It was a simple plan.
I empty the dishwasher, and then you fill it. The empty dogfood cans in the sink that were full of water and soaking shouldn’t have entered the equation. But when I decided to take out the recycling, suddenly it was a big deal.
The act of taking out the recycling container was not the problem.
It was fixating on those cans in the sink that ruined the plan. I took the overflowing container of recycling outside. I keep it in a large resin storage shed on the corner of the porch. I have containers for metal, aluminum, glass, milk jugs, soda, and then a large container for #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7 recycling.
Cardboard I stack on top of the containers inside the shed. Living in the country, I either take the recycling and trash to the landfill or pay a service to do it. When I lived in New Jersey, all of this was included in the extremely expensive taxes I paid. Since I have a small trailer and the landfill is only a few miles away, I take it myself.
Once I had the doors to the outside shed open, I thought I must have those cans in the sink.
In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t important. I have many times emptied the inside container and then added the cans in the sink to the new empty container. But this morning, I had made a deal. I had emptied the dishwasher and someone else was filling it.
But those cans are still in the sink.
They should be in the recycling since I have the shed doors open. Why can’t I just get those cans? The tension is building inside myself and I am fixated on those cans.
So, I saw a moment when the sink was clear of the person loading the dishwasher, and I swooped in. I started grabbing the cans, swishing the remaining dog food out of them and making a pile to take to the recycling shed.
What are you doing?
“I thought we had a plan?” I was busted. And I had sabotaged the plan. Not only that, I had upset, for no reason other than my obsession with those cans, one of my best support people. She left the kitchen clearly upset.
It was only then that I realized this was an unhelpful thought. It was all or nothing and had no basis. Wow, those thoughts are sneaky. It felt so real, needing those cans in the outdoor shed. It was completely unnecessary and was not something I normally do. If the cans are soaking, I either clean them up before taking out the recycling, or I add them to the empty container later.
But because someone else was involved, because there was a plan, for some reason I felt compelled to upset the plan.
I couldn’t just do what I said, do what we agreed to. I had to muck up the plan, causing pain for the other party to the plan. I am so mad at myself for acting this way, for not recognizing that this was an unhelpful and automatic thought.
When we talked about the situation later, it was clear that I had acted on my all or nothing thought at the expense of the plan. I asked what she felt.
“I just want to feel heard.”
Seeing how this one thought had created dissension and alienation, I apologized immediately. By acting on this unhelpful, all or nothing thought, I had negated the plan and turned what was a pleasant sharing of the daily tasks of living in the same house into a situation where she felt unvalued, not listened too.
So, the question becomes, is this an aspect of the depression that I need to understand? Are these unhelpful thinking styles something I must really understand on my road to recovery?
Or am I just being an asshole?
I would like to think that this is not the case because I truly love my supporters and would never consciously want to cause them pain. But there is a time when I get fixated on something and change the plan. And it is in these times that bad stuff seems to happen.
While we were able to talk this out and resolve the issue, I know it dipped into and slightly depleted the stores of goodwill I have with her. I don’t want that to happen, so I am shouding all over myself. Yet I know that is not productive.
Facing these unhelpful thinking styles, learning more about how they get me all stirred up, and then learning more about how to question them and see them for what they are, is my plan. I just wish I had been more aware of this before my mind got wrapped around getting those empty dogfood cans out of the sink and into the recycling container outside.
Once again, I must remind myself, “I have depression, depression does not have me.”
Your comments, likes, and shares are appreciated as I figure this out and continue my journey.