One of the other DHC members commented that I'm her hero and inspiration. I assured her that I was certainly neither of these. I told her how out of control my house, my career, my life have all been for the last ten years. I related how this new found optimism and progress are both very new to me but I also told her how they came about. It took changing my attitude which started with my daily positive affirmations. Basically, whatever you want to change about yourself, you need to change your mind first. Each morning for a month (and I'm truly considering making this a daily habit), the first thing I did after waking was look in the mirror and tell myself not what I believed about myself but what I wanted to be true: I am competent, I am energetic, I am enthusiastic, I am ambitious, I will accomplish something today, I will take another step towards my goals. The theory is, once you've said this for twenty-eight days, your mind starts to believe it and it works, I'm proof.
The second thing that I changed was trying my best to accomplish one thing each day. It didn't have to be a huge thing. It didn't even have to be everything that I'd put on my mental list to be done that day. It just had to be something, started and finished.
The third thing was a change in the way I looked at my problems and it is perhaps the biggest change I've made. Before, I'd want to do something, I'd want to make a change but I was so overwhelmed when I looked at the size of the task at hand that I didn't even know where to start. If I did do anything, it felt like I was using a pocket knife to chip away at a mountain. I never felt like I accomplished anything, I felt like my head was spinning whenever I'd try. I was becoming more depressed and more overwhelmed instead of making any progress at all towards solving my problems. I started trying to divide the work into doable tasks but I was always way too ambitious with my plans. Finally I realized, I had to stop looking at the big picture, I couldn't even narrow it down to a medium picture. No, I had to look at this as a jar of marbles but I could only deal with one marble at a time. One tiny bit of the problem solved and put away doesn't seem like much but it works because once I stopped feeling so terribly outnumbered and overwhelmed, once I realized that I might be buried under a lot of difficulties but I wasn't going to solve the problem from there but from the top working my way down, suddenly, my path seemed not only clear but doable!
So, if I feel myself getting depressed or overwhelmed, I just pick out a marble, one small doable task that I can do and then put neatly away. It might be a drawer that needs sorting, or something long neglected that I can clean and straighten, something I can mend or a project I can finish. It doesn't really matter what it is just that it's manageable....just like my life now. I've stopped looking at the forest or even the trees and I'm just gathering up the leaves, one by one.