First of the year we are bombarded with meme’s to set goals, make resolutions, embrace the change and get moving. For many years I hung my head in shame and gave up on January 2, because I was going to break those resolutions anyway, may as well get it over with as quickly as possible. Then, thanks to Flylady at Flylady.net, I learned baby-steps. Now if you like being told what to do to clean your house she is one awesome lady. I didn’t like it and I rebelled quickly when her baby-steps went much faster than I could follow. But the concept was planted and fortunately I was in counseling at the same time as reading her web page and my counselor taught me to set boundaries. However, the biggest lesson I learned was I can do anything for 5 minutes. I’ve shared this story before, so if it sounds familiar, it is.
I was working with a lady that had just come off of cancer treatment. She was thoroughly disgusted with my ‘lack’ of effort. She felt it was her place to lecture on me about just stepping up and doing what needs to be done. She was very convincing. I was determined to try. She assured me it was just mind over matter. She claimed that was how she got through her cancer treatments. OK….I can do this. I got home and I decided to put away the dishes from out of the dishwasher. I wasn’t washing them, I was attempting to put them away. After about half of the top rack, my energy gave out. I slid to the kitchen floor and sat there until my kids came home from school several hours later. When my son got home he took one look at me and ordered me back to bed. I crawled back to bed because I couldn’t stand up. I learned in that heart breaking moment, “If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” I attempted to set my goals to match someone else’s expectations. Epic fail. Big learning opportunity. I crawled through the next 7 years fighting to get my life back on any track. I couldn’t compete in a snails race. A lot has changed in my life since that fateful day.
Today, I was reminded when someone in a facebook group for CPTSD stated….”You just got to get moving.” I groaned and thought of the times when all I wanted to do was move but my body was not budging. I remembered the people that chided me and said they wished they could lay around all day. They talked like I was laying there out of choice. The concept that I couldn’t have gotten up if the house was on fire simply did not occur to them. Having your body take over and simply quit is beyond most people’s comprehension. Yes, I saw doctor after doctor after doctor and I was inspected, detected, and tested in every way. Final conclusion it was all in my head. Well, that is where my brain is and PTSD/CPTSD damages the brain which I noticed is in my head. I still love the quote from Harry Potter last movie:
J.K. Rowling — ‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’
I baby stepped my way through life. I learned to recognize that I can set a goal and make adjustments to my time table to suit me and my circumstances. I also accept that falling flat on my face is still moving forward. Baby-steps, crawling, I can do anything for 5 minutes attitude, inched me closer to a life that is thriving. I measure change in years not days, however, I did change everything about my life.