Taking my own advice 19 October, 2017

Just a quick update to let everyone know how “The Plan” is going. I said I’d start, and I’m proud to say I actually did. I tend to procrastinate and come up with excuses, especially when it comes to postponing recovery, because I’ve said before, the illnesses are hungry, and they ache to be fed. They’re persuasive. They’re angry. But I punched them in the face today.

Today did not start well. We both woke up late, and I missed the opportunity to make breakfast for Bf before he had to go to work. I did eat a small bowl of cereal but went back to bed rather shortly after nearly calling the National Suicide Hotline while being quite the emotional mess. I cried myself to sleep, and Oskar, my 16 pound cat, fell asleep on me, and we slept through until roughly 2pm.

But then it happened.

One of the problems I often have when days start out badly is that I kind of make them continue to go badly. It’s a terrible habit, but I’m getting better at breaking it. What happens, especially when I wake up late, is I start thinking, “The day is already wasted” or “I already failed.” But I saw the time, (~14:14), and actively worked against those thoughts. I pet Oskar, who was still there, took deep breaths, and thought to myself, “It doesn’t have to end the way it started out.” I had time before Bf came home for break. I had time to clean, do laundry, do things I had wanted to do. I thought, “Okay. I’ve cried myself to sleep. I slept for hours. What now?” 

I realized I had two choices. Well, many choices, but two very clear, distinct choices right then:

  1. stay in bed
  2. get out of bed. (note the period)

Those were the immediate choices. Immediate, meaning those were two choices I could make right away. After that, it could be a free-for-all; it didn’t matter. It was one choice to make. One choice at a time.

I realized I was thinking too hard about it and before I started spiraling downward, I whispered “Wet food,” and bam. That was it. I had to get up: The cat had heard me make a promise. If I stayed in bed, he could be confused. He would miaow and paw at me and be disappointed and upset that I didn’t go downstairs and get his little dish and put some delicious food in there for him. The trust he has in me could potentially be broken, and the next time I say “wet food,” he might not believe me.

I got up. 

I went downstairs.

I put wet food in his dish.

I made those choices.

I realized I still had clothes in the dryer from about a week ago. (I’m not kidding.) Despite the pain accompanying the fibromyalgia and depression, I picked up the pile and carried it upstairs in three trips and folded the clothes.

Then I put in a new load of clothes.

Bf came home with some steamed vegetables, so I made him some toast, which of course isn’t really a meal, but it was something.

I cleaned today. I cleaned. For an hour. 

I cannot tell you how proud I am of myself. I am a different person than I was nine hours ago. It’s amazing the transformation you go through when you change your thoughts and your behaviors and your perspectives. It’s harder than that though, of course; many people don’t understand that. You literally have to think and act so hard you shift your chemicals and habits. That is not easy. In fact, it goes against human nature itself. But for those of us with mental illness, we have to do it every day, or we drown. Swimming is hard, but it’s worth it. Don’t let your illnesses ever tell you it’s not.

I will ask friends & family to have me reread this on hard days.

To quote Dory the fish, everyone, “Just keep swimming.”

 

V.

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