Mini Baby Steps
“Just get over it.”
As if it’s that simple to overcome anxiety disorders, depression, and other mental illnesses that can be so debilitating—so crippling.
As if just saying the words will magically heal you.
That’s just not how it works.
Alana Chegus, a case manager at Turning Leaf since 2013, believes the path to being healed is a slow, methodical process of “mini baby steps.”
More than a year ago, she was supporting a woman—Joan—who lives with extreme anxiety. Joan is a very bubbly, talkative lady. She always has a story to tell and a willing someone to listen. And despite her condition, she is a strong advocate for her independence.
However, year after year, she consistently needed help with new tasks (the kinds of tasks that her sought after independence demands), and a simple suggestion or comment often overwhelms her.
Unfortunately, anxiety is not something Joan can “just get over.” And when it comes to performing the day-to-day that we take for granted, she is often left powerless. One in four Canadians will have at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Anxiety is very real and it’s something Joan must live with. And while it may not define her, it is a part of who she is.
One day, that part was getting the best of her, and despite Alana’s good intentions, Joan’s anxiety had begun to take control.
“I always suggest we start a new plan with ‘baby steps,’” says Alana. “But on this day I decided to suggest using ‘mini baby steps.’”
And it worked! Joan’s anxiety abated, and she agreed to the new plan. This transaction of an even smaller baby step—a mini baby step—was part of a long process to help Joan begin to heal.
Since then, Alana has moved into a new role and is no longer Joan’s case manager, but from time to time, they still see each other at the Turning Leaf office. And each time Joan is there, she thanks Alana for the “mini baby steps” and how helpful they were to her as part of her process to manage her anxiety.
You know what’s not part of the process?
“Just getting over it.”