Motivation against depression: trusting your own judgement (part 2)

Sadly my car is beyond economic repair. It would cost me €1,250 to get a replacement BCM and even then Opel cannot guarantee that it’ll fix the problem. If they could, I would pay it because I do love that car, in spite of its faults.

My financial situation at the moment doesn’t allow me to be chooser so I may have to downsize to an older car but hopefully one with fewer problems. A majority of my family have the Toyota Yaris of varying ages and I agree that they have had no major issues with them, so naturally they’re swaying me towards one. I’m also considering going back to a Nissan Micra (I’ve had both a 1995 and 2003 model), though the Yaris has a smaller engine which equals to less tax and less petrol. I work an hour away from work on a busy day so a smaller engine would be more economical.

Today my fiancé and I went car browsing and I couldn’t believe how quick I was to jump into the first good deal I was offered. Thankfully my fiancé helped me to be more patient and not be duped by dealers who act like they’re doing you a favour. While I want to trust my own judgement, I’ll admit that I haven’t got the best judgement when it comes to cars, which is probably why I’ve had four cars with problems. Even though my Corsa is playing up, it isn’t dangerous to drive, in fact it drives perfectly, it’s more the internal electrics that are a disaster. So this allows me to be patient and explore my options, and hopefully make a good judgement!

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Motivation against depression: trusting your own judgement

I am the first to hold my hand up and say that trusting my own judgement is something I’m not good at. I always need a second opinion before doing something of significance: a task in work, buying a new car or something equally as expensive. It all comes back to self doubt, assuming that a decision you make by yourself is more than likely the wrong one. You fear making mistakes, mistakes that you can’t reverse.

The fact of the matter is is that it’s not just about trusting your own judgement, but trusting yourself as a whole. So how can we condition ourselves to trusting ourselves to do what we feel is right, even if it ends up being wrong?  According to Peter Shallard, “If you spend a lot of time regretting things you’ve done or decisions you’ve made, you don’t trust yourself.” And that’s the pinnacle of the problem, isn’t it? We live so much in the past, wishing we could change things that it influences how we behave in the here and now.

A lot of the time I regret going to college because I’m currently not working in the area of which I studied. I could easily look at it as a building block of my life, I did something I wanted to do. And at 29 years old, there’s nothing to suggest I won’t end up working in the field someday. But then that niggling voice in my head comes into play and reminds me of the other “bad” decisions I’ve made in my life and I start to doubt myself even more.

Many people have said this, but I’m going to quote one of my idols, Billie Joe Armstrong: “It’s better to regret the things you have done than to regret the things you haven’t”. I’m sure that doesn’t mean to say go out and do everything you can and see what’s successful and what’s not.

A big decision I have to make right now is the result of what I consider to be a bad decision on my part in August of last year. I bought a new car, you see, not because I needed one but simply because I wanted one. A beautiful 2007 Opel Corsa, which sadly I have had nothing but problems with since day one. Now that it’s broken down for the umpteenth time, I have to decide whether or not to get it fixed once again, or to cut my losses and get a new one. I have already sought advice, but in the end I know the decision will have to rest with me. On Tuesday I’ll be brining it to Opel to find out what the damage is this time. Once I know that it’ll be on me to decide whether to proceed with the potentially costly repairs, or to simply throw in the towel.

Needless to say I am worried. I fear either decision could go badly, especially as this is the fourth car I have had problems with (though this is the worst). I have no idea which way it’ll go, but hopefully whatever I choose will be what’s best for me.

Motivation against depression: perfectionism

When you hear the concept of perfectionism, you might assume that it means to be good at everything, or wanting everything to be perfect. This isn’t necessarily false, but there is more to it.

Perfectionists don’t strive to be good at something by society’s standards, instead they strive to meet their own standards. In other words, they have their own idea of what it means to be the best at something. For example, learning to play the guitar. If a song doesn’t sound the way you think it should then it’s not good enough. It doesn’t matter that you’ve got the chords right or that your teacher thinks it’s good, it’s not good enough to you. This can go two ways: either you give up on learning to play guitar, or some other hobby, or you put so much pressure on yourself that your hobby now becomes a chore.

There’s nothing wrong with setting standards for ourselves, but we have to draw the line that prevents us from overdoing it. It doesn’t mean settling with writing a story, for example, that’s “good enough”, it’s learning not to judge ourselves too harshly by telling ourselves it’s “not good enough”. That doesn’t mean to say that everything you do should be left half done either. Acknowledging the fact that you mastered each chord of a particular song is an achievement, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t sound the way you think it should.

I have fallen into this trap of perfectionism with my crocheting. Each row kept getting longer or shorter, never the correct length it was supposed to be. Did I keep going regardless? Nope, I quit because I was afraid I would keep redoing the same patch over and over until it was perfect. So I have a choice: I could keep doing the same patch over and over again until it is absolutely perfect, or I could simply do my best and be happy with the results. It’s not an easy thing to do for some people, but once you learn to congratulate yourself on doing something you’ve always wanted to do, even if it takes times to be good at it, trust me it will feel good. Instead of striving to be the best, strive to make yourself happy and content.

Remember, nobody’s perfect.

What about you? Have you ever strived to be perfect at something that you either gave up, or turned something that was supposed to be fun into a chore instead? We are our own worst critics, unfortunately, but it doesn’t mean we have to accept that. Be proud of your achievements, no matter how minimal they may seem to you. You’re better at it than you were before you decided to do it.

Motivation against depression: falling into a rut

Falling into a rut seems inevitable when you have depression, but when do we stop and realise that it’s gone too far? Gradually you stop exercising, stop going out as much, basically you withdraw from everything that used to bring you pleasure. I’m in a rut, unfortunately, and I’ve known this for a while. As you already know I stopped exercising, stopped meditating and stopped writing. The last one especially is very sad because I used to write non-stop and now I’m lucky if I write once a week. However, the one thing that’s really highlighted the severity of my rut is that I’m not reading as much.

“You’re still reading that book?”

This was a comment from a co-worker the other day as he passed my desk and saw Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth sitting on my desk, as it has done for the past couple of weeks. Everyone in my office knows that I read constantly and that I set goals on Goodreads, and they always ask what my new book is every time they see me reading something different (not always obvious when I have my Kindle). It’s not that I’m not enjoying the book I’m currently reading, I absolutely love Veronica Roth and her Divergent series. Carve the Mark is brilliant and yet I can’t motivate myself to read it as much as I would normally do. It’s one thing for my writing to fall on the back burner, but reading is something else.

A Reddit user said he reads at least 50 pages a day and I used to stick to that, though a lot of the time I surpassed that mark.

I’m determined to finish this book, I’m about three quarters through. I doubt I’ll finish it today, but perhaps tomorrow. I’m afraid to check my Goodreads reading challenge to see how far behind I am. Do I really have to force myself to read again? It’s a sad reality but another hurdle I have to conquer. After all, I can dwell on the fact that what used to bring me pleasure has sunk into the abyss of my depression…

…or I can just read.