I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely …
In the last few years there have been lots of things I’ve done and thought, “I should have done this years ago”, the latest of these being my visit to the chiropractor. But looking back over my life it’s something I simply couldn’t have done before. Prerequisites for the chiro trip were: an understanding that I had physical issues; a feeling of self worth sufficient to permit the spending of time and money on myself; confidence to believe I could be made better and also to enter an unknown environment; finances to pay for the treatment. At no earlier point in my life could I have fulfilled all of the criteria, so much as I might wish I’d started getting my back sorted earlier, it just wasn’t my fate.
I don’t believe in fate in the sense that life is all mapped out and we’re walking preordained paths. I don’t believe in Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos spinning, measuring and cutting mortal lives, but I do believe that sometimes personality, past and circumstance mean the directions a person can go in are quite limited. When you first start on a path it’s easy to turn back, but when you’re a way along it sometimes the only way is to continue, regardless of anything else. A famous example of this would be the addict who has to hit rock bottom before he can accept he has to change.
If I hadn’t been far enough along my particular path there’s no way I could be having my back adjusted. So what else have I done on this path? Where did this path start?
Was it when I got a horse? No, go back earlier.
Was it when I started to have riding lessons? No, go back earlier.
Was it when I got married? No, go back earlier.
Was it when I learned to relax? No, go back earlier.
Was it when I finished counselling? No, go back earlier.
Was it when I went to my GP and asked for counselling, telling her I needed a talking therapy to prevent future depressions? No, go back earlier.
Was it when I came off antidepressants? No, go back earlier.
It was when I walked into an NHS walk-in clinic and said, “I am suicidal. Something is wrong. I need help.”
That was the start of the path of getting myself fixed. The path of asking for help to get fixed. Of not trying to do everything myself. Without that first giant step the next and the next and the next would never have been possible. I would still have such issues with my mental balance and twisted thoughts that my physical balance and twisted back would never have got a look in.
So there’s no point me wishing I’d done things sooner in my life. Actions like this can’t happen until you’re in the right place to make them happen. We can try to live in the moment, but we wouldn’t be at that particular moment if our past hadn’t built it, brick by brick, step by step, piece by piece. There’s no use wishing we’d got places sooner, but there’s merit in taking some satisfaction in how far we’ve come.
Lyrics at top of page – extract from Katy Perry’s Roar.
For the most amazing illustrated, amusing and accurate description of depression, see: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/depression-part-two.html I recommend everyone read this. Particularly the bit with the dead fish.