What does it mean to be “in recovery” from mental health issues? Are the hospital pamphlets accurate in their depiction? Most importantly, some of you may ask: how do you recover from something tied so intrinsically to your own individuality?
The answer is not simple; it’s something I’ve been learning about every day. When I wrote this last week, I was feeling quite depressed and drained of energy, spending half a day in bed. It goes without saying that I felt frustrated with myself— I hated that I was struggling again after all these years of therapy and medication. Things were starting to brighten up after the storms of previous years. For the first time, I was coping. Going to university did not seem like a pipe dream. But now this: a looming dark cloud in crystal-clear skies. That’s the thing with recovery: one day I could be hanging out with friends, feeling “normal”; the next, I would be crippled by negative thoughts and crying myself to sleep.
I’ve always been tough on myself, holding the highest expectations and never going easy on my mistakes. That was before I tried to accept that recovery is not straightforward. Having painful emotions doesn’t mean all feelings equate to suffering. Sometimes it’s about living in the gray; not black and white. And it’s the littlest things that bring sustenance and encouragement during these times of turmoil. Knowing myself, I bought McDonald chicken wings and opened up Netflix. I wasn’t solving world hunger any time soon (no, not in this state). World tragedies and personal disasters can wait for another day. It was time to watch some Brooklyn Nine Nine and indulge in a self-initiated public holiday.
Please do not disturb. It’s a much earned vacation.