Although I’m excited about getting better and interested in the activities discussed in therapy, I still procrastinate, ignore, avoid, postpone letting go of the unhealthy ways of coping that are so comfortable to me still. I think this is why I keep finding myself on the day of an appointment frantically trying to get ready by doing all the things I had intended to start at the beginning.
One thing I completely neglected was the plan to schedule. Obvious now is if scheduling feels like work, why did I think planning would happen without effort? I have an app called Schedule Planner by Intersog that allows me to plan every time period of the day and then track what I actually spent time doing… plus categorizing the types of activities to analyze by that factor as well. I’m debating whether to get the pro version because it allows for much more customization but I need to prove to myself I’ll actually use it first. I used it one day, April 17, but found the time to plan and record was distracting… I think I need to stick with it for awhile and give it a chance to become a habit more part of my everyday.
To be fair, I needed the strategy of taking periodic alone time for myself in the past week of abnormally high responsibility and socializing. My psychologist advised me to tell people in advance that I’ll need to take short breaks – I’ll be back, I’m not going anywhere, I just need a few moments to myself as part of managing my mood. And ask their permission where appropriate. I did this with my mom, boyfriend, and friend, which they seemed to accept and that did help. I also felt more ok with walking away from a group to take my time getting water or checking my phone, then going back or sometimes taking longer to recuperate. And even though I had hoped to schedule a movie I liked but didn’t get the chance, I felt good making the plan and ok without it because I didn’t need it.
Surprisingly, I looked forward to using the gym for two days I had access to my mom’s membership. It was time alone where I could focus on myself and feel better about myself, feel like I was important enough to take up time and space, feel like I was improving and moving forward. I enjoyed returning to an old routine, even though my performance was far weaker than then, and trying a new group class called Strength & Stretch even though it seemed to me like 90% strength – 40% of which involved me watching instead of doing, pushing myself to an extent but careful not to go too far.
Also, I did write down some things to look forward to at an event I worried would be too uncomfortable, too draining, too boring. One was that there were books there to explore, which I followed through and enjoyed for brief moments. Since I’m new to social media like Instagram and Twitter, I used those to check out for a few moments – or a full bus ride – and that helped quite a lot. Rather than waiting for time to pass, waiting to get away from irritating conditions, I cocooned myself in something more productive than candy and more effective than tuning into music I didn’t quite like anymore.
One thing my therapist said that stuck with me was: I don’t have to be on all the time. I knew already that I couldn’t, but I felt embarrassed and guilty. I’m learning to accept and hopefully leverage my introversion and other qualities which have played a part in making life pretty difficult up until now. After writing about it, too, I feel better about my effort and progress, as well as how promising these strategies actually are for me. For homework #1, not too shabby I’d say 😉