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'I dwell in possibility' – Emily Dickinson. Friday October 17, 2014

I have been in bed for the last few days nursing a particularly nasty virus. My partner, myself and my 9 year old step-son, moved house 3 weeks ago. It is safe to say I am currently adrift on a sea of chaos; there is lot to be done.

Today I felt fit to venture out of bed. My plan initially looked like this:

1) Have shower
2) Do dishes

Then my Internal Tyrant kicked in and the list grew:

3) Unpack all clothes
4) Find places for adults clothes in absence of adults wardrobe
5) Hang clothes in child's wardrobe

Thought - will need to fix child's wardrobe before hanging clothes.

6) Fix child's wardrobe
7) Put bed linen away under bed

Thought - drawer has not been cleaned since bed was delivered.

8) Clean drawer
9) Put shoes in hall cupboard

Thought - hall cupboard is a mess therefore must clean it.

10) Clean hall cupboard
11) Reallocate rubbish from hall cupboard to other places
12) Identify the other places...

I can laugh at how ludicrous this list is, but it shines a light on my thinking. This thinking is destructive, because instead of dwelling in possibilities I am overwhelmed by them. Ever determined I seek out undertakings/achievements/tasks which once complete will allow me to accept myself. Then I constantly adjust my own finish line, so a gentle jog becomes a 5k becomes a 10k becomes a half marathon...

Only it doesn't. I surrender to my tyrant because I conclude that nothing I do will ever be good enough therefore why try.

I have realised what I am seeking is a sense of fulfilment, where I can relax and give myself a break. What becomes increasingly obvious is that this is a mission that will not be accomplished by an exceedingly long to do list. I am acutely aware that I need to learn to let go of this desire for perfection and recognise that which is imperfect is wonderful just as it is. I suspect this will be an ongoing challenge, but one I gladly face. Because I am sick of being scared and limiting myself.

As the infinitely wise Leonard Cohen sings 'There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in'.

A Moodscope member.

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crafty wee midden Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 6:34am

Wonderful. Thank you. This is me, too.....had not been able to unscramble my thinking sufficiently to put in words, so I really appreciate your post. Going in my 'help file'. Im in the midst if a very difficult time(husband( soulmate) beamed up to heaven in May(34 years married), anniversary of my mothers death(burned to death in house fire, along with er wee rescue cat) next month( three years? Already? Feels like yesterday: will never get over that. Trying to accept /adapt is difficult enough.)And part if me still is unable to believe that my husband is gone.....was his carer for eight ears before he had to go into a nursing home for his last two years. Spock and Data keep e going( cats) is surreal....yet still I feel the need to guilt trip myself over things which are not important. Yes, the hose is untidy. Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter. Each day, just doing the best I can; some days easier than others. Thank you again for helping me, Amy xxx

Anonymous Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 6:36am

Oh well done, Amy. You have hit several nasty nails on the head! I really appreciate your blog as it could have been written by me, although thankfully, I don't have your horrid virus! I am up, it's early, husband has gone to work on early train, and I lay in bed thinking if I get up now, I can get all these things done before I have to go out. Five mins pass...if I get up Now, I can still get this, that and the other done.......five mins pass....get up you lazy beast you're running out of time!
Internal dialogue can be cruel, it was only five past six! I am half way through dusting the sitting room and hope to do all the other crud before 9.45 a.m. But how silly am I for worrying? I am not normally up til seven so why am I beating myself up? But then again, I have got sidetracked by the blog......!

crafty wee midden Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 6:37am

PS sorry for making your pst about me....not my intention. It all comes tumbling out....and that helps.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 6:44am

Crafty wee midden, am so very sorry you have lost your dear husband, and after caring for him too. It's hard to fill your days because so much of it was for him. I've just lost my Mum and last year, lost mother in law who was another mum to me. All very sad and they say time is a great healer, but I think Time just passes and you have to get used to your new way of life without the ones you lived for, loved, And still love.
Hope each day eases, even just a smidge. Best wishes and love, anon from 6.36 am x

Anonymous Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 7:09am

This is exactly my problem too. I always have so many things to do since I bought a doer upper house, then my parents died and I now look after my handicapped sister plus run my own business. I pick one or two things to do then the list grows - mainly because I struggle to prioritise (because so many things seem equally important) or just get carried away thinking how lovely it will be just to get a couple more 'small' things out of the way. And then I'm overwhelmed by the list and end up giving in and having a nap and achieve very little other than feeling constantly stressed and drowning in chaos. I know I need to pick one job and not worry about the others while I'm doing it but it seem easier said than done - plate spinning or total inaction seem to be the only two settings. Sorry, I've just made this all about me too - but your blog had hit a nerve today.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 7:40am

Hi there lovely people,

Thank you so much for your kind posts, I'm very sorry to hear about your losses crafty wee midden and anons. I think just getting out of bed when you've been through all that is a massive achievement. I can totally identify with the plate spinning or nothing. My girlfriend laughs at me because I start doing one task in the house e.g. putting washing away but when I take washing ti the bedroom I see something else in the bedroom that needs done and get distracted by that, so I end up using loads of energy but achieving very little.

I just want to find a balance where my life isnt an endless to do list and I can embrace spontaneity without feeling the need to control everything. For example I live by the sea and walking along the beach makes me feel really elated and at peace. Then all of a sudden I start turning it into a chore, must walk further, should feel mire Zen, I'm nit enjoying this as much as usual, must try harder to enjoy???!!!??? So what starts of as a lovely experience becomes exhausting, and then I want to hide under a blanket on the couch!

Folks you're not making this about yourselves, you're sharing your experience and I'm very grateful for that.

Take care one and all,


Anonymous Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 7:42am

Amy, not just beautifully written but also very appropriate for many including much! Thank you and hope you are feeling better from the virus, they can take weeks to properly flush out.
For all who are apologising about tabling out their stories...stop. What would this be without our stories? I am always glad to hear what and how because it helps both ways. Peaceful day to everyone, love from the room above the garage x.

Julia Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 8:06am

Ahh Leonard Cohen. Yes I know his words well and love these ones you quote.He has suffered long bouts of depression throughout his life so I always feel he knows what he is saying. I have had a nasty virus too or at least I think I have. The trouble is that I only know for certain it's a virus (and not a result of a difficult insomnia period) when my husband gets the same symptoms and we know it's definitely a virus. So I carry on usually blaming my lack of sleep when really I should stay in bed like you do Amy. You do know, don't you, that moving house is absolutely the most stressful thing you can do... so Amy, you have an excuse,well 2 excuses now to feel over whelmed. It's a double whammy for you moving house and having a virus. Take it easy if you can.

crafty wee midden Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 8:52am

Thanks to all for kindness and comments....Leonard Cohen features largely in both my msic collection, and as a source of comfort. And Amy, coincidentally, I have just bought a book of Emily Dickinson poetry!

crafty wee midden Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 9:02am

Thank you, Anonymous. It's unbelievably painful. To you and Amy and all here, thank you....I read a lot here, but don't post much, as it's basically the same thing....and I feel epode must get fed up with hearing it...but, just 'telling about it' o matter how often, does help a little. My own health is not great and includes agoraphobia and panic attacks, plus M.E. and fibro, so getting out of bed and caring for Spock and Data really is the best I can do most days. Not got much appetite but try to eat easy stuff like toast and honey, and tomato soup.. Thanks for listening. Got my shrink appointment next week, and am writing down what I want to say( memory really bad....also had a stroke myself a couple o years back) and I was thinking of telling him about Moodscope.

Diana Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 10:40am

Very timely for me, thank you Amy!

Anonymous Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 3:46pm

I think many of us have the same issues....we want to achieve and want all to be perfect...but when we are struggling with is so hard to do anything...and nothing is ever we live the best we can taking it one day at a time....and trusting in the Higher Power to carry us through.....Blessings to all

heather Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 5:21pm

I know I should get up and straight into one of the many jobs that need doing, but just don't. Instead, on a good day, I walk around my flat (nine rooms) surveying everything and taking note of what needs doing everywhere and on a fine day I walk around the garden doing the same thing. By that time my head is so full of so many jobs I can't prioritise and usually end up doing nothing or going out. On a bad day it is hard to get out of my dressing gown. I think of folk like crafty wee midden (sending love) and wonder why I am so hopeless. Love to all from Heather xx

crafty wee midden Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 5:31pm

Thank you, Heather. One thing I have learned us that comparing my level of pain/stress/upset to anyone else's is not good for me; your pain is your pain, and every bit as important as anyone else's. don't know if Ive explained that very well...what I mean is that there will always be someone with worse problems....but that doesn't diminish the importance of your wn, so please don't berate yourself for being're not. You are *you* with your own problems and difficulties, and have as much right to talk about how you feel as anyone else. Hope that comes through as I meant it....sending hugs and a purr from Spock love Alex(the crafty wee midden)

Anonymous Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 5:58pm

Oh Amy you have really hit the nail on the head here - for me and for many - so true! I am slowly learning not to beat myself up for not doing stuff, and am gradually learning to live in a bit of a muddle rather than stressing about the need for it all to be perfect - but it is hard - so hard! That internal Tyrant ...!

We all need to remember that we are human BEINGS not human "doings" - that people are far more interested in us than in our "showcase" (!) houses.

Imperfection is human and so is wonderful - but it is hard to say and even harder to believe!

Good luck one and all with learning to love yourself for what you are rather than what you do.

Suzy Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 6:20pm

Superb post Amy. Definitely one for me.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 6:46pm

Amy, you have shone a spotlight into many of our lives and spoken to many hearts! My "to do" list is always one that would take three days! Brilliant post and one so many of us empathise with. Crafty Wee Midden, so pleased you have commented again as you and your loss have been on my mind and in my (admittedly subconscious) prayers. I wish you peace and the strength to keep going -and a stroke to Spock and Data.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 17th 2014 @ 9:53pm

Thank you Amy for putting so eloquently into words how I feel a lot of the time. Sometimes it's so hard to see when you're in a vicious cycle of perfectionism. Identifying the problem is the first step. Thanks again.

crafty wee midden Sat, Oct 18th 2014 @ 9:43am

Mary, thank kind.....that means a great deal to me. I shall give Spock and Data extra cuddles, from you. They are both stuffing their faces right now, after a fast and furious game of from Alex( the crafty wee midden) x

Anonymous Mon, Oct 20th 2014 @ 10:27am

me too seems that what I'm needing is a feeling of being in control....and these days life is so complicated that that is fairly hard to achieve!! we've just got to lower our aims!

Anonymous Mon, Oct 20th 2014 @ 11:14am

I agree with so many peoples comments today! How very human are we ALL : ). I am once again suffering with IBS. Its a balancing act for me try and eat the right food which does not cause the cycle of IBS, give me patience, not again!! Now what can I eat? Is it stress, another day getting rid of all eaten down the loo. Now what can I eat which will stay put. I'm too exhausted now to do anything and nought in the tummy but my cuppa T. I feel constantly guilty for sitting around and all the tasks I know will make me feel like I am making the most of the beautiful day ahead, and why am I lying still in bed, watching TV or vegetating. I scold myself to get up. At least I am dressed, : ). Oops, typing here now, but its relaxing to scroll through all comments on Amy's post. I'm told it cd be down purely to stress. Knowing me its about seeking to please and be Perfect. So Everybody just try and be YOU and try not to seek Perfection. Easier said than done. : ) Sigh......

crafty wee midden Tue, Oct 21st 2014 @ 6:51am

Oh, Anonymous, how I sympathise....similar problem, diverticular disease; and the constant battle of wondering what I can eat, and what will set it off, all with a very poor appetite to begin can very definitely be stress related - I knw from experience. Anything stressful/emotional and Im in and out the loo like a jack in the box. Imodibum helps, sometimes. Hope you're feeling a bit better today..

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