The recycling must be taken for pick up tomorrow and the trash must go to the landfill.
There is no publicly funded trash or recycling pick-up in the rural community we live in. If you want trash pickup at your home, you must pay a company to come and get it. Cardboard and aluminum cans can still be recycled at the landfill. Plastics, glass, and everything else is no longer accepted.
Thus, private companies have an additional charge to pick up recycling materials.
Worse, because our home is in a very rural area, the company that would pick up our recycling doesn’t. There is not enough demand. Our neighbors burn what will burn and let the bears rummage through the rest. Others just toss recycling and all into their trash can, or sadly, into the woods.
The point is, I’ve got to get trash and recycling where it goes before getting ready to go to my day job.
This is not stressful, but it is keeping my clock ticking. I’ve got 20 more minutes to sit on the porch, with my coffee, and get my head together for the day. Oh, I have already refilled the bird feeders from the bag of seed I bought at work last night. And it’s my job to empty the dishwasher each morning.
Wow! Even when I don’t take the trash and recycling 5 miles to the landfill, I am busy in the morning.
If I refill my coffee cup now, I can have my second cup before I load up the truck. Excuse me for a minute, I’ll be right back. Ok, I’m back and yes, I did drop one ice cube into my black coffee so it will be easier to drink. I won’t have to wait.
This looks like a control thing; oh, it is.
There are things I am doing to be a help around the house. Teamwork is necessary when there are three adults living under the same roof. Dividing up household chores is a part of adulting. We do trade-off periodically with the dishwasher loading, unloading, and washing of the remaining pots and pans.
Living in harmony with others often takes work and planning.
Well, it does for me. The key is to find that balance between sharing and feel compelled to do everything, to fix anything that is wrong. Or fix things that I perceive are wrong. It is easy for me to slip into unhelpful thinking and catastrophize any situation. And seeing any situation from an all-or-nothing perspective is something my depression loves when I do.
Unhelpful thinking can keep me from fully enjoying my self-care time.
Sometimes my self-care becomes “let’s unpack everything that I have done wrong and ruminate about the past and what could have been.” Yes, I’ve been allowing myself to wallow in coulda, woulda, shoulda again. And this is not a good look for me. No one needs to spend time stuck in the past, time-traveling back to things that have happened. Getting stuck in a series of what-ifs, can consume a person, and make them bitter.
READ MORE: I almost should all over myself today
Today I have tools to help identify these unhelpful thinking styles.
And a peer support group that can help me see other ways to approach situations. I am catching myself as I head down the path to the past. My new tools help me get back, by reminding me about the one thing I can control. It is not the event that happened I can control.
I can only control my attitude towards the event.
This is an immensely important fact, examples of which can be seen in public figures around the globe. In past decades, centuries, and eons, men and women have fought for their right to think as they will. Gandhi, and Martin Luther spring to mind. Despite the public backlash, each continued to use the one thing that they could control. They controlled their attitude towards events and situations.
And don’t forget about Edison. He conducted 10,000 experiments that failed as he worked to create the incandescent lightbulb. 10,000 failures could not dim his attitude that a lightbulb was possible. And we all know how this turned out.
My recent performance has given lip service to controlling my attitude.
But just below the surface, depression is lurking. It’s encouraging me to use any unhelpful thinking style I would like. Depression reminds me that whatever I think I know, it knows better. It tells me that listening to my own attitude will get me hurt. .
Depression is sure that I can do much better by listening to it.
We’ve been together for over 45 years. Depression has tolerated me being at my best. And depression has been there every time I was at my worst. It was there until the bill came. Somehow, my depression has learned when I am banging into the bottom. And it uses that moment to desert me.
Finally, this last time, I said NO.
And I am fighting back. First 4 days in 5 North, then medical management. I was on Prozac, now I’m on Wellbutrin. Next, I discovered Peer Support at On Our Own. Then, through them, I learned about SMART Recovery. I was introduced to WRAP, my personal wellness recovery action plan. And don’t forget the change triangle and DBT.
Unhelpful thinking has its hands full these days with my attitude.
Some days it still wins, but I am identifying those intrusions and taking steps to change them. I am keeping depression out in the open. Depression is still with me every day, but my attitude towards it has changed. In 27 months, my world has gone from “up against the wall,” to “I am planning for the future.
In April, two years ago, there was no planning, no future, nothing to see.
Seeing past the wall that I was stuck to was not possible. And my goal each day was to survive until I could get back in bed. And even that could be dangerous. I had three weeks near Christmas where I would wake in the middle of the night, feeling as if I couldn’t get any oxygen in my lungs.
I was having panic attacks.
These memories are opening my flood gates and time-traveling me into the past. Sometimes I forget how far I have come, since my most recent trip to the abyss with depression. But dwelling on all of this is not healthy. It leads to other unhelpful thinking styles.
Plus, I do not have time to go there this morning.
I’m on a deadline to get the trash and recycling to the landfill before I get my shower, pack my lunch, grab my radio, and head out the door to go to my day job. While not exactly the classic self-care, staying busy keeps depression at bay.
It is hard to hit a moving target.
The trailer is full, the kitchen containers are empty. I have my leather gloves and my ticket book for the landfill. Off I go, leaving my depression and all its unhelpful thinking styles at home.