Success at failure

I succeeded in failing at something (organizing a dog social) without taking it personally and spiraling into a thought attack on myself. The planned social itself was a relatively minor event (and I have lots of ideas on how to improve when I try again), but not going negative on the world or myself was an excellent step for me in getting past fear of failure.

Go me!

Today I commit to change.

I commit to making decisions about my life, based on what I think is good for me. This does not mean I will cease to take into account the advice or experience stories of others. I will listen to that advice and those stories.  I will, however, make the decision based on what I want and not what another may wish me to do.

I will seek support without trying to give over responsibility. I will ask for help when I need it.

I will stop trying to get others to make decisions for me. I will learn to notice when I am trying to do this (by telling sob stories, implying that making this particular decision is too hard, and so forth), and I will break that habit.

I will stop letting my desire to “fix” others distract me from attending to myself. I will learn the difference between helping and doing things for people.  Problems look simpler from the outside.

I commit to taking action to make my life better for me. I will learn to notice when I am procrastinating and “studying for life” instead of living it. I will set deadlines for myself on research and decision-making and I will stick to them.

I will develop and decide on my own scales for what is “enough,” “necessary,” and “success.” and  I will learn how to answer to people who would like me to use their scales instead of mine.

I commit to facing my fear of failure, as well as my fear of success. I will consciously learn to accept that failure is part of learning, and not let the fear prevent me from trying things that I want to do.

I will forgive myself for making mistakes, and learn to stop the spiral of negative self-talk that keeps me from progressing toward my goals. I will learn to learn from my mistakes, and then move forward rather than ruminating and castigating myself for not being perfect.

I will no longer let uncertainty whether I can “do it right” prevent me from trying things.

I will accept that change requires stepping outside my comfort zone, being afraid and doing it anyway. I will move beyond being afraid of being afraid.

I will remember to praise myself for courage, and comfort myself when that courage fails.  I will set time limits on how long I may take to comfort myself, and when that time is up I will get back on the horse. I will try again tomorrow.

I will remember to take pride in  my accomplishments instead of telling myself that “It doesn’t count” or “Anyone could have done that.”  I did it.  It doesn’t matter if it was original (copyright issues excepted) or if someone else could have done the same.

I will not use initial failure as an excuse that it is not worth continuing to try.

I will stop using “that looks difficult” as an excuse to not do things.

I will work toward consciously accepting that change involves giving up things I like, and taking on other things I don’t like. I will be suspicious of free lunches, and not waste time on things which promise to improve my life without any actual effort.

I will give up the idea that I can change all at once, fix everything, know everything. I will replace it with the acceptance of incremental change. I will learn not to set unreasonable deadlines.

I will periodically ask myself if my current activity is something that moves me closer to my goals, or a distraction/procrastination technique to avoid doing that work.

I commit to identifying and eliminating habits of thought, action, or inaction that hold me back from making positive changes.

I am going to take responsibility for my life.

So there.

Almost done, Just begining

I put the penultimate step in my divorce in the mail today. I don’t know if I’m just really good at suppressing or I’ve really decided not to care. I teared up more at a couple of TV shows that depicted anguish really well (and the song “American Pie” on the radio) this week than I did over this. I cried when I got the documents in the mail, but not today, when I actually went to get them notarized and send them back. It hasn’t been an acrimonious divorce and we had no kids, which makes things 12 times simpler –just material things to divide up. I’m just feeling pretty numb about it (with an overlay of anxious about whether I’m repressing stuff that will only come up later and explode something else in my brain). I feel like I should be crying, but I’m not. I feel heavy, like someone turned up the gravity in my vicinity

In other news, I have temporarily settled on one therapist who is out-of-state (so we are doing “consultation” not therapy) who works with me by phone, and one local therapist. It’s kinda expensive, since I can’t put the first one on my insurance (which is about to explode to COBRA-level expensive), but for now, I think I am going to continue to use both. The out-of-state therapist has experience with people in my demographic at least. The local lady not so much, but I had a better feeling about her than the first two I interviewed.

I actually put on my Rollerblades yesterday, and wobbled around the kitchen, clinging to the counter-tops for stability. They feel a lot like ski boots. My dog wants nothing to do with them –apparently some combination of the motion or the helmet or something spooks her. This is unfortunate, since I got the things so I could take her for faster, longer walks. Maybe she’ll get used to them over time. Anyhow, that’s progress over letting them sit in the bottom of the coat closet, so yay me.

Trouble with food. I can retain interest long enough to make a plate for myself, even usually something that’s healthy. Then either it takes me 3 hours to eat it (next to the computer or a book), or I set it down somewhere I intend to settle to eat, get distracted by 1 2 3 things, and then an hour and a half later, there it is, still untouched. *Sigh* At least the dog hasn’t taken to eating my lunch while I’m not looking, right?

Today in the store I walked through the candy aisle with some vague idea of getting chocolate to self-soothe with. The sugar smell turned my stomach, so I didn’t get any. I also managed to not get junk food from the chips aisle, even though my brand was on sale. more of that thing where food in the abstract sounds nice, but the idea of actually putting it in my mouth, chewing and swallowing is totally gross. I swear I don’t have an eating disorder, this thing only comes up every now and then, (more often if I’m depressed, of course). Yay not buying junk (and thus not eating junk) boo not eating enough real food more often. Does anyone have any suggestions about remembering to eat regularly?

I’ve signed up for several “write for pocket change” freelance sites, but have yet to actually go work any projects. Yay for signing up, boo me for total lack of follow-through. If I ever do go do stuff there, it’ll be practice writing at least, and one of the sites will let you test for editor (slightly more pocket change) once your writer’s rating is good enough. So it’ll be a step in the direction I want to go at least. If I start/continue doing it.

Have been really lousy at actually thinking about important things (work, relationships, future, etc) and making concrete decisions or plans, even tentative ones. I really need to think some things through but I’m avoiding doing it. Like I told therapist, I’m more or less emotionally stable, but that’s because I’m not doing anything the slightest bit challenging (divorce aside). I think I may have said that in the last post. Too bad, this is my brain dump, and sometimes my brain repeats itself.

Am considering (again) getting a weighted blanket for sleep –something heavy but not too warm. Strictly speaking I’m not sensory-processing disordered, but I think it’s worth trying. In the absence of another body in my bed to let me know I’m not actually alone in the universe, I think the weight will be grounding and comforting. That’s if I can work out the correct weight blanket for me. Two different places on the site have down two different weights for someone my size..

That social that I failed at last week? That’s because I got the week wrong. How embarrassing, that my sense of what day it is is off by a whole week. At least the staff at the restaurant will know who I am when I show up this week.

I’m receiving quite the collection of self-help books by mail, titles like:

Celebrating Failure; the Power of Taking Risks, Making Mistakes, and Thinking Big

Adventures and Challenges; Real Life Stories by Girls and Young Women

The Career Guide for Creative and  Unconventional People

The Subversive Copy Editor

Refuse to Choose: a Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love.

Van Gogh Blues: the Creative Person’s Path Through Depression

Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement.*

A week ago I went through my Amazon list and just bought myself everything that was under $5 in a Used-Good quality. It’s fun getting books in the mail, all of them things that at least sound like I want to read them. If I can get past the really fun part of reading them and into the hard part of actually applying techniques to things I’m Doing in my life, then I’ll be getting somewhere. I so frequently wallow in the information gathering phase of everything. I suppose that might be the first habit to break?

I keep thinking that I’m ready to move on with my life, but clearly I’m not. Because, well, I’m not. One thing at a time. I’ve gotten regular therapy back on again, so now I have some accountability, a reason to keep track of time, and do something, if only so I don’t have to tell therapist that I did nothing again this week. One day I will have the self-confidence/esteem goals/whatever to become accountable to myself, but that day is not today. Something to work towards.

 

*I find it amusing that the WordPress auto-correcter wants to change the spelling of Underachivement to Overachievement.  I thought the correction would be to hyphenate it.

Today: not worth chewing through the straps?

Stayed up way too late last night on the internet.  Woke up to find the dog had shat in the rug in 3 places.

Don’t have anything scheduled, don’t really want to do anything responsible (when do I, honestly)  feel pretty grey and numb, and sleep depped. Maybe I’ll eat cookies and do nothing at all useful. Maybe I’ll think about the future, that’s always good for a funk.

Career planning fear of choice ack.

Wow it’s harder to just write raw than I thought it would be, I do a lot of second guessing my thoughts before they’re even complete in my head, no wonder I don’t get anywhere a lot of the time.

But outside, it’s stopped raining…

Feeling sorry for myself and letting myself off the hook for responsibilities and life has to stop.  But that involves effort and every time I get a setback (like house-training accidents) suddenly it can all seem pointless again.  I’m out of the habit of (recognizing) success.

So many self-help books/workbooks, therapy.  I’m a 30-year-old little girl, whining about the unfairness of it all. Life’s uncomfortable. Ridiculous self-pity,  but where do I go from recognizing that?  I keep starting, keep journaling, keep eating and walking the dog and trying to go out and interact with other humans, and I just don’t get engaged.  Set up a plan,  basic eat exercise sleep, and I start chewing on my brain immediately and fail.

It’s probably actually unfortunate that I’m not struggling for survival right now, because that would be a good distraction from self-pity.  Having to solve that problem would probably boost my self-efficacy, if not self-esteem.  Go and do things anyway, the advice goes.  But but but, I can’t see the thought that keeps me from ‘just trying things.’  Am I really just lazy and don’t care? Am I content not to grow up until forced to do so? (sure looks like it) 3 months I’ve had for practically free, and have I done any thing constructive besides maybe therapy? No.

Is therapy even constructive? They say to go easy on myself, but what if that’s the problem, I’m too lucky to have the support system I’ve got, and without prodding (and the accompanying panic) I lapse into a pool of inert goo? Depression means I don’t have the energy to care, but what if it’s really just mental laziness?

So what if it is? Then I’m a lazy person.  Which crashes my basic structure of productivity/accomplishment/progress  is good, doing things makes me a good person. Yes yes, sometimes it’s okay to take a break, but I’ve been doing that, and not just sometimes, all the time. accomplishing little tasks that seem productive (I made cookies, yay!) but don’t actually get anywhere.

Where do I want to get?

  • Independent living where I don’t have to share walls/space with anyone? Need a job and some savings, and emergency fund in case job goes poof again. Requires commitment, perseverance.
  • Doing something meaningful in the world? What is meaningful? Helping people? Saving the rainforest?  I don’t give myself credit for the things I do, my therapist says, so this one’s probably a dead end ATM.
  • Getting off the grid as much as possible? I already don’t watch TV as much as I can, the news is too depressing and I don’t need that. Computer use really takes some tech support, and without the internet I’d probably lose contact with the humans who don’t deliver packages to me.
  • Grow all my own vegetables and spices?
  • Figuring out what I’m doing that is a waste of time, grooming my routine for efficiency? Really requires having a definite goal(s)
  • Focus and drive? As P says, I am not going to find them under the couch. I don’t really think I’m going to find them in ADD meds either.

Advice: Tiny steps every day

Go  unrecognized  and don’t give me a sense of accomplishment or being a good person (by my standard of progress, etc).  So for a feeling of accomplishment I do pointless things like cookies.  Some not-pointless things: Posting to forums at least gets some venting done, and nominal contact with people, especially if I get any responses. Dishes and laundry make my environment better. Walking the dog keeps her from going nuts and gets me some exercise.  Internet research is learning, but it’s important to recognize when I’m duplicating. Reading a novel rests my brain.

Advice: Forgive myself for not ‘doing better’ 

I should be able to do better. I’m not physically impaired, I don’t know if I’m really mentally impaired. Brain the size of a planet and so on. I know beating myself up is counterproductive, making myself feel bad just saps energy etc.  so change the brain, recognize cognitive distortions, triggers and so on, work through them, change responses a little  time.  See my issues with tiny steps, above. I want to Do Something (concrete, finite, and discrete) and Be Better (all at once).

Advice: The Real World(tm) doesn’t work that way.

Because I’m a grown-up (or at least a grown-older) now and I can see shades of grey.  Not a lot of boundaries are really completely impermeable, most of them are downright fuzzy when you really look. Seeing this unfortunately leaves a lot of room for time-wasting equivocation, and a lot of frustrating ‘yes and no’ answers. Curiosity about something fragments into dozens, then hundreds of sub-topics, and the library or the internet is pretty good for just wallowing in Finding Things Out, which is a real time-suck. maybe I could learn to write and market myself as a researcher/fact-checker. Anyhow to return to the previous point, grey-vision makes me distrust anything that seems clear-cut, because it probably isn’t.  Which makes it really hard for me to make objective decisions.

Maybe that’s a lie, my real problem right now is subjective decisions, what is good for me.  Why can’t I just ignore the fear of loss of opportunity that says I must work as efficiently as possible? I’m afraid of missing out on something (better), but delaying or not making choices eliminates choices. Either way, too much thinking paralyzes me, and that’s where I’m actually really stuck.

And here is the list; I’m a great list-maker, though I don’t think they do me a lot of good other than a minor sense of doing something that looks like goal setting. Then I typically lose the list and/or never reference it again. Anyway.

This list is a guideline for my next 3 months; if something I am doing relates to one of the 3 things below, it is OK to do.

Priority 1: Job and financial freedom.

Deadline: June

Priority 2: Not losing my mind while doing it.

Deadline: Ongoing.

Priority 3: Not losing physical health points while accomplishing 1.

Deadline: Ongoing, as 2