This past week I had my last therapy session. Therapy, in one form or another, has been a constant in my life for almost three years now. I am not scared though. I think I have learned as much as I can learn about myself at this point. It used to be refreshing to talk to someone outside my family and circle of friends, but eventually I just grew bored of talking about myself. In the beginning I needed someone to help me carry the load. Now, on my good days at least, I feel strong enough to carry it myself. Maybe this means I am stronger than I have been for a long time.
I am unsure about my near future—the idea of going back to school to complete my education gives me feelings of trepidation, of course—but I’ve learned to be a lot more in tune with myself, and I often know how to make myself feel better when I’m low. I’ve figured a lot out on my own.
The other day I went on one of my marathon walks and sort of compared my life over the past year to walking a long distance. I kept putting one foot in front of the other, sometimes looking down, sometimes looking ahead, and sometimes—perhaps not often enough—glancing around to admire the scenery. Occasionally I looked back on a long sweep of a road to see how far I’d come. I’d think, I did that, and then look at the next curved path and think, I can do that, too.
Cheesy metaphors aside (LIFE IS A JOURNEY; DON’T FORGET TO SMELL THE FLOWERS, SON), it is difficult to fathom how far I have actually come in the past year. While I was walking my iPod was on shuffle and a Sufjan Stevens song from his album The Age of Adz came on, and I remembered how crucial that album was to my getting better. Last August it was the only thing I could listen to that made me feel anything. That month, my walks were hard. I had to struggle to lift my iron legs and usually could make it only as far as the nearest park. But I made myself walk that far, at least. Those tiny walks, accompanied by that music, somehow made me realise that I could live again. I feel a little wistful that that music doesn’t have the same power over me now. It meant so much to me just nine months ago; now it’s just like an echo.
Last year it took superhuman strength just for me to leave the house. When I forced myself outside, I could sometimes make it only as far as a bench 15 metres from our door before I had to give up and come back. Now, I feel light enough to walk for miles.
These days, I can make it all the way to the belly of the city—the last frontier for my limitations and anxiety. The city centre used to seem big and scary to me, full of people much bigger than me. Now I walk there and realise that I have grown, while the city has stayed pretty much the same. I fill its spaces a bit more, and they no longer feel like they are going to swallow me.
I used to wish I had no limitations. Now I realize that most of our limitations are only in our heads. I know I can be strong. ♦