Much like listening to the same song over and over I feel like I can get stuck on repeat in recovery. Finding the same issue resurfacing again and again. It can hurt. It can be frustrating and it most definitely has made me feel defeated at times.
I’ve started to compare my mental recovery to healing from a surgery (appropriate, I know.) It’s really painful in the beginning than slowly the pain comes down as you do things to help it. After that as you heal from the outside people no longer think of your recovery but you still feel the incisions brushing against your clothing, irritated and sometimes painful but most definitely uncomfortable.
You start to heal more and think to yourself “Dang, I’m finally making good progress”. Then something happens, perhaps you over do it, perhaps something hits you unexpectedly and the pain returns. It hurts more this time because you thought this pain was behind you. It makes you buckle and have to be brave to pick yourself back up.
As time passes the incisions start to heal but healing fully can take up to a year and being patient with that healing can be an internal wrestle.
Okay so it’s not the perfect analogy BUT why do we treat mental health recovery like any other physical health recovery. Why as a society and most definitely a culture deeming people “crazy” for struggling with an illness? When will we end the judgment and find the compassion to lean in when someone is hurting in this way and help? When will people feel safe enough to open up about their struggles knowing it’s safe to do so and receive the help they deserve?
I’ve been thinking over my journey the last two years but mostly the last 15 months. It’s been so bitterly painful. So agonizing. The hours my husband and therapist have heard me cry, sob, and repeat. The numerous panic attacks in the middle of the night that my husband patiently helped me through no matter how many nights in a row it woke him.
These things were so hard.. the emotions felt, and experiences forever changed me. I’m not so sure I’ll ever use the word “grateful” for my postpartum experience but I am grateful for the change of direction it has taken my life and I’m grateful I can now look at it and see the many blessings.
I’ve said from the beginning I want to look at my youngest and see God’s merciful grace in his eyes instead of seeing him as the trigger.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately working on bonding with him and healing that broken part of me. I looked at him this week and realized I didn’t see him as the trigger anymore. I saw him as Gods gift to me. A gift I wasn’t expected and didn’t go as I thought it should. I looked at him and saw Gods Grace for saving my life. What a wonderful gift to have (mostly) joyfully running around my house. What a constant reminder of the strength I developed during this journey. Strength that I will practice, and apply to get me through whatever is to come.