Well, the last week has had it’s challenges, but I am coming out on the right side of them. Between the crunch with the car, my appointment with my psychiatrist, and Lynn taking off for a week for Comic Expo in Calgary, it could have been a perfect storm for me to continue my downhill slide and an ever-increasing rate. Instead, the darkness feels like it’s lifting, and some of the weight is coming off my shoulders. I may not yet be in the sun, but I can at least see the pre-dawn grey. I know I am not out of the woods, but I think I am coming out of this depression of the last few weeks.
Some perspective from M and my group did help though. Even though I have been feeling like a crap, I have been out, I have been covering events for the paper, and I haven’t been letting things get to me. When I have been struggling, I’ve been reaching for my coping strategies without even thinking about it.
That has got me thinking about where I am in my mental health recovery. I know I still struggle with my moods, but coping with them to the point where I am coping and not even realizing that I am until it’s pointed out to me? That is definitely new and scary. Because if I am getting better, who am I? Who am I if I’m not the patient anymore?
That is a question I struggle to answer. And I struggle because being a patient, being the sick one, is easy, it’s comfortable. Living in that role is no way to to live though. There is a big world out there. It’s time to explore it, and move out of my comfort zone.
Does any of that mean I am cured? Hell no! Does it mean I can function through adversity? Absolutely. It doesn’t mean I am going to drop my meds, or quit doing therapy, because those are things that help me maintain, and have helped me get to this spot. Maybe though it is time to restructure. Spread out my appointments more. Maybe do another few months of my Edmonton group. I have been there almost a year, and am eligible for a “suggested” maximum of 18 months, so maybe another three or four months would be a good time to bow out, and start the next chapter of my life.
I am not the same person I was when I started this mental health journey years ago. Through hard work and perseverance I have managed to get into the mental health system, and build an incredible support network including my awesome psychiatrist, my even more awesome psychologist, and wife, my folks, and our all our friends. I owe all of them a debt I will never truly be able to repay, as even when I felt alone and drowning in room full of people, they stepped in and gave me their hand up.
I am truly blessed to have the friends and family that I do, and to have been able to learn the skills that I have. It doesn’t matter where in recovery you are, it is work, but putting the skills into practise can have a major payoff. Like a Medic who has been on the job intimately knows the skills to save someone’s life, the skills learned in dbt can be effective, and the life you save could be your own. The medic didn’t get to the point where he could remember all of his protocols over night, and in fact I guarantee that there are still some he has to look up. Through repetition and practise he is able to make a difference. The skills dealing with mental health are no different, and no less challenging.
I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring me. I am under no illusion that life will be perfect from here on out. If you don’t challenge yourself and fail sometimes, was it even a challenge? Learning how to handle the failure’s is part of what we need to do. I realize that set backs can, and most likely will happen. With the skills in my back pocket though, and the love and support of my friends I don’t think it will be insurmountable.
Thank you all for joining me on this continuing journey.