Challenging Myself – Mental & Physical Health

“Keep challenging yourself to think better, do better, and be better.” ~ Robin Sharma

My mother was wise in her ways with me. For her to have me do something, she would in a sly way imply that I could not possibly do something. For some reason that was a challenge I was willing to prove her wrong. The oldest of five she dealt with each of us in a different way. She had rules for us, but in many ways she was open towards us. We could express our thoughts and opinions, mind you, it had to be done in respect. As I grew into an adult the relationship changed. I could discuss any subject and she would listen. The same was true in the other direction. She would at times confide in me something that would be bothering her. It may be about one of my siblings, and other times when she would be going through divorce. I truly miss those things, talking on the phone, or maybe in a letter.

I have not posted much in the past several weeks, for I have been busy with household things. Then I have been reading and also researching. I am trying to take another challenge for myself.

I had been seeing ads about the website.”Coursera“. So, I went and searched on it and found some free courses out of the University of Alberta. I am truly giving a lot of thought about taking one or two of them. I look at it this way, it will challenge my mind, bring something new into my learnings.

Also, I have been challenging myself in regards to my walking without a cane. I am somewhat apprehensive about setting it aside. I challenge myself to walk without it only in my confines of my house. That challenges me physically.

I have always challenged myself throughout my life. In my music, studies, and even in cooking and baking. I started learning about personal computers when Windows 3.1 was the only operating system.

So dear reader I cannot speak about how others motivate themselves, but for me I need challenges. I wonder if it takes a challenge to move you forward, mentally and physically. I would love to hear your thoughts about this. I am sure other readers would also be interested in your thoughts!

I Can Handle This

 “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” — Joshua J. Marine”

In the late eighties I was a passenger on a motor bike going home from work. It was a bright August day in Ontario, Canada when the driver rear ended the car in front of us. The impact sent me flying causing me to land on my backside. I couldn’t move and I probably would have been hit by the cars passing by on the highway, but an ambulance stopped to help get me to the side of the road. Another one came placed me on a backboard to transport me to the hospital.

After the usual tests, x-rays and such I was admitted and taken to my room. I really do not remember much of the first night, but on the next morning a nurse was coming into the room with a tray of things. I moved to look at her, I shocked her and she dropped the tray. I asked her what was the matter. She said, “Mr. Bourne I just came from report and it says that you would be a quadra paraplegic”. When the physician came by he explained to me about my back, he told me that everything was ripped away from my spine. He also was amazed that I was moving around.

I told that to say this, it is a scary time again around here the positivity rate of Covid-19 is on the rise. Governments are trying to get a grip on things. I haven’t left my house lately not even for a doctor’s appointment.

I been thinking about an upcoming surgery for a hip replacement. At times I get concerned about it, questions coming to mind, like, “will I be able to walk afterwards?”. Things like that, things for the most part will never happen, so really there is no need to fuss about it.

Faced with a myriad of things sometimes it is difficult to find something positive to fixate on. Bad news seems to permeate from all corners of the world, not much good news out there. Oh, yes, sometimes there may be a story of human interest that makes me feel warm inside, but, they are few and far in between.

So dear reader, I remind myself I have been through some very tough times and lived to tell it about it. So, I will once again make it through to the other end of the tunnel.

I leave you with a final thought. Anne Murray sang a song some time back, “A Little Good News Today”. I have included it here. Hope you enjoy it! It is needed at this time!

The Interview With Big General

When I contacted Big General I didn’t have any foreknowledge of who he was or what he was liked.

The interview started days before I wrote the post “Calling All Minds” . So, for those who submitted questions for me to use in future interviews, I was not able to make use of the questions.

Big General I believe is by far the youngest person I have interviewed. His answers are written with thoughtfulness.

Here is his interview:

  1. In a couple of paragraphs please tell the readers about yourself.

I’m a 23-year-old male who was born in Zimbabwe but moved to the United Kingdom from the age of 10 till now. I’m in my second year studying Sports science in university. I am a sports fan who enjoys watching and playing football(soccer). My favorite football team is Manchester City football club. I speak two languages English and Shona (Zimbabwean language). In my spare time I blog on WordPress.

2. I looked for your bio but could not find one. Please tell the readers why not?

That’s a great question. The reason why I have nothing on my blog bio is because I wanted to make a blog that just provided content without the audience truly knowing who I was leaving it to be a mystery. It made it easier for me to get into blogging without a bio because it allowed me to do it with no pressure of how I was going to tell people about myself in the blog bio. I am naturally an introvert, so I always shy away from letting people know things about myself. Not having a bio gave me the courage and freedom to just express myself with no one knowing who was behind the blog when they read my bio.

3. There are many human values, which value do you consider to be the one that guides you?

I think love guides me the most because “love conquers all”.

4. Why did you start to use WordPress?

I started to use Word Press around October 2019 for the purpose to blog about match analyses for football games as a hobby since I loved learning about football tactics and game plans I thought it would be a great platform to use. I chose WordPress after searching so many blogging platforms because it was free and easy to use compared to other platforms plus it was ranked in the top 3 best blogging platforms for anyone to use. With the free set up it was easy for me to start out blogging because WordPress could set everything up all I had to do was just pick a basic theme then get straight to writing without worrying about things to add.

5. Is there a main goal that you want to reach within the WordPress community?

My main goal in the WordPress community is to provide positive content that can make people feel good, help, laugh and learn things that can help them in their lives in some shape or form.

6. Do you have challenges within your mental health?  If so, please tell the readers of what it is?

The two biggest challenges within my mental health I battle with are depression and addiction.

7. Following the above question, how do you handle the challenges?  Also, how do you handle stress?

With depression I try to use exercise to battle it by going to the gym or doing any form of hard physical exercise nearly every day. With addiction I try to keep myself active by carrying out busy working schedule of consistently having to do things to keep my mind preoccupied. With stress I try to change scenery by going outside more and avoid staying in because it just makes it worse the more time I sit at home.

8. If you were given the ability to speak to your younger self, what would you say?

I love that question I would not say much to my younger self but tell him to be positive. It would not be meant to change anything but to make him understand that there is no answer to life all he can do is stay positive because anything else will not that important because life has more control than my young self would have. That is mostly what I would say to my younger self.

9. Let us reverse the above question. What would you say to an older self?

To my older self I would say you do more meaningful things that have nothing to do with myself such as help the world in any type of form whether helping people, donating money to charities, aid and assist in any ways I can with no return. Lastly, I would say work on self-improvement in all aspects of my life.

10. Are you a reader, and if so what is your favorite genre?  Do you have a favorite author?

I’m not much of a reader so it’s hard for me to name a genre or an author.

11. What is your favorite music genre?

My favorite genre is any music with singing such as soul music, reggae, pop etc. If it has a meaning or message I’m down to listen.

12. Do you have heroes?  Who are they and why?

I have many heroes to name but one that comes to mind is Muhamad Ali. What made him my hero is for so many things. Firstly, his determination in the ring was so phenomenal he had a no quit attitude that was so crazy that he would literally risk dying in the ring to not surrender by just taking a beating while he was leaning on the ropes with his hands up. It fascinates me how the mind is so powerful if you have belief you can overcome any obstacle which looks impossible.

Besides boxing he was into philanthropy, humanitarianism and politics at a time where most black athletes would not even think of stepping outside their sport to help others. His love for all humanity was so amazing that people from all different races would even call him “the world’s greatest”. He inspires me in all types of ways.

13. Finally, what advice would you give to a person who is thinking about blogging?

My advice for anyone thinking about blogging is simple just follow your heart it is always right everything else will come as long as you follow your heart.

The Journey

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” Glenn Close

One thing that I have learned about living with mental health challenges is that every day is a new test, sometimes a stress test. The only choice it leaves me is to put one foot in front of the other.

There was only so much that group therapy could equip with you. It was great for I learned so many must tools for the challenges of being bi-polar. I consider this WordPress community as one big virtual group session. It has done for me many great things. The ability to be able to talk about my journey to great mental health. Everyone has something to share, an experience that brought them some joy, one who has to vent their feelings over a challenge that they are facing at a particular moment.

This journey leads up mountains, valleys, deserts, across rivers. There are times that the path is blocked by fallen trees, overgrown vegetation, yet still I have to keep moving focusing on reaching my great mental health.

There may be times when I am going to have to ask someone to help along the path, to help keep me upright when the road gets rocky.

When the nights get cold and loneliness tries to creep up on me, I remind myself that if I just hold fast the sun will rise again in the east to warm my spirit. It is also during those nights that I must remember I have passed through others and was successful, that I can do it again.

So dear reader let me take a few moments to say, Thank you! Thank you for being patience and kind during the past few posts where I shared some of my battles, my life, the journey I have been on trying to obtain great mental health!

Teach Me, Let Me Learn – Part One


“Mental illness is not something you misunderstand in this era. Get educated because bias is no different than racism.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Something that they told us when I was in treatment that everyone needs to become their own best advocate.  They really stressed that we needed to ask questions about medications, stand up when people use misinformation about those who are bi-polar.  

During that first admittance I was like a sponge trying to grasp all that was happening around me.  I would sit in the groups writing down everything I thought I needed to remember.  When I was released I read anything and everything about mental health challenges.

One thing I did was the best for myself and also my best friend.  I had him sit in with me while speaking to my Psychiatrist on the exit interview.  It prepared him of what I was going through and what to expect going forward.

When it came to pain medications, such as Oxycontin, I was double dosing without realizing it.  So, when I went in to break the addiction upon coming home I asked if it would be alright for my best friend to manage my medications.  He is still doing it to this day.

I still read as much as I can on the challenges of mental health.  I try to go to well known sources.  If by chance I read a blog that sounds credible I will research what the blogger wrote about.

I do not take it upon myself to self-diagnose for it can be detrimental.  I also do not try some remedies without first talking to my doctor.  There are many things that do not interact well with prescriptions, it can bring about some severe reactions.

So, when it comes to mental health correct information is important!

To be continued…

Conquer or Surrender


Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional. -Roger Crawford

At this time everyone is facing great challenges.  Every challenge is unique therefore it requires an unique plan to face it.

I have faced many challenges, sometimes I think that it is more than one person deserves.  I have broken bones, recovered from a motorbike accident as a passenger, loss of loved ones, marriages that have fallen apart.  

I look back on all of them and wonder how I made it through some of them.  I did hit a brick wall, a wall the crashed on me with my mental health.  For that challenge I decided not to conquer but, rather I surrendered to it.  My answer was attempted suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.

I know now that lashing out in anger that is destructive, I have learned to channel my anger to achieve constructive results.  The former saw me burn relationships that could never be repaired.  The latter, I now explain the action that angered me, it is not directed to a person.  No name calling, no shaming, etc.,

Now, that doesn’t mean when I am challenge that I lay down like a door mat to be walked on.  It means I have learned in a constructive way when something, someone, has crossed boundaries.

So, once again I have to summon all that I have learned, focus on the situation, conquer the situation, and do not surrender to it!

Challenges On The Road To Change

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.     

Robert H. Schuller

Wise Old Sayings/Challenge

Singer, crooner Frank Sinatra sang a song about “Hopes“.

Here are the lyrics:

Next time you’re found
With your chin on the ground
There a lot to be learned
So look around

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant

But he’s got high hopes
He’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie
In the sky hopes

On this road to change are so many challenges, some feel like mountains, others like a raging stream.  So large that I could just throw my hands up and give up.

I know that mountains are not moved all at once, they are moved one stone, one rock, one pail of dirt, at a time.

I can remember how I felt after being in the hospital several years ago for three weeks.  I woke up the next morning surveying the amount of housework that had to be done.  I could have told myself it can’t be done, but I could get it all done little by little.

I now face some new challenges with my mobility having severe issues.  For my back it is helped by having cortisone shots.  Now I have a hip that will be needing cortisone shots also.

There are many issues that I have to surrender and ask for help to get them done.  For me that hits my pride, just one of my personality quirks.

When I was younger challenges made my adrenaline rise.  I would tackle a challenge head on, sometimes only to be knocked on my butt.  Inside though I was happy that I gave it my best shot. 

That was then, now I am not so gung ho about challenges.  Sometimes before going at a challenge I give myself a couple of nights of sleep to think about what is the best way to accomplish the task.

The moral to this post, face challenges wisely, give full thought, and proceed with caution!

What I Know and Don’t Know!


I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. Leonardo da Vinci

For the past several days I have been pondering about which is the better; learned knowledge, or experiential knowledge.  Or could it be a mixture of both, I am just not certain.

There is a pattern in all the blogs I have read thus far of people trying to cope with some form of  mental health issue/s.

All the situations I have observed are unique, just as our fingerprints are unique to only one person.  Another observation I have made is that all remedies to each of the issues also vary from person to person.  These are things I do know!

What I don’t know are these: 

  • The situation/s leading up to the point in each individual’s crisis in mental health.   
  • The life experience of each unique individual.
  • Other challenges that the individual is having along side the mental health challenge.

One more thing I know and that is, I cannot assume I have any answers for a person.  I can only speak to the things I have experienced in my own battle with mental health.

So, I can have empathy, sympathy for the person I am listening to, for all I can do is be a pillar of support for him or her.

Let’s Talk About **x


Sex isn’t a “cure” for anxiety or depression, but the feel-good hormones and chemicals that are released during sex can temporarily reduce symptoms of both mental health challenges. These include dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin which can boost mood, increase compassion, and help you bond with your partner.Feb 7, 2018  Talk Space

During one of my stays in treatment we were in group talking about things we could do when we were having trouble falling asleep.  Of course the usual things were mentioned, turkey sandwich, tuna sandwich, then someone mentioned that word.  The group giggled and laughed. Being adults the only ones there but for that moment you might have thought you were in a fifth grade classroom.

When you engage in that activity of that word things happen within the brain that is beneficial.  The release of “feel good hormones”; dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin.  Engaging in this activity helps with self esteem. Yes, this activity is of great beneficial to the whole person. 

The wind up which is the actual goal for both male and female releases another chemical in the body, prolactin which also helps a person to sleep.

If you haven’t guessed what I have been writing about is one thing and one thing only.



It Takes Guts!


“It takes guts to get out of the ruts.” ~ Robert H. Schuller

This morning I really didn’t want to leave the cozy warm comfortable bed.  If you can believe it we had snow yesterday and it continues, yuck.  The end of September and snowing.  Of course in Saskatchewan, Canada if you don’t like the weather wait five minutes and it will change.  I had to get up and moving this morning for I had an appointment with my podiatrist.

I realise there are mornings like that with every one, mornings where you want to stay in place but you have to work so that you can put a roof above your head and food on the table.  

Now add in a dose of mental health issues and you have a much different picture.  Depression, anxiety attacks, plus many more, all which can leave you totally frozen petrified in place.  You are almost queasy, legs of rubber  just the thought of going out among people.

So, that was me this morning dreading having to be out in the snow, slush, and puddles of water.  Yet, I finally put my feet on the floor, did my medication routine, showered, dressed and went to my appointment.

If you are dealing with mental health issues, or maybe know someone who is and they are at least functionally, you are someone, or looking at someone who has alot of guts!

Devil’s Workshop

“Idle people are often bored and bored people, unless they sleep a lot, are cruel. It is not accident that boredom and cruelty are great preoccupations in our time.” ~ Renata Adler

For the record I am not a cruel person!

Relax, this is not a sermon!  Haha!

Living alone has it positives and negatives.  Most days are positive, it is the evening and nightime that are negatives.

I find myself being bored alot of the times.  There is only so many things to do, the time seems to stand still.  

My mother found how to get me to do certain things, she would just bluntly tell me I can’t do it.  Well, to me that was a challenge, and challenges were the things that motivated me.  My biggest challenge was teaching myself the piano.  Not popular songs, but rather Hymns and Gospel songs.  I perfected that challenge and was travelling within five years.

One other challenge was when personal computers first hit the market.  Windows 3.1 was the operating system.  A lawyer friend told me just try different things, not to worry if I crashed it.  I took the challenge and learned Windows 3.1 in and out.  Moving on with each new version from Microsoft.

For me to keep moving forward I need to find and face new challenges.  Without them my mind can sometimes become the “devil’s playground”.