How do I keep functional?

SeekingAfrica

MyPTSD Pro
My health has been slipping a bit lately. Possibly due to the huge stress of different combined problems this year keeps bringing. I was holding both my anxiety and depression at functional level. But lately I'm not sure that's true.

I mean, I work from home and my main client has been away and not answering for few weeks. When I'm out I keep at normal level. But more and more I find myself waking late no matter when I go to bed. Skipping alarms. Eating too much. And yes, I do groceries, go out of the house, do laundry etc. Still. But I find myself laying on the couch with my laptop more and more. I also do any work I have directly, but considering my client's absence I should be looking for more work and I just can't bring myself to it, prolonging the problem. Sometimes I catch myself wondering if it wouldn't be easier to just not deal with myself, to sort of slip away. From everything. I wouldn't. But the thought comes to me still.

I need to make a change. A lot of changes. Yet the amount of time daily I'm actually functional and proactive seems shorter and shorter.
I find myself retreating to the couch, a lot. Finding willpower seems harder on some days. I think if someone knew how I spend my days they'd be worried, but I still can't stop myself. Everything seems to require more energy than it should.
And the free center closed due to the pandemic and I can't afford therapy. I need to pull through this.
I am thankful to be on meds, things would look way darker if I wasn't, I know that.
But I am really struggling and I don't know how to push myself to do what I need to do to change the situation.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
I don't think willpower ever played a part in my recovery. Self-discipline and wanting to feel and think better was my motivation. Of course, it was hard. But so is being,or starting to be stagnant or stuck.

Because of things that happened last year, that is how I am managing today, this year. I MAKE myself do things. I'm retired so I don't have to work, but thinking of all the times I was so depressed when I did work, and MAKING myself do what I had to do

Our recovery is about choices. Whether it feels like it or not, when we start down that slippery slope we have to do the opposite. It's hard work. But so is being stressed because we are sliding and not doing anything about it.

I call it 'picking my pain'. The pain of doing something I don't want to do or the pain of letting things remain the same. Self-discipline works for me.
 

Friday

Moderator
and I just can't bring myself to it, prolonging the problem.
One of the things I’ve found with myself, is as ‘illogical’ as it is? I need to take that cue and run with it (doing fun stuff to blow off stress) if I actually want to have the energy to face & deal with the problem, rather than prolonging it.

Yes. It makes faaaaaaaaar more sense to increase my income to lower my stress AND have more money for fun things. But I can waste terrifying amounts of time trying to do things the “right” way, with no result or positive change; when doing things just a bit wacky nets almost immediate results.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
@SeekingAfrica I think Ladee and Friday make good suggestions. As a general rule, I make a list for the week of things I need to do-and it's a manageable list....I keep the list on my phone (that way I never really forget what it was I was planning). I make my daily plans in the Notes App......down to take morning meds (they are critical), and I use the checklist function in the app. I check each thing as I go so I visually see progress and that alone, is motivating....progress. At the end of the day, I always review the checklist, and if I've done 80% of what I set out to do, I feel good about my day. If I get all the tasks done, I feel great.....and when they are done.....I'm done with "have tos" and then I do something fun for the rest of the evening. Tasks I don't get done get put first on the next days list.

I also work from home, and I own my own business. I include checklisting the business tasks for the day, and put them in an order where all more challenging or boring tasks are not lined up together. To my checklist, I add in the "house tasks (e,g, laundry)" and "self care tasks (e.g. shower)" as well. But like @Friday suggested, you need a reward for accomplishing what you set out to do......and I save those for the evening, or a later afternoon. Now my rewards are highly varied and can be having someone to dinner, a walk in the park, a kayak ride up the creek for an hour, stamp collecting, working on a puzzle, polishing my toes, rearranging a room I've let go, a hot bubble bath, making clay figurines, some kind of art, music, a fire out back with marshmallows, crabbing or fishing, or a movie. It's whatever feels good in the moment. If it's food (I have to be careful using food as a reward, it is a healthy favorite portioned meal that is one serving). But you may find at first you need a 30 min or so "am reward" for getting things done by noon that you set out, and a "pm reward".......it's really all about not giving into the blues, self-monitoring, and self-reward for me.

I also hate mundane tasks like cleaning, laundry, and cleaning the cat pans.......but I like the payoffs of things looking/feeling organized, having clean clothes to wear, and not having to clean up poop because the cats don't have any more room in the pan to do their business because I was a pan cleaning slacker. So figure out what you need to do for a week, make a list of self-rewards, and get out paper or your phone and for the next week, plan out your days with work, self care, business, eating, health needs, bills, etc. and check them off as you go. I personally wait till the night before or even that morning, to add in the lafternoon/evening rewards because what I want to do for fun or down time may change with the weather. I review my list the night before, and get to bed by 12pm, and set my alarm for 7:30. Getting out of bed is just one of those things you have to decide you will do to make your life manageable. Make the bed....and leave it alone until evening when you are done your day. I get out of bed by 8 (and I also moved my bed so the sun shines right in my face through the window and wakes me). Consider having a designated work space......not the couch or bedroom. Maybe the couch is a place you can go to self-reward. I have to work in another room in an office chair......my self-made rule is bed isn't open till 8pm when I'm done my list of things. Deciding to work in a "more business-like location" in the house was extremely helpful, too. Good luck!
 

SeekingAfrica

MyPTSD Pro
I don't think willpower ever played a part in my recovery.
Good point! I struggle with that a lot. There are times when I'm very disciplined (checking days off and very detailed routine is part of what saved me when I was suicidal) and times when I just can't get myself to do anything. But this is a good reminder not to wait to feel better/be less depressed, thank you!
The pain of doing something I don't want to do or the pain of letting things remain the same
Also good point. I think I gave into feeling hopeless and just doing things to forget how bad things are. Until I started feeling like I'm an awful human being with no impact whatsoever. I hope I manage to flip things now.
But I can waste terrifying amounts of time trying to do things the “right” way, with no result or positive change; when doing things just a bit wacky nets almost immediate results.
That is true for me as well, which can end up great and productive, or a really horrible spiral. But the idea of putting small rewards for stuff I do seems nice. I also tend to be from the people that feel excited about planning and organization. However when things are bad my usual systems stop working- so maybe it's time to change the system for a bit.
At the end of the day, I always review the checklist, and if I've done 80% of what I set out to do, I feel good about my day.
That is a good idea.
I include checklisting the business tasks for the day, and put them in an order where all more challenging or boring tasks are not lined up together. To my checklist, I add in the "house tasks (e,g, laundry)" and "self care tasks (e.g. shower)" as well.
That too, as in times like now the small self-care and cleaning tasks start to feel harder to do- so checking them off is good idea.
.it's really all about not giving into the blues, self-monitoring, and self-reward for me.
Yup. I think I feel into the blues big time for like a month. Everything had been hard all the time ever since December and I think I just let go and gave into it. Which is fine when it's for a day- but it's been a month and it's only making it worse. Hope I manage to set a system that works for myself.
So figure out what you need to do for a week, make a list of self-rewards, and get out paper or your phone and for the next week, plan out your days with work, self care, business, eating, health needs, bills, etc. and check them off as you go.
Good point. I usually have a pretty great bullet journal system, it keeps me together....but for like a month it hasn't been working so I need to change something to feel excited about planning again. Either get back to a straight up empty planner(have 1 without dates, that I use from time to time) or use one of the good digital apps(maybe Todoist, or Notion or something) to keep track of things and get the chaos in my head organised again.

Thank you everyone for the good practical advice! When you're depressed your head gets so foggy and chaotic and I needed to hear all this! I hope I manage to turn it into positive change somehow!
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
@SeekingAfrica I think Ladee and Friday make good suggestions. As a general rule, I make a list for the week of things I need to do-and it's a manageable list....I keep the list on my phone (that way I never really forget what it was I was planning). I make my daily plans in the Notes App......down to take morning meds (they are critical), and I use the checklist function in the app. I check each thing as I go so I visually see progress and that alone, is motivating....progress. At the end of the day, I always review the checklist, and if I've done 80% of what I set out to do, I feel good about my day. If I get all the tasks done, I feel great.....and when they are done.....I'm done with "have tos" and then I do something fun for the rest of the evening. Tasks I don't get done get put first on the next days list.

I also work from home, and I own my own business. I include checklisting the business tasks for the day, and put them in an order where all more challenging or boring tasks are not lined up together. To my checklist, I add in the "house tasks (e,g, laundry)" and "self care tasks (e.g. shower)" as well. But like @Friday suggested, you need a reward for accomplishing what you set out to do......and I save those for the evening, or a later afternoon. Now my rewards are highly varied and can be having someone to dinner, a walk in the park, a kayak ride up the creek for an hour, stamp collecting, working on a puzzle, polishing my toes, rearranging a room I've let go, a hot bubble bath, making clay figurines, some kind of art, music, a fire out back with marshmallows, crabbing or fishing, or a movie. It's whatever feels good in the moment. If it's food (I have to be careful using food as a reward, it is a healthy favorite portioned meal that is one serving). But you may find at first you need a 30 min or so "am reward" for getting things done by noon that you set out, and a "pm reward".......it's really all about not giving into the blues, self-monitoring, and self-reward for me.

I also hate mundane tasks like cleaning, laundry, and cleaning the cat pans.......but I like the payoffs of things looking/feeling organized, having clean clothes to wear, and not having to clean up poop because the cats don't have any more room in the pan to do their business because I was a pan cleaning slacker. So figure out what you need to do for a week, make a list of self-rewards, and get out paper or your phone and for the next week, plan out your days with work, self care, business, eating, health needs, bills, etc. and check them off as you go. I personally wait till the night before or even that morning, to add in the lafternoon/evening rewards because what I want to do for fun or down time may change with the weather. I review my list the night before, and get to bed by 12pm, and set my alarm for 7:30. Getting out of bed is just one of those things you have to decide you will do to make your life manageable. Make the bed....and leave it alone until evening when you are done your day. I get out of bed by 8 (and I also moved my bed so the sun shines right in my face through the window and wakes me). Consider having a designated work space......not the couch or bedroom. Maybe the couch is a place you can go to self-reward. I have to work in another room in an office chair......my self-made rule is bed isn't open till 8pm when I'm done my list of things. Deciding to work in a "more business-like location" in the house was extremely helpful, too. Good luck!
This is great, right where the rubber meets the road. Making deals with myself and giving myself rewards. Whose in charge here? : ). I’m a good boy I tell ya, and I have my checklist here I can prove it. Thanks, I laughed out loud.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
Good point! I struggle with that a lot. There are times when I'm very disciplined (checking days off and very detailed routine is part of what saved me when I was suicidal) and times when I just can't get myself to do anything. But this is a good reminder not to wait to feel better/be less depressed, thank you!

Also good point. I think I gave into feeling hopeless and just doing things to forget how bad things are. Until I started feeling like I'm an awful human being with no impact whatsoever. I hope I manage to flip things now.

That is true for me as well, which can end up great and productive, or a really horrible spiral. But the idea of putting small rewards for stuff I do seems nice. I also tend to be from the people that feel excited about planning and organization. However when things are bad my usual systems stop working- so maybe it's time to change the system for a bit.

That is a good idea.

That too, as in times like now the small self-care and cleaning tasks start to feel harder to do- so checking them off is good idea.

Yup. I think I feel into the blues big time for like a month. Everything had been hard all the time ever since December and I think I just let go and gave into it. Which is fine when it's for a day- but it's been a month and it's only making it worse. Hope I manage to set a system that works for myself.

Good point. I usually have a pretty great bullet journal system, it keeps me together....but for like a month it hasn't been working so I need to change something to feel excited about planning again. Either get back to a straight up empty planner(have 1 without dates, that I use from time to time) or use one of the good digital apps(maybe Todoist, or Notion or something) to keep track of things and get the chaos in my head organised again.

Thank you everyone for the good practical advice! When you're depressed your head gets so foggy and chaotic and I needed to hear all this! I hope I manage to turn it into positive change somehow!
Sounds like you are on your way to getting organized...good luck.
 
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