Thursday, September 13, 2012

"I am not a baker": Words have power

Words have power. I do believe that what you focus on is what will come to you, whether you say those words out loud or not. It's never easy to be conscious of these thoughts, and for a person with anxiety and the resulting depression it's even more difficult. This also comes to play in a lot of religions, where naming a thing gives it power; for a non-religious example, we look to the Harry Potter books and Voldemort AKA He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

It's because of this feeling that Words Have Power that I have found it very difficult to pursue disability. It's a little soul-crushing to have to say out loud that your limitations are more than you want to admit. So I find myself living a life where day-by-day I push myself harder than I often should, try to ignore my limitations and often end up suffering for it, making people comfortable by not discussing the realities of my situation. Then one day I have to go to an interview or fill out a form detailing every struggle, every limitation, every reality and consequence of pushing myself too hard, put into words things that I usually try to shove out of my mind. But it's necessary to get the help I need to ever have hope of getting better. It's like having to hit rock bottom first with eyes wide open to it before it can get better. And every day I wonder whether it's worth it.

That's my reality, though. In the meantime, I do my best to contribute around the house as much as I can, while doing my best to be gentle with myself just the same, focusing on finding out specific diagnoses and trying various treatment plans. The times between appointments this early in the game when I feel like I'm getting nowhere, it feels pointless.

So I've committed to this time not being pointless. I've started this blog. I've started accepting the things I cannot do and focusing on what I can rather than what I can't. It helps having a partner who is understanding and loving and picks up the extra, who is perfectly willing to find a balance of partnership, to let me do what I can while he focuses on the rest. And if I can do the things with which he isn't so skilled, more's the better, a true partnership.

I've started making things at home that take little physical effort at once. The act of making a sourdough starter was a lot more therapeutic than I ever could have imagined: Short bursts of active meddling followed by a lot of waiting, downtime during which I could watch it grow and become a useful, living thing (but not if I stared at it the whole time). It's kind of how I feel about my situation right now! But it helps me be able to better visualize the fact that the downtime isn't pointless, there's activity going on in between that is making me better, even if it doesn't feel like it.

Well, now I have this sourdough starter and I've tied my success and failure to it. Possibly another thing I need to learn not to do but in the meantime, I'm determined to do something good for myself and learn to make bread. Hopefully I can figure out a way to make bread that I like both the flavor and the ingredients list!

I'm determined that I'm no longer going to say, "I am not a baker." Maybe I'll never be "a baker," but I'd like to be able to add baking to my list of cooking skills. That's what I'm focusing on right now. Won't you follow me down the rabbit hole?

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