I think everyday we get so consumed in our daily struggle that we forget to take notice of just how far we’ve come. Sure we see our bodies changing, we notice lines becoming curves and a pulse that beats steadily rather than shuddering every other beat, we notice that our skin isn’t grey and that our hair has possibly stopped falling out…but the rest of it, that doesn’t feel like it changes. How are you supposed to notice the mood changes when you still feel sad? How are you to know that you’re beginning to heal when your head still feels like your stuck in the middle of a war zone? Mostly how do you know that your soul is not as fractured as it once was when you can still feel all the cracks, chips and missing pieces.
Yesterday I saw my GP for just a general review and to arrange for my bloods to be done, as always he asked me how I was doing…and because I trust him entirely I told him that I’d been struggling with my mood and thoughts lately, that they had become intrusive and that I was finding it hard to focus on the present. He listened and I could see the cogs turning in his brain as he tried to figure out what the next move would be. I know that we are running out of options and that perhaps this may be as good as it’s going to get for me. Luckily my doctor is more optimistic about things than I am and isn’t quite prepared to let me just attempt to live my life like this, so he’s going to try come up with a plan in the next few weeks. However what he did say was that he was still amazed at the changes he has seen in me in the last 18 months. He told me I am a completely different person to who I was then, my manner, my focus, my entire being…and he’s right! I am different. I have focus now. I can make jokes and laugh and every single move I make is not painful, physically or mentally. It kind of sunk in that yea things may be shit but they are not world ending shit like they were and I have to be thankful for that. I am thankful for that.
When I got home last night I thought about writing a post, a kind of comparison between now and the last few years. I pulled my diaries down from the cupboard and flicked through them till I found the mid-December entries and then I read them. Honestly they broke my heart a little. It’s only with being well(ish) now that I can see just how unwell I was, and not entirely with the eating disorder but with my other mental health difficulties. The pages were covered in scribbles, symbols and elaborate delusions that I have no memory of. I saw myself as I read through the weeks, months and years turn from a very hurt and angry teenage girl into a poorly young woman who swung between denial and outrage to just pure sorrow. Those years were dominated by one crisis after the next, hospital admissions, police involvement, failed interventions stacking up as time went by. So I can’t sit here and believe I haven’t changed, or that I haven’t made progress. I have, in every possible way. You know though, what I’d really like to do is just go back and give that kid a hug or something and tell her everything is going to be ok, that there is a way out that doesn’t involve suicide. So I’m trying to think, if in five years time my future self wanted to come back and tell me something, what would that be?
(I chose not to add those entries to this post because they are triggering for a number of reasons and I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting them out there, not knowing if the reader was safe enough to be reading them).
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you need to stop every now and again and look at the bigger picture. When you don’t feel like you’re making any progress, or that this recovery is not changing anything internally, take a moment and really try to reflect on who you are compared to when you were gripped in your illness. Now tell yourself that recovery isn’t worth it…You can’t, can you?