Small Victories and Confessions

Today I made my first solo trip outside the new apartment and caught a bus to make it to an appointment. This may not sound like a big deal, but given the trouble and pain I have with walking along with brain fog and some sort of general anxiety, this is kind of a big deal. I am super proud of myself. The trip also reinforced my liking of the new place - just three little steps to go up to get out as opposed to three narrow wooden steps down, a turn, and another 3 or 4 steps, plus two more steps down with no hand-rail and a heavy-ish gate to open. I know this may not sound like a lot, but when every step is a) unpredictable; b) an effort that requires thought; and c) often uncomfortable or outright painful all combined with pretty much constant low-level vertigo that makes you feel like you're falling forward or the ground is tilting up toward you it gets to be a bit wearying. Add in some loss of peripheral vision, general tiredness, and rapid muscle fatigue from using the cane and you can see why I don't go out much. :P
In fact, I often wonder what some people who see me on the street must think - a relatively young woman walking very slowly with a cane, legs spread out a bit farther than normal, eyes usually on the ground with occasional glances up for direction, and one hand a bit out to the side for balance and with what I imagine is a look of deep concentration on my face - I probably look pretty silly. Or possibly drunk. And, like I said, each step is unpredictable - it might be a normal stride or my hip may sort of lock making my leg swing out to the side and down or I might misjudge the distance to the ground or my knee may not bend. At least if I ever get dumped on Arrakis, I can totally avoid attracting a sandworm, so I've got that going for me.

Anyway, bus - managed to get on the bus and off of the bus and get to my appointment. My therapy appointment. I've decided to quit being coy about it because a huge part of why I write this blog is the hope that it might help other people. I see a therapist regularly and have for about a year. In large part, this is to help me cope with being chronically ill and especially to cope with not even knowing specifically what's wrong with me. It has also helped me cope with some unpleasant personal events unrelated to my illness. It has been immensely helpful and I have made a great amount of progress. While this might not be a big admission for a lot of people, it is for me. I like my privacy. I also like at least appearing to be relatively strong and self-sufficient. For much of my life going to see a psychiatrist or psychologist or therapist and being self-sufficient and tough were mutually exclusive. However, over the past few years I have come to realize that part of being self-sufficient and tough is knowing when you need help and when and how to ask for it. So, I really want to encourage people - if you think you need help or want help, whether you're chronically ill or just stressed out or having a rough patch, please look into seeing someone. A lot of communities have sliding-scale clinics if you aren't insured or your insurance doesn't cover mental health. It isn't an admission of weakness or a massive character flaw. It's helping yourself to help yourself.

Okay - that's done. I'm not planning to go into detail about my therapy. Some things are private and personal though and while I try to make this blog a personal place, I also don't want to make it too personal. But I wanted to say that I go because I know that I associated a bit of stigma or shame with it and I think that's terrible and I don't want other people to feel that way. Okay, off the soapbox before I fall off.

I also did a bit of cleaning today to get some shelves ready for use in the kitchen (they were gross). And we've done a bit more unpacking. Also, Oreo nearly got winged in the head by the mail coming through the slot in the door today. At the moment he's demanding his daily dose of Daddy adoration. My boys are so cute. ;)

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