Beeminder Forum

Beeminding in a Slump

The description for the “Life” tag mentions “kvetching, kvelling, and kibitzing.” I had to look up kvetch and kvell, and with kibitz, I guess it could be coincidence, but… does someone here have a Yiddish fetish?

But that’s not why I’m starting the thread.

One of the reasons I use Beeminder is the akratic tendencies associated with depression. I know I’m not the only one with this problem (because of the Law of Large Numbers and because this blog-post note mentions it). I’m also utilizing @manasvinik’s Boss as a Service and experimenting with @malcolm’s Complice, @smitop’s TagTimeWeb, and @narthur’s TaskRatchet.

I think the most helpful so far is BaaS’s twice-a-day emails, even when I don’t get back to them (Hey, are you doing what you said you would?) and Complice’s automated email at the end of my due-date.

But even then, I know some days are going to not be as good as others. What I’m trying to do is:

  1. Avoid multi-day (especially multi-week!) slumps.
  2. Increase average daily mood (thus avoiding deep slumps)

I understand the principle of Beeminding inputs instead of outputs, so that isn’t a problem. I’m curious though, about how other users may have found success with sticking to their goals instead of just saying, “I can afford $x this time.”

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I’ve been using Beeminder to get through some moderate depression, as well (thankfully seems like I’m pulling out of it now), and it’s been invaluable for helping me to function even when all I want to do is lay on the couch, watch YouTube, and stuff my face with junk food.

Great to hear you’re using TaskRatchet! Please, if you have any feedback on the service, don’t hesitate to email me at nathan@taskratchet.com. Hearing users’ insights is so valuable.

Thoughts on beeminding through depression, and beeminding generally:

  • Consider using deadline waterfalls. I’ve recently started using them and I’ve found that they help me to build momentum without all the anxiety I had when every goal had the same deadline.
  • While do-more goals are generally the easiest to manage, I’ve found having a do-less goal for my go-to numbing behavior to be very helpful. My goal is in terms of half-hour blocks, and I add a data point and start a half-hour timer before I begin the behavior.
  • This is controversial, but I don’t consider derailing to be a failure as long as the stakes were set appropriately and I made the conscious decision to derail and didn’t just forget about the goal. If those things are true, I consider that Beeminder did it’s job–it forced me to consider the consequences of not sticking to my commitment by bringing some of those consequences into the present.
  • In my experience setting stakes is a balancing act. Too low, and the stakes don’t adequately represent the value I place on the activity, and therefore won’t give me sufficient pause when I’m considering derailing. Too high, and my ability to be honest may start to falter for that goal.
  • There are usually several things contributing to depression, so identifying them and crafting goals to help in those areas is a good strategy. Exercise, gratitude (my favorite book / app for that), diet, social interaction (responsibly, of course), sunlight, thinking patterns / distortions, addictions, all good places to start.
  • Beeminder can’t address every possible contributing factor to depression. If there’s a brain chemistry component, for instance, you’ll need to discuss supplements and/or medications with a doctor. Also, if there’s an addiction component, Beeminder may be a piece of the puzzle, but you’ll probably need additional support. A therapist (I prefer one who uses CBT) can also be an amazing ally, helping you improve your thinking patterns and otherwise build healthy habits.
  • It’s better to start goals with a low rate and increase it over time. This helps to avoid overcommitment, discouragement, and burnout.

Don’t give up. You’ll get through this. :slight_smile:

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Who doesn’t? Yiddish is amazing!

:heart_eyes: :star_struck:

Great thoughts! (more comments below)

See also this 4-year-old thread:

Hear hear! https://blog.beeminder.com/waterfalls

I sure love how you think. :slight_smile: Couple more relevant blog posts are https://blog.beeminder.com/defail and maybe especially https://blog.beeminder.com/beenice

Beautifully said.

Yeah, we often call that finding your motivation point.

One more! https://blog.beeminder.com/burnout

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@narthur @dreev

You guys gave me so much to read! Yes, I’m on medication, and I talk with my wife about what’s going on in my head frequently. These two things alone have DEFINITELY brought my “average daily mood” up significantly. Suicidal thoughts are a thing of the past! Now it’s just the occasional stretches of time where I feel like my feet are concrete.

I think the biggest thing to try first will be morning waterfalls. I’ve noticed that the biggest threats to my day are how long I take to get out of bed after I should have gotten up and what I do in the first hour after getting up. I’ll go ahead and try a mild waterfall and set up a TaskRatchet to see how I’m doing in a week :wink:

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Worth amplifying; if derailing is a conscious choice, then it’s not a failure.

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It is indeed! That wonderful “kv” consonant cluster, for instance!
But I must confess I simply assumed someone had an alliteration fetish.

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