Re-considering Achievement

[Dated Dec 2011]

There is no point pretending that we are all going to become pop stars, politicians or multi-millionaires and similarly not every day can be a deal-clinching – innovating – making-people-happy day some days are “bloody hell I went to the shops, I rock” days.

This has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I want to be the best at everything I do and there are certain things I consider fundamental activities rather than achievements.
It seems obvious that ‘one’ should be able to do the washing-up, laundry, house-cleaning, cooking and shopping as well as earn money and write my thesis; not to mention lifting, carrying and hiking. But as depression sinks in and/or pain rises any or all of those things become missions beyond Everest’s summit. When getting out of bed is a struggle and you are exhausted by moving from one room to the next there is no way to achieve a new personal best at the gym; when the postman’s knock at the door makes you burst into tears hosting an award-winning dinner party might be a step too far.
Even worse the failure to complete everyday activities becomes a proof of your worthlessness and symbolic of all you have lost to your illness and it is at this point that it is vital to start celebrating activities for the achievements they sometimes are. On one day achievement is a thousand words of thesis but on another it can be 100 or even 10.

So in that spirit I am building up my achievements..

This week I have left the house on 3 separate occasions so far, including going into both TK Maxx & Clas Ohlson (they are some of my most hatedly claustrophobic shops) and travelling to a seminar; I have done 1 load of laundry and 3 lots of washing-up; I cleaned the bathroom; wrote more than 500 words of thesis; spoke on the phone to people other than my wife and in general am quite impressed by that level of activity so there!

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