Friday, July 18, 2008

BE BRAVE Baby Steps

Lately I've been integrating BE BRAVE steps, and continuing to recover from depression. Mostly pushing through in small steps. Before I got on Lexapro (the SSRI medication I was prescribed for depression last year) I had slight depression and was quite introverted. Now, post-Lexapro, and as part of the Lexapro withdrawal, I have severe depression and anxiety and panic, not just introversion, but more of a type of severe social anxiety or almost agoraphobia.

So my BE BRAVE steps have been things like walking down my driveway to get my mail, even though it almost paralyzes me to think of it. Going out and doing errands when I feel open, exposed, and unsafe. Continuing to go through parts of my day while terrified. Nothing that would normally seem like bravery, but are exactly this right now for me, and keep me from succumbing to whatever the chemical processes and/or withdrawals are that are going on right now.

Yesterday I did something a bit unusual, too. In a significant family relationship I spoke a boundary. I say it this way because I didn't "set" a boundary---it was already there, and I just said that it was. I discovered that a person I love has been lying to me over and over again for a long time. The violation for me is not just the lying, but because I suspected it and questioned them repeatedly and then believed them, the violation is also the causing me to doubt myself and to doubt my intuition. So for me to stand up and say that the boundary was there, and to say that I would end the relationship over it, even though it is technically a "permanent" relationship---this felt good. I love this person greatly, but they have been toxic in my life for a long time, and despite my health challenges right now, and despite everything else I have going on, I know like I know my name that I would end everything with them should they do this again. Or anything like this.

So...I've been taking baby steps with the BE BRAVE challenge. Not enough to call a "BE BRAVE" day, but continuing as I'm resting and healing and integrating.

~Photo by LoveHubbie Mark altered by me


thailandchani said...

I was just thinking about you and here your post shows up in my Google Reader. :)

Just a thought but it sounds like PTSD. No small wonder. Another factor is your age and the beginning of "the end", if you know what I mean.

You are at the age where I began that process.

I think the things you have been doing are wonderful.. and, yes, brave. Just.. please!.. don't *push* yourself! :)

Any kind of agorophobic stuff is (in my belief) a way for your spirit to heal, keeping you out of the bombardment of outside stimulus for a while.

Have you ever read a book called "The Highly Sensitive Person"? You might find that useful. I am a HSP and know I have to live a bit differently than most people.


Olivia said...


It could be PTSD, that's for sure. It could be existential things, as well, and/or spiritual things, some interaction of the two. I am just riding through this...

I am often torn between "listening" to the agoraphobia and pushing through. I hope I've struck a balance, where I stay withdrawn enough to heal, yet not enough to feel like I'm overcome by the fear. That's a balancing.

Oh, yes, I know about HPSs and I am one as well, read all books by the author :) I react to crowds, loud noise, television on in the background (a pet peeve of mine), and competing sounds (like a television AND radio on at the same time). I am an HSP and am totally, totally fine with it, too.

Thank you for your encouraging words, and caring friendship, Chani,

More blessings today,


Claire said...

as a fellow HSP and a daughter of an agoraphobic, i think you're being soooo brave, dear olivia! speaking up is NO small step, i can tell you - i can't do it!!!

Rick Hamrick said...

O--you and only you can decide how to score your days, but what you have done lately sounds like exactly the kind of stretching that Be Brave is all about.

It might not be even a slight stretch for you when you are feeling fine, but that's not the point, is it? As I have now placed in my personal email tag line, you can only start where you are, as much as you might prefer to be elsewhere.

In my opinion, you are toning those bravery muscles even when you go get your mail simply because you find it so terrifying right now. There is no absolute measure of bravery as if one could pour it in the bravery measuring cup! I believe in your unrelenting bravery because you choose the path for yourself based solely upon the best expected end result, even if you know it is going to be really, really hard to get through. And then, you go through it. If that's not bravery, what is?

Baby steps can also be brave steps...ask any toddler who gets up and walks again after a hard fall!

Kim Mailhot said...

Hi Olivia,

Don't we all wish we could take one big step that would completely heal us ? It didn't take one giant step to get us to this difficult place and it won't take only one to make us whole again. How wonderful that you have discovered that celebrating every little step along the way is the best way to go. I love the way you spoke about seeking balance in terms of letting the outer world into your process.. I so relate to that (I am a Libra after all, always seeking that balance !) As always, thank you for your bravery in sharing your "big girl" steps !

Olivia said...

Claire, thank you for your encouraging words; however, I think you CAN speak up. Maybe just be open to it, and have an intention to "be brave", and see what happens, you might be surprised!

In my case, it welled up and out of me. I began to speak my truth and the person said, "Shut up, I don't care!" (a silencer). I said, "No, I'm not saying it because you care, I'm saying it because I want to hear myself say it."

It was good.

Joy and peace and love tonight,


Olivia said...


Excellent point! (What's new, right?) I did score my BE BRAVE call based on what would really be a step for me normally, and what you're saying makes sense. An absolute measure of bravery based on "Olivia Normal".

Thank you for another great reframe and the encouragement it brings!

Peace and ease and presence,


Olivia said...

Thank you, Kim, for your support and encouragement. When oh when will I feel like a "big girl"? Actually, I think I am finally starting too, just now after half a century. Believe it or not, riding out this depression and believing I'll survive and thrive has helped me grow up a lot as well. Thank you again,

Balance and bravery and gratitude and peace,


Kate said...


Baby steps are big steps my dear. You are doing so great!


Olivia said...

Thanks, Kate...good to see you up late on a Saturday night, too. xxoo, O

mermaid musings said...

baby steps with BIG hugs from me!!!
LOL ;-)

Olivia said...

Aw, thanks, Carmen :)
xxoo, O

kikipotamus said...

Olivia, I think this is hugely brave. I for one am in awe and admiration. Love, K

Olivia said...

Thank you for the encouragement and the acknowledgment, Kelly :) xxoo, O