Making A List
I saved my life today by doing the dishes. Then I did the laundry and got groceries and paid bills. You might consider all of these things to be normal daily activities that should be typical activities for anyone; but in my case, these are my alternative to spending 72 hours at the local laughing academy.
You see I deal with a variety mental health issues that cause debilitating anxiety, depression and panic attacks. These things can be brought on by seemingly benign events. But can and has caused serious disturbances in my life. It hasn’t always been easy getting access to professional services in my area so I’ve had to come up with some strategies that help me keep my head above water.
I know I’m not the only sober alcoholic out there that deals with these types of issues, so I thought it might be helpful to share some of the most beneficial strategies I’ve used.
When I first got sober, I utilized the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous as my base. As is a typical challenge in the rooms, I struggled with the 3rd step; “We turned our will and our lives over to the care of god as we understood him.” Although this step can bring up a plethora of challenges, I want to stay focused on how it benefited me.
I recognized that I needed help with my life, but was unwilling to fully turn it over to what could be constituted as religious deity. So I came up with a daily practice that kept the heart of the 3rd step but didn’t focus on the difficulties I had surrounding it.
Journaling was already part of my daily practice; I simply added a daily element to it. I decided that after journaling I would write down all the things that I wanted to get done that day, than I would ask the universe for direction and assistance. I would let the universe decide what of the list got done, and I would go about my day in the knowledge that I had something to keep me focused if my panic attack or anxieties got the better of me.
Over the years the list has been my touch stone to keep me grounded when the anxiety sets in. I can look at the list and decide which one of the tasks I feel like I’m able to take on. Sometimes it’s just cleaning the kitty litter or sweeping the floor but there’s usually at least one thing I can check off.
The sense of accomplishment of checking off a task compounds daily. It makes me feel like I have a life, like I’m ‘getting it together’ and some days it keeps me from falling into the depths of depression. I have had moments in my life, where suicide has been a real consideration so anything that keeps me from falling into depression saves my life.
Today I have been in enormous fear about what’s next for me in my life; so I looked at my list. Laundry was at the top, so it got started. Another was getting a second Blog written for The Fix…looks like I got that one done too.
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