What about mindfulness?

The mental health system, starting sometime in the 1990s, started touting “mindfulness” as a way to overcome various maladies such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression. They continued to push this mindfulness idea until we were all plenty sick of it. They even used the criticism, “You aren’t being mindful…” to insult us if they didn’t like what we were up to.

Unfortunately, the pushing of mindfulness did not have good consequences for many of us. I now hate yoga and can’t stand the idea of meditating. Doing either gives me a post-trauma reaction, so I will not do these things.  Some people say they are both very helpful, but I can’t do either without bringing back terrible memories.

Secondly, they were wrong about a lot of what they were saying. Some of these mindfulness-pushers said that “multitasking” was a terrible thing that was bad for your mental health.

This, by the way, is total bullshit.

People with attention issues (might have been labeled ADD or ADHD) actually are really talented at multitasking. Some children can’t study without listening to music at the same time. This little trick is used by tutors and others who help these kids concentrate better. Another little trick is to chew gum while reading. This will actually help some kids read more efficiently. Distraction helps these kids, and will help an adult who is having trouble concentrating, too.

The mental health system will ruin a person’s ability to concentrate. I’m not sure how this happens but I have seen it with my own eyes. After several months of day treatment I was unable to read a book. Who noticed? My parents! They approached my therapists in a family session, very concerned. All of us assumed that it was “mental illness” that caused this. However, I know, in hindsight, that six hours a day of therapy had caused it! I was not yet on meds. The therapists didn’t seem to think it was very important to read books. Wow…..

Meds might also wreck one’s ability to concentrate, study, or work intensely on a long-term project. I believe this is because many of these meds interfere with one’s normal sleep patterns, actually producing fatigue, sluggishness, and a decrease in mental alertness.

What I have found out is that “multitasking” is a prized skill in the working world. A successful student will also, to an extent, multitask, because during the school year students are required to complete many projects simultaneously. A student has to keep track of a schedule of many activities, and also be mindful (sorry) of which projects are due soon and when he or she has to show up for class.

In the workplace, if you will not, or cannot multitask, you either won’t get hired or you will not last long on the job. Many jobs require multitasking and some even tell you this upfront during the application process.

I just did multitasking while doing my household chores. I had put some stew into my crock pot last night and I also put some dog food into my rice cooker to cook. This morning I saw that the dog food was done, so I unplugged the rice cooker and let that cool. I brushed my teeth with my new toothbrush and popped a xylitol mint into my mouth to improve oral health. I started three more small bucketfuls of laundry. Then I stirred my stew and added another ingredient. Then I tended to my laundry again. I swept my floor multiple times, took stuff down to the basement, put away my shoes that were lying around, swept again, rinsed off some laundry and hung it up so I can wear it tomorrow, threw out stray papers and junk mail lying around, wiped down counters, emptied the slightly cooled dog food into a bowl, transferred a bag of whole wheat flour into a large dispenser, used a folded-in Amazon box to keep my spices neat, wiped the counter again, cleaned the rice cooker with peroxide, cleaned the countertop underneath with more peroxide, chopped the dog and removed the bones. Stored the bones in the freezer so Puzzle won’t get them, then transferred the dog food into a quart-size yogurt container and put it away. Yes, I gave some to Puzzle!

And…I made coffee, walked the dog, poured my vitamins and swallowed them, made a solution of Vitamin C and magnesium citrate and drank that, drank my half cup of coffee, set up my cup and filter to make herbal tea later, mixed some powder supplement with applesauce and ate it, ate two Brazil nuts for the selenium content, chowed down on a few blueberries and blackberries, and ate a banana for the potassium.

I am now sitting down with my salt-free stew and writing this. Yes, eating at my desk! What a terrible sin, according to the mental health world. I will likely shower on my work break later today.

Could I possibly have done all that in only a couple of hours while I was a patient? Are you kidding? I would have been accused of mania! I’m not manic, just very efficient now.

Wow, that stew was good, too.

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