When I first realised that I had changed from trying to stay alive to recovering, it was terrifying. Previously, I had just been living day to day, one task at a time and not looking towards the future whatsoever. So when I realised I had to go back to uni and get back to normal it was really daunting – I knew it would be a hard journey.
I had expected to every week see an improvement, to slowly but steadily get back to normal. I was not prepared for all of the set backs and bad days – if I had then I might not have felt like such a failure every single time I didn’t manage to meet expectations placed on me by my friends, my family and, probably the hardest of all, myself.
No one around me knew what to expect from the recovery process, I had never heard of it at all – I had no guidance. All I had was a long list of things I could not do because of my anxiety, including going into town, going shopping or putting make up on. And the only tool to help me recover was my determination. Every single day I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and celebrated meeting goals, that might seem insignificant to everyone else, that were milestones for me. This allowed me to get back to doing these tasks; they made me physically ill at first but after a few times they became normal again.
I’m now in a weird place where I am restricted a lot in what I can do, but at the same time I can function and live mostly normally. However, I want to feel 100% okay. I have came extremely far and there is still a long way to go. I predict this to be difficult and while ignorance is bliss, knowing that it is normal to face challenges and feel disappointed in myself will help me when it happens. The bad days get fewer and fewer at this stage in my journey but it doesn’t make them any less difficult when they arise.
Keeping motivated in this emotionally exhausting time is possibly the most crucial thing. So whenever I feel hopeless, weak or just done with it all, I force myself to remember my progress and that demonstrates my strength. I acknowledge that healing is not linear, and as long as I keep trying I will get there in my own time. Motivational quotes are another way to keep strong, I don’t know if it’s because you can see the beauty in this horrific experience or if it’s because you know you are not alone. And never feel guilty for asking your friends for support, they want to help you.
So in your journey, don’t ever feel disheartened if you are not getting better quick enough compared to others or to your own expectations. Recovery is two steps forwards and one step back; don’t let that step back make you stumble. Recovery is possible and you can do it. How and when you get there is unimportant.
You just have to trust that one day you will look back and all your efforts will be worth it.
THE LITTLE THINGS I USED TO TRIP ON, I WALK OVER NOW