After reflecting on the last couple of weeks, it’s easy to see that I am a lot further ahead in recovery than I thought. This week has been busy. Between writing articles, covering events, and travel, I have not had much in the way of down time. I have been pushing myself at a higher level than I am definitely used to.
And I am succeeding. Don’t get me wrong. I have been pushing myself to the point where if I don’t back off just a bit, I’m going to feel it. I’m getting to know that about myself though. I am learning my limits. The fact that I can more easily see when I need to back off is a huge step forward. In the past I would go all out until I came to a drastic stop. I’m learning to look after myself.
Looking after oneself is not always an easy feat. Many people, especially those dealing with mental health issues, put others first, thinking that they are not worth the care themselves. It’s not easy re-framing this mindset. Learning to say “no” to people and events can be daunting. However, setting the limits will pay off huge in the end.
As a result of setting these limits, and looking after myself, I am feeling happier and more optimistic than I have been in quite some time. I no longer feel like I am adrift. When I get hit by a wave, it no longer feels overwhelming like a tsunami. It is just that. A wave. A bump on the ocean of life. Yes it can be annoying, but it is no longer earth shattering.
A case in point is something that happened yesterday. T came over for a chat, and we decided to go cruising in the mustang, seeing as the weather was beautiful. We headed west to Halkirk, then back. When we got back to town, we stopped off at a restaurant briefly, then in the 600 metres between the restaurant and home, something sounded and felt off. I backed the car into the driveway, got out, and saw that the driver side rear was flat. The tires are no more than a couple weeks old.
The stress flooded my system as it usually does, however, we got it dealt with. my buddy and I jacked the car up, pulled the offending tire off, and took it to the local tire shop where P checked it over for me. Sure enough, it had a hole. To further complicate issues, the hole looked like it was from a flat piece of metal or a sharp rock….in the shoulder of the tire.
P was able to patch it, but due to the location of the puncture, he can’t guarantee that it won’t fail, though with how new the tires are, they likely will be okay. Did this event piss me off? Hell yes. Did this event stress me out? Again, an unqualified yes. However instead of going to pieces, T and I dealt with the problem. It is something I am going to have to keep an eye on, but it is dealt with.
Mental health matters are not easy to deal with. Throw in mental health issues on top of typical life stress, well, let’s just say that it is easy to understand why people who haven’t been there don’t understand. I know that for myself, this speedbump, this minor issue, would have in the past ruined my entire day. Now it is just an inconvenience.
I did not get to this stage in my recovery overnight. The treatment for mental health can be looked at as a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, patience, and “maximum effort” (to quote Deadpool…). I once was in a place where I thought there was no hope. Even a few months ago I was strongly contemplating another suicide attempt. I didn’t. I used the skills, used my resources, and pulled through it. People don’t understand unless they have been through it themselves. Mental health is a huge issue affecting North America today.
There is yet to be a surefire cure for mental illness, but with treatment, medications, and skill practice, the mountain in front of us becomes significantly easier to climb.