In a post the other day I mentioned how for some people taking a shower can be a major achievement. Add shaving their face and it becomes a cause for celebration. When you’re caught in loops inside your own brain, actually moving is a cause for a full on parade. It can be difficult to untangle yourself from your own thoughts.
Today I begin that very task. Untangling me from the thoughts inside my own head. Like all tasks it can be daunting before you start, but if you break it down into pieces it is easier to digest. I remember a long time ago now when I used to work for a distant education company and students would call for help. I used to ask them how they would eat an elephant. The answer, of course, is one bite at a time.
It’s how you handle any goal. Whether it’s writing a novel, learning how to fly a plane or simply cleaning your room. When you begin you have a world of confusion but if you break it down and take it step by step you will eventually achieve what you’re looking for.
My biggest problem is I see the end result but freak out when it comes to taking the steps. I invariably fall into a mess when I try to decide what is the first step. Which piece do I move first. Lately I’ve been blogging daily. I get my coffee, bring the computer outside and sit and let the words flow. I rarely if ever have a topic in mind when I start. What you get is usually a stream of consciousness.
Sometimes the blogs work, other times they don’t. It’s okay when they don’t although I prefer it when they do. I rarely edit beyond checking spelling, doing my best to make the grammar correct, and making sure I’ve not left out words as I’ve typed. Blogging is something I do for pleasure. It helps to keep me grounded. It gives me a relief from the circling thoughts and confusion. When I’m writing nothing else matters.
It’s when I do things that don’t require the use of my brain that I get into trouble. Cleaning, doing laundry. Tasks that require action but leave the brain free to wander about on its own. I prefer, if at all possible, not to do those tasks. I like to keep my brain busy. But you can’t do that all the time.
Yesterday I wrote about my personal challenge for 2017. Going a full 365 days without alcohol. I wrote that it would be a challenge; that it’s one that scares the life out of me. It scares me because it leaves my brain without it’s usual distraction. That said, I had a few wines yesterday and all they did was confuse me. I watched TV, I played on social media and I drank. It’s not healthy.
To the drinking I say we need to split up and find new friends. It’s not you, it’s me. I can’t keep putting you before everything else. I have an addictive personality. If I open a bag of chips, I eat them all. If I open a bottle of wine, I drink it all. If I smoke a cigarette, I smoke them all. There’s no middle ground for me. It’s all or nothing. The sad part is it’s never anything good for me. Only ever the things that reinforce the feeling I’m failing at everything I truly want.
So this afternoon I’m going to smoke my last cigarette and not buy any more of them. I’m going to clean my room of the collection of rubbish and ‘things’ that have accumulated in the past few months. I’m going to put clean sheets on my bed and have a shower, and shave this mug of mine. I’m going to make sure that by New Years Eve I’m not smoking, not drinking, and not living in a pit that would make a pig move out.
Little steps. One bite at a time. It’s all I’ve got to lean on right now. I think, for the most part, being unemployed has left me feeling completely alone, even though I know I am not. And it’s that overwhelming sense of isolation and loneliness that has forced me to face the depression again. I don’t particularly want to. I was very happy ignoring it and going about life as a corporate robot. Commute, work, commute, sleep, repeat daily until you die of old age.
This period is forcing me to look into the shattered kingdom of glass and sharp pointy things that makes up my brain. I’d rather it didn’t but avoidance is no way to live. And it’s how I’ve gotten through the last decade. I avoid things in order to ignore them. Rather than face the beasties, I ignore them and let them run rampant through my mind.
The picture chosen for today’s featured image is not of my own home, it’s one I found on Google, but it represents my brain quite well. It’s all cluttered and filled with stuff. Distractions and hidden dangers.
I have no idea what I’m going to do with myself or how I’m going to fix it but after a decade of simply ignoring it I know that’s not going to do anything.
So I start with what I can control. My living quarters. Today I’m going to clean, both my room and myself, and tomorrow I’ll worry about when it arrives. Looking at the big picture causes an instant reaction of “too big, can’t do it, clowns going to eat me”, in me. But I can manage to clean off a bookshelf so to speak.
I’ve read in AA they advise participants to take it one day at a time. And that’s how I’m going to make 2017 the year I turn this train wreck around. One day at a time, one step, one bite of the elephant. It may not work but honestly what have I got to lose.