MHM: The Reality Of Recovery

forever september, anxiety, depression, mental health, mhm: the reality of recovery, recovery, mental illness, eating disorder, emetophobia, chatty post, lifestyle, I’m back with another mental health Monday’s – woo! Today I’m going to be talking about the reality of recovery and I’m gonna be brutally honest. After reading Arora’s post on depression, it made me realise that there is no point in sugar coating it.

Recovery is hard, really f*cking hard. Its not a linear process either, far from it in fact. Relapses can happen and it can take a long time to get to where you want to be. When I was first diagnosed with anxiety, I assumed that I’d be able to get over it fairly quickly with the right treatment/medication, but I guess I was just a naive 16 year old. Don’t get me wrong, some people can recover quicker than others, its a very personal thing.

As Arora mentioned in her post, everyone says self-care is such an important part of recovery and whilst I totally agree, sometimes its just not viable. When you’re in the midst of a depressive episode/anxious spell, self-care is the last thing on your mind. Showering can be hard, brushing your teeth and even leaving your bed is a massive task. For me, its not that I don’t want to take care of myself, its that I find it physically challenging to do so. I don’t see myself as a lazy person, I actually think I’m quite ambitious but when you feel anxiety reaching every part of your body, its hard to focus on anything else. Recovery is having days where you don’t get out of bed until 12pm, or days where you don’t leave the sofa and end up binge watching 2 seasons of Brooklyn 99 because thats all your mind can cope with.

Is it ideal? No. If I could rewire my brain, I would. The days where I don’t get anything done are incredibly frustrating to say the least, as obviously I want to be successful in everything I do but like I say, my brain just doesn’t always cooperate. As an emetophobic, eating can become a gruelling task as well. On my worst days, I’ll either eat nothing or very little and very slowly. For me, this is the hardest part of recovery. I might well be really hungry, but my mind will be telling me not to eat as it might make me ill. So even the simplest of tasks like eating can become a big challenge, but thats something I’ve got to battle through in recovery.

However, I do want to say that not every day is spent on the sofa. Recovery does consist of days where I’m able to get up at a reasonable time, shower, put makeup on and get out the door. They’re still incredibly tough and I still have to push myself, but I manage. My mind will be running at 100mph whilst I’m going about daily tasks but I’m able to keep going. I’m coming to terms with the fact that there is inevitably going to be days where I can’t leave the house and days where I can and its not something I can control.

The reality of recovery can be brutal. I’ve learnt to take each day as it comes and if thats spent on the sofa all day then fine, and if its not and I can manage to get out, great. The process isn’t linear, it will have its ups and downs and I think I’m finally coming to terms with that, as much as I hate the days where nothing gets done and I’m an anxious mess. What can ya do? Just got to keep going!

– Lucy