Trigger Warning- I’ll be discussing self harm and depression recovery in this post. If you’re easily triggered, you might want to skip to the last paragraph of this post, where I’ve got cookies, hug GIFs, and hotlines, take care! ❤
Well, I’ve had myself caught up in the whirlpool called recovery for quite a few months now. I’m almost six months clean now, and it feels like a bittersweet trophy to house in my head. I’ve learnt a lot, lost a lot, and overall I’m still trying to convince myself that choosing recovery was a choice that would put me on the right track. Entering the experience, though, there were so many things I was unaware of. Looking back at the person I was before recovery , (y’know, broken and sad and constantly crying and collapsing in on herself? yeah, her. I don’t identity as much with her anymore.) I realize that there were so many things I had no idea about when getting into recovering. I realize how sadly misinformed I was before strapping myself in for the roller coaster that was recovery. I can’t say I look back at making the commitment to recovery with no regrets, but I will say that over time my sounds have started to slowly heal, and for that I am grateful. So, without further yippity yap (yes I just made up a word) here’s a few things I wish I knew before I started the journey to recovery.
- The road seems endless, and it’s so much longer than you thought. If you thought recovery road looked impossibly long before you started the marathon, you’re in for an even nastier surprise- it’s so much longer. I thought the road to recovery was impossibly long even before I started to recover. I realized, around 5000 obstacles, trips, and turns too late, that the road is much longer than it looks. It will test you and trip you up, and you will push your limits to find that you limits push back. Does it sound scary? Well, there never was anything easy about recovery. Even the decision to recover is one that is hard to make. Recovery, especially from self harm, means that you are battling your demons head on, which is often the very thing you were running away from. It means facing up to your addiction and fighting countless battles in an attempt to win a war, all while you go on with your daily life. The already long road is made longer by your attitude to taking on the marathon, and eventually there will come a point where even those of the strongest emotional willpower will find themselves having a shitty attitude towards recovery. I will admit, I was skeptical about my recovery as well, and my attitude towards recover made the whole thing so much more goddamn difficult. Now, I’m trying to change the way I look at recovery, and that starts with my conscious mind. While I can’t help that sometimes I dream that I didn’t throw my blades down the sink, can control the way I consciously think about relapse and self harm. I’m really trying to be as strong as I can be, and I think I can slowly see the climb to recovery as one that’s become less torturous and more rewarding. It takes time to heal this, but now the way I’m approaching my battle is so much more helpful. If me from a year ago read this, I’d roll my eyes at myself. It took me time to realize that everyone who gave me cliched advice about recovery had a point.
- It’s a 24/7 commitment. I know, this is one that seems obvious, but I overlooked how much of a commitment recovery really is. (hint: it’s a huge one) To be honest, it struck me so hard that I can’t just ‘take a break’ from recovering. Whether I’m asleep, awake, crying, laughing, angry, doing nothing or being incredibly busy, I would not stop being in a state of recovery. In a way, it was like a persistent empty check box on my mental to-do list of all the shit I’ve gotta do to pull myself back together. It’s not really a check box that will just leave, either. It will always be around, and one you’ve committed to recovery you will always be recovering. I can only imagine how obvious all of this may seem to anyone who has never had the experience, but I guess if you know what this is like you’ll understand what I’m trying to say over here. I wish somebody told me that recovery is more of a commitment than I ever thought it would be.
- It involves guilt, lots of it. Yep, I said it. You shouldn’t ever feel guilty for putting yourself first (self care for the win!) but that’s not the kind of guilt I’m referring to. I’m talking about the burning guilt I feel, even now, when I look back to a week ago where I had a breakdown and tried to smash the blade out of my sharpener just because I needed something to harm myself with. I also feel guilty because a week ago, I discovered that kitchen knives are much more blunt than they look. Oops. That’s right, Internet, I almost relapsed and I’m a crazy fucking psycho because I decided those sharp, big-ass kitchen knives were not as vicious as they look. I stuck around to discover how sharp they were, because I get crazy, (I am crazy sometimes) not to mention crazy guilty later. I feel so guilty typing that and admitting that I have my moments of weakness where I feel like I needed a blade to get through. I’ll always be guilty about relapse and about how somewhere deep inside my twisted brain, I wish I could still run to the safety of the blade. About how much I still think about going down the dark route. Even thinking about relapse makes me guilty, and all of a sudden things started to take a turn for the worst in ways I didn’t see coming. My boyfriend could literally kiss my scars (read a post about that here if you want a clearer picture on the relationship between kisses ad self harm scars) and I’d feel guilty. I always feel like by being weak and having my weak spots I’m doing a dis-service to the people who love me. My self harm took an emotional toll on the people that are close to me. I remember my friend telling me I was underestimating how much my relapse had impacted everyone close to me, and how my boyfriend had tears in his eyes when he realized I relapsed. All I feel looking back is burning guilt that scorches down to my soul and rubs it raw. Even now, it makes me feel selfish. I couldn’t even be strong enough to resist relapse. I was selfish enough to disregard the emotional cost my relapse would entail, one that would have to be payed by people who loved me and cared about me. People were getting hurt by being close to me, all because I couldn’t control myself. That’s the kind of guilt that came with recovery, and it felt and still feels pretty bad. Nobody warned me about the guilt that came with having a support system. I’m so incredibly lucky to have a amazing support system with amazing people, and honestly I couldn’t have imagined that they’d be a source of guilt. That being said, if you learn to handle that guilt properly it can actually be quit useful– some people would possibly let the guilt break them down, and it’s easy to see how that could happen, or at the very least let the guilt bruise them, or cause their beings to collapse. When the guilt came flooding in, it wrecked my walls. It’s easy when you’re in the vulnerable state of recovery, to just let the guilt drown you. With me however (while I won’t pretend that I didn’t have weak moments) I somehow learnt to use the guilt to motivate me, because I knew the guilt came from a good place. I wanted to get better, and I was guilty because I couldn’t. I slowly learned to be patient with myself ad to not feel guilty for making such slow progress. Remember– forward is forward. We all have our own pace, you should never feel guilty for not being able to scale a mountain in one day, sometimes molehills are huge enough to climb as it is. Believe me, I know. ❤
- You will have emotional ‘explosions’. More than you thought you would. Seriously, the amount of emotional explosions I’ve had were shocking to me. I’d find myself crying for very small things, like an argument with my mom which I would’ve otherwise been indifferent to. My explanation for this was that the bigger things had been building up so much, and I had to vent out my anger and frustration through the smaller things. The smaller things began knocking me down because I was privately fighting a much bigger battle, silently trying to fight a raging fire inside of me. As a result, there were a few weeks where I’d just get super emotional over everything simply because I was mentally begging for release, the kind of release I used to get from self harm. The midnight crying sessions were exhausting and lonely. I felt like a freak for constantly exploding, as though I couldn’t keep anything in if I tired. While I’ve been recovering, I’ve been predictably vulnerable. Like a feather, I felt as though the slightest emotional wind was enough to knock me down. I’m slowly trying to get over this. To stop over analyzing, start getting stronger and coping with things healthily. It will be tough (Rome wasn’t built in a day!) but guess what? I’ve learnt that recovery is about gradually regaining that emotional strength so that you’ll stop needing to turn to the blade every time you want some validation. You’ve got to learn to be patient with yourself. Let yourself cry over stupid things, let yourself get emotional.. Give yourself time to feel things and go through the emotions, because this is recovery and you will make it eventually, just be patient and know that these times won’t last. So, to anyone who’s new to the whole recovery thing- expect some outbursts. They don’t make you weak, I promise. They just make you human.
For me, the hardest part of recovery is needing to find a different coping mechanism apart from self harm whenever I’m emotionally overwhelmed and feeling low. Y’know, for those nights you have where you just can’t take it anymore? Yeah, those. I found it so tough to cope with those in a more.. well, healthy manner. (anyone who’s experienced depression will know what I’m talking about, it’s pretty brutal and emotionally intense). When I’m overcome by these emotions in this manner (click here to check out a post I wrote on how it’s like at night for a person with depression if you want a clearer picture) it’s hard not to turn to my blades as a solution. It is hard to slap myself in the face with cold, hard, reality, and tell myself to stop thinking those thoughts.
While recovery is undeniably scary, here’s the last thing I wish somebody told me about recovery…
6. It’s 100% worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT.
That’s right, you’re 100% worth the ride to recovery, and it may seem scary (I apologize if I’m making it sound super scary) but it is a step towards a better life for you. Recovery’s a challenge that I know you can face and you will kick ass at it eventually. Will you slip up a few times? Yes. Take a few wrong turns? Yes. You’ll make mistakes and learn while you recover, and sometimes it’ll feel more like a punishment than like healing, but it’s something that will make you a much better person in the end. You will be stronger, happier, healthier, and you’re going to look in the mirror and finally like what’s looking back at you. You’ve got to hurt in order to heal, and recovery is allowing yourself to acknowledge the negativity and deal with it in a way that leaves you stronger. You’re amazing, and you can recover. We can recover.
Thank you for reading! wanna check out more rants and weird attempts at poems and musings? My blog is open, and if you’re nice I’ll hand out cookies xD Anyways, if you’re currently struggling with depression and are feeling alone, take this free hug (click here and here and here for cute GIF s that send hugs from me to you ^^) and also a few hotlines, just in case.
Vent to an anonymous stranger- https://www.7cups.com
In case you’re feeling suicidal- http://suicide.org/
Hotlines for Depression specifically- http://addiction.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Depression_Hotlines