Recovery. Why do you want it, why do I want it? What is the end result that comes with recovery? How do you achieve the seemingly exhausting and impossible goal of being recovered? It can seem that recovery is a question sooner than a statement.
I admit when I first started this journey to recovering from my depression and suicidal thoughts, it was not for me. It was for others – my husband, my children, friends, even my doctors – anyone but myself. To be very honest, I didn’t think that there was anything that could be done to help me, and that it was pointless to try. I was afraid to reach out one last time in case it proved my fears, the fear that told me there was no hope left.
The thing I have found about recovery though is that you have to want it for yourself, you have to be stubborn and strong, you have to force yourself to obey, to do your homework and mean it. You have to do more than “talking the talk”, you must push yourself to “walk the walk” no matter how difficult and uncomfortable it might be. Actually, no, especially when it is difficult or uncomfortable, that is when it is most important.
You have to be your own biggest critic, you have to be cruel to be kind. You can’t let yourself take shortcuts or give up because it is painful. There is a sinister type of comfort in the darkness of depression or anxiety, it is familiar. There were, and still occasionally are, times when I questioned if I really had the desire to heal, because the fear of the unknown was so great. Those are the times when we need to fight the hardest.
Guilt is another aspect of recovery that I struggle with. I feel guilty that I am getting better because my inner voice tells me that I do not deserve to. I feel guilty that I am getting better because others have not had this chance. Guilt is an emotion that demands to be felt, and can discourage you from trying. It also can make you feel bad for taking time to heal or placing expectations on how others treat you, it is very good at telling you that you have become self centered and selfish.
Recovery is not linear – there are ups and downs. I don’t think that you ever stop being in recovery, at least I don’t think I ever will. This is not because I feel unfixable, but because there is so much that has happened in my life so far that will be challenging to ever move fully past. I have realised though that does not mean that I am failing – it only means there is still progress to be made, there is always room for progress in life though, we never really stop learning.
It took a while for me to find the desire to heal for my own sake, but I have realised that I do want to live a long and contented life with my husband, I want to watch my children grow up, I want to have friends and do things. I am going to get through this, and I am going to be okay. I am learning that I do not need to take on guilt for taking time to heal, for having expectations on how people should treat me. There is no time limit either, progress is in your own time.
I am going to be content, possibly even joyful – and I am going to do it for me, as well as for those I love!
Recovery is more than a journey. If you look at it the right way – it could even be an adventure!