I learned this from a wise, older woman many, many years ago. I have changed it many times since then. 5 years ago, the woman who thought of this was left by her wife. After 30 years together, her wife just got up and left. She had fallen in love with someone else. I hope that her list came back to her and she did what she could do to get through.
This is an assignment. For the days when you don’t want to face the world and don’t think you can get out of bed. But do it now. That way it’s already ready for you when things feel too hard.
You make a list. The list is of the most loving thing to the least loving thing you can do for yourself. (Least harmful to most harmful). When it feels too hard, you go down your list and try to do the most loving thing you can. If the first thing on the list is too hard to do, just go down until you feel willing. That way, if you are like me, you can interrupt it before you get to the destruction. I just keep going down the list until I feel I can hang on until tomorrow. I used to go to the destruction first. It feels better to start at the top.
You have to make your own list. No one else can make it for you.
Call a trusted friend and say everything.
Take a bath.
Ask myself what I need and try to take care of it.
Write in my journal.
Write a gratitude list.
Hug my son.
Eat a meal.
Remind myself that I am ok.
Read an inspirational book.
Go outside, Leave the house!
Go to the grocery store and talk to the clerk.
Drink five cups of coffee.
Drive really fast in the car, with the windows down and the music blaring.
Lay on the floor and cry and say “NOOOOO, It’s too hard!”
Make a batch of raw cookie dough and eat it.
Obsess about other people and their lives.
Check out and fantasize.
Stay in bed.
Stay in bed all day and watch an entire tv series.
Stay in bed all day, watch an entire tv series and eat a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Eat a bag of Lays bbq chips.
Call a therapist.
Refuse to eat or get dressed.
Pull the covers over my head and wait til tomorrow.
Start a fight with someone I love.
Try to end a relationship. Or a few.
Decide to pack up and leave my life, give up, move on.
Smoke a pack of cigarettes.
Find an anonymous person to have sex with.
This is not to make you sad. It is actually to save yourself.
Some days the best thing you can do is hunker down and try not to hurt yourself or others.
Another woman in my life says it’s the days when we are not fit for human consumption that we have to practice extra care. Some days are like that. When I wake up and it feels too hard to be in the world or to be in my skin anymore. This happens to me once a month sometimes. Those are the days I remember my list. I start at the top. I have not had to go to the bottom in a long time.