Recovery is not linear. In fact, it is just the opposite. Recovery is filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and several bumps along the way. It is something that I strive for knowing it’s possible it just doesn’t come in a neat tied-up bow.
I’ve lived with mental illness most of my life and for the most part, I’ve received treatment and knowledge that has helped me with this journey I call recovery. I’ve found myself at some very low points in my life, but once I learned that recovery was real and something to reach for, my lows became bearable. The illnesses I’ve been diagnosed with became, what I affectionately refer to as my frenemies.
You see I’ve had to make peace with my disorders in order to keep faith in recovery. Keeping the faith has allowed me to put my frenemies in their place when I need them to take a backseat in my life. I’m not always successful. Some of my frenemies are pretty loud and obnoxious, so those are the days of simple acceptance. I accept that I will have bad days and that helps me through.
I found that when I stopped fighting against these frenemies and learned more about them, I was able to meet them halfway. If I did my part (receive treatment, use the tools I’ve been given over the years, practice mindfulness, etc.) I could quiet the frenemies (or symptoms) into submission if only temporary at times.
I am no longer afraid of mental illness. At least I know what I’m up against and that’s half the battle. Getting my diagnoses over the years has helped me to become stronger, not weaker because knowledge is power and knowledge keeps me believing in my recovery.
No, recovery is not linear, but I now know that when the frenemies come knocking, I strap in and face those ups and downs, twists and turns, and several bumps head on knowing that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I just have to keep believing. I’m in charge, frenemies, not you.
Lori is a volunteer and mental health advocate. She serves as member of the Patient Advisory Recovery Council (PARC) at Ontario Shores.