Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Let's Talk About Recovery

I had to take a sick day today (yay vomiting bugs!) so I've had far too much time to think and one of things that's been playing on my mind all day is the subject of recovery, specifically recovery from a mental health perspective.

Yeah we all see articles about how important it is to speak up and get help and trust me, I'm not knocking that at all, I just think we need to start a dialogue about what comes next and what you should expect.

I'm not an expert in this field nor do I claim to be one, obviously there's an extremely large range of mental health problems out there, each with their own treatments and therefor they each have a different type of recovery associated with them. As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder who has gone through periods of depression and battled issues with eating and self harm, I can only offer advice based on my experiences and for want of a less cheesy expression, my journey. So here's some tidbits that I think are important and apply to the majority of cases. Even if your mental health is relatively good but you've hit a bit of a bad patch or you're having a bad day, these will hopefully help.

First off, do yourself a favour and quit the amateur dramatics. Yeah it's a tough situation but you're only making it worse with the 'Woe is me!' bullshit. Grow a pair, ovaries/testicles, your call. Life doesn't stop just because you're having a shit time, it keeps moving and you have to at least try to keep moving with it. If you've raised your hand and said 'Hey I need help' then that's half the battle, that is brave as hell so use that new found bravery to get rid of the dramatic attitude and start acting like an adult. Shit happens. When it happens, we work through it and we get on with it.

Second of all, this one is kind of hard to hear but it's the truth; you will never be the person you were before you started suffering with depression/bipolar disorder/schizophrenia/whatever is ailing you. You simply cannot go back to who you were. Instead what you're gonna be is an amazing, new & improved version of the old you. Wiser, stronger, smarter and fully equipped to deal with whatever bullshit your brain comes up with. Whether you like it or not, this illness is and always will be a part of you but that's ok and it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Third, I highly recommend rewarding yourself for the little accomplishments each day because whether you recognise it or not, the little things are so important when it comes to recovery. Recovery is not great, bounding leaps, it's teeny, tiny, shuffling steps that slowly get bigger. You got out of bed today? Hell yeah! You showered? Fab! You ate a healthy, balanced meal? Or you just ate something at all? Well done! You remembered to take your meds? Fuck yes! The little steps will get bigger and bigger with each passing day, it takes time but eventually the accomplishments get bigger and more significant and ultimately, more rewarding. If you can do the little things and recognise them as significant then you are most certainly capable of the bigger accomplishments. Be proud of the achievements you make every day, even if they're small, and you'll build the strength to keep going.

Fourth, friend cleanse, this part is something that you might not be strong enough to do for a few months. I know it took me about a year and half into the recovery process before I did this. People can be wonderful, they can be great friends, until you sit them down and say 'Hey I've been struggling lately, I'm going to get help but I'm going to need your support while I'm going through this difficult time.' Then all of a sudden they go from being the best people you've ever known to strangers who check in once a month out of obligation because they 'can't handle your situation.' Admittedly part of this is a society thing because we're not exactly trained in how to deal with friends who have mental health issues but it's mostly got to do with people being assholes who bow out when the going gets tough. Fuck that. You don't need that bullshit in your life! So your friends suck and you feel lonely, I get that but I guarantee you are so much stronger than you realise and you can get through this. Those idiots don't deserve you. We all deserve friends who are there for the good times and the bad, not assholes who will gladly get you drunk and bitch about love interests but bail when you're having a bad day. Dude fuck that noise, those people need to go. They are to be pitied because a) they've lost out on you and your awesome friendship and b) they're immature as hell and won't get anywhere in life with such stupid attitudes. Repeat after me, I got this. And say it again. Say it twenty times. Say it until you believe it. You've got this.

Fifth, this stuff gets harder before it gets easier so prepare for that. Working through your issues sucks but it is definitely worth it so speak up. Sort your shit out now or let it ferment and get worse, your call. It is by no means easy but it is possible. You are strong enough and you'll be even stronger for it. Hell you've made it this far so why give up? Keep your head up and keep moving, one day at a time is still progress.

Be your own cheerleader. You're badass. You're fucking great. Screw what anyone else thinks or says, they don't know shit. You are a radiant little sunflower my friend so own that.

I know this is probably quite an aggressive approach but it's what I found helped me, might not be everyone's cup of tea!

I think that's about all I can offer for today, I don't know if this is in any way useful but please let me know! Tweet @EarthToNiamh with opinions or comment below if you like! Posivibes always because we got this xo