There are absolutely people reading this who struggle with everyday tasks because of their emotional and behavioral symptoms— but who don’t advertise the fact, because they don’t want to appear “screwed up.”
I’m talking about things like going going grocery shopping. Taking their car in for maintenance. Making phone calls. Taking their pets in to vet appointments.
There’s this myth in our culture that if you struggle with everyday tasks, you MUST be in severe crisis— but that’s not true.
You wouldn’t know by looking at a lot of people that their anxiety or depression very often holds them back from doing things many people don’t think twice about.
Many, many people keep their everyday struggle hidden.
The truth is, you don’t have to be in severe crisis to struggle with something like running errands or making phone calls.
There are many levels of anxiety— and not all of them are what we think of as debilitating.
I guarantee there is someone you think of as “high functioning,” who struggles with something you wouldn’t IMAGINE someone “like them” struggling with.
So many people keep their struggles under wraps because they’re embarrassed.
They don’t want to be thought of as “that person,” who can’t easily go, say, grocery shopping.
Our culture tends to think in very black and white terms when it comes to level of impairment, especially impairment due to emotional or behavioral issues.
If you’re reading this and you struggle with everyday tasks of living, you should know you’re not alone— and you should know that it doesn’t mean you’re hopeless or helpless.
There are PLENTY of smart people, people who have made progress in their recovery, people who are resilient and high functioning in lots of ways, who have a hard time getting out of the house (or, for that matter, have a hard time keeping their house clean).
It’s such a drag that we think of impairment in terms of “how sick” a person is.
You don’t have to be debilitatingly ill, mentally or otherwise, to struggle with the anxiety that comes with being out of the house.
Depression very often robs people of the energy and focus necessary to run certain errands.
Anxiety very often hijacks our physiology in such unpredictable ways, that we’re never quite sure whether it’s safe or practical to leave the house.
You don’t have to be a train wreck to struggle with activities of daily living.
It’s really important, as we heal, that we confront shame.
Lots of us really struggle to distinguish between “because I can’t do this thing right now, I’m helpless, hopeless, and useless.”
What you can or can’t do right now isn’t a function of who or what you are— it’s a function of what you can or don’t do right now.
No more; no less.
Don’t get down on yourself because you struggle with everyday tasks.
It’s not about how smart you are. It’s not about how resilient you are. It’s not about whether or not you’re working hard enough in recovery.
It’s not about whether therapy is “working” or not.
It’s about what’s going on with you right now.
Some days are going to be better; some days, not so much.
The name of the game is identifying what activities and routines are meaningful for your life— and what, specifically, gets in the way of being able to carry those routines out.
We work on realistic ways around each obstacle as we identify each obstacle.
It’s slow going sometimes— but the truth is, EVERYBODY has obstacles to feeling and functioning the way they’d prefer.
You’re on your way to identifying and overcoming YOUR obstacles.
Don’t let shame trip you up.
Just identify and work on the next thing.
Then the next— then the next.
You’ve got this.