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Articles

BIG STEPS 'N' LITTLE 'UNS
by Meg Britton
September 23rd 2000


I remember, some years ago, reading one of the excellent series of books by James Herriott. In it, he recounted the story of a farmer, who had recently taken a trip to a large city, (London, I think).

Herriott asked the farmer how he had liked the city and the farmer replied, “Ah couldn’t get along, mist’Erriott. Ah ‘ad to keep tekkin, big steps ‘n’ little’uns, big steps ‘n’ little’uns.”

When I was diagnosed, early in 2000 with Clinical Depression, I was told that the recovery process is a series of steps.

“You’ve already taken the first step by seeking help,” my doctor explained, “and now we can work together towards finding the steps that will help you to feel better.”

An echo of Jame’s Herriotts story came back to my mind, “big steps ‘n’ little’uns.”

My search for balance has been exactly that way. Sometimes I go ahead by leaps and bounds, and other days, it seems as though no progress is made at all.

I have had to learn to take a much broader view of my life. Instead of focussing on my feelings of the moment, I have learned to compare how I feel today with how I felt yesterday, or last week, or last month. It was only when I learned to do this, that I began to realize I was making progress.

Like a game of ‘mother may I?’ I had been progressing; sometimes I took giant steps, but for the most part, I had taken ‘fairy steps.’

I do not delude myself by seeking to feel fantastic. The word fantastic comes from ‘fantasy’ and feeling fantastic, while it is nice as long as it lasts, does not usually last very long. I don’t seek to feel, ‘on top of the world,’ for to be on top of anything, carries the risk of falling off! Neither do I wish to be elated.

“Elation,” my grandmother once said, “leads to deflation.” I think she was right.

For me, it is enough, just to feel OK. I don’t want to have a ‘perfect life’ for it is the challenges of life that make us who we are. What I seek, is balance. I don’t want to be high, nor low.

The beck depression inventory, seeks to attain a score of zero; zero is equivalent to ‘not depressed.’ This is a realistic and sustainable goal. How do I intend to get there? By ‘tekkin big steps ‘n’ little’uns.’


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