Do you recall seeing progress charts that looked like a relatively straight line, rising at an angle from the bottom? I always believed that’s how we moved towards our goal. And then, I encountered recovery from mental illness and discovered it’s not that way at all.
Recovery is many ups and downs and steps backwards, and seeing progress can be difficult. When you’re in the midst of the struggle to gain some footing, it can even feel like a regression. For me, it’s sometimes frustrating and I’ve wanted to give up many times. Hell, sometimes, I don’t even know what it is I’m working towards.
It’s an ideal that I have in my mind that life has to be better than what it is right now. That there has to be a time and a place where the pain of my mental illness won’t feel so overwhelming and living won’t feel so difficult. It’s called hope. It sustains me through my most arduous of times and gives me the strength and resiliency to continue moving forward.
To keep myself motivated, I pause and reflect along my journey to see how far I have actually come. It’s easy to get lost in the grind of the climb and not appreciate the steps already taken. Pause for a moment and look back. Take notice of the twists and turns that you’ve endured to get to where you are today. Recognize the strength and courage it took to make it as far as you have. Draw courage from your bravery so far.
Recovery is not a linear process. Accepting this can be critical in helping you along. It can help ease some of the judgement you feel for experiencing setbacks and relapses when you understand that they happen to everyone and you’re not a failure for having them.
I’ll get to where I need to be. I’m just taking the scenic route.
About Wendy Enberg
My name is Wendy Enberg and I live openly with mental illness. I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I reside near Edmonton, AB. I began sharing my story with others as a way to remove stigma and raise awareness and compassion for people living with mental illness. I started with a Facebook page where I posted inspirational messages. This grew into a blog about living with BPD at where I openly share my struggles and my successes. This wasn’t enough. In July of 2014, I co-founded a peer support group in my community for people living with mental illness that provides online and weekly support meetings. Our membership continues to grow each day and we are gaining a presence in the mental health community.