The Vagaries of Indecisiveness

AngelAs with most choices I am presented with, I remain indecisive about joining Canvas.

According to the DSM, one of the symptoms of depression is “diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others).”

When does indecisiveness become too much to handle, so pervasive that it would fit the DSM‘s criterion as a symptom of depression? When does indecisiveness cease to be a sign of careful deliberation and become a signifier of an underlying issue?

Among many decisions upon which I have recently vacillated, three appear to be of most moment: trying Seroquel, creating a Twitter account, and joining Canvas.

Regular followers of my blog will know that I’ve been taking Seroquel for a little over a month now. When my psychiatrist proposed giving Seroquel a chance, I hesitated. But why did I hesitate? For the past few months I’d been thinking that I might need a medication adjustment. Though Prozac and Wellbutrin worked well enough, I still felt as if I needed something more, something that could mitigate my sporadic episodes of self-destructive rage. On average, they happen only about every three months. Still, they present a threat to my security. I had been on the same doses of Prozac and Wellbutrin during my visit to the ER almost a year ago. The episode had crept up on me without warning. On the day it occurred, my self-loathing festered for several hours. I devised a plan to kill myself. Funnily enough, it was my indecisiveness that saved me that night. I felt caught between two choices: either I had to attempt suicide right then or throw myself into the ER.

In some situations, indecisiveness emanates from survival instinct.

But more often than not, indecisiveness hampers me. Let me return to my decision involving Seroquel. After my psychiatrist presented me with the possibility, my mind rapidly analyzed the pros and cons. Of course I need something else; I’ve been entirely sure of it for a while now. But how will it interact with my current medications? Will the mixture make matters worse? And what if, like Abilify, Seroquel destabilizes my life without giving me any benefits?

I told my psychiatrist that I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Why, after so much certainty, did I shrink from this possible step?

Fear of the unknown, perhaps. I was familiar with my current regimen. A change could be disruptive, bringing too much baggage. Then again, I already knew that I needed some novel help from medications.

This is how my mind works, revolving the same possibilities again and again, with exhaustive repetition.

Finally, my psychiatrist claimed that he believed I would try Seroquel some day even if I decided not to right now. That sealed the deal. I replied that yes, I would take the Seroquel. Why?

Because the outcome now appeared to be a certainty. If it was inevitable, why not start right away? In a sense, the responsibility was out of my hands. If this were the wrong decision, it wouldn’t be my fault. Hadn’t the psychiatrist himself affirmed that it was an eventuality?

I think I’ve discussed that event long enough to confuse myself. What of my decisions to join Twitter and Canvas?

Though I did join Twitter on the spur of the moment, before then I had contemplated it for a couple of weeks. However, I’d always concluded that I shouldn’t do it. Why not?

Who would be interested in random little thoughts I have? Don’t people get enough of me from my blog already? I’d had the same sorts of thoughts when I’d started my blog. What’s the point of a blog if no one reads it? Who would want to read such depressing drivel?

Although it takes me forever to make a decision, when I finally do so, I stand firmly by it. Hence, I was not going to abandon the blog once I’d started it. If I do something, I want to see it through.

Perhaps this explains why it takes so long for me to make decisions. I don’t want to act unless I’m willing to fully commit myself to it. For that matter, I don’t want to make the wrong choice.

For someone who spends so much time on the task, however, I make decisions relatively quickly. I know that if I don’t make one, my thoughts will constantly dwell on the possibilities.

There was no harm in creating a Twitter account. Nothing catastrophic would happen if I did it. Thus, I might as well join Twitter.

How are we to know what the outcomes will be, anyway, without trying something out first? So what if I mess up on my initial attempt? That’s how I learn best. Would it be the end of the world? Probably not, although it may seem so at the time.

So what makes indecisiveness a symptom of depression? Why isn’t it merely the manifestation of a careful mind?

I suspect that the answer is a matter of degree. Does indecisiveness interfere with your daily life? Is it among several signs of depression that all interfere with your daily life? If so, it’s probably safe to conclude that you have a problem you need to address.

Being indecisive is sometimes debilitating. If all we did was sit around in perpetual indecision, we wouldn’t be living our lives. If left to my own devices, that would be me: sitting around all day merely thinking about doing something rather than actually doing it.

Therefore, I decide, though I’m not really comfortable with how I decide. I just take the plunge and hope for the best.

Just as constant indecision is problematic, constantly deciding without consideration is problematic. You haven’t fully acquainted yourself with the possibilities, which means you jump in unprepared.

I need a happy median, but I am unable to find it.

Until then, I will spend countless hours in the grips of indecision.

Obviously, I have decided to join Canvas. Why? Well, what would it hurt? Many of the other contributors must like my blog, as they read it. Even though in some ways my issues are different from theirs, I would belong.

I took the plunge.

© Angel Fractured and A Canvas Of The Minds 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Angel Fractured and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


19 thoughts on “The Vagaries of Indecisiveness

  1. I know how you feel about making decisions. I have a tendency to be compulsive. So I decide a lot of things at the spur of the moment and then try and change my mind later lol. I am going to follow your Canvas blog too, if you don’t mind. Oh and I have went through many of the mood stablizing drugs and Seroquel especially made me gain about 100 lbs in 9 months!!!! They all caused weight gain. Now I am back on Geodon. I have no side effects from it. It has a side effect of possible weight gain. But out of all of them, I noticed it less if any with Geodon and It works well too.

    • Of course I don’t mind! Wow, 100 lbs in 9 months! I hope that doesn’t happen to me! Goodness knows I weigh enough already! I don’t know much about Geodon.

          • good. Im sorry I cant stand to cause soemone to misunderstand me. I told COF that this whole thing started cause of what she started off with in my commnets in the post “where’s the guilt”. I still dont know how she got to that journal. But now I know I have a leak somewhere. I made that twitter accound as a path to the journal and the twitter was private. I told certain people they could have the twitter and then it went crazy lol

  2. I am constantly battling indecision. I blame it on ADD and inability to fully evaluate the options, but I think that like you, I commit myself 100% and so I’m just afraid of being wrong. There’s also the situation where I genuinely don’t have a preference and I’m being forced to make choices that don’t matter to me. My husband makes me do that all the time, and some times I just blow up on him: I don’t care and forcing me to choose just upsets me because I can’t make a proper choice. He still makes me choose. It makes me batty.

    • I have an unhealthy fear of being wrong. Even with simple decisions. I just feel like if I’m wrong about something, it can be used against me. That’s sort of how it worked while I was growing up, and not just at home, but also with my peers. I hate when people try to make me choose when I don’t care either, lol. I just choose a random option and when they’re like “why,” I say, that I don’t know and if they don’t want to do that they should pick the other choice, ha.

  3. “Manifestation of a careful mind”…YES!! A much better way to look at taking time to make decisions. I believe it’s the being upset at ourselves that makes indecision a symptom of being depressed. Depression is anger turned inward. If we berate ourselves for continually turning something over in our mind…that’s what creates our depression and angst. If we CHOOSE to look at it as a manifestation of a careful mind, it puts a positive spin on our decision making and we feel good about it. It’s all a matter of choice. Do we choose to live with our choice or continually second guess. Second guessing is really being upset with ourselves because we don’t trust or believe in ourselves which ends up being negative thoughts again.
    Welcome aboard…I look forward to your posts!

    • Thank you!

      I find what you say about second guessing interesting. It can sometimes come with being insecure, which is applicable to me. There is such a thing as being *too* indecisive, and that’s when nothing gets done. It’s good to take time to make decisions, but not to eternally postpone them.

  4. I am a very indecisive person as well (maybe because I am a Libra?)…yet, I know very well what I want. I do think that indecisiveness lies in just being “careful”. It is a sort of defense mechanism I suppose to not getting hurt in some way. We each just need to be able to find the balance between being defensive and just “going for it” =)

    • Hey, I’m a Libra, too! Perhaps that factors in, ha. I have a history of being overly careful. I’m afraid I may make the wrong decision and then have no one to blame but myself. But in some ways making no decision is worse.

  5. “This is how my mind works, revolving the same possibilities again and again, with exhaustive repetition.”

    I really like that you chose this symptom of depression to focus on, because it isn’t really one that gets much attention. We focus more on exhaustion, on changes in sleep and appetite, on adhedonia. But I am an extremely decisive person by nature. Actually, in many instances other people might go so far as to call me impulsive or reckless (this doesn’t happen to be the case; normally, there is a lot of rapid consideration that goes into most everything I do). So when I start waffling about things to the point where my own mind “[revolves] the same possibilities again and again, with exhaustive repetition” then there is something deeply amiss within me.

    And I think you are so right about indecision being a symptom based on degree. It’s just plain smart to think carefully about whether you are willing to start a new medication. It’s depression when you cannot decide if microwaving a veggie dog is harder than spreading peanut butter on a slice of bread.

    I’m so happy to have you with us, Angel!

    • Thank you! I am an indecisive person by nature, so it’s hard for me to tell the difference between when it’s just my personality and when it’s depression. A lot of times, though, my indecisiveness does take the form of deciding whether to microwave a veggie dog is harder than spreading peanut butter on bread, lol. That’s where figuring out the degree comes in. How much is too much? The indecisiveness in my personality is because I want to think through things carefully, but then there’s the indecisiveness stemming from my mental health issues. It makes me indecisive about silly stuff. I haven’t quite distinguished what goes into which category yet, but we’ll see.

  6. The beautiful thing about Canvas is that a person is free to come and go. Honestly, I don’t think I have written or done anything significant for Canvas in awhile. I feel awful about it, but I realize that others understand that there has been a lot going on. More than anything, I don’t feel as if I have a lot to contribute. Everyone else does so much better… well, we won’t go there.

    You are an important addition to our Canvas family. We are glad to have you, and even more lucky that you’d want to be a part of this. Every voice is important. Yours is important because it is yours.

    • Thanks! I’m not sure how often I’ll contribute. (Obviously, I haven’t been prolific so far; then again, I haven’t been much present on the blogosphere for the past few days.) But hopefully I’ll contribute something useful. I have no doubt that the contributions you bring are useful, too.

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