A “perfect” recovery within mental illness isn’t always possible
Mental health issues are complex and sometimes meeting yourself in the middle is necessary, and that’s ok!
Writing this I am currently on the train back from London where my psychiatrist is based and I’m sat here reflecting the appointment and about how we sometimes have to “meet ourselves in the middle”
When I left the hospital in 2016 on Lithium with the level being at the optimum point (Lithium is based not on dose but by the level of lithium in your blood) all of my ups and downs pretty much vanished and I was the most stable I had been for years.
All of a sudden it spiked above 1 (a lithium level above 1 is classed as toxic and can become very dangerous) I had to not take it for a couple of days and then resume on a lower dose.
Since then it is not gone back to the optimum level, it’s messed with my thyroid greatly and we have not been able to hit that sweet spot since.
Lately roughly every three months I have a hypomanic period followed by a mild depression. The last cycle had ended about 5 days ago.
It was spoken about how I can deal with these better than I could, that the hypomania has not turned in to mania with no psychotic episodes etc and so this is obviously a major improvement and that it may just need to be that this is how it is…and that that’s okay.
On one hand, this makes me feel a bit deflated, like great this is just how it’s going to be? In a state of hypomania with the depression and disappointment that follows over and over again?? That’s quite a hard pill to swallow…
On the other hand, I see how far I’ve come since starting lithium. The highs and lows I was having before were much bigger and disastrous, often landing me in the hospital and lasted months at a time. They may have been fewer but the moods in between were constant, I never felt happy and was always frustrated and agitated.
So you see, what I am saying is that recovery is never perfect. I see that I may have to meet myself in the middle.
It would be easy for me to sit here (as I did for a brief moment when I first got on this train) and think “Well that’s it then, I’m screwed, I have no life, how am I going to ever do anything when I can’t even predict where I am going to be? I am a total screw up”
That, however, would give me nothing but feeling totally worthless and so I have to see it as look at where I was…….Look at where I am now…..It’s not perfect but I have somewhat met myself in the middle and you know what? I’m quite happy with that!
I’ve been battling mental health issues since I was around fourteen years old and I am under no illusion that one day this will just “POOF!!” vanish into thin air. I am realistic in the knowledge that I will be limited in some of the things I can do. I am aware that a full-on depressive or manic episode could strike at any time and that I will probably end up in a hospital again at some point in my life. I also know that is because I have an illness. An illness that I cannot control like any other and I am learning to be okay with that.
I am grateful that things are better than they were. Of course, I’d love for it to be even better but my mental illness has also made me who I am and parts of that I am also grateful for.
It’s hard when battling mental illness to make it just go away, we want it gone, like NOW, actually yesterday. We can try and rush recovery and push ourselves into being how we think we SHOULD be.
Sometimes this isn’t possible. Sometimes a full recovery from mental health issues just isn’t on the cards and we have to learn to manage what we have and learn how to live with that. We have to meet ourselves in the middle.
Sometimes the middle ground isn’t a bad place to be, maybe it’s a place that we can finally accept and learn how to move on. How to Be.
Maybe meeting ourselves in the middle is perfectly okay.