I hope everything is going well. I’m not sure if you know this but I’m one of the writers for the Brain Storm Magazine, an online mag dedicated to promoting awareness and understanding of all mental illnesses. I wanted to share with you my writing piece for the next issue. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Road to Recovery
To those still fighting,
Recovery. What does that mean exactly? What does recovery mean to you? A close friend of mine once told me, “You’re en route to put your pieces back together.” This spoke to me because when mental illness shatters your soul, your life, your everything, recovery is there to glue you back together, or rather the shards of you back together. 1 in 5 people live with mental illness, but 5 in 5 have mental health.
Defining the word ‘recovery’ can be difficult, especially when there are many so ways to describe it. The dictionary has three definitions related to mental illness recovery. “The regaining of or possibility of regaining something lost or taken away.” “Restoration or return to health from sickness.” “Restoration or return to any former and better state or condition.” I believe that recovery is personal and different for everyone. It’s something that can’t be forced or rushed. Healing takes time, no matter how long. For me, recovery is a new beginning. A fresh start to make positive changes that will set a better tone for the future.
I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder earlier this month, and I am in remission from a manic depression episode that has lasted a few years. You may be wondering why I waited so long to be officially diagnosed. Trust me, as I sat there in the waiting room of The Mood and Anxiety Clinic at the Center for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, I wondered the exact same thing. I felt as though I had taken a big step towards making a change and getting back on the road to recovery with a better plan of action. I was scared to be there, a million thoughts racing through my mind, screaming at me.
Going back to last year, I have seen a counsellor before but I only went to a few appointments. I found it stressful to be in there, and I always left feeling slightly worse than before and crying. I understand she did her best, but it wasn’t helpful for me. After feeling helpless for another while longer, I decided to start taking medication, another courageous decision in the hopes of feeling better and regaining myself back.
Now, I have been on my medications for about 10 months and I have a diagnosis. The medications have helped a great deal. Although I still experience bouts of undeniable sadness and there are days I am paralyzed with anxiety, I still believe I can overcome this. I am taking baby steps, and I am not giving up. I am not my illness and I will not let it rule my life anymore. I AM IN CONTROL.
As someone who struggles with mental illness, I understand how hard it is. I understand the pain, the suffering, the effort, the challenges it brings every day. I understand the need to stay in bed all day and cry and hide from the world. I have been there. I still have days like this, and I suspect they will continue to happen every so often as my recovery process continues. But after a while they will go away. Life will get better, breathing will become easier, and so on.
I have recently started doing yoga to help with strength and relaxation. I came up with a daily mantra that I would like to share with you to help you through your hard days:
You are strong and beautiful
You will get there someday
All will be well
And all will be well. In time, I promise. I am with you, fighting for a life full of freedom from our illnesses, happiness and love. I support you. Let’s stay in this fight.
Make sure to go to https://brainstormmag.com for the upcoming issue, coming out February 1, 2017.