Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Lesson: When I do something small, I feel a bit better.

Yesterday I had a little bit of energy and I wanted to make some progress in my life. While I had breakfast I started to write in my journal. I started off like this:
OK. Let's get started. What's missing? What needs to be done? What needs to change? 
A river of indecision followed. Pen up; pen down. I stood up to do something, anything, and, turning, saw the dishes on the counter and sat back down again, struck by confusion, doubt, and the incomprehensible inertia of depression.
At some point I took to the internet to find out whether a particular Ikea product could hold CD's. One thing led to another and somewhere along the way I thought about supper, decided to buy the ingredients at a store that had sent me a coupon, remembered that I need eye cream, and proceeded to spend hours reading reviews of skin care products in preparation for a trip to buy frozen french fries and chicken strips...
Heading out to pick up my son, no time left to shop, I was overwhelmed by the futility of my actions and choices (or lack thereof). Pulling out of the McDonald's drive-thru with supper I wondered, quite seriously, "Have I lost my mind?"
The necessity of parenting being what it is, I rallied to meet the need, focused squarely on my role as homework helper. When my husband came home I looked down and told him that his supper was in the bag on the stove, focusing on our son's homework with steely resolve. My husband is amazing. He thanked me for supper without a hint of malice, chopped up veggies when I asked, and tolerated my tension. I am lucky.
That's not what this was supposed to be about though.
This is the thing: after supper, while the guys were working on a project outside, I started some laundry.
Then I emptied the dishwasher and cleaned up the kitchen.
When our son told me he was sad I listened and I got my husband to come and listen to.
Then I hung up the laundry and started another load.
It was very, very little, but it helped.
It helped me and my family because those tasks got done.
Moreover, it helped my mood.
Just sorting that laundry gave me a tiny lift emotionally, even if my body ached.
I reached out to my sibling, who asks me to stay in touch. That helped too.
Cleaning the kitchen is a victory because I'm building a habit: a daily clean counter and sink habit.
Hanging the laundry felt like completion. I did a little something. It didn't much matter what. But I did it and then I felt better.
Before bed I set up a digital checklist to help me remember if I've taken my meds, and then I added some more tasks, daily and weekly.
When I awoke, I got some reminders. Best of all, I remembered that it feels good to do something, no matter how small.
I got up earlier, I took my medication, I had breakfast, and emptied the dishwasher. Best of all, I have a start of a plan and some peace of mind. That is priceless.
So now off to tackle a bit more... If at times I don't know where to start, I think that I know now, deep in my soul, despite all of the confusion that depression, anxiety, and ADHD can bring, that starting anywhere is much, much better than nothing. 💝

Monday, 21 November 2016

A step in the right direction: ebooks

A couple of hours ago I was in tears, for no reason except that I was sad and tired. I hoped that I might have PMS. No, I don't know, because I don't track my cycle (or anything else). Yes, I should. No, knowing that I should is not enough to make me do it. It's just another thing on my nebulous mental to do list..
Anyway, I came here for the second time in a day(!) to note that today I took a step in the right direction. First I have to step back to two days ago when I quit using Facebook. Wow. I'm not sure that I'm comfortable even writing about that, but, (deep breath) let's be real here. It's 2016 and I know I'm not the only one with an unhealthy attachment to their phone. Remember when they called them smart phones? Right, like smart drugs. My phone might be something, but it's not making me smarter..
Oh my goodness, such a detour.
Where was I going? Right... felt like crap, quit Facebook... possibly another reason why I felt especially overwhelmingly awful today... so, well, I guess I cheated. I read an electronic book. Not the whole book, but several chapters.
Reading! All the Distraction. None of the shame.
Okay, less of the shame. I still got nothing done, except that I read from an interesting and helpful book. The book I'm reading, which I recommend, was written by Dana White and came out last week.
Okay, that's all. Just a tip for the social media addicts out there... After a two day detox, an ebook helps. Hugs.
Oh yeah, maybe also blogging... Is it social media if I'm writing to myself? Anyway, the take away is reading. :)

One step at a time

I'm overwhelmed. Simple questions rush through my brain, unanswered. 
Is it better to keep a to-do list in the same notebook as my (recent) journal or separate?
Should I use Excel to make myself a daily checklist, or should the first scrap of paper I see suffice?
Should I spend time making my husband a birthday gift, or just catch up on and put away all the laundry, for once?
Should I tackle some laundry, try to declutter, or put on my coat and go get food for supper? I have no desire to leave my home or enter a store. 
My kitchen is littered with the debris from last night's homework. 
I'm cold. 
I guess I'm kind of a whiner. I'm not here to whine though. I'm here... to begin. 
I'm here to take one step, then another, with the hope that enough little steps will add up to a journey to somewhere... less sad. 
Every day there's a flow. Things to do. Things get done. Needless to say, I'm really behind. Yet, if I can do one more thing, then I am making progress. Sometimes the best I can do is to eliminate tasks. Christmas cards, for example, are not on my radar, except for a vague sense of guilt on the horizon. 

Okay, let's regroup. Let's pull it together. 

This very day, what's ahead. (In no order.)
- School pickup. 
- Homework.
- Groceries. 
- Supper. 
- Bedtime. 
- Activity drop-off and pickup. 
Those are the essentials, though often enough groceries and supper get passed off to another. 

Bigger picture, what is there? 
- Start a to do list.
- Make a daily check list. 

What else today?
- Plant the bulbs; there's snow in the forecast.
- Find my gloves. 
- Moisturize. 
- Feed the sourdough starter I got yesterday (like I need another responsibility). 

What else soon?
- Pay the bills.
- Do the laundry.
- A birthday present.

I feel so down. A week ago I felt optimistic. What's going on? 

Make a plan. Today I will:
- No. I'm stuck. It all seems too hard. You can do it. Make it easy. 
- OK.
- Easy supper: there's chicken in the freezer. make rice. buy some vegetables. 
- Cook it before pickup, so it's ready when he's hungry. 
- Maybe some caffeine before pickup, and hope that it helps.
- Make the bed, but don't wash it. No energy for that. 
- Wash some clothes, bring some up for the morning. 
- Feed the damn starter. Or just throw it out. 

How did this happen? I felt hopeful last week. It's nothing new. I just tend to avoid it.

- Grocery list: Milk, peppers, 

I need to lie down.