Baby Steps


I went for a walk yesterday. A short one, to be sure; calling it half a mile would be generous. But I went. I went the day before too.

People who have been in severe depression know this is important. Doing anything is important. Commercials for antidepressants know it–as annoying as I find them, they are on target with this. The patient is out doing simple things like walking a dog or watching a child’s soccer game, and this is progress.

The other thing I find on target is that the actress in the commercial (why is it always a woman? Men suffer from depression too) usually still has a faraway look on her face most of the time, as if she is not quite present. She’s still at least partially phoning it in, but she’s showing up and trying.

Since starting my new meds, this is how I feel. Not sure about any of it, but a little more able to show up. So I am taking my meds, and going for walks.

I’m carrying a heavy emotional backpack on my walks, because taking this body out and moving it means being acutely aware of the damage it has suffered recently. Various parts of it ache, and I need to sit down and rest sometimes. I feel frail, and am careful where I put my feet. I miss the freer and stronger stride of even 30 pounds ago.

Intellectually, I know that if I continue to move my body it will get stronger. I want to be strong, not only for practical reasons but because it would be a kind of acceptance. I want to say all right, I accept the weight I am now and everything that goes with it. I accept that, right now, I must carry this weight, and I want to be strong to carry it.

Gratitude is important too, and the lack thereof is dangerous for me. I need to appreciate that I can still walk around my apartment complex and sit on a bench and watch ducks. Not everyone can do this; I have many privileges mixed up with my problems.

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