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Baby steps.

Trust the process.

By Eva SmittePublished 3 years ago 3 min read
2
Baby steps.
Photo by Denys Sudilkovsky on Unsplash

“Focus on the step in front of you, not the whole staircase.”

Unknown.

If I was able to give just one piece of advice to those who currently face mental health struggles such as anxiety and depression , it would be to take it one day at the time. The mind dislikes the present moment and prefers to jump between the past and the future, which is not serving us at the best of times, but when the emotionally heavy states are present, this tendency can weigh one down even more. During the survival mode we develop sort of a tunnel vision and perceive a very limited segment of reality, we struggle to see the options and choices available to us, and generally feel powerless and lost. It feels as if one is walking in a maze without any clue where to turn next and when is this going to end, if ever. Since we tend to project how we currently feel towards the future and the past , both trajectories end up appearing darker than they actually are, and it becomes very hard to see that things will shift and change. This in turn creates a vicious cycle of thought forms such as “I will never get better” or “I’ve always felt like this”, feeding the negative emotions more energy, and making one feel stuck.

I am here to reassure you that things will indeed change, they always do eventually. Even if we cannot see it in the moment. It takes time, but all we can do is to attend to our needs in this moment. Ask yourself - what can I do today to make myself feel better? What will nurture me and be a caring thing to do? Maybe it is a walk in the park if the weather permits, maybe it is a conversation with a friend you trust and feel safe with , a bath, a book, a delicious meal, a comedy on Netflix or all of the above. Oftentimes it’s the little things that can brighten our day when we are in a dark place. For me personally there is something very comforting about having a cup of tea, it is like an anchor that brings me back into a present moment and reminds me that things will improve as they have always done before. The healing journey can be a messy process, and more often than not there isn’t a magic formula on how to navigate it. Different things prove to be therapeutic for different people, so there isn’t a one size that fits all when it comes to recovering. The more we learn about our individual needs and ways to meet them in difficult times, the more resourceful we can become in navigating the storms when they come.

Additionally , if one has been chronically stressed for some time, there is often very little physical energy left, which further disempowers and immobilises the system. Which is why it is important to be gentle with oneself during challenging times and not punish yourself if you’re struggling to be productive.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, yet we can be so hard on ourselves when we need to take time to rebuild our bodies and minds. The roots of this are in the figure of the inner critic once again, a figure that is there for a reason, yet more often than not proves to be counterproductive, as the very voice that is meant to motivate and empower us - ends up depleting us of energy even more. The intentions behind the inner critical voice can wary, yet its methods are more often than not causing an additional damage. It is almost an archetypal problem, there seems to be an idea in the human psyche that by punishing and abusing we can achieve better results. Less self-aware people apply this tactic towards others, more self-aware people apply it towards themselves. But abuse is abuse either way, internal is just harder to spot than the external one. Some will say that the alternative to that is victim consciousness and being stuck in the powerless position. But it is not true, the alternative to that is love, self-love to begin with , something that is still a challenge for so many.

And a little reminder that healing is not a linear process, and is oftentimes full of setbacks and diversions. Some days it feels easier , other days it feels harder , and at times it feels impossible, but one step at the time is all you need to do, in fact it is all you can do. You got this. #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness

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About the Creator

Eva Smitte

Writer, model, mental health advocate. Instagram @eva_smitte

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