Monday, 2 February 2015

Do you need a routine?

For 6 years now I have been a functioning depressive. This means that despite feeling as low as you can go I have still managed to get up every day and do at least something with my day.

People have asked how I have managed to do this, to get up day after day feeling like I want my world to end, to just go to sleep and never wake up again. The answer has been routine.

I am not a slave to routine but I have found that by following one step after another, generally without thinking about them I can get up, dressed, animals fed, me fed, tablets taken, kids to work and get to college. If something happens to change the steps (maybe I sleep late at the weekend, or we run out of milk for my morning porridge) I find that things get missed. I forget to take my tablets or the dog does not get fed for example.

By sticking to my routine I have found that I can do the three most important things that are needed every day:-

Get up, Dress Up and Show up...

As a species I believe that each one of us only has a certain amount of physical and emotional energy that we can use each day. When we are mentally and physically fit and well we have quite a bit (but not limitless) and when we are unwell the amount we have decreases. I have heard this described as having a certain number of spoons each and we use the spoons up through the day. When we run out of spoons we are too exhausted to do anything else.

Having a routine means that you don't have to spend a spoon thinking about what you are going to do, what you are going to wear or what you are going to eat, those decisions have been already made, you can use your spoons for something else.

When you are really feeling low and in pain (either mentally or physically) you need to decide how to use your spoons carefully. If you go to the shops this morning will you have enough spoons left to manage coffee with a friend this afternoon? for example. By not using your spoons to decide how to manage the little things you may find that you can make them go further.

A Moodscope member.