06.21.2017 // Sad Ain't Bad
When I was getting ready to leave treatment, there is one thing that the team would always tell us, “if you have a slip, don’t worry, just keep going.” We spent hours talking about the difference between a slip and a full relapse, what the warning signs are, how to practice some self-compassion if you did have a slip. Until tonight I don’t think any of that really sunk into me.
When I came out of rehab this time around I felt better than I had in years. I felt like I was finally done with this, excuse my French, fucker of a disease. I made huge gains (mentally and physically, hey hey to my beautiful new booty) in my recovery and was ready to get back to “being normal” (cringe).
But the real world is a little hard. And in this case, of course, little means very, very, VERY hard. Like my therapist said, life sucks and shit happens (shoutout to Mag for that one). And when it did happen and I didn’t feel like life was about the climb but when I would get to the top of the mountain, I felt like I couldn’t show I was struggling. I mean I’ve spent so long in treatment, I had things to prove, I had to prove it to people that all their faith in me and faith in myself wasn’t a pile of hot horse shit. I wanted to prove to everyone, especially myself, that I didn’t have “bad” moments anymore. I was done with them. I didn’t want the struggles that come with mental illness anymore, and I felt like I “should” be “fixed” by now after treatment.
But with all that came another show. Another act I was putting on. I was working so hard to prove to myself that I was better, to make sure I didn’t have a single slip. I was trying to be cool and collected (suave AF as some would say) in situations that were challenging because I thought they shouldn’t challenge me anymore.
And guess what? Life sucks and shit happens. Life is still challenging, and there are still moments that are painful and hard. But that doesn’t mean that I am relapsing. I am doing what I need to do for my recovery and now instead of pushing away emotions by engaging in my eating disorder, I am actually feeling them. Feeling sad and afraid sucks, but it doesn’t make it wrong. If I am challenged by something it doesn’t mean I am slipping, it means I’m human. It means that mental illness is, again surprise, a tough disease and tough thing to overcome (I like to describe the challenges of a mental illness as stubbing the toe that is your life into a coffee table).
You don’t have to pretend to be perfect all the time. No one has their shit together. Challenging and frustrating things are going to happen in life because that is just the way it works (I’m sorry I couldn’t give a more philosophical explination for that but it’s the truth). Don’t feel though like you “should” be handling it a certain way. There is no one way to handle life, and just because things are hard, or you are having a bad day, does NOT in anyway mean you aren’t doing a “good job”. This isn’t high school and you are not getting graded. Things will be challenging and you may be sad, but sad ain’t bad, ride through those emotions and keep doing what is best for YOU. This may be starting to sound like an inspirational self help book that may be advertised at 2am on the shopping channel but in all honesty, being genuine is the bravest thing that you can do. And being genuine involves admitting when you are not okay, and remembering, that that is perfectly fine too.