Big Boy Problems

Big Boy Problems

The Way it Was

I remember when I started this blog. I was a mess. My only task was to live day to day. The rare times I did venture out of my home I confused easily. One day I was on a trip via bus that required I transfer from one bus to the other. I became disoriented and lost and Maurice had to drive around and look for me based on landmarks I gave him. After that incident both my pdoc and my therapist convinced me I should not be taking the bus at all, even if it was a straight route with no transfer.

Another incident involved getting lost in a movie theater. I stepped out of the movie to use the restroom and when I was done I was confused. I wandered up and down the hall trying to figure out where to go to get back to our theater. After pacing back and forth I gave up, sat on a bench and cried. I’m not talking about tears welling up in my eyes – it was a full on breakdown. I was terrified. Eventually I regained my composure and found the theater, but I still see that incident as one of the most tragic events in my recovery.

The Short List

It reached the point that I had to create a short list. I’ve mentioned the short list many times, but for those new to this blog, the list is made up of things that I must do each day. Items on there are as basic as:

Make bed
Take shower
Get dressed
Take meds
Get outside (even if just to the mailbox.)

That was it. Those were all I needed to do to fulfill my day. If I couldn’t complete what was on the list, then the list was probably too long. Shortening it for the next day was an option. Finishing it was a major accomplishment.

While I’m far from being fully functional these days, I am balanced more often than unbalanced. I am able to take on more difficult tasks. I have changed to a list that I now refer to as big boy problems. An example of big boy items is resolving problems with the IRS. The last agent I met a few years back advised me that my payments are so low that they classify me as having no income at all. However, she did say I have a lot of messes to clean up because of all the years that I didn’t file when I should. The taxes are just one of the big boy problems I have to resolve.

My List of Big Boy Problems

Here is the current list of things I need to do and it seems daunting. I’m scared because I see only the big picture and it’s paralyzing. I need to train myself on taking care of one item at a time and accept that taking lots of small steps will get rid of the problems quicker than focusing on the big problems all together. Anyway, here is my list of big boy problems which must be done:

Arrange trip to visit daughter in Midwest
Have scrap metal company take away refrigerator
Clear out dining table to open up space in kitchen
Have old chairs removed and clear out living room for new furniture
Paint living room
Have new furniture delivered
Get a tax attorney to clear up past California and Federal taxes
Plan San Francisco trip for Maurice and me
Finalize financial aid for school
Purchase textbooks for school
Prepare for school starting in September
Clear up possible warrants for not showing up for jury duty
Go to driving school
Take written drivers exam
Complete driving test

The list doesn’t seem long, but there’s some pretty heavy duty items to take care of. I’ve already taken a few small steps, but I haven’t come close to completing a single one of my tasks. My goal for next week is to start on it and get something accomplished. Just completing one of the tasks will help to lift my spirits.

What about you? Have you taken on some big boy problems, or big girl problems that you were finally able to tackle?

13 comments on Big Boy Problems

  1. Years ago, when I was first accepting my bipolar disorder, I had to make a lot of “big girl” decisions. Paying off credit card debt, getting out of a bad lease, moving back to my parents’ home, quitting drinking. So on and so forth. Now, I try and not let problems get so bad that I would consider them a “big girl” problem…the operative word being TRY. 🙂

    1. I try too, but as you know, it ain’t easy. Much of this is still damage from before I got sober 10 years ago. I think I’ll be making amends for the rest of my life.

  2. hey you probably already thought or heard someone say this, but when i looked at your list just now, i felt like going back to bed myself. the first thing i would do with that list is divide it into priority (things that cannot wait) and non-priority (things that don’t really have to happen right now). Then, i would look at the Priority list, and see if there was any one thing I could do any one thing about now. Then I would look on the Non-Priority and do the same. If i could, i would try to make one a serious task (ie unpleasant and stressful) and make the other more something i will feel positive about doing a task for it.

    so, just off the top of my head right now, i would say a couple of non priority items are the table, chairs, and fridge. they should only need a couple of phone calls to get arranged, and will make you feel better instantly—plus, you get to mark more than one item off your list. i would call goodwill—they come to you and haul away stuff you are donating. they will take whatever it is. so, you could probably get rid of fridge, table and chairs in one phone call. how satisfying!

    then, my next thing, if i wasn’t exhausted from that phone call, would be to pick one unpleasant item that is a bit more pressing than others on the priority list. like maybe taking the written driving exam or driving classes. some driving classes will prep you for and also test you for your written test (mine did…went over the book then tested us all until we all passes the written test, then went with us to do driving practice and with us to do driving test for license.) so, if you could just sign up for a driving class, you’ve got that ball rolling and its something you can use and will help with other stuff getting done.

    that was just one way of sorting, thats how i sort. and your list sounds about as heavy and unpleasant as mine did, lol. so, little steps get us big results. whatever you start with, just try not to do to much, don’t overwhelm yourself. just pick one thing to do and go from there. either say one thing was enough today, or say maybe one more thing. just see how it feels.

    good luck! i know we’ll both get thru our lists if we keep plugging away slow and small, not too stressed out.

    1. Thank you, Kat. The idea of doing one hard task and one easy task is a great idea that I honestly hadn’t thought of. Nice balance,

  3. oh fyi, i have had the same experiences on busses when i didn’t have a car a few years ago. and same thing about just dreading going out of the house at all too. so, you are not alone in that experience at all!

  4. Hey Bradley. 🙂
    First, come closer so I can hug you! Mwaah I felt distressed for you lost in the movie theater. Before I separated from my Ex husband I used to renovate homes. I thrived under pressure and that list of yours would have been done in 2 days. I think it’s the whole hypo mania thingy. Having lists I function more productively than not having one at all. If I lived by I would come around and help you do it, even if it took us a few weeks! There are days when all I won’t to do is sleep and avoid the world. But you and I know that if we don’t push ourselves then bed would be the only winner, right? One day at a time and don’t put too much undue pressure on yourself. Stay strong our, Bradley. Love to you and Maurice, hugs Paula xxxxx

  5. Thank you, Paula, I’ll take that hug. I’m impressed you were able to get so much done when hypomanic. When I was hypomanic I would be extremely busy, but couldn’t focus on one thing for very long. As a result, I started a lot of projects but never finished.

    If I could afford it, I’d gladly fly you up here to clear out my list for me.

  6. Sometimes we can easily overlook just how far we’ve come in our recovery. I’m still on the shortlist of daily stuff, but becoming more aware of what the big boy stuff might be. I have problems doing the more immediate things, like servicing the car or getting a slow puncture repaired, even though it’s been like that for about 3 months now. If I write a list, it only frustrates me when I don’t achieve things by the end of the week.
    That is quite a list you have and such a positive addition to your recovery.

    1. I understand about the car needing to be taken care of. I’ve neglected numerous cars in my life and they all ended Witt a painful death. Getting a tune up or fixing a leaky tire just isn’t sexy. It’s what makes me want to live a city where I wouldn’t need a car, like San Francisco. I just hate up keeping a car.

      1. I live 3 miles from central London but need a car mostly for my disability. For years I didn’t drive. The roads are congested and I’m too impatient for always travelling slowly in third gear.

  7. I am still on the short list, although I can navigate the bus system with little to no problem unless a panic attack sets in. Then, I am in trouble. My main “Big Girl” thing I really want to accomplish is going back to University to earn my Master’s in Counseling. I really want to work with teenagers; I just feel they are so overwhelmed and lost in this world we created for them.

    But, I am lucky if I get the four dishes in my sink done, or take a shower. I am more balanced than not, but by no means are my emotions stable, unfortunately. One small (to others) incident can send me flying into the OMG am I going to have to go to the ER mode.

    I think, however, we have a different cluster of issues. But, I definitely get where you’re at, and I hope you get some of those Big Boy items tackled and finished 🙂

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