I’ve been thinking so much that I’ve forgotten what I am supposed to be thinking about. It’s the impending changes on the horizon that I have to wait over a month before they happen. I am going crazy with anticipation, wondering, wondering, and wondering some more if I have made all the right decisions. Did we pick the right apartment? Did I choose the right job? Should I go to grad school? Is that truly what I want? And the list goes on and on. My mind is an endless cycle, running around in circles with no clear point to the maddening thoughts. Worry doesn’t solve anything. It just takes away from the contentment I could be feeling in the present moment.
Ever since truly striving for recovery-like actively using skills and redirecting thoughts and all that stuff you learn in therapy-when I see a problem I try to work on it. The anxiety has not only been affecting my mind, but my body has taken a toll as well. My stomach is upset and I have felt exhausted the last couple of days. Therefore, I try something new. I try to actively help reduce the problem. Right now, I am sitting here writing-which brings me an endless abundance of peace. I have candles lit, jazz music playing, and a hot cup of coffee by my side. I plan to take a bath, read, meditate, do all these things that help reduce my thoughts of the future. These coping mechanisms don’t take away the anxiety, but they certainly do help.
I think there is a misconception that the feelings will go away, that recovery means you no longer deal with bad days or thoughts of food, body image, and calories. I hate to say that this just isn’t true. Mental illness is there and it is real, but the ways we react to our thoughts and feelings equal recovery. If we wallow in our emotions, we get stuck in a world of darkness. If we act on our urges, we are left in the pits of our eating disorder. It’s all about perspective. Recovery comes when we can look at our current state of mind from a distance and figure out the healthy next steps to overcome the dark days.
I don’t always get this right. Sometimes emotions feel too strong. I get too deep into the darkness and cycling thoughts and I wallow for a while. But, I have enough awareness to pull myself out. I know when I am wallowing. I know when I have chosen my illness over my recovery. I have put in the hours in therapy and countless treatment groups and I can’t unlearn that knowledge. So even if I wallow for a bit, I have been able to turn it around and each time that I turn things around, I get stronger. I move a little bit farther away from the illnesses that used to rule my life. Now, I can make huge life decisions, have anxiety, and cope in healthy ways. Talk to me a few years ago and I would have never dreamed this was possible. It’s funny how therapy actually works.