I woke up. It was 5.40am. It was dark. Both inside and out of me. I’d not even moved and I could tell it was going to be a struggle. I was halfway between being quite content at how early I had awoken and how seemingly awake I was. I bolted my eyes open and almost jumped myself awake. It was very rushed.
I was also exhausted. It was nice to be so awake, but it was devastating to feel the consequences of it. Do I get up? 5.40s a bit ridiculous for any human, let alone someone with mental health. I need sleep, I need recovery and down time. Yet here I was, bright eyed and somehow wide awake. I tossed in turmoil and confusion. Why the fuck am I awake. Why the fuck do I not want to go back to sleep.
I glared out the window, there was some light now. An inkling that somewhere, the day was quite well under way. As I acknowledged the rotation of the planet and allowed the soft colours of the morning peeking out of the horizon I caught the humble feelings and savoured the moment of being awake this early. This quiet. This special lighting of the skies that I was allowed to see. Chirp. The birds are awake, up and busy. Maybe so should I.
I forced myself out of bed. As my feet hit the floor, it hit me. I haven’t forced myself to get up. I chose to get up. Big difference. I didn’t NEED to get up for another uuuuh 3-4hours. Whats’ the point in lying in bed? And there, that’s it. 4 years ago, I was unable to do anything, 3 years ago I struggled to put food in me, 2 years ago I couldn’t get out of bed and a year ago I didn’t have a job. I couldn’t hold down a job. Put me in the same situation I am in back then, and I wouldn’t of gotten out of bed, let alone even having a choice!
Here I am beating myself up about how Im struggling, how I can’t function fully, how I can only work a safe 2 days a week, without getting exhausted or feeling I should kill myself. Being mad and angry that I’m still not able to eat 3 meals a day, or even get close to having full meals. My exercising is sporadic, my social life is slow and selective and well it doesn’t really feel like I’m ever going anywhere or getting somewhere with my recovery.
BUT I AM.
To anyone who meets me, I’m clearly not coping. That’s in their eyes. And I must remember to not look at myself through their eyes, but my own. For when I look at myself through them I am embarrassed, I’m ashamed of me, who and where I am. I’m bad at life, I’m not coping, I’m not doing enough for my recovery. I am not enough for recovery. And then I remember Kali. Who I was 6months ago. Where I was a year ago. What I was incapable of 2 years ago. How I struggled to keep myself alive 3 years ago, and how I completely fell apart, broke down and crumpled to ash 4 years ago.
I’m so hell bent on recovering, that I forget how much I have already recovered. Im still in a battle, but I’ve marched at least halfway up the hill, in the rain, lost a boot but found another, picked up a sword and fixed my shield. Vomited excessively with blood and as if my guts will come out, curled up, cried and confided in the enemy. Shit hits the fan daily, I’m still at war with myself and the world around me, but I am better equipped. I am stronger. I am faster. I am capable. I am fighting a battle that you only see my uniform for. I am my officer in command, and only I know what my squad has been through.
It’s been fucking horrendous. I feel shit, I’m not fully functioning in society, I’m not even sure I ever will. People still think I’m crazy and useless, others aren’t sure if I’m making the whole thing up. But it doesn’t matter what they think, what they know, what they think they know. The only thing that really matters, is what I know. And I know I’ve been through hell. I know how its been, how it could be worse, and may even still get worse. It may not look like I’ve walked two steps but I know I’m nearly up one of my Mt Kilimanjaro’s.
I’ve met a lot of new people recently. And I’ve slowly let them in on my secret. The more people I speak to, the more I want to tell, but the more I open myself up to their judgement. I want people to know the real me, to see the shit and still love me, to know that being different isn’t always bad. But every time I contemplate confiding more, I taint my own recovery and tailor it to what they want to hear, what will make it seem like I’m doing well, in their opinion.
I leave out the uglies, the truth, the bits that would make them wince if they knew. I worry if I tell them, they’ll leave me. What would they think if they knew how much I just can’t function, or how stupid and reckless I am. (Triggers) How I starve myself three days at a time, only to binge eat on the fourth. How I go excessively mad with exercise to the point of exhaustion that I end up having to call in sick for work the following week. How I want to strike my body over and over again for feeling so much and nothing all at once. How I envisage driving my car into a tree or punching through my windscreen. How the thought of dripping thick warm blood makes me feel sick and comforted at the same time. I self sabotage myself daily to fail, the voices in my head tell me to do bad things, to consume drugs, starve and ignore all the shit around me. One tells me to hurt myself, really hurt myself, for what I’m feeling isn’t really real hurt. Hurt is only a physical act. Hurt yourself. Really fucking hurt. And anothers telling me to just stop breathing. 3 are trying to get me to eat, excercise and tidy, whilst anothers punishing me for not doing any of the above. It’s utter nonsense and it goes on and on.
And so again, I worry, if I tell them, maybe they’ll leave me.
But Im practicing telling them anyway. Practicing my boundaries, my defence. I’m reinforcing my own knowledge and practicing not letting their judgements seep into mine.
It’s really hard to remember how far I’ve come, it’s even harder when others don’t understand. I’m learning the more people I tell and accept me anyway, the more I don’t care if others disagree or don’t get it, because it allows me to discard them from my life and concentrate on the ones that have seen (or are willing to see) and commemorate my transformation.
I’m not good at life in your eyes, but I’m amazing in mine, and have come so much further than you’ll ever know. I’ve hated the past few years, now I’m finding a new love for them.
Do you. No-one else can it do it better.
Artwork Kalisaur Artwork