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Learning to navigate life, one day at a time.

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I decided to post this here. I don't have depression on my diagnosis list, but I've been diagnosed with it, along with a lot of other things. I should probably add them.

I once posted a thread that received very bipolar responses. It was about how much potential I feel I have versus the realities of my life. Having had a very tumultuous life of abuse (it's far more complicated than that, but not necessary to go into. I have posted about this recently in anyone is interested.), I was naturally emotionally unstable and have suffered from deep depression, anxiety, and addiction as a result.

For the last three some odd years, I have accomplished things in short spurts and often struggled through it. However, most of my time was spent in my bedroom, sometimes on the porch, sometimes on the couch with my mom. About half of that time I spent stoned. (Yes, it felt good, but it was a means of escape from reality.) I watched a lot of streaming movies and TV shows, and that was the extent of things other than those brief stints where I did attend college classes, did yoga, et cetera.

I developed some values that have helped immensely in maintaining my emotions, mainly moderation. Moderation is very important for me. I never allowed myself to get too manic about anything, or get my hopes up, or take on too much. If anything, I took on too little because of my fear of failure. History exemplifies how often I have failed. I feared I would never be able to navigate life, never mind achieve my dreams or reach anywhere near my potential.

One thing I gave up on altogether was planning. I have written a hundred plans in daily form -- things I would do every day of the week -- for as long as I can remember, and have set myself up to fail each and every time. It was so frustrating to feel so completely and utterly helpless and useless. I wanted so much, but lacked commitment and motivation to follow through. I would abandon these plans within the span of a few days, feeling awful about myself. Long story short, I learned to despise agendas. I felt it was safer to do nothing than to fail again. Quite honestly, it was. I wasn't ready. As frustrated and hopeless as I felt, as much as I hated myself, I always believed that one day I would get it right.

That's finally happening for me, at the age of 29. I have taken a harsh look at myself and my reality, one that involved showering maybe once or twice a week, rarely leaving the house, and being some sort of ghost of myself. I compared this to who I believe I can be, which is so much more than this. I haven't focused too much on the specifics of my long term goals, as I feel they will develop over time as I re enter the world, one step at a time. Because I have learned moderation, because I have faced my limitations, because I know that I have to learn to walk before I run, I have begun something that is truly remarkable for me. And after a traumatic and life-changing experience, one that I faced with open eyes, I have become grateful for every moment, for every thing, and for every person (and dog) that loves me. Life is so beautiful, and when I stop and savor every moment, I realize how precious my time is and even begin to let my beauty show through my words, my eyes, my smile, my kindness. I think my favorite thing to do is make people smile.

It's such a simple concept, really. I call it my Journal. Within it is an ever-evolving plan. Right now it focuses on one day at a time. I write a list of what I call Possibilities on one side and then I document how I spend my time on the page of Actualities. I place check marks next to the Possibilities as I accomplish them. I have a Master list of Things I Can Do Everyday, and I was able to create this by taking stock of what is most important to me.

I was only able to do this by thinking in small steps. I have found that sometimes the steps aren't small enough, so I break them down even further. I am not OCD about it at all. I am proud of what I am able to do, such as take a shower or walk my dog, and then evaluate why I didn't do certain other things. This way, I never fail because I am always learning about what works for me and making progress. While the Possibilities have no set time, I do record how I spend my time in the list of Actualities so I can really see what I am doing with my day. I use the next few pages to evaluate how I'm doing, how I can maybe do better, and try to stay positive while still being realistic. Nothing horrible goes into my Journal, such as the trauma I've recently suffered. I can always write about that elsewhere.

So, that's basically it. Basic, simple, effective, evolving, and just for me. No one is ever allowed to see it or have the chance to criticize it. This is the most I've spoken about it to anyone. It is honestly changing my life. :)

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Thank you so much for sharing. I think struggling with setting realistic goals and being compassionate when we can't reach them is something most of us can relate to. 


I love your actualities and possibilities - I've never heard anybody describe goal setting like that before. It's beautiful. I imagine spending time monitoring your actualities would help with keeping them over a long period of time.  


So do your actualities include positive things that aren't on your possibilities? If I had washing my dog on the possibilities and I didn't do it, but I did walk my dog (not on the list), would walking go in actualities or would it be included in the reflection pages?

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Hi, bluelikejazz!

I'm glad someone could get some inspiration out of it. :) Thank you so much for saying that it's beautiful!

I like Possibilities because it sounds like an opportunity rather than a chore, and I don't have to feel badly if I don't accomplish everything because they aren't set in stone. The Actualities are a breakdown of my day, so if I did walk my dog, I would include it there-- but I would add it to the list of Possibilities because it is an accomplishment that deserves a check mark! I would also mention it in the Evaluation pages (I actually like your use of the word reflection, though) to remind myself that doing stuff just makes me want to do more stuff, or what have you. I am definitely experiencing that today! I like to write about how good I feel for getting things done there. Also, if something is daunting, I will actually write a list of positive things about it so I can take action on it without feeling like I'm forcing myself.

Recently, I wrote a list about Why Showers are Awesome. I also included ways to make it more enjoyable for me, like playing music, or getting a nice smelling soap.

Today, I am overwhelmed by getting my desk together. I just remind myself in writing that I don't have to do everything, just make progress, and it doesn't have to be perfect, what have you. Then I decided to make it fun by playing music and rewarding myself when it is clean by decorating and personalizing that space.

It's all relative and personal, and my goals are so minuscule, but I think other people who suffer from depression can relate to having a hard time getting out of bed and doing everyday things.

There are three steps: Recording my day in Actualities, evaluating it, and then writing the Possibilites for the next day. I find that if I don't do this last step the day before, the next day is often wasted for me.

I really appreciate that someone likes this method, and for taking the time to letting me know. :)

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