More unsolicited advice (but this time, it’s kinda hopeful!)
So, not too long ago, I wrote a poem about the monotony of trying to recover from a mental illness (click here if you like depressing, free-association writing). It’s definitely a defeating piece of prose, that honestly, is pretty self-indulgent in how I perceive easily obtaining Ativan an aspect of my “eternal suffering." That said, I don’t regret it - writing it, making it public, whatever.
Mental illness - be it depression, anxiety, bipolar, what have you - can be REALLY FUCKING BORING sometimes. And I wanted to express that monotony, that boredom, that feeling you get when you’re following every single one of your doctor’s orders and still - there it is, whether it’s just chewing away at the back of your mind throughout the course of a day, or leaving you crying on (yet another) bathroom floor, cold and immobile.
Whatever. All of it fucking sucks.
That’s something that I have a problem with when it comes to a lot of “mental illness” or “mental wellness” narratives out there. That this chronic, usually lifelong illness, can somehow be overcome, if you just work hard enough at it.
My least favourite is when someone compares living with a mental illness to running a marathon. That’s been a huge “go-to” for friends that mean well, wellness blogs, doctors, commercials for antidepressants, etc. “Recovery isn’t a ‘race’, it’s a ‘marathon’”. Like, I get it - you’re not going to get better in a short span of time. But it’s also just a really shitty metaphor.
You can train for a marathon. You know exactly how long it’s going to be. And most importantly, even though marathons are long - they end. There’s an end! And at the end, you’ve run a marathon, you’ve achieved something! Maybe, next time, you can run a longer marathon. Maybe you lost 20 pounds, maybe you raised money for a charity. Cool. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit of an asshole here, but I just really want to drive home the point that recovery is not A FUCKING MARATHON. I don’t even think “recovery" is even the right word either, but that’s another blog.
The thing that gets me down the most about having a mental illness is really accepting that it’s a chronic illness. It will come back, it will get better, it will come back again, and it will sort of exist at a low hum at the back of your mind most of the time. Sometimes, you’ll be working your hardest at keeping it at bay (taking all your meds, avoiding your triggers, getting enough exercise) and still - it will hit you. And honestly? That’s ok. It’s fine. The hardest part I’ve found, is just accepting this reality. Rather than feeling ashamed, broken or like a failure every time it hits me, I’ve been trying (trying being the operative word here) to just accept it.
I’m not a warrior, a recovery success story, or even a marathon runner. I’m a human being, with an imperfect mind and body, and that’s what I have to work with. On good days, maybe I can even love this person. On bad days, it can be enough to just try to work with what I’ve got.
At the end of the day, making it work for a lifetime is a lot better than forcing myself to do sprints of wellness - or even marathons of wellness. After all - marathons end.