“If at first you dont succeed, dust yourself off and try again”
Try again by Aaliyah
Who said recovery is easy??

Recovery is a bit like a diet.  Weight can take years to put on so you cannot expect to loose it over night.  It is the same with mental health.  It usually takes years for someone to get to the point of admitting they need help (if
they ever admit it), which means there is a lot of time and issues to work through to find the root of your problems. Like an onion you will have had to peel off many layers to get to the core, and yes, this a very hard and painful process
and can take quite some time.

After all my hospital admissions no one quite made it clear how hard and slow the recovery period is.  Like when you are going through the worst times, recovery is filled with its ups and downs and is not the straight line upwards that you would expect.  There are many bumps in the road – the struggle is continuous.  Some people will say to you “just snap out of it” that is easy for them to say but unless someone has experienced it they do not realize how impossible it is to do.

The best piece of advice I was given on in hospital was that whatever your expectations are lower them dramatically, take each day as it comes.  Do not worry about being excited about doing things, just do them and by doing things more often slowly the excitement will come.  This is much, much easier said than done – and I still have not got there, but I have started to set myself mini goals and challenges and this has been very helpful. 

I found and still it so frustrating not being able to do things at my old pace, and unfortunately I had to learn this the hard way by experiencing a huge crash last year that threw me right back to where I started.  It is a slow slow process that cannot be rushed or pushed, which many people do not understand.

Currently I am going through my longest steady period (yes I have good days and bad days – but that can only be expected).  Considering at the beginning of the year I didn’t want to be here anymore, it is a huge achievement for me 6 months later to be trying to function.  Starting to work again albeit not much but at least it is something – showing a tiny glimpse that things may just be ok.  Another thing I have had to do is set myself a strict weekly schedule, which is invaluable, though I admit I do find it very hard to be flexible with it!

For me the hardest thing is getting back out socially.  In the two years I have been ill, it feels like friendship groups have moved on, and I have become a very different person; one who understands much more who and why I am how I am  (this is partly due to my diagnosis of boarderline personality disorer – but that is another issue all together!)

It is really important to remember the people around you.  Friends and family love you, and all they want to do is be there to help to aid your recovery – even if it does feel like friends have forgotten you, this is mainly all in your head and it is easy to forget that everyone has very busy lives – and although you want everyone to just come back to you as if nothing has happened, it is really up to you to make it happen – as the book I am currently reading is called you have to “Feel the Fear and do it Anyway”

I really hope that by writing this it can help people, and I can read it and take my own advice and continue the slow slow road to recovery.  But it is always a scarey thought that it can al come back again, but that is when you need those coping mechanisms the most.

When I felt I was starting to recover I got the above tattoo done.  `Balloons became a feature throughout my art therapy – they can represent so mmuch.  It remindes me that I can get through the tough times.  The balloon is the size of my thumb so when I an anxious I touch it and it helps ground me slightly.  
Please note:  Many of the illustrations I am using are my personal drawings I did during art therapy and can tell a lot about my journey and struggles. They are my property and if you woud like to use them for ANY purpose please contact me first..