Sunday 13 January 2019

Staying Focused During Recovery

Martha explores the difficulties of recovery, and how people can sometimes struggle with staying focused during recovery.
- Martha Lee

Ever since hitting rock bottom and beginning to receive help, all I have ever hoped and aimed for is recovery. I have been lucky enough to have amazing people in my life who have allowed me to see that a future free of mental pain is possible. Therefore, during the darkest times I have always had something to look forward to – a goal motivating me to keep going. But since coming so far in recovery, I have realised that, for me, choosing recovery was the easier part. It is having the strength to keep going in recovery that is hard. I know now that I will be faced with this struggle of keeping moving forwards, even when it can feel so much easier to revert back to old habits. I have found that mental illness can almost become a safety net, and a part of your identity. 

The sad truth of the matter is that sometimes it can take getting to crisis point to get help or sympathy. As you begin to recover, slowly some of that help might get taken away again. People can assume you’re recovered mentally just because you look physically recovered. They think that you no longer require the support that, over the last few years, has become so important to you. Yes, you may have come a long way and yes, you may be getting somewhere in recovery, but that doesn’t always mean you are recovered. 

You may almost find yourself wishing that you were back to that point in order to get help and support. You might feel like you don’t know how to live without your illness, which has almost become a part of your identity. You know deep down that you don’t want to go back to that dark place, and you will do everything you possibly can to stop yourself slipping back. You know that you have come so far and have to keep going. But keeping going is unbelievably exhausting and hard and gruelling. On the one hand you see how far you have come, you see your achievements, goals reached, happier days. But you also see the struggles that still haven’t fully gone away, the reminders of the past, the unhealthy coping mechanisms that oddly helped and provided some comfort.

But I tell you now; keep going. You may feel things would be easier if you slipped back to old ways but I promise you they won’t. You have to try to ignore those feelings. You have come so far in your recovery and you shouldn’t listen to the lies your head is telling you. Yes it may be a struggle, but fighting through the struggle takes strength and courage. You are beautiful and amazing for everything you have achieved and you don’t deserve to go back to that place of pain and suffering after all the work you have already put in to come this far.

For information and advice on finding support, click here. 

I'm Martha, and I'm currently a student at Nottingham University. During my recovery I have found it important to open up, and writing has become a key way to explore and cope with my difficulties. Through sharing my own writing, I hope to inspire and help others and allow everyone to see that there is hope at the end of the darkness.

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