Today is Tuesday, October 10, 2017, and it is World Mental Health Day. I can’t write about mental health as it exists all over the world, but I can write about my experiences with challenging mental health.
Much of this year, I’ve been wondering about my story. I really can’t explain it. I recovered, and I don’t know why. I have a slight grasp on how, but why eludes me completely.
I like to sum up the how in just five little words:
I think WRAP has something to do with it too, but I’ve pretty much internalized that and rarely actually look at the written document. (You can search for WRAP on this blog in the tags on the right side of the screen of your computer. I’m not sure where the tags are, if you’re on a mobile device. There’s also a little place where you can enter search items. Just type in WRAP.)
Why did I recover?
I work in mental health now. I talk on the phone to my peers as part of my job, and it’s quite eye-opening. I hear about the difficulties others are having with many different types of situations. Each caller is doing their best to overcome whatever may be happening that is disagreeable. Sometimes, reaching out to me is one of the ways they’re trying to overcome problems. Other times, they just want someone to listen. It’s usually very clear right from the very beginning what the caller wants from the conversation.
What’s unclear to me is myself. My own story baffles me. You can search the archives of this blog going back more than 7.5 years. I came through some dark times. When I remember those times, I’m amazed I made it through and got to where I am today.
I think I’m spending so much time thinking about the why, because it has something to do with healing. I want to share healing with my peers.
But that’s off. The healing is what happened. Does it matter why it happened, or is the how it happened more vital?
There’s one more point about how that may hold the key: one. I kept it to one step. I concentrated on just the one step I was taking. I never thought ahead to a second step. I thought only of the one. Then, I would take one more step. Then one more. It was always just one.
When I was bedridden with depression, I would do one nice thing for myself for one day. Some days that one nice thing was brushing my teeth. It was one little reminder that I was worth just that tiny bit of self-care. Some days, it was making one healthy thing to eat, or just eating one piece of healthy food like an apple.
Taking only one step. Doing one nice thing for myself. One.
Life is complex. When you add mental illness to it, it can be chaotic. There is so much to think about that it’s overwhelming. Concentrating on only one thing relieves the chaos.
By concentrating on one step, I made many steps. I got from there to here. It took years. I had a lot of help along the way, but I was the one doing the walking. I was the one taking just one step. I want to share that with others.
And now I ask where to next?