If I’ve learned anything these past three years, its that recovery is gradual.
You do not suddenly wake up one morning and feel fine every day from then on. No, recovery is taking baby steps, taking small steps, taking cautious steps. Its like learning to walk again. Often, you fall and you trip and you stumble. But you brush yourself off and start walking again.
Recovery is being wide awake at three in the morning but feeling so tired that all you want to do is shut your eyes and never wake up.
Recovery is crying your eyes out because you just spilled everything you ever felt and still feel to a close friend, sobbing and shaking and choking, worried that they’ll judge you and hate you and call you names.
Recovery is waking up some days and the smell of food makes your stomach churn, recovery is when you’re in the shower shaving your legs and you think, “I could do it. I could totally do it. No one would even notice anyway, not like they care, not like they even bother to check anymore,” but you ignore those bad thoughts, you push them to the back of your mind, you put the razor down and step out of the shower, you go downstairs and pour yourself a bowl of cereal (maybe you only ate half of it but you tried and I am so proud of you) and you put the biggest smile that the world has ever seen on your face. Maybe its fake today. Some day it won’t be.
Recovery is still wondering about death, still wondering how it would feel if you went outside and walked to the nearest bridge and took the leap. But you don’t, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
Recovery is hearing that song and having all those old emotions flood your mind and all you want to do is curl up into a ball in your bed and have a good cry. So you do. Cry until you can’t anymore. Cry until your eyes are dry and your cheeks flushed, cry til your throat is raw. Its okay. Its a process. So when you’re done and you’ve made a mess of your pillow, get up and wash your face. Put on an outfit that makes you feel confident. Curl your eyelashes and do your hair. Put on a song that inspires you, a song that makes you smile, a song that makes you want to laugh, a song that makes you feel free. Take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and know that you will be okay eventually.
Recovery is loving yourself. Recovery is hating yourself. There’s that little voice, in the back of your mind, telling you that you could never feel comfortable in your own skin. Couldn’t you? Make the changes you can, the healthy ones. Exercise more, regulate your sleep cycle eat consistently. Cut your hair, do your eyebrows. Anything to make yourself happier without harming yourself.
Recovery is relapsing. You took a step back? That’s okay. Maybe you’ve lost that battle, but you’ll still win the war. Recovery is still feeling your lungs collapse and having the room spin when you get anxious, even though its been six months. Recovery is not a one year thing, a two year thing, a three year thing. Its something to last your entire lifetime. You will be okay. But okay is not a destination. Its a pit stop. You won’t be happy all your life, that’s guaranteed. You will be angry, furious even, you will be upset. You will cry, and sigh, you will still shove your fist in your mouth to smother your sobs and scream into your pillow at four in the morning. You will laugh and smile and be happy and dance all night until your feet hurt. No feeling is permanent. Nothing lasts forever. And that’s okay.
Recovery is accepting the things you cannot change. Having the courage to change the things you can, and knowing the difference between the two. Recovery is telling yourself that everything will be okay and believing it. You will be okay.”