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Why I Identify With the Term 'Process Junkie' as Someone in Mental Illness Recovery

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Bullseye. It hit me. Right there. I’d been reading Pete Walker’s book, “The Tao of Fully Feeling,” and one paragraph stopped me in my tracks. It was like, “that’s me.”

• What is PTSD?

“Some survivors work over-diligently at their recovery that they become what those versed in recovery terminology call ‘process junkies.’ These survivors are constantly preoccupied with self-help exercises, perpetually thinking, reading and talking about recovery. They eat, drink and sleep self-improvement.”

So I’m a process junkie. This caused me to name it, to own it. I am indeed a process junkie. Ever since February when I became ill with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety,I have been on a huge journey striving, striving, striving in order to get better. I perpetually self-reflect on how I’m feeling, constantly thinking out loud with close friends. For someone who hates reading, I’ve been getting through a lot of self-help books on trauma and PTSD and Complex PTSD. I’ve become addicted to them, become a “process junkie.” I want to get better. I will get better. No matter what it takes, I tell myself. That’s all I can be bothered with, that’s all I’m focused on.

But what does being a “process junkie” really mean? It seems to have negative connotations. Is it that I’m trying to get a fix, or get a “high” from my recovery? Is it that I will push myself to unhealthy lengths and let nothing stand in my way of getting that “high?” Will my habit become greater and greater that I will never feel “cured” or “recovered” or “fulfilled?” Am I just seeking a momentary high that will not last past the hour?

Apart from the answer of “everything in moderation,” I think it’s important to reflect on this subject. I am concerned that in my great efforts in recovery, I could perhaps be skimming over real deep-seated issues, and progress I think I’m seeing is actually a façade. The problem with this is instead being a junkie of the process, I am in danger of becoming a junkie of the process of the process. I’m very well practiced and I feel most comfortable being a “human doing” as opposed to a “human being,” and I guess that’s where I need to start. A process being.

Shout out to anyone else who identifies as a “process junkie.”

Thinkstock photo via ARTQU.

Originally published: May 25, 2017
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