Recovery. The term is used quite loosely with when talking about mental health but I’ve decided, I personally just don’t like it. Why? Let me explain.
I think that to ‘recover,’ something needs to have happened. Yes, for some mental health sufferers, an event can take place that marks the beginning of said recovery. Which is completely understandable and makes sense. Although, I personally don’t believe you will ever completely recover from an illness like this. You may be able to beat it, yes, but there will always be the memories and fear of that part of your life when you were suffering. And what about those who suffer from mental health illnesses that have not had one specific event that has occurred in order for them to begin the recovery process? In no way does that mean they’re journey is any less of a recovery period than someone who has gone through a life changing moment.
For the purpose of this post, I will use the term ‘recovery.’ However, please remember that when I use it, it is to describe living with a mental health illness and not just after something bad has happened.
It was after reading Mel’s post on a mental health update that I suddenly felt inspired. It made me think about the journeys that us sufferers are on, and how hard it can be to always stay positive. Recovery can be a struggle and can sometimes feel like you are getting absolutely nowhere. Sometimes you can feel like you are back at square one. So I thought I’d share with you my realisations and struggles with recovery and how I have learned that it’s okay not to be okay.
First of all I want to begin by letting you know that if you feel like you’re not getting through recovery well then you’re not alone. I know that sometimes when people say that, it doesn’t help but I think its important to state. I promise that you’re not the only one who feels like recovery isn’t going anywhere and it feels like a viscous circle. I too, feel that quite often. I feel like I am getting nowhere and sometimes it seems like everybody else is getting on with life except from me. At times, I can feel like I am the only one who is struggling with my journey and that I am never going to make it out happy. But I have learned that I am not the only one, and that makes me feel a hell of a lot better about the situation.
Many people I have spoken to through the mental health community online, are going through, and if not, have experienced, some sort of counselling. Counselling is different for each individual and some people swear by it, whereas others find it extremely challenging. Sometimes, when you get to a certain stage during therapy, professionals think it’s best to push you outwith your comfort zone. This can work for some people, and with others, it may take a little longer. Always remember that you don’t need to do or talk about anything that makes you feel uncomfortable until you think you’re ready. You’re the only one who knows if you are ready or not to open up. Going to therapy can be a real struggle itself, so just because you are not ready to open up and be pushed further, in no way means you are taking a step backwards.
Lets talk Meds. Some people are completely against them, whereas, just like counselling, others swear by them. There is no right or wrong answer. Everyone has a different opinion on the taboo subject of taking medication to treat a mental health illness. Opinions aside, there are lots of sufferers that do take them, whether you agree or not. There is definitely no set length of time that you should be looking towards coming off medication. Everybody is different. Just because someone you know managed to come off them after say, one year, doesn’t mean you’re the same. And if you feel like the medication you are on doesn’t seem to be changing your mood at all, then tell your GP. No one can force you to be on any type of medication and if you feel you’re getting absolutely no where then an appointment with your GP is probably best. Just because one sort of medication doesn’t work in no way means that a different type won’t work for you. I can’t stress enough when I say everybody is different and our bodies and mind all react differently.
The truth is that even when you feel that you are in a good place in your recovery and feel like you can think straight, everybody has bad days. It’s not until we have these lows that we realise just how far we have come. But at the same time, going through the low points can make you feel like you have gone off track, that you are back at square one. It’s accepting that there will be hard days, that is the most difficult, yet most important part of recovering. When you’re having a bad day or just not feeling yourself, sometimes you feel like giving up. For me, I quite often feel like giving up. I find it difficult but try my hardest to remind myself that I’ve made it this far.It can be difficult to get into that positive mindset and sometimes you think you’ll never get there but in times like these, I try to think of the tiny little things that have made the journey worth while. How you deal with these bad days and low moods is what is crucial. Some people having fantastic coping mechanisms and can sort themselves out. Others wallow for a day or two which is also completely acceptable. Me? Unfortunately I’ve still not found the solution which helps me when I have a stumble on my journey.
Finally, I just want you all to know that the online mental health community is here for you through your journey, every step of the way, no matter what you need. The people surrounding us in this community are incredible and every single day, at least one person inspires me. So what I pretty much wanted to say was, that bad days and even bad weeks, are completely normal and you’re not the only one suffering. I promise you that. Together we can all help each other. Always remember, it’s absolutely, 100% okay, not to be okay!
I completely understand if you disagree with some of my points, but this is just how I personally feel. I appreciate any comments and if you have any suggestions on how to handle bad days, then please please leave a comment. Stay strong you beautiful bunch of people.