Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Surviving Working Abuse: Another slice of recovery on the journey

The Observation Tower in Parry Sound
I've written before about milestones, markers along the path of recovery.  The structure above, the Parry Sound Observation Tower originally a fire tower build in the early 1900's, is one such marker along my path to recovery.

The first time we visited Parry Sound in 2006, hubby was fascinated with this tower and, of course, had to climb up.  Just looking at it sent waves of panic cascading along the neural routes of my body.  I felt fear in my legs, my stomach.  There was no way I was even going to think of it.  At that time.

I actually thought at that time that at no time would I ever think of climbing that tower, but eventually I came to a point in my recovery when I felt ready to take on and overcome my fears.

I remember the first time, I tried.  I bounded up it alone - and made it up two flights before the fear took over.  There was no way I could go up any further.  I was paralyzed by fear.  Unable to go up - or down.  I was stuck.

Hubby came up and rescued me.  Took my hand.  Helped me down.

However, my analytical took over and I decided to try it again.  The next time we went to Parry Sound, I was determined to try it again - and this time to conquer my fear.

You see, the tower is just a structure.  There's really nothing it can do to me.  There's really nothing to fear about it - except fear itself.

At the first or second landing on the way up this time around.  Beautiful view, eh?
The first time, I hung on tightly to hubby's hand.  He was my anchor, my lifeline, my parachute all wrapped into one steady package.

It was as much a test of faith in my hubby as it was conquering my fears.

As I went up the structure, fearsome step by fearsome step, I encouraged myself by saying "There's nothing to fear except fear itself" and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).  Hubby encouraged me all the way.  When I would cry out and say, "I can't."  He would calmly say:  "You can."

He encouraged me that first time to stop at each landing and take pictures.  Not to rush.  To take it slowly one step at a time with him constantly at my side encouraging me onwards and upwards.

There were other people walking up and down the tower steps that day.  One particular duo has always stuck in my mind.  These two ladies were using the tower as their personal stepmaster - racing up, then down, then up again.  I cannot recall how many times these ladies passed us in both directions.  I envied them.  Both their fitness and their ability to go up and down those steps like it was nothing.  No fear.

As they passed us multiple times in both directions, we developed a bit of a camaraderie.  Another component to my personal cheerleading squad.

Man, I wished I was like those two ladies.

Overlooking the harbour area
Others passed us on that maiden voyage, both going up and going down.  It was pretty obvious (the understatement of the year) to everyone that passed us that I was terrified but determined to go up.  Each one who passed us gave me a bit of encouragement.

From the top, the former marine research vessel we saw at ground level the day before.  Behind it the Island Queen 30,000 island tour vessel
Eventually - or should I say finally - we reached the top!  It was a huge victory moment in my life.  A moment to be savoured - and photographed for posterity because I was sure that no one who knew me would ever believe I had done it if there weren't pictures to prove it.

But I'm not one to stop there.  I wanted to thoroughly and completely conquer the fear.  So, we went up it again.  Not that trip.  But the next.  Each time we come to Parry Sound, going up the Observation Tower became a priority.  A marker in my journey of recovery.

Each time has gotten slightly easier.  Slightly less fear.  Needing less encouragement.  I've done it before, I can do it again.  There's nothing to fear except fear itself.

So this trip, going up the Observation Tower was a priority.  I also had an agenda.  On my last assault of an observation tower, the one earlier this summer in Tobermorey, Ontario, I realized that I didn't feel all the fear stuff that I had felt before.  I realized that maybe, just maybe, I was ready to let go of hubby's hand and try it by self.

So this time, I outlined my plan A with hubby.  We agreed that he would walk beside me to be there - just in case - but not holding my hand unless I initiated it.  I made it up the first few flights easily.  However, as we got progressively higher, I felt the challenge more and more.

He encouraged me by pointing above us to a wooden structure and saying we were almost at the top which kept me going several more flights.  However, if you look at the picture below, you will see that there is a platform around the staircase several flights below the summit of the tower.  That is as far as I got by self.  Yet, it was a victory in, and of, itself.  For the first time, I had made it up that high without aid.  It was not a defeat.  It was simply a partial victory.

At the bottom, one happy camper
The last several flights, we did it together, hand in hand.

Another victory on my road to recovery.

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