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Blocked Flow Chart

Posted Feb 22 2010 6:20am

Yesterday marked exactly a year since I bought my camera (if it wasn’t for my blog, I would never have remembered when I got it!) I didn’t open the instruction booklet at first- I like to learn by experimenting and playing around. It wasn’t until recently that I picked up the manual and flicked to the “trouble shooting” section to figure out why I turn my camera on sometimes, and nothing happens. It wasn’t in the manual, but I liked reading the section. Got a problem? There is an answer. In flow-chart form. Easy to understand and easy to follow. Just how it should be.

I left therapy on Friday with some scraps of paper which my therapist had scribbled some “trouble shooting” flow-charts on. Easy to understand, easy to follow. Or not. In theory, these flow-charts do what they are supposed to: identify the problem and show the steps to correct it. I’m not doing well with this. In my head, that means I am not working hard enough. I’m failing at therapy (which I did not think was possible). Therapy isn’t about solutions or fixes- it’s about growth, development and learning. And yet, for the first time since I started treatment actually WANTING to be well, I feel like I am flunking out. Which in my mind translates to obviously not trying hard enough, not being motivated enough, not being cut out for recovery. None of this is  true of course, but it can certainly feel that way. By my logic, if you are trying hard enough, you should be getting somewhere. Maybe not at the pace you hoped, or quite in the way you planned for, but definitely not falling backwards every time you try to step forwards.

And yet I feel like each day is the same: pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Which is really all that I, or any of us, can do. Keep trying. Make it up as we go along, come up with new goals and plans- hope we see the curveballs flying at us and duck out of the way, or grab an ice pack when they slam us in the face.

If I had been asked when I was younger to draw a flow-chart of life, it would have looked like this:

School –> College –> Career, Marriage, 2.4 kids, 4-wheel drive (yada, yada)

Life doesn’t work like that.

Now it would look more like this:

Experience –> Learn –> Make mistakes –> Learn some more –>

Make new mistakes –> Realise that success rarely looks nothing like how you pictured it –> Keep going anyway


“Success is going from failure to failure, without loss of enthusiasm”

– Winston Churchill

Question: are you the kind of person who likes step-by-step instructions, or do you prefer to learn by experimenting?

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