People who equate truth with fact are missing the point.

Happier and Healthier: Creating a Peaceful Environment

Wow. Alright, based on my email inbox and a few comments, it seems I need to clear a few things up.

I love you all for being concerned. Really and truly, I do. This is meant to reassure, not scold, so please hear it in the manner in which it is intended!

Expressing my feelings is part of the healing process for me. I have spent most of my life hiding my strongest feelings and that has done nothing but make me more and more isolated, and more and more depressed. If these posts are a cry for help, it is only the help that comes from being heard. I don’t expect any of you to fix anything for me; in fact, advice is one of the things that I don’t want.

Be reassured by this: I am under the care of a psychiatrist; I am actively looking for a new therapist; Brian is well aware of my emotional state and if I need a higher level of care he will make sure that I get it; and I have my extended family and some wonderfully supportive friends who will step in and help me in any way they can should I need that.

Writing these posts, making them public, and the wonderful comments and emails that some of you write, are among the most healing experiences I have ever had. Truly, when you say, “I hear you,” or, “I have felt that, too,” I am warmed all over.

I can never thank you enough for that.

One of the things I struggle with (all the time, but even more when I am depressed) is a sort of paralysis born of feeling overwhelmed. I have a hard time seeing the parts and can only see the whole.

If I look at a room and there are dirty dishes, laundry, general clutter, dust, and a dirty floor, I see all of that at once and have a difficult time breaking it up into manageable pieces. If the whole house is a mess (as tends to happen when one is depressed) I don’t know where to start, so I do nothing.

This may seem like a housework issue, but it’s not. Or it is, but only nominally. This is about feeling hopeless and helpless, about making choices and setting standards instead of constantly struggling but getting nowhere.

So yesterday, inspired and encouraged by the wonderful feedback I got after yesterday’s post, I decided to work on cleaning up my office. I want one room that looks nice, to give me a feeling of accomplishment, and my office is the only room I don’t share with anyone, so other people won’t mess it up.

I started with the surface of the desk. Not even that, but one portion. My desk is actually a buffet table and our old kitchen table, so I started with the buffet table. That wasn’t too difficult, so I moved on to the kitchen table. I picked away at it; it took me a long time, and I felt overwhelmed even with this small task.

tidy desk

But I got it done! Carter is thrilled. There is an old kitchen chair across the table from my desk chair and Carter likes to sit there and color or do puzzles when I’m at my desk.

clean desk

I even swept the floor and cleared off my reading chair, which made Lolly happy.

Lolly can't read.I feel pretty great about all I accomplished. It ain’t much, but it’s more than I did yesterday, and sitting here this evening, in tidy surroundings, makes me feel more peaceful.

My goal for tomorrow is to box up all the diet books in this house and get rid of them. Those things are poison for me and I don’t have to keep things that hurt me in my house. I’m ashamed to admit that I have two shelves full of diet books, but I can’t change what I did in the past. I can only learn to do something new.

Namaste, my friends.

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17 comments to Happier and Healthier: Creating a Peaceful Environment

  • Oh, yeah I so know all about feeling overwhelmed by the clutter and mess. Congratulations on taking the tiger by the tail and creating a peaceful space for yourself in your office. Good luck for more tomorrow, and yes, chuck those evil books out now, look ahead, kick the shame to the curb, too. Much love and peace to you.

  • Definitely know that feeling of interia, and the miracle that is *just doing something* (although it’s not ‘just’, really). I really liked SARK’s books to help with these things, I think the one that’s called ‘Juicy Pens’ talks about the feeling of overwhelemed and not being able to move. Her solution – and one I take very much to heart – is when you feel like this, to MOVE. It could be a walk, a trip up the stairs, . No thinking, just moving – and often with the movement the inertia becomes less overwhelming. And yes, micro steps as well – ‘cleaning’ is too general. Aaaanyway. Well done for clearing the desk!! Awesomesauce!

  • No I get that. I am in the midst of a giant cluster fack of events that are making me feel tremendously overwhelmed. One list of tasks look like 10000000 task and I have no where to begin so I just retreat…and lock myself in the bathroom. No lie.
    It’s all about baby steps and doing the little things first and…AND recognizing your accomplishment whether big or small.

  • I totally get what you’re saying. In the midst of a depressive episode, or whatever one wants to call it, I have no motivation to do anything. But the mess frustrates me and makes me more upset. But then I don’t know where to start. What a vicious cycle, right?

    I totally get it. And kudos to you for doing something about it and starting small. I think that’s the only way to really start.

    Namaste indeed, friend.

  • Shawna (momofbug)

    Congratulations! I’m so proud of you that the small step of clearing off a portion of your desk led to such a huge accomplishment, but I would have been just as proud even if had started and ended with the buffet table. Any movement is good movement and the fact that Carter gets to enjoy the space with you makes it so awesome I can’t even speak.
    Love & Martinis!

  • Liz

    A sense of accomplishment always helps to cut the fog!

    Glad you’re getting rid of those diet books. I am not a fan of those things.

  • Himself calls that feeling “Eating the elephant all at once.”

    Don’t try to eat the whole elephant.

    Eat the elephant in small, reasonable, RDA portions.

    Nicely done!

  • Adrienne

    Wow, that makes me want to get some things done at home too. I need to organize one room that I keep avoiding but I need the peace it will bring me when I get it done.

    Great Post

  • Oh! Your office looks beautiful …

    I know clutter and disorganisation too!!!! And reno in half my house, which began rather without enough warning, has caused it to be EVERYWHERE … The worst of it is how much the mess affects my kids, especially the most sensitive one, in a negative way. There is what I need to practice again today, except I am an hour away, at my mother’s, letting in cleaners and a repair guy … because as long as I am running after her business and not in my own mess, I have decided to preserve the only thing I can: I will not clean her house, nor will I allow my sisters, this time.

    BTW … was wondering if you had a sneak preview of my first Band post (now I am REALLY with The Band!) before yeserday’s post or if it was merely the collective unconcious at work? (I put it as my “Website” this time … )

    Boy, could I use that Namaste this week! I am going to sit in the (wet) garden and wait for the repair guy and find it. Peace to you, in your lovely office.

  • TheNextMartha

    Can I lend you a match for those diet books? Ahhhh.

  • I am totally overwhelmed when my space is cluttered – unfortunately my lifestyle generates much in the way of clutter and mess. I periodically have to do just what you did – pick a space and methodically clean and arrange it. The peace of mind I gain is priceless.

    I’m glad you are feeling a little better.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Adrienne Jones, Adrienne Jones. Adrienne Jones said: Happier and Healthier: Creating a Peaceful Environment […]

  • I’m not really a believer in feng shui, though I do insist the toilet lid be kept down (hey, it can’t hurt, right?), but I do think there is something to the feng shui belief that “Clutter is low, stagnant, and confusing energy that drains energy from you…it can also negatively influence, or even completely block, the flow of events in specific areas of your life.” (from I definitely feel overwhelmed when my house is cluttered. I live in a very small house and any amount of clutter can make it feel claustrophobic and I start feeling very edgy.

    I get what you are saying about the importance of being able to express yourself in your writing and not wanting people to worry. I sometimes feel, when I’m struggling with my depression, that people must get sick of hearing about it, and why don’t I just get over myself already?? I don’t want my husband to worry but I also can’t not talk about it with him or pretend I’m not feeling the way I do. He understands this and he also wants to fix it. And he can’t. I have to. (Dammit.) Validation from others can be nice to know that you’re not alone.

  • Your office looks GREAT! I LOVE that blue color…it’s the color I painted our bedroom. I so wish we could fit a desk in our bedroom so i could go be alone.

    Baby steps, my friend. And this was a lovely baby step! Keep going!

  • ant Judy

    Loooooooove that cobalt wall. That would just make me so happy to just sit in all that rich, plummeting depth. Inspired choice.

    The clean is good too. Shows off that blue.

  • I want to know
    if you can sit with pain
    mine or your own
    without moving to hide it
    or fade it
    or fix it.
    -the invitation

    this is what i hope for you and what i also hope to find. just sit with me and i will sit with you and sometimes we will just do nothing but sit.
    you’re desk looks fab. enjoy it!

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