Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Importance of Milestones on the Journey of Recovery Post Workplace Abuse

From the beginning of my journey towards recovery post workplace abuse, I've used milestones to look back from and see how far I've come in the journey.  Similar to someone hiking up a mountain who looks back to see how high he's come so far.  The milestones have changed with the years as circumstances have changed, as the journey has taken unexpected twists and turns.

Lately, I've been using my birthdays as a milestone.  Where was I on the journey last year?  Where am I now?  What has changed - for the better ... or ... for the worse?

Looking back, we can see more clearly not only where we once were, but how far we have come in the journey.

Take last Saturday, for example.  It was a significant day for me both in my life journey and in my journey post workplace abuse.  My 65th birthday.  I was determined to make it a celebration - not just of life but of recovery.  The six people in this world who are the closest to me i.e. hubby, daughter, son-in-love and the three grands, came with me to celebrate.  They valued me enough to spend an entire day with me travelling to Toronto and from there to the CN Tower.  Up and back down.  With three kids.  And an hour wait in line.  With one person, besides me, not height friendly either.

It was a milestone for me on the journey of recovery in many ways.  I've mentioned that in what I now call Phase 1 of the recovery process (from workplace abuse situation #1 up to where the bullying in situation #2 became aggressive), I was working on many things:  relationship, fears, etc.  Specifically one of the fears that had paralyzed me prior was my dual fears of heights and elevators.

Last Saturday, I chose to celebrate my 65th birthday by continuing to conquer my fears.  I went to the CN Tower in Toronto.

Birds eye view of the CN Tower.  It's a long way up, folks.  On a glassed-in elevator.

It was also a day of firsts.  My first subway ride on the TTC.  The only other time I'd ridden a subway was in 1971 in Paris, France - which being more than 40 years ago, I don't think should count.

Union Station.  I'd only been in there once before to pick someone up on the VIA rail and had never seen this part of it.  Let me tell you, folks, Union Station in Toronto is HUGE.  If I had not had my daughter and her family with me, I would probably still be there....  Lost somewhere in the hugeness and corridors of the building.

I'd never been on foot at street level before in Toronto.  Well, okay once, the same time we picked someone up at Union Station.  We walked from the parking lot to Union Station and back again.  So I figure just like that long ago subway ride in France that that doesn't really count. 

I felt like a little kid in a candy store.  Only that candy store for me was all the incredible architecture, street scenes, statues, etc.  All the photo opportunities just waiting for me and my camera.

Since Union Station is only a few blocks from the CN Tower, the tower dominates the landscape.  It would be very hard to miss.

I was mesmerized by the scenes at foot level.  The tall, glass-fronted buildings.  The reflections in them.  The building going on.  And the green spaces.  For such a huge cosmopolitan city, the capital city of the province of Ontario, it has a lot of green spaces.  I could have stayed there for hours just walking around in that area.

Oddly enough, I didn't feel fear or anxiety looking up at the observation deck of the tower.  I felt commitment.  Purpose.  Exhilaration, as well.  I was a woman on a mission.

We had an hour long wait for the elevator.  And again, I didn't feel fear.  Not until we were next in line to get in the elevator ... and the doors ... opened.

Is it too late to get off?  My initial reaction as we started to up ... and up ... and up....  I confess I wanted the elevator to reverse and go back down.  I wanted OFF.  But by that time I was what they say committed.  Too late to back out now.

I started to feel much calmer as we rode up.  The elevator is so fast, it only takes about a minute.  The doors opened at the Observation Deck and I felt proud.  I had confronted my fears ... and still alive to tell - and photograph - it.

As I looked down, I felt like Super Woman - without the cape.

The next challenge was the infamous glass floor.  I was determined to experience this day, this milestone to the fullest.

I was determined to be able to say:  I came, I saw, I conquered.

I must say though that looking at the glass floor up close and personal was an anxiety producing sight.  UNTIL a kind man who also had height problems told me to look up not down at first when getting on.  So I looked up, holding someone's hand. I think it was one of the people I came with and not a strange.  At least, I hope so.

It worked.  I was on the floor.  Looking down.

The man was right.  Once on the floor, it wasn't nearly as bad.  It was only the thought of going on it that was so frightening.  So true in life sometimes, eh?

A foot picture just to prove I really did do it.

Going down was anticlimactic.  My biggest emotion was that I was sorry to see the experience end and the day wind down.

Approaching the Skywalk which would take us back to Union Station.

Another first, the skywalk which is simply a corridor from one place to another.  Not scary at all.  In fact a lot of fun as there were all these windows I could look through - and take pictures through.  I was not seeing a piece of Toronto from a slightly elevated point of view.  A different perspective.

Even though we'd just been down there a few hours prior, everything looked different from this view, this perspective.

Of course, there are views from this pathway that you really don't see at street level.  You cannot see from street level.  Like the tracks below for the GO trains, etc., leading out of Union Station.

And then there's the glass-domed roof as we leave the Skyway and start heading into Union Station itself.

The trip ended as it had begun with a subway ride back to where we had left our car.

Tired but happy.  Another milestone on the journey reached.  Another piece of recovery achieved.

Would these things have happened if I had not been forced on the journey of workplace abuse and recovery from?  Somehow, I doubt it.  I think my life would have gone on much as it was.

Working on the road to recovery is hard work.  I don't deny it. But it is good.  Very good.

Until tomorrow ....

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