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Dealing with unavoidable exposure to triggers - cycles of facing them/ dissociation and dysregulation/ avoidance, ad nauseum...

I think one thing I'm struggling with it that I can't break down the overall goal into small steps.

I can break it down somewhat into chunks, but there's no "clear cut" individual steps.

Everything's complicated and interdependent.

I can't even set myself arbitrary small goals like "clear out the cupboard in the hallway" because each of those tasks is still too much for my dissociated/ dysregualted/ dysfuntional brain to handle.

So I'm getting stuck with these very frustrating "partial" tasks like "Clear out part of the cupboard in the hallway".

"Part of" is so frustrating and so vague - there's no sense of accomplishment and I do have to adjust "part of" to however much my brain can handle that day.

I guess by framing each day's goal as a time thing (2 hours) I'm getting a semi-tangible time-based target.

I'm finding it hard tho, to have only the time-based goal to focus on, as opposed to something more tangible.

I guess I have to accept it tho. It is what it is. I can't force more tangible small-step goals to exist, it would be nice if I could, but I can't.
I've done 1.5 hours so far today, so half an hour to go.

I'm hating it. But I think I had a realisation earlier. During childhood, when things were really bad, I was never, ever, ever, ever allowed to say that things were bad and never, ever, ever, ever allowed to say that I was miserable and never, ever, ever, ever allowed to say I hated it. If any of us kids dared comment that things were bad, all hell broke loose.

So, I'm wondering whether this could be a healing thing.... To consciously say how much I hate every minute of this task, to verbalise that I'm miserable with it, that I can't wait for it to be over, that it's almost-an-rather-be-dead-than-doing-this thing.

I mean, I'll do it. It's a survival task. If I don't do it, things will get immeasurably worse. So I'll grit my teeth and somehow get through it.

But I think I'm going to give myself permission to actually hate this survival task and to acknowledge that I'm miserable and validate that it's okay to be hating this.
But I think I'm going to give myself permission to actually hate this survival task and to acknowledge that I'm miserable and validate that it's okay to be hating this.
Ever get a reward for saying you hated it, but still doing it??? Because I’m thinking icecream.

Of course, that was my go-to, when my kids were suckin it up and doing things they didn’t want to do. “I know this bites, guys, but I’m really proud of you for digging deep, and doing it anyway. So, after we’re done today, whaddaya say? Icecream? Root beer floats? Pizza?

Big finishes were things like going to the pool, or the zoo. (Or the other way around, if we went to the pool every day after we finished, our big finish would be banana splits.)

Either way, just something to mix it up, and put a cherry on top. Something special every day at the end, and something shazaam! at the end of the project, for a victory lap.
After 3 days of struggling really badly with this to the point of slipping into avoidance again, I made some really good progress on it today.

What's helping: I have a firm deadline next week Thursday, which I can't shift and what I need to do then is ambitious, but doable. So that's gotten my adrenaline going, which is definitely helpful.

Also, I'm finding that with sorting things through and working out what to do with each item, my non-functioning brain keeps getting stuck on individual items too much - too many questions, too confusing... So I've simplified my system a bit: Everything that I know immediately where it goes - rubbish, recycling, donation, keep - goes there immediately. Everything that my brain is unsure about goes into boxes labelled "sort through later".

It's mildly annoying not to be able to sort through it all "properly" now, but it's just not working... I get stuck, I get overwhelmed, I dissociate, I go into avoidance...

This new method is like 10 or 20 times faster - which also means I'm SEEING RESULTS - which is a good motivating factor - and most items (maybe 80%) fall into the "I know where it goes category) and so having boxes of 20% of stuff that's neatly packed up and labelled "sort through later" is a huge win. It's only 1/5 of the amount, it's neatly put in boxes and I will be able to deal with it later.

So, fiiinally found a work-around that seems to be working for this stoopid, non-functional brain of mine.
@Ecdysis Thank you for this thread. I feel like I'm going through the same thing for a different reason and I haven't been able to put it in words. This helps, and the responses too. Maybe I'll attempt explaining mine today. So thank you.

How are you doing now?