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What to Know at the Beginning of Recovery From a Mental Illness

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Recovery is hard. The beginning, believe it or not, is the easiest part. At least at the start you have rock bottom as the solid foundation upon which to begin rebuilding your life. There is a mountain above you which you have to climb. It can be hard to plough on when you don’t know what destination awaits. No matter what is waiting for you, it will no doubt be better than rock bottom and the relapse that came before it.

Recovery is hard. You don’t just wake up one day and decide to recover. You have to choose recovery each and every day. You have to work toward it each and every day. There may never come a day where you don’t have to battle your mental illness. But I promise, as you get used to it it begins to come naturally. It won’t be plain sailing; there will be good days and bad days, but the bad days always pass, ready for a brand new day.

Recovery is hard. It’s not fair to say your worst days in recovery are better than your best days in relapse. That’s simply not true. However, your best days in recovery are miles better than your best days in a relapse.

Recovery is hard. It feels impossible at times. It’s so easy to fall back into a relapse, and every time, it becomes harder to pull yourself out of it. But you have to. There’s no way around it. You just have to. A relapse is a bump in the road; it takes a lot, but you can overcome it. The road will level out over time.

Recovery is hard. You have to rebuild yourself without knowing what the final result looks like. Imagine doing a jigsaw puzzle without seeing the picture. It’s difficult. You have to propel yourself into the abyss of the unknown and see what awaits.

Recovery is hard. It’s scary and mysterious and exciting and confusing. It’s the most wild ride I have ever been on. The process of recovery is a daily battle, one that I and many others are fighting every single day. If you are recovering from a mental illness, keep fighting no matter what. You can make it to the sunrise.

Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash

Originally published: October 4, 2019
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