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Why is recovery such a rocky process?

Kate Middleton photo Kate Middleton · 21 Jun, 2021

Why is recovery such a rocky process? One moment I feel like I’ve come so far and feel like I can achieve anything then next minute I’m isolating away in my room feeling so depressed and feeling so worthless. It’s been like this for 3/4 years now .

I just want happy me to return...

Xia, 15

Hi Xia, thanks for your question. I'm so sorry for all these ups and downs. When we set out to 'recover' from something we often think of it like it's black and white - you're either still struggling, or recovered, either ill or well, it's either still going on or over ...

The truth is, recovery is more of a process than something you get to tick off once it is done. It's less about achieving something, than working out what it means for what happened to be part of your story - what that means, how it has shaped you, and how you move on from it. So you will get to a place where it feels like you're looking back at that time in your life from a distance - a bit like climbing a mountain and turning round and suddenly looking back at the view of where you came from and realising how far it is - but that's much more of a gradual process than something that just 'happens' and then is done. And, much like climbing a mountain, it's not all steady going in one direction - it's ups and downs and highs and lows and moments where you realised you missed a turn and have to go back, or you get tired and have to sit down and rest before you carry on ...

The good news is life doesn't have to stand still until you have recovered - all of that journey can happen alongside you living life and gradually getting to do more things, feel more free. But one more thing is good to know - its normal to have times when things happen - stuff out of the blue or stuff that upsets you or just days when you feel really tired and over it all. And then your mind pushes you back into that 'I can't fight today' place and it feels impossible and overwhelming. In those moments it might feel like you've come nowhere and you're back where you started but you're not - its just that those moments can hit anywhere on the journey - and each time they feel the same even though they are not. When that happens take a moment, rest up, be kind to yourself and you'll be ready to get up again and keep walking once you've recovered.

One more thing ... it's worth being aware that being recovered also won't mean never feeling low or having a bad day. It's ok to have those moments and much as we all wish we didn't have to - emotions like that are part of life. They don't mean you haven't recovered or aren't well. Everyone has to cheer themselves up sometimes, or recognise a rough day has taken its toll. When you've struggled with mental health those moments can panic you because it feels like maybe you're still ill - but actually they're really normal. So try not to panic - instead do something that will lift your mood, help you feel better or is about relaxing and being kind to yourself.

Keepo going Xia - sounds like you are doing AWESOME - so well done for all the steps you've taken so far!!


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