Several people now have mentioned I should be slowing down.
Is this what recovering from depression is about? Taking it easy? Making sure I have lots of self-care built into my day? Being aware of my automatic thoughts and slowing down my thinking so I do not make impulsive decisions? That seems like a lot to do.
Slowing down is time consuming.
Now I am not dismissing this idea. I know I have been full bore, “gotta” go for all of my life. And I can see that the extreme of that has been my impulsive actions. This is what I need to focus on. This is what I need to slow down.
I think that there is a difference in slowing down my thinking and slowing down in general. Slowing my thinking has many benefits. Giving my thoughts a chance to see daylight before I act on them is something I have started doing. I want to make better decisions. And I am learning and employing tools to do just that.
I have caught myself having automatic thoughts.
These are not planned; they just seem to randomly appear I my mind. In the past, many of these I would have acted on without question. And the outcomes in many cases would have been bad, again without question. Now I am catching them. I am acknowledging them. I am examining them to see if they are valid.
Then I am even getting the opinions of others before acting on these thoughts. No more secrets. No more blocking out any other idea. No more all or nothing thinking. This has been a huge victory for me in the past month. And I am excited to think that I will be able to do this with bigger issues when they arise. In fact, I have applied that process to an idea I have had.
I may “un-retire” and go back to a “day job.”
The truth is, I really, really miss that daily interaction that I got by being out in the workplace. Yes, I get some of that from my clients via the phone and emails, but it is not the same as a face to face “hi, how are you doing?”
In order to see if this is an impulsive decision or a good move, I am using a Decision-Making Worksheet. I got this in my SMART class. You can learn more at www.smartrecovery.org The worksheet helps you do a cost/benefit analysis of the activity. You list the advantages of the activity and then list the disadvantages.
READ MORE: Am I running away if I take this job?
From material I received in the hospital, I have another worksheet that gives you a list of questions to ask about the activity you want to do. These questions are designed to help you decide if the activity is appropriate or if it is impulsive. They include talking about the activity with a trusted friend or family member. Thus, no more secrets.
My worksheet is a combination of the two handouts.
I am leveraging everything I can to make sure this decision is in my best interest. In deciding whether to accept a full-time management position outside of the home, these tools have been welcomed. And they are so different from just announcing “oh, by the way, I have a new job and it will change everything I am currently doing.”
By reviewing both sides of the activity, asking others for input and being open and transparent, I am learning how to make better decisions. This decision will impact mine and my family’s life for years to come. So, I want to get it right.
Who else should I ask?
In the past, I would not have asked anyone. Well I might have thrown out some sort of conditional ask, but even if I did, I had already made up my mind. I really wouldn’t need to ask anyone. The depression already had the answer, it was just waiting for me to come to it. Depression can be patient when it is waiting to get what it wants from me. It would let me wind the problem around and around, until I was finally up against the wall.
Then depression would just need to nudge me, and I would commit to the activity it had planned. I was all in and it didn’t matter who else felt what, I was doing it. Then the stuff would hit the fan and the depression would leave me by myself, to deal with the mess. Real friends don’t do that. A real boss never puts you in that position. Hence, depression is not my boss.
I am getting ahead of myself.
The interview hasn’t happened yet, and I have not been offered the position. But I have slowed down the process of examining the advantages and disadvantages of going back to a day job. I do have one more group to ask. When I attend the group meeting today, I plan to ask for their thoughts.
Am I going too fast?
Should I build up more reserves of positive energy before doing something like this?
Or will going back to a day job jump start my transition back to a healthy, productive life where I am recharging my emotional batteries even as I am giving and helping others. Seeing how I have described this, I think I know the answer, But I will poll the audience today and then compare that to what others have said, and what I have discovered about where I am at.
The decision about how fast I go is a big test of my new understanding of depression. Once I have all the different options, and have asked even better questions, I will know if I am going too fast.