When I was a child, I was in Patch the Pirate Club, as well as had a couple Patch the Pirate cassettes. Simply put, Patch the Pirate is a MAJOR NAME in Children’s Christian Music, especially in the fundamentalist Christian sect. Patch aims to teach values, not only of faith, but also of morals and character. I actually know songs about loving broccoli and cleaning my plate, about not being a wiggle worm, and many other things that really call for another blog entry. But there are a few songs that have stuck out with me, so here is the first I’m going to write about. I may write others, I may not.
“When mountains tower ragged and high,
rise to the challenge, look to the sky
Trust in the Lord, and start to climb,
Reach for the goal one step at a time
Little by little, inch by inch
By the yard it’s hard, by the inch what a cinch
Never stare up the stairs but step up the steps
Little by little, inch by inch.”
I think this is a powerful message and absolutely profound in a simple children’s song. When I think of mental illness recovery, be it from depression, an eating disorder, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, self injury… when I think of recovery, so often it IS a mountain towering, ragged and high. It’s overwhelming when we first look at it. But when we step back and take it little by little, inch by inch, it’s so much easier. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be in treatment. Months? Years? It’s unknown at this point in recovery. But I do know I take it little by little.
If it means when my eating disorder is in full force, and all I eat for the day is a sandwich and drink some tea, that’s little by little. Each day, I can add a bit more food, be it a side, be it another sandwich if sandwiches are my current “safe” food, etc. If my depression is in full force and I don’t want to leave the apartment, much less my bed, I can take it little by little. Be it just getting up, taking a shower, and getting dressed. I don’t necessarily have to go DO anything, but taking the step to get up is a progress. And that’s the thing – progress is a process. It’s something we do little by little, inch by inch.
I think that it’s important to know that recovery happens. It’s possible. But sometimes, it’s overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like finding the right medication combination is never going to happen. Sometimes I feel like therapy is going nowhere, sometimes I feel like progress is being made, sometimes I feel like I’m backsliding and for each step I’ve taken, I’ve gone back twelve.
But that’s not the point. The point is I’m trying. The point is I’m living. The point is that every time I make a good life choice, however small, however insignificant it seems at the time, it’s a step toward recovery, even if it’s just an inch, even if it’s not even quite an inch yet.
The point is I’m moving. The point is I’m getting there. The point is, little by little, I’m working my way towards there. I’m “reaching for the goal, one step at a time.” And by taking lots of little steps, maybe one day, I’ll overcome. And yes, I’ll reach that goal one step at a time.