Another excerpt from the book I am working on-I was housebound but part of my recovery started here
“My kids were off for spring break, and would now be home for about a week straight. Like most kids they wanted to be outside and play, and they couldn’t understand why I never came out with them. I would sit by the picture window in the kitchen, and watch them. Every once in a while they would come close to the window, wave and yell Hi Daddy-this brought a couple reactions-happiness that they were still involving me in their playtime, and sadness that all I could do was sit by this window and watch them. Day after day the drill was the same. Enjoy the time in the house with them, then go to the window to watch them outside. Playing on the swings, jumping rope, the boys playing with their trucks, and making a mess in the mud or sandbox. This went on for a few weeks-other parts of my life were affected as well. I did not go to any of my relatives homes for parties, or holidays. My wife and kids would go, but I would make excuses as to why I couldn’t make it. I am sure that people were thinking at that point I was just being a jerk. It hurt me every time I would see my family going somewhere, without me. It kept me angry at myself, and kept my depression at the forefront. Then there came a day when one of my daughters fell and scraped herself up pretty good on the knee and the elbow. I went to the medicine cabinet and grabbed some band-aids and disinfectant spray. I opened the back door and walked down the back stairs to meet Beverly and give her the supplies. My daughter walked up and we sprayed her injury and topped it with a band aid. She ran back to the swing set and began playing again. I sat down on the steps to watch. When they kids saw me outside they couldn’t help but run to me for some hellos and hugs. It was then I realized that I was outside, and I felt an attack coming on. While I couldn’t ride it out and stay outside, after I went back in I had a small revelation. When my daughter fell, I acted out of reflex. While that may not seem like a big deal, it was a another important step to my recovery-thoughts were what constantly fed my fears and panic-when the thoughts were on matters not associated with panic and fear it became so much more manageable. This sounds so simple to people who do not have these conditions, but to sufferers it is one of the hardest things to do. I had become so used to avoiding things and having constant thoughts that I had forgotten what it was like to not be crippled that way. I went back to sit in the window, but I was smiling some. I believed I may have taken a small step toward recovery. And small steps became my strategy from then on.”
And small steps became my strategy-celebrating the smallest of victories and gaining confidence with each win to keep going.