During an incredibly difficult fifteen months, while I have battled depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I have been incredibly grateful for the support I have received. Throughout this period, I have thanked many people for their vital role for helping me reach the seemingly unreachable…that glimmer of hope called recovery.
These have included my husband and daughters for their immense patience, love, understanding and thoughtfulness. Day after day after day after day.
My parents and in-laws for dropping their lives in order to prop up ours.
Siblings and special friends for reminding me that I am important. That I do matter.
Friends, relatives, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers who’ve responded to me personally or through my blogs, showing empathy or giving encouragement.
My company and my boss for their willingness to wait until I was ready to get back to work and their flexibility in helping me do it in the right way.
Medical professionals, from my incredible therapist to random nurses who I only met once, for their professionalism, skill and care.
Even my dog. For whining at me until I got my butt off the sofa and walked him.
It has been difficult. At times it has been agonising. And I have no doubt that without this tremendous support, I wouldn’t have made it through the hardest year of my life. I will be eternally grateful to all of these people and, if I haven’t managed to tell them that yet…well, they know now.
Yet reading this list, it is startlingly obvious that I have not credited the most important person for their role in my recovery: myself. Although most of the time it hasn’t felt like it all, I, myself and I have actually been fundamentally important on this road to recovery.
For the times I dragged myself out of bed to have a noisy family breakfast when all I craved was silence.
For the times I met a friend for a coffee when I just wanted to be alone.
For the times I got on my bike and rode to the beach when I longed for the sofa.
For the times I kept writing, even though the sting of a rejected blog hurt so much.
For the times I engaged in painful, embarrassing or downright unbearable dialogue with my therapist when all I wanted to do was run away.
For the times I decided I could go on no longer but reached out for help before it was too late.
The list is endless. No-one else could have done any of that for me. No-one else could have made that difference in that moment on that day.
Therefore I deserve some credit, some appreciation, some gratitude…and I must remember to give it to myself.
For all those suffering from mental illness, don’t think for a second that I am suggesting it is all about choice. There are people out there who believe that happiness is a choice. They are the people who have either never experienced mental illness; or who have put their recovery down to choice without noticing the many other factors involved.
What I am saying, however, is give credit to yourself when it’s due. For every time I cycled to the beach, the temptation of the sofa won five times. For every time I opened up to my therapist, shame or fear won ten times. That is why I am congratulating myself on my own role in my recovery, for all those crucial moments when I did manage to win.
Yes, I couldn’t have done it without all those incredible people in my life.
But actually, I also couldn’t have done it without incredible me.