A step at a time

 

I hate being slow. Slow means that there are other things I’m not doing because I’m taking so long over something else. It means incompetent; lesser than.

For all the years I’ve had depression (diagnosed for nine – but more than that) I’ve gotten on with work apace. I’ve got lots done, I was ahead of my career-stage, on top of things, competent. Even when things were bad, I could still escape to my work.

But now I have slowed. I can’t escape into work. Work is a source of emotional rubbish – there are too many echoes of my past (and present) around it. My progress has snailed along, step-by-step, day-by-day. Very little has been achieved all summer. People say that this is OK, because I am unwell. I do not believe them.

This hate of being slow comes, I think, from being slower physically as a child – always last of my peers, often left behind. I could do things, but they used to take much longer to do with one hand. At home, because I took too long, everything was done for me, even though I could to it. Being slow was bad.

Me, just walking -  August 1985

Me, just starting to walk –
August 1985

I am super time-conscious. I hate the thought that anyone is waiting for me, getting impatient with me. So I do things as quickly as I can. My driving instructor picked up on this. When I was learning how to do a three-point turn in the road, and a car approached, waiting to come through, I wanted to give up – but he very firmly told me that even if it was the Queen waiting with the Pope on his pope-mobil, it was my right of way, and I was going to complete the manoeuvre. So tough.

And now, I have to slow physically as well. I have an ankle-foot  orthosis, that is correcting my gait, stopping me from walking so fast; I am quite literally taking a step at a time. If I try to move faster, my leg locks, and I unbalance and trip. A corridor is taking minutes rather than seconds. I am having to learn to walk again. Undo twenty-nine years of walking unhelpfully. In the long run (ha!) this will be a good thing. But I want to go faster, faster, faster.

Yet, I am being told, in no uncertain terms, to slow down. God is telling me to slow down. I hear the message, but I can’t accept that being slow is OK. So I am resisting. The resistance is causing pain, emotionally and physically, and you’d think I would have learnt by now that God’s way is the best way. But I’m just not quick enough for that.

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