As a survivor from domestic abuse and violence, I found each day became a minefield of obstacles to be navigated. They became overwhelming, even down to the simplest of tasks and questions: What should I wear? That was always a mind spinner! Or try: Should I cook dinner and if I'm going to cook what do I want? A guilty pleasure or something healthy... The list would go on … and on. It was crazy just how quickly the tornado in my mind would erupt, spinning. In the end it always became a case a case of “F*#k it!” I would get up and walk away from the decision. You see, they had always been there, sometimes worse than others, but I had decided to confront all my emotional issues. I had started to clean the cupboard in my mind, which had always been locked and labeled “Abused”
When I started blogging three years ago, my husband would come back from work and there was me, sitting at the laptop, writing away... in pyjamas. Don't get me wrong, they're comfortable, but I did get the hint when he walked in one day, greeting me with “Hey, Howard Hughes! How's it going?”... Huh?
The question of what I was going to wear had been crossed off my “To Do List” for the day. I'd just walked away the decision which had just been to much to handle, besides, I had my mind on other more important things in life, like healing. I needed to know why I felt the way I did, which was basically summed up in one word 'Crappy” I was so tired of feeling tired, of feeling frustrated, why my mind was going blank, why was I grinding my teeth, that was a horrible one, the toothache! Urgh... Then of course, because I was trying to learn and teach myself to be 'normal' there was the anxiety. A merry-go-round, each brightly painted horse named with it's own issues, staring back at me.
Then, because I was writing, I found people wanted to read my blog, which meant sharing, which in turn, of course, means social media. So many sites! Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ Another fairground ride, which one? How? When?...
In all of this I discovered it too had something to teach me, here I was blogging around 500 to 1,500 words a post and then I hit a wall, a Twitter wall. Blinking hard at the site in disbelief... “Tweet using 140 characters” HA! 140 characters! Really? People kept telling me how wonderful it was, how it was classed as “micro-blogging”.
I couldn't condense anything down in my life at the time. except pyjamas on a good day and now I have to “micro-blog”? I couldn't actually write a To Do List at the time because how can you write one when your mind is a tornado? I knew, I wasn't going to be beaten though, after all I had survived worse than something as simple as bloody Twitter, I told myself. I persevered with it, constantly condensing and now I tweet away happily.
I used to have a long, mental To Do List each day and would criticise myself deeply at the end of it. I learned it was crazy, my lists could never be completed, even if I was 'perfect' or 'hard working', so I took a lesson from Twitter and reduced my list to one thing each day. Sometimes, the “One” thing was to get dressed, or make dinner, post a social media picture, just keeping it really simple. If at the end of the day I had managed it, then my day had been a success, so instead of ending the day feeling terrible and disappointed in myself, I found I could smile, I had beaten my list!
Now, my days are organised, motivated and yes, fully dressed, even if it means jeans or yoga pants, I am now a fully functioning, dressed individual and Twitter helped. It has taught me how to condense not only words, but also thoughts and emotions down to their barest bones. It has taught me to simplify life into bite sized pieces.
Slowly, as time went on I found I could go back to multi-tasking again, just like I had before I'd decided to drag out all my emotional demons from the “Abused” cupboard, where they were locked away. That part of my healing and been cleaned, polished and it even sparkles sometimes, I keep it a mental cupboard, I call “Happy”
Do you have difficulties with lists?
Do you find them overwhelming?