DON’T GIVE UP

When you are working towards recovery, you stumble, you slip, and you tumble, but do you give up? Do you say, “It’s not worth the fight if I can’t get better right away?” If your therapist isn’t helping, do you just quit therapy? When your therapist makes a suggestion you don’t like, do you walk away? The sad thing is many quit and never reach recovery. Why? Because they want to reach recovery overnight and they want their therapist to always be good and right. These people who give up end up in an endless cycle of despair and anguish. They never reach recovery; instead they sit at the bottom of their holes.

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At the grocery store where I work, I recently waited on a nurse who works in a mental health hospital. I told her about my recovery and she told me, “It is so good to hear about someone who sees recovery through. So many get impatient and I see them often back in the hospital. If only they would keep fighting, they could reach recovery.” She is so right. If only more who suffer with mental illness were patient and willing to keep fighting there would be more of them enjoying recovery.

A woman I know is having mental health problems. She went to her doctor who referred her to a therapist. She went to a few appointments with the therapist. The therapist made suggestions she didn’t like so instead of telling her therapist or finding one she liked better, she quit going. She continues to struggle on a revolving cycle of deep sadness, hopelessness, and negativity. She goes to work and home. She finds the bad side to everything and has driven away some of her friends. When she is invited out, she finds a reason not to go. She may never reach recovery because she refuses to fight. Instead, she gave up on her chance for recovery.

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Another woman I know has gone from psychiatrist to psychiatrist and therapist to therapist trying to find recovery. She has chosen to change her own medication because it’s not working as fast as she wants it to. She keeps searching for a fast road to recovery to only find herself falling back down the hole. She goes to her friends looking for comfort, and when they can’t give it to her, she turns away from them. She keeps giving up on those who are there to help her because she is impatient, so her sadness goes on and on.

I, too, at one time wanted a fast recovery. I wanted to be better right away. I didn’t want to wait. I just wanted my inner pain to end. I got mad at my therapist and at myself when I kept tumbling backwards. I was up and down. When I thought I was getting better, I slipped down into the hole. I felt that recovery was impossible, but a voice within me said, “Don’t give up. Keep fighting.”

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I had a therapist tell me I was cutting to hurt others. Another therapist told me to think happy thoughts. One psychiatrist played around with my medication and I went through withdrawal. Another psychiatrist put me on a lot of antidepressants and even though I wasn’t improving, he wouldn’t do anything. I felt like quitting, but I didn’t. Instead, I tried out several therapists and psychiatrists until I found ones that I liked and ones that helped me.

Recovery took several years. I struggled through bouts of depression and anguish. I stumbled and tumbled down the hole, but I didn’t give up. Instead, I fought. I wanted to find happiness, I wanted a normal life, and most of all I wanted to reach recovery. So with determination I worked hard and I fought to climb up out of my hole.

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If you want to reach recovery, learn to be patient. Allow yourself to slip and fall. If you don’t like your therapist or psychiatrist, search for new ones. Try several until you find a therapist or psychiatrist that best suits you. You don’t have to approve of all the advice they give. Use the suggestions that work best for you. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight, so buckle down and prepare yourself to fight for as long it takes. Fight no matter what happens and remember you must do the work. So work hard and in time you will stand tall within the light.

I didn’t give up. I fought over several years and I did fall down the hole many times, but I pulled myself back up. Because I didn’t give up, I bathe in the light.

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