Sunday, 17 May 2020

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Step

The other day I was thinking to myself: what would recovery look like if it ever happened?

And the first thing I thought of was walking. I've always liked walking. The quiet rhythm of steps has been good for many depressives. It's a very simple and mindful activity. It doesn't require any specialist kit and it can be accessed from your front door in any direction for free. I always remember that Tennyson used to take therapeutic walks on the downs on the Isle of Wight.

However, my big problem with walking is dizziness. I normally find walking unsettling - so I tend to drive everywhere and keep walking to a bare minimum. But I would love to walk again. It doesn't necessarily have to be the Munros of Scotland - flat footpaths in Norfolk would be fine.

So last week, on Friday night, I went for a short walk round the block. That morning at work I had had a moment of non-dizziness and I wanted to see if I could recreate it. And, in fairness, the walk was better than I expected. After a while, I got into a rhythm and the steps on the pavement were actually reassuring.

I had a major dip this morning (see previous post)  - but I thought I would try another walk this afternoon. As I've mentioned before my dizziness has also made me agoraphobic - so when I step outside the front door there are a few things going on at once. I live in an area of terraced houses in Norwich. The sun was shining and due to Coranavirus restrictions the streets were quiet. I only thought I would do the short block but as I got going I was inspired to walk further and further. I kept adding on extra sections - so in the end I was out for about 30 mins. As I went round I distracted myself by naming plants and shrubs in gardens: nandina, fig, salix, camellia, euonymous.  With many phobias - it's actually good to expose yourself to what frightens you. In this way, you can naturally bring down your anxiety level. After a while I did find that I was feeling more relaxed about being out in the great outdoors which undoubtedly helped with the dizziness.

The other good thing about this walk is that it was a walk for me. It wasn't a walk to take the dog - nor was it a walk to Co-op to get food; it was a walk purely for the purpose of walking. And I came back feeling pleased with myself. I probably did over a mile. (I also executed a stylish U turn at one point when I spotted an ex-colleague who I didn't want to bump into.)

So, as Loa Tzu says: a journey of a thousand miles can begin with a single step. Let's see shall we?

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