Thursday, May 17, 2012

Taking it Slow

I’ve been trying to think of what to write about next, with little success - which is why you haven’t heard from me. After all, I’ve been writing this blog for 3 years now, and how much good advice does any one person have?

So here’s a thought: how about if you suggest some topics? I did get one suggestion already: to write about panic attacks. The problem is, I’ve never had one, and have no tips to offer. So if any of you are good at dealing with this symptom, please leave a comment below or email me at Perhaps we can have a guest blogger on the topic.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I want to make a pitch for living life a little more slowly. This has been one of the more important life tactics I have adopted since my diagnosis. I can stay pretty level-headed if the pressure is low - if I am not rushing, multi-tasking, or trying to do too many things in a day. I am less insane if I do not live at the insane pace of modern life.

Granted, there are times when a lot needs to get done. But even so, it is best to do one thing at a time. I honestly think multi-tasking is a crock. Instead of doing one thing well, then going on to the next thing, we end up doing several things badly because we are not paying full attention to any of them. As often as not, we just waste more time fixing the mistakes we made because we were distracted. Calm down, already. Life comes to us one moment at a time. Our minds are less fevered when our activities do, too.

I have found that if I make more than two appointments for any given day, it is a mistake (the number for you might be different, but it’s worth finding out what your limit is). Perhaps it’s my Anxiety Disorder, but just knowing that all those demands are stacked up ahead of me like fences to jump makes me feel squeezed and unhappy and nervous. When will there be time for me? When will I breathe, or make any spontaneous choices?

I understand that some people are constituted differently. They want structure, activities lined up like dominoes, never a dull moment. If that is your makeup, do what suits you best, of course.

But otherwise, if you are disabled and cannot work full time, what’s the big hurry? The one glorious thing our condition may give us is TIME. This is a priceless gift. It cannot be bought, bargained for, or restored. It is irreplaceable. Take a deep breath and enjoy yours.

Deborah is a public speaker and the author of Is There Room for Me, Too? 12 Steps & 12 Strategies for Coping with Mental Illness. She is currently recording it as an audiobook and CD set.  Deborah has also published two romantic comedies. All three books are available at, Barnes and, Kindle Editions, iBooks, and other major vendors; or  you can order them from your local bookstore. Visit her web page at, or see her catalog at She has narrated a guided meditation CD, “Island Journey,” produced with her husband, musician Robert Hamaker; available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and many other venues.