Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.

Hello everyone! Today I thought I would write a little bit about some events that happened over the last couple of days. Yesterday was, overall, a good day. My dad took me, my sister, and my cousin visiting from Colorado all out on our motor boat. We went to the lake, anchored, and despite my negative body image I decided to jump in the water and go swimming. As soon as I hit the water all of the negative thoughts and self conscious feelings vanished – because I was having so much fun and was just so happy to be in the water on such a hot day!

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Looking back at the pictures from that event is a little difficult. I scrutinize my body wishing my arms were smaller, legs were thinner, etc. However, one thing that I DO notice in the pictures that is positive is that I look happy; you can easily read it from the smile on my face. Yes, I was…am…struggling with my body image, but when I shift my focus onto something else-like how much fun I had with my family and how nice the cool water felt-I am able to combat and negate some of those negative thoughts and beliefs about myself.

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Today, I decided to take a leap of faith and say ‘screw you’ to my anxiety. As many of you probably already know, I started driving again, just a little bit at a time to get used to it. Well, today I decided to drive 20 minutes to Niagara Falls (by myself) to meet a friend of mine . As soon as I hopped in the car and pulled out of my driveway, I felt an instant burst of freedom and independence, something that I have not felt for a very long time now. We had a good time, got each other caught up because we haven’t seen each other in a few weeks (too long!) and it was very nice. When we left is when I started to fall apart. I put my walker in the trunk of my car, hopped in the front seat, and a wave of anxiety washed over me. I was shaking and crying, and then had a hard time catching my breath. I sat in the parking lot looking around like a deer in the headlights, worried that people would see my panic attack, worried that I caused the panic myself and that this was all my fault. I had flashbacks of when this same sort of thing would happen in the car before I went away to treatment, and I became even more afraid. At that moment, I wished I hadn’t driven myself and wanted more than anything for someone to pick me up. Thanks to Xanax, I was able to calm down after a good half hour of panicking in the car. I also tried really hard to imagine what my therapist and support team from Arizona would suggest in that moment: they would tell me to breathe. It felt like something heavy was falling on to my chest, but I repeated the word “breathe” over and over again and eventually I was able to breathe normally. Once I was able to collect myself, I turned the car on and drove home, still a little jittery and nerve racked, but in a better place than I was before.

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The point to this story is this: Recovery…from ANYTHING, is not a straight road. There are bumps, detours, and sometimes dead ends. The most important thing to remember, though, is that you can always get through these obstacles and come out on the other side. It may take a lot of time and effort, but you CAN do this. You CAN recover. It is not a smooth road, and sometimes it really is one step forward one step back…but as long as you keep moving and do not give up, that is what really matters. Have a wonderful day loves, and stay strong! ❤

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8 thoughts on “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.

  1. Great post 🙂 I’m inspired by your courage in talking about your experience of body image & anxiety and I Love that you were able to notice and value your happiness and freedom in the swimming photos and with going for a drive xx you’re amazing 🙂 and that blue lake water looks heavenly! X Em

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  2. I was on an Eagle Scout Board of Review last night where we evaluated a potential candidate’s worthiness. We pored over his application, letters of recommendation, leadership positions, badges earned, statement on his future and all the details of his Eagle project. Then we grilled him for well over an hour trying to establish his deservedness. He stumbled through our questions, at times admitting he was drawing a blank because he was so nervous. But he pushed through it, and was awarded Scouting’s highest honor. One topic that came up was bravery. Well, you’d have to be pretty darn brave to sit in the hot seat like that and defend the last two thirds of your life in front of a tableful of officials like he did last night. I would submit that driving solo for 20 minutes to a friend’s house and staying for a visit at this point in your recovery was brave by anyone’s standards. If you had to recover in the car for a while before driving home, who cares? You used your tools and you got through it. And you have all the fun memories of your visit to cherish! Plus, you totally rocked by jumping in the water in your bathing suit to swim and enjoy time with family! Pure joy! Go, Bella!

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  3. Claire,

    Thank you so much for allowing me to join your blog. I feel like I know you, having heard so much about you and your family over the years from the Spencers.

    Opening the link, I was simultaneously impressed and thrilled when the first thing I saw on the first entry I opened was your lovely, confident, and natural smile. To be honest, I had to look through some of your preceding write-ups to be sure which of the two women was you. All I saw were two beautiful, beaming faces, equally at ease. Not a hint that either one had a worry in the world. (Okay, Dan looked pretty good, too.)

    Hooray for you that you decided and were able to give anxiety the heave-ho for a day. Clearly, it worked. The August 6 kind of days can creep up once in a while (sounds like that was a tough one for you). But, as for myself, I feel like as long as I know there are August 16 kind of days to remember (and look forward to again), the harder days become just one small part of the big picture.

    You certainly seem to have found a great outlet to help yourself and others. I could relate to many of the emotions you shared, and I look forward to reading more of your entries.

    Dan’s Aunt Lisa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa,
      Thank you so much for stopping by and reading! I have heard lots of wonderful things about you and your sisters from Aunt Pamela and the boys. It is great to finally get to talk to you! It is really nice hearing that you can relate to some of the things that I go through and experience. That always makes me feel less alone. Have a good day and I will talk with you soon!
      -Claire

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