delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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Coping mechanisms
delirium happy
As I'm fairly sure I've mentioned at least once here already, I've been feeling generally quite chipper for the past few weeks, managing to feel upbeat and positive about stuff, and to get stuff done and be generally productive. There was even one occasion when I accidentally caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror out of the corner of my eye and I was actually smiling. How weird is that?

The thing with depression is that your brain starts playing tricks on you. It's like a constant battle of mind games against yourself.You can't just ignore it. In order to get anywhere, you have to fight back, and apply all sorts of tricks and tactics of thought and doublethought against your treacherous brain. I figured I should write down what's working for me at the moment, for two reasons. On the one hand, I know that there are several of my readers who suffer from depression, and some of them may find bits of this useful; and on the second hand, if my current upswing doesn't last then i have this to look back to remind myself of what worked for me, at east for a time.

1. Lots of little steps is both a whole lot easier ad a whole lot more productive than a few big steps. Ten minutes every day beats an hour once a week hands down.

2. "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." (David Copperfield) Getting crap done is a whole lot like that. Every day, bits of cruft accumulate that you need to deal with. Dishes get dirty, clothes need washing, mess accumulates, bills arrive, and so on. But the daily build up is fairly slow and easy to deal with. The problem comes when you've let the daily build up build up and you have a huge big pile of cruft sitting in front of you that you need to get rid of. The key to doing so, I have found, is not to actually try to get rid of it. Instead, just try to decruftify at a rate greater than entropy is cruftifying. It doesn't matter what the difference in rates is; so long as you're beating stuff back faster than it's building up then eventually everything will get sorted.

3. If you do a little bit, then you aren't committing yourself to anything more than just that. If you have the energy and motivation to, for instance, pick up one bit of rubbish, and put it in the bin, then do that. And then you can stop if you want. Even if there are 20 other bits of rubbish right next to the one you picked up. Of course, if you can go on to pick them up to, then all well and good, but even if you can't then you're still better off for the one bit that you did do. It's a lot easier to get started on things when you don't feel you're actually committing to anything.

4. It's OK to be the person you want to be. No, really it is. Just try it. Even a little bit. Be the sort of person who you like, rather than the sort of person who pisses you off. Give yourself permission. Sure, some people might notice you acting a bit uncharacteristically, but if they do, it's likely they either won't care, or will be pleasantly surprised. And at the end of the day, it's more important that you like yourself than that they like you.

5. Listen. You're not at highschool any more. It's OK to be enthusiastic about something. You won't be a given a bunch of crap from the cool kids for failing to demonstrate appropriate indifferent teenage ennui. Give it a try.

6. You have a whole bunch of friends. They are good and nifty people. They are smart, discerning, and interesting. And they like you, trust you and believe in you. What sort of utter crap do you think you're pulling by going against the opinions of so many people whose opinions are worth listening to? Not only is it horribly disrespectful, but it's also just plain stupid. Have some faith in them, and have some faith in yourself already.

7. If you screw up, then it doesn't matter. Everyone screws up. If you have a day of abject emo bullshit, then so what? Who cares? Let's try again tomorrow. Keeping the forward momentum going doesn't mean that you never have any set backs. And if you start angsting over the fact that you're angsting then you're just not going to get anywhere. So don't sweat it.

And probably other things too, but I can't think of any right now, and 7 is enough to be getting on with for now, right?

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#2 is where applying money can be a lifesaver. I can literally have a major panic attack if, due to depression, I've not gotten the dishes done. I hire housecleaning done, and it makes it way easier for me to deal with other cruft. I don't know if this is a possibility for you, but it can *really* help because being in an orderly environment can do wonders for your willingness to deal with your environment, period.

Honestly, I think that that would just make me feel worse. The having to cope with the other person coming in and being in my safe space would do worse things to my brain than the clutter and untidiness does, I think. Thanks for the suggestion though.

(Deleted comment)
Agreeing on the first sentence. Well, also the rest, but you didn't go with the comment where I assumed you'd be going when starting to read it. It would make me feel worse for these other reasons:

1. I'd feel completely pathetic for being unable to do something so basic as cleaning my house, and it would be better for me to have it less clean than to have someone else do something I ought to be able to do for myself.

2. The idea of needing money to pay someone to do it is far more stressful than finding motivation and energy to do it on my own.

#2 is what keeps me sane.

As I just explained to barakta who doesn't really grok, it's not a case of, forex, doing the washing-up *now* because I somehow achieve fulfilment from doing washing up (though I know people often do), it's a case of choosing to leave the washing-up undone being a Bad Thing(TM) at any time. Avoiding Bad Things is good for your mental health, mmkay.

Hell, these are all important things to keep in mind even if you're not depressed!

Printed! For both frequent reminder and also the ability to read it properly seeing as how neither my apartment nor the libraries are ever quiet enough for me to concentrate on anything. (Am I the only person left on the planet who was taught that you don't speak in the library unless absolutely necessary, and even then you do it quietly?)

i just came back to this entry via my lj memories, and i'm actually crying, because this is exactly what i needed to hear tonight. thanks, sweetie, for posting it ages ago.

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