The most frustrating thing with recovery, is that it isn’t linear. Like, not even a little bit. There will some days, maybe weeks, maybe even months, when you feel on top of the world. You feel like a majestic unicorn who has overcome such struggle and is bounding forward on an enlightened journey of health and happiness. Or maybe you feel chuffed with yourself because you got out of bed for the first time in days, or you ate a slice of cake and didn’t want to die. Whichever end of the spectrum you’re at, these little moments of victory are far more than little: they’re momentous. They are evidential of your strength and resilience and courage and they should be celebrated for what they are. It is these moments that give us hope, that offer a glimpse of a life without illness, and it is these moments we fight for.
But often, these moments are hard to enjoy, because they are accompanied by a comedown. And sometimes this comedown can feel like hitting the earth at a million miles per hour and watching everything you’ve worked for crumble before your eyes. Suddenly, you cannot bear to open your curtains, let alone step outside. You can’t bear to eat a slice of toast, let alone a slice of pizza. The voices in your mind are deafening and destructive and it is as though you have rewound a hundred days in your recovery journey. These are the miserable moments. These moments remind you how far you still have to go and how powerful your illness still is. These moments obliterate all hope and blind you from imagining a future free from the shackles of your mind.
But the ups, the downs, the wins, the losses, the steps forward, the set backs: it’s just part of the journey. Nobody even climbed a mountain without stumbling a little on the way up. But nobody ever wished they hadn’t climbed that mountain either. Because once you’re at the top, once you can see both how far you have come and the beauty that surrounds you, your vision will change. No longer will you be ashamed of your illness or angry at your lapses; instead you will be proud of your journey and your pride will shine brighter than any cloud can dull.
In the meantime, keep fighting. The tears you shed are cathartic and the days you spend hidden under the sheets, wondering what in earth you are doing in this world, are the days that make you strong. No setback will ever obliterate your progress.
It’s okay if all you did today was breathe.
But just keep breathing.