mental health

Riding out recovery

You don’t know; it’s so hard

When the world knows your face; and no one knows your heart

Those are lyrics in a song I wrote when I was 13.

I was at the beginning of my problems, and had already begun shutting people out.

I’ve always been an advocate of “don’t even try that, it’s addictive“.

But I’ve also been there when the pain is so dark and brutal that you become desperate for something, ANYTHING, to take it away.

Something to make the voices in your head stop screaming from the rooftops everything that is wrong with you.

A pain so indescribable, not physical, and unbearable, that you are willing to cling to something so taboo and nonsensical to make it stop.

Something like pills.

Or alcohol.

Or drugs.

And if you’ve been there, then you know.

And if you’ve never been there, then you have no right to judge.

No one takes drugs or a pill or a drink thinking it will become addictive.

And if they do, they don’t care.

Pain that feels like a thousand needles pressing on your presence in this world, and you don’t care if the pressure pushes you out.

Once you get sober and go without the crutch, once you find healthy coping skills, there becomes a lot riding on you staying sober.

Riding out an injury because the doctor can’t prescribe you something stronger.

Sitting on your hands to keep from reaching for the knife drawer.

Driving around in circles begging your car not to turn in to the liquor store parking lot.

And sometimes it’s the joy and happiness that you don’t want to lose by retreating to old habits.

Sometimes it’s fear. Fear of letting those around you down (again); fear of losing the progress you’ve made; fear of starting over.

And it’s a daily struggle.

Mental illness is widely talked about in a way that makes people believe they solved the riddle in how it works.

But that’s just it.

There isn’t a riddle for solving mental illness.

It’s scary and unpredictable, and affects everyone differently.

And if you yourself have suffered, then I present you will all of my applause for getting healthy and successfully managing yourself.

But if you are struggling, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that there is help available to you.

A step away from the pain, and in the right direction.

A step that will take away the struggle and replace it with freedom.

After all, isn’t that what we’ve all been searching for?

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-622-HELP (4357)

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