Sometimes it’s the little things in life that can help us see the bigger picture. Hopefully sharing my experiences helps those living with mental health challenges – and to see the bigger picture too.
I have a bracelet that I wear to help raise money and awareness for mental health. Last night it broke which seems odd for a sturdy rubber bracelet to do. Just another seemingly inconsequential thing that happened and something that would normally be sloughed off – well that sucks, but no big deal.
When it broke it got me thinking – holy crap!! Today marks 6 months to the day that I was hospitalized for anxiety. December 14, 2018 will always be a day I remember, for better or for worse.
I could brush it off as pure coincidence but what if it’s not? What if the cliché “Everything happens for a reason” is true, and I’m supposed to be reminded of my milestone?
In this case my bracelet has been work and broken-down, stretched to a point where it broke at it’s weakest link. Which is very similar to what caused my break in December.
Recovery may take longer that we think, and that’s OK
As I was starting the path to recovery my best friend and one of my key anxiety supports told me that 2019 is going to be about recovery. I thought I wouldn’t need the full year since I was making huge strides in a short amount of time. In hindsight, 6 months out, he was right.
My anxiety has largely been under control since I completed an outpatient treatment program. I think it’s been manageable because I have key friends as supports and tools to accept the anxiety from breathing to exposure to mindfulness exercises and more. I am also closer to accepting that I will be ok. But I have a long way to go, but I am more hopeful about my future than I was in December.
However there have been several days with very high anxiety but no panic. Days where it felt like maybe I do need to respond to anxiety with short-term meds again. Maybe I do need to revert back to my old ways of fighting anxiety. But trusting in the treatment plan means just that, full and complete trust.
Other days when anxiety is low my depression is high, particularly recently. Days where I just don’t care, I’m despondent and I shut down. While I can’t always put my finger on why depression creeps in I do know that it too will pass. Way easier said than done.
What I am learning is that recovery is not a straight line. Getting back to “normal” may take longer than we think, at least in my experience. Most days are good but some are bad and I have little to no explanation for why I’m feeling anxious or depressed. All I am left to do is accept it.
Here are four things I am reminding myself of on my six month anniversary and you might try to:
- Trust the process of accepting anxiety – not fighting it
- Open up to friends and loved ones…which is very hard for me to do, and is not uncommon for those with mental health challenges
- Remember, just because you are having mental health challenges DOES NOT mean you are weak. You are facing challenges just showing-up that many don’t see.
- Know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Thank you for your support and helping me share my 6 month journey! Please share with anyone you know who is facing similar challenges.