Recovery has been on my mind lately. A lot. Sometimes, the state of anxiety and depression has been so justified (by myself in my own experience) I hardly recognise what recovery I have in fact made. Or more accurately, how I’ve learned to cope despite having co-existed with these struggles on and off since childhood.
Someone posed a question to me last week: “What helped you come out of and break the patterns of your Mental Ill Health? What aided your recovery?”
Honestly, I felt a bit stupid at first because on the spot- I couldn’t remember. I know that I had long periods where it was all -worse- and then there’s most days. I’ve so conditioned my daily experience around knowing what triggers me, what roads to take when I’m driving, how to get about my day with the least amount of stress inducing experiences, and how to take time out when I need it.
A huge part of what I can control, I do my best with. But there’s a huge infinite world out there, that is uncontrollable. This is where I’ve had to do the most work. Working on my own choices of how I want to experience the world. It’s ongoing. Without constantly challenging the negative self talk and opting in to win then I leave my whole self open to destruction.
It sounds a bit more simple and straight forward to me now, but it wasn’t that easy. I didn’t wake up suddenly one morning and decide to get my shake on and fight to live.
I found this on one of my old blogs and I wanted to share it because it marks a time for me that I was really struggling and it was the beginning of my active participation in fighting against what my body and my mind was telling me.
Recovery is all encompassing for me. It’s a mirage of making good choices, putting myself first, nourishing my life with good work and things I enjoy, reaching out to friends, challenging myself, accepting limitations (and then challenging those fuckers too).
One thing I’ve learned along the way that serves me greatly- I can trick myself into doing anything by simply showing up and doing the thing that I’ve told myself I can’t. Every time I achieve something I have told myself for years that I can’t I follow that up squarely: What next?
Most days I hate leaving my house. I struggle with the process. I will weigh up how, when, where, what and why over and over in various scenarios, and if I can’t come up with one that makes me feel safe and secure then I find it very hard to leave to house. My body physically clams up. All my muscles become tense. My chest becomes heavy and tight. I can’t concentrate, it’s like my mind is going into overload,is spinning around and steaming like a cartoon character.
Michael likes to push me, but he realises that between it all, I need breaks. I’ve been doing really well this year, I spent this first half, on toes at the gym, at gymbaroo, Aphrodites, nutrimetics, mums groups, coffee dates, new friends, old friends, and wedding planning. It’s been NUTS.
Which is why it’s no surprise to me that ‘these’ days are becoming more and more frequent. It’s my minds way of saying I’ve had to much stimulation, I’ve been pushed as far as I can stretch and now I need to be alone. This is why it’s important for me to communicate to Michael, about everything I’m feeling, so he can help me balance out what I am doing, so I don’t get overloaded.
When I went to Tafe a few years back, I only just managed to complete a full year of full time study and by the end of it, I hardly wanted to go to class at all. I don’t like ‘having’ to be somewhere. I don’t like being tied down when I get to the point where I’ve had enough.
Michael supports me getting out, and pushes me, because he knows that if I don’t get out of the house, if I stop social engagements, shopping, picking up the kids, doing things I should like go to the doctor, I JUST STOP. I won’t go. I won’t care. I just stay home quite happily. Most of the time, once I’ve got out and I’m doing whatever it is, once I’ve weigh up the best situation for how I am feeling, I cope. I even enjoy it on some level. But I can usually only handle it for a few hours, and then I start feeling stressed and need to go home.
So incidentally, I went to Gymbaroo today. The driving in rain sucked. But I did it because even though it might not seem important, it is. It’s important that I socialise Evie with other babies, and do fun things with her, so that maybe she won’t have the same social hang ups as me. I don’t want her to be awkward with people. ^.^ The fact that we haven’t been able to go, and therefore not going, shows. Evie was a lot more introverted today than I know she is. She didn’t want to let me go but she did crawl through two tunnels and had fun shaking some maracas! Seeing her happy and having fun, makes it worth it to me to put aside my fears for her.