Perspective is so hard to find, and often when we do find it, so very difficult to hold on to. I tend to see things in the very black and white, all or nothing kind of way that is so typical of borderline personality disorder, so I really struggle to keep things in perspective. This applies equally to both good times and bad times. I was given a really helpful piece of advice once…….when things are good, don’t forget the bad times, but when things are bad, don’t forget the good times. This made a lot of sense to me, because I tend to experience quite severe dips in mood after particularly good or exciting events, and if I’m not mindful of what’s going on, it’s far too easy to let a dip become something more.
I want to be clear about something here though – I’m not talking about getting perspective from comparing our situation, good or bad, with someone else, I don’t think that’s ever a helpful thing to do. There will always, always be someone worse off than ourselves, but equally, there will always be someone in a better position. Whatever we are experiencing at any given time, however it makes it feel, it’s what’s real for us.
“It could be worse..”
As a nation, we have a wicked tendency to dismiss things with, ‘ah sure, it could always be worse’. Of course it could!!! But does that help? Genuinely? I often find that if I’m going through a tough spot, and I compare myself to someone who is in a more difficult situation, I end up feeling worse than I did to start with, because on top of whatever the initial problem was, it’s now compounded by guilt at getting wound up over something so trivial.
By the same token, it can sometimes take very little to turn it back around, and while that can be really helpful at times, it’s not the best strategy to rely on. I need to be able to turn it around myself, and that’s something I often struggle with. That’s where perspective comes in.
Taken on more than I should
Right now, it’s in short supply. I’m under pressure at home and at work, and have quite possibly taken on more than I should. It’s hard to make myself take a step back and assess what I need to prioritise, what I need to delegate, what I need to give up, and what is in fact completely beyond my control. I’m indecisive at the best of times, and these are all big decisions in their own right, never mind coming all at the same time, so I’m having to work really hard not to lose perspective.
The best way I can think to do that right now is to break it down into tiny little steps. Don’t think about the big picture, because it’s too big – I’ll get overwhelmed and likely be found rocking back and forth inside my blanket fort. So I’m taking it one step at a time, and trying really, really hard to just focus on whatever I’m doing at that given moment. Now is a case in point. I have a list as long as my arm of stuff that needs doing, and all are of equal importance. But I’m only one person, my energy is finite, and on top of taking care of commitments I need to take care of myself. So right now, I’m writing this post. When that’s finished I’ll look at the list and pick one more thing for tonight. The rest will have to wait.