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Had an epiphany----now what do I do with it?
September 5, 2005
12:09 am
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cpt1212
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I always swing between being exceptionally productive and organized to the point that most people would find it ridiculus and then something happens and I crash and EVERYTHING becomes an unorganized mess. Right now I am in the mess stage and have been trying to figure out why---and tonight I think I got it----when I have it all together everything has to be perfect, I can't just sit I feel like something always has to be done, nothing can wait and I have this intense pressure to have things remain perfect, so when things have gone to shit anything I do is an improvement and the pressure is gone. Now that I understand this what do I do next so I can find the middle ground?

September 5, 2005
12:32 am
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Neshema
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hi, cp-

I think when a person is a perfectionist and accomplished, when there is a period of down time or disorganization, we get a bit lost and it becomes hard to get back in the mode. I think that is what was going on with my promotion stuff, and I know why. I was really stressed about other stuff, and I couldn't focus, and so the thing I had to do just kept getting to be a bigger and bigger weight. I was more and more lost. I finally just faced the thing, but it would be nice to find the balance that middle ground. Good question.

September 5, 2005
11:48 am
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D dog
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This is a REALLY good question. I do the same thing, like letting laundry accumulate and letting my apartment become an actual biohazard before I break down and clean it. Then suddenly, I "snap", and become a total whirlwind, cleaning everything in site.

When I let things go, it is usually due to depression, and because I find myself in "waiting" mode; i.e. obsessing about something (well, someone, anyway) and being too distracted to handle anything else.

Also, growing up, our house was always like a "show home", my mom didn't work and everything was always totally perfect. I mean, we couldn't even leave our shoes in the living room - she would throw them at us and tell us to put them away. So now, it is almost a form of rebellion to let things go a bit...

Middle ground, yeah - I would like to find that, too. Maybe just doing a little bit each day instead of the "all or nothing" approach...

September 5, 2005
11:59 am
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jamaicanwife
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Epiphanies are useless for daily living. They never come with instructions. I have been googling self-management and time management and have got a lot of useful advice off the net.

If depression is not part of the problem, it shouldn't be hard to find some stuff you can really use, but if it is, then the depression is the thing that needs to be addressed.

September 5, 2005
4:25 pm
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Neshema
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i always caution people about diagnosing who are not clinicians, who have not given a battery of psychological tests, and who have not met the person. We don't know that depression is the problem. In my case, it I had a stalker, FYI. However, perfectionism has been studied widely, especially in the Educational Psychology and Gifted Education literature. People who are perfectionsts have many common characterisitcs. I am not a but surprised by this epiphany, and would not minimize the importance of self-concept, self-awareness (or the beliefs one has about oneself). IT is known to predict achievement. So, if cpt, you know understand something better about yourself, that is a good thing. As for D dog, I can relate, my house was just as clean.

September 5, 2005
4:33 pm
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jamaicanwife
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Neshema, I am not diagnosing, I am making what I believe to be an important point - if she is not depressed, there are many resources available on the internet - but if she does suffer from depression - as some people do, whether or not they have been diagnosed - then the advice on self-management and time management will not be all that helpful.

Depression is one of the many reasons why peole appear disorganized,why things will fall apart for some people - I know that it has that effect on my life. When I feel good, I can do great things, but when I am low, I can do nothing.

September 5, 2005
4:39 pm
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Neshema
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Depression could explain a lot of things on this site, but so can other things.

September 5, 2005
4:50 pm
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jamaicanwife
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I wasn't offering it as THE explanation, I was just throwing it out there. As I am not a clinician, who has not given her a battery of psychological tests, and who has not met the person, I can only talk about what I know.

You know, even if you respond to this post, Neshema, I'm done. I've got cramps, and this is going somewhere I don't want to go. Plus, I don't see how nitpicking and taking a superior tone is helpful. It is really only bringing out my inner bitch.

September 5, 2005
5:02 pm
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Neshema
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Jam-

In case you should peek. We are here to help cpt. You can embrace your inner b*tch all you want. It is not my problem. Now, I am done engaging with you. Hope you cramps feel better.

September 5, 2005
5:04 pm
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bonita1
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cp,

That was a pretty cool insight into yourself. I can relate to that because I too have that tendency to be overly perfectionistic and when I can't be perfect(because nobody's perfect even Mary Poppins was only practically perfect!!) then everything tends to go to hell, too.

Funny, I was just discussing this on another thread in libs. Telling somebody they can't be wonder woman. I have tried to be too many times and failed. Its very frustrating and tends to make one very angry.

Wow. But now you have had your epiphany...now what do you do? Personally, I tell myself I am not perfect, I can only do so much and I can only do one thing so I will do it and not stress about the other stuff. I think there is even a book that says, "Don't sweat the small stuff."

September 5, 2005
5:09 pm
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Shaney
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From what I understand, and have experienced so far, this site is a great place to come for understanding, insight based on personal experience, empathy, suggestions for reading material, direction, opinions, and above all, support.
I have never seen anyone give a professional diagnosis to another person on this site - and that still holds true, even after reading the posts above. I see Jamaicanwife offering her opinion based on her own research - not a diagnosis. I value the opinions on this site - some apply to me, some don't. That's the greatest thing about this site: you have a CHOICE - take what helps you, or leave what doesn't. We're all only trying to help, and to heal. Love - Shaney

September 5, 2005
5:16 pm
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I C Gold
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Just tossing out a probable cause, some mild form of bi-polar?
I mean with the so opposites, of course somebody with a real MD and PHD behind their name could do a better job. I was diagnosed as BP but only suffering the depressive phase of it. My "manic" moments were what most people handle as completely normal activities. Or so said my shrink at the time.

Just something to consider and maybe you have.
But the "up" moments are great for spring cleaning, want to come to MY house the next time one hits? LOL
Take care,

September 5, 2005
5:26 pm
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bonita1
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Shaney! That's what I thought too! I thought it was just jammy's personal opinion. Oh well.

September 5, 2005
5:38 pm
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Neshema
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well, sorry gang & jam, if I am too sensitive regarding the diagnosis thing....it has been duly noted! I will say this, and hopefully ya'll can understand, I was trying to cite the literature, not to attack, jam, but to validate cpt and give her info. I have some familiarity with the literature in this area, but I also am not here to offer any professional opinions. So, in good faith, Nesh

September 5, 2005
5:42 pm
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Shaney
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Hey bonita 🙂 - yeah... whoa. Since we're seeing lots of words with no actual tone or expression, I can see where some wires may get crossed or misinterpretations may occur.

Hey cpt - sorry to cut in on your thread, honey. Back to you :). I think your questions has everything to do with mental, emotional and physical ENERGY. To maintain a balanced physical energy that allows us to get all of our work done, we have to have that emotional and mental balance behind us. If I'm depressed, I can just sit there all day (at work OR at home) and just stare.... really... just sit and stare. But during my highs, I can do anything and everything in record time. It's the energy. Keep that balance and you've found your answer - now just let me know when you figure out how to keep that balance. 🙂

September 5, 2005
7:48 pm
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jamaicanwife
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I have found this list occasionally helpful, but only if I actually do what it recommends. Reading it to myself, even if I do it aloud, is not effective :).

SELF MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST

1. Specify a clear cut goal you want to accomplish. And be very specific. Like I'll write for four hours a day, or run three miles, or do 30 push ups, or can 24 quarts of tomatoes, or spend an hour crocheting.

2. Specify when you'll do it. Like everyday, Monday through Friday, or every morning, seven days a week, or at 10:00 am on Thursday.

3. Record your hit rate. Make a record of your successes and your failures, like a graph of the numbers of hours per day or a note on your calendar of the number of miles run each day.

4. Make a public commitment. Tell someone what your goals and your deadline are. And even ask them to check on you to see if you got it done. That's a subtle way of arranging for a little mild social reward or punishment, approval or disapproval, depending on whether you get the job done. No big deal, but it helps.

5. Add an explicit penalty for failure, if you need to. Tell your monitor you'll pay them a quarter or a dollar or take them out to lunch for each of your failures. But keep the penalty small, almost at a joke level, otherwise everyone will start getting uptight, and you're liable to fib a bit.

6. Think small. Don't try to make up for your past sins in a single day. If you've got a hundred letters to write, don't try to do them all right away. A postcard a day may be infinitely better than what you're doing now. Going for too much too soon is why many people fail at self-management. That's a big one so watch out for it.

7. Specify the amount of product you're going to produce. If simply specifying the amount of time you're going to log in doesn't do the trick, in other words, if you just sit there goofing off, specify the number of rows you're going to knit, the number of pages you're going to read, or whatever.

8. Get a timer that beeps every five minutes and chart whether you're on task, if you find yourself drifting off too much. This is especially good when you might have trouble measuring the amount of the product. Like when you're doing spring cleaning, but may get distracted too easily by Better Homes and Gardens.

9. Arrange for regular contact with your monitor, daily or weekly as needed. This is another one of those week points in the system. It helps to put your self-management project on the agenda with someone you meet with regularly and formally, a superior, a peer, or a sub-ordinate -- it doesn't matter.

10. Arrange for your friend to monitor your graphing as well as your goal attainment. I think it's important to keep a good record of your performance so you'll be motivated not to mess up that pretty record, but you might also need to contract your charting, or that charting may fall out.

11. "Put Satan behind you." Get rid of distractions. Try to do your work when and where no one can bother you. Watch out for that phone. And we can blow a whole morning sorting through our junk mail and new magazines. Get as many tempting distractions out of your work environment as possible. Put the axe to the TV set.

12. Recycle. Your self-management project may not work the first time you try it. And it will certainly fall apart from time to time, so be prepared with some scotch tape and bubble gum to put it back together again. Remember, you do not demean yourself by using these explicit self-management techniques. Use them and you'll be in the company of some of the world's most productive people.

- Richard W. Malott

September 5, 2005
7:53 pm
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jamaicanwife
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I also intend to give this a try as soon as I can.

STEPS TO OVERCOME PERFECTIONISM
Step 1: In your journal, answer the following questions:
1. What characteristics of perfectionism are true for me? How do these perfectionistic traits impede my efforts to change my problematic behavior?

2. What irrational beliefs of perfectionists do I ascribe to? How do these beliefs influence my desire to change? How do these beliefs contribute to a failure script in my efforts to change? What rational alternatives can I adopt to reduce the negative impact of perfectionism in my life?

3. What are the negative consequences of perfectionism in my life? What am I doing to address these negative issues in my life? How do these negative issues affect my past and current efforts to change my problematical behavior?

4. What new rational behavior do I need to develop in order to overcome the negative impact of perfectionism? How will these new behavior traits help me to fully achieve change in my life?

5. How can my social support system help me in overcoming my perfectionistic attitude? What contributes to perfectionism in my support system? What changes in my support system would reduce its perfectionistic character?

6. How does dealing with my perfectionism help me in my efforts to change? How well does perfectionism explain why past attempts to change have failed?

Step 2: In your journal, identify a problematic behavioral pattern you want to change; then list the characteristic negative behavior traits of the pattern. For each of the negative characteristics list positive alternative behavior traits. For each of the new alternative behavior list your likelihood of achieving them 100% of the time. How many new behavior traits could you achieve 100% of the time?

Step 3: Once you have recognized that no change can be achieved 100% of the time, continue changing your problematic behavior patterns. If you continue to be hindered by perfectionism, return to Step 1 and begin again.

September 5, 2005
7:57 pm
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D dog
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Wow - JW! This is great! Thanks so much for sharing this info - I am going to start working on it!

:o)

September 5, 2005
8:10 pm
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jamaicanwife
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I hope they don't sit festering on your hard drive as they did on mine!

September 6, 2005
12:57 am
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cpt1212
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Thank you to all of you for your input. This definately give me some things to consider and to try.

Yes,
JW depression is part of it, but I don't think the whole story, b/c it seems to have gotten worse, but my depression is not as intense as in other times in my life. I do appreciate your candor, b/c so often I just beat myself up for being lazy and when you said, " When I feel good, I can do great things, but when I am low, I can do nothing", it really made feel better and not like such a lazy freak.

Nesh, I am going to do some reading on perfectionism--I think that may also be part of now that you mention it. I was always a very high achiever and when I failed at something in my early 20s I really didn't know what to do, who I was and was afraid to try again--although I didn't realize that at the time!

D dog ---when you said, "Also, growing up, our house was always like a "show home", my mom didn't work and everything was always totally perfect" it hit a nerve. It was the same for me growing up and I guess I didn't connect that before.

I C---Funny you should mention bi-polar. My dad is and my dr asked me the other day if I am. My therapist assures me that I am not. I really don't think I am but growing up with a bi-polar parent, who was not on any meds or in counseling, you do tend pick up on their habits and way of relating to the world. This is something I have been struggling with--what is appropriate and what is not.

September 8, 2005
5:08 pm
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addicts wife
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well,
Im sitting here ponderingthis as I sit in a room FULL of clutter and wonder how I let it get this bad.
I LOVE things being Just so" all organized, in thier place, and even organize my sock drawer ny color....that is when "I'm good."
but then something snaps nad it all seems ot unravel.
Thinking back, I have been this way my whole life.
Only child of what i call a neurotic cleaner" she is also a professional cleaning womasn, so we lived in an extremelt clean house with the exception of my room, when I was depressed, had ADD issues" or whatever it was /ios called.
I still dont know what triggers the fall of my anal retentive organization.
It is a total distracxtion and crippling for me ot be around sop much disorder, to the point that i feel I cannot get up and start, unti lI "lose it" and jusdt get into my psycho cleaning neurosis." LOL, then I sit down, smoke a cigarette like cleaning was good S-e-x, and go , "Okay, now I can think, and sleep, and look forward to coming in the apartment.
I wont een let friends come visit me here when It gets ythis way, and on most accounts, Its really not that bad, but I see it that way.

I will certainly be printing out those suggestiopns that JW posted!!!!
and I'll put thhem on my fridge, than file them in a folder lavweled "self help" of course that will be alphabetized, and most likely color coded as well, IF it gets that far.
LOL
I dont have any really helpful suggestions, but For me trying ot keep a sdance of humor helps keep my wits about me as I look for the middle ground under a pile of stuff...LOL
When I am doing well, though, making small lists and tackling one thing at a time helps stop me from feeling "cripples" and too overwhelmed, other wise I get this anxiety thing where i cant even get started, and my brain races all over the place trying to stop it and get moving....
perhaps I need some meds. LOLor a maid!!1which is cheaper?????
(((((hugs)))))
AW

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