Recovery; Commitment.

Your recovery is a commitment. It is something that you must commit to, wholeheartedly, every day, for the rest of your life – regardless of whether your world came crashing down, or the land is filled with daisies, unicorns, and sunshine. Otherwise, you accept death immediately. You are choosing life or death. That is your commitment.

It is important, however, to remember that sometimes, much like other parts of your life, you fail. You fall down. You scrap your knee. You lose yourself to the pain.

And you know what? That’s okay. That’s okay, so long as you get right back up, wipe aside your tears, slap a bandage on that knee, and keep trudging along to a better moment, a better day.

 

Recently, I had a stumble in my own recovery. A hiccup. I was constantly stressed and anxious due certain pieces of work in my life. I was eating nothing but junk. My mood shifts were drastic. And on two separate occasions, I almost relapsed.

I have since brought myself back up, but for anyone out there who is struggling with recovery, I just wanted you to know that it’s okay. It’s okay to not be alright all the time. It’s okay if you fall into a dark place sometimes.

Because here’s the thing – mental illness is not like a cold. You cannot take some medicine to make it go away. You cannot sleep it off. It is there, and it is always there. It is a part of your soul and who you are, and you must work with it if you are ever going to be happy. Whether you do therapy, take medication, go to support groups, or do something else that eases your personal ailment (exercise, hobbies, journaling, etc.), you are working on being a happier you, and that’s what is important.

 

Remember to never be afraid to ask your support system for help. Be sure to know who that is. It is not for the faint of heart. In this stumble, I have seen the people who will withstand the tests of time with me, and those who I will definitely not be writing home about. And that’s okay.

Does it suck knowing that certain people will never understand you? Yes. Is it better to know now rather than later which of the people in your life will love and appreciate you, no matter what? Oh yeah! And don’t worry, people who can’t handle it, we don’t hate you. It’s a hard job to support someone who suffers from mental illness. Better to be honest than to cause unintentional heartache.

 

Never settle for people who don’t love you for who you are, and don’t try to save people that you can’t.

 

And most importantly, never ever forget to love yourself. You are you, and that is special and beautiful.

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We are all shells here.

It was small, a little paragraph. Someone might read the first sentence and not think much of it.

It describes the interactions this person who is stuck in a deep, muddy hole. They are having difficulty getting out. Possible rescuers come, who simply stand there and instruct the victim, telling them to just keep trying. But the victim slips and falls, and the rescuer yells at them, calling them pathetic, a quitter, and then walks away. After a few visits, the victim is left unattended to, all alone in this dark hole. They try and try to get out on their own, but repeatedly they fall back to the bottom. Soon, they just sit there, letting the mud pull them further down. After all, what is the point of going on, trying to get out? By the end of the paragraph, you learn that this is a representation of depression. You take from that what you will.

It hit me hard. I was going through my own rough entanglement with depression, the first of several stints. High school, the breeding ground for fucked up hormonal outputs. My home life was trash, and the lack of there actually being one did not help. I poured myself into school and after school activities.

I was running away.

I don’t think I ever stopped running.

Not even when I opened up. Not even when my condition was made aware to me. That was 3 years ago, when I transferred to UB. My past was more or less shoved into a box under my bed, into the darkest corner. It was meant to be avoided, in order to find happiness. To define structure.

“Remember that your interactions with your fellow collaborators will affect your future. Your enemy now will be your boss later. Choose your words carefully.”

I did try new things, as per college life requirements. I changed my style. I drank a little much sometimes. I made out with friends I knew well, and acquaintances who barely knew me. I did ridiculous and foolish things, and still managed to get up in the morning to pay my bills.

But I was a hollowed out tree trunk. My life made me a shell, nothing of substance. I gossiped. I partied. I stopped writing. Silence. And so my anxiety and depression sank me back into the deep, muddy hole. I was in a sea of tree trunks with nowhere to go.

Cleveland was the last straw. I spent a lot of time looking for a way out down there. Radical paths. Trying to avoid suspicion. Though. Some part of me knew that no one there would have held me back from that jump.

Thankfully, I returned back to my true home – to my pen, my writing, my muse, where I keep my sanity.

Loneliness still plagues me when the moon silently approaches, and when the sun shines so bright that I am blinded by its typical beauty. Few comment on my photos, like my Facebook posts, answer back my phone calls. Sometimes I still wonder – would they noticed if I just picked up? Walked out of their lives for good?

I still wonder, as I attempt to choose between my love for the arts and design as extensions of my being, and my dependence on writing for salvation and survival.

I still….

But.

Today, I get up for myself. I enjoy myself.

It will all work itself out eventually. It always does.*