Thursday, March 10, 2016

"After" mental illness.

Vice has this article up, What No One Tells You About Life After Mental Illness, it came out over a month ago but I just got to reading it.

First, I understand that for some, mental illness is temporary. You can be in a bad place, and you can move through it. This isn't my experience. I feel like it's been over a decade, and this is life-long. This is it, my lot. Things have been better as I've been trying to access services (with varying degrees of success) and trying to take care of myself. But, with that said, I still have a lot of anxiety and fear about my ability to take care of myself financially. I worry about job security. I worry about securing housing (which I've yet to do independently). 
The important thing to understand about recovery is that it should be treated from the perspective of the person. Many people say the most important thing for them is whether the help they got was focused on the things they wanted, such as sorting out housing and a career.
After something has such a devastating effect on you, regaining control and independence is the most important step in the recovery process.
I will not be recovered once I live on my own, I'll simply be managing. Or, living, just in a different set of circumstances.
My illness left gaps in my life where friends, experiences, and career progression should be, but I've learned to transition from a fear of leaving the house to being able to hold down a job and find a relative sense of stability. No one may have prepared me for illness, but we may as well do whatever we can to talk about what happens afterwards.
The author, Jessica Brown and I seem to have that "gap" experience in common. In some cases, there is the "afterwards," whether that's full recovery or just a batter state of being post-attack or post-episode.

I can understand why it's rarely discussed. As a survivor, or as the ill, it seems to useless and ridiculous to talk about "the future" and "afterwards." It seems beyond ridiculous. In the depths of it, you can barely wrap your head around surviving the hour, let alone having a vision board of what the future holds.

It's just a one-day-at-a-time mentality, moving away from that seems dangerous and unnatural for me.

After it. After all. There's also shame of the time lost. There's pain in there too. Lost time. Lost opportunity. It's a lot to carry around. And it's all so personal, so contextualized. Maybe it's because I'm still in it, still so close to it. It's a major factor in my life, there is no "after" for me. It's everyday.

And if ever it isn't now, it always could be soon.

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