It has been a while since I have done a post about my mental health. I have been thinking that I should really be trying to do them more frequently. I am not sure how much readers like them (or dislike them), but I think it helps me to get the feelings out and share them.
Something I have been thinking about a lot is trying not to fight myself. The truth is in many aspects, I don’t function the way I think I should. I get stressed out and try to force myself to behave the way I think I am supposed to, but it rarely works and my failure to be what I think I should be, ends up setting up a cycle of negativity.
One such way, and a way I am trying to stop, is how I work. I have been trying very hard to get myself into a routine and “on a schedule” as many of you know. Setting goals for myself is extremely helpful in keeping myself on track. I am also one of those insane people that gets a rush from checking things off my to-do list.
My schedule is still a work in progress, but it is more how I accomplish the tasks in that schedule that I am talking about. For instance, I write certain days of the week and have a set amount I attempt to get done in that process.
So the problem comes in the fact that I would fight myself with it. I would get so mad at myself because I couldn’t just sit down and write for say three hours straight. I even purchased apps trying to help stay focused longer and would get really discouraged when it didn’t work.
But the truth is it never was going to work, at least not right now.
I’ll sit down at my computer and write for say 30-90 minutes, or complete a few tasks I need to do (depending on how long they take) and then I can’t. I have to get up, I have to leave, I have to do something else. Sometimes I just pace, yes literally, trying to add to my step count. Sometimes I’ll fold a little laundry or do some, or all, of my dishes. Sometimes I’ll go outside and check on my plants. Whatever the case may be I get away for 5-15 minutes, then I sit back down and start to work again.
Work, wander, work, wander, lather, rinse, repeat.
I hate this because to me, “it’s not normal.” I know people in my life that can set a timer for 3 hours, sit down, and just focus the whole time. They might get up for a bathroom break or something, but they are able to just sit and focus. Some days I can barely make it an hour before I have to take my break, sometimes I can go a little longer, but it’s never as long as I always felt I should.
I would get angry and frustrated because I kept feeling like I was failing. And I was, but not in the way I thought. I wasn’t failing because I couldn’t make myself focus for whatever time I set myself, but because I was fighting against myself.
Work, wander might not seem like the best way to do things, but I always manage to get my daily tasks done. And I don’t need to crunch to make it happen.
There could be several reasons for this. I was told I had adult ADD (although I really need to see a doctor and get re-diagnosed, that’s another issue) it could be that. It could just be I get bored quickly, it could actually be that there is something wrong with me, who knows.
What I do know is that in no way was I helping myself by demanding that I give up how I best do things and setting myself up for failure.
Maybe down the road, I need to focus more on being able to sit and focus on one task for a more extended period of time. Maybe it will actually happen on its own as I get more healthy. Maybe for the rest of my life, I will always be bouncing between tasks, working and wandering. For today though, for right now, fighting against it won’t help me and working with it will.
My daily goals and tasks have not lightened. My output (while I’d like it to be better) still matches what I set for myself. So why fight myself?
I think it’s something we all do in various different aspects of our life. It is not something limited to those with mental health issues, and it’s not always about how you get things done. There are different areas that we each pressure ourselves to get done a certain way when we don’t need to. We spend more time fighting ourselves then we do actually accomplishing what it is we want.
We should embrace those aspects and let ourselves work the way we need to. Work with our quirks, and encourage ourselves to understand them and use them to succeed. If we aren’t hurting others, including ourselves, and we are doing whatever it is we need to do then why worry about whether or not we are doing it “the right way” or “the normal way.”
We need to let ourselves be ourselves.