The road to recovery

The road to recovery…

Is a very long one.

It has been 9 months now since I first was put on antidepressants.

It has been 4 months since I told the world about my illness.

It has been 2 months since I started seeing a psychologist.

And it has been 1 day since starting new medication.

But I am nowhere near recovered.

 

In January, I felt like I was walking on cloud nine. I finally understood what happiness was the way other people (I believe) experience it. In my naivety and despite people warning me that there would be bouts of depression I thought I had reached recovery. I have never been so wrong.

I guess for the last two months I have found it easy to hide my depression and act likes it’s better. Believe me we get pretty good at it, but I realised in hiding this I am completely missing the point of what I want to change. I talk openly about my depression and how it has affected (past tense) my life but I always fail to tell someone in the moments when I am sitting in my room arms curled round my knees tears trickling down my cheeks. I try to again put on that mask say I’m better when really what I want you guys to know is I am on the road to recovery but I am not there yet and that’s ok.

So here, I want to tell you more about the road to recovery and for you to realise it is all going to work out just fine despite sometimes you feel as if you are looking into the abyss of hopelessness.

I started my anti-depressants in September after I called my dad one afternoon from the library in tears because of a stats homework (so unlike me). This, I suppose, was the point when I finally admitted it was all falling apart inside. For the next four months it was continuous trips to the doctors with the dosage being pushed up and up. Finally, as most of you know in January the medication worked (along with my main man Jesus) and I finally felt happiness – I felt healed. But it doesn’t stop here, I realised this was only the prologue to my story.

Over exams, I found myself going back into the universe of nothingness. I was numb, couldn’t feel anything. Maybe it was life circumstances or maybe it just occurred on its own but without realising it the depression, which I had been so sure had gone, crept subtly back into my life. My concentration had improved and so studying wasn’t a problem. I was preoccupied and this is more than likely why I didn’t notice this illness slowly crawling back in. By this point I had also agreed to see a psychologist (who is absolutely amazing btw!) and over the weeks we came to realise although I maybe felt better I was far from recovered. We agreed the medication wasn’t working, the numbness was still pretty prominent. I was just better at coping with it than previously. So yesterday off to the psychiatrist I went and this brings us to the present moment. My meds have been changed; it is time to try something new.

Right now, I am finding things tough. I realise that I have come a long way but there is so much further to go. The trick is to remember to keep your eyes up looking ahead. IT IS ALL GOING TO GET BETTER and this is coming from someone who at times can’t even see the end of the day.

I’ll admit I felt disappointed. Part of me felt I had failed everyone who knew the situation – I was meant to be better. I didn’t want to admit it wasn’t as put together as I make it out to be. However, mostly I felt let down by God. I mean, in the first place God is the reason I have the strength to share my story and get through this year so why would he let this come back?!  But this isn’t the truth of the matter.

Firstly, in terms of faith I came to accept maybe it isn’t my time to be fully cured and there are more lessons to be learned from this illness. Also we live in a fallen world just because I know Jesus does not mean I am exempt from the evil – I realised rather than screaming at God “WHY?!?!” it can be used as a testimony of faith. It allows me to understand others to help them better than if I had never had this experience.

But really what I want to say to you guys out there who can’t see the hope; who feel like recovery doesn’t exist – know it does. It’s a marathon and you’re only in the first mile but every mile takes you closer to the finish line.

Recovery is a process and it can be an extremely long one. It takes endurance, strength and perseverance and that my friend is why you are one of the strongest people out there. Of course we get frustrated when it doesn’t go the way we thought it was, there will be tears and struggles on the way.

It isn’t easy but it is possible.

Just remember there are so many different options of help out there use them all and find what works for you. Tell people for accountability and do the things you love to do. Here I am having tried various different medications and various therapies still trying to get the right one. Some days it does feel easier to pack it all in and live with the depression but DON’T! because….

You are going to get there.

You are fighting the toughest battle.

So that makes you the strongest person.

Treat them as Gentiles and Tax collectors

“…let him be to you as a Gentiles and a Tax collector.” Matthew 18:17

I walked out of church this Sunday with a skip in my step all because of this verse.

 

This year has been a battle of forgiveness; learning to forgive myself and others.

Myself, well I found that slightly easier. I was able to write down all the things I needed to forgive myself for and learn to deal with the mistakes head on. I could forgive my flaws because I knew I could fix them and I suppose came to understand God’s forgiveness for me.

Forgiving others; that is another story.

This has been a year of ups and downs as many of you know and within it there has been a lot of relationships hurt and broken. I knew I needed to forgive them and well I was trying, quite a lot. However, something was missing. I was able to forgive them outwardly; I could be civil, have conversations and act like it had all blown over. Inside my thoughts were different. I would remind myself of how I had felt hurt by them and get frustrated at why they didn’t seem to face the music of their own actions.

Really, I was acting forgiveness without actually forgiving.

On Sunday, as the speaker came to his final point he read the verse “…let him be to you as a Gentiles and a Tax collector.” (Matt 18:17). A friend and I turned to each other with raised eyebrows as she said HARSH. To be honest, hearing this at first I had a slight smirk – I thought “knew it, I have the right to feel this way – I can treat them as “gentiles” and “tax collectors”.” The problem, I was thinking of the way the communities treated these people not the way Jesus treats them.

As the speaker continued he brought us to the stories of Jesus’s actions towards these people:

  • Healing the daughter of a Canaanite (Matthew 15:21-28)
  • Heals the Centurion’s servant (Luke 7:1-10; Matthew 8: 5-13)
  • He called a Tax Collector to be his disciple (Matthew 9: 9-12)
  • He asked Zacchaeus (the chief Tax Collector) if he could stay at his house. (Luke 19:1-10)

So what is the common factor in all this stories?!

HE SHOWED THEM LOVE.

I realised, I was missing love. If someone asked me had I forgiven them, easy – the answer was yes. If they asked me whether I loved them. Ha, well that is where the hesitation came. But on realising Jesus showed them love it was a light bulb moment for me and in this same moment I felt I could finally answer the question Yes I did love them. Why? Because I grasped the understanding of Jesus’s love from this one verse. I was now able to say with confidence that I really did love them and know that I didn’t feel the resentfulness or hurt. I was finally able to know that if they came to me with any problem, just general chat or to be friends I could be there without wanting to go through everything that happened. It had all truly passed all because of love.

Later I came to Colossians 3:13-15.

“…forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…”

Which summed up forgiving perfectly.

Forgive

Love

Peace

This sounds like one of those cheesy mems/good quotes but you know what?! It’s true.

We need to forgive with love so we are at peace.

As christian we want to reflect Jesus right? So let’s forgive as God has forgiven.