About a month ago, I came across this corker of a quote on Pinterest:
It actually made me cry! It resonated with me deeply and gave me the kick up the bum I desperately needed at the time. It made me realise that I don’t have to make huge progress right this minute; baby steps are better.
I have always been an all or nothing person. If I can’t do something perfectly (like keep my house immaculate), I simply won’t bother. On the flip side, if I start something, I make myself physically ill if it’s not finished to my unrealistically high standards.
I once attended a counselling session after what seemed to me as the worst week ever. I felt sure that I was back to square one and was convinced that my counsellor would be ready to quit; that I was a lost cause. I vented all my frustrations to her and she listened attentively. At the end of the session she said something along the lines of, “I really think that you’re still on track”. I was flabbergasted by this response.
You see, the truth is, my week had been awful and I had some major obstacles to overcome. I had spent half a day in bed unable to console myself. How could she possibly think I was still on track?
After much reflection on this I have come to the conclusion that sometimes as someone who suffers with depression, it’s all too easy to feel like all is lost. In fact, sometimes I would love to go back to the start and not bother getting help. It’s hard trying to keep this black dog on a leash! It’s tiring and it takes up so much emotional space.
For me, progress is not about being okay for longer periods of time, it’s about accepting that I have certain emotional tendencies and committing myself to carry on living my life in spite of them (remember the ‘Passengers on the Bus’ metaphor?).
Progress is about having the courage to try again, to give myself a pat on the back. It’s about taking baby steps. And then, when it seems as if all is lost and my journey has started again, remembering the baby steps I’ve already taken, because no one can take them away.
Wow, that got all deep and philosophical for a minute. I’ll leave you with this:
Happy St. David’s Day!