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When I Decided to Think of My Support System as Mental Crutches

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To be honest I really didn’t want to write this post. I finished at residential treatment almost four months ago, and I was hoping to be much further along in my recovery. And some days I am. And unfortunately many days I am not.  And (according to almost everyone with the exception of me) that is OK.

Something I really need to work on is my expectations and impatience. As a friend pointed out to me today, part of my problem is I still expect to be “fixed.”  There is no “fixed,” and yet there is hope I will get to a better, more recovered place.

My new decision is to see my support as essential crutches. My figurative cast may be off of my illness, but my muscles and bones are still weakened and need more time to heal. I should not be attempting a marathon or even a 5K. I need to work on being happy I can walk, assisted, to the mailbox or around the block. Looking back, that was all I was looking for when I started my recovery. The glimpse of being “normal” and expectations of being all better leave me frustrated, sad and despondent.

As I thought about putting this post into words, I couldn’t get the following poem out of my mind. It is religious in nature and I have never really related to it before; however, in my mind it is now tied to friends and family who may not know the extent to what they have been doing for me…

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed a dream.

As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.

Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.

For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,

One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,

I looked back at the footprints in the sand.

I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,

especially at the very lowest and saddest times,

there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.

“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,

You’d walk with me all the way.

But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,

there was only one set of footprints.

I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you

Never, ever, during your trials and testings.

When you saw only one set of footprints,

It was then that I carried you.”

– by Mary Stevenson

Reading this I realize how lucky I am — and my enormous gratitude for all the people walking with me on this long, harrowing journey. I hope I am able to walk more as time and recovery goes on… and so appreciative you allow me to crowd-surf when I can’t take another step. I can only hope no one feels the burden. I think this might be why I like to spread the wealth. Recovery is exhausting, and by no means do I think this statement is limited to the person or people in recovery. Being a friend, family member or other support system takes both a physical and emotional toll as well. I have been on the other side of this relationship and know it is in no way easy.

Now I am going to count my blessings and focus energy on getting my feet back on the ground. Thank you once again to all hanging in there with me.

The Mighty is asking the following: What was one moment you received help in an unexpected or unorthodox way related to disability, disease or mental illness? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: June 27, 2016
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