February 25, 2011

Slow and Steady

Filed under: Story — Tags: , , , , — Linea @ 8:47 pm

I’m sitting here today, having remembered last week’s post about returning and taking care of yourself, and I am realizing that I should probably follow my own advice. I have indeed started to come back into the world, weary, afraid, and hesitant, but in doing so I did it at full speed.

After deciding to finally return to my life and work I managed to quickly race back into the life I had been living when I was my healthiest. The first thing I did in my blind hurry was present at a conference in another state followed quickly by a presentation, in front of all my friends and family, at a talk prior to Seattle’s showing of the Tony Award Winning Next to Normal.

I didn’t take it slow and easy. I didn’t do it gently knowing that I was fragile. I didn’t do anything I said in my last blog. Instead I did it as if everything was better. I forgot this was a process. So, do you know what happened after I was finished with my whirlwind tour? It’s easy to guess, I crashed. I was a disaster and quickly returned to my early state of panic attacks and food restriction.

It is not an all or nothing process. There is in fact a middle ground between lying on your bed crying and traveling to conferences presenting about mental health while maintaining the “I’m better now” face. But it took me until yesterday to realize this.

I am a very stubborn person. I don’t like to say no to things I have already said yes to. I follow through. But sometimes my body has to remind me that this can’t always be the case. Following my Next to Normal speech I had two more nights of talks. And while my stubborn side was saying “I have to do them”, my tired body and emotional mind were telling me otherwise.

So, after countless back and forths I realized that I did want to get better. And getting better meant taking it slow. Getting better, to use my past analogy, meant not just running out of the cave like everything is fine, but coming out gradually and letting yourself adjust.

And today I did just that. Today, at the last minute, a time when I feel the worst backing out, I said no. I said that I couldn’t do it. For my health I had to turn this one down. And it’s so hard! I do feel like I’m letting people down, I do feel like a slacker, I do have all these nasty words and thoughts creeping up to tell me that I’m doing the wrong thing. But I’m right. It is necessary to take things slow. It is necessary to take life one second at a time and listen to one’s body. Hopefully this time I will remember to read and listen to my own posts!





  1. Good for you!!! And well said:)

    Take care,

    Comment by Christina Pujals — February 25, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

  2. You are right! It’s just so much easier in theory than in reality, and so much easier to tell someone else! It’s discouraging sometimes to have to keep learning the same lessons, but the willpower and strength that got you this far and the wisdom to step back and do it right are something to be proud of, sonmething that you have built. So many people need to read this, and I hope they do. Thank you for sharing the struggles that will always be there in some way, and for sharing what you learned again!

    Comment by Kim — February 25, 2011 @ 9:47 pm

  3. Dear linea,
    It was so nice to read this update of your journey with this illness nipping at your heels.
    It is a necessary part of learning about ourselves, our strenghs, our limitations, and finding that middle ground. We do need to slowly adjust as if coming out of a cave, as you so aptly put it—I will add to allow our eyes to not be blinded by the brightness of light, but to gently go forth; each step with more confidence.
    I will have son read your story, and all of us who can benefit from hearing someone else going through the ups and downs of mental illness.
    Thank you, Shirley wisse in Vermont

    Comment by shirley ann wisse — February 25, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

  4. Good for you. Only you can take care of yourself. I know it is hard to step back in slowly but it is the right thing to do.

    Comment by Neitcha THomsen — February 25, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  5. Thanks for such gut honesty, and for your courage! Love hearing about it!
    Just had a thought that such public reflection in fact may have assisted you to arrive at this health-ful approach to your return to work!

    Comment by Janet Hill — February 26, 2011 @ 1:40 am

  6. It takes strength and a strong grip on self and reality to say “no”- celebrate the strenght you found today.

    Comment by Kelly — February 26, 2011 @ 8:01 am

  7. How empowering it must feel to learn from your own mistakes. You are growing. I think that is the essence of life–and you are tapping it. More power to you!

    Comment by Brandon Staglin — May 17, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

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