My book, Struck by Loving, has just been released in the last two weeks. If you are interested in what we are doing on our book tour, please check out: www.struckbyliving.com

Listed below is something I've talked about in one of my speeches. The first time I talked about my "Top Six" a friend came up and ribbed me about "Top Sex." I figured the guy had sex on the brain and ignored him. The second time I gave this speech, a group of women were giggling hysterically. They told me I needed to work on my Texas accent and learn how to say "Top Siiiiiix" so my clipped "Six" would not be confused with "Sex." I've lived in Texas almost twenty years and they still think I'm a damn Yankee. My husband suggests I need to add "Top Sex" as my seventh option to avoid confusion, as long as it is with him. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Does it sound like I am having a good time on book tour? I am! Will be better about checking in. . .

Julie

Struck by Living Top Six
(Not to be Confused with Top Sex)

CAUTION: Mental health is an individual journey. Everyone's biochemistry and environment is different. These are my top six ways that I maintain mental health. I challenge you to learn about yourself. Figure out your own top ways of maintaining mental health while you are well and protect them. With over 33,000 suicide deaths in the US annually, depression is a disease that is our national silent epidemic. Mental health maintenance is as critical as all your currently do to maintain your physical health.

  1. I take a daily antidepressant.
  2. I protect the Big Three: sleep, nutrition and exercise. I've defined my normal range for each of these things, and when my behavior varies widely - I try to bring myself back into normal range. Quick note on nutrition. If you or someone you love is depressed, get your vitamin D level checked. If you are deficient (which many people are), get a supplement. Make sure you check the label for the quantity of Vitamin D provided. Cooper Center Complete vitamins offer a 500% dosage of Vitamin D.
  3. I try to listen to family and friends when my behavior is off - especially my husband (please don't tell him this!). When I am depressed, my brain is broken. I need help monitoring my progress.
  4. I plan proactively for predictable times of emotional stress. If I see a big transition in my future (e.g, a move, children leaving home, change of schools, etc) I set up appointments in advance with my psychologist to monitor my behavior for a few months or until the crisis or change has passed.
  5. I do new and interesting things that excite my brain. I allot time for reading, going to lectures and museums. Also signed up for a Pilates class (which I have never done before). It's good to challenge myself to do something physically challenging in terms of coordination as well.
  6. I surround myself with fun people who help me gain perspective. If you don't have a friend who is 20 years older than you and who has weathered things that you anticipate in your future - get one!

Written by Julie K. Hersh - 4/2010 and always up for revision! For more information about Struck By Living, check out my website: www.struckbyliving.com.

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