We're just taking baby steps in the right direction.
September 28, 2015 4:34 PM   Subscribe

You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide "This is meant to be an interactive flow chart for people who struggle with self care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals. It's designed to take as much of the weight off of you as possible, so each decision is very easy and doesn't require much judgment."
posted by desjardins (103 comments total) 219 users marked this as a favorite
 
I got this from a Facebook friend, but apparently it's by Jace Harr.
posted by desjardins at 4:40 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


I read the FPP and thought to myself, "I should work on self-care." When used the flowchart, though, I kept answering "No, actually I'm good on that front" to every question. This can only mean one of two things:

1. I am totally in denial, and I've sunk so low that I now lie to flowcharts on the internet
2. Hey, maybe I actually kind of have my shit together? Is that possible?
posted by clockzero at 4:43 PM on September 28, 2015 [39 favorites]


CHILL AS HELL
posted by listen, lady at 4:44 PM on September 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


You know, this is actually pretty great! I especially like the advice to play with your pets. The walkthrough is just pretend everything is ok and then when the thing asks if you have pets, say yes, and you get to play with them!
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:52 PM on September 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


This comes handy on a day where I've been informed that I will have a doubled workload since my office manager is currently in a deep depression herself and someone needs to take up the slack. This wouldn't bother me generally, but knowing that I will be expected to do this and not get paid any more for it sort of adds to the anxiety about a doubled workload.
posted by Kitteh at 4:54 PM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Feeling depressed isn't fun, but it doesn't last forever! Don't be mad or disappointed with yourself for feeling depressed.
Take 15 minutes and accomplish something small, like loading the dishwasher or making a friendship bracelet. You are not a failure, and your situation is not hopeless! You are a superhero, even if it doesn't feel like it.


I am good at the moment but my mind is still running through the fifty to sixty things it would be ready to yell at this webpage if I were in the middle of a depressive episode
posted by Greg Nog at 4:56 PM on September 28, 2015 [49 favorites]


I am in the middle of a depressive episode. I have two assignments due tonight, and this is helping me force myself to do it. But emptying the dishwasher really does make me feel like a superhero.
posted by Ruki at 5:01 PM on September 28, 2015 [98 favorites]



You can talk to someone in your house, or call someone on the phone. You can also use texting or Facebook messenger to speak to someone. You may want to talk about how you're feeling, or you may not. Anything you want to talk about is okay!

If that isn't or doesn't seem possible, you can post a general message on Facebook, Tumblr, Vent, or another internet service, about whatever you want!

No, not really but thanks for trying I guess?
posted by bleep at 5:06 PM on September 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


Ruki, you ARE a superhero. Dishwasher smishwasher, you CONQUERED that shit!
posted by agregoli at 5:06 PM on September 28, 2015 [38 favorites]


I would also like to say that I am proud of you, Ruki, for emptying the dishwasher and being mindful of your assignments
posted by Greg Nog at 5:10 PM on September 28, 2015 [29 favorites]


bleep: "No, not really but thanks for trying I guess?"

I think there are a lot of people on MetaFilter who would be willing to chat with someone who just needed human contact (MeFi mail, etc). I would count myself among that group. I have been there. I know that sometimes you just need to know that someone is listening.
posted by capricorn at 5:15 PM on September 28, 2015 [39 favorites]


This is awesome. Thanks for posting it.
posted by thetortoise at 5:19 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Blocked by work for "games." There's also an employee awareness flyer up on the walls about stress.

I am sure the two are not related, but I find it kinda entertaining.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:20 PM on September 28, 2015 [27 favorites]


I'm glad if this helps people, any sort of tool for actual self-care is really important. If this or Calming Manatee or whatever motivational meme of the day helps people that's really great.

What's really important is figuring out the self care method that works for you. Mine is drinking beer I've never tried before while watching movies while my cat swats at the TV (she likes fires for some reason). For some people it's making art or posting buzzfeed quizzes on youtube or maybe it's uploading 300 pictures of their cat to Facebook.

On a totally related note (because this is made with Twine, isn't it?), does anyone see this as an inverse to Depression Quest?
posted by Neronomius at 5:25 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is great.

A clever application of Twine, too. It's self-contained in a single web page, so you can pick File → Save As... or Tools → Save As... in your browser to have your own copy that will still be available offline.
posted by XMLicious at 5:26 PM on September 28, 2015 [15 favorites]


I guess this is just frustrating to me because it reminds me of all the nice but ultimately unhelpful stuff people used to say to me when I was depressed. "Did you try going for a walk? Did you try talking to a friend?" If any of the usual methods of relieving discomfort in humans worked then I wouldn't still be depressed or looking for help or showing signs of needing help. The whole reason it's a problem is that my discomfort is beyond those things. I get that those people and this tool are trying to help and there's evidence in this thread that some people find it helpful but I find it incredibly frustrating. Even this tool throws up its hands and gives up when it can't make you feel better.
posted by bleep at 5:31 PM on September 28, 2015 [30 favorites]


As described it's a tool specifically for helping with self-care rather than specifically for depression, though. I would think it's as applicable to, say, Alzheimer's or severe ADHD as much as it is to some kinds of depression. You can have depression and not have any problems with self-care.
posted by XMLicious at 5:39 PM on September 28, 2015 [25 favorites]


It's a nice idea, and is similar to the mental checklist I try to get myself to go through when I am mindful of self-care. I guess I am also skeptical because when I am churning around on the Mousewheel of Doom, I usually know what I should be doing to look after myself - and quite deliberately do not care. In fact, NOT doing the things that would help causes me a perverse kind of pleasure.

Maybe it also needs to come with a virtual kick in the pants.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:41 PM on September 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


I guess this is just frustrating to me because it reminds me of all the nice but ultimately unhelpful stuff people used to say to me when I was depressed.

I see it more as just a tool for basic self-care. It's not going to defeat depression on its own, for sure. But when I'm sliding into a depressed patch I need something like this to keep me from giving up entirely on the basic business of eating and sleeping, which can make the depression worse. I usually make mind-numbingly detailed to-do lists (get out of the bed, walk to the bathroom, take a shower, put on clothes, drink water) but I like the interactive tool better.

I don't know, it may be more useful from the executive functioning side than the mood disorder side. Maybe it doesn't work for people whose depression has nothing to do with that.
posted by thetortoise at 5:45 PM on September 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


I guess I just got over-excited by the title. "Why yes, I DO feel like shit! Tell me what to do please!"
posted by bleep at 5:47 PM on September 28, 2015 [13 favorites]


I definitely find myself in the "has trouble reading internal signals" camp, and I do this with myself all the time. I don't have depression: I just can't immediately distinguish between feeling bad because I'm hungry, feeling bad because I'm tired, feeling bad because I'm thirsty, or feeling bad because I'm stressed out. Sometimes figuring it out isn't that helpful, because it turns out that I feel bad because I'm upset about something that I can't change. But sometimes it really just is that I'm totally dehydrated or have forgotten to eat all day, and I feel like the world is ending but it's really something physical and easily addressable.

I have ADHD and I-think-not-terribly-severe anxiety and was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder as a kid, if that means anything.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:59 PM on September 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


XMLicious, that's really great, having offline copies would probably be really useful to those that benefit from this.

I spent years figuring out how to deal with my anxiety (it comes in waves and lasts for several days before leaving again, yay). The more I read about self-care the more I see that many people discover it in their twenties and I could see this website being used for people in their teens. I see youtube videos and sites like this addressing topics that aren't being discussed by parents or schools. Even if this doesn't work for you, or me, I would love to see more and more of this.
posted by Neronomius at 6:23 PM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


To be clear, I didn't actually empty the dishwasher today. I meant that in general. When I am feeling bad, emptying the dishwasher is a huge accomplishment! I did, however, drink water and submit my assignments.
posted by Ruki at 6:25 PM on September 28, 2015 [31 favorites]


Take a nap. You can finish this self-care guide when you wake up. Ideally, let yourself sleep naturally, and sleep until you wake up. Obviously, this isn't always possible. Otherwise, set an alarm for yourself, with plenty of time to wake up and get yourself together between your nap and your responsibilities.

Gee, thanks. I have a sick kid to take care of and 50 fucking work emails that need answering by yesterday and I haven't showered in four days. Yes I know I am miserable and tired and a nap would totally help and yes this is probably depression-induced anger on my part but DON'T TELL ME TO TAKE A NAP I CAN'T DO THAT. Seriously, the polite thing to do would have been to ask me if I'm in a position to take a nap, wouldn't it? Is it really so hard to ask? (sorry, sooo tired)
posted by langtonsant at 6:28 PM on September 28, 2015 [10 favorites]


You know that feeling you get in your gut when you are about to do something you are nervous about. You know, butterflies, like before giving a presentation, or at a job interview, or going on a date? I have that feeling absolutely all the time, 24/7, non-fucking-stop. It is draining.
posted by anothermug at 6:29 PM on September 28, 2015 [26 favorites]


I got an 82.
posted by AugustWest at 6:32 PM on September 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah, seconding XMLicious's opinion about it being an interesting use of TWINE.

It's taken me years (all my life) to figure out that I rely on external self-observation as the mechanism for things that many other people experience/intuit/access more directly or differently. Even imperfect tools like this can be a real boon, similarly the sharing thereof. Good, handy post!
posted by comealongpole at 6:33 PM on September 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


You can talk to someone in your house, or call someone on the phone. You can also use texting or Facebook messenger to speak to someone. You may want to talk about how you're feeling, or you may not. Anything you want to talk about is okay!

If that isn't or doesn't seem possible, you can post a general message on Facebook, Tumblr, Vent, or another internet service, about whatever you want!


Because nothing makes a person feel cared for like posting to tumblr and watching it sit at zero notes.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:38 PM on September 28, 2015 [11 favorites]


Yeah, some of us literally have no one when there's shit going on. I have two unanswered emails hanging out in the ether right now. Note, I only sent two because those are the contacts I count on, not ideal obvs. since still unanswered.

And this Twine tool is useless for me.
posted by vers at 6:44 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


*sullenly, around a mouthful of peanut butter and english muffin* It's always humbling to fail the first question. God, though, I'm so grateful you linked this. I have massive executive dysfunction issues and this is something I'd find really useful.
posted by sciatrix at 6:50 PM on September 28, 2015 [13 favorites]


This is an extremely helpful and calming tool. Thanks so much for posting it!!!
posted by Annabelle74 at 6:51 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


And I did just load and run the dishwasher while I was acquiring muffin with melty peanut butter to stuff my face, so. I am seriously feeling accomplished about that one.

My executive function shit has nothing to do with my occasional depressive/anxiety bouts--actually, the anxiety is worse than the depression--but is probably more to do with my general autism-spectrum/adhd brain weird, which does get worse if I'm trying to do too much on too few resources. Hell, I even posted a whole Ask once about figuring out how to make myself eat foods efficiently. It's really hard for me to figure out when I need to eat, and if I go too long I start actively not caring about food and then wondering why I'm exhausted and can't process anything through the brain fog or think clearly. Same with drinking, such that I have now started trying to condition myself to go drink something if I feel crappy....which does rely on noticing I feel crappy in the first place. (Also, oh fuck, I need to go get a pain killer. Right. That's a thing I can do.)

And given how often I judge myself about eating the "wrong" thing or whatever, it's seriously nice to have a calming decision tree to remind me externally about the things that I intellectually know to be true but which my emotional reactions are weird about. I get so frustrated about this shit sometimes, and having someone to talk me through that frustration because it's like my appetite/thirst/sleep response has been swapped with one belonging to a particularly recalcitrant toddler again and I just want to fucking do the thing but also at the same time not do the thing is, uh, helpful. Ditto with a nonjudgemental, spare interface like this one that helps me work through why my hindbrain/emotions are doing the thing. That seriously helps me set aside my natural frustration with needing help with this shit, no matter how much I really, really don't want to be functioning at that level again.

As a bonus, the Twitch game doesn't care if I whine at it the way the actual humans in my life do. So that's good, too, because otherwise this remind-Sci-to-eat shit falls to my partner, who is sometimes also tired and cranky and worn out and doesn't want to deal with my shit for the nth time. I try to use checklists on todoist to help me with crap like that otherwise but this particular self care thing looks much better for that kind of thing... if I can actually remember to use it.
posted by sciatrix at 7:05 PM on September 28, 2015 [21 favorites]


"Did you just ctrl+F an AskMe thread where people are supposed to say nice things about each other?"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:21 PM on September 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


I like it. It looks like how I get myself through bad anxiety times (otherwise known as Saturdays and random other days) already, but it has all the things in it that I do plus some others. I don't know if I have executive function problems, but I flip a coin to make all kinds of decisions because I can't decide anything. Does that count? And I'm severely ADHD. I agree this might not work for someone simply under a lot of real stress or who is overworked or depressed, but I want to put it on my desktop.
posted by Peach at 7:21 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


It got me to drink a glass of water and spend five (more) minutes cleaning the apartment, so there's that.

It lost me as soon as it got to the psychological stuff. Really, Mr. JavaScript Program—if the causes of my depression (which has mercifully been in remission for a while) could be solved by thinking really hard about them for 15 minutes, or spending 30 minutes playing video games, I would have solved them several thousand times over by now.

But, little things really do help; they are my first line of defense for keeping the Black Dog at bay when I feel him trying to creep back in. Do a little impromptu housecleaning—just the low-hanging fruit. Make sure my next meal is fresh and healthy. Go do the errands that I've been putting off. Go for a walk to get some exercise and fresh air. It adds up.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:23 PM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I apologize for my sexist assumption that the JavaScript program is male
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:24 PM on September 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't know if I have executive function problems, but I flip a coin to make all kinds of decisions because I can't decide anything. Does that count? And I'm severely ADHD.

You have executive function problems by definition, then. I really need to put a post about executive function together sometime soon...
posted by sciatrix at 7:26 PM on September 28, 2015 [24 favorites]


Maybe it could add something at the end just reassuring that it's ok that you don't feel better after drinking water or posting something on fb that got no attention. And that your brain is as big as the sky and thoughts are just birds. I heard that the other day and it changed my life and then I forgot it immediately.


"Did you just ctrl+F an AskMe thread where people are supposed to say nice things about each other?"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:21 PM

I die

posted by bleep at 7:29 PM on September 28, 2015 [12 favorites]


"Are there things you just don't understand about how normal people are supposed to function in the world? Well, take 15 minutes and try to understand them!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:55 PM on September 28, 2015 [6 favorites]


i'm thinking of making a remake of this now where if you click an option that you need to do and it says go do the thing and you can't do the thing and you continue sitting there there's another option which says "yes but I can't do the thing"

and then it says "okay, you can't do the thing."

"the thing will help, so let's wait for a minute to see if you can do the thing."

and then, if you still can't do the thing, "let's try another thing"

i'm sorry for overuse of the word "thing"
posted by solarion at 8:03 PM on September 28, 2015 [15 favorites]


Oh man, I've been failing super hard at self care since last year taking care of my terminal aunt. Because all of my care went to someone else, and since I've got executive issues to begin with getting out of practice just tanked any chance I had. And now whole lot of other shit just went completely sideways in my life.

I think completing this checklist would take me an entire day, because I'm going to have to do all the things on it.

For someone with executive dysfunction (like me!) this sort of tool is pretty awesome. I'm going to see what tomorrow is like if this just tells me what to do all day. If I'm successful, I'll report back.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:05 PM on September 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'd rank this up with playing an RPG with Vin Diesel.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:25 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


But I don't want to clean my room; what next?
posted by buzzman at 8:36 PM on September 28, 2015


I recently started mindfully relating to my two nice cats. They would come around and I would pet them like it is a chore then go back to ignoring them. I actually thought, "Uh, hey! Other type people like stroking their cats, it is pleasurable, calming, and the cats like you, and come to you for this." so, I started doing a better job of it and loving them at the same time. One improvement per day, maybe. I am working out the executive function thing, I have been last in line in my own life for too long. Well, and 2014 was a dreadful year. 2015 is better, at just sub-par.
posted by Oyéah at 8:44 PM on September 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


>DO YE THING

YE CAN'T DO YE THING

And then you sit and think about all the reasons why you can't do ye thing because the game's certainly not going to tell you.

(with apologies to solarion and Strongbad both).
posted by comealongpole at 8:46 PM on September 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'd link the thing I'm referencing/paraphrasing if I wasn't on mobile, sorry.
posted by comealongpole at 8:48 PM on September 28, 2015


The depression stuff is wonderful. I almost didn't make it past the "did you get enough sleep" question. I'm a lifelong insomniac, and my new doctor decided that 13 years was too long to be on Ambien, so I haven't gotten any real sleep in a few weeks, actually. SO NO I CAN'T TAKE A NAP!

But the rest is quite nice.
posted by bibliowench at 9:53 PM on September 28, 2015


Ideally, let yourself sleep naturally, and sleep until you wake up.

Hahahahahahaaaa

/parent
posted by lydhre at 10:19 PM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


I desperately need a dishwasher, and right now. Not so I can unload it, but because I'm so bad at getting the dishes done, and I just swore at my adult son because he is so much worse at doing them, and I asked him nicely to do them because I am so sick again (bronchial infection) that I'm afraid I'll faint if I combine dish doing and cooking, but I can't buy a dishwasher because this place is a rental and too tiny (and old) to fit it in the kitchen, and I can't really move either because I have two senior feline dependants and I've been sick with so many different things over the last 6 months as a freelancer that I think my income is about to dry up, and I'll have to rely on my savings - who knows how long for - because I haven't got one job interview in the 5 years I've been applying.

I can't even see the whole flowchart thing because I'm looking at this from my iPad (old) in bed after using what little energy I had to yell at my son and swear at him, which I never do, but no dishes done - right? And his solution is now to shut his door and pretend that neither I nor the dishes exist, which works fine for him, but I still need to eat and it's hard to cook food or even make a hot cup of tea when there are no clean any things.

I wish I had a dishwasher. Perhaps I would have reached a level of self care that I would have gone back to the doctor (something I've had to do over 20 times this year if you include surgeons and psychiatrists) to get a mental health plan so the government would assist in the payment of my new psychologist who I desperately hope can help me pull myself together, to quit drinking (self medication for anxiety) because the shrink won't give me any anti anxiety medication until my liver function tests improve, and they won't improve while I freelance, and I suspect I out myself on my job apps as being Aspie or at the very least weird, and I'm afraid I'm going to be homeless in about 18 months. Maybe my new psychologist can help me when my bus comes way early, and the only way to make the appointment on time is to catch a cab or pay a no-show fee. Perhaps he can help me to lose weight, because my dr thinks that's the appropriate way to treat my new and sudden high blood pressure that started after the gallbladder operation, and insurance? Fuck that - you end up paying as much out of pocket as the insurance company does - better off to have no insurance at all and go on the government waiting list maybe.

I wish I had a dishwasher. Then I could have a cup of tea.
posted by b33j at 10:23 PM on September 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


b33j, I don't have a dishwasher either, and have trouble with dishes for different reasons, but I'm here to say: turn to the dark side. With all those other problems you mention, just give yourself permission to use disposable stuff and don't look back. Then all you need to wash is the pots and pans and kitchen knives. I hope everything gets better.
posted by Sockpuppet Liberation Front at 11:01 PM on September 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Thanks. I'm happy to eat out of the frypan using the knife I should have used to chop the ingredients that I threw in all together. Other option. Live off pasta / rice out of same Tupperware cooking container - might result in malnutrition and lowered immune system (last fortnight was UTI).
posted by b33j at 11:15 PM on September 28, 2015


I'm a bit perplexed that a webpage has managed to convince me to drink some OJ and have a shower, but here we are
posted by Quilford at 11:20 PM on September 28, 2015 [13 favorites]


I have a morning and evening checklist of stuff like "brush your teeth" and "put on your pyjamas" because otherwise I will just sort of stare exhausted at the wall. And doing a checklist is really nice. It takes away having to think and plan when your brain is fuzzy and your body is tired and sad, and if you put nice kind things on it, after an hour, you are sort of dressed and shambling around.

B33j, I stood in the supermarket yesterday and thought about cooking healthy food for my own meals in a horrible horrible work week, and then thought fuck it I can't, and gave up. Cooking for yourself when sick is just - impossibly ironic and hard. (My ex is cooking for the kids this week).

It's usually cereal with whole-milk, and then sometimes fried eggs with chopped tomatoes, and then canned spaghetti-os (if you get the wholemeal ones, they have more protein), and eating apples. And sometimes it's just crackers with cheese on them and apples. And if I get super-fancy, a fried-egg sandwich with cheese. If you focus on the protein, the other stuff usually falls in and the apples are filling and don't require any prep and last ages on the kitchen countertop. I can cook or get food for the kids, but self-care for feeding myself when I'm sick or overwhelmed is just Too Many Issues, and fortified cereal is a lifesaver. Oatmeal with eggs is really good too. You can make it in the same bowl so you don't have to wash more than one thing (I do it in a mug in the microwave).
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 11:27 PM on September 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Really good advice, ta. Unfortunately living off bland carbs is something I do when I'm physically well, and able to go to the shops. I know I'm smart enough to eat a nutrition diet, pay my bills on time, clean my teeth daily, go to work but ... Something broke. Anyway, this isn't about me or my shortage of decision washers.
posted by b33j at 11:35 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


DON'T TELL ME TO TAKE A NAP I CAN'T DO THAT
Yeah, I almost stopped after that, and then stopped after the next question that told me to just take an aspirin or other meds for my pain (where the only continue option was "I'm all taken care of"). It's nice if this tool helps some people who have the opportunity to just take a nap whenever they want feel better, but it will also make people feel worse, because it just rubs it in that no, they can't take a nap, and no, they don't have anybody they can call, and their chronic pain is not alleviated by taking an aspirin or other meds.
posted by blub at 12:47 AM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Tabletop dishwashers, no plumbing.
posted by tel3path at 3:43 AM on September 29, 2015




This seems like a good place to share Self-care with Drs. Sarah, a podcast about "Two close friends talking about self-care for women in science and recording it!"
posted by ChuraChura at 5:52 AM on September 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am so sick again (bronchial infection) that I'm afraid I'll faint if I combine dish doing and cooking,

b33j, I don't know if this will help (I am not, technically, a doctor), but you can't spell "faint if I combine dish doing" without "fish dong"
posted by Greg Nog at 6:22 AM on September 29, 2015 [14 favorites]


This can only mean one of two things: 1. I am totally in denial, and I've sunk so low that I now lie to flowcharts on the internet ... 2. Hey, maybe I actually kind of have my shit together? Is that possible?

" ... for the specific character of despair is precisely this: it is unconscious of being despair."

— Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:02 AM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


This would be a really great app for people with eating disorders trying to stop purging behaviors. I often reference making your own coping bank when people are trying to find something to do rather than use the behaviors, but this platform seems ideal for the purpose.

Thanks so much for posting this.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:39 AM on September 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


This can only mean one of two things: 1. I am totally in denial, and I've sunk so low that I now lie to flowcharts on the internet ... 2. Hey, maybe I actually kind of have my shit together? Is that possible?

" ... for the specific character of despair is precisely this: it is unconscious of being despair."

— Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death.


Hilarious! "Oh, well, of course he's happy -- he doesn't realize how unhappy he really is. I feel bad for him."
posted by clockzero at 9:27 AM on September 29, 2015


Hey!!! It said "quit your whining".
posted by stormpooper at 9:38 AM on September 29, 2015


"Oh, well, of course he's happy -- he doesn't realize how unhappy he really is. I feel bad for him."

The Dane was not noted for being the life of the party. Maybe it was the long winter nights.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:59 AM on September 29, 2015


Or maybe it was the actual despair.
posted by blucevalo at 11:05 AM on September 29, 2015


Out of curiosity I just clicked ahead to get past the basics to the stuff about your state of mind and ah, ok, so the trick is to set a timer for 15 minutes for everything that’s troubling you, think or write about it, then do something grounding, like take a walk, do some mindfulness meditation or body scan or drink tea (a.k.a. keep calm and drink tea), and then I don’t know what comes next but I suspect it’s not answers to the kind of troubles and anxieties that drive people to stop eating or stop showering or stop taking care of themselves at all.

Good if it helps anyone getting through a shit day or even doing stuff they forgot to do, but nice and well-meaning as it is, I am sorry to say I find something really worrying in the idea that an online tool with generic tips can be any help for situations beyond occasional "feel like shit" - and generic tips for questions like "are you feeling anxious" or even "are you feeling dissociated"? that’s way beyond "self-care tips", we’re talking serious psychiatric issues there, if someone answers YES to a question about feelings of dissociation, the last thing they should be doing is play with an interactive script online – and the only thing to say is "go see someone as soon as possible".

I hope at the very least at the end of the whole thing there are references like numbers to call for really serious "feel like shit" stuff of that sort – or even references to medical associations and reading materials for the less emergency-like situations. Giving generic tips with no reference to established sources for more information to get help with anxieties looks a bit dangerous to me. Those are medical issues and need proper qualified medical advice and treatment.
posted by bitteschoen at 1:08 PM on September 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Grounding exercises for dissociation are a pretty common recommendation for people with PTSD. I get what you're saying -- I think having emergency numbers/resources would be a great addition -- but a lot of people with serious problems aren't always in the midst of an emergency, even when they're having problems or experiencing symptoms.
posted by jaguar at 3:11 PM on September 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think that people may be setting their expectations way too high here for something that the post title describes as helping to achieve "baby steps". This is more like an interactive version of the crib sheet that a trainee attendant at an independent living community might use to study for a test during their three-week training course, being furnished for the vast majority of people who maybe could benefit from some time in a minimal-care health facility occasionally but could never afford it or fit it into their lives.

(That said, it's entirely understandable that people would be frustrated that they don't have access to a more sophisticated version of something like this, I just don't think we should devalue it for what it actually is.)
posted by XMLicious at 4:00 PM on September 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'd still love to see something like this but with the complexity of an RPG and backed by science, where your sim gets exposed to life stresses and you need to learn a host of different strategies to cope.
posted by yoHighness at 4:12 PM on September 29, 2015


I think people are missing that this is a tool for people with executive dysfunction. It's not a general purpose tool or a tool for someone who's main issue is depression or anxiety. If that's not something you struggle with, I think it's very hard to imagine what it's like. Imagine knowing that you're hungry, but not being able to get yourself fed unless something external tells you to eat. That's what this tool is for.

Similarly, if you're dissociated it's easy not to twig that's what's happening. But if something asks "hey, are you dissociated? Maybe you should do your exercises" now it's something you can do something about.

There's all kinds of people suffering from executive function disorder that don't have ADHD. They are, by and large, underserved by therapists and the medical community once they become adults. We need all the help we can get.
posted by stoneweaver at 5:08 PM on September 29, 2015 [17 favorites]


I think that people may be setting their expectations way too high here for something that the post title describes as helping to achieve "baby steps".

Ha, yeah, I clicked on it because I was curious and I felt crappy all day, but then I got weirdly annoyed when it moved on from physical symptoms too quickly. My first instinct was "THIS DOESN'T WORK" but then I remembered that

1) this tool is not intended for literally every person's needs
2) this tool is not an Internet Dr. House who has been tasked with figuring out why I feel crappy
3) seriously, I woke up with a sore throat, I already KNOW why I feel crappy, expecting a website to figure that out CONTRARY TO ITS ACTUAL MISSION is ludicrous
4) sometimes things are Not For Me and That Is Okay

and then I told the website it did a good job and I drank some ginger tea.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:33 PM on September 29, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think that people may be setting their expectations way too high here for something that the post title describes as helping to achieve "baby steps".

Fair enough, absolutely, I appreciate that based on the feedback obviously there are people who find it useful and that’s good. But see, what you mention about this being like a crib sheet used during a three-week training course at an independent living community - there’s your context there that changes everything. This is something being shared around on social media and it will reach all kinds of people, so maybe even just a couple of links for more context right from the start page would be a good addition – in general, even for people who have none of these issues at all and will not even use such a tool - it’s just good practice to give some context when you’re giving what borders on medical advice (again talking of the part after the basic "eat/rest/shower" questions at the start, the part dealing with your state of mind and anxieties etc).
posted by bitteschoen at 12:03 AM on September 30, 2015


I just clicked and got "This page was destroyed in the great Slime War!!!" Whazzup wit dat?
posted by kinetic at 5:07 AM on September 30, 2015


if your audience is "people who currently feel like shit" and you're offering something that might possibly contain hope of relief. You're now holding in your hands people who currently feel like shit. That's responsibility. You have to be more careful and more specific than this.
posted by bleep at 9:33 AM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think the thing is pretty explicit about who the audience is, and it's not everyone who currently feels like shit. The thing says "This is meant to be an interactive flow chart for people who struggle with self care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals." (Emphasis mine). If you're not one of those people, it's not for you. Speaking as someone who is one of those people, I found it useful, and I further find that I have a hard time accessing stuff that is useful for those of us who struggle with those particular issues. Struggle with self-care may be too broad, but I think this is really pretty specifically for a narrower set of people who have problems that are not widely discussed or understood, and that's what's causing some of the push-back.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:32 AM on September 30, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm kind of frustrated that so many people are being told (both by commenters here and the site itself!) that this is a resource specifically for executive dysfunction and internal signal reading issues, not a larger panacea for every mood problem in the world.... and responding to that information by being angry that this is not a resource that has anything for, say, people in a suicidal crisis, or who are in the midst of a PTSD-triggered dissociation or whatever. Mental health issues aren't just crisis situations, and there need to be resources for issues outside of crisis too.

It's like when I dare to talk about having issues eating sometimes, and my friends go "wow, I wish it was easy for me to skip meals! I'd be so much less fat!" I have gotten frustrated about not remembering basic self-care shit like everything on this list, at some point or other in my life. Invariably, if I try to actually talk about that frustration, I get blank stares at best--and at worst, I get people judging me or implicitly accusing me of lying for having problems with this shit. Yes. The simple shit like feeding myself on time or remembering to go outside. I have good coping mechanisms but they're coping mechanisms, they don't make the problem go away, and it's really hard to have to cope with something and simultaneously not let anyone know you're dealing with it.

There's plenty of resources out there for triage for people who really do need emergency intervention. It's harder to get support for the smaller self-care stuff, even when that kind of caretaking can be invaluable for progress on the bigger, harder stuff. (You would not believe how much worse my anxiety gets when I feel like I'm not making progress at work, for example... and the "feel like shit" mode I'm in, which this thing is tailor-made to address, is hands down the most likely thing to keep me from moving forward.) Even if I don't need to go to the ER, I do need support at some time for things like this.

But it's not as glamorous as rescuing someone from a breakdown, even though shit like this is small and it never ends for many of us. I am never going to be perfect at this, I am probably always going to find it frustrating, but it needs to be done every day. Anything like this little app is so helpful, because the nature of this shit is that it doesn't occur to you to do the little sensible self-care stuff. Otherwise, you either marinate in your own inability to get up and do the thing or you burden your friends and family into looking after you for the simplest, smallest, inconsequential shit. And they get tired of that sometimes.
posted by sciatrix at 10:50 AM on September 30, 2015 [18 favorites]


I just. I remember trying to find resources the last time I had problems with remembering to eat and I kept winding up in that brain-fog, stunned and not thinking clearly place. And all I could find was resources that assumed I wasn't eating because I was either anorexic or bulemic, and that my problem was either body image or that I needed something to be in control of. (Which. I'm glad those resources exist! People with those issues need help too! But it wasn't my problem.) I felt so lost and stupid--like this was something that only I had issues with, even though intellectually I knew that wasn't quite right. Do I get to have a resource directed at people like me, or does everything have to be about emergency relief?
posted by sciatrix at 10:57 AM on September 30, 2015 [9 favorites]


Mental health issues aren't just crisis situations, and there need to be resources for issues outside of crisis too.
I agree! But it wasn't at all clear to me that this was not aimed at people who are not in a crisis situation. "You feel like shit" is what many people who are in a crisis situation or who feel terribly depressed can relate to. And this site doesn't say anywhere "hey, this site isn't for you". It explicitly mentions somewhere that many people who need a site like this have mental health problems, it asks you if you are depressed. How are people who are in a crisis (or "just" suffering from major depression) supposed to know that this isn't for them? This is a serious question, I'm not being snarky or contrarian.
posted by blub at 1:13 PM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


The quote at the beginning of the game, reproduced in the OP and by ArbitraryAndCapricious above, seems pretty clear to me. Maybe it's the "struggle with self-care" part that people are getting tripped up on? But then the creator probably put that in because there are people who don't have executive dysfunction or trouble reading internal signals who could still benefit.

Adding mental health contacts and numbers would be a good idea, for sure. And I imagine constructive feedback would be appreciated. But, I mean, this is a free Twine game made by a young person, so keep your expectations in check.

I realize the harsher comments are coming from pain, not malice, but some of the "oh, I guess you can get better with a nap; some of us have REAL problems" stuff bothers me a bit. As sciatrix explains, these are real problems for some of us. I have autism. I forget to eat and do normal human people stuff on a pretty daily basis, and sometimes I have mood changes and meltdowns and I don't know what caused it. I talk about these things a lot on Metafilter but don't mention them much in real life because it can be embarrassing and people don't usually get it.
posted by thetortoise at 2:06 PM on September 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


Maybe it's the "struggle with self-care" part that people are getting tripped up on?
Yeah, a person with severe depression is likely to struggle with self-care, and that, in combination with the "you feel like shit" part makes it looks like this is for you.
some of the "oh, I guess you can get better with a nap; some of us have REAL problems" stuff bothers me a bit.
I'm sorry for that, I really did not mean for my comment to sound dismissive about anyones struggles, but in hindsight I see how it came across that way. I'm just genuinely concerned that this tool can make vulnerable people feel worse.
posted by blub at 3:03 PM on September 30, 2015


No harm no foul, blub. You weren't dismissive; we're just all coming at this from different angles. Actually, this thread is very interesting to me for that reason. I always experience the executive function stuff as intrinsically tied up with my depression, and it isn't until reading other people's reactions that I realize it isn't the same way for everyone.
posted by thetortoise at 3:15 PM on September 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sciatrix, I don't think anyone is saying you don't get to have a useful tool. I think people are exploring what parts of it are and aren't useful for them. When you start with a tool with an attention-grabby name and delve into its complexities just as it is delving into yours, it is ok to discover that actually, no, it's not a helpful tool for you right now without it invalidating the experiences of others who did find it helpful.

Even though I'll probably never use it again (because even when I am not in depressed crisis mode I am unlikely to think of going to a website for advice on self-care), I can see its utility and even how it resembles the patient internal voice I have trained over years to help me with the basics. I'm glad it might help people to get there sooner than I did. I also hope someone comes up with a similar tool to help with things I'm not good at yet, but because I am a unique and delicate snowflake I suspect it is called therapy, and I have a therapist.
posted by Athanassiel at 3:17 PM on September 30, 2015


I am sorry for the people who aren't liking this, but maybe it's not that the tool is broken, but that the tool is not for you?

You may even be dealing with depression or anxiety, but please remember you may be talking to OTHER PEOPLE who also have depression, anxiety, or other equally troubling or valid problems*, and I know when I'm in that state it is super-easy to be discouraged, and give up on useful tools.
So please, consider whether this is the right tool for you to be using in the first place, before leaping to the criticism that it doesn't work for you? Criticism is useful in many situations, but, if we're in need of this tool, we're probably a bit fragile. Defaulting to being as gentle as possible, can help.

Ok, so who is it for?
It says at the beginning "This is meant to be an interactive flow chart for people who struggle with self care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals. It's designed to take as much of the weight off of you as possible, so each decision is very easy and doesn't require much judgment."

If your decision-maker isn't broken, it may not be for you. If your decision maker is decidedly broken, especially when you are struggling with basic self-care (i.e. maslows hierarchy of needs, the bottom rungs!), then it probably is for you.

Further "Set aside some time--maybe an hour total- to allow yourself to work through each step."

If you don't have any time, for things like naps, that is a constraint you know won't work with this tool. If you want to use it anyway, you'll have to ignore instructions that you can't do because of time (try and make time though, because if you don't have the bottom rungs sorted, everything falls apart).


Ok, so, for an example of people it might work for:
Me? When I am really struggling with self-care, my manifestation of my executive function deficits (ADHD, woo!), means that I can't do things for myself, but I CAN follow orders. Usually.

So this means, when I've had housemates, I've sometimes wandered the house til I bumped in to one, and asked them "Please tell me to eat something, then go to sleep?". And then I can! Because I'm not having to use willpower, I'm just following instructions, which really seems to be working along a completely different, not-already-exhausted, neural pathway.

Things I'd change:
It needs to also tell me to go to the bathroom if I need to go (yup, really).
It needs to cover food, meds, painkillers, drink, temperature, bathroom, basic cleanliness, THEN nap. Then the other, less body physical needs.
Nap needs to be more finely graded into - if it's an hour or two til bedtime, can you go to bed early? Can you set an alarm for 10-20 minutes and lie with your eyes closed? Looking at time available and setting an alarm for 15 minutes and doing nothing with my eyes closed, is more 'productive' in terms of refueling my reserves than sitting, frozen with indecision, or surfing the internet (even Mefi!).


Anyway, it is pretty similar to my own Emotional First Aid, but this is a much, much, much more useful format than a list when dealing with executive function disorders, because it really feels like instructions, rather than mere 'reading material' that I can zone out and read past on.
posted by Elysum at 2:29 AM on October 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


To those of you who reported "forgetting to eat" as a signal of executive dysfunction:

Thank you.

I have had the same issue for ages, particularly when I was living alone (and especially when I was dealing with extremely difficult times, such as illness or a horrid breakup). Like sciatrix I too got flummoxed at all the resources that pointed to anorexia or bulimia. It is an "eating disorder", technically, because my eating is completely disordered, but it has nothing to do with body image - I just feel too tired and out of it to figure out food. It's only been this thread that's given me the words for what I was dealing with, and I'm deeply grateful.

Right now I'm back living with my parents while I figure out next steps, and for all the foibles this situation presents (it was by far the last choice) at least I get fed 3+ times a day. Huge difference.

As for suggestions to expand the choices - is there an open-source version of this game that we could contribute to?
posted by divabat at 2:55 AM on October 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


Even if I don't need to go to the ER, I do need support at some time for things like this.
I have been thinking about this a bit. I think it's important to note that it's not that people who don't have anyone to talk to, can't take a nap, and have chronic pain are necessarily people who are in a crisis who need to go to the ER or have severe problems that can not possibly be helped by this. I actually think this is most people in certain age groups/demographics. Even if you have tons of friends, I don't know many people who can just call someone to talk to whenever they want (especially during the day), because those friends are likely to be busy with work or childcare or other responsibilities, and social media often just makes you feel worse. And many, many people have insomnia and/or chronic pain issues of some sort, so "take a nap" and "take an aspirin" as the proposed cure for insomnia and pains and then having to click "I'm all taken care of" as the only option to go further is just not great (especially since it makes you realize that, yes, now that you think of it, your pain has been hurting more than usual again, that probably really does have something to do with feeling like shit at the moment - so the tool seems like it's on the right track and just for you - and then it comes with the aspirin suggestion and you just want to cry).

I feel like this is a bit like those menstruation-apps that assume that you are a cis straight young fertile woman. It's not that the criticism for those apps was that cis straight young fertile women do not deserve an app, of course they do! But it kind of sucks when those assumptions about fertility etc. are the default. Isn't it ableist to assume that a tool for people who "feel like shit" will only be used by healthy people with a strong support network?
posted by blub at 3:15 AM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know if it's quite assuming that, but I did also feel a bit of annoyance in the same places where the only option was the "I'm taken care of" one. It should probably say something like "I'm taken care of, or my problem is beyond the scope of this tool."

Jace Harr identifies herself as a writer and seems to tweet quite a bit about Twine. Because of the nature of the sort of fictional text-adventure-like game which Twine is generally used for, the player expects to be railroaded down a limited selection of options. But in the context of this tool, it's concerning peoples' real-world identities and problems, so in this case it's more like being forced to answer a multiple-choice question where none of the answers apply to you. So I agree that the design of the tool should do better at taking that into account and being sensitive to it.
posted by XMLicious at 4:54 AM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's really hard for me to figure out when I need to eat, and if I go too long I start actively not caring about food and then wondering why I'm exhausted and can't process anything through the brain fog or think clearly. Same with drinking, such that I have now started trying to condition myself to go drink something if I feel crappy....which does rely on noticing I feel crappy in the first place

Sciatrix, I'm so glad you've posted this, because this is such a huge problem for me, and I think it can be really hard for people without executive function/ADHD/etc related issues to get it. I often have a hard time making sense of it myself. It's just like there's a short circuit where the part of my brain that should register hunger/thirst/etc either doesn't work at all, or there's no connection between the feeling of hunger and the actual actions required to feed myself.

And this goes for things like pain/physical discomfort, and other general looking after myself stuff. I've had some success training myself to drink water regularly, but sometimes I slip. I don't think this would have been useful when I was incredibly depressed, but I can really see this benefitting me now, especially because my brain gets overloaded pretty quickly by the number of tasks I have (even if they're all small and manageable on their own), so self care gets shoved to the back. And of course, then there's the whole hyperfocus thing, which often gets worse the more tired I am, so I'll sometimes even manage to procure food, but then it just sits their on the table because I can't tear myself away from whatever else I'm doing. (Also, I'm pretty prone to not wanting to eat for other reasons, used to struggle with a pretty severe eating disorder, so this is really important to stay on top of and also really hard.)

I think it would be hard to make an app that would be really useful for someone who is depressed (based on my own years long experience with severe, often suicidal, depression). But someone with ADHD/executive function dysfunction is much more likely to benefit from this kind of thing. When it comes to the smaller things, it often doesn't take much to push me in the right direction as long as that push comes from outside my own brain.

I'm excited to try this out. Actually, I could really benefit from it in this very moment, since I'm failing so hard with this whole self care thing. I'm dehydrated, have makeup on my face that's making my skin feel all gross, my stomach hurts (probably because I got lazy about taking my daily prilosec, which wasn't because I ran out. It was just in the a different room from the rest of my meds, so I put off taking it until the acid reflux was unbearable). I didn't get home from work until after 1:30 am, and I've spent the last 1.5 hours doing nothing to address any of this, because ugh, I'm so tired. Also, it's freezing, because I forgot to turn on the heat, but I probably won't be able to sleep until I stop feeling so thirsty and get this damn make up off.

(I'm rambling because I'm tired, so I'm going to stop now.)

Anyway, thanks for posting this, desjardins!
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:54 PM on October 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm just genuinely concerned that this tool can make vulnerable people feel worse.

You know the bar is pretty low for that, right?
posted by listen, lady at 1:38 AM on October 2, 2015


I have forgetting to eat as a major self care deficit symptom but just to note isn't executive dysfunction, eating disorder our depression, but a way to trigger physical dissociation from my body when I'm experiencing intense distress, often rage or grief, and forgetting to eat induces light hardness and a known physical pain that drowns out everything else. I've learned to eat lots of healthy small snacks intentionally to avoid using this as it's a toxic coping method, but forgetting to eat can be for other reasons than about body image or food or distraction.

(And now I realise I have literally no idea what I ate today besides an apple. Eggs! I made egg salad for breakfast, go me. I forgot lunch though.)
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:24 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


> It needs to also tell me to go to the bathroom if I need to go (yup, really).

Yeah, that. Some people need a FitBit to remind them to take exercise, and others need a ShitBit to ... well, you know.

I wonder if all of the hydration questions are today's coded self-care version of that perennially mortifying grandparents' query: “Did you have a BM?” 'Cos srsly, when I was a kid, not pooping was the supposed cause of everything.
posted by scruss at 7:06 AM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think I'm going to write a customizable version of this as an app. Because tapping an app icon is less executive function demanding than getting myself to a website, and people can add in their own bm related steps ;)
posted by stoneweaver at 7:55 AM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


So after posting my very rambling comment last night, I started going back through the self care guide, and at first I was just clicking through and being like "Yes, I should do this thing, yes I should do this, and this, and this," and then I realized, the whole point is you actually have to do that thing. (Yeah, I know, should be obvious, whatever.)

And it actually really helped! I got the snack that I really needed to eat, drank a bottle of water, took my makeup off, and I turned on the heat so that I could stop shuffling around my apartment wrapped in a blanket. I even got to bed by 3:30 am! (Which is only impressive because it was almost 3 am by the time I posted my comment to this thread.)

One thing I've noticed is that momentum is a really important thing. I suspect it has to do with the fact that my brain just loves positive reinforcement, whether that's alcohol, clicker games on my phone, getting an A in a class, whatever. That means if I get the first task done* it makes it much easier for me to do the other things. Like last night, when I got my snack, and then I was like this is great, now I can totally get water, etc. And on top of that, I had the positive reinforcement of the little flow chart thing.

I think I'm going to write a customizable version of this as an app. Because tapping an app icon is less executive function demanding than getting myself to a website, and people can add in their own bm related steps ;)

This would be so awesome! As long as it also works on the ipad or my macbook, because when I'm in avoidance mode, I turn off my phone and pretend it doesn't exist so I don't have to worry about phone calls/emails/etc.

*if it's a relatively small, quick manageable thing, like eat a snack, as opposed to "tackle this huge project/write a paper/etc.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:03 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Actually, it would also be great if there was a step-by-step procrastination/avoidance app or site like this self care thing. I envision something along these lines:

1. Is there something (or many things) you're avoiding doing?

--> No --> Good work!
--> Yes --> Go to question 2

2. Do you have the time/resources to do that thing right now? (Be honest! It doesn't count if you "have to" get to the next level of candy crush.

--> No --> go to 3
-->Yes --> go to 4

3. Do you really not have time? You're using an app/a website right this second. Are you sure?

--> Yes, I'm sure --> Okay, go ahead and make a plan for when you can start working on these projects. *Have a box for time/date and maybe includes a way to tie it into ical/google calendar or some phone reminder*
--> No --> Go to 4

4. Make a list of all the things you've been putting off but need to do.

->All done! --> Go to 5

5. Put an approximate length of time it would take to complete each task (it doesn't have to be exact! don't spend more than 5 minutes doing this!)

--> Got it! --> Go to 6

6. Put a star next to everything you can do right now.

--> Okay! --> Go to 7

7. On a new piece of paper, write down everything you didn't star. Leave space in between each item.

--> New list complete! --> Go to 8

8. Make a quick note of what needs to happen in order for you to get these things done (have to go to store, need to hear back from boss, etc).

--> All done! --> Good! Set this list aside (somewhere where you won't lose it, like maybe stick it on your fridge --> Go to 9

9. Now, go back to the first list. Next to everything that's starred, rate them on a scale of one to ten, with 1 being "Eh, this isn't so bad, I can do it," and 10 being, "Ugh I can't do this! So much avoid! So much procrastinate! I will die! It's impossible! Must go hide under the covers!"
(Don't spend forever deliberating on what number to put. Just go with your first instinct. This should take less than 5 minutes.)

--> Ratings are all done! --> Go to 10

10. Pick the one thing you gave the lowest rating to. (If there's more than one thing with that number, choose the quickest one.) This should be something that doesn't fill you with dread at the mere thought of it. (Don't think about anything else on the list! Take a blank page, and just write this one thing down!)

-->Okay, I wrote it down! --> Go to 11

11. Now, actually do that thing. Like right this second. It will be so quick! You'll feel so much better!

-->I did it!!! --> Great job! Go to 12
--> I didn't do it :( --> Go do it! Seriously, just do it! --> Okay, I finally did it --> Great!!! Go to 12

12. Isn't that a great feeling??? Now, cross that thing off your list. Maybe check it off too! Give yourself a gold star! Pay attention to that little sigh of relief that comes from knowing you got that one thing done!

--> That is a great feeling! --> Go to 13

13. Now, this is really important: Don't "celebrate" by playing games on your phone. Take this momentum, pick the next easiest thing to do on your list, and go do it!

etc, etc, etc.

Anyway, I didn't really mean to type all that out. I was just going to do one line, and then it just kept going. I probably should have put all that energy into actually doing my work, but now that I've wasted all that time, I'm just posting this. And if anyone does want to build that app, I would be eternally grateful! I would do it myself if I had any idea how someone actually builds an app. Or a website like this self care thing.

And yes, I know there are things like the pomodoro method (been there, tried that, had some success, nothing sustainable), but the whole clicking through a website/phone app really seems to work better for me (probably because years of internet use and clicker games has warped my brain).

I mean, seriously, I spend so much of my life stressing out over things like emails which often isn't even that hard for me to actually do, but once I start avoiding them, even if it's for a legit reason like having to work late or something, I just get into this avoidance loop, and then the inertia is so powerful that it's hard to get out of avoidance mode.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:51 AM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


You know what else would be great? If we started a little mini mefi online support group thing (obviously separate from actual metafilter) where those of us who are executive functionally challenged could get together. It could be as simple as a single message board where you can post a comment about something that you're avoiding, and then you can comment again once you've actually done that thing.

At least for me, sometimes just having a little accountability like telling someone I need to do this thing and then knowing that I'll also tell them if I've done it or not, can be the push I need for "smaller" tasks like doing laundry, eating, etc.

Also, the site would have to be super simple and limited so that it wouldn't turn into another time waste/procrastination tool. And maybe once you make your "I have to do this thing" comment, you couldn't comment again until you'd done that thing.

And on that note, I'm actually going to go do work now.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:59 AM on October 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Related MeTa
posted by XMLicious at 9:10 AM on October 2, 2015


A suggestion for step 4, litera scripta manet — when I'm in the kind of state where I need something like this, "Make a list of all the things you've been putting off but need to do" would read to me as "Make a list of ALL THE THINGS you've been putting off but need to do you useless slacker."

Maybe "make a list of some of the things" or "make a list of the first ten things that come to mind"…
posted by Lexica at 10:25 AM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Maybe "make a list of some of the things" or "make a list of the first ten things that come to mind"…

Good call! I do find that telling myself to LIST ALL THE THINGS is basically just asking for my brain to short circuit and retreat to the comforting world of mindless clicker games and posting on mefi.

And yet, my first instinct when I try to switch out of avoidance mode is to tell myself, "LIST ALL THE THINGS so that you can do all the things RIGHT NOW because you should have done all the things days ago and you didn't so now you must do all of it right now like right this second why haven't you done it already you fail at being a human being."

Going back to the site linked in this FPP, I think that's one of the things that's helpful about this self care guide (and would be helpful about similar apps). If I start thinking about how I need to feed myself, hydrate myself, wash myself, clean my living space, etc, etc, then suddenly everything feels exponentially more overwhelming. But when the page just says, "Are you hungry?" --> "Okay, go get a snack," then it seems much less onerous.

Of course, at this very moment, my breakfast, which I'm already eating about 5 hours late, is sitting next to be ready to eat, and yet here I am commenting and not eating it.
posted by litera scripta manet at 12:19 PM on October 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


You guys, you do know you can comment and play clicker games and eat at the same time, right? This forgetting-to-eat thing is killing me. I didn't know it existed before and it's just killing me because mindless but consistently pleasant constant chomping is my favorite comorbidity--beyond even drinking!--with my primary problem, which is trying to do nothing with my time for the rest of my life besides get into fights on the internet and play solitaire. I can't imagine my life if I were not eating all the time, but I know it would be terrible and I want this to stop happening to you. Of late my favorite thing is to get some mixed roasted nuts and a container of Temptee. Use the nuts like tiny little scoops so you're eating a nut wearing a little Donald Trump combover made out of Temptee. Grab a nut, give it a Temptee hairpiece, consume, repeat. If you can't do nuts, there's pretzels and Temptee or, I dunno, big bag o' baby carrots and Temptee. The point is, guys: Temptee. Temptee.
posted by Don Pepino at 2:18 PM on October 2, 2015


litera scripta magnet, please make that happen and take my money.

The day after I posted about being in a depressive episode, someone hit and ran my parked car at work. Lucky for me, I parked in front of a security camera, so I ended up with their insurance information. I've been dealing with insurance stuff all week, and oh wow, do I feel like a badass. My husband asked me if I checked on rental information, and I was all, "Fuck yeah, I got that shit sorted!'

Seriously, y'all, those stupid little things... they're not stupid, they're not little, they're cause for celebration. Drink that water. Empty the dishwasher. Non-depressed people take these things for granted, but they're all personal victories for us.
posted by Ruki at 6:42 PM on October 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


I do find that telling myself to LIST ALL THE THINGS is basically just asking for my brain to short circuit and retreat to the comforting world of mindless clicker games and posting on mefi.

OK, good, because I wanted to say that I don't have executive function problems but I do have occasional anxiety-driven procrastination issues and your proposal made me immediately want to curl up in bed and play click-games but I didn't want to be negative. :) I think any lists should be confined to three to five things -- much more than that and users are likely to start feeling overwhelmed.
posted by jaguar at 7:18 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just realized that the twine thing that they used to make this is actually an open source kind of thing (very technical terminology, I know). And apparently they posted this guide to a free twine hosting site. Making an app is way out of my skill range at the moment, but I'm going to try out making an interactive twine flow chart like this self care thing except for those of us who suffer from anxiety-driven procrastination spirals, which are literally the bane of my existence, and have been one of the most intractable problems I've had, even after spending years in therapies ironing out all my other issues and despite being decently medicated.

But I am definitely absolutely not gong to start on it tonight, because it's 11 pm here, and I have to go teach a lab first thing tomorrow morning (yes, on a Saturday), and I will hate myself SO MUCH in the morning if I stay up until 4 am messing around with my little productivity project, and that would only be slightly less terrible than the times when I've stayed up until 4 am answering askmefi questions/writing fanfic/binge watching Netflix.

If I do manage to make a decent enough version, I'll post it to Projects. However, right now I'm going to use what little self control I have to focus on eating my lunch/dinner (yeah, at 11 pm), and I'm not even going to think about starting on this thing until tomorrow.

Ugh, my food is cold, and my Diet Coke is lukewarm because I was too busy doing other crap. I hate it when that happens.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:16 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Not to steal your sleep, but if you look in the tags on this post a great many MeFi FPPs concern Twine or Twine-based interactive fiction, more than concern actual physical twine.
posted by XMLicious at 8:28 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's very good to know! I'll definitely take a look through the Twine tag when I'm getting started on this.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:02 PM on October 2, 2015


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