The other day I was working on a guest blog about my mental health advocacy. What I came out with surprised me, it did not sound or feel like me. It read as though it was coming from a person ‘recovered’ and confident. In the blog I wrote that I felt ‘proud’ (I have never been able to say anything good about myself, so this was a big deal!). I did not send it straight away. There was a part of me hesitant and I did not know quite why. Then something happened that made me crash (and not in a small way). I realised I felt okish when I was writing it, but how could I now send it off when now I am crumbling and falling apart it would be hypocritical. I felt I was back to lying to myself and others that all was ok. I felt like a fraud. I felt like I was talking about something from a recovered persons point of view, when I am not. I am far, far, from that.
My therapist had to remind me I am not a fraud. I had just forgotten how up and down recovery is.
How raw it can be.
How frustrating it is.
How it takes everything from you and then even more.
How it takes one thing to make you spiral back down.
One thing to make you realise how much you are pretending.
One thing to make you crash.
Recovery is far from a straight line up. It is a rollercoaster. One that you cannot even imagine unless you are living it.
Recovery feels just as much of a struggle if not more as when you are in the midst of a breakdown. It comes with high expectations not from just everyone else but even more so from you. You are expected to just get back on it and pick up from where your life stopped.
Writing that guest blog made me realize how much I can trick myself into being much better than I actually am. How then something can happen and BAM you are knocked back into the reality of things with a reminder of what has gone on and it seems you are back to square one.
I have been told a few time you have to sometimes ‘fake it till you make it’. That is fine to say, but faking it is exhausting. People see on the outside you are "doing so well”, “you look so much better”, it seems you are functioning, you’ve lost so much weight. Yes, looking back to a year ago, yes I am doing a lot more, and yes I have lost the 5 stone the meds lovingly (!) gave me. But what people don’t see are, the tears that strike as soon as I am in my room on my on my own. Sleepless nights. The physical and emotional fights I have going on inside nearly all the time not to hurt myself, but enhanced 10x in those long lonely nights while you are struggling and trying and to get just a moment of sleep. They don’t see all the negative thoughts going rounding my head. They don’t see how much I beat myself up about everything and anything. They don’t see the anxiety rushing through my blood at each and every moment that passes.
I was really struggling to send the blog, then @centre_recovery said something to me on twitter:
“there will always be good days and not so good day. But the best thing about blogs is hearing about them both”.
This is so true, so now I've sent the blog, and it will now be a reminder that in that brief moment I felt proud of something I was doing. With each moment good and bad I will continue blogging to remind and teach people of all the struggles and ups and downs people with mental health issues go through day after day.