Indecision and Mental Illness
I am feeling the nudge to write a post here today, and as I was sitting here pondering what topic I should write about many things related to mental health came to mind: stress of the upcoming holidays, social media addiction, shopping compulsion, and comorbid diseases to name a few. My mind fluttered back and forth and back again around each topic. I couldn’t decide. Suddenly, I realized this is how I’ve been living my days for the last several years, in a state of indecisiveness.
Interestingly, indecisiveness is a symptom of many psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis and personality disorders. Knowing this makes me feel better because at least there is a reason for my difficulty with making decisions versus it merely being a character flaw.
There are times, however, when I can make decisions, but they are usually impulsive and harmful, such as deciding to buy too many clothes or starting too many projects at one time. For the most part, however, I either don’t trust my own decisions because of my history of impulsivity or I can’t make decisions and often defer to others to decide many things for me, such as what to watch, where to eat, what to buy, etc.
One of the biggest factors contributing to my indecisiveness is my fear of not knowing which choices I make will bring on symptoms of my illnesses. I know what many of my triggers are after years of dealing with them, but not all of them. Moreover, the ones I do know are inconsistent; sometimes they trigger symptoms, sometimes they don’t. Therefore, deciding to risk it or not is always a difficult thing to do.
For me, indecisiveness also comes from lack of motivation. I normally function at a mild level of depression, so making choices means taking action which is challenging at times. More than even starting the action or task is finishing it. I usually lose energy, mentally or physically, before completing tasks, and knowing this about myself prevents me from ever starting them.
This all sounds very depressing, and I guess looking at it from an objective point of view it is. Honestly, though, I am so used to it I barely notice it is a problem. I am sure if I found a way to deal with it I might rise out of my mild level of depression. Maybe you all have some tips you can share?
Here’s what some experts have suggested:
7 Ways to Cope with Indecision*
1. Forget About Always Appearing Smart
I can definitely relate to this. I think my perfectionistic tendencies and fear of failing keep me from deciding to do things.
2. Trust Your Gut
I find this is often the only way I can make decisions, albeit impulsively.
3. Beware of the Paradox of Choice
The fewer the options, the easier the choice. Therefore, maybe limit how much advise you seek.
4. Prioritize Your Demands and Fears
Make sure you have healthy boundaries established with the people in your life.
5. Act in a Moral and Sincere Manner
Do the right thing.
6. Don’t Over Analyze Things
Act, evaluate results, make adjustments and move on.
7. Flip a Coin
When all else fails, call it heads or tails.
*Source: Seven Ways to Conquer Indecision