I am currently in a place I never thought I would be. I did not believe in the recovery model for mental illness even a few months ago, nevertheless thought I would be in a place in my life where the “recovery” stage would be very real and tangible in my day-to-day existence.
I never thought I would have any extended time of peace, and I never thought I would define peace as the picture to the left does: “it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
I am there, hallelujah, amen, thank you. There is chaos all around me, but my heart is calm, it is steady, it is beating strong. All of those thoughts I had of giving up, have vanished. Those thoughts of giving up that I had almost constantly through every day of the last several years of my life, the ones I didn’t *know how* to get rid of, the ones that kept me cycling through the hospital and the crisis residence and at the mercy of people (supposedly) saner than I on the other end of a phone line…gone.
I have been through months of adversity without losing my steadiness, and there are even more big changes to come. I am ready. I know how to climb the mountain and I am familiar with the path and the twists and turns, and I know it will be hard as Hell and that the Devil himself may stand in my way, but I know within myself that I am ready for this adventure.
QoB is moving away, and my contact with her is sure to greatly decrease. I am learning that my mom is not the young person she used to be, and that it is time for her to turn her thoughts and her activities and her energies into herself, her new relationship, and into being a cherished Abuela.
It is hard to let her go, to stop calling her so often, to not count on her for every little thing, to really *grow up* here at age 34. I have had my mom by my side my whole life, she has gone to bat for me countless times, and now, I need to go to bat for myself and count on LarBear to be my touchstone. This doesn’t mean the relationship I have with her will be any less special, it just means that it is time for me to learn to count on other people.
I *DO* have other people I can count on in this life, and she deserves all the happiness available to her, and if that happiness is retirement and open prairies and big blue skies, then I wish all that for her and more. There is such a thing called a telephone, and it isn’t like I will never ever see her. It will just be less. It is only within the last month, I think, that I would ever have been able to accept this for what it is.
With QoB moving away, retiring from the life here, comes the need for LarBear and I to move. Physically move, that is, into a new home. Of course, this creates stress and upset and all of the above, but we need to start living within our very own means, and know that we can still be okay. We don’t have a terrible income, and it is enough that we will be able to find a nice-enough place to live. Of that, I have no doubt. I only wish the process were speedier, more certain, less of a time-suck. I am ready to find the place and get the stuff moved and BE THERE.
The part of the recovery model I am most focused on now, which is also part of DBT, is that I am building A LIFE WORTH LIVING. The past several years, I have been eking by, and I’m done with that. I do not want to define myself by my mental illness, and I don’t want others to identify me that way, either. I am a strong woman and I have a good man by my side, and I honestly feel I can tackle whatever is around me, that needs tackling.
I have even more support outside of my relationship with LarBear, whether it is the constant support of my mental health center contacts, or my Dad, or the Big Dawg. I have places to turn to. More than anything, I want LarBear and I to build a beautiful life together, and we are well in the process of doing that.
I don’t want to be “the crazy one” forever, and I tire of being looked at that way by family, acquaintances, the like. I believe that I am even *more* sane and well-balanced than the average bear, because I am insightful into my life and I *do* examine my own thoughts and behaviors and I also spend great gobs of time practicing DBT and going to therapy and the like. Practicing my skills isn’t something that anyone should look down on a person for. Chances are, some of the skills could work for you, or for you, or for my mom or for LarBear or any number of people.
I have more skills in my toolbox than most people, and I think that is wherein the true advantage lies. I have those skills and I am in touch with different things that help me to feel better, such as writing and making jewelry, and I do not let a single day pass in which I do not create something, anything. It is so very important — not the product, but the process. It doesn’t matter if you try a new recipe or build a Lego village or paint a picture…the creativity that dwells within us, heals us, and there is a multitude of proof or evidence out there that healing can happen, no matter how desperate you feel your situation is. If I can do this, you sure can, too.