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Mental Health Mondays Podcast

Podcast by Shameka Gregory, MSW, LICSW owner and founder of Worth In Christ, LLC

Some Topics discussed

-- 1 --

I'm reading this incredible book, "All About Love" by bell hooks and there's a quote I want to share with y'all.

"I am afraid that they will grow up looking for intimacy without risk, for pleasure without significant emotional investment. They will be so fearful of the pain of disappointment that they will forego the possibilities of love and joy."

It jumped out and hit me because it's so real and I believe it translates to so many things because we're afraid of so many things. You know how we grew up using pencils to write when we may need to erase something and pen when it's set? That's how many of us are going through life, approaching everything with pencils prepared to erase at any moment. Not just relationships but anything that means taking a risk. How can we build anything that lasts when in our hearts we're ready to cut and run?

What happens if we're brave enough to approach things and people with ink? This is who I am. This is what I want. This is what I'm trying to build. This is what I'm committed to seeing through. In our attempts to shield ourselves from pain and disappointment we also cut ourselves off from our ability to create something beautiful.

I'm encouraging each of us to take the risk. Approach that situation, that idea, that person with pen, committed to working at it even when it's hard. Trusting that the outcome will be worth the risk.

And when you get a chance, read the book. It's dope!


-- 2 --

One thing I talk about with clients a LOT and try to practice myself is choosing where to focus. Often, our minds and thoughts are consumed by things we have zero control over which is often (really always) a source of anxiety. But in the midst of every situation that feels overwhelming there is something we always have control over, our own actions.

That's where our power lies. Too often we get overwhelmed by the things we can't control so we don't do anything about the things we can. Shift focus. What part do you have control over? What can you actually do? What part of this overwhelming situation lies within your control? Put your focus there and then actually do something.

Doing something doesn't mean doing it all. Remember, the full situation is not up to you. If you feel like you haven't done enough, ask what else is in your control and feasible? If nothing, make peace with knowing you've done all you can. If you can think of things, go do them!

We try to control things that are beyond us and abdicate our authority with things we can control leaving us constantly frustrated. Switch your focus.


-- 3 --

I've been having trouble sleeping, feeling out of sorts, low energy, etc. I feel it. I notice it. But I didn't investigate it. Full confession I've been struggling with all my normal forms of introspection (prayer and journaling are my go-to options).

Once I decided to actually think about it, I had a "well duh" moment. I haven't been doing ANY of the things I do to take care of me. No walks or water either and I'm surprised that it's impacting me?? Really? Why are we like this?!?!

Some things are easier than others so I'm starting small. Kept myself well hydrated today and got some time outside. Already I feel the difference. Hopefully I can convince myself to journal tonight but I'm honest enough to say that may not happen.

All this to say, if you don't do anything to take care of yourself, you WILL feel it. And if you're in a mental space where you can't do all the things you would normally do for whatever reason, focus on the ones you can. It'll still help. Even if you can't do it all, do something. All of it makes an impact.


-- 4 --

There are many reasons why it's hard for us to change. One of them is literally our brains. When we grow accustomed to doing things a certain way or thinking a certain way, we train certain neurons to fire together and create well-traveled paths of thought in our minds. Reshaping these pathways is hard to do but it's possible!

Our brains are plastic which means they can be rewired, reshaped, and re-molded until the day we die. Old dogs can most certainly learn new tricks! But the longer we've been thinking a certain way, acting a certain way, the harder it is to change. Let this motivate you to start now! Teach your brain to make new connections! If you see yourself as a failure, you train your brain to quit before you even try. If you constantly think negative thoughts about yourself, you're constantly wearing that path into your brain.


It always seems corny but when people look at themselves in the mirror daily and repeat affirmations to themselves, they're practicing neuroplasticity, training their brains to think of themselves a different way. You don't have to start everything at once (really, it's not a good idea for a lot of reasons) but pick a place and start today. Let's retrain our brains together!


-- 5 --

Relationships require sacrifice. Boundaries are placing limitations on what you are willing to sacrifice, how often, and for who. 
When you are in relationship with someone (familial, friendship, parental, romantic, whatever) it's never just about you. You consider the needs, wants, and feelings of the other person because you care about them! And depending on who it is, their wellbeing is directly connected to yours! When the people I love most aren't doing okay, neither am I. I'm worried about them, trying to problem solve with them, maybe staying up late alongside them, or just losing sleep over whatever is happening to them.
I've been seeing and reading way too many things that encourage people to adopt an "all about me" attitude. If it means being uncomfortable or putting someone else's needs first, or saying no to something for someone else's well-being, it's presented as something to be immediately shut down. Ask yourself where would you be if people had been unwilling to go out of their way for you? 
When people are new to things (boundaries) there's a tendency to over-compensate. As people learn boundaries, there's a knee jerk reaction to say no to everything and feel threatened by anything resembling sacrifice on our part. As India Arie said, "come back to the middle". Recognize that "no" is a complete sentence and also learn when it should be your response. It's up to you to choose. Just don't blind yourself to the reality that your wellbeing and your survival is inter-connected to the people around you.

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