Keep It Simple Stupid.
I'm sure you all have heard it before.
But it also applies to why our minds are so twisted back, forwards, and sideways.
A lot of us on this board believe, somehow, somewhere that:
1) We have a destiny in life or a passion that we have to find, and until we find that we don't need to do anything else. It's OK to think that one has a destiny, but to run frantically in SEARCH for it is where we screw up. If any of us do believe in destiny, then it's none of our damn business what it is. That's your Higher Power's business. Ours is to keep living life, not to be obsessed with finding it NOW, but to keep living like everyone else does, the non glamourous life.
Maria (hope i have the right person...avatar of two people in an inner tube?), by personal experience with your college post I would say this:
When I first started college back up, I did silly things...such as I would see a flyer for computer programming class and think that it was a COINCIDENCE that I saw that and it was my DESTINY to take that class. So I took it and got a D! D for destiny I guess. But, though I thought I had stopped believing in coincidences, I still DID believe in them, in a different disguise. Yes, coincidences have occured in my life but I was UNAWARE of them until after the fact, and they had no MEANING...they may have led to meaning but the coincidence I found in them was simply an association based on my knowledge. I remember Janine once making a post about coincidences...how there may be something to them but it is not for our DP'd minds to ponder, because we try to ENGINEER them.
Coincidences or not, I sense you might have the same conflict I did, Maria. I was trying to FIND what I should do, to have that voice guide me. I realized eventually my successes in the past were when I went about with my business and did what i was supposed to do, then the magic happened.
So, after that semester of computer programming (something I will likely not do again, lol), I went to the counseling office and sat down and asked "Ok. What classes do I have left to do in my general studies?" and we made a schedule. No particular study, just what did I need to do to get the BASICS out of the way. And you know what? In some of those BASIC classes I met the greatest teachers, one whose random tangent quote may have saved my life. And I felt a proud sense of accomplishment when I finally GOT a degree. Oh boy.
2) We believe that this DP is more complex than it is.
I know for myself lack of real structure and discipline was my downfall. Lack of personal accountability and responsibility. I DID have a period that was VERY real and anxiety free, where I WAS very responsible and accountable...damn near PERFECT...and i made the awful mistake of blowing it all away when I decided I wasn't having very much fun and that the reason for my lack of fun was that I had responsibilities. So i quit my job and things went downhill.
Fun or not fun. What is fun. WHO GIVE A FUCK WHAT FUN IS! A lot of people are in 12 step programs because they kept chasing "fun". If we LOOK for fun, we wind up in trouble. If we CREATE fun in our responsibilities, then we can feel better about them. When we decide that accomplishment is fun, that physical labor releases endorphins...which are FUN, that meanial tasks can be meditative and in that sense, FUN...it makes things a lot simpler. Part of my downfall is when I decide that work is just a means to all my other stuff, then i get caught up with having to go to the bar to this party to this thing and that and planning everything out and ignoring the moment.
We don't focus on the moment. Some of us may think that we work and live to reach those "highest highs", those moments of pleasure. But when we reach those highest highs...a perfect date, a fun drunk, the big game...if we have ONLY been working in order to reach those highs, we feel let down.
(by the way, going to those parties and such is AWESOME, if they are a side dish to life rather than the main course. When you revolve your life around pleasure, you get burned. you meet another heartbreaker, you binge drink/eat/whatever...you lose control. balance is key I guess.)
3. We believe only in the future.
We don't pay attention to what is going on NOW, what has to be done NOW. We often daydream and spend time thinking of what we will achieve when we recover...
But we can't even walk outside for lack of clean clothes.
4. We believe in the "highest highs."
We believe that life is about meeting the perfect person. We believe that life is about going to the best hotels, clubs, restaurants, islands. We believe that life is about having the most exotic adventures. We believe that life is about doing the most awesome drugs (at least some of us do...ok..me
Or we believe that life is about hitting the lowest lows...going through the MOST pain, being able to tell everyone how we were homeless and living in the worst part of the worst city wearing the least matched clothes.
I had the good fortune to spend a night at the Bacara resort in Santa Barbara. It made a peer of mine very jealous, as she almost got the opportunity to stay there.
I couldn't explain to her that I didn't like it.
I couldn't explain to her that even on the elegant Santa Barbara coast, I still woke up at 4 AM wanting to kill myself.
Yet today at a stressful training for work, I had an incredible time compared to staying at the Bacara. If i had stayed at that hotel at a busy time in my life, it would have been fabulous. I would have felt like I earned it. But I had been jobless and out of school, bored to tears, and went on this trip, expecting IT to fulfill me.
So i end up waking up at 4 AM and...yeah.
Martin once made a post about how he has done everything in life that he wanted to do.
the things he mentioned sounded quite wonderful, but I think in a way that post saved my life a little bit. Because he mentioned that he married and divorced the woman of his dreams. I realized then if he could do that and STILL get DP'd and still do and be all those other wonderful things that give him that...uh...colorful personality, then i didn't NEED to find ANYONE of my dreams. Talk about taking a load off of one's chest! When you don't have to spend all your time looking for love, that really clears up room for important things, like not getting fired or kicked out of the house.
We love to daydream.
Some people actually grow out of it. Or keep it to a minimum. Or they don't abuse it, using daydreaming to prevent them from doing the things they fear to do or confronting the people they need to confront or taking the responsibilities that they need to take on, or admitting the things that they need to admit. Hell, I'm being avoidant by typing this post right now. But whatever.
4) We believe that other people reached where they are out of sheer luck, genetics, whatever.
We don't notice that the girl with the perfect body has a diet coke in her hand. We don't notice that that quack doctor who must have cheated his way to the top has an impressive amount of diplomas from accredited schools on his wall. We don't notice that the person with the clean house actually spends a lot of time, uh, CLEANING...
We just notice the results, and compare them with where WE are, and assume that everyone thinks and acts like us, and therefore we were given a bad hand and THEREFORE we don't have to do anything at all!
5) We believe we need to check to see if the world is real. I just did it right now, I must admit. looked to my left.
Then I realized, it was an impulse. An obsessive compulsive person might wash their hands 20 times. We check for reality multiple times. It's part of a ritual. Right now a LOT of us are in an OCD state of mind, even if we aren't diagnosed as OCD. I would go so far to say that we ALL are. Should I drink? Not drink? Should I read or lift or work or die or eat? Or not? (we never ask "does it matter?" we swear it does matter) I read somewhere that someone with OCD has overactivity in a part of their brain that generates worry (basically learned fears). Well, duh, you might tell me. BUT...think about it. When we check for reality, we are having an obsession and a compulsion. We may, at this point, have a part of our brain that is overactive. It is not DAMAGED, it is just working overtime because we have been living in a pattern of fear. It is simply overactive (kind of like the "love" part of your brain would be overactive when you are in love.) And we believe that we must FIND or HOLD ON TO reality, much like someone else is convinced that if they don't wash 20 times a day then bad juju will happen.
Oh yeah I've had OCD since about age 11, if not for before. I think it has to do wtih growing up in a family that was convinced that if you stay out too late you WILL get raped, or if you refrigerate stuff wrong you WILL poison it...etc. I just kind of soaked it all up. No wonder I thought I was going do die. And then when I wanted to die, I didn't even get to die. DAMNIT. Just can't win!
What is this about keeping it simple?
Well here it is.
I will do it if you will do it.
Ignore everything you believed, if just for a moment or a minute.
in that minute, try these new things:
If you have a to-do list, don't figure out the most IMPORTANT thing to do. It doesn't matter. Do the first thing on the list no matter what it is. You will never get to the most important thing. Because you will have some other panic inducing thing tomorrow. And honestly you will GET it all done if you trust yourself, Atlas.
If you are trying to decide what to do with your life, get a job. Or get more hours or take the classes you NEED to take. The reality is you have a SHIT load of things to do, but you would rather sit and ponder the RIGHT thing to do instead.
Go into a store knowing exactly what you are going to get. And get just that. Don't think if it was the best thing or not. It was what you needed upon arriving at the store, you didn't need anything else.
I should call a therapist myself, but when I do I think this time I will go in ABC order in the phone book instead of trying to intuitively find the RIGHT one. It didn't work last time. But yeah. If you need to find a service in the phone book or a school to go to or a place to eat, go with either a) something you really like, and if you don't have a preference then b) whatever pops up first and is most convenient. There is no other way to know.
Remember the important thing is that you DO something. Stop thinking.
A mind is a terrible thing. Waste it.
If you know you have to do something, do it.
If you know you shouldn't do something, don't do it.
Not easy of course, but the more you do what you NEED to do the more you will like yourself enough to NOT do what you SHOULDNT do and the more confidence you will build to help get out of this.