Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up

Taken from: eponis.tumblr.com

PDF copy here.

When we reach the point in our lives when we have given up things are usually pretty bad. I know for myself, I became impulsive, was engaging in risky behaviours and just stopped caring. When I found this list of questions today it got me thinking about my moments of giving up and what either pulled me back from them or kept me in them. This list of questions highlights the little things that can be done to improve our emotional health. Often we find ourselves feeling out of control and the answers to these questions can help you gain some of the control back.

Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up

Are you hydrated?  If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten in the past three hours?  If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs.  Perhaps some nuts or hummus?

Have you showered in the past day?  If not, take a shower right now.

If daytime: are you dressed?  If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas.  Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep?  Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed.  If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day?  If not, do so right now.  If you don’t have the spoons for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please.  If the weather’s crap, drive to a big box store (e.g. Target) and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day?  Do so, whether online or in person.  Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day?  If not, do so — jog for the length of an EDM song at your favorite BPM, or just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days?  If not, do so.  Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets.  Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Do you feel ineffective?  Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip.  Good job!

Do you feel unattractive?  Take a goddamn selfie.  Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision?  Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day.  If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable.  Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days?  If not, hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.

Have you been over-exerting yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually?  That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in generic prescription brand?  That may be screwing with your head.  Give things a few days, then talk to your doctor if it doesn’t settle down.

Have you waited a week?  Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause.  It happens.  Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.

You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through.  You are stronger than you think.


25 thoughts on “Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up

  1. I have given up a couple of times. Most were depression at least twice due to an injury and medication. I know all the answers but could not eat, drink but just slept. I have to go to the food store every 2-3 days because of my living arrangement. I typically keep snacks in my room. Two years ago I was so bad I could not go out at all, had no food and lost 25 pounds in 7 days, which seemed impossible. I give the advise you outlined but sometimes you are past it. I was then but I was seriously injured and the meds I was on made everything impossible. I have to admit I am better at helping others than myself.

    • I have found it’s easier to help others. In moments of where we are not able to care for ourselves it is good to have people around us who can. I know there were times last May when my boyfriend would bring me food and make sure I ate and I had friends offering to come sit with me. Without them things could have been worse.

      • Well I have on occasions been so bad that the people around me did not notice. I had been married and had a good client base and was coaching, her career went up while mine went down. She basically blacklisted me by calling my clients at all hours and where I coached and I lost work, then she left after me being there for her. I live with my sister and the situation is that we need each other. She controls everything and overstocks everything. When I could no go shopping I asked and she didn’t respond. I had a few days where I could not leave my room I felt so awful. I asked on a Saturday if she could pick up something to eat as I could not even go downstairs. She did not until late on Sunday. My friend had seen me a week and a half before and came to see me. I told her it would take me a while to get downstairs. When she saw me, she kicked her bf out of the car, took me everywhere I had to go, got food for me and even came back at 2 am to bring more food. Yet it was easy for her to see I looked like I was dying but my sister saw nothing.

      • It’s moment like those that give us the opportunity to take an inventory on our life. Do we have the best people around us? Do these people add or take away from our life? We don’t always have good people around us and maybe we can’t get them out of our lives but we learn what they can handle and who we can actually go to. It sounds like you at least have a good friend in your life.

      • Yes I have one. But she is at best not consistent. Lives partly close to me and partly away as she recently had a child. I have culled the herd of those that were not real friends, just wanted from me and barely reciprocated. So I find myself with less negativity except my day to day happenings. Yesterday should have been great. I played horses. I loved 3 horses, instead of just betting all three to win, I played multiple race wagers and lost them all but the three I loved all won and paid well. A mistake on my part. Felt great that I was right then shook my head for not covering myself. It makes it easy to feel bad. I workout and sometimes feel like I have been hit by a truck or that it is 20 degrees warmer. But I do try.

  2. 😦
    I’m at a point over the past few weeks where I feel like giving up. I am actually contemplating risky behavior, while at the same time, trying to control other behaviors that are risky. These questions, honestly, can strike an apprehension in me that answering them means I have to admit to something I really don’t like…for example, there is no one that would hug me and show me any physical affection…

    But I do get the point of this…these questions are directed towards action and it’s the inaction that tends to hinder us…

    It was worth reading, that’s for sure.

    • If you need to seek professional please do so. Your safety is important! I know it’s hard to move past the feelings of giving up and sometimes the thoughts are very persistent. You bring to light that self-care is unique because some of us do not have access to some of the suggested solutions. Finding what works for you is important and not comparing what you can do with others.

      Thank you for your comment and I hope you can show yourself compassion and stay safe!

      • I just started with a new therapist, and I have signed a Safety Contract (I blogged about it), so I’m moving in the right direction…and I know what my triggers are, I just don’t know how to change them just yet.

      • That is something I am still learning as well. I’m currently learning urge surfing and I know it will pose a challenge. I hope your new therapist is able to guide you in learning how to change how you react to triggers!

  3. Thanks for another very useful and interesting post. I’m afraid I struggle reading questions like that…very uncomfortable feeling.

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