Strategy vs. Shame
I started journaling again because it was somewhat successful in the past. Connecting with my feelings rather than ignoring or going numb made me somewhat lighter. There was another tool that worked in the past, the calendar.
This is another difficult thing for me, like journaling. Here, letting out the feelings and thoughts that bombard me, can be painful. Am I purging the harmful thoughts or am I giving them voice? The calendar is similar because any unfinished tasks become avenues for shame.
The reality is that shit needs to get done. So, using a calendar to schedule things isn't all bad. It can lessen anxiety. Like journaling, it can free space in my head. I do not need to worry about giving the dog a bath today because it is on the calendar for next week. Let's concentrate on today.
When I write out my plans for the week I do pretty well. My strategy is sitting down on Sunday or Monday and just making that horrible, shame-filled to-do list on one side of my notebook. Then, I prioritize things on the other side of the notebook into the days of the week. I reality check that I am not taking on too much or that I have ample time for tasks. For example, taking the car in for an oil change could take 40 minutes or 2 hours depending on how busy they are. So, I better not dump other time consuming or questionable commitments on that day.
Anxiety makes this a tenuous strategy, but it can work until it stops. We all have those weeks, right? The ones where nothing goes to plan, or we find appointments we have no control over have piled up in the same week. Things come crashing down for me then. Hard. The shame sucker punches me, throws me down some stairs, and curb stomps my mind.
One thing I learned was to give myself a day, perhaps Friday, that is unplanned. This way, if something comes up and changes my calendar I have a buffer to move things into.
My calendar this week went well. There were no issues. Shame would like to pop in here and say that means I should have done more. In fact, this is why today's journal is happening. I am ashamed that I didn't do more. It is Friday, an open day! What should I do? Freeze. Crash. Shame. This is the dark side of my strategy.