The days to come

Friday was the first time in three weeks I got to see my counsellor. First of all, I’d like to acknowledge how incredibly grateful I am to have found a therapist who is such a good fit for me. I’d also like to take a moment to appreciate that my parents are still paying my therapy bills…

To be honest, I think people can always benefit from talking to someone. Knowing my own temperament, ideally I see myself always having a professional to talk to. Maybe in the future my appointments will be fewer and farther between, but I think as long as its feasible, I’d like to continue to go for regular mental health appointments just as I would go to physical check-ups.

Having had some down-time these past few weeks my brain has necessarily been in full-gear so it was a nice to have the opportunity to finally stop over-analyzing everything. I find my mind tends to take certain ideas and run with them in all different directions, inevitably getting lost along the way. Thankfully, my therapist is usually able to bring me back to see the bigger picture or gently point me in a more constructive direction. I trust my care team to guide me with my best interests in mind and if something’s important, we’ll notice it in time.

I started a new medication (again…) two weeks ago and I think I’m starting to see some benefits! Which should be great news, right?! But of course, especially in the context of mental health, things don’t always to go exactly as expected.

I guess part of me thought that finding a medication that worked would be a relief. However, I didn’t allow for the possibility that it could also bring about feelings of uncertainty and discomfort.

I’ve gotten better at identifying when depression or anxiety are “speaking” but this omnipresent feeling of should is a hard one to objectively detach from. Perfectionism manifests in sneaky ways. One of which is this consistent feeling of wrongness – as if things are somehow not as they should be, and I’m the one to blame.

It’s hard to make space for everything that comes with bumbling through this healing process – especially the messy emotions I’ve had little experience constructively responding to. However, Friday was a reminder that just because something doesn’t show up the way you’d expect, doesn’t mean it’s not worth welcoming.

Through no fault of our own, things rarely go as we expect them to and I’m trying to accept that what I feel is valid even if it’s unpredictable.

It makes sense that feeling differently (although arguably better) is uncomfortable. The unknown is an uneasy place to be. That is, until it becomes known I guess. Maybe I just have to give this new reality a chance to become my new normal – my healthier, more stable “normal”. At the end of the day, my mood doesn’t define who I am and it never did. I can still be a caring and compassionate person without being debilitated by mood swings. I can still be empathetic without letting waves of emotion constantly take me down. Perhaps, I might even be better at it.

I appreciate that there’s a significant difference between flat and stable affect. Nuance I’m not accustomed to distinguishing, having been navigating the intense peaks and troughs of emotional mood swings for so long. Of course, I’m weary of this new experience – a few bad medications in the past will do that to you. However, I’m trying to acknowledge my uneasiness as a sign that there’s fight in me.

Dealing with the unfamiliar has always been difficult, especially when it felt unsafe. But I’m trying to now provide myself the safety I need to take tentative steps in (theoretically) the right direction.

I thought nothing would be as hard as initially choosing recovery, but I forgot that healing is a choice I have to make every day. And some days it will be harder than others.

Maybe my only mistake was thinking that the winds of change lay behind me. While many aspects of my physical and mental health have significantly stabilized recently, I’m about to walk into unfamiliar territory yet again. This road might seem a little more forgiving, but fear still accompanies me. And that’s okay. I’m starting to think that maybe growth will always lie in navigating this scary, unknown place after all.

Maybe if I’m not afraid I’m not doing it right – maybe that’s the kind of expectation I can have now.

I’ve have been working hard this past year – incredibly hard. But I rarely give myself credit for it. This past year has undoubtedly been the toughest of my life and it was no small feat to get to where I am now. No medication can take that away from me.

A pill isn’t a “cop-out” or an easy solution – it doesn’t mean I failed to heal myself. It’s simply a tool I’ve added to my tool box that can help me with things I couldn’t possibly remedy on my own. It’s another way I’ve allowed myself to ask for help. It was another opportunity for me to choose in favour of possibility despite my fear in the face of all ambiguity.

Maybe the journey isn’t meant to be treacherous the whole way through. Maybe I deserve some respite after hanging on by my fingernails for so long. Maybe it’s about time I get more than just “scraping by”.

Finding drugs that might help doesn’t negate any of the hard work I’ve had to do to get here, nor that which I know I’ll still lies ahead. Instead, it might actually give me a chance to put some energy into moving forward rather than furiously spinning my wheels stuck in the mud.

I have an opportunity to start putting the skills I’ve learned to good use, rather than just keeping myself afloat. Because life isn’t meant to be lived just surviving.

It takes a lot of courage to allow yourself to lose sight of the shore but keeping your eyes fixed on what’s behind you limits your ability to look ahead to the future.

I don’t have to know what it’s going to look like. I don’t need to have everything figured out before I begin. I’ve been told something good lies ahead, and I’m starting to get a feeling that it might be true. Good is good. Better is better. I don’t have to know what exactly it is to know it’s probably worth pursuing.

It seems I can’t avoid confronting uncertainty. And thinking I could might have been my biggest problem. I have another opportunity to blindly trust in the process – not that it will completely work out, but that even if it doesn’t, I still might be better off.

I can trust that it likely won’t look like I expect it should, but that’s okay.

I know I have a good support system in place. People who have wonderfully agreed to walk this road with me despite not knowing how things are going to turn out. Maybe just trusting that they stand by me, and knowing that I’m getting better at standing by myself is enough for the days to come.

Fear of leaving the familiar behind might be a necessary price to pay for the joy of discovery that lies ahead.

3 thoughts on “The days to come

  1. This was so good and so true. I spent the first 6 months of recovery denying medication. I was afraid for all of the reasons you’ve written, and I still am being that I’m only 2 months in and still apparently not at the dose my psychiatrist thinks will be most beneficial. We’re being brave, being open to this avenue—and we are not broken. That one is so hard for me to believe. But I believe it for you, a perfect stranger, so why not me too!?

    Like

  2. I can say this, WordPress is full of beautiful souls (such as Ashleyleia⬆️⬆️) that write specifically about mental health. There’s a million others here who will embrace you as you are 🎉🎊✨ You have courage and bravery beyond what you realize and here, I know you’ll find nurishment to blossom your confidence and sense of self! Have a fabulous Thursday!!

    Liked by 1 person

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