I was on my way to work yesterday and feeling pretty good about things all in all. Traffic was moving smoothly, it looked like I would get there a little early, which meant I could start my shift stress free. Running in at the last minute or even a few minutes late is not a calm way to start the day and, because I am still working on my time management skills, something I am far too familiar with. And just when everything seemed to be fine, traffic on the highway came to a dead stop and my GPS told me that now it would take me 30 minutes to just go two miles.
At first I was frustrated, but then I reminded myself that this wasn’t my fault, that I did everything that I could to arrive on time and that sometimes I have to accept that things happen that are beyond my control. And while the lies of mental illness might try to convince me that this is my fault, that people will judge me harshly because of it, the fact is I know none of that is true. Because of where I am in my recovery I was able to take a breath, remind myself that this wasn’t my fault and that I have a great team that I work with, one that is really understanding. And then I started to relax again.
And then I started thinking about the process of mental health recovery and how this is a perfect metaphor for it. You see, recovery isn’t linear. Far from it in fact. And you often find yourself hitting your breaks and coming to a dead stop. Or you find yourself inching along as if your recovery is in its own stop and go pattern.
And the truth is that stop and go is fine, just as long as you don’t stop too long. Stop and go recovery is normal in fact. I know a fair number of people in mental health recovery and I can say with complete confidence that none of them have had a simple or a linear recovery. Roadblocks and delays will arise. They will be frustrating. But there are others out there who have been there before and can help steer you around the roadblocks and get you back on your way. You just need to reach out and find those people.
Thanks, as always, for reading. Have a good weekend everyone.