I have a really big problem. You are probably thinking, ” Girl, you got a boatload of problems.” 🙂 But this is a problem a lot of us have, mentally ill or not.
I get sucked into this pattern of trying to do too much at once, and I can’t. I am not Superwoman, even if I would like to be. I start to get a handle on one thing so I think, “Hey, I got this. Let’s try to conquer something else.” I add something else to my plate. No problem, right? Just a couple of things under my belt. Anyone can handle two things, I think. Then I add another and another and another until everything is out of control and even that first thing I had control of isn’t anymore.
My psychiatrist doesn’t like it when I do this. He gets frustrated with me, I think. For example the last time I overdid it, he said something similar to this, “Elaina. You are doing it again. You made a huge decision to have surgery tomorrow. You are coming out with a book. You are looking for a dog to adopt. You are trying to write longer blogs multiple times a week. It is too much. Focus on one thing at a time.” Blah. Easier said than done. I LOVE control and I want to control my life and I want to think I can do anything, that I can do it all.
FACT: I can’t control everything.
This week I got a new therapist (more on her in a later blog). We spoke and she must have realized the same thing the psychiatrist did. She told me, “Elaina, just focus on today. Just today. Just focus on the next ten minutes. Better yet, I’d like for you to focus on each moment.” AAAAAGGGGHHHH! How the hell am I gonna do that?! Remember that control thing? Remember that filling my life with too much? She is asking me to go much slower and to focus on the present instead of 5 or 10 steps ahead.
I guess my past has me programmed that way. School. Work. Now I just can’t handle it anymore. And that makes me sad, dear reader, because it means that this illness has stolen another little part of me. Juggling, I used to be able to juggle a social life, boyfriends, friends, and a busy job where I had to be on top of everything as the Executive Editor of a statewide magazine.
It is hard to slow down. It is hard to admit that I can’t do it all, at least not as much as I used to. But taking 5 or more things under my belt leads to a breakdown, and that is no good. So I am going to honestly try to focus on one thing at a time. Why don’t we all try it? We can see if we feel a little more in control of our lives.
I think if my psychiatrist and my therapist agree on this, well, it is probably true and wise information to follow. So I am. One thing at a time. My new mantra.