How to Stay Well When Things Start Looking Up
In less than a month it'll be a year since I had the mental breakdown. I can finally say that I feel like that part of my life is healing. While there's still some flare ups of anxiety, the day to day is no longer crippling. I'm able to get through many situations without much discomfort, and I'm actually wanting to go out and do things. As much as I'm loving building a community here, from the comfort and safety of my home, I'm starting to want to show up in a more interactive way. I want to go to events, help out, meet people... have fun!
But as much as it feels like a weight has been lifted, it means there are a new set of boundaries I've got to sort out, which I've defs been neglecting to do. Learning how to set boundaries when I was struggling with the mental illness and just at home was a hard process at first, but it made a world of difference. It's definitely what got me to the point I am at today. While it seemed daunting at the time, looking bad it feels pretty simple compared to where I am at now. I didn't have too many commitments at that time, so I was able to focus mostly on just healing. Enforcing some of the more intricate boundaries in relationships was a little hard, but when it came to self-care and time it was simple. I'm spiralling? Shut things down for a week and recover. Feeling disconnected? Turn off my phone and run to the forest.
Now it's about dealing with boundaries within my own self. It's scary not wanting to play it small anymore. It's absolutely terrifying wanting to be social again. I still have a hard time with groups because I often don't feel like I fit in, and can get pretty down on myself when I feel left out. I need to figure out boundaries around not internalizing that. I'm so excited about the new work I have, but it's also more than I've done all year in the span of like a week and I haven't quite figured out how to balance it all. I'm also still trying to come to terms with this new feeling of strength and capability - I haven't felt this way in YEARS, so my ego is having a party trying to tear that shit down. And honestly, there's been moments where the ego is winning. It is so much more comfortable to play small or remain unseen. To stay comfortable. But this is where the flow is taking me, and I want to lean into it, not hide from it.
This is also usually the point in the cycle of mental illness that I get sick again. I start feeling "better" so think I can do it all again, all at once. I started noticing that I was slipping back into those old habits last week - doing too much, drinking too much, not slowing down enough (like, I had a migraine for three days straight and was still trying to do work). Last night I was reading my tarot cards and everything was coming up as warning signs that trouble is coming and calling for a shift in paradigm. All of a sudden I remembered something one of my therapists in program said: "like your choices, like your life". Now this morning my self work feels so much clearer. Time to start making some different choices and figuring out my boundaries. Time to start liking my choices again. Hopefully this time I will keep liking my life, no matter what it holds.