This is a phrase that I’ve heard often during my depression. It’s a phrase I’ve come to hate and fear. The first time I remember hating it was when I first started actively dealing with my depression. A friend, intending on being kind and hepful, told me that all I had to do was take the first step. In her mind the first step was going out for a walk, instead of sitting moping in my apartment. She had a valid point. Moping in my appartment was doing nothing for me. Fresh air and exercise would have been a lot better for me. I still didn’t like the phrase. Back then that wasn’t a step… that was a mountain.
The first time I remember fearing that phrase was when I realised (not in a bland mental way, but in a ‘sudden gut-wrenching moment of horror’ kind of way) that all my life was going to be first steps. From then on. From always to forever. Because you can’t just keep going once you’ve started. You need to stop sometimes. You need to rest. It’s sometimes as important as the trying was in the first place. And once you stop to rest then you need to take that first step all over again.
I’m writing this now because I’ve had this blog going for years now, but sometimes I need to set it aside for a while and look at my life through my own eyes instead of through the analytical eyes of a writer. And when I do set it aside for a while… well, I’m back to first steps.
‘Cos it’s scary picking something like this up again after a long gap.
It’s scary trying to figure out if I should try to explain why I’ve been missing posts, or if I should just keep going as if nothing happened.
It’s scary poking at things that I’d left lie too long.
It’s scary taking that first step… all over again.
This is partly me trying to explain why I’ve been away, but it’s also (as it always is) me letting people know that they aren’t alone in what they’re feeling. When someone tell you that you just have to take the first step it’s so easy to believe that that’s true for everyone except you. For years I thought that I was just taking the step wrong, or not having enough faith, or just ‘being lazy’. But no. NO. Scary things don’t stop being scary just because you’ve done them once before. That’s not how they work.
What you DO get, though, is that little store of knowledge that says you’ve done this before, and you’ve faced it, and you’ve come out the other side. You do get to say “I’ve beaten you before, I can beat you again!” It’s not as good as lack of fear would be. It’s not as easy. But it’s there, and it’s not something that’s changed in the world, but something that’s changed in you. And sometimes that’s a lot more important.