Last night, you dragged me home from the pub -drunk- after a drink too many of Chardonnay. And this morning, as I nursed my hangover, you shared with me how scared you were last night. And yet, I have no recollection of the night’s events.
You are not the only one to tell me that you’re scared. My therapist says that my nihilist attitude scares her. My friends and family keep checking in on me, because they are afraid I might act on my suicidal thoughts. Strangers keep a distance and think twice before befriending me, because I scare them away. And I know you have my well being in mind, I know you want the best for me, and you mean well when you check in on me. But, still, it hurts to know that I scare people.
Let me tell you how I feel. I’m scared too. I scare myself every night. And when I wake up in the morning, the fear is still there. I am scared by my suicidal thoughts and even more so that I can’t stop them. I am afraid that I might not be strong enough today and engage in self harm. I am scared by my bitter attitude, knowing that it pushes people away and leaves me on my own to fend for myself in this scary world. I’m scared of my urges to drink and smoke, because I don’t know if I’ll be strong enough to not act on those urges. I’m scared to look at my bottle of medication, because it triggers more fears. I wake up afraid, and go to sleep afraid; I can be my biggest enemy.
Last night, when you dragged me home and told me how scared you are, I wanted to hold on to you, keep you close, and tell you how scared I am. I don’t want to scare people away, because I know how it feels to be scared of myself. Last night you experienced what I experience every night. (and sometimes every day)
So please, when you feel afraid, know that I am just a frightened little girl and I need all the support I can get. I know it’s hard, but together we are stronger and together we can conquer our fears.
Recovery is a journey. Yet, no map or compass is provided to aid in this journey. I, alone, have to figure out each morning the steps I will be taking that day. I have to decide on the supplies I’d like to carry with me as I’m trekking; and leave the unnecessary behind.
Setbacks happen. Because logic. And sometimes those missteps are overwhelming and affect my ability to see how far I’ve come on my journey. Setbacks make me believe that I am at the starting point all over again. They make me believe that fighting isn’t worth it; that my effort in holding on is futile. I forget that I am so much less suicidal today than I was six months ago. I forget that when I am feeling suicidal I am so much stronger now in fighting those thoughts. I forget that I used to be in the ER every other night for anxiety and severe PTSD symptoms. I forget. I forget. I forget.
And when setbacks are overwhelming all I want to do is curl up in a ball, stay in bed and just cry until my tears run dry. And sometimes, I do just that. Like yesterday. I was depressed and angry at myself that my schedule became messed up again. I’ve worked hard to keep a schedule and trying to adjust to my meds. And yesterday, sleep wouldn’t come and at that moment, that meant my hard work was pointless.
I stayed in bed all day, ate two family sized bags of potato chips, didn’t shower or brush my teeth and delayed my medication intake by a few hours. Not good. Not good. Not good.
I woke up this morning feeling horrible. I figured I might as well stay in bed another day and have another bag of potato chips. As I was debating the idea, I remembered how far I’ve come in my journey and the small successes I’ve celebrated each day. I remembered my old self and the newer one who incorporates coping skills to the best of her ability. I remembered the warrior in me, the obstacle fighter, the mountain climber, the untrodden path hiker. Real hikers pause their journey too sometimes. They set up their tents for the night and resume when they feel recharged. I must not let my bad choices of yesterday influence my choices of today. I will accept my yesterday because it’s part of my recovery. It is a part of my journey; my life.
One day I will tell the world how two bags of potato chips made me realize that setbacks are ok and I can fight again tomorrow.
I ain’t giving up that easy. My journey is important to me. Setbacks and all. And I am slowly learning to make new and better choices each day.