Recovering from a Breakdown (2)
By: Beth McHugh 2006
Today we will continue on from our initial article regarding taking those first small steps to recovery.
In the previous article, I stressed the point about how important it is to do something, even if it is only a small task. I talked about setting yourself the goal of making the bed each day. This can seem like a monumental task to a person who is struggling to survive on a day- to-day basis, and to accomplish that task is a real achievement.
Making a commitment to a task such as making the bed has many benefits:
- There is a sense of achievement in actually completing the goal.
- The bedroom looks better whenever you walk past it during the course of the day. This will have the (often unconscious) effect of giving you a sense of personal control. Do not underestimate the effect of your environment on how you are feeling. You may not be able to control your feelings at present, but you can have control over the bedclothes!
- When you go to bed at night, you are entering a much more esthetically-pleasing environment, and it will be a tangible reminder that no matter how your day has been, you have achieved something.
What do I do next?
The next thing to do is to make a commitment to yourself to make the bed each day. You may ask: “What is the point of making the bed each day, I have so many other things that are more important to do, and I can’t do them. Shouldn’t I be concentrating on them?”
Consider this. If you have a broken leg, nobody expects you to run a marathon. Yet people with severe emotional and mental problems will often expect that they should be “perfect”, that they should be able to achieve all that they achieved before they became ill.
There is an old saying: “Sow an act and reap a habit”
By committing to the often not-so-simple act of making the bed each morning, you are creating for yourself a new habit, a positive habit, and a habit that will set you on the path to recovery.
This does not mean that you must make the bed each morning for the rest of your life! But what it does mean is that while you are unwell, and unable to undertake all your usual duties, you are slowly chipping away at the way you are living your life now. You are evoking small changes in your life – positive changes. Remember, the longest journey starts with the smallest step. And when you are better recovered and able to function well, the bed can be left unmade when it suits you. However, at this point in your recovery, it is a habit well worth making.
Stay tuned for further tips on recovery from breakdown. In the meantime, sow an act!