First off *giant hugs*
Second off, when I'm at my worst, depression wise, I promise myself that today I will do ONE THING. I will work out. Or I will pick up a book and read for a half an hour. Or I will do X. If I can do that ONE thing, I will have succeeding in pulling something out of the day other than the bare minimum.
Often, I am buoyed by that, and do two, or three things. Sometimes, I only do that one thing. But at least I have a sense of accomplishment that I had a goal, and I met it.
Sometimes, your goals just have to be teeny. But the mental boost from accomplishing it is not teeny, because there are days that teeny thing is HARD.
The Do One Thing plan is one of the best ideas ever. Success is self-perpetuating.
Hugs, my love.
Sometimes it's easier to beat myself up for impossible standards than to live up to possible ones.
If I just get in 20 minutes on the NordicTrack, that's better than nothing. If I'm only making a baby blanket, the happiness I get from that work is a good thing, even if the work isn't soem great piece of art. Not every meal has to be a gourmet triumph. It's okay just to be okay at things.
I hate to use the particular colloquialism, but so much goddamn THIS.
I fight the same thing, day in and day out. If I'm not going to come up with something amazing and perfect, I struggle with doing it at all.
For me, a lot of that comes from repeatedly hearing "You're just not living up to your potential" when I was a kid, because I wasn't an all-A genius rockstar in school, even though The Tests Said Otherwise. You bet it got internalized, really really badly.
Learning to flip that internalized shit the bird and keep moving is something I still struggle with. But I'm learning, and then re-learning.
So yeah, it's okay to be okay.
Sometimes the highest standards we try to live up to we set for ourselves.
To paraphrase the Flylady, who is much in favour of bypassing perfect to just get things done, babysteps. In small babysteps we can do things. We don't have to do everything at once, and it doesn't have to be perfect. If we have plenty of energy and time and inspiration then yes, we can aim for more, but most of the time then it's OK to go for 'good enough'.
You just did 95 percent of the work.
Holding onto it is the trick.
I'm right with you on struggling to feel ALL my emotions, not just the socially acceptable ones. One thing that has helped me change my internal monologue is a book called How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen. One of the things it discusses is how to give your kids the space and freedom to feel whatever they are feeling. I don't have kids, but I do have me, and I've been trying that kind of talk as self-talk, and I think it's helping. Certainly I feel much more free to be angry or frustrated than I have before. (Sadness has never been my bugaboo, but anger has.) I dunno if it'll help you, but there you go.
I will look for it. Thanks.
I've been dealing with some of this too.
Seems like every time I start getting on track with some good habit, daily editing, working out, or tarot cards, something comes along to derail me and I just can't cope. At that point everything basically stops and then I spiral into guilt for not doing more.
I'm still trying to learn that I don't have to be perfect, I just have to try.
It's not easy but you're not alone.
Yeah, I'm doing the same thing. And my other problem is that when I am doing okay, I just keep piling on more things until I fail. I can't do everything. I have to learn to be okay with that.
Some days I'm not even going to get to okay; I have to accept that. It just means trying again the next day, not that I'm a total failure who needs to beat herself up and then make impossible promises for the next day. That's too much burden on the day, and too little responsibility for me.
you're doing the work. This is one of the most difficult things to remember, remember, REMEMBER. And oh yes, there's no such thing as perfect.
Denial of experience can be hella damaging. My family functions on not remembering bad things that happen as their fault. That family trip that was cut short because my father and grandfather got into a screaming match and we left the next day, didn't actually happen, my grandfather just didn't feel well so we went home. Some horrible, scarring thing a parent said to me? Never happened, I must have made it up. Major family fights caused by my dad's drinking didn't happen that way, don't I remember why it way my fault? We'll just have to agree to disagree. That time my grandmother and I had a fight because she demanded I take apart my whole computer rig so she could move it to clean the rug when I was already late for a Dr's. appt? And if I didn't do it she'd try and move one piece at a time while I was gone, without understanding how to detach the cables? I was touchy about the split with my ex that occurred the year previously and picked fights.
I try very hard to remember everything without ego, without cushioning, focusing on the facts as neutrally as I can because if I don't hang on to the facts, I'm a terrible person, and if I change the facts, I'm one of them. I have a really hard time letting things go in my personal life without both parties acknowledging the facts of a situation, because not facing them is the first step toward self-delusion. This can make me really hard to deal with but I don't know any other way to be. I don't hold a grudge often, don't care about blame, but what happened needs to be clear. I find it it really hard to let people hold on to personal fictions that I should be personally invested in without saying "BUT YOU SEE WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING, RIGHT?" This can lead to very high standards, which I don't see as unfair because I adhere to them too.
I don't really have any helpful conclusions. Just commiseration that having your experiences constantly invalidated by people close to you is not a light carry on in the baggage department.
I have resigned myself to never dealing with my family. My dad is dead, and my mom is never going to remember the bad parts - her reaction when my brother tried to confront things was to deny that things had ever been bad. It's mine to deal with. I love my mom, and we get along, but our relationship is pretty shallow.
Reading along here is good for me. I think we have quite a bit in common. A friend often reminds me of how she functions when things are black -
1. Get out of bed
2. Don't kill anybody
3. repeat as necessary
Add things to the list as you are able. In allowing myself to fall back to the very most basic steps, I can also give myself credit for making it through each day without killing anybody.
First, thanks for saying that our interaction helps. It's selfish, I know, to think in terms of myself when you're the one with the problem, but it does make me feel less useless to know I'm contributing, in however small a way.
Second, I have something to say about this:
"First, is this going to last? Second, and weirdly enough, did I waste my opportunity to explore the pit? Shouldn't I have taken good advantage of being that sad, instead of distracting myself from it? Did I fail at being properly miserable?
Feel free to laugh, roll your eyes, scratch your head. I recognize that it's a strange thing to think."
Is it going to last? You mean forever? No. But neither will the thing that comes after it. "This, too, shall pass."
I don't think it's strange at all to wonder if you might have missed an opportunity in your sadness. Not because it's fun being sad, but because if you didn't do it right the first time, does that mean you will have to do it over?
From my own experience--and yours and others' may differ--I found the pit to be remarkably homogeneous. You've seen one part, you've seen 'em all. The odd thing for me is that while the feeling is clearly in every way, both intellectually and emotionally, unpleasant and undesirable, it is nevertheless strangely attractive.
You're definitely helpful. And yeah, having to do it again sounds no fun.
Attractive sounds scary. I hope it doesn't get that way.
I have always had a problem with fear. At times it controlled my life. I've learned some tools to help drive it away, (for a time,) and the medication helps a lot.
It runs in my family, and it's also a big problem for one of my siblings.
As you said, it takes "doing the work" to keep the irrational fear at bay. But even with the tools it still sucks.
Hang in there, and I will too.
What others have already said... baby steps, try to get one thing done that may only take 5-15 minutes, but that may be all you're capable of at that particular moment. Other days you may do a lot more, but that shouldn't be your standard. You already saw my links from your last post about hard work and not setting your standards too high/setting yourself up to fail. At this time, especially when you're more fragile, it's ok to set up small goals that you still can accomplish and build from there, rather than being at the bottom of the abyss and expecting to be able to leap out in a single bound. [hugs]
Not leaping up in a single bound is hard for me to accept. Can't I just have a montage? ;-)
There are times when I think I should go off my meds simply because I'm not just less depressed, I'm less emotional in general. This can't be good, I think. And by the way, by "less emotional" I don't mean "like Spock". I am sure most people think I'm just NORMALLY emotional.
Which is why I then laugh and keep taking the meds. I'm taking them because I'm in less emotional PAIN. Duh.
did I waste my opportunity to explore the pit? Shouldn't I have taken good advantage of being that sad, instead of distracting myself from it? Did I fail at being properly miserable?
Nah. Without meaning to sound pessimistic, you'll get other chances to explore the pit. It's just how it happens. This time, you didn't. Next time, you might. Don't forget to bring the helmet with the built-in light. :)
Some days I'm not even going to get to okay
Ah, but remember: it's okay to be sad. It's even okay to have intermissions of being not-okay. Just like it's important to have rest days from exercise, I think it's also important to have rest days from this serious type of introspection and inner work. Your brain is making new connections which might need time to cure and set.
Very, very good point. I can't chart this like progress on a physical project. I have to give myself permission to feel like I'm going backwards and recognize that backwards is sometimes the way to progress.
2011-06-17 06:02 pm (UTC)
this is not a coincidence
Hi, I stumble over your LJ occasionally, on a "friends" site from someone else's. So I'm nobody, no one you know. But I read this entry and something jumped out at me.
My dad died in 1985. By 1987, I was deep in depression, serious therapy, with a short hospitalization. It took me years to realize his death had opened up all the doors of repression and maintaining that had kept me from feeling and experiencing stuff I needed to cope with. Never mind the details, it's the process I'm highlighting. You have no more taboos to these feelings, with your step-dad's having passed. So those feelings aren't willing to cooperate anymore. They're here, and you're facing them. It sucks, it's painful, but there's the other side waiting and it's better. Best of luck.
2011-06-17 06:35 pm (UTC)
Re: this is not a coincidence
Good insight. Thanks for pointing this out to me.
As I was growing up, any time I felt sad or upset, I was scolded for engaging in histrionics and informed that there was no real reason for me to be upset. I was accused of self-indulgence and, basically told that my feelings were false, that I was faking it
I still get that. Which is why I'm estranged from most of my "family". They always said I was "falling into dramatics (or histrionics) just to get attention". When I had my first full blown panic attack (that I know of) at fourteen, I just happened to be with my dad, and he knew what was going on enough to get me to the ER. Unfortunately the doctor in the ER diagnosed me with - wait for it - acid reflux. My dad gave them an earful and took me back to his place. ADHD wasn't something that was bandied around when I (we) were small. So I was always being told that I was just lazy and not living up to my potential. (of course I'm as pig-headed as my dad, so that doesn't help LOL)
It's hard for me to feel my feelings if they are not happy ones
That one is a hard one to circumvent. But it can be done. (yeah, i know ...)
did I waste my opportunity to explore the pit?
You'll know when it's the right time for you. Gods that's so cheesy, but it's the unblemished truth.
Sometimes it's easier to beat myself up for impossible standards than to live up to possible ones
It's okay to have an "off" day. Just make sure it doesn't turn into an "off" month. ;)
Some days I'm not even going to get to okay; I have to accept that
I finally figured that out. I wish Preston would. I think he got it into his head that my medications are a magical cure-all, and it just doesn't work that way.
(and everything aiela said ;))
I've found that what helps me quite a bit, and has for years, is journaling. Not my blog. My pen and paper journal. My mind flows better when I have an ink pen in hand (which is why I write all my poems and stories longhand, btw; not keyboard phobia as some presume). Stream of consciousness journaling is sometimes hard to go back to read (but you don't really have to). But it's great for just getting your head unclogged. If that makes any sense.
Yeah, ADD didn't even exist as a concept when I was a kid.
The writing down does help, even here. I haven't paper journaled in decades.