Every place has a beginning. Sometimes we don’t always see it, and we focus on trying to find all the middle parts and even what the end will be, but we forget about where we started. It’s useful to think of the starting point in order to remember how far we’ve come, because we’re not terribly great at seeing that. We need to see how far we’ve come and what we’ve learned, so we know what doesn’t work.
Yes, you read that correctly. What doesn’t work for you? So often therapists ask their clients what works for them to feel better, while clients experiment and study what will help during a mood episode or that of a loved one. Why don’t we start with asking what doesn’t work? Most of the time, that’s easier to pinpoint, at least early in recovery. We know that giving into compulsions only work for a period of time before anxiety surges again, and we know we met with a therapist we definitely did not care for, and we know that there are several medications we’ve tried that were ineffective or made us feel worse. We know so much already, if only we flip things around and look at what we can already discard. You are smarter and stronger today than you were yesterday, if only you can see what you can cross off the list.
Don’t allow a distorted view to tell you that you don’t know yourself or what you need in your recovery. Sometimes, it’s knowing what you don’t know, and knowing what won’t help you that is the perfect place to begin. Yes, there is a place for the professional to guide you- but we rely on you. We heavily depend on you answering our questions, making observations, and thinking things over right along with us. We couldn’t do it without you. Refuse to see the deficit and see what you already know, because it’s more than you think.
So often we only see the road ahead, and the mountain that we must climb. I argue the mountain ahead is easier, because you know more now than ever. It is easier than what is behind you, because you are stronger today. You are stronger now than you were this morning. It will come when you need it as long as you keep going, and no one can travel your journey better than you.