Having read several blogs over the last few weeks it made me realise, that although you may have woken up from a long sleep recovery itself was so much harder as you had to rebuild all the broken pieces of your life back together, thus creating a new you, whilst still retaining elements of who you were.
I can only speak for myself but hope what I write help will help others who are on the cusp of recovery, or struggling with some elements of it.
1.My own experience was like waking up after a long sleep, it was strange that first day, just lying there looking up at the ceiling and for once the pain seemed to have receded, and I actually didn’t feel terrible for a change.
I have to admit it scared me I was so used to feeling as though drowning, it did cross my mind that I’d fallen into something more terrible than before, so I stayed in bed as the morbid thoughts settled over me like a cloak of dread. I continued in this vein for a few days, but instead of my worst fears manifesting themsleves I felt hungry and actually wanted to get up!
This was the start for me within a few weeks I’d developed a routine of:
Getting up at the same time
Showering and getting dressed
Having something to eat
Opening a window letting the sounds of outside in
I can’t say I managed this everyday, some days I just hid under the duvet shaking as the fears came back, however over time this receded.
I talked more, especially to new friends feeling that those who knew me best weren’t that helpful and some turned their backs on me when it all went horribly wrong, and of course I had my special friend who gave me shelter and and ear, I think this where I started to learn to trust again, I still blamed myself for everything, and was disgusted with myself for breaking like that, nothing like self loathing feeds depression so well.
Once I did find my support, it life did become more tolerable, not everyone judged/averted their gaze/was impatient/cruel in terms of lack of understanding,from this I learned:
Talk to somebody
Visit your GP/Doctor
You have to be judicious about who you talk to,especially when it comes to family, as they will be hurt to find you’ve been going through this alone, and sometimes want to take over your recovery(because they care) also they will have their own guilt as to why they didn’t notice, so prepare yourself for lots of questions.
Work is a little more tricky if you have enlightened employers(I didn’t) it can work in terms of giving you time of for appointments, or reducing your work load/hours of work, however most have the resources to deal with this, however it’s potluck when it comes to who may or may not understand to weigh your options carefully.
Denial also plays a huge part in dealing with Mental Health, we all want to be seen as fuctioning individuals who can handle anything ,truth is we can’t, and we spend months or even years with masks clamped to our faces to show the world that wee on that treadmill and you can keep up,well we know what happens when we crash, so admitting to yourself all is not well is actually the first step.
When you do get talking it’s surprising what the triggers can be, mine at first was working ridiculous hours in a very stressful job, and stupidly believing I didn’t have time to be stressed to bullying in the workplace, to grief(my mother died) lastly becoming homeless, once you find those triggers:
Look at ways you can change the impact they have on your life which is acceptance
Talk talk and talk some more, get it out, or write a blog, being mindful to be honest with yourself, it’s Ok to feel frustrated/angry/guilty and it takes time for those feelings to fade.
Write letters to those that have affected you adversley, you don’t have to send them, but it gives you a choice to voice those thoughts and to in time let go.
One of my biggest hurdles was thinking that just because I felt better I was, it never occurred to me that I had to keep working at it, everyday, and to take baby steps and preparing myself to sometimes fall, when this happens it can be devastating and send you scurrying back to that dark place, because your disappointed, the reality is that we do fall from time to time, the good news is you can get back up.
Have realistic expectations
Your journey can change daily
Sometimes you just have to let things go ,dwelling on it won’t change the circumstance, it just serves to make you more anxious(easier said than done)
Perfection is not the key to a happy healthy life, accept all that is good about you, and accept your flaws.
Your not responsible for everything or everyone
I found to some degrees to bring all the elements of your life back together, is that you have to work on one area at a time, and include them in your daily life bit by bit, so you can cope with your own changes but it also leaves room to cope with outside conditions that you have no control over, the underlying point is to gain independence in your own life.
Recovery in time can:
Help you to rebuild your life
Build a good network of support, which in time will only be their when you need them and you accept that sometimes you need to ask for help.
Look at the various elements of your life and bring them together making changes as you go to enhance your life
Gives you the realisation that you have choices
Gives you a better self awareness about yourself, so that you recognise the triggers if and when they appear.
Learning to like and trust yourself again or perhaps for the first time
Gaining independence and control back over your life, so you are a full member of society and not just skirting the edges.
Not having to wear a mask
Striving for happiness and contentment and most of all peace in your life.