Recovery, someone who is pain, seeks and dreams of the day, they are recovered, or the day recovery seems near. The definition of recovery is below, and it refers to an end. It is suggested that recovery, leads to being recovered. The thing is, that may be the case for a huge amount of physical illnesses, and for the housing market, or the stocks. But, as someone with mental illness, my definition of recovery, is different.
I am in recovery, I am fighting to beat my anxiety, to beat the cloud of depression that hangs over me on early mornings…
But the truth is, I will never be recovered from this, I will control it, I will learn to live beside it not defined by it. But the truth is, I will never be recovered, I will never be without it.
I first realised this a long time ago, quite early into the process of therapy sessions and quite early on in greeting the online mental health community. I came to realise that anxiety, it wasn’t going to be cured and wasn’t going to be destroyed. Instead, anxiety was going to be something I learnt to control, and I learnt to live alongside, without it being what defined my choices. I realised it was going to be a demon I spend my life, my entire life, keeping contained. And if I forgot it was there, if I forget it lives within me, it will keeping winning, it will keep stealing minutes, hours, and days from me.
Now, I know that sounds like hell to hear, if you reading this as someone who was living to fight for the day, you were recovered. However, it isn’t hell, I am not saying that each day will be ‘bad’ day, what I am simply saying is that you will never leave your past behind.
Mental health, mental illness, and all the conditions that fall under said bracket, include patterns and routines of behaviour that are comfortable and make us feel safe, yet steal our days, and all at the same time, leave us feeling like a day worth living for shall never arrive again. This means, temptation to revert to the past, triggers that send us in reverse, these things will never go away.
Though all these things reside within us, a scary prospect I shall add, I am 18 and know I will never truly be free from anxiety. These things do not have to beat you. You are in recovery and you can stay in recovery all your life, with a little bit of a hope.
I do not define recovery as a return to a normal state of health, mind and strength.
I define recovery, mental health recovery, as a state of hope, strength and desire to beat your demons, a state that providing you stay in, a state you can thrive and survive in.
My last post, just over a week ago, The Scary Part, I talked about the fact that mental illness, being in a debilitated and highly nonfunctional state, it becomes normal, and when recovery happens, the scary part is doing what you did, and being okay.
I am currently in a really good place, I am in the best place I have been, with the lowest levels of anxiety, and at the highest point of functionality. However, I am really scared to start exposing myself to the life I had, to the things that I anxiety held me back from. This is why recovered I shall never be. Because I can never leave behind the memories and the pain of the bad days I have had.
I will fight the fear and start doing the things, at one point I thought I would never do again, but I will never forget the days I couldn’t do them, and the days when I tried and was left broken by my inability and my minds incapability to destroy the irrational fear scaring me away. And I will hold those memories and use them to fuel my strength, to fuel my fight, as I stand tall and remind my mind, who shall always be its master.
I suppose we could be recovered if we could erase the past and erase our memories when we were not recovered. But I cannot think why one would want to do that. I am proud of my battle, and I shall never be ashamed to share my story and my past, no matter how hard it is to tell. Just as you wouldn’t restrain from telling the story of the time you broke your leg.
Mental illness is a part of me, and I am not ashamed to be mentally ill, I am not ashamed of my label.
Mental illness is not me, it is a part of me, the moment people recognise that my anxiety, depression and phobia, are not the person I am, is the moment they stop stigmatizing mental illness.
So who am I to you?
Today Tomorrow Forever,