By virtue of where I live, I have to drive to get to my appointments. I drive a lot. As long as the weather is good, I don’t mind it. I regularly have friends accompany me, and it is a great time to visit and have fellowship. For better, or worse, it also gives me time to think, and to listen to my rather eclectic collection of music and comedy.
It’s a good thing I love to drive, because in the last couple of years I have put on in the neighbourhood of 50,000km a year split between my two vehicles. Unfortunately, driving this many kilometres does put me at some risk, especially during foul weather. I am currently still rehabbing a shoulder injury acquired from hitting black ice and ending up in the ditch last February. After driving to my appointment in Edmonton today, I am sore.
It is one of the many sacrifices I have to make in order to seek treatment for my mental health. I do so willingly. At first brush, I feel frustrated that I am not further ahead in my recovery, even with all the steps I am taking towards my health. Sometimes you have to look deeper though. You have to peel the layers away on recovery, and realize that it is an endurance race, and not a sprint. And to carry the analogy, you have to train yourself in that way. Some days will be better than others. Sacrifices must be made. For me, the sacrifice is my time on the road. The time away from my wife. The time in therapy. The commitment to my mental health recovery.
How do I know that the sacrifice is worth it? That answer is easy. I know that it is worth it, because today marks two years since I last self harmed. I am involved in my community. My emotions, though volatile, are stabilizing.
Recovery is not an easy road. It is tough. It is finding out what keeps you going, and doing it. Be it faith, countless appointments, lots of time on the road, having coffee with a trusted friend, or hiding behind the playstation for a few hours blowing the crap out of digital bad guys, you need to find an outlet. Mental illness is a beast to deal with. However it is survivable. If you are struggling, take the tough road and reach out. It’s worth it, and it gets easier.