A Little Fucking Fury on my Road to Recovery

I sometimes say that describing what it is like to live with mental illness to someone who doesn’t live with it is like describing colors to a blind person. You can make metaphors and maybe pull off some decent facsimiles of what it is like to see color, but nothing can truly capture the beauty of seeing a hundred shades of red and gold blended together in a sunset. In some ways recovering from mental illness is similar then to the blind man suddenly seeing the world in all its vibrant color. On the one hand it is an amazing experience as you look ahead to all the beautiful colors you’ll see, on the other hand it is like the world is yelling at you, “what the fuck man, where have you been?”

In the last few months I have been working on identifying the negative behaviors triggered by my mental illness, which is the first step in me being able to change my behavior and ultimately form new, healthier habits. At least that is what my therapist says.

Yet the more I identify and confront how mental illness impacts my behavior, I am forced to see with sobering clarity everything I have missed because of my mental illness. I see all the trips I didn’t take, the invitations I declined, the opportunities I squandered, and the people I disappointed as I let my anxiety and depression isolate me from a world of vibrant experiences. I see how I held myself back and can’t help wonder how far I could have gone if I’d taken a few more leaps. And it pisses me the fuck off.

I know there are many blessings in my life. I know too that I might not have experienced all those blessings if I hadn’t taken the road I’ve taken, the safe, gentle sloping road that gets me somewhere safely, but not necessarily where I wanted to go or when I want to get there.

I can’t get those missed experiences back. Some may say I shouldn’t focus on the negative, that I should be happy with having more good days than bad. On the one hand they are clearly right, recovery is obviously a good thing. On the other hand, fuck them, because this is my recovery, and I get to feel about it how I want. And the truth is that mental illness is tireless in its attacks, and recovery is hard work. Maybe I need a little fucking fury on my road to recovery to fuel me along. Because I can’t change the past, but I can change the future. Mental illness doesn’t have to be the leading character in my story forever, it doesn’t have to be anyone’s leading story. I live with mental illness and I can’t change that. But I can change how I live with it, so that is what I am doing, fueled by a little fury along the way.

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2 thoughts on “A Little Fucking Fury on my Road to Recovery

  1. Often, we look back and regret “the road not taken.” Many things impact our decisions as we follow that road we elected to take. As you say, we cannot take back or redo the past. However, as we find our challenges, we take new insights and decisions. Seeing where we are going, or just imagining what could be, may be the way to approach these challenges. Many times I have failed at my quests or I have failed in what others expect of me. I know and understand, and regardless of what I do now, I cannot change the past. I hope to be a better person in the future and make wiser decisions. There are many aspects of mental health we do not know, but we continue to search for answers. Sadly, some out there that claim to be experts, have not experienced the problems or challenges faced by each of us. Sometimes, they just use what they think will work without any real confirmation that the particular approach suggested will help improve the situation. Being rejected by family members or peers is dreadful. One just needs to take one more step on the road chosen.

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  2. I agree, talking to the uninitiated is an uphill battle. It’s one that a choose not to engage in. There’s just no point to it, especially as those you need to convince are far too closed-circuit to get it.

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