Mental Health

Savoring the Small Victories

I have always been a big fan of lists, especially when it comes to grocery shopping.  When I’m depressed, lists tend to move from a preference to a necessity in order to compensate for the decline in my memory and concentration.  When things are really bad I even try to organize my shopping list into produce section, dairy aisle, etc., because otherwise I end up wandering back and forth all over the store, my pattern of disorganized movement mirroring the disorganization of my mind.

Yesterday I was walking to the grocery store, and about halfway there I realized that I’d forgotten my phone at home.  I use Google Keep for my grocery list, so no phone meant I was list-less.  I was then faced with two options: go home and get my phone, or just go ahead and do my grocery shopping trip without it.  I’ve noticed that my thinking has been clearer this week, plus there weren’t a lot of things I needed, so I decided ok, I can do this.  It also helped that the sun was shining, and I had actually bothered to put on real non-yoga clothes and a bit of makeup.  This was my day, dammit.

I didn’t spend a lot of time in the store, and when I got to the checkout I was feeling pretty confident.  On the way home I thought of 2 things I had forgotten, but I felt ok about it.  When I got home and checked my list, I had gotten 7 of the 10 things I’d intended to get.  70% ranks an A+ compared to how I’ve been functioning most of the time lately.

What I’m particularly proud of is my willingness to go for it, to just dive in without my list as a safety net.  I focus less on the fact that I forgot 3 things as the fact that I remembered 7 things.  I believe it’s the little things like this that are often really important indicators of progress.  So yay for me and for small victories!

Book cover: Managing the Depression Puzzle, 2nd ed., by Ashely L. Peterson

Managing the Depression Puzzle takes a holistic look at the different potential pieces that might fit into your unique depression puzzle. The revised and expanded 2nd edition is now available on Amazon.

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22 thoughts on “Savoring the Small Victories”

  1. I can totally relate to this. Lists help me stay focussed when I’m having a bad mental health day. Congrats for pushing through your discomfort though!

  2. I organize my list by grocery store aisles as well. I also need to go up and down every single isle, even if I don’t need something from one otherwise, I get turned around and go the wrong way and start to panic!

    7 out of 10 items is awesome. Good for you for sticking it out and getting it done!!

  3. Yay on two counts, firstly that you carried on and went to the store without your list and secondly for remembering 70%, that’s pretty awesome! 🙂

  4. Yay Ashley. Grateful for all you had in this post which is a bucket full, vs mournful for the few you left out which is a Fone and 3 items you survived without.

  5. Ashley, I just came back to share a big small victory of mine with you. In 2015 maybe January or so, while still in Brussels, I was going through a real shitty time and the meds I was given were making me want to stay under the covers only. I was getting scared to sleep but I also didn’t want to see any light. On the third day of this impasse, I dashed for my laptop and shot out a quick blog titled: If only I could leave this bed and house. I got some positive comments although just by writing, I realized light couldn’t kill me (what a phobia then right?). I then sneaked out of bed, put on my sports wear, left the house, dragged myself to the gym, but came right back because I felt like 300 pounds over. I was however so so proud of myself for the efforts to even leave that bed and house lol

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