I felt compelled to share this essay today. I was working a hellish, abusive environment at the time I wrote this, and I’m grateful that I’m no longer there. So many people are suffering in so many ways; if there is anything here that helps you, I am grateful.
Old coping skills remembered … (Blog, 3/14/05)
As I was working on the kitchen (not where I wanted it but certainly better, and the dishwasher is burbling merrily away), I remembered some things I hadn’t thought about in a while.
Some things that I learned when I had a complete nervous breakdown. (For those of you new to my blog or my life, it happened in 1996 and I still have some residual issues from it, including some agoraphobia).
Things I hadn’t thought about in a while … like “ even if it’s small, do something.” By this, I mean take a small action. If the whole picture of a task is overwhelming, break it into individual steps and do the first one. Most of the time, taking the first step creates enough inertia to do some more. But at least take the first step. If that’s enough for today, that’s enough for today.
Celebrate small victories. You left the house when you felt scared to do so. You went somewhere alone: someplace you wanted to go. Rather than stay at home when you couldn’t find a companion, you went. Hurray for you!
Admit that you need some help. See a counselor (doing that). Take meds if you need ’em (primarily sleep issues; meds are periodic at this point).
Be grateful for the wonderful people who love you. Be grateful for the abundance you have; believe it or not, Mom was right when she told you there were people out there worse off than yourself. Every time I’m frustrated by the state of my house, I consider that there are people with no house over which to be frustrated … and I tackle one more little chore.
If you have too much stuff, give some of it away. Jeff and I are planning another enormous donation to the library where our friend works: a little municipal library without much in the way of fancy collections but with a great deal of gratitude for every book given to them. For us, this serves the multipurpose distinction of helping the library and its constituents, but also opening up shelf space for my horse collection … which then opens up floor space in the office/computer room.
Most of all, damn it, celebrate the things you did accomplish rather than looking around and crying about all of the stuff you didn’t get done. I’m not saying you should be like Pollyanna and play the “glad game,” but sometimes looking at everything you didn’t do makes it harder to get up and do some more.
I’ve been through hell lately; I won’t pretend otherwise. Much of it was outside my locus of control; believe me, if I could “fix” Le Petit General, I would. But I can control one thing: my office doesn’t own my soul or my spirit , and I am a better person than to allow them to keep me down. I’ll fix what I can (look for another job while I continue to do my excellent work) and realize that, no matter what they think, I’m better than that.
Want your own copy of Les Pensées Dangereuses? Here are the book blurb and purchase links.
Part autobiography and part inspiration, Les Pensées Dangereuses (French for “dangerous thoughts”) is a series of essays on friendship, spirituality, education, bullying, animals, clinical depression and more. Author Sharon E. Cathcart (In The Eye of The Beholder) shares her thoughts, including an unfinished autobiography, “Unmasking My Phantoms: My Dance With Madness,” in this new book.
Amazon (click on the link to be automatically taken to the storefront for your country)