The ‘road to recovery’ is, I think, a very strange road. And it is also, in my experience, a road leading from a very strange places (or places). But I do, of course, also accept that it is also a road which is very personal and can be so very different for each and every person who needs to walk it.
For some it is a road trodden perhaps only once or even only a few times. Perhaps that need arises as a result of a single event or circumstance, and one which will never be repeated in their life. Hence there is no real need for them to return to it – to walk, (crawl, stumble, fall, repeatedly pick themselves up) again. For example, if a person breaks their leg, their ‘road to recovery’ (in this example) may be defined as working towards a point where their bones have mended and they can walk properly again.
But for others (especially in terms of mental health), that ‘road to recovery’ can be one which we regularly have to enter. For some, the ‘road to recovery’, is not one which stems from one single event or circumstance – one single place – but from a myriad of different events or places. And let’s be honest here, sometimes – for some of us – it isn’t a road leading to a place which is ideal but simply to a place which is more tolerable or more acceptable.
And that is one of the things about ‘recovery’ isn’t it? Very often it isn’t concrete or absolute. The truth is that each of us understands and defines ‘recovery’ differently, personally. And perhaps that is because each of us understands and defines our mental health differently and personally. And indeed for some it may seem as if they have spent most of their life camped out on that ‘road to recovery’.
And that can get so very tiring and demoralizing can’t it? Not only for those of us who repeatedly have to return to it, but also for those who love us and who have to witness us doing so.
And yet a lot of it is about perspective isn’t it? Yes, having to repeatedly return to the ‘road to recovery’ can be very demoralizing but the very fact that we have returned to it means that we have – at least – left the place we were in. That we have – at least – come through our latest episode.
For me personally that is where I am as I sit and write this post this morning. And in that one recognition there is hope to be found. Hope which, I have to be honest, I didn’t have when I was in that dark place before. Hope that I didn’t think I would ever have again whilst I was in that place before.
And that is what seems, I think, so very important. You see in the darkness, in the confusion, in the hopelessness which often accompanies and signifies the episodes that I experience as a result of my mental health I seem to have little to no control and thus little to no choice when it comes to seeing and grasping hold of any hope. My mind – or at least the mental illness – increasingly takes over, pulling a deep. dark, heavy blanket of confused nothingness over me. And – depending on how quickly (or often how sneakily) it does so – I, and the battle, seem lost.
But this side of it all, I get to make the decisions. I get to have a say. I get to make the choices. And I refuse, whilst I have the strength and the mental where-with-all, to surrender that hope which is so very important to us all.
So yes I am on that road to recovery again and yes I still walk it with hope. Yes, I may need to walk some of it on my knees, and yes I may stumble and fall along the way. But I know which way I am heading and I know that I do not walk it alone.
I am so very blessed and so very grateful for those who have helped me back onto this road. And I am so very blessed by and grateful for those who are willing to walk, if only in part, this road with me or to encourage me along it.
How long I need to be on it, indeed where it will take me – this side of eternity – I just don’t know. But I am so thankful to be on it once more and I am so thankful for my faith and that hope.