Tag Archives: expectations

Thank you therapy

16 Jan

In what seems to be a recurring theme, I’m starting today’s post with another tale of yesterday’s failures…and small victories.

It was about this time yesterday that I was tallying my accomplishments up against my expectations for the day. I had been more productive and kept myself busier than any day in weeks – almost no television, putting together a real, immediate plan for my job hunt, even daring to rough out a cover letter for the job I want to apply for by the end of the week – and yet I was dangerously close to chalking up the day as a failure.

Why? Because I didn’t think I’d get to my new daily blogging. I’d set manageable expectations for the day, and did far more than I set out to do, but one relatively minor task left undone threatened to ruin my entire day’s work (or at least my feelings towards it).

I’m often torn about the value of certain therapies – like my weekly group therapy or “going to church” as I sometimes call it – but this week its worth was obvious.

For starters, I was reminded yet again of how irrational and vicious my inner critic can be. With yesterday as a perfect example, I was *this* close to writing off the day of major accomplishments because of a single, minor missed expectation…one only I would ever notice at that.

After hearing the group’s reaction to my thinking, and seeing it now in writing, it’s obvious that my self-criticism was ridiculously harsh and shame inducing. As you’ll soon learn, this is a lesson that’s taking me some time to learn.

The other benefit the group provided was the reassurance that, while I’m crazy on many fronts, I’m certainly not alone. There’s always one person who’s having a day as shitty as mine, and that company feels good. I wonder how many of my church friends – all juggling substance, mental health and interpersonal issues – find the same solace in my misery.

Funny…that was a comfort I used to find at my favourite watering hole, when alcohol was my anxiety and depression medication of choice. Even as I drowned my sorrows and avoided my own demons, I was able to look at my drinking buddies with a sense of pity, empathizing with their pain while temporarily numb to my own.

Suffice to say, group therapy’s working a whole lot better than drinking ever did.

Today was another productive day, similar to yesterday in that I didn’t do everything on my to do list, but I did much more that wasn’t. With luck and yesterday’s therapy reminders, I’ll end this day a success.

Day 4: Back in the saddle again? Ha!

13 Jan

As I’ve said recently, beware the mad rantings of a man [only] days into a lifetime journey. A case in point, I started this post yesterday, musing about whether or not I was (albeit slowly, finally and only in the earliest of days) getting back into the saddle of life again.

Suffice to say that I didn’t finish it, and today is a different story.  Today it’s taken me the effort of ten men to come back and finish what I started, itself a post I wanted to publish yesterday to stay on my regimen of daily writing. And this isn’t even the first time today; late this morning I think I almost consciously induced a panic attack when I first picked up my laptop. Heart racing, my inner critic getting louder by the minute, my inability to write a simple blog entry just the latest in a string of failures that too often define my life in my eyes.

What I need to remember is another pillar of my new approach to 2015, setting manageable expectations and celebrating small victories.  I did come back and finish this post (without a point it may be). I went on a long walk and read the newspaper over coffee at my old watering whole. I looked up job postings at the companies I want to approach and found at least one that’s a great fit with what I think/believe/hope are my strengths and skills.  And after fearfully (of what?!) putting it off for almost a month, I finally made a phone call to book a doctor’s appointment for my son.

Small victories. Celebration. At least I have therapy tonight.

Day 3 and already playing catch up

12 Jan

Well technically, it’s now day four.  And I’m already catching up on a missed day, the third in my plan to make writing a part of my daily life. I’ve even coined a cute little hashtag to make me feel young and tech savvy; #just5 is my reminder that I can do anything for five minutes a day, and writing is an activity that produces immediate benefits felt most by boosts in self-confidence and feelings of accomplishment.

In short, just by writing this post, I know I’ll feel substantially more productive and confident about the day as a whole. And by definition – for a change – I won’t see the day as a total failure, the all too common judgement my inner critic hands down at the end of the day.

I digress…check in to follow later today.

That’s 1 in a row…and small victories

11 Jan

In my last post I talked about feeling afraid and overwhelmed by life, and the coping strategy I’m really trying this year of breaking every challenge down to very small, bite sized chunks. Along with setting manageable expectations I’ve already experienced pleasantly an unfamiliar fringe benefit or two.

I’m actually accomplishing what I set out to do. I’m winning small victories, but I’m winning. And in my own quiet way, I’m celebrating.

That’s my #just5 writing for the day. I look forward to checking in (yikes, another therapy term) tomorrow.

In the meantime, beware the mad ravings of a man one day into a lifelong journey.

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