mental heI have this perpetual list of incomplete stuff to do in my head and it constantly makes me feel like a failure. It makes it hard to acknowledge achievements when it feels like a never ending list. When I’m going through bouts of depression this list gets overwhelming. Here’s an example of stuff that’s been on my list today:
- Girl Geek Talk at Tyro tomorrow
I’m feeling pretty well prepared for this, I’ve organised speakers, co partnership, catering, drinks, air conditioning, volunteers to help out on the day. This event sold out in less than 24 hours.
Stuff that I have left to do for this event; prepare introductions, email speakers a run sheet, call livelo to ensure they received the second payment from our co-partner and are still right for the order, make sure I have a clear idea of needs to happen tomorrow. I’m feeling really good about this, I haven’t phoned livelo yet and the critical part of mind is swearing in my mind about this.
Everything else on this list makes me go, “fuck, I haven’t done that yet”.
- Testers parade article due about Tyro’s robotics challenge at the end of the month. Fuck, I’ve been procrastinating about this.
- Tax return, need to call old workplace first to get group certificate
- Add someone to my house lease, get a spare key
- Call up GP to forward the mental health plan to my psychologist
- Do health fund claims (psychology and dental)
- Order a crash protectors and a travel bag for my motorbike, arrange time to get the parts put on it
- Cancel gym membership
- book push bike in for a service, back wheel is loose. Thinking about my bike, I need to pick it up from the supermarket
- Need to get a vacuum cleaner
- Finish reading user story mapping (I need to prepare a tech talk for work for it)
- go to the GP and discuss lapband, get a referral to a specialist
On top of that there are a bunch of daily goals that I don’t always meet that has the potential to make me feel like a failure:
- Brush my teeth (I have invisalign and I’m meant to brush after every meal before putting them back in, pfft)
- Practice mindfulness (Start Journals/blogs/start externalizing my mental list)
- Be disciplined in getting enough sleep
- Physio stretches
- House work
There are a list of goals that I would like to achieve but often don’t:
- save money (my lack of financial wellbeing stresses me out, I hate it that money has such a large impact on my mood)
- book physio/message therapy/osteo
- Try not to overeat/eat junk food
- Catch up on and reply to messages (facebook, twitter, linked in, email etc)
There is a list of many things I would love to do:
- Start a garden
- Go low tech (ditch my smart phone for a dumb phone)
- Play more with electronics and robotics
- Do work for allergy rader (an app idea I’ve been working on)
- Learn more
- Read more
- Join a band/practice my trombone
- practice my Japanese
- Learn how to sew
- Get a full back tattoo
- Learn how to brew beer
- Learn how to brine and smoke food
Some things that I have done today that I should be proud of:
- Had appointment with psychologist
- Bought my dad a birthday and father’s day gift and posted it (this was 3 weeks overdue)
- Did the laundry
- Cooked breakfast
- Went to the supermarket
- Cooked dinner
- Cycled to and from the train station
- Practiced mindfulness
- researched balcony gardening
- fantasized about building a self sustainable community
- Wrote this blog post
I had a pang of feeling like a failure today, facebook moments reminded me that this time last year I had done a 40km cycle all around Sydney and I was training for the spring cycle. It reminded me of how much I’ve let my exercise routine slip. I’m tearing up just thinking about it now. Good thing it only lasted 5 minutes but that feeling did come and go for a little bit afterwards.
I also noticed myself getting overwhelmed in the supermarket, there were just too many choices. I tried to be pretty quick but I swear it took me nearly 5 minutes to choose a peanut butter, comparing cost, ingredients, nutrient and source of manufacturing across 4 brands.
Sounds like you’re going through a tough time.
Firstly, I hope my brother is being helpful and sensitive to your needs at this time. I know he’s not always the best person at deciphering emotions etc.
You’ve made all these lists and honestly it sounds overwhelming to me and it’s not even my life. You’ve truly got a lot on your plate (and on your mind).
The good thing is your girl geek talk sounds like it’s all well planned and will be a success. You can probably breathe a bit easier tomorrow and bask in the glory of a job well done. Then you can tackle the rest of your lists. All you can really do is take them one at a time and try to get things done.
Some of your list items sound more pressing than others too. Focus on the things that need your attention straight away then leave the other things for when you’re not so busy.
Like tomorrow you could immediately ring up the gym and cancel the membership. It will take less than 5 minutes and might alleviate some of the stress of your financial worries a tiny bit.
I read this cool thing recently that you should try to tackle just one thing per day from your list. Doing just one thing doesn’t feel overwhelming. Perhaps after you’ve done that one thing you might find you have the time and momentum to squeeze another in, but there’s never the pressure that you have to do more than one.
Anyway Sam, be good to yourself. You do sound very mindful and self-aware which is fantastic, it will help you a lot.