I’ve just come across this on my PC. I wrote it a couple of months ago and then forgot about it. Now that I am recovering so well, it’s a delight to read. I was obviously teetering on the edge when I wrote it. Thankfully I chose Recovery and challenged the temptation of Relapse. 🙂
You have been illusive for so long. I have dreamt of you. I have hated you for being so far out of my reach. I have longed for you. I have cried in desperation, believing I would never meet you. I have even hidden from you, once my depression became weirdly comforting.
It’s been endless, unbearable and agonising.
Yet, from nowhere it seems, you are tantalisingly close. Waking up is no longer dull and foggy – my brain buzzes with plans for the day and it feels good. Family meals are no longer a time to survive – I enjoy the chatter, the banter and the noise rather than struggle with it. Going to work, after a year off, is stimulating and exciting instead of being frightening. Conversations about next week, next month or next year engage me rather than fill me with dread. There’s never enough time to write about the ideas that flow around my head, instead of trying to find the energy to put that one thing in my journal.
As you can see, Recovery, I’m on the edge of meeting you in full and even of excluding my pursuit of you from my life forever. I will no longer need to dream of you. To focus on you. To believe in you. We will have met, shaken hands and said farewell. You see, I now have the tools in place to do that and I have no intention of needing to strive for you in my life again.
The problem is (isn’t there always a problem?), that your enemy Relapse is hovering around the corner and I still fear that my grasp on those tools is not strong enough to fend him off. It’s not that I am on my own. My therapist, my family, my friends and my colleagues are all there ready for me. Ready to remind me of those tools. Ready to pass them to me. Or even ready to force me to pick them up.
But that’s the other problem. Relapse is clever. He knows my fears and he plays on them. He knows how much I want to recover. How much I don’t want to let anyone down. How much, when I am overwhelmed, I need that readiness of all those people but how much I am unlikely to ask for it.
So during those overwhelming moments that still creep in every now and then, even as a warrior who has won so many battles, Relapse suddenly becomes appealing again. He’s there, hovering in the corner and ready for me. He means other people making decisions for me. He means lying on the sofa for hours without expectations. He means comforting, warm words from all those around me who have remembered I am fragile again. He means avoiding the responsibility of work. He means sloping off to bed when it’s all too noisy or chaotic or simply too difficult.
Dear Recovery, I voiced by concerns about Relapse’s power to a friend the other day. She took me seriously but she was also tough on me. “If you’re not careful, you’ll talk Relapse into happening. To be firm: stop looking at the mountain and thinking it’s impossible to climb it. You have already climbed through the ugliest and hardest part. Next you’ve got a bit of grind, but sooner than you think it will get easier every day.”
These words struck a chord with me. It’s hard to admit it but it’s true. If I focus on you, Recovery, I can make it and we will meet. If I give into the temptation of Relapse, believing those absurd notions that it would be good if he takes over, then I’ve allowed myself to be talked into it.
And I will not allow that to happen.
Thank you for always being there for me. Although I couldn’t see you for much of this journey, you were always waiting for me at the summit. True, Relapse has been there every step of the way too. But I’m a warrior with a great support network and I’m ready to kick him off.
Looking forward to shaking your hand,