I Made It Through

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Since October 24, 2014, I’ve been using a couple of Moleskine notebooks to track my daily activities, my vitals, and my master to-do list. I noticed that in 2015 and 2016 I just stopped recording my daily activities from early February to sometime in April. I’ve been chalking that up to a seasonal downswing that I go through each year at that time.

This year, however, I didn’t have that gap in my recording. In fact, it was during this period this year that I recorded my longest ever streak of days where I recorded full marks on my checklist.

I think my ability to stick to the checklist this year was partly fueled by the desire to see how long that streak would last. There have been some days since I broke that long streak that I’ve not completed my checklist, but they’ve been few. For the most part, I’m back in the saddle and currently on a new streak (albeit not a long one yet).

I’m kinda proud of my ability to fight off the seasonal dip in my mood and activity. That shows I am capable of at least doing the bare minimum of what I should be doing on a daily basis, and it’s time to stretch for some new goals. I don’t know what they’ll be just yet, but I hope to be able to tell you what they are soon. As for now, I’m just going to keep on keeping on.

Difficult Deeds Done

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We continued last session’s line of discussion in therapy today.

Today was difficult to get through. It meant acknowledging some tough truths about my life and beginning the process of coming to grips with them, but I think some good will come out of today’s session. We’re looking forward to long-term goals at this point and that’s a good thing to be doing. There will be baby steps along the way, but today for the first time I felt that I might could handle getting back out and associating with people on a more regular basis – either as a volunteer somewhere or perhaps even a low-stress part-time job. (I’d volunteer first, at least until I understood everything that goes into working while on Social Security disability. I don’t believe that I’m ready to return to work full-time yet and I don’t want to endanger my benefits while I test the waters, something the SSA allows you to do on a limited basis.)

We also talked about my emotional detachment while discussing this, and it’s apparently a normal thing to disassociate one’s self from one’s trauma. People handle trauma differently and it’s not uncommon for people to respond how I have, with emotional indifference, like I’m telling someone else’s story and not mine. I had long questioned how it could affect me as much as it has while I can tell the story of what happened almost clinically, and now I know it’s nothing to fret over.

In addition, over the past few weeks I came to acknowledge my inability to fulfill a pledge that I made some time ago, and today I asked to be released from it. It took me a long time to work up the courage to write that letter, and I hope that it doesn’t turn out to be a negative experience down the road.

Today is show day so I’m about to immerse myself into my radio persona and forget my problems for about three hours or so. This will actually be a good thing for me, I believe.

Every Day Is A Blank Page

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What have you done with your day?

If you’re like me, you slept off and on until nearly noon, finally got up, tuned Pandora to the Skrillex station, got some housework done, then sat down to track the final moments of the Iceland-England Euro2016 match. (Iceland won, 2-1, in what is being considered a stunning upset. Next up is France, the host country, in the quarters. For various reasons, I claim allegiance to Iceland in the Euros. I am a happy camper.)

It’s very likely that you’ve accomplished more with your day, and almost certainly been more productive for bigger things than what I usually do with my day. The measure of a great day for me is usually something along the lines of “didn’t let anything trigger a panic attack or cause me to go into my head.” Yours is more likely to be “closed the deal I’ve been working on for months” or “finished that project that I’ve had on my desk since January” or even “made it through that meeting without causing bloodshed.”

And today, at least for today, that’s okay.

Usually I’m constantly comparing my life to everyone else’s because I have an inflated view of what I’m actually capable of. A psychologist appointed by the federal government agreed with my usual caretakers that I’m incapable of handling the day-to-day stresses of a job right now. Will that change in the future? That remains to be seen, but that’s the end goal – getting back to work and resembling something more along the lines of what would be regarded as a normal life.

But for today, for some reason, I’m perfectly okay with my somewhat diminished list of accomplishments. I’ve read a section in the self-help book I’m currently working on, I’ve done my brain games (all three excellent scores today, incidentally) and done twice the amount of Spanish that Duolingo requires for a day’s worth of learning, and I’m writing this blog post. Today, for whatever reason, that’s okay.

Today, at least for today, I see that every day is a blank page.

Some people have an amazing kit full of artist’s tools and a vast amount of talent with which to fill their page every day. Others might not have such an impressive kit or as much talent, and so their page may not be as worthy of hanging on the wall to show others. Some of us are kind of lucky that we’ve still got most of a set of broken crayons left and the ability to doodle. And that’s okay.

The point is that each of us have the same blank page when we wake up, and the same opportunity to fill that page with whatever we can. Should we be comparing our daily works with one another? It happens, but it’s not really fair for me to put myself up against someone with a better kit and more talent and lament that my work isn’t as good as theirs. It’s an unrealistic expectation and it’s one that I have most of the time.

Today, though, I’m a realist. I know that my day won’t be as productive or as exciting as yours will be. And that’s okay. I’m doing the best I can with what I have. It’s not really that much to compare with, but it’s mine.

And today, for whatever reason, that’s perfectly okay.

Today, I’m okay. And if that’s the best I got, well … that’s okay too.

May 6, 2015: Three Good Things

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1. I made an initial appointment with both a new therapist and a new primary care physician.

2. My birthday is May 14th. To celebrate, starting on May 4th, my wife and I started watching each movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one a night, in order of release, building up to going to see Avengers: Age of Ultron on my birthday. Tonight was Iron Man 2, and I had forgotten how much fun that movie was. It was also the first time I had watched both Iron Man and Iron Man 2 in close proximity to one another, and I could much more easily compare the performances of Terrence Howard and Don Cheadle as Rhodey. Me personally, I’m a Cheadle fan.

3. This is the biggie. For the first time in over five months, I accomplished every single item on my daily checklist. I’ve missed being this productive, this active, and this accountable.