Structure

Sometimes I get so disorganized that I can’t stand it. I feel like I am going in circles all day long, unable to decide what to do first, and therefore not doing anything. During those times, even dressing, bathing, and eating can become problematic.

I have to do something to change things and, since I can’t seem to trace the source of my difficulties, I try a little behavior modification on myself. Even if I can’t find and fix the cause, I can at least treat the symptom.

I pretend that I am going in-patient. Now I have never been hospitalized, so I don’t really know what in-patient is like. That leaves me free to design my own program.

My pretend hospital is very structured. There’s a schedule marked off in half-hours and my therapists (me) fill in all the activities. Wake-up time and bedtime are the same from day to day, and so are meal times. I schedule three small healthy meals a day, with optional snacks in the morning and afternoon.

Then my occupational therapist (me) schedules ADL (Activities of Daily Living.) Every day includes the basics: getting dressed, cooking, washing dishes, cat care, and a bath. Each day has an extra activity, like watering the plants, tidying up, laundry, or vacuuming. My physical therapist (me again) schedules water aerobics or gardening three times a week. And of course there’s my real therapy appointment, with my real therapist.

Time gets allocated to working on ritual abuse projects, my family, my friends, and my own personal process. Even if there seems to be no time left over, I also manage to squeeze in a few hours of fun during the week.

Most of the time just thinking up a schedule is enough to snap me out of chaos. Sometime I have to write out the week’s plan before I come around, and only occasionally do I have to follow the plan for any length of time. Just knowing it is there if I need it seems to be enough.

The nicest thing about my pretend hospital is that the whole staff understands me pretty well!

Adapted from Survivorship Notes, January 2001

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2 thoughts on “Structure

  1. That is just lovely. It seems that my therapist has waaaaaaaaaay too high expectations of me and even though she plans things realistically there is NO room for things aside from Activities of daily living. Since i am not in a Buddhist treatment center I am not required to enjoy nor experience each activity. I am already not liking looking forward to all the things i have to do each day. Very clever inpatient concept. I guess I really DO want a gentle scheduler who seems to understand how hard it is for me to keep up with my plans.
    Thanks for the concept.
    Karen

  2. That’s really funny, because I am going through a day like that… not doing anything because I can’t put the first thing to bed. I need structure today. I’m going to try your method of planning and see if it works for me. Thanks for posting this.

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