I wake up on Sundays with my heart racing, a pit in my stomach.
It’s a habit now.
Another week is coming, but what have I accomplished this week? What have I accomplished this weekend? The obsessions never stop.
Things have settled down now. I know I’m on the upswing, but cycles of anxiety grasp at every thought. The meaningless worries, which used to sit in the back of my mind, seem to have nestled in and made their home. No amount of mental power will make them budge.
I’m trying to take things one step at a time. To appreciate the glimpses of light in every day, but I can’t help but dwell on the negatives. My brain seems to wander in search of the tiniest anxieties I’ve been running around to avoid. Last week, I couldn’t breathe. I thought my asthma had finally heard about LA smog. But it was just anxiety. I guess my subconscious knows, because the nightmares haven’t stopped in weeks. Swarming me every night and with every nap. Ironic since sleeping is how I used to avoid the world.
I’ll be patient.
I’ve gotten to the point where the me I’m trying to hide doesn’t slip out as often. I walk around with smiles, suspiciously positive retorts to the day old “how are you?” Things are seemingly back to normal. And I haven’t cut in a month. But every second of every day still feels like a war. To not get sucked in again, and to forgive myself when I do.
Sundays though. Sundays I aim for survival. Sundays I don’t make plans because I don’t know if I can live up to them, but when the day comes, the loneliness settles in. I walk around with a tightness in my chest, an urge to throw everything up. Sundays I despise, but secretly wish would continue forever.
Today, I’m remembering to breathe, be patient, and practice a little bit of metta.
Recovery feels like finally realizing that the sun is behind the clouds and that its been there all along. But it’s not the same thing as seeing the sun.
Recovery is acknowledging that your life is worth it and fighting like hell every second to remember that. Refusing the vicious thoughts and temptations you used to rely on. Resisting the ease of slipping into a dark hole and lying there because it’s easier not to get up.
Recovery is struggling to remember that there is good in every moment even if you can’t see it right now. It’s being grateful for the ten minutes of every day that you have a smile on your face and it’s real.
But that sinking feeling in your chest is still there. Once in awhile it gets a little bit lighter, but you know that it’s there. You have to remember that those dark habits you relied on have consequences. So now before you reach for your razor, you stop, you breathe, count to ten, think of alternatives. You remember that people care. You remember that you should care.
Recovery is knowing that the sun is there, but fighting every second just to catch a glimpse. And every time you lose sight of it, you’re filled with terror.
Forgive yourself. Be kind. Be patient. Someday, every day will be filled with sun.
“I think one of the most universal human experiences is feeling alone. You’d never know it, but there’s most likely tons of people feeling the exact same way.”
-JD from Scrubs
This has been a rough month for me healthwise, physically and mentally. When I get stuck in one of these states, the hardest thing for me to do is be around other people because you can only fake a smile for so long. Its so hard when you feel like no one could possibly understand what you’re going through, but the truth is, as humans, we are more similar than we think. We yearn for the same elemental things: unconditional love, companionship, a sense of true self-worth. And when these things can’t be found we start looking for someone to blame, usually beginning with ourselves. In a way, I think the root of these problems is learning to forgive, no matter who you blame, and honestly, there is nothing harder than forgiveness. I’ve been winding down this path for a long time now and I’ve discovered some things about myself I never realized. It’s been very difficult to face these facts, but I try to take it day by day. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Here’s hoping we can all find our way.