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Thread: Depression, self talk, and asking for what you need

  1. #91
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    Tybee, I have been taking your questions seriously. So, dh has been home a little more and I have been talking with him a lot. “Wasting time” is when I sort of fall into default mode or inertia and do things that are not beneficial to me. It’s not so much the activity - for example, watching silly cat videos because I am tired and need a brain shift is fine. Watching silly cat videos for two hours because I don’t have the sense to turn them off is not fine. There is a point at which rest becomes lack of exercise.... sweeping is a waste of time if the floor hasn’t gotten dirty enough to bother anyone. Eating one chocolate is fine. Mindlessly eating an entire bag of chocolate is bad for me.

    not wasting time is engaging in activities that benefit me, even if only with a sense of satisfaction, pleasure, or pride.

    dh and I have been talking also about my list and the freezing. He says for him, he often just wants to not do anything, but he feels like I want to do so many things that if freeze up and feel guilty. I told him it’s more that i feel frustrated. I feel guilty about things like laundry and dishes, and food, and unfinished tasks that create problems (or even annoyances) for other people, and then I tend to expend my energy on those things and then I get too tired or overwhelmed for other things.

    The freezing up is definitely a big one. Also beginnings and transitions. We have talked a little about how he can help me. I do better during the school year in some ways because I have specific times for(and) specific tasks. He offered to make a daily schedule with me, but I think that is too inflexible.

    i am exploring the idea of having him “give” me household tasks - like “do the dishes in the sink and wash jeans” or “make dinner” or “clean bathrooms - but don’t spend more than an hour on it. Start with the shower” (Because I will get started and not feel “done” until every towel is clean and folded and the laundry basket is empty and the toiletries and medications have been purged and organized and the baseboards have been detailed with an old toothbrush. And I will run out of time. - and then I will say, and mean, “I spent all day cleaning the bathroom and you can’t even tell.”) the point being that after I finish whatever the task for the day is, or it’s allotted time, everything else is only allowed if it is really bothering or interesting ME - so I can go ahead and dust the bookshelf if it will give me a sense of satisfaction, or run the dishwasher if I need a clean milk bucket, but that type of thing is not to take priority over going for a walk or playing in my studio, or rearranging my button box if that’s what I feel like doing. And if the thing that I feel like doing results in a giant mess, it’s ok, and if it is bothering him, he will ask me to work on it tomorrow.

    he also offered to choose a hobby or activity for me if I get frozen. - “card wool” or “throw pots” or “go to the library” so that even if I don’t feel like doing that thing, I at least have a direction to start moving, and then I can change to something else if I want, but I don’t sit frozen and overwhelmed.

    having him do that isn’t about him being the boss of me or anything like that, it’s about, as he put it, me “setting rediculously high expectations and feeling like I should be judged by some unrealistic standard.” And him wanting to provide a more reasonable metric by which I can say “my day was productive and successful because I did <this>” all needs have been met, wants happened also.

  2. #92
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    Bingo - ridiculously high expectations

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    Tybee, I have been taking your questions seriously. So, dh has been home a little more and I have been talking with him a lot. “Wasting time” is when I sort of fall into default mode or inertia and do things that are not beneficial to me. It’s not so much the activity - for example, watching silly cat videos because I am tired and need a brain shift is fine. Watching silly cat videos for two hours because I don’t have the sense to turn them off is not fine. There is a point at which rest becomes lack of exercise.... sweeping is a waste of time if the floor hasn’t gotten dirty enough to bother anyone. Eating one chocolate is fine. Mindlessly eating an entire bag of chocolate is bad for me.

    not wasting time is engaging in activities that benefit me, even if only with a sense of satisfaction, pleasure, or pride.

    dh and I have been talking also about my list and the freezing. He says for him, he often just wants to not do anything, but he feels like I want to do so many things that if freeze up and feel guilty. I told him it’s more that i feel frustrated. I feel guilty about things like laundry and dishes, and food, and unfinished tasks that create problems (or even annoyances) for other people, and then I tend to expend my energy on those things and then I get too tired or overwhelmed for other things.

    The freezing up is definitely a big one. Also beginnings and transitions. We have talked a little about how he can help me. I do better during the school year in some ways because I have specific times for(and) specific tasks. He offered to make a daily schedule with me, but I think that is too inflexible.

    i am exploring the idea of having him “give” me household tasks - like “do the dishes in the sink and wash jeans” or “make dinner” or “clean bathrooms - but don’t spend more than an hour on it. Start with the shower” (Because I will get started and not feel “done” until every towel is clean and folded and the laundry basket is empty and the toiletries and medications have been purged and organized and the baseboards have been detailed with an old toothbrush. And I will run out of time. - and then I will say, and mean, “I spent all day cleaning the bathroom and you can’t even tell.”) the point being that after I finish whatever the task for the day is, or it’s allotted time, everything else is only allowed if it is really bothering or interesting ME - so I can go ahead and dust the bookshelf if it will give me a sense of satisfaction, or run the dishwasher if I need a clean milk bucket, but that type of thing is not to take priority over going for a walk or playing in my studio, or rearranging my button box if that’s what I feel like doing. And if the thing that I feel like doing results in a giant mess, it’s ok, and if it is bothering him, he will ask me to work on it tomorrow.

    he also offered to choose a hobby or activity for me if I get frozen. - “card wool” or “throw pots” or “go to the library” so that even if I don’t feel like doing that thing, I at least have a direction to start moving, and then I can change to something else if I want, but I don’t sit frozen and overwhelmed.

    having him do that isn’t about him being the boss of me or anything like that, it’s about, as he put it, me “setting rediculously high expectations and feeling like I should be judged by some unrealistic standard.” And him wanting to provide a more reasonable metric by which I can say “my day was productive and successful because I did <this>” all needs have been met, wants happened also.
    It sounds like you guys are very close--that is a wonderful strength you can call upon as move continue to figure out what is important to you and how you want to spend your time.
    Your approach to projects sounds like my husband's, who has ADHD. He also has that ADHD hyperfocus thing, which can make it seem like he does not have ADHD, but he has a diagnosis and I was skeptical at first, but I have become a real believer.

    I'm struggling with issues of using my time to further my own projects and not those of others. I just bought a Panda planner and am starting using it today. I wonder if you would find that helpful? Just filling out the first page is making me realize how many of my problems with taking action are coming from the fact that there is a lack of clear direction, usually because of conflicting priorities, family and self, etc. Sometimes your descriptions of your days make me think you might be facing a similar time in your life.

    For me, I would not/could not involve my husband that way because he already has enough issues of his own, and I don't want him to have any more responsibility for me and my mental health than he does already. I'm prepared to go back to counseling if I can't figure these things out and become happier. But I also might try a life coach (thanks, Catherine for the suggestion, I listened!) because they are more into doing the kind of thing your are looking for--being an accountability partner, coming up with good "next steps", listening non judgmentally and helping you to find the answers within yourself.

    But again, I am very admiring of people who are close to their partners and who support their partners in such a loving fashion!

  4. #94
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    I don’t know what a panda planner is, but I have tried hundreds of planners and lists and charts and cards and systems over the years, and clearly none of them has helped. I have made a slight change to how I do my lists in “notes” - instead of cutting what is left and pasting it on the next day, I have been doing “copy paste” because then I can compare the list from a week ago when I come back around and see how many things are done from last week. Also, I can look back and see that yes, my list is long, but that’s partly because of recurring things, and if I look back at yesterday, I can see that all of those recurring things got done.

    The thing i don’t understand about the whole therapist/life coach thing, is how is this disinterested stranger supposed to help me? they don’t know me. They are simply reflecting back an image of me that I am drawing for them. How can it mean anything to me if they tell me I am good at somethingfor example? How would they know? (Here has the same issues, which makes it insufficient, but more temporally convenient and basically free) They don’t really care about me - I mean, they have a professional stake in my success, but I am easily replaced by another customer. And will be if I stop paying. And I don’t care about them (why should I care what they think? I’m not keeping house or cooking food for them. They’ve known me what, at best a few hours, how can they really judge my growth or progress and why would that judgement matter to me?)

    The other night we had steamed corn and pork for dinner (I just had corn) Dh cooked the pork. So I can tell a life coach that, and (s)he can pass judgement on the nutrition or other adequacy of the meal and the reasonableness if my involvement, and it means nothing. Dh said about 4 times “dinner was delicious” and I finally said “i’m glad, but why do you keep telling me, you cooked it.” And he said “but you put the pork chops front of me and handed me all the stuff I wanted, so it was easy and I could just play around with the spices.” So my brain logs “my approach to dinner made dh happy” which is all I am going for. At that point, I get nothing else out of telling anyone else about it, and if I want to dissect it and figure out what was important about it in order to repeat the experience - the only reasonable authority on that is dh.

    it is primarily *because* he judges me that he can be helpful. My own judgement is suspect, therefor I need the judgement of someone I trust. Judgement specific to me from someone who knows and understands and cares about me. Not judgement by an objective observer of how I am doing relative to some abstract norm or standard.

    sort of like standards of physical attractiveness - every person and culture has their own. All I really want to know is, am I attractive to the one person I want to attract? Because I don’t care how good my daughter says I look in that skirt, if dh says “that does absolutely nothing for me.” It’s not an attractive skirt.

    we went swimming in the pond today. It was fun. Fun is something I have not been experiencing much lately, so that is good (not that i haven’t been doing “fun” things, just that, I haven’t actually been enjoying them on a chemical/emotional level, so why bother?)

  5. #95
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    I don't think most therapists and life coaches set themselves up to judge their clients, for the most part. I think they try to empower them to get better results in their lives or to stop thinking or acting in a way that causes them pain.

    I don't think it's any different from going to a doctor to try to figure out how have a healthier body. I don't see it as though you are buying affection or caring--the caring is a kind of neutral caring that motivates them to help others through a chosen line of work. It's like teaching--you don't judge your students to see if they are worthy of you helping them--you are motivated to help them to achieve their potential. You don't need to know every aspect of their lives or judge them as people to help them.

    I'm still in the first day with the panda planner, but so far I like it! You pick what you want to do that day. You categorize things yourself. So I decided to prioritize five things--kill the ants that had shown up and then wash the floors where they showed up, call my parents, do 10 slides for a powerpoint for a class I'm taking, write a letter withdrawing myself from consideration from a job where I had an interview, and go out to get tomato cages and ice cream.

    These were my priorities for today. How did they work out, you ask??
    Well, I killed the ants this morning and just got around to washing the floor right now. I wasn't going to do it since i got sick from being out in the sun working on the tomato patch, but after a cold bath and lying down for an hour, I felt up to it. I could have beaten myself up for being weak and not doing the floor sooner, but it was 95 degrees and the heat made me sick, so I decided I wouldn't wash the floors at all. I gave myself a pass. Then I said I feel a little better and I'd love to get it done tonight, so I did.

    I did not call my parents. My brother emailed me a long email about my parents and that caused a lot of anxiety and I rehearsed several emails back to him and then accomplished one, so that was all of my family I could take for one day.

    I did not get the first set of ppt slides. I did read the instructions and get powerpoint working again on my computer and I understand what I have to do tomorrow. But feeling sick from the heat, I gave myself a pass.

    I wrote the email for the job. It caused some mild anxiety and pain, but nothing I couldn't deal with, and I have concluded this is the wrong time in my life for that job. Now I can put it behind me.

    We did go out to get tomato cages and ice cream but we ended up pricing refrigerators, getting a slurpee, letting my husband grocery shop at his favorite store, where he got antsy from the heat and hunger so he didn't shop, just bought something to eat. We went to lowes and home depot and didn't have the stamina to go buy the tomato cages. We came home and dug up weeds and then replanted volunteer tomatoes and put the cages on. Then I felt sick from the heat and took a bath.

    The planner is helping me see patterns to what I am having trouble accomplishing because of mental conflicts. I thought of it because you sound like you are having mental conflicts. Here is the link if you are interested; I may start a thread on it because I'm liking it so far:

    https://www.amazon.com/Panda-Planner...+planner&psc=1

  6. #96
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    They are nonjudgmental and would be telling you that you are setting yourself up to fail with ridiculously high expectations. I really wonder where they come from but not healthy for anyone.

  7. #97
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    Iím wondering if you would get a psychiatric assessment, if thereís a diagnosis that medication could help with. I canít imagine writing a list like that daily.

  8. #98
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    So, I find the panda planner very seductive! It is even more complicated than my list. And it combines the list with the journal and meditations I don’t always get to. And right in the first line of the product description, it describes my situation perfectly and tells me most people are in the same situation. Then it promises to help me get my sh*t together and actually do all the things I want to do! (Tone is important, none of this is sarcasm. My initial response is really to fall in love with the thing. It looks really cool.)

    so Teacher Terry, if you’re wondering where I get the idea that I should be able to do all this stuff - the culture I live in has been telling me that I can my whole life. I am woman - hear me roar! Also, everybody else does just fine. All I need are the right tools.

    my new response is to recognize that this would be another thing I would fail at. And where I am trying to go is the place I finally got to with the hoarding issues, where I truly recognized that no amount of organizational skill and equipment was going to make 100 cubic yards of stuff fit in 50 cubic yards of space.

    And Teacher Terry, you keep telling me that about my expectations, and it hasn’t helped at all.

    tybee, I think we are using “judge” differently. I absolutely do judge my students. I watch them work, learn as much as I can about them, and give them feedback on wether or not I think they are doing what they should be doing in order to achieve what I think they are capable of and reach their goals. I give them feedback on what I “judge” to be the strengths and weaknesses of their work. And I “judge” them in that I let them know if I think their goals are unrealistic and why. And when they fail I “judge” them on why they failed, and often my judgement is less harsh than their own. And a therapist couldn’t do that for me, because my response would be like that I sometimes get from my students “Ha. You don’t know me. You don’t know what I’m capable of. I refuse to accept that work. Teach me some more skills so I can defy physics.” I need to hear that the work is beautiful. And I need to hear it from someone whose “judgement” I value. I make a difference to two kinds of students - the ones who only need skills and are able to judge their own work with reasonable accuracy, and the ones who love and trust me. I would be the second kind. And my personality is such that the nature of the therapist/patient relationship would preclude any meaningful level of love and trust. A comparable situation for me would be hiring a prostitute - you are guaranteed sex, it might even be good, but what you have isn’t a relationship.

    tammy, medication is a blunt instrument to which I am opposed. Also, I have just enough experience and training in mental health to skew the test - as in, given the range of mild psychiatric disorders possible, I can get whatever diagnosis I already think is correct, or avoid it, and which is the truth really? A large part of those assessments are subjective. (I count things, constantly, without choosing to - I know exactly how many steps there are between the school door and my classroom, i walk funny patterns on walkways because it makes me feel more comfortable to avoid the cracks, etc. - do I have OCD? Most people in my life don’t notice those things. The aren’t “disabling” My adult daughter TOLD my dh about the walking. He had never really noticed.) I have bouts of depression, but I am generally able to function just fine. I have characteristics on the Aspbergers spectrum. Apparently I have traits of ADD/ADHD... a diagnosis is only helpful in as far as it allows you to acquire coping skills and eliminate troubling symptoms. My son would have been a slam-dunk for Ritalin. We changed his environment and taught him coping behaviors instead and he “grew out of it” - as many of the kids who are actually put on Ritalin do. My philosophy tends toward “i’m ok, you’re ok, society is sick.”

    we we went to see fireworks last night. They were pretty and it was nice, but not emotionally effective (yes, I expect to “feel” something about fireworks.) however, I must be doing better- because look how much I am engaging with other people and ideas!(ok, that was a little sarcastic - this post is ridiculously long)

    today i am going to do chores, pen the goat for the 4h kid, figure out a better housing situation for my bucks, fill out a calendar for July and possibly sign up for some fun workshops, work at the food bank, and, dh list - clean the stovetop and the kitty box. The rest of the day (yes, I believe there is a huge chunk of day left) is for fooling around in the pottery studio. Dh is in charge of dinner.

  9. #99
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    I understand not wanting to take medication. Of course thatís your choice. But when you frequently ask for help and feel stressed out by your daily life, I feel the need to occasionally offer it as a solution. In my view your symptoms do impact your life negatively much of the time, based on the things that you share with us here. That factor is a big consideration in both diagnosis and treatment.

  10. #100
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    " And my personality is such that the nature of the therapist/patient relationship would preclude any meaningful level of love and trust. A comparable situation for me would be hiring a prostitute - you are guaranteed sex, it might even be good, but what you have isn’t a relationship."

    Yes, that's a problem. I get that that is your opinion, but it's too bad that you feel that way, and not how most would characterize the therapist/patient relationship, and guaranteed to make it so that you aren't going to get much help out of a therapist. That's too bad. I also think it's a put-down of the work that therapists do, which I think is incredibly valuable. But everybody is entitled to their opinion!

    I think many respond to the things you say with a desire to help and to share what works for them. You then respond with why it won't work for you. I think your rationales and put-downs of the ideas are part of your problems and a coping mechanism, but that is just my opinion, of course.

    Please know that I was only motivated by hearing your pain and trying to help, and trying to give you some tools that have worked for me. Or, in the case of the Panda planner, may work for me. I am excited about it and excited that the guy who started it had a TBI, and others who have had TBI's found it really helpful. Part of my medical history is brain injury, so I am always looking for ways to return to how I used to be and function,a nd how to work around my limitations.

    I'll bow out of trying to respond to your pain, since I don't want to argue with you about what works or what is helpful to you. As you say, only you can determine that.

    Sounds like you are setting up for a great day, especially in the pottery studio!

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