Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What Does Progress Mean?

Better is not interchangeable with "recovered" or "cured".

It merely means that I'm finally on a road forward (mostly), rather than nothing but backsliding...losing ground as velocity gains and all spins out of control.

Better means "trust" -- spiritual, physical, and even relational to other people.

Better is a mindset. There are two ways to look at progress: highlight what is positive or emphasize on what is still wrong. I can guarantee this: the outcome will depend on the attitude.

I do not understand the benefit of rehashing issues that are negative, unless pessimism or even lack of desire to get well...or closer to well...permeates one's entire being.

In psychiatric treatment it is proposed the improvement is absolutely possible. What I find discouraging, however, is the discovery of the opposite in chronic illness circles. May it be fear, doubt, or simple loss of identity, it all boils down to doubt that one can build a healthy life out of fragments, stones, and Hope.

This is understandable in severe and unrelenting illness over a course of years. Especially when feeling ignored and confused about where the first foot-fall should be. Any type of improvement can feel sketchy; not a thing to be encouraged about.

Where and when is the next shoe going to drop?

It becomes something of a joke, even subject to endearing comments laced with pity. What I find upsetting is that this is happening to me. Save for a special few, most are bracing themselves for the next round of disaster.

I'm choosing to approach Life without this protective armor. Shirking the suit made of hard metal, doubt, and apprehension. Tossing back the sword of fear and mistrust of something new.

Like the concept of "Better". As in, things CAN stabilize. And so WHAT if it gets messy and complicated again?! Why should I not be absolutely thrilled that I've gotten to spend a whole MONTH at home? Is there a reason why I cannot just be happy and grateful about Now: standing, walking, clearer minded and just happy more so than not? Normal human emotions -- even dealing with the pendulum of mood swing haphazardly and terrifying is preferable to almost -- slowly -- dead.

Every single time my conditions spring up, I learn new things. I love my stable periods, for however long, and appreciate small things in ways I never would otherwise.

Even when I cannot stand any longer, I am still strengthened.

And just a little more brave inside.

So I don't look back and emphasize over and over the nightmare times to others I am just am meeting. This is the real side of me: outspoken, yet always willing to learn. A temper, yes, but the tirade is channeled into other activities that require an elevated amount of energy. Counting blessings, sharing laughter, a smile that is not forced to reassure others -- and myself -- that things will work out because they always have.

I leave you with an illustration given to me by my first dietician: You're building the yellow brick road leading to the Wizard of Oz. Each brick is a milestone small and large -- for these bricks are imperfectly shaoed and yet fit as if they've always belonged together. But in moments of trouble arising, you do not drop your materials and run screaming back down the already paved road or off in some random direction (best to stay out of the poppy fields, after all). No. You simply make camp, protect what you've been given, and wait for the storm to pass. Once all has blown over -- because these episodes are far outweighed by all of the hard work and patience you've put in -- you pick up where you've left off. You may glance from where you've been to where you are, seeing dark hollow trees and theretofore undiscovered gems of beauty of the likes you've never seen before. Then how can you help but smile and look to the ones who've stuck by you and think to yourself "Wow. I did that".

You didn't leave. You didn't uproot any bricks. You just had to stop for a little while.

All of that is my meaning of "better".

Pick up, move forward, and carry on ♥

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