Recovery is the hardest part of mental illness, and I’m still not there

Recovery? For me, recovery means being free from the constant irrational thoughts, being able to take criticism without harming myself for it, being able to appreciate food and enjoy eating without having the fear of gaining weight.

Wearing short sleeves in the summer, being able to sleep for more than 3 hours a night, being able to walk in public without feeling like everyone is laughing at me, taking pain killers without getting the urge to swallow each and every pill in the packet, and so much more.

To anyone else who doesn’t suffer from a mental illness these things are taken for granted. Most people want money, a car, a fancy house… me? I want to recover.

I’m always being told that I’m in ‘recovery’. This is something that I really do not understand. I’ve been in recovery a few times throughout my life, but at this very moment, I am far from it.

In fact, I’m probably in the grips of relapse, but somehow I manage to stay alive.

Almost every day I ask myself, ”why am I still alive?” I have this constant battle in my head and it’s exhausting, it seems so much easier just to give in to it.

But I’ve never been the kind of person that gives up easily.

One of the hardest things I ever had to do in life was continue to live when I no longer wanted to.

Right now all I see is a lifeless girl staring back at me. Blood streaming down her arms. This girl is confused, sad and has no idea what is happening to her.

This girl is me.

Depression. It’s overwhelming.

Spending another night in bed, fighting for my life, telling myself to hold on for one more night, that tomorrow is a new day.

I feel like crying but nothing comes out. It’s just a sort of sadness where you feel numb, when you can’t feel any worse. When the mental pain becomes unbearable. I feel that I simply cannot endure this for another day. It’s strange that the most comforting thoughts I have are those of my own demise.

Having a happy personality and a sad soul is just confusing.

Why is it so hard to be happy? Why do I do this to myself? Why am I even here? … ”You don’t deserve to be happy! Look at the size of you, you fatty! Make yourself sick or at least hurt yourself, you deserve it! If you eat anything today you will be a big fat failure.”

My head reminds me of a cartoon, where you see the little angel telling the person good things on one side and the devil telling them the opposite on the other! It’s a total mess and a horrible place to be, yet I can’t seem to get myself out. I do all the things they tell me to, the ‘distractions” and whatnot.

GO FOR A WALK, DRINK TEA, HUG A TEDDY, WATCH A FILM … the list goes on!

I try my hardest and I don’t feel like people realise the humiliation of having to pick up the phone and almost rely on that person to help you, because you’re ready to give up, even though you know it won’t help. But it might? That’s the chance you have to take. It’s so very unpredictable.

But then again there’s only so much you can take before the thoughts just shut down every single positive thing you have in your life, the things that keep you going stop, it feels like there’s been a light switched off in your head, its just darkness.

You stop thinking of recovery and life all together.

You cry, but no tears come out so you just sit there on your bed staring at the wall, emotionless. I’m scared of all these voices, they could bring me to death. I can’t let them win but I’m just so tired. So tired of this life. So tired of this fight. I just want to take a deep breath and sink into unconsciousness. After all, wasn’t I born to die?

But, something stops me from reaching for the pills I’ve been collecting. I can sometimes disconnect from my thoughts and tell the part of me that’s left to pick up the phone and ask for help.

But it’s never easy. Especially just now. I have to have an argument with every little thought in my head to be ‘allowed’ to ask for help. Even at that I’m constantly being told not to listen, that the professionals are lying.

I feel trapped. It’s so hard to figure out what’s real. But hearing someone else’s voice, a real life human voice on the other end of the call brings me back to reality. Reassuring me that I’m going to be okay, that I NEED to get better.

Words by Becci Paxton

14 thoughts

  1. Very apt account of the real struggles faced by those living with mental illness; the mind in itself such a powerful force…. unlike physical symptoms, you can just stick a plaster on ‘it’…. asking for help and admitting your feelings makes you brave and strong… more than you know. One day i hope your darkness turns to light and you can be the shining beautiful star you once were. 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So very brave of you to share your personal experience of Depression, Becci. There will be many people who can identify with and relate to the feelings you describe and will be significantly helped just by you taking the time to illustrate so well the impact it can have on every aspect of your life. Thank you so much for sharing your insight. I’ve found it genuinely inspiring. Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gut wrenching reading. This little girl went to school with my daughter. I have photos of them here in my home with their friends. I had no idea how bad this was for her. I wish I could help her, if only I knew how.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m struggling with my mental health just now I’ve relapsed before but not like this I pray to god to ethier help me or take me . Every day is a constant battle will I won’t I end this toady will tomorrow be better , what if its worse ?You’re right recovery is the hardest part .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really appreciated reading this story. I’ve been battling post natal depression for 18 months now and every time I think I’ve beaten it, the black cloud looms and I find myself crying, staring into space, not wanting to go out or talk to anyone. My kids are what keep me fighting each day to be rid of this constant pain and sadness. Makes me feel less alone when I read someone else’s story. Thank you. X

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hiya Beccy,
    Thank You for sharing how ‘it’ is for you. As I read every word it was like, that is me and sometimes get overwhelmed when I try to describe to the hundreth mental health ‘worker’ but now I know there is someone out there who ‘gets’ how I am because you said everything I cant anymore. sitting there hoping they can help stop the madness and confusion and deadness, but they just write a bit down but they have no clue of the hell.

    How can they, it feels almost like they are dismissive I feel like they just think im a bit ‘low’. I hate that word.

    I could go on forever about stuff that ive done but have not the life in me, surprised I wrote anything.

    I have had depression since 15 yrs old, I am 42 now and had everything that comes with it, you know cos you told me.

    People say keep fighting but what the hell do they think we’re doing? every waking second is a fight in my head and
    and im scared cos I know there is no fight left in me anymore. No life in me.

    Anyhow just wanted to say thank you for being able to say what I feel where I couldn’t

    Hope you find a way to get through the other side, I really do cos the mental health people have to find a better treatment.

    I feel like they know something but won’t tell us! This one (of many) ‘doctors
    ‘ talked to me like I was scum, he tried to say I was lying !!??!!! One wrong word and that’s it – out comes the knife when I get home through the blinding tears, he lit the fuse that I try to supress, I wanted to jump across the desk and smack his face, I wish there was a way they could feel what its like, they wouldn’t last the day.

    There has to be a better way!!!!!!!!!

    I hope you get well Beccy.

    From Sam ❤ ❤ ❤ XXX

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I suffer from anxiety and depression. It only hit me 2 years ago but deep down , I know that I always had bouts of it. I visit my mental doctor as I call him once a month . I hate going because it makes me feel a failure and it bring home to me how low I have sunk, no money , no job no future . My wife works very hard but gets upset when she sees the neighbours getting extensions etc and we are find it hard to cope. She sometimes says it to me and I get this guilt and angor and I feel that this is another failure in my life.

    Like

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