This Madwoman, is being burnt alive.

Sometimes recovery seems like an impossible dream. It is a goal I have almost reached so many times in the last two years, but each time I reach the top of the metaphorical mountain something always seems to knock me back to the bottom. I have autism, adhd, anxiety and ocd, it is a long list of conditions that I thought I had learned to live with, but the past weeks have shown me, that the mind is an ever-changing thing.

I was thriving. I went to school. I was meeting with friends, on a regular basis. I was even taking the train (which for me is kind of a big deal). but here I am sitting at home, with a wounded arm from the harm I have inflicted on myself. Sometimes it seems like there is no point in recovering when I always end up back at the beginning. I feel weak and hopeless, ending up in this hole I dug for myself.

I know that I shouldn’t feel this way. Yet I find it almost impossible to stop thinking like that. This is not the first time I have experienced a set back and it won’t be the last, but it still hurts me to end up in place I thought I had left behind for good. I have made this exact mistake so many times before. It is so easy to convince yourself, that life will only get better and never worse. I find there is this hidden stigma around setbacks when it comes to recovery and mental health. We would much rather talk about the good than the bad. We are praised and celebrated when we make improvement, but when we regress, we are mostly met with silence.

I think it is natural to want to celebrate the good in life, but sometimes people’s enthusiasm can seem like a trap. I know that people’s expectations for me have changed, and that honestly scare the living shit out of me. I feel like I am letting people down, by being low functioning this week, when I was fine the last. I feel like people expect a version of me that I can’t always give them. I do not have the energy to function like a normal person all the time. In many ways, I have come to terms with the limitations of my disability. Yet there are still days where I get frustrated and upset about it all. I love and hate my brain at the same time. I sometimes get upset about the symptoms I experience. It seems like such a silly thing to write, but sometimes, I feel like I should be better at dealing with it all.

I do not know why I set so high expectation for myself. It is just so easy to blame yourself for your mental health, and that makes it so tempting, to believe everybody blames you too. I am afraid of the future. I am frustrated. I fear I will never again recover, but at the same time I know that I have been here before. I have survived, this before I will survive again. But what I think some people forget is that that is not enough. There is so much work and pain involved in recovering. Sometimes I feel tempted to just drop it all and never get better. It is safer to feel bad. When you are burning, you do not fear, the flames of the world.

written by Freja Gantzler Oschlak.

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