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The 3 'Little' Things I Do That Make a Big Difference During My Depressive Episodes

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1. Wash face
2. Brush Teeth
3. Walk the Dog

It’s not a long list, is it? In fact, it’s a very short list. To me though, in the midst of a depressive episode, it’s exactly what I need today. This little list shows me I’m going in the right direction.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve found great comfort in lists. They help me to keep my head straight and to get things done. As a perfectionist, having a list and being able to tick things off once they were done gave me a sense of accomplishment and control. When I was getting ready to move to Sydney for five months, I had so many lists I ended up with a list for my lists. For a long time making lists helped me to move forward.

Unfortunately, once I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, my love of lists started to work against me. I felt under pressure to get everything on the list done and done perfectly. Believing I had to do everything perfectly made me feel overwhelmed. So instead of even trying to complete the list to the best of my ability, I did nothing. My fear of failure, and of doing something wrong, made sure I couldn’t get anything done.

So I had to stop making lists like I did before. I had to accept they weren’t doing me any good anymore. So now I make little lists instead. The things other people do easily and without thought or effort, I now have to list. I make sure to only put two or three little tasks on my list so I have more of a chance of completing them.

These tasks are very small to other people, but for me, these small steps are huge. They show me this depressive episode is over and I am slowly coming back to myself.

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Thinkstock photo via Glayan

Originally published: August 30, 2017
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