5 Years In Recovery

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5 years in recovery.

Wow, I can’t believe I made it. I am here writing this blog, smiling as tears fill my eyes. I have worked harder than I ever have these past five years and couldn’t be more proud of myself than in this exact moment. I made it is all I can keep thinking. I made it.

Here is the truth about recovery, it is one of the hardest things you could go through. First off, it is hard enough to stop acting on your mental illnesses and addictions but to then have to do it every day for the rest of your life is another thing. I had to work every day and honestly there were harder days than others. There were days when I had to sit on my hands, lay in bed and breathe for hours. There were days when I could feel myself slipping back into my old ways and wanting to just give in. For those of you who have never struggled with a mental illness, sometimes it is just easier to let your disease in then to fight against it.

Recovery is something you need to accept and be willing to work on. You can receive all the help in the world but if you don’t want to get help, you won’t. I was about 17 years old when I had hit rock bottom. I was in my bathroom and started to have an anxiety attack. For the first time in my life, I was terrified I was going to die. For the first time since my mental illnesses started, I cared. My friend walked upstairs and I lost it. I cried for what felt like hours. Most of what was said was mumbled while I took deep breathes. I blacked out parts of that night but from what my friend has said I talked about everything. I talked about my first heart break to my parents’ divorce to every negative thought I ever felt about myself. I became broken and finally showed the one thing I said I would never become. I became vulnerable, I became my weakness. I had hit rock bottom and there was nowhere to go but up. So, that’s what I did.

Up until that point, I had developed ways to become closed off to the world and become one with my disorder. I learned to silently cry when everyone else was asleep. I learned to be mean to the ones I loved the most to push them away. I learned how to avoid eating meals without getting caught. I learned how to lie without feeling guilty about it. I learned how to overcriticize myself to the point where I would become someone else. I learned how to be alone and started to accept that I would be forever. I learned how to stop feeling and walked emotionless throughout my teenage years. I learned ways to numb the pain and then how to release it. I learned how to lose myself and not be able to find a way back home. Most importantly, I learned how not to treat myself. It took five years but I figured it out.

I am stronger than I have ever been and I am going to continue to progress every day for the rest of my life. Through my recovery, I have learned how to love who I am. I learned how to accept what I cannot change. I learned to embrace my flaws and imperfections and to consider them strengths not weaknesses. I learned to let people in and allow myself to be vulnerable. I learned how to genuinely smile again and be happy. I learned how to accept my mental illnesses as a part of who I am but not what I am. Most of all, I have learned how to be proud of myself.

I have found the strength to fight this war and I have a long journey ahead of me which I am more than ready to face. Cliché as it is, recovery is possible. You just need to be willing to fight like hell to obtain it. Find strength within your loved ones or get professional help. You have all the control and power in the world when it comes to getting help and taking back your life. You just need to find your inner strength and take the first step. Recovery is scary but it is worth it.

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