The suburb I live in straddles both sides of the motorway, and as such has a number of bridges which cross over the top of it. I've always been afraid of walking across these. I can remember panicking halfway across when I was a child, and my mum having to coax me the rest of the way. The height combined with the cars whizzing past underneath was just too much for me. This wasn't such a problem when I lived in a neighbouring suburb, and the need for me to walk routes involving these streets was rare, but where I currently live it's meant taking the long way around or having to psych myself up in advance to get across.
A number of months ago, I set myself a goal to overcome this fear. I didn't approach this with any specific plan, just started walking routes that took me across the bridges in the hopes that doing it more often would make me feel more relaxed about it. Then, life got a bit stressful, and... well, I kind of forgot about this goal.
A few weeks ago when I was out walking one evening, I paused looking out over the motorway... and after a bit I realised I wasn't afraid. Though I'd forgotten my goal to get over my fear of walking over the bridges, I'd unconsciously continued to walk routes taking me across them. At some point, without me realising, the fear had dissipated.
Progress often seems to be like this. In the past I have had miracle moments of responding to a treatment overnight, regaining wellness and function, but for the most part it's slow incremental gains that I don't even notice as they're happening. It's sometimes not even until I slide back a bit that I notice how good things have been. A few months ago I had to skip some of my meds for a few weeks, due to infections/antibiotics, and the resulting psoriasis and joint flare made me conscious of just how well the meds have been controlling my symptoms. Just recently I ate dairy for the first time in about nine months, and ended up very unwell and lying on the bathroom floor for the night. I realised that since I've changed my diet, I've only had one or two really bad times with my stomach and weight loss problems. While both the flare and the night spent on the bathroom floor were incredibly unpleasant, it was reassuring to know I am on the right path with my the way I'm managing my diseases (and also made me more motivated to stay on track with the diet stuff!)
While some things
with my health have gotten worse, and I've had some rough times this
year, overall it does seem to be stablising and - dare I say it -
maybe even improving? (yes I'm knocking on my wooden coffee table right now.) Physical health aside, I can say that with New Years' Eve just a couple of days away I am leaving 2015 with less anxiety issues and more confidence than I had at the start of the year. I'm not really one for making resolutions, but perhaps my goal for next year will not be to try and change or improve anything, but just to notice the good things that are already happening.
Thanks for reading,
Little Miss Autoimmune