Monday, February 26, 2007

12 Steps... or Baby Steps...

I'm a saver. A hoarder. A keeper. Always have been. Possibly it's the natural result of having Depression Era (in all senses of the word) parents. You kept what you had, because you might never have anything again. Waste not want not and all that. At least in this one thing, I became the child they wanted. Unfortunately I took it to an extreme. I have been a hoarder of the most useless stuff. And I hoard memories.

People remark at my memory - it's pretty spectacular actually, the mundane and bizarre trivia that I've got stocked away. (I was THIS close to being a contestant on JEOPARDY - I will spare myself the embarrassment of admitting the question that blew it for me.) But hoarding is not particularly healthy.

I read a lot about feng shui and how clutter blocks our Ch'i and holds us back. How most of the holding on is about fear - like my parents' fear of being without... about fear of forgetting our past... fear. Something I'm always working on, my own fears.

I have read, and I believe there's some truth to it, that if you end a romantic relationship that it takes half as long as the relationship lasted to fully get over it. Example: if you were with someone for 5 years it wouldn't be unreasonable to think it would take 2.5 years to get past it. So I'm going to take that theory and apply it to my particular illness. I lived with Depression for approximately 25 years of my life, off and on. You know how it is, you try to break up ... you can't ... you try ... you can't - cyclical depression/manic depression it's a similar pattern to the on-again-off-again relationship. Of course I'm being simplistic, but I think it's a reasonable illustration.

I've got 2 years and 4 months down. Do I think I'll actually need 12.5 years to be fully free of suicidal tendencies and Depression? I sure as hell hope not!! But it might be the case. I might never know if I'm fully safe from slipping back, but I'm hopeful. And I have some safety-nets set up for myself... just in case. But I still worry. Worry being my second-best skill after hoarding.

Working against my hoarding nature has been difficult. It's the reason I'm still selling stuff on eBay 2 years after I started. Yes, I have a lot of stuff I don't want around - but I still have those deep rooted hesitations about getting rid of it. I might NEED THAT! Um. Of course I will never need THAT (whatever THAT may be). But I still have to fight with myself a little.

I have found that the feng shui principles of clearing the clutter to allow better things to come in, to trust that letting go will lead to having more, to having better, are actually frighteningly valid. Which begs the question: why do I still hesitate to let go of some things? And here we come circling back to that theory on relationships. Sometimes you really do just need the time. Time to let go -- and then really let go -- before you're ready to let the new, better things in.

I take baby steps. Everyday I take at least one teeny baby step, and each step brings me closer to knowing for sure that I'll be able to stop worrying. And stop being afraid. It may take a long time... but eventually those little steps can take you miles.

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BONUS:
Here's a step:
The Jeopardy question was about Star Wars. I could not for the life of me think of Natalie Portman's name. I'm a geek. Admitting this is HORRIBLE. The shame! The frustration!

But it feels okay.
Baby steps, Baby!

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