I've been reading your introductory posts and have been in your shoes more than I care to admit. Here's sending some good karma and pumpkin spiced aromatic good will your way!
I began to feel overwhelmed at the suffering group members are enduring, and so I'd like to throw out an idea to forum members: would it be possible with every post describing problems, to also include one way you are trying to cope?
For me, I feel as though I have no control over anything when I am unwell. But I've been around the self-help track enough times to know that I actually do have control over some things all of the time.
One resource that I found very helpful for dealing with helplessness is the field of habits and habit formation. There are many books and exercises on the market, and they are mostly all saying essentially the same things. The following is a strategy I've found useful when I don't have any motivation.
1. Identify a desired behavior or feeling. ex. walking 5k daily
2. Break that down into many, many small steps. ex. First I will get out of bed
3. Every time you meet that goal, reward yourself ex. Play your favorite song - but on a device you have to get out of bed to reach (sneaky, isn't this?)
4. Keep a calendar journal or some sort of record of this process.
5. When you don't meet your goal, ask yourself what got in the way? Treat this whole process as one giant experiment - there is no fail, just an open mind and a willingness to try different things so that you find what works best for you.
6. Keep or revise your micro goal and try again.
7. Once you're meeting your first goal reliably, set a new micro goal that's a bit closer to your target. ex. After getting out of bed, put on outdoor walking clothes.
8. Repeat steps 2-7 until you get to your target (walking 5k daily) or you have chosen a different target goal based on what you've learned and practiced during the process.
It takes on average around 66 days to cement a new habit so that it becomes the default automatic behavior. That's a bit over two months for any new behavior, and that's another reason to reward yourself daily and not to take a lapse as a failure.
I rely on this strategy a lot, as I have severe anhedonia and don't find much of anything pleasant or inviting. It has helped me not to beat myself up so much and to be able to take credit for things I'm doing rather well.
I'd love to hear about what helps others here! I'm looking forward to good discussions and new ideas.
And, moderators, could we have a topic of self care or self management please?