I like lists. I always have. I like to be organised. I like the process of ticking things off my list. I have even been known to write things on my list after I've done them for the sole purpose of being able to tick them off. I have lists of lists. I have, most days, at least two lists for that day. There we go, good to get that out of the way first!
In my past life - the busy, working in an office, having loads of meetings and lots of deadlines, my lists were how I kept track of everything I needed to do.
After my breakdown (never really come up with the right way to describe what led to my being admitted to the Priory in 2015), my lists became critical, as my mind wasn't really up to the task, certainly with the fuzziness of medications etc. Over the past couple of years, as I continue to age (my excuse is there isn't enough room in my head for everything I know!) they are becoming more important.
In my current life, as I make the transition again from paid work outside the home to, well....not working in paid employment outside the home, I decided that my lists would be a way to give me a routine. A purpose. I was going to become the best housewife ever. I had read about routine being extremely important for BP (although its not exclusive!) so, as is often the case with me, it was all or nothing!
I had a spreadsheet of all of my 'tasks', as Mr P decided to name them. I then decided how often each one needed to be done. Then split them up into days of the week, so that there was something to ensure I was occupied, or that I could accomplish something every day. That felt important.
Once I had my weekly spreadsheet, I colour coded it. And then I broke the sheet into one for every day. With colours. And then I decided they needed to be laminated and I could tick off each item so I could see what I accomplished. And then I realised that I'm not terribly good at keeping myself accountable when I'm in an Eeyore rather than Tigger state of mind, so I decided that the lists could be visible to Mr P, and he could see what I had done each day. He would praise me. I would be useful. I would have a purpose.
It was my therapist who suggested that perhaps I was taking this all a little too far. It was too regimented. Where was the 'do something nice' in my day? Why do I need to prove my worth? Why do I give Mr P the power to tell me whether I'm worthy or not.
It turns out that my lists are only so useful. I can cross things off if I don't fancy doing them. I haven't done any exercise since the lists were created, and doing exercise is the fifth thing on the list every day. I just cross it off. No excuses. No accountability. No problem! 😁
So. I need to find my own routine. It will take time. It will not, and cannot be driven by a spreadsheet / tick list. Yes, like everyone, there are certain things that need to be done every day, but there also needs to be time for me to find my self worth which is sadly lacking. And I know, a couple of weeks in, that my self worth is not going to be found lurking in my vacuum cleaner or the bottom of a toilet. I need to break down some of the barriers that have built up within me over the years (yes, years), and find the girl who had her whole life in front of her.
I watched something today about all the nasty things we say to ourselves every day. Most people do this to some degree - I'm so fat; my hair never goes right; I stuffed that up; I know I'll mess xxxx up; s/he doesn't like me; I'm useless; my house is so messy; I'm so embarrassed; and the list goes on. Would you say those things to a friend? To a child? If you pull out a photo of you as a child, would you say those things to your younger self? You're not good enough. You can't do anything right. You are so fat. Nobody likes you. You don't have any friends. You'll never get that job. You're stupid. Would you really say those things? Or might you find some more positive words?
That child is you. Is still within you. I need to find a way to start speaking more kindly to the child in my photo. I know just the photo I will use. It is one of me squinting slightly as I look up at the camera - it was probably just the sun that caused the squinting, but the reason isn't really important, the look is. I look innocent, and undamaged. Vulnerable. Willing to learn.
Now that I know which photo I'll use, I just need to find it. I know, I'll put it on my list for tomorrow 😉
I wish you and your inner child the best day possible, love Becs xxxx