Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Living alone and remembering small achievements.

I’ve been slowly trying to think more positively* over the last week or so, and something struck me about being someone who lives alone.

A few years ago I realised the obvious: all the jobs in my house – washing up, laundry, vacuuming etc – if I don’t do them, they don’t get done.  On one hand, that’s clearly self-evident but, on the other hand, it’s not true for people who live with others.  For them, at some point, someone else will probably do at least one of the jobs, at least once.  In my house, that will never happen.

When I first thought like that, it was quite a depressing and tiresome thought.

But I realised the other day that, because I have to take care of everything in my house/life, I am able to take care of everything in my house/life.  Take yesterday: I had a flat tyre, which I had to change and get repaired.  I then had to cook a meal, and do some laundry and ironing.  Later on, I had a problem with my electrics: something blew and tripped the fuse-box.  So I figured out which appliance was faulty, and of course located the fuse-box to trip it back.  I also found time to pick up my guitar and play some tunes.

I’m not trying to make any of this sound more than it is; I realise none of these things are rocket science.  But, the point is, I suddenly became quite pleased to be someone who can do all those things.  Without meaning to be sexist or anything, I don’t think every man knows how to use a car-jack, play a musical instrument, and how to make a decent meal.  (I can even cook quite well when I put my mind to it or there’s someone to impress!)

One of the things I learned in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) a couple of years ago is not to downplay the positives in life.  Suffering with Depression usually means it’s easy to believe the victories in our own lives are in some way less than those of everyone else.  I have made progress over the last few weeks – I’m no longer sat in my GP’s office in tears for starters; I can do quite a lot of things, some of them even pretty well.  Sure, I’m not yet ‘happy’, or even ‘okay’, but it’s a start, and that’s worth recognising.

Stopping to remember the achievements or progress we have made – though they/it may be small – can be an important step on the long road to recovery.  It even starts to breed hope of further improvement/achievement in the future, and that really is something to feel better about.

*The small print for this post is that all this has coincided with the sort of time we’d expect my increased medication to have started having an effect ... It seems The Verve were wrong...


  1. Well written Martin. Something I needed to hear/read today also. It is a great reminder to me that I should celebrate how far I have come in the last 4 years and to act on that positivity rather than panic about the spiral of dispair I feel I am sliding back into. So thank you for sharing and for your honesty.


  2. I know exactly where you're coming from!

    For the brief time that I lived alone, was thrilled to work out how to order a laptop, set up my phone line and internet, and all kinds of other stuff I never thoguht I'd be doing for myself.

    Also know how you feel about the GP office, and all that's going on. I'm glad you are feeling a bit better. Keep taking it a day at a time. :)