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Mental Illness and "Not Doing Enough"



I've always struggled with the disparity of mentality work ethic versus mental health limits. Meaning, I always feel I can push myself harder then I end up paying for it. The disparity creates internal tension and self-judgment of my own willpower. I've had to make adjustments. The healthiest thing that I've been able to do for myself is separate out that self-judgment. To watch myself have a mental health episode but not judge myself for my experience. I approach my episodes with "Aw, OK. This is what we're experiencing." versus "Ugh not again." Much of that self-judgment is baked in how much we submit our internal voice to others. Is that self-judgment really you? Is it someone else in your life? Is it what you think someone thinks of you? Reclaim that voice for yourself. The next thing is to rework my life to still accomplish what I need to accomplish but on my terms. If I operate under someone else's ruleset then I can't keep up. Mental illness or not, if you're playing by someone else's rules you have no leverage and will always feel behind. I adjust my schedule to give plenty of resting while awake. I read, write, and rest in bed for a few hours every morning. That's what I need to function for the rest of the day. It's part of my ritual and one of the unique ways I'm surprisingly productive. These tweet storms usually become IG and Facebook posts, which become emails and usually the podcast or YouTube topic. It all originates from giving myself that rest time and letting my mind flow while in bed. Those are my rules, that's what works for me. I don't work a typical schedule and limit my external work to a few hours each day. 1-4pm is the only time I take appointments, calls, do client work, record podcasts or YouTube videos. Yes, that limits opportunity but the spiritual ROI is tremendous. The restrictions also challenge me to be more creative with the usage of that time. Can I record 16 different personality intros or should I do one general intro that is more robust and expressive? Can this meeting or call be an email or a text instead? The morning is my mental exercising and prep time. The afternoon is my execution time. And the only way that works is if I allow myself to follow my own rules. The second I start to compare or I feel I need to push myself time-wise by being more "busy" then it gets ugly. It hasn't been easy and I struggle with feeling like I'm not doing enough because of my limits but I'm turning those limits into a strength. Much of the path forward is unlearning what we've been told we need to be in our past. You're an adult now, define your path forward.

One of my favorite books for when I'm feeling stuck is Keep Going by Austin Kleon. It's not your typical book in that the formatting is accessible to a more bite-sized reading experience. I keep a copy at home for reference whenever I need to remember how to keep going.