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. 💝

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