Struggling with basic daily activities

lovak

Confident
@lovak Is it relatable? Absolutely, as you can see from this thread. What you are describing is spot on to an experience I have been going through as well- unable to care for myself. I was usually able to pull it together so to speak for work, just keep it together for those hours, and just be completely wiped out when I was done with work-mode, and not have energy to give to my partner, home life, my self, etc.
It's gotten to the point where I can't go to work.

I think self compassion is vital in situations like these. We are doing the best we can.
This is very true.
Also coming back to the 'life or death'.
If I see something as vital, I do it. When taking care of others, or fullfilling my responsibilities TO others.
But also, when I get out of the house, I pull myself together. I have this thing about not wanting to be seen. When I'm borderline psychotic that's the thing that haunts me. Being seen. And if people see me, they'll hurt me. Or see my vulnerability.
It has also served me, people that don't feel safe (pretty much everyone) don't see me when vulnerable. I become this adeqate, well-groomed, well-spoken, assertive version of myself. That says 'I'm fine. And not to be messed with'.
Because how people see me does feel like life and death. And I don't mean looks or status, I just don't want people to see me as an easy victim, because throughout my childhood too many people have, and acted on it.
I didn't always realize this though, but 'acting normal' and 'performing as a normal human' were my survival strategies. Asking for help remains to be a problem, because I'm basically showcasing my vulnerability.
 

Rani G2

MyPTSD Pro
Why does it feel so impossible to care for myself?
@lovak.. it was impossible for many years.. I’ve lived in a room (I was sleeping in the kitchen with a bed ) for a very long time (Years) , with my stepfather and mother (Both highly depressed) at one point, I didn’t brush my teeth or comb my hair, and my hair was cut short because I was unable to comb my hair. It took me years to be able to conduct my everyday life, 13 years ago I was admitted to a psychiatric ward and had to truly learn how to find structure in everyday life. I was thrown into a world, where I was asked to function, when the beginnings were about living under a violent father, sexual abuse, living in different hostels, and being sent to different places and cities as a child. I don’t remember much about my childhood, but I know that I was also held captive as a child.. so after all of this, it took me many years to find what you’d call stability.
 

lovak

Confident
Have you heard of the spoon theory? I think it might help you.
Yes I have! My therapists keep insisting that I cán increase the amount of spoons by getting into a routine. So its not:
1 getting dressed
2 brushing hair
3 brushing teeth
4 washing face

Instead, it would be:
1. Get ready

Doesn't seem to work that way though. Its a vicious cycle. I have been increasingly accepting where I am. Accepting that I don't have a hundred spoons. Half a year later, maybe I don't have fifty spoons... and so on.
I have cancelled birthdays and burials. I lowered my expextations of myself to almost zero. I applied for healthcare housecleaning (and got it). I don't want to accept that the amount of spoons that I have is too low to live a somewhat decent life. I'm not even aiming for normal. I'm not aiming for productive, or being part of my society. I just want to function a tiny little bit... just the basics.

But maybe I really don't have many spoons left. How do you care for yourself when even if none of your spoons go to something unexpected, or someone else, or something extra? What if basic hygiëne and eating isn't even covered by your spooncollection? How are you going to set the table, sort of speak?

I think I hit the mark of what I cannot (yet) accept here.
 

Friday

Moderator
My therapists keep insisting that I cán increase the amount of spoons by getting into a routine. So its not:
1 getting dressed
2 brushing hair
3 brushing teeth
4 washing face

Instead, it would be:
1. Get ready
^^^ I do that with the game “Just one thing.”

Every day? I just do one thing beyond what I already do without having to think about it.

Eventually? That one thing gets added to the things I don’t think about, so I add just one thing.

That doesn’t mean I don’t do anything else during the day. Although it may. But the only thing I actually set out to do? Just the one. Anything else is bonus/extra.

***

I was sick a few years ago and it took me 3 days to “take a shower” (what in my head is under the category of “take a shower”). When doing well? That’s a 30-45 minute thing. Happens all in a single go / is part and parcel. But when I was sick?

- Day 1 wash my hair.
- Day 2 dry my hair
- Day 3 get dressed

- Day 4 wash my hair
- Day 5 dry my hair
- Day 6 get dressed

Each day my “just one thing” was what’s written above.

It took me weeks/months to start merging those steps together.

And even longer before “take a shower” included things like shave my legs, and other adventures.

^^^
I like using this as an example because most of my “just 1 thing” games with PTSD are actually combos. When I was sick I had to break things down into even smaaaaaaaaller pieces. (But even so? I could get undressed and turn the water on without having to think about it). So if when you need to pee you pull your pants down, and sit, and pee, and wipe, and pull your pants back up? You’ve got one combo down that’s just “take a pee”. Try just adding one more thing.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
It’s very bizarre. Actually it isn’t. It’s just shitty. If going outside is life and death (going to school was), from my bed to outside the door, 15 minutes, coffee in hand inclusive.

Otherwise… one sock… get distracted by a seagull… where is my phone? forget about the sock. Something should be in the backpack. Something. No, not the banana. Ah damn, the sock. Wait, that think X told me a decade ago actually was pretty shitty (music and bits of film in head—blam, blasting vision of violent flashback), ok, where is the sock ffs??? how come it’s almost identical but not exactly identical? what is this black magic??? Brushing teeth. Here it is. The Brush. The Toothpaste. The Teeth. I want to. Oh no. Turn the water on. Take off the socks. Blank. 30 minutes later, the water’s still on. And so and on. I never crashed in so complete stupefaction I couldn’t do it for too long for it to become truly critical (except bills), but everything was slowed down soooooo much. And sometimes all the day sleeping. But trying to have at least something on the way of being done. Except feeding the cat.

Brushing the teeth is still the most challenging. It’s strange. Perhaps because there is anxiety about tooth decay, while washing yourself is washing yourself.

For work the only way I found was to place my rare windows of action (5 minutes) to make a list and crash. Then do something about one of the beginnings. And then try to imagine what can at least please me. Then trying to do something about the list. Painful. Telling myself 5 more minutes every time to hold on until task finished.

I can’t really anticipate how long a spoon will take and this makes me crazy. I can’t really schedule when it comes to my own things. But what has worked for me was the association of 5 more minutes / this is on the way of being done

With my parents once I found a chicken bone and bubble gum in my hair… no idea how it got there, my mother was completely enraged about it and hit me with the brush. Also sleeping in a corridor at that time.
 

brat17

MyPTSD Pro
My lack of motivation is tied to my fatigue. Just hard to get going, and I sleep so much. While I dont feel sad most of the time, I have thought that I have to have some low grade chronic depression to be the way I am. This morning I had to be at hospital at 7:45 for a stress test. Grudgingly I did make it there. I have emphysema from smoking. They wanted me to get my heart rate up to 133. I only got it to 103 before they made me stop and I couldn't go any further and my pulse ox dropped from 98 to 88 and in 3 minutes. So the test was inconclusive.

I guess I am just going to have to accept that I am never going to get any better and will eventually need oxygen. I still dont know if something is wrong with my heart as well. I wanted to share this because clearly sometimes there is something physical going on and its more than our mental state. Just sick of dragging my butt and feeling unwell. Wanting to do but tasks seem overwhelming.
 

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
Yes I have! My therapists keep insisting that I cán increase the amount of spoons by getting into a routine. So its not:
1 getting dressed
2 brushing hair
3 brushing teeth
4 washing face

Instead, it would be:
1. Get ready

I seriously laughed out loud at this one! The spoon theory simply describes what is. Scientifically speaking, a spoon is a unit of energy. You only have so many units of energy a day. If steps 1-4 require 10 units of energy, they will still require 10 units of energy if you label them differently. You can’t increase your spoons through word games! But, yes, the routine part can indeed help you increase your spoons (but again, it’s not due to just renaming your activities and lumping them all together!)

I learned about the spoon theory back when it was something just shared on blogs. Now the therapeutic world has taken it and twisted it and expanded it beyond its original meaning. I say just stick with the original story.

In terms of increasing your spoons.... I think we all know that the number of spoons we have varies from day to day. The keys for me are learning what takes energy and how much it takes, coupled with knowing when to call it a day and retreat so I can re-energize and rest.

You can definitely borrow spoons from the next day, but of course you will pay and may need to rest for days just to get back to your baseline.

I am also in a pattern of pushing myself to do more, beyond what may be comfortable, but then resting the next day or so. Pushing yourself forward may not have to involve a lot, it just needs to be just slightly beyond what you’re comfortable with (or more).

Once you know what you can accomplish regularly (every day, every other day, once a week, etc), it helps to get into a routine. Parts of my home look horrible, but I still have a routine for the basics like doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, taking care of the cat, etc. I’m pushing myself to clean up other areas of my home, and then develop a routine for keeping them clean.

My spoon number increased due to a number of things. One was receiving professional help. Another is medication. I know I could get even more spoons if I cleaned up my diet and got on a better sleep schedule!
 

brat17

MyPTSD Pro
My daughter, when a teen, had a list like this for morning getting ready. She did it on her own because she knew she was always late. She would be late because when she brushed her hair, she would start cleaning out the hairbrush, then x, then y, then z. Never getting to the face washing. She was so distractible so it did help her.
 

lovak

Confident
@Friday Haha your 'peecombo' made me laugh, because that's one I haven't gotten down yet, silly as it sounds. I often sit on the toilet waiting for my bladder to receive the 'go sign'.
The combo I do have is make coffee, grab a smoke, go outside, drink coffee and smoke.
But you're right, it's the one thing-thing. I've been trying that lately. Also, certain rules, like with showering. I only wash my hair once or twice a week, and when it comes to shaving.. I'm blond, and don't really care that much ;) So a shower only needs to last a minute: Wash the smelly bits, rinse, dry. Now, my rule is that I can skip showering for one day, but not two, because I start to feel bad about myself then.

@ruborcoraxxx Yeah, it's really shitty. I haven't gotten in too much trouble either, luckily. I've been doing some parts work and it seems like I have a very efficient manager when it comes to taking care of others, and a very efficient manager when it comes to appearing completely normal. The manager that takes care of me, doesn't seem quite fit for the job.

@brat17 I'm so sorry you're going through this. I've had medical checkups and they're fine. All physical issues I have seem to be somatisation/conversion.

@EveHarrington It's good to hear that it CAN be accomplished to increase your spoons slightly, or to just overall manage them better. I think I borrow to many spoons from the future on the average, which is when I crash. I do have professional help, I also have medication. I do hope that more trauma treatment will help. Combining the spoon theory with the cup theory.. I can empty more spoons in the cup when the cup is less full on a daily basis. I've had pretty much all standard treatments when it comes to trauma, but hopefully I'm starting with a new therapist soon that integrates spiritual/energetic therapies with evidence based therapy.

@brat17 This does work a bit for me. I use a bullet journal en spread out the activities that I have to do. It's hard to keep that schedule though, when trauma comes in the mix and wipes me out for two days in a row. I need to be strict and flexible at the same time.

I think I'm going to write down all the things I would like to do when it comes to self care, prioritize them, and then start with one goal. If I complete that goal, I can add another goal.

But I'm already in discussion in my head, because I could make brushing my teeth a goal, but I would still have to eat and shower and cook and stuff. So actually, theyre all still my goals.
Sometimes I think I should put yoga or prana above all else. Something that calmes me down.
 
Top