When You're Seesawing Through Mental Illness Recovery

“You look beautiful.”

“You are strong.”

“You are a wonderful writer.”

“You have come so far.”

In the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing this from a lot of the people around me. Why? For the most part, it’s because I’ve been honest, open, feeling extremely vulnerable and doubting everything. I would never allow anyone to talk about themselves, and I would never talk about anyone else, the way I let my internal dialogue keep going.

It’s ugly. It’s mean. Unfortunately, it isn’t going away. The bully inside has only taken short vacations recently.

I would love to see myself the way others do. I would love to not need the external validation. I would love to believe that validation when it comes my way. I would love to absorb it in and begin to create my own confidence and acceptance.

I am grateful to be fighting this internal war in 2016. Seeing the number of articles written, the memes on Pinterest and Facebook and connecting with others allows me to know I am not the only one who fights these battles. Not being alone is helpful. Talking to others or reading about their struggles and successes gives me hope and a sense of camaraderie.

As I am continuing to seesaw through my recovery, I can honestly admit I feel like I am bouncing up and down. Sometimes, I feel strong and ready to tackle this. Then, with no warning, I drop to a dark, hopeless place. Up and down. Up and down. I often feel like I am going losing it.

I can at least appreciate that the stigma of mental illness is beginning to lessen, and I am talking, sharing and both getting the support I need and giving support to others (both those who battle and those who love them). Even 10 years ago, it wouldn’t have been possible on this level. Thank you to everyone writing, reading, teaching and talking about mental illness.

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