Tentative steps forward

It’s no longer a secret. Last week I hit the proverbial wall. I shared the depths of my struggle and my fear moving forward with all of you here and others in different ways. There was surprise, not here, but in my offline life. Some didn’t see it coming, were sure it couldn’t be possible. I can see how they would feel that way, I had locked it away tight. I was in denial myself, and in my denial I painted a pretty portrait. I kept my sadness isolated.

I was deeply moved by the outpouring of support from all of you, the calm words and the wise encouragement. It helped me to get over the first few hurdles and to secure an acceptance that I was doing the right thing. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I spent the week resting and thinking and regaining a sense of equilibrium. I was trying on my new life, seeing how it would fit. I’m struggling a bit with the awareness of my depression. I feel broken inside.  I fear I’ll never be able to face my life as it was again. Perhaps that is good. Maybe it’s the first step on my path to recovery. A step toward knowing, realizing, it’s time to change. To be honest the fear mostly comes from not knowing if I can. I’m very tightly tied to the old me. I used to thrive under pressure. There was never any doubt that I could do and be it all. I was raised to believe this. My history is a network of achievement, of moving  toward a goal. I’ve always lived my life absolutely sure what was next.

Last week my life swelled into the perfect storm and I was bowled over by a tidal wave of fatigue. There are still moments when I wish that everyone and everything would just go away. Strong is my desire to be alone with my struggles, to escape. I want quiet. I think the quiet would help my pulse to slow. Oh how I long for it to slow. But the fact is, that isn’t real life. I know this. I know that I have to learn to live again, with real life pressures.

I can feel my centre widening beyond myself, my capacity to focus stretching gingerly, with caution and hesitation.  The haze is lifting and visits me less frequently. I’m starting to see things more brightly, there is a new clarity to my world. The edges are sharper. And strangely that scares me too. I’ve lived so long with my sadness that it’s familiarity is like a warm blanket. Uncovering it is leaving me vulnerable and hesitant. Even the goodness makes my heart quicken in reluctant anticipation.

There is a path ahead of me. I can see that it winds up instead of down, leading to a still fuzzy place called recovery. But it’s there, in the distance, I know it. I have to resist the temptation to list the steps here. Old habits die hard. And I’m one for formula’s, for setting in black and white what I will do. It’s just my way. But I know that that will lead me right back where I started, to a place of despair, filled with expectations and unmet priorities.

So I won’t.

I choose instead to force myself to take it a day at a time, to look toward the brightness I can finally see and trust that it will lead the way to a life filled with sunshine.

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26 thoughts on “Tentative steps forward

  1. I know sometimes it’s easier to set the goals, make a list, look to a certain marker in the distance than to wake up and take the day as it comes. I also know that writing it all down, however difficult, is easier than doing it and that you have a road full of twists and turns ahead of you. But I believe wholly that you are on your way. To the brightness and to the path that you know you need to be on. Real life is so very difficult. And so very very rewarding. Though I am not with you on your journey, I am following along as best I can.

  2. Nicki says:

    One day, one step, one move at a time. Like a game of chess – you need to let life take you where you need to be.

  3. Cathy says:

    I can’t help but think that simply admitting your difficulties sheds away some weight thereby allowing you to start to see things more brightly, adding new clarity to your world. Like the act of admission was the last true hurdle towards recovery. Life is not always easy and I think when you get to a certain age and make that realization – that the work simply never ends – and can even get harder – knowing that can lead people to a dark, depressing place. But once you accept it, you finally have the ability to move on.

    • Christine says:

      It’s true Cathy, by finally being honest with myself the weight has lifted. But it has also forced me to acknowledge that I need help. Medical help yes, but also life help. It’s hard for me to ask, but now everyone knows.

  4. alita says:

    One day at a time, and one gargantuan virtual hug from over here.

  5. Aging Mommy says:

    Good for you recognizing this – take it slow, take each day at a time and don’t try and set goals that are unachievable. You will reach the top of that path, because you know it is there and you know you can.

  6. Kate says:

    A dear, dear friend of mine once confessed that she was afraid of getting better, would she still be herself if she weren’t depressed? Would taking the lows away compress the highs too? She is nearly 10 years out from her worst, and is still herself. She has faced hurtles and terrific joys. But that edge, that dull haze, those are gone.

    Bravely admitting where you really are, now you can choose where to go.

    • Christine says:

      Oh Kate, thank you for this. I needed to hear this. To know that my worries aren’t just part of the sadness. Because that is exactly how I feel. I fear I will lose myself. I fear I won’t be the same. And there are parts of me that I loved and I vow to keep the fires burning, so to speak.

  7. I’m a believer in baby steps so I support you in taking it one day at a time, Christine. Hugs to you.

  8. Chantal says:

    Take care Christine. Hugs!

  9. It’s hard to let go of one’s self image as “able to do it all,” the perpetual achiever. But in a way, you are doing it all. You are at the beginning of learning a new sort of “all” and a new way to approach it. Letting some things go, including an image of yourself.

    I don’t mean to presume. I’m speaking for myself, from my experience. But I believe you can and will climb back up and out. And the sharper focus has many advantages.

    This was so encouraging to read, Christine.

    Sending hugs.

  10. Kelly says:

    Wow, this hit home. As a trained-for-the-role-my-whole-life overachiever, I don’t really know what would happen if I put down that baggage and just did what feels right. Thank you for taking us on this journey. We’re all learning with you.

    • Christine says:

      Thanks Kelly. Still a long way to go to actually doing that. And one last HUGE hurdle still facing me head on. If I can manage it, I think, hope everything will change.

      And thank you for being here. Always.
      xo

  11. Lisa says:

    I was deeply moved by your recent posts. You are a very brave and strong woman.The Chrisitne I know is a fighter. You will find your way. I hope you can take some comfort knowing I am always here for you. You are not alone in your struggle. Thanks for sharing. Godspeed.

  12. That’s true about depression, isn’t it? It kind of blurs everything, makes the world and the edges fuzzy…sort of like when you get laughing gas at the dentist but WAY less awesome.

    I crave the quiet, too. And I never get it and it makes me mental. I just want to escape to a nice lighthouse for a month or some such haven, but I know it’s impossible.

    Thanks for your honesty and your courage. We are here for you. And care about you.

  13. Day by day. You have made huge steps already!!

    HUGS!!!!

    Love you Lady!!

  14. No words of wisdom, just words of support. Sending much love to you. xo

  15. Charlotte says:

    Good luck. The hardest part about depression is that it covers us with a fog that makes it impossible to see the end. It seems to have always been that way and always will be. I know from experience that the fog does lift, though, and you can see how blinded by it you actually were.

  16. Amber says:

    I’m glad you’re seeing the way ahead, and taking it one day at a time. I am thinking of you, wishing you well, and trusting that you will be out of this fog very soon.

  17. Oh, Christine. Even in your dark times, your writing is breathtaking. “I’ve lived so long with my sadness that it’s familiarity is like a warm blanket.” So true, said so beautifully.
    Tomorrow is a new day. *hug*

  18. Amber says:

    I’ve been absent and am sad that I missed you at your greatest time of need. I am glad that you feel the presence of a new day while recognizing it might take a while for you to feel whole again. (((Hugs)))

  19. Rudri says:

    I know I am coming late to this conversation, but hugs to you lady. I will be thinking of you and will be ready to raise my glass when you feel whole again.

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