Archives for category: depression

The bane of my existence.  The thorn in my pride.  A pain in the a** (for others).

Say it with me.  “I am a procrastinator”.

Now, for those that aren’t procrastinators, I say congratulations.  I have no ill will towards you.  My wife is a non-procrastinator and I derive endless inspiration from her tireless energy to “get things done”.

For the rest of my procrastinating brethren,  I offer this list to help with your understanding of what procrastination is not.  Not so we can procrastinate more and push-off responsibility, but so we can shed light on what gets in the way and be more honest with ourselves.  It makes more sense to OWN our procrastination, and what we feel with it, and allow it to guide us to use more of our energies doing what we love.

There is a tendency to feel guilt and shame around the subject of procrastination because we associate it with being LAZY.

procrastination is not being lazy

Here is a list of reasons that suggest your procrastination has NOTHING to do with being lazy.

1.  You don’t like boring routine tasks.  Nobody does, but for you it’s excruciating.  The more importance and meaning a task has for you, the easier it is for you to do.

2.  You have a waning attention span.  It’s hard for your attention to not go to things that are attractive to you.  These are things that you don’t procrastinate on.   They’re fun and entertaining.

3.   There is a level of anxiety about starting tasks.  Maybe you are a perfectionist, there has to be a set amount of time for you to just start the task.  The thought of starting something and then stopping in the middle of it gives you and your perfectionist side anxiety.

procrastination is not being lazy

4.  You are a creative type.  I’ve found that the most creative people who I know are procrastinators.  There seems to be positive correlation between creative energies and procrastinating, maybe for the same reason with ADD and creativity.

5.   You are successful at many areas of your life and don’t procrastinate in those.  At work, being a parent, coordinating nights out with your friends.  You excel in these areas and you AREN’T A LAZY PERSON.  Getting the basement organized?  Not so much.

What are ways you’ve been able to successfully view, or manage,  your procrastination?

 

(This is part one of a two-part post on procrastination)

 

One moment you’re so sure that your mind and intuition are telling you the right things.

“I can’t tell him no.  He’s going to be really upset if I do that.”

“Don’t take the chance, there’s too much to lose.”

“Nobody really cares what I have to say anyway.  It’s a waste of time.”

The next moment you’re sure that your mind and intuition are telling you lies.

“I must be imagining this is happening.  Nothing this good happens to me.”

“My gut is telling me yes, but I remember the last time I was in this situation.”

“I know I should take a chance here because things feel right.  But what if they go wrong?”

damned if you do, damned if you don't

What if we were aware that we shape our situations with our thoughts?  What if we were aware that much of the time we are sabotaging our own success and needs?  What if we were aware that we could change how we listen to our minds and/or our intuition…knowing that our minds are not always telling us the complete picture?  And maybe when our minds, and intuition, are telling us the truth we choose to ignore the message.

“Embrace the suck!” We used to say that to each other in the Army during miserable all day training exercises.  These training excursions were always accompanied by temps in the 30’s and 40’s and steady perpetual rain. Carrying heavy loads of equipment while playing war games in the cold rain actually became funny to us.  No, it was hilarious.  Beyond absurd.  Obviously, we forced ourselves into another state of mind.  It was a state of acceptance.  It was wrapped in crude humor and sarcasm, but it was acceptance nonetheless.

The closer we got to the discomfort, the less control it had on us.  We were free.  Free to crack jokes, laugh, tear down walls.  We really had no choice.  It was either be miserable fighting the inevitable, or laugh and cut loose while dealing with the inevitable.

Embracing the dark

It’s interesting when I notice just how much time and energy we seem to spend trying to be happy. Trying to make it look like things are always “ok”.  Trying to maintain control and not break.  I’ve enjoyed reading several blogs in the past few days that have talked about being alright with allowing our dark to come into the light more in our lives.

What happens if we allow some more dark to come through?  What if people knew that we aren’t always ok all of the time?  What if happy isn’t our default after all?  What if we allow the hard times to do what they do and not try and spend so much energy denying the inevitable?

(Here’s an older and slightly related post where I wrote about projecting the ideal self on Facebook and social media)

Honesty is a virtue.  People value it.  That and candor.  We’d be foolish to think that others don’t value those things when we let it come through in ourselves.

 

It’s Sunday and that nagging reminder the weekend is coming to an end has settled in our being.  Not only are we bummed about the weekend ending but we dread Monday.  Monday means that we have to go back to work.

Even if we love our jobs and the people we work with, it’s normal to feel some apprehension about starting the new week. But what if we don’t love our jobs?  What if one of the biggest reasons we don’t love them is because our work environment is fear driven?

Fear in the workplace

Here are some common themes in a fear based work environment:  “If you don’t do ‘this’ then ‘that’ will happen”, “If we don’t comply then ‘they’ll’ find a reason to get rid of us!”, “We need to do ‘this’.  You want us to look good, don’t you?”.  This is the “stick” part of the “carrot and stick” approach to managing.

Fear and stress in the workplace

Pressure, pressure, pressure.  Guilt, guilt, guilt.  Stress, stress, stress.  Sounds miserable doesn’t it?

What if there were other ways to motivate a workplace?

“Oh, sure!”, you are saying.  “That’s just the way it is.  That’s the way it has to be.”

Not necessarily. Check out this Ted Talk looking at work environments and motivation.

We’ve been accustomed to accepting a pure “carrot and stick”, or reward/punishment system, in the workplace.  What the science is finding is that by getting away from the old reward and punishment approach, many places of business are becoming much more productive.  On top of that, their employees are happier.

Doesn’t going to work and being happy sound good?

Frequently I hear from clients that they did like or did not connect with their past therapists.  It could be easy to say that it’s just a simple matter of “there are a lot of bad therapists out there”, but I think it goes deeper than that.  Getting therapy that works is about finding a therapist that you fit with.  One that is getting what you, or you and your partner, need.

Just because someone has gone through graduate school, or received a doctorate, does not mean that they are automatically an effective therapist for your needs.

John Harrison Counseling Blog Finding a Good Therapist

Here’s a brief list of some things I would suggest anyone look for when choosing a counselor or psychologist to work with.

Find someone who:

You feel a connection with and you feel comfortable talking with.  If you are not sure, refer to the people closest to you and noticing what about them makes you feel comfortable.  Your personal life, current issues, past issues, traumas, it’s all sacred.  It should not feel as if you’re “just another client”.

Encourages you and supports you.   Even as adults, it’s important that we receive acknowledgement for our accomplishments.   It’s also helpful because it assists us in gauging our progress.

Can be honest with you.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to hear someone’s thoughts on ourselves but it’s necessary to receive constructive reflection.

You feel that you honestly express yourself with without fear of being criticized.  Being told what you are thinking or experiencing by a therapist is wrong is…well…wrong.

Is meeting you on your level and for your needs.  There was no chapter titled “you” in those books the therapist read in grad school.  A good therapist is meeting you where you are, not where they want you to be.

Does not make you feel pressured to do anything.  You should feel free to say no to something you are not comfortable with.

Does not talk down to you and is not egocentric.  A good therapist remembers that they are human first and their credentials are a distant second.  Because they know they are human too, they use that as a basis of connection, empathy and understanding.

Does not make you feel as if they are “just treating your diagnosis”.  A diagnosis isn’t “you”.  The focus on therapy is not solely on your diagnosis.  The focus is on you as a whole person.

What kind of things are important for you, or would be, if you were looking to work with a therapist?

 

 

We really do take our emotional health for granted.  We pay attention to our physical health in various ways, such as through diet and exercise, but we continually allow ourselves to cross our own boundaries internally.

How often do we allow our own self talk to say things to us we’d never allow someone else to say to us?  How frequently are we sabotaging our own contentment and success, yet we focus the blame to our environments and other people as if they are the reason?

To get love we have to love ourselves first.

Check out this excellent Ted Talk  on emotional hygiene.

When is the right time to see a counselor?  This is a very good question.  It can be hard to know when we’ve crossed over from being able to “handle our stuff” on our own to seeking professional help.  Many of us have lived up to the mantra of “suck it up and deal with it” for so long that it seems foreign to even consider seeking the services of a therapist.

Contrary to what some of us may think, there’s nothing wrong with getting counseling! That goes for everyone.  Many people see a counselor to help them with the in’s and out’s of life.  You don’t need a diagnosis to see a counselor and you don’t have to feel you are crazy to seek therapy, either.

Seeking counseling

 

However, there are some signs that we should look for as signals that it’s probably time to at least strongly consider getting some therapeutic help.

Here are some common reasons to seek counseling.  These reasons are in no specific order and there are many things I’m sure I could add that I’ve left out.

1.  Symptoms of feeling down that have lasted longer than they normally do.  The event or the circumstance that we attributed to us feeling down has ended long ago, yet we’re still not the same.

2.  People that we are close to are concerned about our mood or lack of energy.  If people are asking us if we “really are ok” they know something is amiss.  Chances are they’ve just now felt it necessary to say something.  They’ve probably been noticing the shift in us for awhile.

3.  Feelings of being “out of control”.  If we don’t feel in control, we probably aren’t.

4.  Lack of energy.  If we’re feeling tired all of the time, or have very little motivation, it’s a sign that we may need some help.

getting counseling

5.  Apathy.  Not caring can feel worse than feeling down or worrying all the time.  If feeling apathetic about your relationship or your job is the case, this could have serious repercussions.

6.  Feeling frustrated about being stuck or going through the same things AGAIN.  Feeling stuck in a cycle of emotional turmoil or certain types of relationship disaster?

7.  Our partner feels that we are distant or disconnected from the relationship.  The longer this goes on, the worse it can get.

8.  Bouts of anger that make you feel out of control or are affecting your family.  Please consider help for their sake, if not yours.

9.  Feeling confused about self or place in the world.  It’s normal to go through significant periods of change throughout our lives.  It can be very helpful to have someone to help keep you grounded in the process.

10.  Any thoughts of harming yourself or others.  Of course, if this is the case.  The first step is to call for EMERGENCY help.  Counseling will be needed at some point.  Just not immediately.

Also, one of the biggest indicators that it might be a good idea to consider therapy is if you continually think about if it’s a good idea to do therapy!  Sounds simple, but going with the gut intuition is typically the best route!