.

Last month, I was quickly packaging up an item I had sold on eBay. The item was secure. The box was sealed. All it needed was a shipping label.

I don’t sell a lot on eBay, but I’ve got a system I’ve developed over the years. After I pay for the postage online, I both print the label AND save it as a PDF. Redundancy is good for these sorts of things. When I went to fetch the printed label, I discovered that the UPC code was all smeared. Back to the Mac I went, but since I had closed the tab, I opened up the PDF and printed from there, this time at a higher DPI and clarity.

The second printout looked great, so I clipped the shipping label out and prepared to tape it to my package. That’s when I stopped myself.

”Which PDF did I print?”

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