Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Don't Forget To Plan for Detours

Nifty logo of words in a fishbowl

Day 17 – 11:56 PM: I’ve put together a heavy schedule—a roadmap—that will lead me towards achieving my goals, but as usual with lists, life has a way of giving them a flat. Fortunately, the lists still work as roadmaps, even if distractions and responsibilities put detours in front of my deadlines.

The point of writing openly like this is to share a bit of the process. I believe strongly that if we identify our stumbling blocks, we can learn to work around them. Some people who don’t have mental health issues look upon that belief as letting my diagnosis limit me—as if I could suddenly, for example, not have a tic disorder if I just stopped thinking about it so much. On the other extreme, I’ve met multitudes of people who allow depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other disabilities define and rule them. They give up and behave exactly as those who stigmatize mental health expect. I’m caught in the middle, just like a lot you.

I can’t help ignorant or clueless people see the world differently. They require me to be more successful than I am currently before they will regard my accomplishments with any degree of respect. Learning to understand other people takes patience and a willingness to be taught, something that can be hard for them if they can’t relate. However, I can help those who struggle to believe in themselves. I can help them see that they can accomplish more than they realize. What I accomplish isn’t so amazing to most people, but for me, fighting family hardships, a tic disorder, depression and ADHD, I am sometimes surprised how far I have come from that guy who wanted to die so many years ago.

Maybe I do define myself by my disabilities. Maybe I haven’t learned how to work around them enough. Maybe my perspective is still too low to see beyond the obstacles out to the open vista awaiting me. Or maybe this is what life is: one step at a time, moving forward. Some people can race; other people can only crawl. I like to believe that I’m hobbling ahead just nicely.

I remind myself of that when I see how many goals for the month I missed. I did a lot of necessary research today for my Pokémon book sequel despite my new cold. Then I took care of my daughter after school, fed her, entertained her, got her to her therapist, made phone calls to multiple doctors for her, made her dinner, and administered her meds before her mother showed up. Then I was so sick I vegetated in front of the TV for a few hours. It’s easy to beat myself up when I missed posting a product review, as well as getting the second chapter for Twelve Ways to Fight Off Depression up for my readers. My amazing list didn’t leave room for any of those things! There was no room for sickness, ticking, and child-rearing. It’s funny how I always do that. I get so excited planning out my projects that I make no allowances for obstructions, as if life is a perfectly paved road laid out in front of me with no potholes, detours, or accidents.

Trust sickness to rudely remind me how hard reality can smack you when you aren’t paying attention. Still, I’m excited about what I will accomplish this year. This is only a temporary setback. There are still plenty of miles to go before my fifty-first birthday.

Struggling with suicidal depression? My book can help.