when we are going through a difficult time we often get told to “take it one day at a time.” when i was so very sick with depression and anxiety, one day at a time was far too long for me.
one more day often felt impossible. one more day felt like i had to climb the tallest mountain or swim across the ocean, exhausted from having done it the day before. and the day before. and the day before that. i often though to myself, literally, ” i cannot take one more day.” another whole day of racing thoughts. catastrophic thinking. relentless panic. deep sadness. constant crying. ruminating on how my life had fallen apart. too much. it was all too much.
so without realizing it i developed my own version of “one day at a time.” i like to call it “take another step.”
i would start my mornings off (and still do) by giving my dog, winston, a short walk. just up the street and back. to me it felt like a million miles. it is painful to remember this, but i was overwhelmed by that task. i didn’t think i could do it. i hadn’t even made it to breakfast yet and i already felt like giving up.
so as i started walking i would say to myself “take another step.” and for every single second of that walk i told myself to keep walking. to take another step. and another. and another. sweet little winston let me forward, one doggie step at a time.
i kept practicing “take another step” all day long. something inside willed me to keep going on to the next moment, and the next, although i was almost without hope of ever feeling better.
take another shower. eat another meal. take another walk. go to another therapy appointment. call another friend. cook another dinner. sleep another night. do it amy. take another step.
i lived from moment to painful moment – one day more had to be broken down into the tens of thousands of seconds that make up a whole 24 hours. in my mind i talked to myself constantly, telling myself i could get through that moment even though i didn’t totally believe it.
before getting sick i liked this quote by dr. martin luther king, jr.: faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase. now i feel i have lived its meaning. i truly didn’t know when or how i would recover. i didn’t know if i could even get through one more day. but i took another step.
today is my birthday. my sister took this picture of me yesterday at our family celebration and i love that i am standing on a staircase. it represents all of the steps i have taken to become a more authentic and healthier person. i am celebrating the thousands of tiny steps that led me towards a brighter today.
in the midst of my depression i felt lost in the dark. i couldn’t imagine how much i would grow through my recovery. how much better my life would be. all i knew how to do then was to take another step.
and one step, one moment at a time, i have traveled far.