What Your Mental Health Recovery Journey Might Look Like
Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.
One day, you will break down over text to your mum and she will beg you to go to therapy. You will spend $600 a month to see a therapist for 50 minutes a week in an attempt at getting your life back together. It will take two months of sessions for you to start to see a change. You will start to love yourself. It will be a slow process, and it will be work, but it will also be the greatest thing to happen to you.
You will wake up one day and want to shower. For the first time in two years, you will be able to stand in the mirror and look at your naked self. You will see all the scars you’ve inflicted; half-moon scars all over your body. You will forgive yourself for every time you tried to inflict your rage out on your own body.
You will look in the mirror and for the first time in your whole life, you will love your body. Eventually, you will realize you never hated your body at all. You hated that society told you to hate it; every time the fat friend was the ugly friend, the comic relief, the makeover. You had always been told fat was ugly. You had always been told you were fat. You will read “Shrill” by Lindy West and it will change your mind completely. You will forever be indebted to Lindy West.
You will learn that just because people have called you ugly, it’s not true. You will begin to treat your body with respect and love, and care for it the way it deserves. You will fall in love with baths.
You will realize that your partner of six and a half years really does mean it when he says he loves you. You will feel foolish that you spent 2190 days doubting him; despite the fact that he told you every single day. You will believe him when he tells you are beautiful.
You will apologize through tears for taking this long to get your shit together. You tell him you will make it up to him for the rest of your lives, that you cannot believe he stayed. He will laugh and hold you and wipe your tears and tell you there is no way he would ever leave. You will silently vow to be a better person, to love and to forgive like he does. You will ask yourself how you were so lucky to end up with such a good man. You will ask him as well and he will tell you that you make him a better man. Seriously, how did you get so lucky?
You both will discover meditation. You both will note that your lives are better because of it.
You will realize that in order to get better, you will need to remove toxic people from your life. You will go no contact with your Dad. You don’t think it will be permanent. You hope it won’t be permanent. In time, you will come to understand that this decision kept you alive. You will be thankful; you will miss him.
You will quit your job. You will be offered your dream job. During the eight weeks between the two, you will spend your time with everyone you love. You will go on hikes, breakfast dates, to the movies, to Dave & Buster’s. Six months ago, you couldn’t leave your house. Life will go on and get better.
You will try to drive to Scarborough with your best friend to see some washed up celebrity at a talent show you got free tickets to. The two of you will get stuck in traffic, and neither of you will realize that it took three hours to get home because you both were talking the whole time. You will talk about everyone and everything. You will marvel at the fact that you two have been doing this almost every day for 13 years. No one will ever love your weird heart the way she will. You will never let her go again.
You will start to remember what life was like before you were depressed. You will throw parties and go to parties. You will drink and you won’t cry. Instead, you will join in on the kitchen dance parties, and you will laugh hysterically and fall asleep feeling warm and ecstatic and in the arms of the person you love the most. You will start to believe them when they say life is beautiful.
You will watch TV and you will be astounded at how different it is when you are not constantly thinking about killing yourself. The storylines will be so much better when you know the characters’ names. “Game of Thrones” gets even better.
You will read constantly. You will remember that you once dreamed of being a writer. You will read so many books and you will start writing again. You will write and write, trying to rid your bones of every negative emotion you’ve ever felt. It won’t do the job one hundred percent, but it will help.
You will contact old friends, meet up for lunches, art shows, yoga. Your other best friend will come over and take you out for dinner. You will tell her everything you’ve kept locked away for decades. You both will cry. You will know you have chosen the right people to grow old with. You will both go back to your house. You will make her a matcha latte and she will make you watch the episode of “The Office” called “Scott’s Tots.” You will watch it for her because that’s what you do for people you love.
You will spend as much time with your mum and your brother as you can. You will try to teach your brother what you’ve learned. All you’ve ever wanted to do was protect him. You will quickly learn that there are some things people need to learn on their own. You will decide instead to become his personal cheerleader. He has no idea how wonderful he is, but you will try to teach him. You suspect he might think he’s unlovable too, and that breaks your heart. If it can happen to one kid, why not both? You will tell him how much you love him multiple times a day. You will mean it more every time.
You will work so hard not to become your dad, that you become your mum instead. This is the greatest thing that could have happened. She’s always been your inspiration.
Eight months after you’ve first met, you will thank your therapist for all of her help, claiming she saved your life. She will smile and say that you did all the hard work; she just offered suggestions.
You will cry as you drive home. You will realize that you saved yourself.
If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.
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