When thinking about the nature of progress, it does often demonstrate a 3 step forward, 2 step back idea whereby whilst we are improving, the strong behavioural and thought patterns of the past can drag us back slightly. This is both a blessing and a curse. Why a blessing? Because it reminds us how far we’ve come, and what we are working so hard not to slip back to. Why a curse? Because it can make us feel as if we’re not improving at all, and be a stark reminder that the past never seems far enough away.
I was doing so well prior to my laparoscopic surgery. My anxiety was at bay, I felt in control of my mood and for the first time in well over a decade, I felt in control of myself and my body. I felt comfortable in my own skin.
What has changed? Due to my surgery and its side effects, I have spent almost the entirety of four weeks behind my closed front door, and this has affected me. I’ve been feeling distanced from myself, unable to do what I love and spend time with people on a social level. I’ve been getting sheer panic about doing the simplest of things, anxiety about food shopping, eating, seeing friends and even just walking my dog…all things I normally get great enjoyment out of.
I’ve been feeling the dreaded butterflies in the stomach, the nausea, the feelings of dread about leaving the house. This isn’t like the new me. The new me I have worked so hard to discover loves being out and about and living life.
Today, I forced myself out of the house and into the September sunshine. I took my anxiety with me, allowing it to overflow, and then dissipate as I went for a quiet walk with my dog. I walked for miles and miles, just clearing my head, allowing the anxiety to be there, and then letting it go, kindly requesting that it leave me be. I have fought and worked too hard to go back to feeling anxious all the time, and I won’t let it dominate my life as it used to. Letting myself feel it and let it go on the top of a cliff today felt liberating, and I hope that this is the end to my building fears, and to the stress the operation has brought into my life. I want to move forward and move on, healthily and happily.
My problem? I punish myself for a mishap. Whether I mean to or not, I feel guilty, resentful of myself and irritated. I obviously seek perfection in myself at all times without truly knowing. I need to remember that a step backwards is not a total revert back to old behaviours, and does not make me weak or a failure. A step back does not take away from all of the progress I have made. It makes me human. In fact, I am almost sure it will make me stronger!