What I Hated the Least Today 216/365: Brave

70 comments
Brave coffee
Brave coffee

This is going to be another mental post. Sorry about that. It’s not every day that you’re freshly released from the madhouse though, so I’m naturally full of it.

I normally focus on what I failed to do rather than on what I managed to do. Because logic. When I did it, it requires no further attention. When I failed to do it, then something was wrong and the situation needs to be analysed to avoid recurrence.

Despite myself, I now keep a list of my daily achievements. “Achievements”, that is. Doctor’s advice. When I look at my lists, it’s supposed to encourage me, but I suspect it might be making me more depressed because of the nature of my “achievements”. It’s typically something along the following lines:

I was being brave today. Look at what I’ve managed:

  • ask for the Wi-Fi password in a cafe (though I was inclined not to because I hate to ask about/for anything)
  • call my father, whom I strongly dislike (I didn’t even want anything, it was a social call)
  • buy one chocolate instead of a dozen (though they were on offer)
  • generally survive the day (though I maintain being dead is easier)

Now will you please excuse me, I have to go and consider whether listing my pseudo-achievements cheered me up or made me suicidal. (If I’m not back, it’s the latter option. Kidding.)

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70 comments on “What I Hated the Least Today 216/365: Brave”

  1. Oh my gosh! I wasn’t even in the “madhouse” and I make a list like that daily. Yesterday’s list includes, “I had a goodnight sleep, I cleaned ALL my bathroom and my laundry done, and I got caught up on my blog reading.” I’m superwoman, right!? ๐Ÿ˜Come to think of it… I have been feeling more sane since I’ve been doing this seemingly “crazy” thing with no motive. I simply love making lists.

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      1. I said “more sane”, not “sane”, Cardinal. ๐Ÿ˜‰Almost exactly 7 years ago, I was in the middle of a shit storm of traumatic events that left me too afraid to leave my house for 2 1/2 years. I got past it with therapy (phone therapy because I couldn’t go anywhere). I now recognize, we’re all crazy, and how easy it is for the crazy to completely take over.

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        1. This sounds most horrible. Kudos to you for managing through phone therapy. I have no idea how demanding it must have been. But I’m happy to see that you’re better now. Though one is never perfectly alright, or even perfectly sane, I guess.

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          1. It was not that long ago, but it feels like ancient history. I’ve had no anxiety or panic attack relapses in (I’m guessing) 3 years or so. The phone therapy felt like a last resort to me. I had 12 weeks, and that was it (it was a clinical trial). I had to allow myself to trust the experts and stop thinking that I knew better. I was a good girl and did every single thing I was told to do no matter how idiotic it felt. I hope your treatment is as successful as mine was.

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          2. Thank you very much for writing about your experience. I never would have guessed that you’ve been though so much shit. You come across as extremely well-balanced in all respects, balancing all aspects of your life as they ought to be. I’m a difficult patient as well because I think I know the best, but at the same time I’m trying to give things a try, even though it looks idiotic to me – like colouring mandalas, for example ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Sometimes I find it actually works me, no matter how silly it looks. The two months in hospital did help me a lot, but no way do I feel great now, or even good. Takes time, I guess. Your experience encouraged me though. So thanks again for sharing it.

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          3. Is anyone “well-balanced”? Perhaps I’m better at faking it than some? I shouldn’t say “faking it”. I’m actually doing a pretty okay job at balancing these days.

            That thinking we know best is a hinderance to healing for sure. I’m not sure how to say this without making it sound like a “bad thing”, but I have a hunch that you are similar to me in that I take pride in knowing better than other people. Allowing myself to not be THE authority on things (especially my own shit) is tough. Letting other people direct me makes (or used to make) me feel weak. Add to that that in my darkest time, I was already feeling so weak… sigh

            Keep colouring! ๐Ÿ™‚ You’ll get there.

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          4. I know people who are well-balanced for fact. I suspect it’s an inborn quality that can’t be trained, though hopefully it can be improved by working on it. And it starts with faking it ๐Ÿ˜‰

            Your guess is very right. I’m aware that one of my shortcomings is thinking that I always know best. I hate being weak and taking another’s advice is against my belief that I know best because I know myself best. I have to admit though that some advice I got works. (And some doesn’t. * shrug * )

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          5. When I had my first panic anxiety attack, I didn’t know such a think existed, and hardly anybody else either. Thirty years ago, they didn’t have all these ‘nice’ words for all these things.

            I just thought I was going to die then and there … in a supermarket. I could easily have been stuck in the house for years to come …

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          6. Panic attacks are possibly the worst. My sister-in-law used to have those, it took ages for docs to figure out that it was panic attacks (they were trying to find a physiological cause and found nothing). She would faint and collapse out of the blue, once on the stairs, where she, as could have been expected, badly hurt herself. She’s more or less alright now, on medication but no more fainting. Accidentally, what helped her was the same six-week therapy stay as the one where I was.

            I can’t even imagine how it must’ve been to have this kind of problem earlier. When you’d just be told that you’re pretending or imagining it, when it wasn’t a regular diagnosis.

            I’m lucky in that I just have anxiety attacks, usually I can’t stop shaking and it’s driving me crazy (well, crazier), but at least now I know that it’s just anxiety and that I’m not going to die of it. What’s stupid is that I can’t control these shaking incidents yet and they often seem to come with no apparent reason. So one moment I’m sitting at the computer, responding comments, and another I’m suddenly shaking like crazy and everything is floating before my eyes. Well, * shrug *, I’d better just shut up and deal with it.

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          7. You can’t REASON anxiety away. I tried that many times … one buses, for example. The symptoms were the same as you describe, the shaking and racing heart. I KNEW it was anxiety and I wasn’t going to die right then and there on that bus. Still … that didn’t help, I had get off and walk home in the pouring rain. What a life … now that I think of it. Luckily I remember the feeling very well, so I can be thankful I’m free.

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          8. Poor thing! I’m very glad you’re over with panic and anxiety. Reasoning it away doesn’t make these problems go away for sure, but it does help me to know that it’s just anxiety and that it’s something I know. No new mysterious disease, just good old anxiety.

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          9. Right … when the panic hits, there’s no reasoning. Anxiety is a very sly companion. Gawd … I’m so fortunate. Nine years … all the things I couldn’t do! And secondly; I couldn’t tell people about why I couldn’t do this or that …

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          10. No, there’s no way they could — the only way to understand is to experience it, and I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody. They can only try … that’s the best one can do.

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          11. That’s what I wonder about too in the sense how a therapist/psychiatrist can relate to your problems when they have no clue how it feels. Or maybe they have more problems than their patients.

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          12. Funny, I often think the same – no sane person would choose to become a psychologist/psychiatrist and listen to people oversharing about their issues all day.

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          13. I was aware of the terms, but it still took me a while to recognize what it was. I didn’t have (0r at least I didn’t feel) the racing heart everyone speaks of. I sill felt out of control of my body though, which was terrifying. Is your panic and anxiety manageable these days, Rebekah?

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    1. Your list making might be just the thing that keeps you sane! It’s a classic therapeutic technique. I only used to do to-do lists, so now I’ve graduated to have-done lists ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s the “small” achievements that matter. Like cleaning ALL your bathroom! You can’t save the world every day, right.

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      1. I’ve been writing morning pages for a few years now. In the beginning they most often ended up being giant to-do lists for the day. I’d always feel like such a loser at the end of the day when I didn’t get anywhere near completing my list. It was only when I started writing have-done lists at the end of the day that my attitude shifted. I still write to-do lists, but I’m much more realistic about what goes on there for any one day.

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        1. Ah, the morning pages! I heard of that and even considering trying it but I never quite managed to fit it in my morning routine. It’s quite busy, with my morning yoga and morning code learning. Perhaps I could do evening pages ๐Ÿ˜‰ I do have a sort of a diary though, I started in the hospital and I use it for all sorts of things. To-do lists and have-done lists too. I do it, but I still have a lot of work to do on my attitude. It’s all in the attitude, it’s all in the head, and while at least I know it now, I haven’t managed to change much as yet. Still feeling like a loser, huh. I’ve also found, like you, that one doesn’t squeeze too much in a single day. Much less than what I thought. Accordingly, my to-do lists are becoming increasingly shorter.

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          1. It really is all in the attitude! My knee-jerk reaction is to send you a shit-load of links to “help” you, but I won’t because, I would run the risk annoying the shit out of you. Not only that, but you’re perfectly capable of Googling to find what you need for you, should you feel you have the room in your noggin for more “advice”.

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          2. Oh, actually, I’m now very open to advice, solicited or unsolicited, and I’m doing things that I would formerly flatly refuse to even try. Like meditation or positive affirmations. I sure can Google but if you have any interesting links, I would be more than happy to look and think about it. So, please, link away!

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          3. I read “motivating” stuff almost daily. Next time I come across something I think you might like to read, I’ll forward it. Are you open to woo-woo spiritual stuff? I ask because I once rolled my eyes at that stuff. Now I totally dig it. It’s definitely not for everyone.

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          4. Deal. I considered all psychology woo-woo and then I got in the madhouse and changed my mind. Now I’m open to pretty much anything. Groping at anything that might help.

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          1. I’m still doing Morning Pages. It suits me. In the morning. But that’s probably individual … I wouldn’t know. Couldn’t do them in the evening. It happens to coincide with my newly awakened interest for fountain pens. Don’t think I could write three pages like that with a regular ballpoint pen … would get cramps in my hand.

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          2. That’s a nice meeting of two interests, the morning pages and the fountain pens! I’m in the writing mood in the morning and in the evening as well, so I might try doing it in the evening. With my favourite soft tip black pen.

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          3. Yeah, the two merged, and it happened at the same time, by coincidence. I’ve always been a believer it makes a difference to put pen to paper, as opposed to fingers to keyboard.

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          4. It is a huge difference, writing and typing. I’ve come to feel something perhaps a bit similar since I started colouring with crayons. It feels completely different. Also writing my therapeutic journal in longhand feels different than typing it, and better.

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  2. Generally surviving has to be a positive I would think…..dead could be easier but then you’d probably miss out on the love and attention you receive from anonymous people on this here blog world place….I am a father and I have to say I am NOT disliked by my children. I know this as they often call me and ask me to do jobs for them like today, tomorrow and the rest of the week….then again I could take offense and think I am not more than a convenience to them….but I prefer to think of them as liking me as the alternate is far to painful to contemplate…..have a good contemplation…

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    1. I suspect kids are programmed to like their parents, no matter what they say. I admit I might sort of like my father too, though it’s just “sort of”. I’m surprised to find, now that I talked to him (a few times since this post, actually), that I inherited some of his characteristics. Obviously. I didn’t realise before. I’m sure your kids adore you. You’re likeable, unlike my father ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  3. My achievements today look something like this:
    – Have breakfast with the kid. (success)
    – Get him to pre-school/kindergarden or whatever the term for it is. (success)
    – Get to work in time (failed)
    – Do boring work tasks while trying to squeeze in as much personal internet time as possible (success so far, but it’s not even lunch time yet…)

    That’s 62.50 % success so far today, but it doesn’t feel like I’ve really achieved anything at all (but having breakfast with the kid was nice).

    If I were making these kind of lists, I think it would just give me that extra push needed to jump off a bridge or something. I’m probably better off if I stick to my usual “no achievements list” thing.

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    1. I would have jumped off the bridge a lot time ago were it not for my cat (replaces kid), for whom I’m responsible. I think my “achievement” lists do increase my suicidal inclinations, but then I enjoy self-flagellation, so it’s all good. Your list is pretty good though. I mean, what else would you want from life if not to manage to plod through it and occasionally do something nice, like having a family breakfast? Or maybe I have low expectations.

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  4. I looked at your list and thought it was pretty impressive. Then I looked at my own list and realized I had a whole bunch of nothing. I better go and accomplish at least one thing today.

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    1. Haha, you think my list is impressive? Well, sure it’s relative, what’s an achievement for one person is an easy task for another. I don’t think you necessarily have to accomplish something each day. It’s not like you’re a superman and need to save the world on the regular.

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  5. I love posts like this, when people open up a little … also in the comments. It’s also comforting to find out you’re never alone/unique … there are always others, out there, with the same type of issues.

    A while back, I read about a phenomenon called ยซBullet Journalsยป. It’s trendy right now … just like mandalas. I just wanted to find out what they were, and they are basically just to do lists. I don’t need that in my life — ‘have-done-list’ would be so much better for me, in order not to feel like a loser.

    So far, this morning, I’ve written three pages by hand, had coffee and smoked at the same time. Read news and email. Read one blog (this).

    I would like to get back into that ยซblogging feelingยป again …

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    1. It’s amazing really, the comments that this post inspired, so to say, if that doesn’t sound too conceited. That’s what I love most about blogging. I didn’t realise how much I missed it during my blogging hiatus. It’s an important and valuable way for me to connect with others and often one gets a much-needed wake-up call too, seeing that others have much graver issues and are managing them with grace. I’m not sure how to express how much I appreciate it without sounding sentimental or insincere (and without losing my carefully cultivated cynical face, obviously).

      Bullet Journals seem scary. WTF would one want to write a to-do list like this? I write to-do lists in a normal fashion and make no fuss. My have-done lists might be helping me a little, sometimes it depresses me how miniature my achievements are, but sometimes it’s alright to see that I’ve done at least something and haven’t spent the day just sitting around and doing nothing. While is what depressed people are particularly prone to do. Maybe it’s not depressed, just lazy, it’s hard to tell, even with myself.

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      1. Yes, that’s what I love the most, and what keeps me doing it … blogging. It’s the connecting with others, particularly since I’m not a very social being in real life anymore.

        A couple of years ago, I wrote a post … it wasn’t even all that inspired, I just kept writing one night … I think it was basically about some kind of inferiority complex I suffered from, feeling I wasn’t educated enough and everyone seemed so much smarter than I [boy, I must have been deep down in the dumps that night! ๐Ÿ™‚ ]. The comments I got on that post, almost brought tears to my eyes … and I tell you; I don’t go all mushy easily. It takes A LOT.

        I don’t do anything, but I’m not depressed. I can’t wait to get up in the morning to sit around and do nothing ๐Ÿ™‚ .

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        1. Aw, I don’t get mushy easily at all, but it’s so great to chat and exchange our blogging and non-blogging experience! I’m perfectly asocial, if not straightforward antisocial, in real life, but it’s easier to talk online, especially hiding behind a blogging pseudonym. I know I can write any shit I choose. But then, I don’t want to write too much depressing shit, which is a bit difficult these days.

          You’ve earned your right to sit around and do nothing all day by having worked all your life. So in your case, it’s a bit different than in mine, for a person in productive age who should be theoretically working her ass off and have no time to get depressed or what.

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          1. It’s curious, because during a very limited period of my life, I was super social! Not one night that wasn’t planned … always doing something … even gave dinner parties (!). Unthinkable now. I almost hate it, when we have something planned that we have to do/go to. feeling very cozy here in my little computer space now ๐Ÿ™‚

            It’s so damned trendy now and here, to work your ass off. In all the commercials you hear the expression ยซit will fit your busy lifestyleยป. Bah … ! As if that were a GOOD thing?!

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          2. You were a social butterfly? It’s funny, I thought that you either are social or not and that it doesn’t change. So I might still get sociable, it looks. Hm.

            Busy lifestyle gets you in the madhouse.

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          3. It was a very limited period in my life, and there’s more to it … Normally, one doesn’t change like that and I wasn’t social before all this started.

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