A Little Self-Talk
I’m not sure when this storm beset me. I know that it was in full blast by the July 4th weekend. 48 days ago today.
The only thing I know is that the pain is here and will continue for a prolonged period of time.
I do not know that the pain will continue nor do I know that the intensity will remain the same.
That is good – too bad the same thought will come back – in a minute, an hour, or a day – and I will have to fight it all over again. I never have to stop fighting it.
That isn’t true. Sometimes there are a few hours or even a day or two in-between. A few hours is something – and a day, why that is really something. To be productive and energetic and alive for an entire day!
What am I going to do? I can’t accomplish the tasks I need to accomplish. The phone calls, the emails, the planning. I’m failing everyone.
You are in a crisis. You cannot perform at normal levels. Others accept this (or if they don’t, that is their problem). You will do what you can, people will be disappointed, but you can only do what you are able – don’t allow the real or imagined disappointment of others discourage you.
What is the use of becoming discouraged? Will this help you get the tasks done? No. Have hope. It won’t make you able to do the tasks – but you in hope know that you will complete the tasks when you are able.
- Sleep: 6 hrs (12:00-2:45 am, 5:45-8:30 am, 1:45-2:15 pm)
- Church Meeting: 5 hrs. (including preparation)
- Reading Scriptures: 3.25 hrs. (from 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, Psalms)
- Depressed: 2 hrs. (watch TV, browse internet)
- Basic Life: 1.75 hrs. (shower, eat, feed cats, clean litter boxes)
- Crisis Related Reading: 1.5 hrs. (may be rumination)
- Crisis Related Phone Calls: 1.25 hrs.
- Exercise: 1.25 hrs. (reading while walking)
- Political / Religious / Technical News: 1.25 hrs.
23.25 hrs. I am unsure where the other .75 hours went…but I’m not trying to track my every moment. Other activities oftentimes occur in parallel – I listen to music a lot – maybe 4 or 6 hours – but always while doing something else. I do my walks outside – so I get in some sunshine. I tend to check the postal mail while eating.
The Scripture reading shouldn’t be taken as “impressive” – it functions as a calming agent for me at times (but too much and I’m bound to run into a theodicy or perfection or free will issue that will knock me back into the pit).
The problem isn’t being productive – it is the tasks that feel overwhelming. I NEED to make that phone call. I NEED to drop by that place. I NEED to send out that document.
Ironically, these tasks oftentimes are relatively insignificant as far as time commitment…but…I…just…can’t…
How does one know what one can and can’t do? How does one learn one’s limits? How does one know when you really *can’t* versus *won’t*? How does one know if you are *sick enough* to take off (school/work/life) or if you can *push through*?
My inability to quantify my ability causes guilt. I feel like MAYBE I could have done that, if I tried just a little bit harder. Why didn’t I? Why didn’t I try harder?
Because I thought perhaps it would be impossibly hard – to the point of being unhealthy for me (e.g. deprivation of sleep, emotional reservoir drain, physical injury)…but what if it wasn’t impossibly hard? What if I just used that as an excuse?
The problem for the Obsessive-Compulsive, which I am demonstrating right now (and feeling and thinking right now) is the lack of certainty. “Good enough” is not in the OCD vocabulary. There is right and there is wrong. There is good and there is bad.
This is one of the reasons why I don’t work wood. I have no external feedback that says, “This is working well enough.” I can always pick out flaws. It is the reason I’ve work with IT. The systems themselves give me feedback, “Hey, you can connect to the internet. Good job.” or “Someone just lost all their data. You are horrible.”
It is also one of the reasons why working with people is difficult for me – b/c there is not an external feedback system…and then there is the issue of the subjectivity of humans. Computers tell us if it works or not. There isn’t much in-between. But humans – they tell us what they think (and they may be happy with “good enough” which means “fail” to OCD’ers) or they attempt to be sensitive to our emotions (“It was a good sermon”).
I have to live life with uncertainty. Uncertainty about whether I have made the right or wrong decision – and the consequences if it is the wrong decision. This makes it easy to be paralyzed. But making no decision is a decision which has its own consequences.
Yesterday I think I used the CES in the morning, I did not use it in the evening (I was too tired). The day started out okay but quickly went downhill. Today started out poorly but has been moving up.
(Tempted to delete entire post and start over. Resisting temptation. Tempted to rewrite entire post. Resisting temptation. Pushing publish and not looking back. Facing the uncertainty of whether that is the right or wrong decision. Only time will tell – or never tell.)