The search for the perfect outcome from every decision often leaves me paralysed. Paralysis turns to agitation, then anger, then sadness. All over what type of ham to buy or whether to wash my hair today. Looking logically I know it doesn't really matter but when I'm feeling the full force of the barrage of little decisions, I panic, I freeze and I get stuck.
I was recently describing this difficulty to a friend. She kindly offered to make the decisions for me. Simply text her the options and she'd decide. Easy. "What should I have for dinner?" I asked. Her friendly reply came immediately. But of course I didn't like the answer. Had she given it enough thought? What about the leftovers? Or nutritional balance? Turns out, decision making is not something I can outsource.
So I set to trying to identify what was causing my difficulty.
As with many sufferers of depression, I'm a perfectionist. I feel as though my happiness is dependent upon making the perfect decision. Anything less and my world will fall apart. Or at least that's how it feels. These days we have so many information sources available to us to "help" us to live more positively. But I'm a sucker for documentaries, have a strong moral compass and have a big heart to fill with worries. Every new piece of information I receive goes into my melting pot ready to be drawn from the next time a range of options come my way. The problem is that my pot is overflowing with conflicting over-information: unrealistic aspirations from "perfect" messages I've received clashing with the reality of my own situation. My paralysis comes from trying to balance so many considerations.
So I've decided to empty my melting pot, give it a good wash and only put back in the most valuable pieces of information. The rest are of no benefit to me however much they claim to "help". I'm proactively avoiding many sources of new information and prioritising only the most genuinely positive. Already I feel a little calmer, my head feels a little clearer, and everything seems a little brighter. Of course it's a work in progress, but it has helped me and I hope it will do you too.
I'd love to hear other experiences and strategies for smooth decision making.
With definite love
A Moodscope member.