I don’t know about any of you but there were many times in my past where I gave almost everything my full attention even if that meant nearly splitting myself in 10 different directions. I rarely ever just let something go with the understanding that as of right at that time It wasn’t important enough to deserve my time or effort.
When I found out that I had DID, I immediately tried to stop ALL dissociations. I tried to rewire everything immediately. It overwhelmed me and depressed me because I always felt like such a huge failure when a dissociation would happen.
Feeling like a failure rarely inspires me to work harder. It usually deflates me and zaps my energy.
Something needed to be changed.
This is where the sharks and the goldfish come in.
I don’t know why these 2 creatures came to mind but to me they are the perfect dichotomy of something that needs to be dealt with immediately and something that can wait.
Sharks to me are the dissociations that affect my life in a negative way. Dissociating when with loved ones, at functions such as the craft shows I am doing right now, when speaking to my therapist or other important people with whom I really need to stay present. This is also important for things like preventing a 4 year old Helper from driving the car or a teenage Helper from self harming. These are my sharks. They are important and need to be focussed on. Dissociating at these times is not an option and my effort and energy needs to go towards preventing it as often as possible.
Then their are the goldfish. Dissociating while playing with a younger child and joining in with a Helper of the same age. I dissociate every single time I see a bathtub which happens many times a day but it is neither harmful nor prolonged unless their are issues with the plumbing. 😉 There are dissociations that happen while I am watching TV and something triggers me but I am on my couch and safe. These are the goldfish. My effort and energy can be better focussed on the sharks.
This applies to anyone as far as I am concerned. We all have sharks in our lives. The things we really should focus our time and energy on like a bump in our relationships, taking care of our health, doing things we love and learning how to do things that are new and interesting. Things that keep our brains happy. Our list of sharks varies for everyone and what may have been a goldfish 3 months ago might be a shark now. Just like life, this list is fluid.
Then there are the goldfish… mopping the floor CAN wait until tomorrow so you can spend time with a friend today. You can sit down and write your blog for Friday in the middle of cleaning your house (guess what I am doing?) and I absolutely GUARANTEE it will wait for you.
Oh wait! I think I hear the dust running out the door…. not.
There are events that you can skip because they really don’t matter to you at all even if you have nothing better to do. You can go to a movie with your loved one(s) rather than spending the whole day preplanning all your food for the week. You can always do that later or the next day.
It is really just a visual explanation for prioritizing AND for allowing yourself to get off the hook now and then. Everything is not important. Some things rank higher than others and it is okay to not get to the bottom of the list. Heck… I’ve not cleaned in a whole week at times due to illness, being crazy busy (with sharks) or just preferring to play Candy Crush rather than do the housework. Who really cares? I am not saying to allow things to be put off forever but I think we all need to be kinder to ourselves and accept that we just can’t do it all. No one can.
As a side note, I am one of those people… one of those really annoying people… who is almost always on top of everything. My house is clean, supper is made, the craft fairs are all set up, phone calls made, work done, the dog has been cared for and so forth. From the outside, everything is just tickity-boo. Don’t let that fool you! Even those of us who present as totally “with it” and “together” at all times really aren’t. We are just better at hiding it. OR if they are like me? They use looking like everything is perfect to mask troubled times.
If you ever come to my house and everything is lined up perfectly like the Korean Army? I am not in a good head space. Everything looks PERFECT but I am using those meaningless tasks to keep my mind off what I feel I can not change.
Never feel “less than” because others seem to have it all together. They don’t.
I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend and pay attention to the sharks while ignoring the goldfish. I hope it makes your days run smoother and allows you to feel happier. 🙂