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Coping Technique

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I wanted to share an odd coping technique that I found helpful when I get depressed and particularly when I realise I’m not functioning.

Sometimes when I go down with depression I find that I start procrastinating and become unable to do even very simple tasks.  It feels like I’m sinking beneath a mountain of stuff that has got out of control and the worse it gets the more I find I can’t do anything so the problem gets worse and spirals out of control.

At these times I’ve found that writing a “concern list” is very helpful.

The Technique
This is very simple yet very effective.  What I do is to write down everything and anything that is on my mind.  I literally make a list that includes everything I need to do that day alongside triggered memories haunting me alongside friends I need to catch up with.  The list is very flexable but does have some rules:

  1. It contains everything I need to remember or find I can’t forget even if I wanted to.
  2. I never put elaborate descriptions on (one word or name is often enough).  Writing it should never trigger me more than I already am.
  3. Items are never repeated.  No matter how big an issue is, it’s still just one point on the list.

It makes a very odd list but it really helps.  So for me this can look like this:

  • Take shower
  • Put Trash out
  • Fix bathroom sealant
  • C was a psychopath who hurt me.
  • Go for cycle ride
  • Talk to Jenny
  • V might still be under C’s control.
  • Buy Eggs
  • Talk to James
  • Holiday plans

What this technique does is to dig me out of the crippling inability to function day to day.

When I’ve dealt with something I cross it off (just like a todo list).  Actually its quite an important point... the list is never just "big stuff" that I can't do anything about.  If I write down everything I can feel that I've got everything down on the page.  That then lets me see when I'm getting little things sorted, even if they are just little.

What I find is that instead of memories of C stopping me getting out the house to buy eggs, I find I can go to the shops because it’s on my list.  It doesn’t matter that some things will linger around for a long time.  Crossing off the small things is always mildly pleasing and lets me feel less crushed by life.  Keeping the most major issues as just one bullet point puts things back in some kind of perspective.


I thought this might be useful to someone.

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