In concrete terms, I can't leap. A step is about as far as I can go. If I leap, I will almost certainly fall. If I don't fall, I will still be in even more severe pain than usual. Sometimes, the fatigue from pain, heart or sleep issues is so great, I seriously don't think I could leap. There's also the fact that I don't know what a leap actually feels like, and I sure wouldn't know where I was leaping to. I think that all of these types of barriers to leaping can be extended to the metaphorical sense of leaping.
Define Leap, Anyway
For the sake of simplicity, what I'll be using for the concept of leap is what I understand as the purpose and experience of Leap Day. Leap Day is a day to catch up to where we should be if we actually defined a year by a light year. A light year takes 365.25 days,. But we don't have a forth of a day, so instead, every four years, we have Leap Day, to send us forward a day to where we should be in the first place. Actually, I guess it's back because the year is too fast for the year. But anyway... A Leap will be anything that is a larger step or bounce forward for the sake of this entry.
The Four Can't Leaps
There are four reasons why we can't leap, or at least, why we think we can't. We'll take a look at all four of them in a moment, but here they are:
- Fear of Falling
- Fear of Pain
- Lack of Energy or Resources
- Lack of Knowledge
Within these four reasons why we don't leap are two types of concerns: Fears and lacks. We either fear something or we lack something. There are several rways to overcome these problems,, and when the problems can't be overcome, at least we can know why we can't overcome the gaps. Let's examine the four concerns and what we can do about them.
Fear of Falling and Fear of Failure
I know that I am often afraid of falling or failure, but never more than when I have to take a larger step than usual. That fear can be parelizing for me. There are good reasons to be afraid of falling. It can cause a lot of harm, if it happens in the wrong conditions. If you fall into a hole, it's pretty hard to get out of it, and leaping means that you probably won't have the ability to catch yourself. Falling onto a hard surface is definitely worse than falling onto a nice soft bed, for example. And falling from a high position is more painful than falling from a nice, low place.
First, it's important to know what risks make falling more likely. If your balance is off, your reaction time is not good or the space to leap is greater, you're more likely to fall. What I do to minimize those risks is decreasing the length I have to leap. In metaphorical terms, if my leap is to go to college, I decrease that by taking college level courses first, doing orientation and mobility at the college beforehand, getting the technology I need and using careful planning. That's what I did a few years ago when I started college. A more current example is the efforts toward reaching my new year's goals. I don't expect a perfect leap to doing exactly what I want to all of the time, rather I try to make those steps and leaps as small as possible. It doesn't make the falls go away, but they are fewer and farther between and are somewhat less painful when they do occur.
The other fear I have with leaps is the fear of them causing more pain than usual. Landing on my left foot is pretty painful, and the jarring of movements can be pretty bad. Pain can be a pretty big motivator. Being afraid of the pain getting worse is something I think everyone with RSD/CRPS exxperiences if they're honest. The most important thing to do when you're afraid of causing more pain is to admit that you're afraid. The next thing is to minimize the potential pain. If I have to leap, can I land on my rightt foot instead? It's also important to have a good flare-up plan in case the leap does cause pain.
I know that for me, each semester can be a leap. If I know that that virtual leap is going to have effects throughout my life, and possibly make physical pain worse, I'd be smart to plan for that increase in pain. I'm not always good at it, but I try.
Lack of Resources
Physically, I don't have the energy to make leaps. I spend so much energy on walking that I don't have the resources to take physical leaps. Emotionally, some situations make it hard to take action. Fore example, Susan Palwick, a volunteer E.R. chaplain,
describes a woman who didn't have the resources to leave
a situation which was clearly harmful. Also, don't forget that resources come in multiple forms. If you don't have the money, taking the leap to eat healthy food may be more tricky.
Can I put a good word in for my future profession? Social workers do a lot of work with helping find and creat needed resources for people who don't have them or don't know how to get them. If the idea of searching for resources to make your leap seems too daunting, find a social worker or someone who can help you. That's what we're here for.
This is also where keeping a toolbox or resource list is helpful. Often, we aren't sure about all of the resources that we ha ve, but when we can look at or listen to all of them.
Lack of Knowledge
Whenever we want to make a change or leap, it's important to have enough knowledge to take that leap. Before I start leaping, I need to know how to leap. And I should always have a good idea of why I'm leaping. Is it to get to safer ground, or am I leaping for joy? Is leaping necessary for some transition?
Metaphorically, before leaping, it's important to know how to make the change or take the next step. Read up on it, talk to people who are knowledgeable about the subject you're interested in and learn enough to know how and why you're leaping.
If writing this piece has helped me remember anything, I'd say these things are some of the most important:
- Know your Resources and Keep a Toolbox
- Keep support Around
- Learn as Much as Possible
- Reach Out and Take a helping Hand