TW: mild reference to self-harm.
On Friday evening, I had what I call a ‘light-bulb moment’; a sudden realisation that I want to live. My whole attitude changed in a split second. However restricted I might be from now on, I want to live inside my boundaries, my comfort zone. I want to create a life for myself despite symptoms that I might be stuck with forever.
I’ve had this feeling only once before, and it really does feel like someone has flicked a switch inside my head. I instantly see things from the same perspective as everyone else. I see that I’m messing around, carelessly, with my own life. I see that I (by the laws of Science) shouldn’t really even be alive, that I’ve been using my own body as a subject of torture for the guts of ten years. I see that I have some potential, albeit it capped somewhat. I see that there are people who care about me, who hurt when I hurt, and whom I’m letting down every time I take it upon myself to do ‘something stupid’.
This feeling doesn’t come without quite a lot of emotion tied to it. I cried for hours. I cried with my Mum and Dad, I cried with my Aunt, I sent my Cousin a lengthy message. I was all of a sudden terrified. Terrified that I may have done irreversible damage to myself already. Terrified that this latest revelation has come too late. I was manic with ideas; places I want to go, people I want to see, things I want to achieve. I was sorry. Sorry for causing my loved ones such pain, sorry for not trying harder. I felt sorry for myself; my 20s have been blighted by mental illness and my 30s are rapidly going the same way. A huge chunk of my life that I’ll never get back.
The problem with this ‘switch’ is that, as with all ‘mania’, there follows a ‘depression’. I woke on Saturday feeling almost hungover, disappointed that I’d lost the enthusiasm of the night before. My positive outlook remained. I was still determined not to go backwards, to push on through the difficult thoughts and feelings and keep my chin up but it felt hard again. I’d lost my invincibility, my resolve to take on the World.
Today I retain the attitude it will take for me to enter (and remain in) recovery. But I’m feeling a bit more realistic about the whole thing. I know it’s a long road back, not to mention my brutally damaged body that needs to heal. I know not to expect too much too soon, that I should use baby steps and that there will be days where I could see people far enough. I know not to push myself, not to throw myself into things. I know that I still need help. I worry that others will expect too much of me, that I’ll be expected to go places outwith my comfort zone (because I still have a very small comfort zone). But I’m pretty sure there’s been a shift, somewhere within my consciousness. I’m pretty sure there’s some fight left in me yet…somewhere.