I’m in recovery from various mental illnesses. The two that affect me the most right now are PTSD and anxiety. And sometimes I want to be sick. It’s not what you might think though.
In my experiences, I’ve been cared for the most when I was at my worst, or when I was struggling badly.
One thing I miss about being sick is being in treatment. In treatment, I found safety. I had an entire community right there with me, going through similar journeys. And I had a team of professionals who listened to me and were right there with me trying to support me. In treatment, it’s like a bubble of safety; the outside world couldn’t get in and I was able to better myself without those outside stressors.
I also sometimes miss being sick because my friends and family members would care about me, like really care. I would get cards and gifts and hugs. And they expressed being worried about me often.
Now that I’m actively in recovery and haven’t been in treatment in over a year, I miss it time to time. I miss it because the real world isn’t that safe. I miss it because that’s where I’ve met a few of my closest friends over the years of being in and out of treatment centers, and the communities are always so welcoming. I miss it because it felt like home and my home was never safe growing up.
Now, I sometimes have to ask for my needs to be met. Now, I have to be more independent. Now I have to cope with triggers and distressing moments head on. Now, I have to face my fears.
I know logically that I don’t want to be sick anymore. Some days though, the idea of being sick again haunts me. Because while struggling and being in so much pain and distress isn’t fun or what I want, it’s familiar territory. And that right there is where the desire to be sick again comes from – not wanting to continue recovering because peace and full recovery aren’t well known to me, yet.
What I’m learning though, more and more each day, is that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a psych ward or among patients in treatment – that to me isn’t living; that is merely surviving.
I’m also learning that I need to honor the child within me. My younger self wasn’t always soothed when I was upset. I wasn’t always met with patience or understanding at home. I was often met with anger and violence and misunderstanding.
So now, more than ever, I need to take that information and validate myself so I can keep fighting on…
You did your best with what you had, Lexie. You still deserve to be cared for by friends and family even if you aren’t in a hospital. That might look a little different because you’re not in treatment, but you still deserve to be cared for and loved. You deserve to be met with compassion and understanding. And most importantly, you are allowed to take care of yourself. Be gentle with yourself and forgive past mistakes. You may not have been treated with kindness as a child, and you may try to fill a void in your adulthood because of that, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in or give up. You can treat yourself with kindness.
You’re not hopeless. You’re not worthless. You are loved. And you can still be heard without hurting yourself.